The Lizards are an economic race due to double-mining speed, and the Hiss! mission. They also have very strong Ground Attack, 150% ship damage tolerance, Cloaking ships, the De-cloaking Loki ship, and one Terraforming ship (cooling only). Unfortunately, they MUST get a good early start, and MUST be aggressive early, as they have the weakest battleship in the game, and a mediocre medium carrier. They make very good allies for most of the carrier races.
- 200% mining rate
- 30:1 Ground Attack ratio
- 150% ship damage before destruction
- Hiss! mission increases happiness by 5 per Hissing ship, before the unhappiness from high taxes is applied. In practice, with 4-6 ships Hissing, this means you can continually tax populations to 30-40% taxes, and they won’t riot.
- Biggest ships are quite weak (although cheap)
Useful Lizard Ships
Serpent Class Escort
A cheap ship to build for Hiss! ‘ing. 2 beams, 1 engine. Build this on new starbases before you tech up to the Eros.
Reptile Class Destroyer
Cloaks. Cheap ship for scouting and hissing. 4 beams, no torpedo tubes. Most often armed with X-Rays for capturing freighters or killing fighters, or Disruptors, which allows them a bit of minesweeping as well. Has 2 engines and can be used for towing. Often captured in combat due to low crew count.
Eros Class Research Vessel
Your terraformer and Hiss ship. Cools planets by 1 degree per turn until 50 is reached. You need at least 3-4 to have an appreciable effect on temperature in a reasonable amount of time. As they are only Tech 4 Hull, build them with a secondary starbase. Has two engines, and thus can be used for towing. However, since they don’t tend to move often, can be built with lower-tech engines (Tech 7 at most). Generally what you want to do is have Tech 5-7 engines on every second one, so it can tow another Eros to the next destination.
Lizard Class Cruiser
The mainstay of your early-game fleet. 4 beams, 3 torp tubes. Has a decent hull (160 kt), big fuel tank (330 kt), cargo hold (290 kt), and cloaks. Excellent for surprise ground assaults on enemy planets and early strikes. 3-4 of these ships can take out an opponent’s home world starbase if they don’t upgrade its defenses, although you’re better off using Reptiles for the first 2 ships, as the first LCCs will hardly get to fire any torpedoes, and are just used to burn off fighters.
Large Deep Space Freighter (LDSF)
The most all-around useful and efficient freighter. Holds 1200 cargo and 600 fuel, with a hull mass of 130 kt.
Loki Class Cruiser
Your de-cloaking ship against Fascists and Privateers (Feds and Birds are immune). Will trigger a burst of de-cloaking ions if a cloaking ship appears within 10 ly before OR after movement. Cloaked Federation, Bird, and Lizard ships are completely immune to the effects of the Loki. The Loki must have fuel and less than 20% damage in order to de-cloak enemy ships.
Madonzilla Class Carrier
A medium carrier (331 kt hull, 4 beams, 5 bays) that is often paired with T-Rexes to take out Starbases or big carriers. You need at least 50 fighters on a Madonzilla against most targets, and you may need more for carrier-vs-carrier battles. Because you can’t build fighters in space, and don’t have any other carriers, you will need another Madonzilla, full of fighters, to follow your fleet on any major invasions.
The Lizard’s only battleship, and largest warship. 10 beams and 5 torpedo tubes. Must usually be used in pairs or even triplets to take down enemy capital ships. However, as it is very cheap, it’s possible for the Lizards to build 1-2 by Turn 11-15 (depending on host settings), which makes for a very deadly early strike into enemy territory.
This article on T-Rexes hypothesizes that against certain carriers such as the Crystal Thunder, a T-Rex with 7 or 8 beams is superior to one with 10 beams, because it forces some of the fighters to fly home, which clogs up the opponent’s fighter bays for slightly longer, allowing the T-Rex to fire off more torpedoes.
It is worth noting that after the ship limit, especially if you are up against enemy battleships, you are going to wish you had Heavy Blasters or Heavy Phasers, and Mark 8 torpedoes on your T-Rexes. The difference in damage becomes quite significant – a T-Rex with Heavy Blasters and Mark 8’s beats the Crystal’s Mark 7’s Diamond Flame most of the time, but a T-Rex with equal armament almost always loses. You will also want good beams for minesweeping, and good torpedoes for minelaying.
Merlin Alchemy Ship
Converts 3 suppiles into 1 mineral. The Lizards quickly mine most of their planets of minerals, and require the Merlin to supplement their mineral income by mid-game. Most good players will have 1-2 of these by Turn 25-35 (the ship limit). They are most useful when you can park them over a Bovinoid planet.
Neutronic Fuel Refinery
Converts 1 supply + 1 mineral into 1 fuel. Built when fuel planets are scarce in an area, or after an area has been drained of fuel in a long game.
Lizards Opening Strategy – A sample walkthrough
Your opening objectives for the Lizards are:
- Find at least one of your neighbours
- Fully develop at least 1 good native and 1 good mineral world by Turn 5 (see Fast Planet Development)
- Build an early 2nd starbase for hisser ships
- Build LCCs, LDSFs and Hiss ships
Turns 1 & 2
- Start Diplomatic Relations with all players
- Increase your mines and factories on your home planet (200 mines, maximum factories).
- Build 2 LCCs with Xrays and Mark 4 Torps:
- Send them in opposite directions.
- Hiss! while leaving homeworld (if possible)
- Cloak when moving through open space (important!)
- Sensor Sweep otherwise (looking for opponents)
- Capture enemy LDSFs (use NTP friendly code to disable torps)
Build Hiss! ships (Serpent Escort or Eros) until your LCCs find a good native planet (one that will produce at least 1000 MC with 2 Hissing ships, or at about 15-20% tax rate). As soon as it’s found, build a LDSF. Put 1000 clans and 200 suppiles in it. The reason you don’t put money on this freighter is that your natives will produce MCs for you, and you need the money at your home world. If you happen to find a really good Duranium planet (at least 2k reserve of Duranium, with 50%+ extraction rate), then you can put 200 clans, 200 supplies and 700 MC on the planet, so that it starts producing immediately. The idea here is to get the planet productive as early as possible, because you will need Duranium above what your homeworld can produce. Within the next 2-3 turns, you should also build the minimum Defense Posts on this planet to avoid detection by Sensor Sweeps (16 or 21 or 26, depending on your game version and host). I prefer at least 25 defense posts, because at this point your planet gets Blasters, which is enough to easily destroy any 2-beam enemy scouts (especially HYP ships).
If the planet is also suitable for an early Starbase (preferably with a Humanoid or Ghipsoidal native race, and at least 1 high-reserve mineral), then build another LDSF immediately, and load it with a “Starbase in a can“.
For these turns, you’ll be using your second Starbase to build Hiss! ships every turn. If possible, every second ship should have decent engines (Tech 5-7) so that they can tow another Hiss! ship in case you need to move them around. You can start with Serpent Class Escorts, but try to increase tech level to 4 and build Eros Terraformers dual duty hissing + terraforming.
Aggressive Option: Your home world Starbase should be making LSDFs or Hiss ships, as minerals allow, while planning for the build of 2 T-Rexes and a Madonzilla on turns 11-13. These ships should have X-Rays or Disruptors and at least 30 x Mark 7 Torps if possible. The Madonzilla needs at least 35 fighters, and 50-60 is preferable, if money allows.
In addition, your initial two LCC’s should have found the probable location of your adjacent opponents’ homeworld and/or their approximate starting locations. If you haven’t, you’re either:
- up against another (cloaking) race who is being VERY careful to build early Defense Posts against Sensor Sweeps; OR
- the player next to you has dropped OR
- playing on a large map with bigger distances between starting locations (keep going!)
By turn 10, you hopefully have the approximate start location of at least one opponent. At this time, if pursuing the aggressive option above, you should build 2 T-Rexes and a Madonzilla, and send them, as stealthily as possible, towards the weakest opponent; preferably the one who has big, annoying carriers later in the game. As mentioned above, these T-Rexes should have X-Rays and at least 30 x Mark 7 Torps if possible. You might get away with Mark 4 Torps, depending on your opponent.
If your Hisser-production starbase is on the way, one of the T-Rexes (or both, fuel permitting) should be towing a ship that you were using for Hissing, such as a Reptile Class Destroyer. These little ships will be used to destroy some of the Starbase fighters before your T-Rexes finish off the Starbase. The Madonzilla is your knockout punch in case you have to take on an enemy carrier. You’ll also have your scouting LCC in the area, which should either Ground Attack one of his more important planets (the one he’s been sending LDSFs to), or if against a free-fighter race (Robots, Rebels, Colonies), use it to tow off any large defensive ships that would be a threat to your T-Rexes. The most important thing here is to destroy the Homeworld Starbase, such that your opponent will likely give up, or have very little with which to put up further resistance.
By Turn 15, you should have already sent your second set of 2 T-Rexes towards the other opponent, and either eliminate him, push into his borders before suing for peace, or crush him until he agrees to surrender as your vassal (meaning he’ll work for you for the rest of the game). Vassals are a delicate diplomatic arrangement, so proceed down that path with care, and at your peril.
During these turns, you should be developing the space you created by earlier aggressiveness, and building T-Rexes in large numbers. The larger the number of capital ships you have by the ship limit, the better you will do in the late game.
This period is your time to dominate. You should have more ships than your opponents, and even without an ally, you should be able to crush even carrier races that haven’t managed to make very many of their capital ships. Exchange ships favourably, and build many starbases, both for grabbing a bigger piece of the production queue, building even more hiss ships, and also for defense. You are likely to have more minerals than you know what to do with by this point; turn them into starbases, and use extra money for minefields and starbase fighters.
Do not hesitate to completely annihilate your natural enemies, and do not let up on an opponent that is losing. You need either willing vassals, or complete destruction of your enemies.
You’re starting the slow downhill spiral. If you haven’t already won the game or are near the lead position, or have a big-carrier-race ally who is in a good position thanks to you, your power in the game will begin to wane. You will eventually get to a situation where it will cost you more ships to win battles and gain ground than your opponents pay, and without access to better ships or really high production, you really have no way to stand up to their fleets.
Continue to play the guerilla war, harass their supply lines, and isolate their ships. Use Ground Attack to grab clusters and attack from different angles. Put Heavy Phasers on your cloakers and T-Rexes, and be relentless in checking for and sweeping mines. Use your massive stockpiles of minerals and credits to lay your own overlapping minefields. Build lots of starbases, tech them up, and queue your largest ships.
Early Second & Third Starbases
As mentioned in “Opening Moves” above, the Lizards really need an early second starbase with which to produce massive numbers of Hiss! ships. A third starbase could follow soon afterwards, given the speed at which the Lizards mine minerals. Your aim is to have one starbase producing Hissers, another making LCCs, and your homeworld making constant T-Rexes or Madonzillas. Your T-Rexes should have at least Disruptors and Mark 7’s, and your LCCs with have at least X-rays and Mark 4’s. See my shipbuilding article for a more detailed explanation.
Specialty T-Rexes for Capturing
If you arm a T-Rex with (Heavy) Disruptors and Gamma Bombs, you can capture the following ships, regardless of their armament:
- Firecloud Class Cruisers
- Meteor Class Blockade Runners
Your strategy for capturing a lot of ships at once is to have your LCCs tow off any large defending warships until the LCC is out of fuel (so it can’t get attacked), and then have the specialty Rex as the first in the battle order, to capture as many smaller ships as possible. This Rex will then kill some starbase fighters before being destroyed, and the rest of your fleet will destroy the starbase.
Alternately, you can have an LCC tow a key ship off the planet and towards your specialty Rex, and the Rex can capture that one ship while your fleet takes on the starbase and any defending warships.
Unfortunately, both of these tactics require you to get an LCC in orbit without hitting any mines, or immediately repairing any mine damage at a point in space just short of the planet, then re-cloaking for the last hop.
One of the best early strategies for the Lizards is simply to destroy an opponent’s fleet of LDSFs, preferably several in one turn, before he realizes you’re gunning for him. This will slow your opponent’s development by a massive amount, and force them to build warships instead of replacing the freighters, which is usually more costly and far less efficient. What he’s more likely to do is escort his freighters, but the LCC is a beefy ship, and may even be able to take on the escort and kill or capture the freighter as well, especially if you put Mark 7 torps on the LCC – the opponent may be sticking with Mark 4’s, and the LCC’s 3 torp tubes will likely win you the battle. Putting supplies on the LCCs often means you can still move fast enough to escape a bad battle, or even completely repair and re-cloak.
In general, when you’re deep in enemy territory, it’s better to destroy freighters rather than capture them, because you can’t really keep them, as they will have damage and usually won’t be able to fly at full speed. They are also easily killed by planets and scouts. If you DO capture one, make sure you transfer all valuables to your LCC (especially colonists for ground attacks), and leave at least 1 fuel on the LDSF, so that the former owner MUST attack it to reclaim it, and there’s a good chance that he’ll destroy the already-damaged freighter. The other possibility is to have the freighter attack and be destroyed by a planet (planets cannot capture ships).
Find the Good Planets
Lurk in the enemy’s space. Watch where his freighters go. Try to ambush both the freighters and the good planets in one swoop. By destroying his good planets, you not only force him to bring a new set of clans to the world, but you can also grab and dump his most important mineral, or simply turn the minerals and money into more torpedoes for your LCCs. I also recommend pulling ALL your clan(s) back off the planet, so he can’t send a warship to recapture the planet – he has to bring clans to take back the now-unowned planet, which will delay him at least an extra turn as he re-colonizes. And of course, convert all the supplies you cannot carry into MCs, and grab all the MC and fuel you can.
If the planet is defended by a ship you can’t simply crush with an LCC or two, use sneaky cloaker tactics and tow it off with another cloaker before hitting the planet.
Tow and Isolate Big Carriers
– tow carriers to waiting battlegroups of TRex-Mad-TRex, or TRex-Mad-Mad. The large carriers (Cubes, Gorbies) need the double-Mad combo (with 60-80 fighters on the Mads), as the T-Rex is only good at taking down the shields, but won’t do much damage to massive hulls, even with Mark 8 torpedoes.
Split the Enemy Fleet
- Use LCCs to hit several targets with Ground Attack at once (preferably 5+ planets all over the place);
- Drop minefields in his freighter routes;
- Attack with your main fleet at another location.
Get an Ally with Big Carriers
Large carriers are even more beefy when they can take 150% damage. Co-opt an ally and get some big carriers with which to dominate the Cluster!
List of Natural Allies
The Lizards pair well with any race that has a big carrier, and any race that needs help getting to a point where they can build a number of their large ships:
Of the list above, the Cyborg are probably one of the best races to ally with, assuming the alliance stays strong and allied victory is set, because the Lizards can give the Cyborg an economic boost, and keep them safe early game, allowing them to dominate the late game easily. Lizard Lokis also shore up one of the Cyborg’s greatest weaknesses, which is lack of defense against cloakers (other than large minefields).
The Robots and Colonies both make good allies because of their mine-laying or mine-sweeping abilities. The Lizards might otherwise have issues with minefields impeding free movement of their cloakers.
The Rebels benefit greatly from the high beam count on the T-Rex (for minesweeping), and from the Loki, as otherwise Rebels are quite weak against cloakers. Falcons make great ground-attack ships for both races, and Rebel Ground Assault (RGA) makes for much easier Lizard Ground Assaults.
One last “good” ally of mention is the Crystal People. They make very good allies because the LCC is a fantastic mine-layer, and webmines dropped by cloakers are very difficult to deal with. The Lizards also provide the resources for massive webmine deployment, and can clone any ships that the Crystals capture.
List of Natural Enemies
While your natural enemies may not make very good allies, it is possible for an alliance of any two races to do very well, if the two players are skilled and work closely together.
The Birds have better cloakers and a better battleship, but they don’t have the economic advantages that you have. They are equally capable of bringing the war to you as you are to them, and you’ll likely have a terrible time trying to find them in the first place. Be very wary of an offer of alliance from a Birdman neighbour, as they benefit greatly from eliminating their closest neighbours, same as you. Try to trade for a well-equipped Resolute if you can – they are better than the LCC, and you can afford the cloning costs. The Birds would probably trade a Madonzilla for a Resolute, as they lack a carrier, but they will struggle to fill the Maddie with fighters, whereas you won’t have that issue because of your fleet of Hissers. Either way, you will likely have to eliminate them, because they don’t make good allies.
Similar to the Birds, the Fascists are an early-strike race. However, they have a way to directly counter your cloaking with their Glory Device ships, while you can counter their cloakers with Lokis. Thus, neither of you are likely to get away with many sneaky cloaker tactics, and their battleships are cheap like yours. However, they do not have the Lizard hissing or mining advantages, so you will grow in power compared to them if given time. Thus, it is THEM who are on the clock – you can overpower them eventually, given your economic advantages.
What they will try to do is destroy your hissing ships, and Pillage any undefended planets. Do NOT leave a pile of hissing ships alone without a defending warship that’s capable of destroying a D7 Coldpain – you will need an LCC or better for this task. It is better if they cannot find your good planets, as they could also simply send a Glory Device ship to explode and wipe out all your little Hiss ships in one blow.
Minefields can be effective against the Fascist cloakers or prowling Glory Device ships, but less so against an invading fleet, as Fascist ships are generally equipped with lots of beams, and many of their ships make excellent minesweepers.
The problem with the Cyborg is that they are really dangerous late game, and spread all over the place. They are very difficult for anyone to destroy once they get going, and their ability to assimilate natives make the Lizards’ Ground Attack ineffective over time. Cubes are also very costly to destroy, requiring at least a T-Rex+Mad+Mad combo, and at least 70 fighters on the second Madonzilla. While you will likely be able to crush the Cyborg early, his home territory will likely be a native-free wasteland by then. To avoid having him assimilate your rightful “spoils of war”, you need to have LCCs killing his colonists at native planets (repeatedly), so that it resets the assimilation clock. Make no mistake – you are on a time limit when facing the Cyborg.
The Empire have massive ships, and often build multiple starbases early in the game. Their free fighters at starbases often mean that their bases are well defended, and costly for Lizards to take by ship-to-planet combat. Try to use your Ground Attack advantage to take Imperial non-homeworld starbases. The Empire also has the ability to use their Super Star Destroyer to take bases at virtually no cost in clans, because their Imperial Assault bypasses the Lizards Ground Defense advantage. Thus, you must keep a defending ship at any starbase you capture, so that it doesn’t get easily captured back by an SSD.
The Rebels have a “ground attack” of their own with the Rebel Ground Assault (RGA), and HYP ships can be very annoying both because they give the Rebels the ability to spread out quickly (thus reducing the chance for the Lizards to eliminate them quickly and completely), and also to hit the Lizards empire once it gets spread out. Cheap fighter building and large carriers, in addition to some good mid-game ships, make the Rebels very dangerous to the Lizards. However, the Rebels don’t deal with minefields very well, as they usually choose to counter-mine instead of sweeping (they do not have any ships with very many beams, other than the Iron Lady, which is otherwise a terrible ship that is easily captured). They also have the Patriot, which is a very cheap defensive ship that can easily take on an LCC, unless the LCC has better than Mark 4 torps.