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The One Month War for Neptune's Pride: Part 1

The story of a vast eight-player battle in a free browser game.

Page 5 of 6

He didn't like that.

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Graham: Patrick Swayze had it wrong: being in the corner is fantastic. Born in the north-east quadrant of the map, my purple armies were free to expand without any grab-happy neighbours getting in my way. My nearest space-neighbour was Crispy, who I made sure to immediately turn into a space-friend. I didn't really understand how the game worked, but I figured delaying our inevitable battle would work in my favour. At the same time, I made an alliance with Jim, promising that together we would crush all that lay between us: Crispy, Kieron, and Poisoned Sponge.

In the meantime, I mostly pumped my funds into Economy and building fleets. In the early game, I had twice as many fleets as anyone else, though only an equal number of actual ships. This allowed me to quickly gather my nearby unclaimed stars, and put me comfortably in second place.

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Jim: I was in the corner too, which proved useful because I really wasn't paying attention for the first three or four days, and hadn't even really worked out what the various resources were for. It was only when Kieron sent me the link for the combat tutorial that I realised I was doing it all wrong. This is one of those games that I assumed I understood from a cursory glance, but actually didn't really get until I began talking to people. Talking to people! In a game! What will these boffins come up with next?

However, as things unfold it becomes clear that I'm going to start checking this game four or five times a day. Just to be sure. Just to know. Just to check.

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Quinns: My goodness! Listen to these guys whinge. "Being in the middle is so bad!" "I was up against the side, which of course sucks." "My star systems were in space, leading to all kinds of problems."

Let me offer you something more upbeat, namely the story of how I ended up blasting off into an early lead despite being assigned leadership of a race with a face like a toilet brush.

The fact that developing your systems gets exponentially more expensive the more you build on them meant I clearly needed to start by grabbing as many systems as possible. Also, since none of my neighbours would be in fightin' range of me for at least 48 hours, I chose to spend all my starting cash on increasing the Economy of my systems as opposed to their ship-creating Industry stat. I earned even more cash the next day, which again I chose to plough back into my economy. By day 4 I was the cigar-chomping baron of the Galaxy and still shunting most of my insane income back into my economy.

This was the easy stuff. The need for delicacy began when there were no more unclaimed stars for me to take and I was left with three neighbours- red Kieron to the right, Burgundy Tom above me, and lime-green Hentzau to the left. With my broad swathe of territory and monstrous economy I was a force to be reckoned with, but by no means a goliath. My stars were producing space-bourbon and space-flatpacked furniture, not fleets. I'd be able to happily crush perhaps one of my opponents, but taking on two at once would see my territory (and space-bourbon) being torn from my hands.

So began the anti-Kieron alliance. I got in touch with Jim and Sponge, the players beneath and to the right of Kieron, and proposed we all invade him at once while exchanging our technological advances. We all get a safe chunk of extra territory, enough tech to keep us in the game and the removal of one of our opponents. Everybody wins! Except Kieron, who gets spanked.

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