About Gnerphk

I am The Gnerphk, writer extraordinaire, opinionated, radical, and extremely humble by nature.

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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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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First Turns: The Privateer Bands

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 heaviest warship buildable by the Privateer Bands is the Bloodfang Class Carrier, a passable medium warship but hardly a vessel designed to stand in the line of battle. The Privateer’s preferred venue is in fact elsewhere, in the area of speed, mobility, robbery, and ship capture. Thus, uniquely among the Eleven Races, the Privateer is in a very real sense less dependent on their own economy than their neighbor’s.

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On Luck In Practical Warfare

The following essay is an excerpt taken from Col. South’s upcoming book, his commentary on “The Art Of War”, and is exclusively available to readers of the Planets Magazine. The original essay was based on the text of a speech delivered before the Federation War College on Charmed World shortly before the first League War.

I’ve been studying Sun Tzu my entire professional life, from the Academy on. He’s the ultimate authority on the art of war, and in crisis after crisis in which I’ve found myself, his “Art Of War” has held the answer. Thirteen short chapters, less than twenty thousand words, dating from long before the age of space flight — and yet it is as valid and useful today as when it was first written.

If there exists a factor in warfare which Sun Tzu neglects, however, it must certainly be that of luck. I’ve seen too many people die due to random chance, too many attacks fail due to the influence of the unforeseeable, to neglect the power of luck in combat — and yet all he ever observes on the subject is that to rely on it is to lose. 

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The Joy Of Spam

Wall Of Spam Surrounding Homeworld

In Classic we spam SDSFs; in Standard we spam starbases. The point of either is to bank PBP for later — while, potentially, removing the potential for future builds from your opponent’s fleets. The only format these tactics are useless in is PLS.

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