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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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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Strategic Diplomatic Positioning

I think we all have played many kinds of war and strategy games. In all of them you try to position your units in a beneficial manner, to hold the high ground, so you have better odds to defeat your opponents.

By “strategic diplomacy” I mean the planned effort to position yourself in your game with Continue reading

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Chasing Carriers

Ships with cloaking devices are a good thing — every Privateer, Bird, Fascist or Lizard player will agree on that. Your cloaking ships can disturb enemy freighter routes, sabotage their economy and even fight many medium-sized ships. But when it comes to fighting a carrier race with its huge battlecarriers, the cloaking races often have big problems. This article explains a few little tricks to make these seemingly indestructible carrier monsters less harmful.

As all regular Planets players know, cloaking ships usually can’t stand up to any Continue reading

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Who’s On First? Combat Order and Battle Value

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

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Diplomacy; or, Make Dale Carnegie Proud Of You

“The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?” — Dale Carnegie, on his book “How To Win Friends and Influence People

In Planets as in life, true and enduring success cannot belong to a person who fails at diplomacy.  In the Echo Cluster, Continue reading

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The importance of staying hidden

It was early in the game, turn 3 to be precise, and the Colonies were expanding rapidly, putting all of their resources into building freighters and sending them forth. He could spy a cluster just out of range of a one-turn jump with his warp 9 engines.  To reach it hidden would take 2 turns and he really wanted to continue pushing his planet count upwards. So early in the Continue reading

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