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The Lost Colonies Fleet

By Sharkman

Taurus Class Scout

Ship Analysis:
As with the Rebels, you start with a free one at the beginning of the game. And like the Rebels, this ship has just about as many uses, ie. None. Far too resource hungry with respect to its abilities. If you need to use something to tow a freighter or carrier around, use a Cobol, do not use this ship, it is an absolute boy for beating in combat if it runs into something, ok make that anything.

Scout, Towing, Colonising, Light interceptor

Cygnus Class Destroyer

Ship Analysis:
A very effective ship, only needs hull tech 1, cheap and just one engine required. Build bucketloads of these. Crank out a pile of mark 4 destroyers at the beginning of the game and when cash is more plentiful, switch to mark 7 or 8 destroyers. Don't load them with too many torps (10-15 will do) because they will go down pretty easily, but they will inflict a lot of damage. Can be used for perimeter minelaying because the cargo of 50 torps is conveniently sized to lay a decent minefield in one go, but prefer to use the Tranquility for minelaying, the Cygnus is a ship designed for battle.

Additional Tactics:
The Cygnus' major weakness is susceptibility to minefields as it weighs in at less than 100 KT. However unlike the Rebels, you can sweep minefields effectively, so make sure that the Cygnus is part of a battle fleet that includes carriers (not too hard since carriers are your main offensive weapon!) Even a couple of cheap Patriots make effective minesweepers, clearing the way for the fleet.

However you do not possess the Rebels' Guardian design, and a Cygnus simply isn't as good as a Guardian in a lead-in ship sacrifice role. In fact the Guardian has 50% more destructive power. So you will need to build a lot more of these - fortunately they are tech 1 hulls, so once you find that nice Ghipsoidal planet, upgrade the torp tech and away you go!

Battle Tactics:
A Cygnus should almost universally be set to fight first. Make sure it fights from the right side of the VCR if the enemy ship is a carrier, you have a 60% chance of being put above a virtual mass of 320 KT, which means enemy fighters only do 1% a hit. The effect of a Cygnus as a lead in ship is not great against enemy carriers, but it is better than just going in with your carrier first. And it also safeguards against the enemy using a torp ship of his own to lead in, which is something you will see experienced players doing a lot of.

Against a torpedo based ship, if engine shield bonus is off you should use the Cygnus with caution, it will get splattered after just a couple of high-tech torpedo hits. It is still a good idea to lead in with them though, as the enemy may lead in with a weaker torpedo ship in order to spare his battleship some damage. The best way to enter battle with a Cygnus is unseen - make sure your enemy cannot predict the presence of a Cygnus when he is planning his battle fleet. The best way to do this is fly a Virgo out alone in deep space, but don't show a waypoint. Keep the Cygnus hidden at an allied or a neutral (unoccupied) planet. Next turn, switch off the Virgo's engines and have the Cygnus intercept it. As always the Virgo should be set to sweep mines. This tactic is even more effective with the Colonies than the Rebels as all minefields within 100 ly will be cleared or severely diminished, allowing the Cygnus to fly around with relative safety. Your plan is based on forcing the enemy to intercept you, which is a tad more difficult with the Colonies because you don't have RGA and planet attack immunity. But if you are in his territory, it's likely he will be intercepting you anyway.

Light interceptor, light combat vessel, carrier escort

Little Joe Class Escort

Ship Analysis:
Included as part of a typical Colonial battlegroup in the Dreadlord Battle Manual. I have learnt a lot of my strategies and ideas from this excellent war manual but I disagree on this one, I don't like ships with just beams unless they have something special to offer (eg. HYPerjumping) - they are too easily conquered and whenever you don't get a chance to fight back in a battle you feel cheated. This ship has 6 beams therefore is good for stripping 12 or so fighters off huge enemy carriers, but it costs far too much minerals for this to be worth it. Instead use a Cygnus with mark 4 torps - still only 1 engine and similar minerals in the hull, but it has more mass, will still strip off a few fighters and will do some damage to the enemy shields. Little Joe's can be used for freighter hunting but then so can Cygnus's if you put X-Rays on them.

Additional Tactics:
Having said that, you might be able to use this ship to strip fighters off enemies with low complements, in particular starbases, but also Crystal Thunder, Instrumentality. These ships have good armaments in terms of bays but tend to run out of fighters too easily. Using the Little Joe makes this a glaring weakness. With 12-18 less fighters, plus the Virgo's 10 beams, these small capacity carriers may not even do any damage to the Virgo in the following battle, especially if the Virgo fights from the left.

Battle Tactics:
There's also the slight possibility you can use this ship to similar effect as the Cygnus, but this time it depends on your opponent. If you can get the Little Joe from the right side of the VCR, it can work. I will illustrate with an example. In my last game as the Rebels, I was fighting the Colonies. I see 4 Virgo's heading for one of my bases. I scramble 3 Rushes and I figure that with the left side advantage plus the backing of a 60-fighter base, I should be able to turn this threat aside. Unfortunately one of the planets near the base was not owned by me and as it turned out, my opponent surprised me by throwing a Little Joe into the fray. Since I was trying to get the left side of the VCR, the Little Joe ended up on the right, and as luck would have it, it got the 360 KT of extra mass. Now my first Rush to fight had crap engines (I was using the sacrificial lamb tactic) and it only had 120 fighters (yeah I know I said to use 150-160 fighters in my Rebels fleet review, but as anyone who has played the game will attest, you can't have everything your way all the time! :-p ). The Little Joe, with the extra virtual mass, stripped off 18 fighters from the first Rush, leaving me with just 102. This is nowhere near enough against another carrier that has 10 beams, so I lost the first Virgo vs Rush battle. The rest of the battle is irrelevant as far as this section on the Little Joe is concerned, but if you're interested, each victorious Rush suffered a lower damage profile than the victorious Virgo's, and the base ended up finishing off the last Virgo, with almost all of the base fighters gone. That just illustrates how much of an advantage the left side VCR is, in addition to the superiority of the Rush over the Virgo (it is an easy mistake to believe that it's an even trade-off between 5 beams/10 bays and 10 beams/8 bays. It is not. Rush wins 60-65% against a Virgo, possibly above 70% when Rush is on the left).

Scouting, Freighter Hunting, Escorting, Stripping fighters off bases

Cobol Class Research Cruiser

Ship Analysis:
A highly desired ship by all races, be careful who you trade this one to, should you even think about giving it away. Make sure you get another ship with a special ability in return, like the Star Destroyer or Meteor Blockade Runner. This ship is the perfect tow ship, explorer, coloniser, armed freighter and minelayer all in one. Unlike the Robots Pawn, you should build one right at the beginning because it doesn't cost very much and besides, you can use it to start making neutronium straightaway. Right at the beginning, jet one out in each direction to give yourself a reasonable chance of detecting good native planets (it does tell you the population but unfortunately not the type of government). Keep its mission on SENSOR SWEEP unless towing. Another idea in the initial stages of colonisation is to build LDSFs with stardrive 1's and tow each of them with a Cobol. The Cobol should have a few torps on board just in case, usually mark 4 photons will do, but it is better to use a mark 7 Cobol for minelaying (such minelayers only need 1 tube, if you cannot afford two, since they shouldn't be entering combat anyway).

Towing, light COMBAT! minelaying, exploration, colonising, RAMSCOOPING! Border patrolling, anti-scout defence

Aries Class Transport

Ship Analysis:
This ship is equipped with an advanced alchemy unit, but you don't need its function because you have the Cobol which makes fuel for free. Trade it to one of the fuel guzzling races (Federation, Empire, Robots in particular) for something decent. If you don't feel like trading much then don't build these.

Alchemy functions, light freight routes

Sagittarius Class Transport

Ship Analysis:
Not terribly much harm in building these if you really think the Sagittarius graphic is better than the Gemini graphic, because that's the only reason you'd ever want to choose this ship over the Gemini. The Gemini only costs slightly more credits and minerals but it gives a 33% increase in cargo capacity over the Sagittarius. But as I said, if you want to build them, fine, they will still be able to produce fighters at a decent rate.

Build fighters, anti-scout, light freight routes, resupply carriers, fighter minesweep

Lady Royale Class Cruiser

Ship Analysis:
I can't really recommend this ship. It is quite costly in terms of minerals and tech levels, and you should be relying on the natives to generate income anyway. You might need it if you are really strapped for cash and end up with bad planets, but usually the natives provide the cash you require. To make a difference you need several of these but that means a huge mineral outlay. You can use them for dropping mines with their single tube, but that means there can't be colonists on it so it is not generating credits. Just use the Cobol for dropping mines.

Generating cash, minelaying

Tranquility Class Cruiser

Ship Analysis:
Unlike the Rebels, you don't really need these, you have the Cobol, which has the same armament only a lighter hull. But it can still carry a lot of cargo and will never run out of fuel, so use Cobols whenever you can. It is still a reasonably useful ship though, but you have better. If you do decide to build a couple, keep them out of the heavier fights.

light COMBAT! Escorting, light/medium freighter routes, perimeter patrol, minelaying, resupplying, towing, exploring

Patriot Class Light Carrier

Ship Analysis:
The classic "round of ammunition" warship, capable of taking down most torp ships with < 5 beams and inflicting rather nasty damage on most other ships with few beams. It is only hampered by the tiny cargo capacity therefore must be refilled with fighters after each combat if it is to survive for long. On perimeter defence/patrol missions it can travel alone since it isn't too hard to quickly hop back to a starbase to refill its fighters from the Gemini(s) in orbit. But on campaigns, a Gemini/loaded Virgo should be present to refill fighters and rebuild more if needed. Overall a very effective ship, extremely cheap and I usually build loads and loads of these at the beginning of the game. Later on, keep pumping a few out but you should really be focussing on Rushes by that time.

Battle Tactics:
Its best to put these behind your Cygnus's (or Cygni? The plural of fungus is fungi is it not??) when taking on a torpedo based fleet. Since they are light, yet potentially very destructive, especially in numbers. Constant minesweeping is often wise. I do not need to remind you that one minehit will splatter these ships. Surprisingly, with engine shield bonus, a patriot is often enough to destroy one of the smaller battleships (Missouri, T-Rex, Victorious, Diamond Flame) if it follows after 2 mark 7 Cygni. Because the Cygnus has done damage to the shields of the battleship, that has saved you 10 fighters straight off. The 30 aboard your ship are enough to finish off the hull provided the battleship's shields are almost down.

Once you're committed to a campaign, in great numbers, use these ships to overload the enemy's defences and divide his fleet. Don't let on that you've a Virgo fleet waiting to invade, keep this hidden at a planet. Wait until the Patriots shoot out and scatter. You will lose a few, but you'll soften up the defences at the enemy's core, ready for a Rush invasion.

A word of caution : do not use these against the Empire! Their carriers, although they do not have many bays, are loaded with beams and these will take out those 30 fighters really fast! Patriots are okay against Robots and Rebels due their lack of beams.

Medium interceptor, medium combat vessel

Gemini Class Transport

Ship Analysis:
As with the majority of your ships as Colonies, in battle the Gemini has a life expectancy of around 10 seconds (literally - if you run VCR at fast speed with anything greater than a Pentium). But its not supposed to fight. As the ultimate fighter factory, it can build up to 40 fighters a turn for your Patriots/Rushes, and you should transfer off those fighters as soon as possible. You need to look after this ship carefully. If you need to pause your invasion to restock, then either have something guarding these, or just sit in the grav well while you wait for more reinforcements to arrive.

Additional Tactics:
At the beginning of the game, you should build them, but don't have them building fighters full tilt, you'll run out of moly in no time. Unless the situation demands it, you should be building ships instead of fighters to claim valuable ship slots and only building fighters as spare resources allow. Once the ship limit is close you can really crank up the fighter production.

Fighter factory, fleet support/resupply vessel, armed freighter

Scorpius Class Light Carrier

Ship Analysis:
This ship is quite possibly the biggest rip-off in the game! Even the Moscow Class is better. At least it's only tech 4 and doesn't cost as much minerals as a T-Rex. No matter how hard one tries, one cannot imagine a single purpose for building this ship. Therefore it's a universal rule : unless there is an addon or modification which gives them some sort of special ability, don't build them!

A VERY expensive anti-scout/patrol/escort ship, fighter minesweep

Iron Lady Class Frigate

Ship Analysis:
You don't need this ship as much as the Rebels do, you have fighter minesweeping available, and a Virgo tends to fare better than a Rush against starbases due to its 10 beams. For stripping fighters off starbases you have a cheap alternative in the Little Joe which only requires 1 engine (see above section on the Little Joe). I don't really see much of a use for this ship in the Colonial fleet.

Virgo Class Battlestar

Ship Analysis:
The Colonial flagship is often regarded as the worst of the super-carriers. This is only partially true. Yes it does not fare very well when fighting Golems, Rushes, Gorbies or Biocides. I once swatted two Virgo's in a row using a Gorbie with 200 TIE-Fighters (from the left side of course!) Medium carriers like the Crystal Thunder and Instrumentality often perform well against it (at least if you don't manage to pull off a surprise Little Joe sacrifice). BUT!!! It does have its advantages. First and foremost is fighter minesweep. Well okay, that's a race advantage, not a property of the ship. There is however a hidden ship-based advantage, one that most players do not realise. It fares very well against battleships!

I will explain. With only 8 bays rather than 10 that the other super carriers have, it launches fighters slightly slower. This means that the 2nd incoming wave of fighters is further away than the first wave (which have fired their weapons and are now turning to head back to the Virgo). At this stage, the enemy battleship's beams have recharged, and they now fire at the fighters closest to them. Instead of taking out some of the incoming wave, as they do against the 10-bay carriers, the beams will target mostly, if not all, the returning fighters, freeing up more fighter slots for you to launch a new wave of fighters. The net effect is that the battleship will probably fire one less salvo of torpedoes compared to what it would fire against a 10-bay carrier. This alone almost offsets the mass disadvantage you have compared to Golems, Biocides and Gorbies (they take 2% hull damage from a high-tech torpedo, you and the Rebels' Rush take 3%). Plus you are more mobile!

You, more than the Rebels, need to bring along Geminis for re-stocking fighters on a campaign, due to your smaller cargo bay. Tow them along if possible, then utilise the grav wells to keep yourself safe from the enemy if you feel that is necessary.

Additional Tactics:
This ship needs EIGHT engines so you're better off building it with novas or heavynovas and using the Cobol to tow it into battle. Do NOT put just stardrive 1's on it, your enemy if he's smart enough will cloak-intercept the Cobols if he can and thus you have a stranded gun platform, unable to move or chase down the enemy. You may need a couple of transwarp equipped Virgos to act as mobile fortresses, able to respond quickly to sudden dangerous threats. These are the best minesweepers in the game, even with only 10 X-Rays, which is all they should have. If you detect the presence of Crystals nearby, think about saving the resources to put out a couple with heavy phasers, you'll need them.

If engine shield bonus is say 50%, you really need transwarps on these if you're up against a torpedo based race. Just manage your resources wisely and shell out for them. I've said it once and I'll say it again, economy is everything in this game!!! (well not quite, saying it like that just makes it sound more forceful :-) Anyway the reason is that the mark 8 torpedo will only cause 2% of damage against your hull if you used transwarps. The mark 8 seems seems to be the torpedo most opponents choose - I believe that the mark 7 is a far better alternative in most cases, but that's another story for another time!

Battle Tactics:
This ship is cheaper than a Biocide or Gorbie so you don't have to go all-out to try and preserve them as say the Empire would with his Gorbies. But that doesn't mean you can simply throw them away! Try to have support ships whenever possible, particularly Cygni, plus a few Patriots to use as distractions. As I said above, do not use Patriots against the Empire, their many beams will eat up your limited fighter capacity very quickly. Against a torpedo race, use the same principle as the Empire normally uses, that is, plan on having enough support so that your Virgo fights near the end and survives. Of course, if the enemy force is large, you will lose one. Against a power fighter race like Empire and Bots, you are going to lose Virgo's in any case and your support ships are not as effective, as these races have very powerful support ships like the Super Star Cruiser and Instrumentality. Your edge here is in fighter production rates - you must keep up the attack and outnumber them. One Virgo for a Gorbie is a good trade!

Against Empire, the plan is Cygni to cripple the Super Star XXXs (probably Carriers and Cruisers, although the odd Frigate will occasionally enter battle) with a Virgo to finish off the support ships and start working on the Gorbie. You'll likely need a 2nd Virgo to finish off the Gorbie. Trust me he will not set the Gorbie to fight before the smaller ships. It does not work out well for him. Even though a Gorbie can occasionally beat two Virgo's in a row, it certainly won't beat them if it has to fight 2 Cygni first (losing most of its shield in the process). And the Super Star XXXs are crap against a Virgo if they have no Gorbie to do the mop up work at the end. NB: Don't try this stunt if engine shield bonus is off! Although he is handicapped without E/S in that his Super Star XXXs take 2% damage from fighterhits, you are handicapped even more because now you cannot use your Cygni or your Patriots against him!

Against the Cylons, your mortal enemies, the Patriot comes into effect as a viable battle option since the Cylons have trouble shooting down fighters with their few beams. Aim to soften up Instru's before using Virgo's to fight them, since their Achilles' heel is their low capacity. The Cylon player will just have to throw Instru's at you, since that's his main fleet element ship (they don't have any torpedo based ships that are worth much in battle). With judicious use of your support ships, you can turn this into a favourable exchange for you. Beating an Instru that has been "softened" by a Little Joe, Cygnus or Patriot will cost your Virgo fighters, but usually, next to no damage, so if at all possible, put a bigger payload (150-175 fighters) on it. As I mentioned in the Cylons Fleet Guide, it's just stupid to skimp on your payload to save resources because I can tell you from first hand experience, it is very sickening to lose a major carrier in a battle you would have won handsomely, if you had not run out of fighters. Again, be sure to check the config settings for E/S bonus - don't say I didn't warn you! (a few years ago one guy in the NG advised using Thors to take down Gorbies. He neglected to mention how crucial E/S bonus was to this plan. Few days later, a disgruntled player posted to the NG complaining about how he lost 3 Thors, all with transwarps and mark 8s, without firing a single torpedo! Ouch.


Species Info:
The Colonial Fleet

Guide to the Colonies of Man
The Lost Colonies of Man
The Lost Colonies Fleet
A Fight to the Death: A Colonies Guide
A Guide to Playing the Colonies
(for the unregistered player)
Cain's Guide to Playing the Colonies

VGA Planets Homepage Donavan's VGA Planets Assistant

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