Your spot reports have been (of course) tremendously useful. Thanks for all the info to date; it's taken a never-played-MoO player like me from zero to fairly competitive on Hard within a month of casual playing.
However, there is one area where I'm really weak, and your knowledge is requested: ship design. I know, I know, it's all very dependent on the tech situation of both you and your rivals. But just some basics, maybe? I do pretty well loading up enormous self-repairing war behemoths with more shielding than the average planet. But that strategy requires tech supremacy. I get the impression that invincible ships that can take systems by themselves are hard to come by on Impossible, especially as the weaker races.
Any general guidelines that might help? What ships need speed, vs. punch, shielding, jammers, etc... ?
Oh, and one other thing: das Guardian. How to kill it? When? What techs make it easy? Lots of tiny little one shot missile boats? Enormous firepower ships? Ships strong enough to take what it can dish out? (Does that even exist?) I've killed it a few times, but only at tech level 50+, with some pretty staggering fleets. I presume it can be killed earlier, though. As far as I've seen, it's pretty much unkillable on hard until you're already prepared to take over the universe, and it's gotta be even harder on Impossible.