a) Don't rush through a sector; try to hit as many points as possible while staying just out of reach of the fleet.
b) Pause often during fights.
c) Use missles sparingly, like to damage a shield system initially. Spamming them is just wasteful.
d) Attack nearly everything you can. (There are some exceptions, but not many.)
e) Taking a ship by killing its crew offers increased rewards.
f) Micro, micro, micro... pause, pause, pause.
g) Autofire is not really your friend. Timing certain weapons manually can do more damage by strategicly bypassing shields during recharge.
h) Know each races strengths: Rockmen 150hp and immune to fire as an example.
i) Keep crew stationed at the same console throughout the game so that you have gold level commanders by the time you get to the boss.
j) Have a nice mix of weapons available: missle, laser, beam, bomb.
k) Make sure you have weapons that dont consume much power and mix up the power levels.
l) Hull lasers can cause breaches making it harder to repair systems since the breach has to be repaired first.
m) Hull lasers do more damage to empty rooms.
n) Beam weapons require strategy, blind firing(autofire) will not do you any good.
o) Scrap recovery arm is a very good item, especially early on. It's possible to get up to 75 scrap when you kill the crew of an enemy ship. Extra scrap for melee kills +10% for scrap arm.
p) Early game Engies are better than late game Engies(my opinion).
q) Do NOT board automated ships.
r) Always attack slavers if you want crew members. Ignore them if you dont need them.
s) Mantis deal 2x damage with normal HP, but rockmen only have 1.5x HP and normal damage.
t) Human away teams are risky until you get your teleporter upgraded.
u) Always buy fuel in the shops, running out is easy even if you think you have enough (30 fuel is barely enough before sector 5).
v) A weapon with a power consumption of 4 is usually useless since its risky/impossible to keep powered during a hard fight.
w) Blast doors are a cheap helpful upgrade.
x) Develop a strategy for your encounters, dont just autofire and go even though that might work just fine for that situation. It will help later to have a strategy that you understand when the tough fights come along.
y) Nebula sectors let you do more exploring since the fleet is slowed down.
z) Use drones or missles (not both). Having enough upgrades, ammo, and power for both is fairly rare.
aa) Mantis does more melee damage.
ab) Do NOT have autofire on while you are using an away team. You could accidently destroy the ship with them on it.
ac) Most encounters have random outcomes no matter what your choice is. Picking the same choice for an encouter can yield diffrent results.
ad) Leave the "crazy guy" on the planet, unless your medbay is upgraded or you have a slug on your crew.
ae) Almost always use the "blue" option.
af) Distress beacons typically always have a risk envolved, but the payout is better, if not doubled when you actually save someone. Some are just traps and dont offer anything extra.
ag) If you get boarded vent the ship immediatly and run to your med bay, the lack of oxygen will force the intruders to follow you, and if you're quick they wont damage any systems.
ah) Weapons and shields should be the top repair priority (my opinion).
ai) The game is random, but the luck is not. Skill will get you to sector 8 almost every time no matter what. Don't listen to those that think this game is based solely on luck... they are very wrong (my opinion). At first I could barely make it to sector 3, now i can get to 7 or 8 no problem.
aj) Unless you have a rockmen on your crew, oxygen vent rooms that are on fire.
ak) Which stations to man first: Ideally, you should prioritise pilot and engines, then weapons, then shields.
al) Cheap "second bar" upgrades can be your friend.
am) Away teams should only be used if you have 5+ crew.
an) When your jump ends up in front of a sun, immediately vent your ship to space. Open all your doors to all your rooms (except the ones with crew stationed in them); the flames go out very quickly, typically causing no damage at all.
ao) Engies should not be on away teams.
ap) Away teams in asteroid belts are VERY risky!
aq) Searching "rebel refitted transports", by killing its crew and not destroying the ship, most definately yeilds better results; weapons, typically.
ar) Take power from the medbay unless you have someone in it; power is wasted in an empty medbay.
as) When playing as Osprey, do NOT have your special weapon powered while using boarding parties.
at) Killing everyone on a ship with an away team has the chance of finding a "prisoner" who will then join you.
au) Teleporters (75ish scrap) are worth it if you factor in the above tip and other rewards possibly not mentioned herein.
av) Accept surrenders if you need fuel, missles, drones, or they offer a weapon or augment; kill them if you just want scrap.
aw) Don't shoot any weapons at the enemy ship while you have crew on board, unless you're 100% certain that it won't blow up and you need to disable their weapons/medbay.
ax) It's ok to depower your oxygen for a short amount of time if you need the power.
ay) Don't board ships with a medbay, until you've destroyed the medbay. Then teleport your mantises into the medbay to force them to fight you instead of fixing it.
az) If you board the room containing the pilot, your shot won't miss as much since the enemy ship lost part of the bonus to evade. (I typically do this before firing a missile; I haven't missed as far as I can remember.)
ba) Burst laser 4 with some strategy may be enough to overpower the boss.
bb) Upgraded teleporters can allow the boarding of auto-ships.
bc) Mousing over a crewmember in the crew list will show you their proficiency for the various consoles on the ship.
bd) If you have an away team on an enemy ship watch out for their potential FTL escape. If they jump with your crew members, you lose them.
be) If using beam weapons, try to hit as many rooms as possible; only a small sliver of the room needs to be hit to cause increased damage.
bf) When fighting a "super weak" build (ie. the enemy cannot possibly destroy you; ex: you have 3 shields and they have a 2 burst laser and a fire beam) you should rotate out some of your crew to diffrent stations, and train them until maxed out. That way losing someone is not as detrimental.
bg) Ion weapons shunt reactor power from whatever system they hit until the effect wears off, but if a Zoltan is powering it then the system stays up (assuming it only needs the one bar; shield rooms would require two to maintain at least one shield strength).
bh) Save some scrap after each turn for upgrading systems at the end of a fight. I recommend saving 100+ scrap as soon as possible; it will save your crew at least once when implemented properly.
Some of you may disagree with some of these tips, but as a beginner, these will help immensely. Hope this helps some of you.
Lots of great comments added. Good stuff. -G