About talespin

I'm a writer, educator, and east coast Canadian -- all titles that don't make me much money.

Making the Grade: Introducing Prowess

“The public supports war until the body bags come home” was a persistent thought meandering through my mind as I was writing these articles. I wanted to evaluate each race’s capacity for killing, and something in the back of my mind made that topic feel… uneasy. When I continued to hesitate putting it into words, I eventually recognised that my struggle existed because of the nature of what war games reflect. It also occurred to me that the trend of “winning games by making friends” surfaced, in part, because many of us were conflicted about aggression in competition.

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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.

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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.

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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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Intelligence Briefs: 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 the this series is to encourage commanders to consider what happens before the game transitions to the end game. We often build our fleets with one thing in mind: maximum power, all the way — hooyah! Beyond theory, the majority of actions which lead to victory are done within the first forty to sixty turns; moreover, eight races have their best chance of winning if they gain a significant advantage before the transition to the final slog. Those first fifty 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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Making the Grade: Strategic Mine Laying

Due to focusing on my studies, it has been months since my last article on Christmas Planets. I have a break between semesters, so I am taking time to write an article which might help players choose which race to embrace — if you are one of those who likes to focus on just one race. This piece examines the capabilities of the eleven Echo Cluster races to control the battlefield with minefields, i.e., strategic mine laying, and it assigns a letter grade to each race based on three skill categories: long term sustainability, countermining potential, and minefield specialisation.

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Minefield
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It’s Like Christmas – Part II

In the first article of this two-part series, I introduced the concept of “Christmas planets” – those newly-scanned worlds which make you cry out, “Yus!” and unabashedly pump your fists. There’s lots of resources on a map, but these beautiful gifts bring joy to both new and experienced players. They supply every production facility within 2-3 turns and boost entire economies up to 2-3 clusters away. Most planets provide resources for 10-30 turns, but these anti-misers keep giving long into the end game. This article highlights several top-priority Christmas planets.

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It’s Like Christmas – Part I

My childhood contained two Christmases I most remember. The first was spending winter in the snowy mountains of Newfoundland, Canada. — This has little relevance to the article, but it sets the mood rather well. — The second memory – and the more important glimmer of my past – was opening the best gift ever: a Nintendo Entertainment System. As I played Super Mario Bros. for the first time, I felt an odd sense of euphoria. The world filled with wonder and possibilities; and I knew I was special and super lucky to have this gift. Later in my life, this type of joy occurred three more times: finding a twenty dollar bill at an exhibition fair, winning the grand prize from a granola bar package, and receiving an orbital scan from a Planets starship above a world of indigenous Insectoids. These last moments appear as mundane but they felt like Christmas.

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ACTION NEWS: Grand Marshall Championship

The Crisium Conflict (not to be confused with Crissum Contact)

Good evening to all folks at Planets Nu! This is Gary Garishen, bringing you an exclusive sneak peek at the Crisium Conflict. Be warned: The described images are quite intense and may cause indigestion.

My team and I accessed an inquisition room in the Grand Marshall’s office (aka Discord). We witnessed the interrogation of representatives from the Eleven races. These commanders endured Klingon agonizers, Imperial carbon freezers, Spanish donkeys, and a myriad of Privateer castration tools; in the end, we gleaned important inside information about the match.

Action News apologizes that several participants did not survive initial questioning and were unable to provide answers.

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