The Future Of The Planets Nu Merchant Marine

or, On Operational Mobility

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

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On Grand Strategy

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?

As it happens, it is — and then again, it isn’t. Continue reading

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On The Pursuit Of Victory

There are a lot of articles out there on the mechanics of the game – how many mines you can get out of a Mk6 torpedo, how much an X-Ray Laser masses, that sort of thing. And there are several articles on good general strategies, opening gambits, the best way to defeat a Privateer ambush et cetera. But not much has been written on the big question: How do I win?

Perhaps this is because flawless generals are few; as such, it would require a good deal of arrogance to claim enough expertise to offer a definitive Continue reading

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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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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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Defending Against An Early Attack

Any player that’s new to this game will start getting paranoid about being attacked. This is perfectly natural, reasonable and sane. It is, in point of fact, the appropriate reaction; after all, you’ve just voluntarily entered into a contest with ten other people that want you to lose.

On the other hand, the paranoia itself can cripple you. Rather than let that happen Continue reading

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The Score System of Planets.nu

Well, this should be a short article. Control the most planets. Game over. You won. As it turns out, it’s not quite that simple. When you look at the planets scoreboard, there are several other columns including one labeled military and one labeled score. In addition, what happens if there is a tie in planet count at the end? Well, it pays to be the Colonies or at least Continue reading

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VGA Turns in 30 Minutes or Less – Part 2: Next turn’s actions – now! Time Saving Missions and Friendly Codes

In part 1 of the VGA Turns in 30 Minutes or Less series, we focused on three of the most powerful time saving techniques – ready checkboxes, waypoints, and automating planet builds. In part 2 I’d like to focus on commands that allow you to start working on next turn – now – so you can spend less time clicking next turn, and more time having fun.
Continue reading

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Necromancy: The Gentle Art Of Farming The Dead

WARNING: Due to ongoing updates to the Planets Nu game format, this information may soon be outdated in most non-Classic games. FightOrFail is likely to become active soon, which will likely eliminate most of these practices — and of course the new queue is going to change most everything. As we learn more, the article will be modified and more information will be added; please feel free to keep me posted in the comments.

There have been several rather obscure and technical debates in the Nu forums with regard to the practice of “Farming the Dead” (or Necromancy, as I prefer to call it). Some applaud Emork’s use of the Merlin-based PBP factory; others cry Continue reading

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Planets Turns in 30 Minutes or Less – Part 1: Three Techniques To Slash Turn Taking Time

Glorious battles, economic expansion, bold exploration, diplomatic triumphs. There is a lot of fun to be had in VGA Planets. Unfortunately to get to that fun, there is a lot of busy work that needs to be repeated turn after turn. For some players that can lead to turns that last hours, or having to skip crucial, but repetitive tasks.

Fortunately I’m here to tell you that there are a lot of features in-game that can reduce a lot of this busy work. For those willing to try some player made mods, there are Continue reading

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