What is the best ship to start with?
Which ship is the best to begin the game with?
You can beat the game about as reliably with with any ship, so the differentiator for "best ship" is going to be entirely based on score. Score is influenced by how many beacons you visit, how many ships you destroy, and how much scrap you get. Scrap isn't influenced by ship, so that can be ignored. The stealth ship may be able to visit more beacons since you can more reliably navigate nebulas out the gate, which will slow down the rebel fleet. But that only applies in a rare situation, and it pays for it by having to run away sometimes until you can find shields.
So what you want is a ship that can blow up everything.
For this, I'd recommend:
- Red-Tail: The Type B Kestrel, this ship starts with four lasers on a 10 second charge. Aside from being easy to manage, inexhaustible, and easy to upgrade piecemeal, this means your weapons operator will level up very quickly.
- Bulwark: The Type A rock vessel. This thing packs a ton of firepower early on assuming you can keep finding missiles. You'll never have to run during the first 2-3 sectors.
- Osprey or Nisos: The cruisers you get for beating the game. It's weak on weapons but the Artillery Beam makes sure you can destroy anything, even in the late game, if you just keep your defense up.
For similar reasons, I would recommend against the engi and zoltan ships. The engi ship can easily find itself in a position where it can't do much damage (I ran into an early Defense II drone and neither side could damage the other), and the zoltan ship's strength is being able to wait out damage rather than dish it out.