About Gnerphk

I'm a bookseller and freelance writer. Gaming is the fourth great passion of my life and I attack each with equal verve. http://gnerphk.wordpress.com/

Getting To Second Base: Comparing Tactics

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

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ACTION NEWS: Standoff In Shipbuilder’s Strike

This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with an update from the Capricorn War, deep inside the Echo Cluster. Good evening; I’m Jim Chancellite.

Tensions continued to rise in the ongoing shipbuilder’s strike here in the Echo Cluster. There’s not one but two competing standoffs on the picket lines, one in Bird space and the second deep inside Rebel territory.  Coming to us live from the Hidden Rebel Base, Continue reading

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ACTION NEWS: Deceased Labor Leader Returns?

This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with an update from the Capricorn War, deep inside the Echo Cluster. Good evening; I’m Jim Chancellite.

The top story this evening comes to us from Bird space, where James Hoffman, influential labor leader and suspected mob boss, has apparently reappeared after being presumed dead for several Continue reading

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ACTION NEWS: Community Bottle Drive A Success

This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with an update from the Capricorn War, deep inside the Echo Cluster. Good evening; I’m Jim Chancellite.

The top story this evening is the stunningly successful bottle drive held this week by former members of the Grand Coalition in order to benefit the families of striking shipworkers from Local 78375, and to publicize Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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ACTION NEWS: Federation Assault Continues

This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with an update from the Capricorn War, deep inside the Echo Cluster. Good evening; I’m Jim Chancellite.

Last night, assault fleets under the combined command of Ciocco Locutus, formerly Admiral Serrin Forge of the Federation, and the Continue reading

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Abusing the Military Score

If you look at the Scoreboard, you’ll see a column entitled “Military Score”. During the early part of the game, when there’s a limited number of starbases in play, it’s quite possible to use that score to analyze the enemy fleet. Even in the later game, it’s quite possible to use it to figure out builds and ship trades by your enemies.

Here’s a short description Continue reading

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