The first question to every newcomer's mouth is, "How can I do the porcupine star?". If you are a newcomer wondering the same thing or just a player that never quite knew how to do it or what it does, then you've come to the right place.
I. So, what does the porcupine star do?
The porcupine star makes your base completely invisible. Before you go "wow", unfortunately there are several shortcomings too. For starters, if a player has written down your co-ordinates, then they will still know exactly where your base is. Even if they haven't written the co-ordinates down, experienced players tend remember the whereabouts of your base. In addition, while your base is invisible, the units inside it are not! So, any units you put inside can be seen by other players. The only exceptions are the furtif and the commando which cannot be seen by the enemy even with a radar. However, those units are far too expensive and valuable to be sitting inside a base. The last draw back to the porcupine start, is that it costs to make. It will cost your 5 porcupines and some form of transport to take them to their positions. In MK games are won or lost over a few $$$, let alone 100s of $$$. Thus, veteran players don't really do the porcupine star.
II. So, why do the porcupine star then?
The most common reason is to show off. People tend to do it just because they can, despite the ludicrous cost. The "wow" factor also helps (the wows they get from players who don't know about the porcupine star). New players do it thinking their opponents will somehow fail to find their base. What they don't realise is that the money they've lost doing it has already cost them the game. The only circumstance a porcupine star can ever be justified is in a HUGE and RICH map such as Topologies and only after a few turns. If your opponents haven't written the location of your base down and your empire is big, they will at best remember the AREA your abse is located but not the exact position and in some games that could proove life-saving.
III. So, how do I do the porcupine star then?
Imagine a square box of 5x5 dimensions with your base in the middle (3rd row, 3rd column). You need to place four porcupines at the four edges of that "virtual square". You can do so by using a transport loaded with the porcupines and moving the porcupines out of the transport and onto the desired square. Once you have done that, you need to have a 5th porcupine into your base and move it either up, down, left or right. The final result should look like one of the four images below:
You will know the porcupine star has worked (or not) if you get the following message straight after you have completed the porcupine star and your base will have a "chequered" background colour. If you don't get the message below, then you must have done something wrong and have to try again.
Notice now that your base background colour has changed from a straight colour to a chequered background.