First Turns: The Missing Colonies of Man

Most games are won or lost in the first few turns. This series concentrates only on those critical few turns leading up to the Ship Limit as a key to achieving long-term goals necessary for victory.

Overview:

The Colonies have a powerful yet limited ship list, remarkable for not only its low-cost heavy carrier, the Virgo, but also the fuel-generating Cobol. They lack low-cost endgame sacrifice ships and their best shield-scratchers are the Cygnus (against battleships only), the Tranquility, and the Iron Lady, which sets them at a late-war disadvantage against any powerful foe. However, their ability to sweep space mines from a distance with fighters alone balances the entire field in their favor.

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The Ghost Ship Job, Part 2

This is Part Two of a two-part story. If you missed Part One, click here.

Lesser Ephebian Cloud, on board the Lady Royale; ship’s time: Unknown

I followed the droid through room after room, past varied attractions, virtual concerts, ballrooms, and endless buffets kept fresh indefinitely in stasis fields. As is the way of casinos, to get anywhere at all we had to pass through bank after bank of slot machines. After a while I started jogging, and the droid had no choice but to speed up or lose me. We went up ramps, then forward again in a vast spiral that ended perhaps fifty feet higher up from where I’d started. I promised myself that, on the way back, I’d find a damn elevator or die trying.

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The Ghost Ship Job, Part 1

It’s time for another exciting episode of The Operative! Just in time for Hallowe’en, we present a tale of mystery from the deepest reaches of the Unknown. Read on… if you dare.

Deep Space, Lesser Ephebian Cloud, 0200 Ship Time

I was on my way back to Founder’s Landing after a very profitable courier job on Charmed World. I’d moved some papers from here to there for some strange aliens, and I was looking forward to some alone time. There’s nothing more lonely than a nebula.

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First Turns: The Solar Federation

Most wars are won or lost long before the fighting starts. This series concentrates only on those critical few turns leading up to the Ship Limit as a key to achieving long-term goals necessary for victory.

Overview:

The Solar Federation fields a wide variety of top-end battleships, battlecruisers, and utility vessels. They lack a heavy carrier, but their diplomatic advantages, broad ship list, and above all crew combat bonus more than make up for this.

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Threat Assessment: The Evil Empire

This is the tenth in a series of anonymous reports that mysteriously appeared on the Editor’s desk. These redacted versions were approved by the Senate for immediate publication, to be read by commanders of each respective race so they can review their own vulnerabilities in the face of the unknown external threat that commissioned the studies. In this dispatch we focus on that faction known as the Evil Empire: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.

Overview

Ease Of Command: Veteran
Difficulty To Defeat: Moderate
Playstyle: Slow

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Tales of Timmy Tim – Episode 1: Granddad’s Portrait

This is a short story series I’ve been working on. It’s a story about a cook, Timmy Tim, who comes from a long line of fearsome space pirates, and his sidekick, Slink. It’s meant to be a fun and humourous little bit. It was also inspired by the 90s game, VGA Planets.

1

The occasion called for baked apples and fresh roe, garnished with asparagus, string beans, and carrots. It was exquisite, refined, and no well-to-do, highfalutin aristocrat ever disapproved of it. The galley was empty, almost silent, except for the tapping of a chef knife on a wooden cutting board.

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Fleet Formations: Fascists

This Articles of War document was decrypted and translated as a study model for Echo Cluster strategists. These intelligence briefs describe employable tactics and complementary ship combinations for the Eleven Races.

The underlying purpose of Fleet Formations is to encourage commanders to consider what happens BEFORE “End Game”. We often build our fleets with one thing in mind, “Max Power, Tech 10 ships all the way. Hooyah!” Beyond theory, the majority of actions which lead to victory are done within the first 40-60 turns; moreover, eight races have their best chance of winning if they gain a significant advantage before the “Mid Game” transitions to the final slog. Those first 50+ turns can be used for more than just building ships and whipping the local indigenous populations. It’s the perfect time for Tech 1-9 to go forth and shine.

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The Balboa Quality — PART ONE

It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa

Rocky – (1976) screenplay by Sylvester Stallone

Energized by a recent online conversation (Commander Koski, 2022), I set out to answer the question, “What makes a good sacrificial ship?” I found a good brunch spot and filled a notebook with statistics, thoughts, and ship specifications around this topic – Yes, at that time in Earth’s history, people still used pencil and paper; this writing exercise was referred to as a scrambled brainstorm. Somewhere between the bacon and the coffee, I noted the factor which defined a good sacrificial option was, what I called, the Balboa Quality (BQ) – the ability to take a beating and deal significant damage. This article provided an overview of a system for determining the value of this type of ship. The BQ system proved capable of determining which ships were economically and militarily efficient in sacrifical situations.

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Fleet Stacks: The Missing Colonies Of Man

Articles Of War, Supplemental

In this series of brief supplements, we examine not ships as individuals but when working together as a machine, in task groups or battle formations. These articles presume familiarity with the concepts of Battle Order and Left vs. Right Combat.

The Colonies, like four other races, field a heavy carrier that can take on any single vessel in the Echo Cluster on relatively equal ground. The Virgo has the further advantage of being cheap to build (minerals-wise) and arm (free fighters). However, the rest of the Colonial fleet is composed largely of vessels too lightweight to be allowed out on their own.

In consequence of this, in an appendix to the Dreadlord Manual of antique fame, Doug Suerich proposed grouping a Patriot with a Little Joe and a Cygnus. When employed properly, he contended, this trio could be deadly against most foes. Unfortunately, what was true in 1994 has not withstood the test of time; against cloakers, who can select their targets through Intercept, such a group can gain no advantage from stacking, and against even medium carriers, battleships, or battlecruisers, they’re simply flying to their deaths — a gift to any adversary who chooses to seize it.

Instead, we shall focus on ship stacks that function

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