First Turns: The Robotic Imperium

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 Robots have a powerful and unique, yet limited, ship list. They are remarkable not only for having not one but two effective heavy carriers, the Golem and the Automa, but also for their ability to control vast swathes of the battleground using their mass minelaying advantage by way of their lone minelayer, the Cat’s Paw. The inexpensive and relatively low-tech medium carrier, the Instrumentality, is the cherry on top.

Continue reading

“They’re Just Dots In Space!”

How many times have we heard that said? Am I right, fellow Planets players?

We all know they’re more than just dots. We wouldn’t spend so much time and effort — and lose so much sleep — over a collection of dots. (Or would we? Hmmm…)

But if they’re just dots to us, what are we to them? Especially now that our presence has become ever so slightly more noticeable…

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

So You’re Doomed. Now What? (A Guide For The Hopeless)

First things first: We’ve all been there. It’s not just you.

The nature of the game is, one person wins. That generally means nine or ten lose — and don’t fool yourself: Unless you’re in the Victory Countdown, second place is just First Loser. All things being equal, nine games out of ten, you’re going to end up in a completely hopeless position. It sucks, but what are you gonna do about it? Cry a little?

Continue reading

The Christmas Truce

You all know the story, but even if you don’t that’s OK, because I’m going to tell it again anyway.

Europe, 1914. Christmas week.

For months now, vast armies had battled across the face of the continent, each racing to outflank the other. Along the Western Front, the race had stopped for lack of room, and a continuous line of trenches ran from Switzerland to the North Sea. By Christmas, things had somewhat stabilized. Gas attacks and mass artillery barrages were still in the future, and the soldiers themselves still had great sympathy for the fellows in the trenches on the other side.

Continue reading

Steel Rain: The D19b As Artillery

“…In the midst of our joking came a bloodcurdling screech. Twenty meters behind us, white cloud mixed with clods of dirt flew high among the branches. Blasts began rolling through the forest. With troubled eyes we stared at each other, bodies huddled against the ground in a depressing feeling of complete powerlessness. Shot followed shot. Stifling gases floated in the undergrowth, smoke shrouded the hilltops, trees and branches tumbled to the ground, and the screams of incoming rounds were deafening. We jumped up and ran blindly, chased by flashes and concussion from tree to tree, looking for cover and circling huge trunks like hunted game…”
– Ernst J√ľnger, “In Stahlgewittern”, Battle of Les Eparges, 1915

Continue reading