It's a free browser game with wonderfully simple rules. You check in once or twice a day, move your ships, upgrade your stars, then let the galactic war play out over hours and days. Last time in our eight player face-off, Tom was taken over by AI and went nuts, Sponge became the second casualty of war, and Graham betrayed Kieron. Now: WAAAAAR.
Phill Cameron/Poisoned Sponge, Rock Paper Shotgun Affiliate
Tom Francis, PC Gamer
Kieron Gillen, Rock Paper Shotgun
Hentzau, Freelance Soldier of Fortune
Chris Pelling, Inventive Dingo Games
Quinns, Rock Paper Shotgun Affiliate
Jim Rossignol, Rock Paper Shotgun
Graham Smith, PC Gamer
This diary is going up in seven parts, one a day, both here and simultaneously over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Our text is scented.
Kieron: I come in from drinking. It's 1 in the morning. On a whim, I decide to check in on Neptune's Pride, to see that Graham's attacked me. I sigh a sigh of relief.
Frankly, I've been torn between these conflicting desires. I'm abstractly helping Quinns. I'm also abstractly in an alliance against Quinns. Eventually, I'm going to have to fall one way or the other. I feel bad either way. This removes the moral dilemma. I'm with Quinns, and Jim and Graham can go screw themselves.
And Graham has screwed himself. His fleets are already in flight. I remix my defensive line, moving ships into the optimum position. I think there was one star I couldn't hold, so I evacuate it, leaving the bare minimum of troops enough to do a damage hit. However, I also know that by morning, I will have the ships to retake it immediately. The main 100-strong attack fleets will be simply annihilated. I go to bed, and rest easy. Graham's going to wake up to find his fleet in ashes.
At this point, I'm thinking myself grateful that I've been forced into a siege state throughout all the game. I had a lot of experience in micro-managing combat lines. This move against Graham was the apex of my tactical manouvering, and I'm not sure I'd have pulled it off as well without all the previous attacks from Sponge and Crispy. Thanks, Sponge!
Hentzau: One extremely unsettling development is that while I started this war with a healthy tech lead, Quinns' economy has now kicked into high gear and he's left me in the dust. To make matters worse Sponge's empire implodes around about now, so I can't get tech off of him any more. All I really care about is keeping parity in weapons tech so that I don't walk into fights totally outgunned. Happily Graham is more than willing to supply me with arms as long as I make Quinns' life as difficult as possible. This gives me a faint glimmer of hope; if he wants me to tie up Quinns' forces then that means he must be planning an attack soon, right?
Quinns eventually gets control of the AI rebellion and starts building up his forces again. One fleet of a hundred ships is dashed against the defenses at Aldhibah, severely damaging them in the process. Another fleet of a hundred attacks. It too is destroyed, but now I'm running out of ships, and Quinns is starting to grab worlds on the shrinking periphery of my territory that I'd withdrawn ships from to defend the homeworld. He's losing fleets of forty, fifty ships per world now but those are small fry compared to what he's sacrificed in his effort to erase me from the galaxy so far. The final nail in my coffin is hammered home when Graham and KG finally invade Quinns, only to have their attack stall after taking just a few worlds apiece. If Quinns can hold them off whilst continuing to pour forces into his war with me faster than I can build my own, I'm as good as dead.