Master Class 6: The Ship Limit (Turn 33ish)

Disclaimer: I’m writing this article while motion-sick and insomniac on a cross-country train ride. Amtrak uses cutting-edge 1965 technology to transport people and provides a true example of that lauded American technological superiority in non-military applications that we’ve all grown to know and love. As a corollary, the language and clarity of this article may have suffered somewhat, for which I do most sincerely apologize. After all, one cannot expect any writer to do other than revel in the sybaritic luxury available to those of us that ride Coach.*

By now either you’ve noticed the vastly increasing number of ships relative to the Ship Limit or you’ve read chatter on the subject in the message feed. (In case you haven’t, I’m going to suggest that you start paying closer attention to the Scoreboard.)

These games are played in the “Production Queue” system, which is at the same time more and less forgiving than a Classic game, insofar as the Ship Limit is concerned. On the plus side, if you’ve Continue reading

Master Class 5: How To Kill (Turn 25-ish)

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: If you’re going to go to war, first make sure you win it. Then you can go fight it.

Most people, if they think, “Gee, I’d like a million dollars,” will drift from there to what they’d do with the million, and where they’d go, and incidentally what’s on the television and what’s for dinner tonight and what time is it anyway? Some will devote serious thought to the problem, examining things like compound interest Continue reading

Master Class 4: Who To Kill, Who To Preserve (Turn 14)

By this point in the game, if you’ve been expanding steadily and your neighbors have too, you’ve probably got a decent idea who’s where — at least near you. If you’re the diplomatic sort, you may even have concluded peace with one or both neighbors. The more proactive may already have found a “weak sister” and arranged with their far neighbor to help cut off escape.

Before things escalate too much, it’s a good idea to take a look around and see what Continue reading

Master Class 3: When To Attack (Turn 10)

I’ve been asked questions about my game model, and in particular about my goal to build a Merlin. After all, why build a Merlin in the early game? It may make sense as the ship limit approaches, but at this stage you do not have masses of factories churning out surplus supplies.

It’s an excellent question. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a simple answer, or even a single answer. The truth is, there are as many ways to play this game as there are races — probably more. So let’s Continue reading

Master Class 2b (Or Not 2b): Side Notes For Extra Reading

You’ve played in other games before, so I presume you’re all familiar with the “early host run” that happens when everyone hits End Turn early. It gives us a nice advantage in that it stores us up a few spare hours before we have to submit the next turn. Keep your eyes open, though; sometimes, if we collect enough spare hours, the next host time will simply advance a day. We’ll never have fewer than 24 hours to complete any given turn (unless something is bugged), but there’s no guarantee once you’ve submitted your turn that you won’t have to come back before Host time.

Since you have all that extra time, I’d like to suggest some extra reading: Continue reading