A Modest Proposal: Race Balance In Standard

EDITORIAL

If you haven’t heard the term “Nerf Crystal” by now, you haven’t been listening.

The recent change in Standard and League games that has resulted from the removal of friendly codes and Safe Passage options from web fields has created a race without diplomatic options. Their ship list is inconducive to trading, being composed largely of overpriced minelayers and understrength warships — plus one 5-point terraformer. Now that they can’t trade their webs as currency, the Crystals have gone from one of the dominant races to something just slightly too sad to be considered a joke.

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Morale: A Mechanism

EDITORIAL

The following article is a personal opinion, and in no way represents the position of the Planets Magazine. It is merely a suggestion, presented as a seed for discussion. -G

All the literary masters of the military arts, from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz, Machiavelli and Vegetius, Patton and Guderian and Stormin’ Norman Schwartzkopf, write extensively about morale as a factor in warfare. Guns are fired by men, and if the man has broken, he won’t fire. It’s a simple equation, and it has driven innovations in tactics since the dawn of modern warfare.

The primary purpose for formations and battle lines is so each soldier can keep watch on his neighbor and make sure he doesn’t retreat (or, perhaps, advance in the wrong direction). The sergeants are in the rear to catch shirkers and turn them back around. And, while the famous “charge” scene in “Enemy At The Gates” is completely, absurdly fictitious, it’s not unknown in history for deserters to be shot en masse.

Machine guns are for deserters, not the enemy!
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Planets Con in a Post-Pandemic Continuum – Cheers!

OPINION – What’s really important?

I sit down to write this article and find myself straining to pinpoint when we last had an in-person Planets Con. Lords of Cobols – do you realize it’s been three years?! Was the last one truly 2018? Yes, the Finns know how to party, but the rest of us need to get shaking. With that in mind, I key this note to remind everybody of what’s really important:

That image sends some potentially confusing messages; however, I assure you that I honestly mean that beer is the most vital part of Planets Con. Is there really any better way to connect to another human being than to clink glasses together?

[TS: Rhetorical sarcasm?]
[G: Actual fact. Though mine might be coffee. …OK, maybe Irish coffee.]

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On Keeping The Pot Boiling

A few of you have expressed interested in how Planets Mag works — some with an eye to contributing content, others no doubt from idle curiosity. The simple truth is, alas, that we’ve got no idea ourselves. We keep writing, and people keep reading, and these are good things.

There’s more to it, mind; it’s a valuable rule to remember that everything is always more complex. So if you’re interested in the process, feel free to keep reading. If on the other hand you prefer to think of it as “magic” and just plan to enjoy the fruits of our labor… well, you too can keep reading, because this is exactly one of those products of which we are (for better or worse) so immensely proud.

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A Modest Proposal: The Hull Penalty

When the revised queue system was first released as an alternative to the Classic ship build process, it met with some opposition. Today, it is being systematically replaced by the new Planetary Production Queue with its random build options.

And yet, at least in my opinion, the original objections have yet to receive even a satisfactory hearing, and they certainly haven’t been addressed. Sure, anyone who objects to the new system can go back to play Classic if they want — but that’s no answer; some of the advances since 1991 haven’t been all bad. And it’s no use saying you can pick and choose in Custom games unless you and ten of your closest friends all agree on exactly which new options you like.

So let’s take a moment and review one example: the Hull Penalty.

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Get Off My Lawn!

OPINION

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(The following is a rebuttal to “Seeing Purple and Red“, by Talespin. The opinion is that of the author, and does not necessarily reflect that of the Planets Magazine as a whole.)

Hands Off My Minefields, Dammit!

My esteemed colleague has raised several points in his article, and it’s true that there are factors that need addressing. The prevalence of short-form Planets games alongside the rise of the new PPQ system (which I’ve referred to as the New Nu Queue, to spare confusion) certainly creates new questions of balance and game flow. Steady advances under solid logistics and impeccable defenses are no longer tenable in non-Classic, non-Standard scenarios.

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