Planets Mag 2022: A Year In Review

I blinked and missed 2022. If you shared that experience, I wrote this article for you.

Amidst mental and physical fatigue, Planets Mag continued to produce thoughtful and helpful material, and I felt it was worth travelling back in time to see what exciting things happened. Unfortunately, my Lorean Class Temporal Lance was broken and ex-Emperor Darth Balls was missing in action, so I settled for opening the cabinet of published posts and re-read our content. As I flipped through the files, several pieces caught my attention. Our Articles of War project grew, our science fiction collection added some new adventures, the magazine’s invitational games grew more popular, and our strategy guides continued to support Nu‘s growing population. In all, it was a successful year.


Articles of War

One of our goals at the Mag has been to develop a bank of articles to act as in-depth guides for the eleven races. This compilation is entitled the Articles of War. This year, we released articles in four series which contributed to the project: Threat Assessments, First Turns, Intelligence Briefs, and Fleet Stacks.

Threat Assessments is a series providing sketches of each race as a fighting machine. Each article contains insights on the race’s user-friendliness, defeatability, style of play, and fleet potential.

First Turns is a series of short guides on how to maximise your potential in the first few turns of a match. Each guide offers a summary of the race’s shipbuilding potential, expansion rules, and methods for gaining advantages.

Intelligence Briefs is a series focusing on ways to assemble squadrons of ships for various purposes. Each report describes situational tactics for combining racial abilities with ship maneuvers.

Fleet Stacks articles describe potential stacking choices for larger ship battles. Each focuses on a single race and their options to prepare for engagements.

This project got off to a great start in 2022 and promises to bring more in the future.


Fiction

This year was not all business. There were times when us Mag writers loosed our imagined stories of space war. In the past, we each took turns creating poems and stories, and our latest adventures both took place within a sci-fi setting which drew on the lore of VGA Planets. — If you missed these, make sure you curl up on your couch and gorge yourself on The Operative and The Tales of Timmy Tim.

In its second season, the operative jumped into a spooky adventure on a ghost ship. The original plot followed a savvy, unaffiliated agent as he delivered a mysterious package and undermined an oppressive regime. In 2022’s two-part side jaunt, the operative found himself trapped in a derelict, luxury casino starship. Both stories kept you in suspense.

Also adding to the Mag‘s library of fiction, a space pirate joined the fun in the tales of Timmy Tim. In this comic adventure, the descendent of a long line of fearsome Privateers schemed to retake the captaincy, but the only tools available to him were a chef knife and a less-than-useful sidekick. — This tale was good for a laugh.

If you felt your year needed some light-hearted science fiction or an exciting narrative immersed in the VGA Planets universe, Mag fiction had what you needed.


Planets Magazine Classic Invitational

Another major project for the Mag staff was to host a series of invitational Planets games. We included top-ranked commanders from the mercenary leaderboard, created Planets Magazine mugs as rewards for all, and designed special trophies to award the winner of each game. Participants enjoyed a high-level, classic match with slightly less drama than the usual championship.

The first invitational finished with Megalomaniac, as the Cyborg, taking the trophy. The second invitational neared its end as 2022 drew to a close, and the Federation leader, Mentar, was presumed to soon be the victor. As the second reached its point of no return, the third invitational got off to a fast start and, at the end of the year, the Lizard player, Theclerk, looked to be in the lead.

The quality of players participating in the Planets Magazine Classic Invitationals impressed me. It was great to see a group of dedicated commanders tear each other apart with only their wits and warships. The Mag committed itself to hosting more of these in the years to follow.


Favourite Articles

As indicated, the Mag‘s been busy, despite the staff occasionally dropping from exhaustion. Since people may have missed some of our material, I thought it appropriate to highlight a few of my favourite articles from 2022.

Our editor-in-chief, Gnerphk, wrote many helpful strategy bits. The one I liked most was On Luck In Practical Warfare. In this piece, the author discussed Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and the impact of luck in battle. My favourite part was his description of what factors could change the outcome of a war. He noted, “The will of the commander can hinge on a single bad omen, a lost paycheck, or a case of food poisoning” (Gnerphk, 2022 July 14, para. 15). How many Planets wars, championships even, were won because real life or some in-game nuisance eroded opponent tenacity?

This last year, the Mag received no articles from guest authors; instead, I drew on one from 2021. My favourite guest article was Koski’s anti-Horwasp guide. The bugs came to the Echo Cluster years ago (not an official release even yet!) and thoroughly frustrated the Nu community. Koski came to the rescue. This brief guide provided a strategy for countering and strangling the wasp nuisance. Cheers were heard across the galaxy.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

On double-edged swords

Between writing research papers and other life duties, I made small contributions throughout 2022, and, of my own work, the piece I liked most was Making the Grade on Strategic Minelaying. For this article, I graded each race on its ability to control the battle with minefields. As I compiled the influencing factors, I surprised myself with some of the insights that surfaced and felt this content was considerably helpful to many players.


There you have it: a review of 2022. Welcome back to the present. If you missed some of those articles, they are still there for your benefit — jump right in! If this article inspired any ideas for future guides, commentaries, or fiction, we invite you to post a comment in the space below. We would love to hear your suggestions.


If you wish to support me on my writer’s journey, please join my Patreon.

Thanks for reading. – TS

As always, you can make a PayPal donation to support Planets Magazine, or click the button below to Buy Us A Coffee. It is always a fun boost for our morale.

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