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.
While the Lizard fleet technically has the weakest battleship in the T-Rex, this is more than made up for with the increased ship durability granted by the Lizard Crew Bonus. Similarly, the too-light Madonzilla can act as a support carrier in fleet battles, and the undergunned Lizard Class Cruiser fights as well as a battlecruiser in most situations.
But this combination provides only one of the Lizard’s three major avenues to victory. Their industrial production is vastly increased in the first stages of a war due to their ability to mine at twice the normal rate, and their income in MegaCredits can similarly be improved by the HISSS!ing mission on their ships. As if that were not enough, they also have a form of cloaking superiority: they combine the ability to field Lokis with their own cloakers being immune. Add to this their immense ground combat advantage, and the resulting massive waves of unstoppable clan drops make the Lizards a truly brutal foe.
Other than their battleship, most Lizard ships are restricted to four beam weapons. This makes them vulnerable to minefields, both standard and web. However, the crew bonus ensures that weapons systems remain functional through a substantial amount of ship damage.
For Lizard commanders to be effective late in the war, they must take full advantage of their economic talents in the opening phase. Before the Ship Limit hits, they should have constructed at least three alchemy ships, a scattering of dedicated HISSS!ers (usually terraformers), a truly vast number of Lizard Class Cruisers, and as many T-Rexes as practicable. As early a Ship Limit as Turn 25 is of tremendous benefit.
Rules Of Expansion:
The Lizards have a talent for farming natives for income and mining worlds for minerals. As natural resources so swiftly run out, it is essential for the developing commander to pursue their first Merlin and additional starbases with equal celerity, and to early establish large Supplies stockpiles on every potential factory and support world.
Because the Lizards have such a high income potential, it is less essential for them to take advantage of the tech boosts normally offered by Humanoids, Ghipsoldals, Amphibians, and Siliconoids. However, they do usually end up with massive numbers of otherwise useless hulls dedicated to HISSS!ing, which present an attractive target to early invaders. Similarly, income gathered yet idle on a planet is just loot waiting to be captured. As such, care must sometimes be taken to eliminate excess and unnecessary HISSS!ers (by recycling) even before the Ship Limit in order to best balance force with hull count.
(Remember that in Classic, one can bank a maximum of 20 PBP before the Limit.)
The most vital aspect for Lizard economic growth is for them to take the initiative in an early conflict. Once invaded, Lizard defenses, while robust, may force them to respond in a direct fashion, and their strengths are indirect; moreover, both due to vulnerability and for the reasons already mentioned, their home territory offers their adversaries a rich target. The key Lizard advantage, therefore, lies in the offensive.
One final note: Early conquest can be an excellent method of building momentum, but if successful it will also likely delay the Ship Limit. It is important to prepare for this by maintaining industrial development even after the Limit hits.
- Economic: Your best bet for early success is rapid but concealed expansion. Therefore, using your initial freighter as a scout, your next two builds should 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.
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 (when not playing Classic); 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 HISSS!ers at the earliest possible convenience.
Since one of the primary axes of Lizard attack is through cloaked clan drops, it is of vital importance to continue moving Colonists forward to the border throughout the early conflict.
- Headshot: The Lizard Class Cruiser lacks the firepower of the Resolute or the Deth Specula, and thus will at best only damage an enemy homeworld early on. In order to deliver a sufficiently powerful strike, several vessels will be required. It is entirely possible to do this, but a more effective assault will be aimed at the secondary bases using Ground Assault and a full cargo load of Lizard shock troops. The ship can simultaneously ambush enemy logistics vessels, which will set the target’s industrial production back while demanding a minefield or other anti-cloaker response.
(Technically, this is a “Neckshot”, not a “Headshot”.)
- Gunboat Diplomacy: Early concealed expansion into a neighbor’s immediate vicinity and even rear areas can be an effective method for forcibly encouraging their cooperation. It is important to secure territory early, but having an ally with no choice but to support your agenda can be invaluable. This does both.
Remember the initial goals: at least three alchemy ships, several HISSS!ers, a truly vast number of Lizard Class Cruisers, and as many T-Rexes as practicable. Extra production can be profitably expended on Reptile scouts and Madonzillas in addition to freight capacity.
Controlling the ship queue is essential. Even in Classic, Lizards rarely spam SDSFs at secondary starbases, instead preferring HISSS!ers, but either there or in Standard, setting up a Humanoid base to produce alchemy ships, Madonzillas, and eventually T-Rexes, is of vital importance. Multiple line-of-battle ships per turn is your objective, and it should be accomplished very early.
The Lizard Alliance is among the more complex races to manage, yet it is also one of the most forgiving of mistakes. They can create a path to victory through direct application of firepower in concentrations, but indirect warfare is where their true talents shine.
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