Most wars are won or lost long before the fighting starts. This series concentrates only on those critical few turns leading up to the Ship Limit as a key to achieving long-term goals necessary for victory.
The Fascists are at once the race with the weakest ship list and the broadest. They share the weakest battleship (the optimistically-named Victorious) with the Crystals but lack their fleet carrier; of the four cloaking races they build the worst cloaking ships with the highest cost and smallest holds. In Standard they have access to Fast Beams, but the 1-point hull penalty on their Glory Device ships robs them of the queue dominance attainable by their Classic brethren.
Stacks of Vickies tend to lose in standard fleet battles against equal numbers, gaining advantage only through targeted D19b and Saber detonations. The preferred Fascist battlefield lies elsewhere: behind the lines with cloaked vessels, driving around the flanks with Fast Beam Vickies, or dropping Super-Freighter loads of colonists on enemy bases from their planet-immune ships. The Fascists are excellent non-linear warriors, and the threat of the D19b against a battle fleet is enough to make even the hardest-driving commanders show caution — or vent atmo.
For Fascist generals to be effective late in the war, they must seize a massive advantage in the opening turns. Before the Ship Limit hits, they should have constructed three or four alchemy ships, several freighters, a large number of D7s to facilitate early exploration, a few Ill Winds, and as many Vickies as practicable, all while generating multiple starbases which they must use to clog the Queue. For the Fascist to have a fighting chance, the Ship Limit should be reached before Turn 30, and if practicable before Turn 25.
Rules Of Expansion:
Although one can’t manufacture good natives out of thin air, they aren’t the only income available. Every needy commander should start by building 100+ factories at each neighboring world. The price of a factory is repaid after four turns of production, so it’s a foolish general indeed who fails to build the maximum as soon as practicable.
The Fascists also have two additional methods to generate cash: Pillage and the Glory Device. When a sub-par native race with a large population is discovered, it’s an easy matter to leave a vessel in orbit filled with Colonists; it drops one per turn, Pillaging the natives and stealing their wealth (while, sadly, killing the brave Colonist). If the natives happen to be Amorphous, you can choose instead to convert its population into Amorphous Soup by detonating a D19b overhead. Arguably, this wastes a great deal of potential Pillage income, but the difference can often be made up with factory production.
The scattered nature of Fascist income will demand dedicated vessels on regular routes to collect and deliver supplies (converted to MegaCredits) to your early starbases. The only existing hull that can travel indefinitely at high speeds without burning fuel is the Neutronic Fuel Carrier; it’s a perfect courier — and they can be built easily with banked PBP after the Ship Limit.
Because you rely on top-level engines for your NFCs and freighters, you’ll want to seek out a nearby Ghipsoldal world for early production. A rather more distant Humanoid starbase can be invaluable for the construction of pre-Limit alchemy ships. In Classic, one might profitably send engines between them on recyclable NFCs, particularly as even Vickies only need two engines; doing so via a Siliconoid base that constructs disposable D3s armed with Mk8s is amazingly useful if it can be accomplished early enough.
(Remember that in Classic, one can bank a maximum of 20 PBP before the Limit.)
One final note: Many commanders waste their early funds on nonessentials, such as excessive mines on mineral-poor worlds and Defense Posts where they’re not needed. While a degree of secrecy ought to be maintained by concealing your expansion from your neighbors, if you move with sufficient celerity, you ought to be able to both claim territory and land a powerful early strike before you are detected even without resorting to such expedients.
- Economic: Your best bet for early success is rapid expansion in every direction. Therefore, using your initial freighter as a scout, your next two builds should probably be Large Deep Space Freighters. If your first scout wasn’t your guaranteed ‘good’ natives, the first LDSF should be sent out to one of the others; otherwise, it can drop a large number of colonists where they can do the most good: Earning you taxes.
Both LDSFs should be sent out with at least 100 Supplies and 300 MC, enough to instantly construct 100 Factories on the target planet. 200/600 is often more to the point; the freighter can circle back by way of the first world colonized by the Medium and drop 100 instant factories there before heading home. Then, the first to return can go back out with an instant Starbase-In-A-Box kit so as to start generating PBP at the earliest convenience.
- Headshot: It is within the capacity of an aggressive Fascist commander to land a deadly headshot against a vulnerable (non-Empire) neighbor using two Mk4 Deth Speculas (one if Fast Beams). Even if not actually fatal, this will cripple their production. Just against the starbase, a single Deth will burn up 20 torpedoes in the attack; if freighters or logistics ships get in the way, more ammo will get burned. If your neighbor is an early developer, you may even need to tow a Merlin clear; killing that will eat up 35 Mk4s. Please note that high-tech beams are unnecessary for such a strike; Lasers kill fighters just fine.
A truly ambitious fast-beam Fascist might construct these vessels on turns 3 and 4, sending one in each direction. Remember, though: It’s pointless to kill your neighbor if it’s his other neighbor and not you that takes the territory. You’ve got to expand as well as kill.
- Hidden Growth: Multiple low-tech D7s are used for cloaked expansion to every neighboring cluster, particularly those in the direction of your neighbors. Every viable world should get four Colonists plus a factory; only the best native worlds get more. Set PE to engage any of the three HYP probe races; race for the end of the constellation and as close to the enemy’s homeworld as practicable.
Beam weapons can be kept light since anything more powerful than a Plasma Bolt is likely to destroy a chance-encountered Medium freighter. Lower-tech (Mk4) torpedo tubes are best for these ships, as minerals are far more common than cash while one is out exploring. Bring some spare MC for torpedoes; the hold is for Colonists.
Remember the initial goals: three to four alchemy ships, sufficient freighters, several D7s, and then Ill Winds and Vickies to round out the combat fleet. The first Merlin is almost a simple matter if one hoards Duranium and hauls it back on empty freighters, but acquiring enough cash for torpedo and engine tech in order to build combat-worthy Vickies early on will be extremely difficult. Nevertheless, there’s little choice; it simply must be done.
Clogging the ship queue is essential. In Classic, one can spam SDSFs at secondary starbases, but either there or in Standard, setting up a Ghipsoldal freighter factory and a Humanoid base to produce the remaining low-tech alchemy ships is of vital importance. Most of the minerals will be too far from the homeworld for all construction to take place there, even if one could build multiple ships per base per turn — which one can’t.
As a fallback, it’s possible to profitably construct D19b poppers with low-grade engines at secondary bases, and in tight-knit clusters it’s perfectly reasonable to use freighters with a max speed of Warp 7. For the most part, though, it will be necessary to overtax natives, tax outgoing Colonists, and abuse one’s Pillage ability in order to build all that’s needed to have a successful empire.
The Fascists are one of the more difficult races to manage well, much less win with. One must begin with a highly aggressive, almost bloody-minded attitude, and pursuing continual planetary expansion to the Ship Limit and beyond is a necessary goal. It’s notable that a similar attitude is also required to achieve success with Fascists in a PLS setting.
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