The Humanitarian Crisis or Why It’s Hard To Be A Borg

There are many ways to play a game. This is one of the fundamental truths (not least here at .Nu), and it’s the root and cause of many arguments, clashes, and streams of vituperation both in-game and in the Forum.

The main trouble, of course, is that there are many valid ways to play a game. One of the basic assumptions we make is that anyone voluntarily playing a game that can take two hours to play a turn and two years to finish a campaign is somewhat committed. (Some would say we ought to be committed, but that’s another article.) When we sign up, it’s for the long haul, and minor real-life factors like jobs, getting married or breaking both legs in a freak bookbinding accident will have little impact on the amount of time we spend tuning our planetary production or riding the ship build queue. There are those who think games are for children with short attention spans and then there are… us.

Now, some of our players get bored after the ship limit is reached; some coast along in Vacation for months on-end. Most of us, however, are so into the game that we participate delightedly in diplomacy. We roleplay in-game and in the Forums. We make and break agreements, show heroism or cowardice, and in short we immerse ourselves completely in our environments. And this brings us to one of the little-understood and unanticipated tragedies of this game:  The Borg humanitarian crisis.

As all the clusters are aware, the Borg gladly make their technological advancements available to the untutored natives. And indeed, they embrace these with such enthusiasm that they eventually vanish into our Noble Collective, swelling our ranks and reinforcing our efforts. Unfortunately, they often reach such numbers that they overwhelm the capacity of the host planet, and our communications reports are filled up with distress calls and the like.  A mere game-player might not care, but as feudal lord of this demesne, it is my solemn duty to provide for my people.

Now, that these new colonists are potential taxpayers not only makes them a valuable resource, it grants them the right to the protection of the armored knights of the Most Noble Collective. As such, we’ve undertaken to create a rescue service. We use our Firecloud Chunnel network with large-hulled short-range freighters to shift entire populations from one planet to another, oft-times a million at a time. This requires a vast fleet, and frequently the ship limit restricts us more than others in order to maintain it.

The undertaking is a vast one, worthy of the attentions of our entire fleet. Every ship, from small freighters to large and even the Cube fleets, can carry thousands of colonists at a trip. We have devoted the carrying capacity of an entire race to this great endeavour, and we will continue to do so until not a single serf or citizen stands in jeopardy. There may be hundreds of millions of our people in jeopardy, and the efforts continue.

And yet, misguided races continue to advance upon us, threatening our borders and attacking our many ships on their missions of mercy. They attack our vessels, and we fall back. They slaughter the populations of entire worlds, and we fall back! The line must be drawn here – this far, no further!

Our Cubes stand not empty; neither are they idle. Though we deplore the loss of carrying capacity, we must make room for the tools of war: fighters, torpedoes, even supplies. We will lay minefields and set up starbase defenses. And, should war be forced on us, we shall even invade the malefactors, crushing them thoroughly, completely, ruthlessly — and just as fast as we can manage in order to protect our population. For that is our feudal duty to our people; they give us their service and we grant them our protection. This is what it means to be a great lord in a culture such as ours; this is what it means to be an armored knight of the future: the strong must protect the weak, else their strength is vain.

Resistance, after all, is feudal.


This article is copyright 2013 by the writer, J. Millard Simpson. Permission is granted to Planets Magazine and its editors to publish and reprint excerpts for purposes of publicity without compensation. Ownership and all other rights are reserved.

5 thoughts on “The Humanitarian Crisis or Why It’s Hard To Be A Borg

  1. Well spoken! Enjoyed reading and have enjoyed leading this race in a campaign, but HATE trying to defeat them in a long game. My early strategy had been to try and unite the other races in an effort to “find and kill the Borg!” before it’s too late. I have since learned not every campaign requires the same strategy. Sometimes it might be best to hold off on the “seek and destroy” mission and consider if the Borg neighbor might end up being your best ally and help lead your team to victory!


  2. Fun stuff and well written. I’ve always been a proponent of talking with my neighbors first and crushing them as necessary later. One thing I’ve learned is that good Borg players tend to be extremely devoted to their games… gotta manage so much to make them effective.



  3. Agreed; they’re likely the most demanding race out there. I’m planning a followup article on population tax-farming that’ll further explain the vast amount of time needed to maintain an economy as Borg.


  4. You know… there are several ways to properly address the Borg Humanitarian Crisis. Most of them include explosions. Big explosions. And lots of them. The sooner the better.

    Thing is: The Borg are the single utterly overpowered race in the game. Unless they are properly held in check very early in the game, they wake up a few turns after ship limit and simply have won.

    Speaking from the perspective of a Colonies veteran, it’s utterly annoying that you usually have to defeat them twice each game: First, to prevent them from winning, and then, after they have been contained and beaten down, they tend to ally with someone else (damn Fireclouds!), who then tends to become almost as powerful as the Borg themselves.

    I’m pretty sure that whoever coined the famous proverb “Kill it with fire!” must have had the Borg in mind. And he was still waaay too gentle.


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