This was a game for players not having won a game at the Lair and was rather plagued by inconsistent players. I think only 4 players played consistently right through the game.
I played the Fascists, my first race when I started VGAP and my favorite. I thought I had quite a good position in the top corner. The early part of the game saw skirmishes with my neighbour, the Empire. No peace negotiations were forthcoming, so I decided to attack before I had to face any Gorbies. A major strategic error by my opponent was starting hostilities with the Crystals at the same time as me!
After some initial setbacks a combination of pop ships and towing cloakers put paid to many of the Empire ships and the Empire homeworld fell to Pillage and Ground Attack. In a sort of natural continuation I allied with the Crystals (Jim Howard) and agreed a split of the Empire territory. I had earlier agreed on non-aggression with the Robot to my South (afraid of his minefields) so I now had a total domination of almost the complete NE quarter of the map.
The Cyborgs had made the early running in the game, but this just made them even more hated than usual (Sorry Borg players!) by the rest of the players. The Crystals formed an alliance with the replacement Fed player to curb the Borg expansion, and with distant help from me they were gradually reduced for the rest of the game.
The Lizard (Gary Gregory) was now the leader in the score and appeared to have taken over most of the bottom third of the map. At this time the Robot player dropped and so I was able to take over much of his territory. My big problem was trying to eliminate his ships with my puny vessels, so I decided to leave many of them - a costly mistake when a replacement took over late in the game.
The final part of the game saw Fascists, Crystals and an intermittent Fed player in the North up against the Lizard, the Rebel and Cyborg (not necessarily allied). At the end the Lizards and Fascists were neck and neck in the score (TIMscore). The Lizards had more ships (probably Hissers) and a slight advantage in planets but I won the day by building more starbases, including 15 on the last turn! It is a pity that the Northern alliance and the Lizards didn't battle it out for a 'true' winner, but by turn 100 I was ready to finish.
Congratulations to Gary and Jim who deserved their places in the top three, and particular thanks to Jim who was a staunch ally throughout.
Ian Francis (aka Snid)