In which Craig Lager (WasteManager), Ed Fenning (Max Ironcock), Thom Senior (Ludo), Tom Hatfield (Dante), Jay Kim (Mana), Craig Lam (Poseidon) and Michael Yang (Miker) fight it out for the galaxy in free-to-play 4x space game, Neptunes Pride.
I’m a weird tentacle creature. A Tentacle of Hatred is what I’m choosing to call it. In terms of starting position I seem to have a really good one, off to the right of the map; plenty of stars to advance to without having to worry too much about my neighbours. Miker is to my left and is completely surrounded, then Mana is above. I fire off an email to Miker offering a peace alliance. I don’t want him picking me at random to move into and he’s not in a position to say no. My home star is called Baham – it has 5 in ecomony and 5 in industry. I ramp up it’s industry to 7 to get fleets producing faster. For now I’m going to peacefully expand.
Shit this game started last night! Max Ironcock was asleep! Taking a look around, I’m running sixty different plans of universe domination through my head, what stars I can jump to and who will be a big threat. As it is, Dante and me are started gazing down the barrel of each other’s guns, and will have to go through Ludo and Miker above us to get at the other three and the juicy stars there. Annoyingly, I’m placed at the other end of the map to Wastemanager. Maybe the game knew that all I wanted to do was beat him up. I splash cash around, not really knowing what will be useful.
War. War never stops being a clever bastard. And profitable. I am Mana. I am a dick and proud of it. I will use any tactic I can to advance our people, bug-eyed bipedal aliens with fishbowls for helmets.
My plan consists of this: expand, defend, win. I am the watcher. They call me Mana the Efficient, Mana the Eloquent and Mana the Lidless Eye. Ever watching.
Let the domination, deceit and devastation begin.
War. War never stops being a dick.
I’m the teal cluster near the top right. The screenshot is of the galaxy a bit after the game started. People are expanding like crazy, I think. A quick look through the Player Comparison pages show that I’m currently either at parity or slightly better than everyone else.
My predictions of conflicts?
Until next time!
I was chasing my cat across the living room with my socks on the wooden floor when I slipped and struck my head against the fireplace. I entered the abyss of death, yet I woke.
I had but a moment to take in my surroundings before a host of strange beings with velvety black 8-ball eyes, brushlike beards, and indigo skin took me up in their bony hands and carried me to a pedestal.
The top of the pedestal showed a star map that was unfamiliar to me. I began to understand their trilling: I was the manifestation of their ocean and star god. I tried to explain that I knew little of galactic conquest; that I had never played such simulations when I was alive on Earth, yet they were insistent. They showed me the great toilet bowl where all Brush-Heads (so I came to call them) go when they die. I acquiesced, and decided to try it out. After-all, what was the worst that could happen?
I started by sending out fleets of ships to nearby unoccupied stars and researching weaponry, both of which would take some time. The Brush-Head budget was emptied and industry and economy were boosted on several planets, though far too much money was spent on the capitol planet of Chertan. It seems that the diplomats there required more quangos and expenses-paid trips to the nearby Paradise Planet of Izar.
At this point, my time ran out.
(Meta: For the first 17 days I didn’t have an internet connection at home, so it was difficult to keep track of the game at all hours. Thus the often detail-sparse entries caused by genuinely not having a clue what was going on.)
Dawn shines on the Democratic People’s Republic of Dantonia (we’re a socio-anarchist collective) a union of like minded multi eyed four legged creatures who appear to use prehensile tails instead of hands. I imagine their ships are steered by a tail operated tiller, and on the spot decide that they all fly quaintly anachronistic sailing ships with atmosphere containing bubbles on top. This done I survey the galaxy, and see that it is good.
Better than good actually I’m right down in a far corner, and as far as I can see the map in Neptune’s Pride doesn’t wrap around, I’ve essentially got my back to the wall, allowing me to defend a single front. The price I pay for this is less densely clustered stars, but I still have several systems behind me where no-one is likely to get to. In front of me are Ludo and some uncouth chap called ‘Max Ironcock’ who I immediately (correctly) guess is Ed. Such impoliteness will not be tolerated, he will be first.
As in real life, you can’t choose your avatar, which means I’m stuck with what appears to be a space slug with a ginger beard. I strongly suspect I’m the ugliest alien race in the entire system, which makes me angry, so angry I’ve decided to ruthlessly conquer the entire system for kicks, assimilate my millions of minions and sanction mass surgery to remake them all in my glorious, bearded image.
I take Ludo, my traditional online nom de plume and begin by exploring the stripped down interface. Each planet seems to have three numbers, sometimes four if there’s a fleet docked there. I have no idea what these numbers mean. Screw it, I’ll find out later.
What’s more immediately obvious is the fact that I’ve been spawned in the centre of the whole star system, neighbours with Dante to the south, Max Ironcock to the southeast, Miker to the East and Poseidon to the north. It’s only a matter of time until I run into all of them. Then: war, assimilation, surgery. I tentatively send out my first fleet and take my first planet.
I’m screwed. My precious cluster of planets –tiny yellow dots of hope – is almost completely surrounded. I somehow had the luck to spawn with five of the other six breathing down my neck from the very beginning. After coming to grips with the sluggish Flash interface, I check my inbox to find a message from Red – WasteManager. Because I’m surrounded, he says, I probably don’t want to worry about him encroaching on my eastern front, and he’d rather not worry about me either. Though I don’t know how this pact will end up, I agree, if only because my position calls for all the allies I can find.