This series of anonymous reports was intercepted in transit to an unknown force outside the Echo Cluster. After emergency review by the Senate Committee on Military Classification, these redacted versions were approved for immediate publication. They can be used to acquaint the unfamiliar with the Eleven Races of the Echo Cluster, but also they should be read by commanders of each respective race so they can review their own vulnerabilities in the face of this new and unknown external threat. In this dispatch we focus on the Fascist Empire: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.
Ease Of Command: Veteran or Higher Difficulty To Defeat: High Style: Aggressive
[Scene: Filthy Side Street, Charmed World] [Music: “Let The Good Times Roll” on a scratchy L.P.] [Shot:Train horn, discordant chord, D# major. Camera pans up past a sign reading “Single Resident Occupancy”, then across the elevated rail line and zooms in on an open window. Two men are inside, talking; one’s dressed for the street, one for the gutter.]
“How often do the trains go by?” he asked out of curiosity.
The Planets Magazine staff has decided to decamp en masse and head to the beach. Or, rather, a position near enough to the beach that it’s cool but far enough away that sand doesn’t get into our typewriters, and preferably somewhere that has good WiFi.
The following article is a personal opinion, and in no way represents the position of the Planets Magazine. It is merely a suggestion, presented as a seed for discussion.-G
All the literary masters of the military arts, from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz, Machiavelli and Vegetius, Patton and Guderian and Stormin’ Norman Schwartzkopf, write extensively about morale as a factor in warfare. Guns are fired by men, and if the man has broken, he won’t fire. It’s a simple equation, and it has driven innovations in tactics since the dawn of modern warfare.
The primary purpose for formations and battle lines is so each soldier can keep watch on his neighbor and make sure he doesn’t retreat (or, perhaps, advance in the wrong direction). The sergeants are in the rear to catch shirkers and turn them back around. And, while the famous “charge” scene in “Enemy At The Gates” is completely, absurdly fictitious, it’s not unknown in history for deserters to be shot en masse.
Have you ever sat down to a game full of excitement, played out the first dozen turns or so, and been suddenly and entirely frustrated by the absence of decent natives? In how many of these games were you forced to compromise on shipbuilding entirely too much, sacrificing engines or torpedo and beam tech to produce a second-class fleet?
Let me put it another way: Did you ever win without native luck?
A gender-neutral computer voice with hints of a high-class accent speaks through the intercom, "Commander, a medium freighter has been commissioned. Its captain is awaiting orders."Acreolized accentcomes from the radio, "Hoy, come in. Dis be Capt'n Johnson o' ECS Twenty-Three Hundredths. The hold be empty. We gutegow. Waiting on you, Bossmang. The 200-Kiloton lady be hungry."
On Turn 1, your empire controls a single Medium Deep Space Freighter and its first mission has rippling implications throughout the entire game. A well calculated move is required to set a strong pace so you’d better “put your best foot forward.” It equates to setting your feet in the blocks at the starting line of a hundred metre sprint. The one in the front is called your power foot and it generates a hundred percent of your forward momentum; your starting freighter is your Planets power foot and it determines the speed and direction of your economic develop.
I sit down to write this article and find myself straining to pinpoint when we last had an in-person Planets Con. Lords of Cobols – do you realize it’s been three years?! Was the last one truly 2018? Yes, the Finns know how to party, but the rest of us need to get shaking. With that in mind, I key this note to remind everybody of what’s really important:
That image sends some potentially confusing messages; however, I assure you that I honestly mean that beer is the most vital part of Planets Con. Is there really any better way to connect to another human being than to clink glasses together?
[TS: Rhetorical sarcasm?] [G: Actual fact. Though mine might be coffee. …OK, maybe Irish coffee.]