Planets Con 2020: To Be, Or Not To Be

In the Age of COVID-19, there’s only three months left for Planets Con 2020. Let’s git ‘er done!

I have survived the COVID-19 pandemic in a region of Canada called “The Maritimes”. My province has seen less than two hundred cases, but it has nonetheless been an unnerving time. Our children started school in early September and most of us have braced for the potential second wave of the virus. And so, my thoughts, naturally, have turned (pun intended) to Planets Con 2020. (You were thinking that too, eh?) In these uncertain times, how will our beloved con look? Pre-recorded videos? Hosted broadcast a la brilliance de Griffin? Zoom video chats? Heck, I’d go for a beer and text chat!

Planets Con 2020 will have one advantage: We will not have to worry about social distancing. Is 5000 kilometres enough? International travel would be irresponsible; crossing local borders would be an unpleasant experience. Will we push on and try to meet? Will we repeat last year’s virtual con? Will an online experience be enjoyable or just a repeat of everyday life as we currently know it? I would like to see a Planets con this year…but how? Maybe we can find inspiration from cons of the past.

O The Fond Memories

For a small gaming community, we’ve done well to keep this tradition alive. For six years in a row, many players put in hours of behind-the-scenes work to bring Planets players together – players from all over the world! Each con was filled with presentations which highlighted the brilliance of some of our top commanders. There were games, social events, studies of the game, exciting new announcements, and much more. Look at the rich history of the Nu community’s Planets cons:

  • 2014, August 29th in Frankfurt, Germany: The launching of the Zilla Class Battlecarrier gifted to us by two-time Emperor Emork

  • 2015, August 28th in Leiden, Netherlands: Lessons on strategy and diplomacy taught by Colonial Emperor Mentar himself

  • 2016, October 1st in Springfield, Ohio: The Horwasp invaded the Echo Cluster, as did Gnerphk on his honeymoon

  • 2017, August 18th in Espoo, Finland: Master classes on economy pioneered by Supreme Commander Iso-t

  • 2018, August 25th in Wiesbaden, Germany: Capricorn finally ended and the release of the “Planets Limit Ships” build queue

  • 2019, November 16th virtually hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Griffin and including Q&A with Planets creator Tim Wisseman

Remember The Planets Con Invitationals?

One of my favourite things was the “Planets Con Invitational” games. My empire got splattered all over the place, but it was thrilling to play with fellow Planets connies (Catchy? Nah…). I took the time to speak to a few players who have attended past cons. Like myself, all spoke with endearing fondness of “good times” spent with fellow Planets comrades (Better?).

State Of The Nuniverse

It was expressed that a major highlight in each con was the “State of the Nuniverse” address, usually given by Joshua or Big Beefer (aka The Admins). Updates on Nu’s progress and plans for the future were shared with the whole community; there was even some “civilized” debate! Many players, including the creator of VGA Planets, Tim Wisseman, were excited to hear about the upcoming additions to the game. In all six cons, this portion of the fun was highly valued.

Was It The Beer Or The Company?

The most common memory of which every player spoke – and the most important item of this entire ramble – was the face-to-face moments they shared with other Planets commanders. Players spoke of how gratifying it was to meet in person, talk about the game they loved, chat about every day life, share good food with friends, and drink with commanders they had known for years through the game. The cons have brought together people from all over the world.

I believe the essence of our cons was captured by Tom Graves when he said,

“…folks could get an opportunity to come together, lift some adult beverages, and spin yarns about their favourite Planets Nu moments and strategies.”

We cannot let a global pandemic stop this glorious event. We need to have Planets Con 2020. Whatever we do, we do it together.

The Finns do it right. Planets Con 2017

(Special thank you to all those who took the time to share their thoughts: Mcnimble, Tom Graves, and Tim Wisseman. Thank you to my editor for kicking my rear to get me through my first article.)

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