Once upon a time in a sector two feet in front of my eyes, I tumbled down a wormhole and found a universe that was flat, the stars bright but still, and cows, worms, and iguanas lived on tiny white dots in the black. To my right, I saw a flock of birds caught in webs and a lizard eating a shoe. On my left there were many soldiers, some nearly human and others part machine. They were caught in an endless war of lies and blood. I averted my eyes.
It was then that I noticed the cricket on a rock near the path. He wore a dress shirt and a tie. As odd as it was, it was stranger still when he asked me to sit. He taught me about Space War and spoke of the Grand Queue. The wisdom of the cricket opened my mind and I decided to pass it on… to you.
It has long been evident that trades involving racial benefits offer disproportionately valuable rewards. Free Fighters, Super Refit, 4x Minelaying, and Fighter Sweeping cost little to provide and can win the war for anyone who accepts. Now, with the advent of the new Nerf Crystals, it has become apparent that some new means of trading for services should be attempted.
As always, the Planets Magazine staff are eager to selflessly throw themselves into research for new content, and, not willing to abandon tradition, when I was given Crystals in the War, I created an experimental format: the neutral mercenary.
“War is the continuation of politics by other means.” — Clausewitz “Diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means.” — Zhou Enlai
There are as many philosophies of diplomacy in this game as there are Planets players, and it takes a wise man indeed to know which is right. In the end, no one can decide for you; you must choose your own path.
There are very few Planets races designed to dominate the cluster alone. Those with the strongest ships are vulnerable to cloaking races; those with the weakest ships have secret weapons which, properly used, add balance. And every faction must be played differently, with a precisely balanced economic system designed specifically to support the advantages — and correct for the disadvantages — of each race. Continue reading →
Please note that some data may refer to earlier game versions or different host settings. Although game and strategies have advanced since the writing of this guide, the provided information is more than useful for an inspired gameplay and a good base to start from. Enjoy!
Written by: Emperor Bondservant in the Early 1990s
The Art of Diplomacy
VGA-Planets comes the closest I know to simulating what it would be like to be a commander in a full-scale war — especially considering the impact of having ten other Continue reading →
I think we all have played many kinds of war and strategy games. In all of them you try to position your units in a beneficial manner, to hold the high ground, so you have better odds to defeat your opponents.
By “strategic diplomacy” I mean the planned effort to position yourself in your game with Continue reading →
I’ve played many different PC games over the last 30 years, including “Master of Orion”, “Civilization”, “X-Com” and others. These were excellent games, but now collect dust on my bookshelf, only to be played every few years out of a sense of nostalgia. Why am I forever hooked on Planets, and what makes it different from the rest?
There are eleven players and one winner (maybe two). Mathematically speaking, this means that sometimes you’re just plain gonna lose, no matter how good or skilled or lucky you happen to be. Sometimes you die; sometimes you survive; sometimes… you change sides. This is technically called “Becoming a Vassal”, though your former teammates may refer to it in other less salubrious terms.
So here’s what happens: Someone has managed to get an overwhelming force next to your homeworld. Your navy is shattered; your escape is cut off. And your planets are Continue reading →
“The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?” — Dale Carnegie, on his book “How To Win Friends and Influence People”
In Planets as in life, true and enduring success cannot belong to a person who fails at diplomacy. In the Echo Cluster, Continue reading →
This short treatise was inspired by a public thread in the Aries War newsfeed. Two Emperors, at least one likely prospective Emperor, and several current and former championship contestants participated in a lively discussion on the subject, but in the end I felt that as many questions were raised as were answered. Here, then, I have attempted to organize many of the thoughts expressed on the subject and to Continue reading →