“It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa
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.
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.
(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.
My brother-in-law is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces. When a disaster (natural or otherwise) occurs in the world, Canada sends aid; and so, my brother-in-law is often among the first on the ground. He specializes in fuel calculations, equipment distribution, and the surveying of travel routes. It is likely that he choses which type of toilet paper is required for each situation, but in the end, it is all logistics and one of the most crucial positions in the military.
There is something terrifying about having a warship show up at your door on Turn 7. If you did not see it coming, your empire is in grave danger. At the very least, you will be crippled for a long time and have to beg for help from other players. This early-game maneuver is known as “The Headshot”, and – if it wasn’t obvious – the goal is to remove your head.
This tactic can be prevented by a variety of actions, but perhaps the strongest defense – or at least it is the boldest – is to axe down your neighbour’s door before they come calling. To do that, you need to know the location of your enemy’s homeworld. Here’s how:
There’s an old saying: that sergeants and captains think about tactics, colonels about strategy, but generals obsess over logistics. We here, safe in our virtual universe, we imagine logistics to be a matter of keeping diesel in the tanks, gas in the trucks, bullets in the guns, food in the kitchens — that sort of thing. But we have only the vaguest inkling what the problem must be like with an army in the field unless we’ve been there. Continue reading →
It is said of Hannibal that he won every battle but lost the war. The same has been claimed for other historical conflicts with more or less justification: the American conflict in Vietnam, the campaigns of Gustav Adolf den Store of Sweden, and even that Pyrrhus of Epirus from whose name the very phrase “Pyrrhic victory” comes.
But how is this possible? Is war not, more or less, a succession of battles which creates a metaphoric path over which the winner ascends to eventual victory?
Before you get too excited, this article is about neither sex nor baseball. Keep your shirt on.
In both the early PBP and the modern PQ systems, it’s highly advantageous to construct a second starbase early in the game. Many players believe the best move is to use their homeworld to produce the needed minerals, loading them up on a Large Freighter and shipping the whole “starbase-in-a-box” kit out to the first prime native world they discover. It’s a solid move; it creates a potential source for new vessels early on, generates an advantage in the PBP/PP race, and Continue reading →
Ship combat at Planets.Nu is arguably the single most important key element in play. The tactics and complexities would be thought multiform and diverse even before one considers that every player has a unique ship list. Bearing this in mind, it is hardly surprising that many new players are Continue reading →