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FH - game log of another noob
quick update -

I was running extremely late - 15 minutes past the deadline so I sent an email to the moderator begging for a slight delay. I then pounded out a quick order set. It did not cover everything I wanted to do, but it was better than letting a turn go by.

I loaded up the Colonizer with a fresh load of Mining equipment for the out-system colony. I held the Scouts in place (again.) I build a couple of military ships for peacekeeping duty (and gave the planetary defenses a bump). And against my earlier inclination, I chose to keep investing in technology. We shall see where things stand.

At this point, I am vulnerable if the horrid invader thingies decide to attack, but all I have seen so far is lightly armed scout craft. They might be able to scratch my colonies, but not the home world. And whatever they do, I am about to outgun them in my 2 systems.

Purely defensive, of course.
Assisant: "Leader Rukh, a moment please..."

Rukh: "Yes, what is it?"

Assistant: "It seems our Communications Division, which monitors traffic and communications, is picking up some... 'interesting' signals, Leader Rukh. It seems we are not alone...
"Comm states they are picking up 'bleeder' FTL signals from at least two other intelligent species, and information on a possible third based on the contents of these apparent messages."

Leader Rukh: "Very interesting. Tell me more. Is there anything 'useful' in these messages, or is it just random static."

Assistant: "Even better, Leader Rukh. It appears that at least one foolish species has somehow included galactic coordinates. And even better than that, they apparently state the location of another species' home system.
"And to add to that, one of the more 'prominent' groups of messages appears to be from a, shall we say, 'interesting' individual. [Hands Leader Rukh a datasheet.] As you can see, this individual seems to be rather on the 'unbalanced' side of life."

Leader Rukh: "Excellent news! Issue the technicians involved an appropriate award, and send in the general staff. We have a target."

Assistant: "Ah, Leader Rukh, just so you are aware, Sir. The location of this apparent home system is out of our current range. It would take our ships many Jumps to reach safely..."

Leader Rukh: "Hmm. You make an excellent point. However, I would be most pleased if you would include such information in your briefings in the future. It would make planning much easier, no?
"We will need to continue monitoring these frequencies. Any leader this potentially unbalanced needs to be watched closely.
"In the meantime, any word from our fleet?"

Assistant: "Yes, Leader Rukh, I will endeavor to include all appropriate information in the future. And no, Leader Rukh. We have not yet heard from our fleet at this time, but we are expecting news at any moment.
"I will inform you soonest, when we receive word."

Leader Rukh: "Excellent. Have Comm continue to monitor these frequencies and forward any more information they can determine.
"Have they no knowledge of operational security, or is it a ploy to get others to reveal similar information? Either way, they are fools, revealing their hand in such a manner. Our task is made somewhat easier."

Assistant: "Yes, Leader Rukh, the orders will be issued promptly."
G.A.P.H. coverage of State of the Consortium Speech, 2517.92

...And now, my fellow Consorts, we come to the topic of the so-called "alien invasion" of our home system. Many of our countrymen have taken to the press to criticize our handling of interstellar relations, particularly with regard to the "hostile" alien scout vessel detected just outside the outermost planet of our beloved home. The most common complaint was that the action we were taking was not nearly aggressive enough, and that soon we'd all be enslaved by these phantom oppressors.

This in spite of our immediate campaign to construct 2 large and enormously expensive war ships. I myself find them hideously overpriced and utterly unnecessary, but in an effort to quell the ranks of the critics on the extreme right, I signed the papers and ultimately my wife was the one to break champagne over their over-budget bows. Aggressive enough, I should think.

And that particular alien vessel -- a tiny little capsule really, barely capable of supporting a dozen life forms -- departed our system as quickly and mysteriously as it came. In fact, some of our most prominent political officers in the Gravitics University have evidence that this capsule was entirely robotic, and could possibly be nothing more than a remnant of some ancient civilization, long since gone from our star cluster. It stayed for barely a week -- FIVE YEARS AGO. Nothing else has happened since.

In fact, even the vaguely friendly Tilkatians have sent their diplomatic friendship mission on to other uncharted systems, secure in the knowledge that they have found true friends, here in Consortium space.

My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from the outer orbits to our beloved Ancient Temple peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.

* * *

10 Economic units to whoever gets the reference first.

We finally fixed our naval production line, and have 2 large warships ready for action. One will provide high cover for the home system, and one for OfflineCache. Either one is enough to blow away any transport/scout that should fall within its sight lines many times over.

Mining technology has finally been brought up to match Manufacturing and we are in economic synch again. Production is therefore up, but our disposable income has gone down considerably -- warship maintenance is EXPENSIVE!

Clearly we are going to need to redouble our efforts to beef up the economy. If we need to float an Escort for every system we control, we're going to need a lot more cash. Or we need to set up a few more transport behemoths and move large quantities of planetary-defense materiel to the out-systems.

More tough choices. And now, with the looming presence of aliens lingering just beyond sight, every choice becomes a whole range of other missed opportunities. The game is on indeed...
Too easy. NC's catchphrase is the giveaway.
Quick update (without the narrative)

I missed my turn due to poor planning over the holiday weekend. RATS! I did learn one interesting thing about the game - if you don't submit a turn, a set of default orders will be run on your behalf. If you want "nothing" to happen on a turn, you had better send in a turn specifying exactly that.

I had my 2 surviving scout ships head off to new systems (which is probably good), and one of them found a colony of another player. But my home colony processed a default order that basically dumped all available energy into developing our in-system colony - a huge investment into a less-than-productive planet. So we now have a huge presence there, but because of the oppressive climate we are still producing only marginal output there.

That teaches me to wait til the last minute! What's that, you say? Today is Tuesday and I still have not submitted orders which are due in the morning? Aaaarrrgh!!!

Time management. A simple element of turn-based gaming that somehow eludes me. I will draft up a narrative later tonight...
Orders sent! Narrative coming later. A slight change in direction...
Orders sent! News blackout continues, hopefully to be broken tomorrow...
Okay, wait! I kept trying to post an update yesterday, but my kids were challenging and my wife was occupied. Now I know there's an update waiting in my inbox, but I want to write an update BEFORE reading it, to preserve the thread. So I connect here, and notice Grim's got a new post up. The instant I see the word "combat" I avert my eyes and click "back" on the browser! Before all else, here's my update for LAST turn, uncontaminated by today's new information...

* * *

"Cookie, that was a fabulous captain's brunch. I'm going to put you in for a citation. Maybe 'baking above and beyond the call of duty' or something like that. Anway, I'll take my coffee in the situation room. Please have the Comms Officer join me there right away."

"Aye Aye, captain!"

* * *

"You sent for me, Skipper?"

"Yes, sparky, I did. I have a big job for you today. We have a new species to contact -- the 'neohumans' out in sector 12. They are scouting out a Tilkatian outpost. Not a threat yet, but we want to keep tabs on them. Seems like our corner of space is getting rather crowded."

The captain took a long sip from his "World's Best Boss" coffee mug.

"You know, we still have not re-established communication with the Tilkatians. They seemed like such a promising species. We haven't heard from them in years. Now with the 'other ones', we might have to deal with a new possibility. They may have turned to 'the Dark Side'." The captain chuckled at his pun.

"Now I don't want to scare you. But you know how we had to fire so many of the top brass a few years back, when they were caught asleep at the wheel? Well that's not gonna happen to me. I may be just a lowly scout captain, but I am going to get my jobs DONE. Even better than done. You remember that liaison officer I had here last week?"

Sparky nodded, gulping.

"Spook. Worked for one of those agencies. Anyway, he's on loan to me from a buddy back at the home planet. We had him, er, 'alter' the communication systems used by Darkseid. Set up a virus that pretty much took down his command/control structure for a short time. Hah. Man I woulda liked to see his tentacled face when he tried to order up some 'methane. earl gray. hot'."

He took another sip.

"Now here's the thing, sparky. You and I are gonna gin up the old interstellar radio, here, and fire off some messages to everyone we know. That battewagon that Darkseid sent to our colony is not gonna go unnoticed. Our boys in that escort ship are gonna deal with that particular incursion, but we -- you and I -- are gonna kick off a diplomatic offensive. He is not going to get away with his little war. I know I'm going against the wave, here, what with our home planet overrun by hippies. But I would rather be fired for being too aggressive than hung by an alien for being too timid. Are you getting me, sparky?"

The junior officer gulped again and nodded.

"Good boy. Now run along back to your little radio kit and stand by for my word. We're going to make you earn your pay today..."

* * *

Had to fire off another fast order-set this turn! How does a half-week go by so quickly? Clearly I'm going to have to master this if I can ever contemplate a faster-turnaround game.

We found Darkseid's escort-class ship in our colony system, but luckily had dispatched one of OUR two escorts in that direction. Just In Time. Since this looked, smelled, and tasted like an act of war, we set up an aggressive defense perimeter, but still held off on an independent attack. Perhaps next turn.

We held off on doubling down with new naval expenditures. Maintenance is high, and we want to keep some progress going on economic development. So we took the easy quick route - Mining research. It occurs to me, that we will need a second freighter. Our one big one is shuttling colonists and equipment back and forth, but we need more cargo capacity to send out some planetary defense pods and perhaps even some starbase modules. We shall see.

Now, I'm off to read the results that came in yesterday, and find out what ole Grim has posted.

To the other players in this game, if you are reading, PLEASE HEED GRIM'S CALL TO ACTION! Post your stuff here! Make this more of a role-playing experience! It multiplies everyone's enjoyment tenfold! I can't tell you how much I am anticipating reading Grim's post, just a few moments away! And I have been delighted to read the post in this thread from that other distant alien, though I suspect he is neither Tilkatian nor NeoHuman. Just write some stuff -- it's fun and we can all laugh about it at game's end!
The Phoney War is in full swing, it seems!

Our invincible fleet presence has successfully deterred a preemptive strike from the foul Darkseid, out in our colony system. We considered launching a deep space attack, but the beloved Game Manual is rather vague about how combat works. Specifically, you can do a deep space attack in which you attempt to chase down your target "except around planets", OR you can defend specific planets. We chose the latter. Does this mean that you can EITHER attack OR defend? Or can you cover both? We may try some other stuff in the upcoming turns.

We also enjoyed a better-than-expected bump in Mining technology, after this turns huge investment. It is probably better to keep Mining at least as high as Manufacturing, because you can always stockpile excess raw materials, or sell them as scrap. A random tick in Manufacturing tech was also welcome news.

We tried to set up some half-decent planetary defenses for our in-system colony, but got the message that not enough colonists were available. This is another odd thing about this game. You need a colonist to run each Mining unit and each Manufacturing unit, so if you have 25 of each, you'd need 50 colonists. THEN, apparently, you need EXTRA colonists to run planetary defenses. So if I want a basic minimum of 100 PD units, on top of my 25 Mines and 25 Manufacturings, does that mean I need 100+25+25=150 colonists? Apparently, that colony has 14 "available colonists". How many "unavailable" ones do I have? What are they occupied with? How did I get 14 to be available? The turn results are unfortunately very brief on these points, and the rules are vague.

In other news, we got a friendly message from the latest interstellar species, the NeoHumans. Perhaps they all look like Keanu Reeves.

And, we found the home system of the Tilkatians! This thanks to me letting my remaining 2 scouts go on their automated Jump routes. If at some point we can neutralize the threat of the insidious Darkseid, we can resume the higher purpose for our species - informational supremacy. We will eventually want a scout ship in every system and ultimately that kewl gravity-scope technology. But, of course, we need lots and lots of money to get there.

Finally, our other scout discovered a system with a VERY good colonization profile - meaning it is by far the most similar to our own home planet. I will not reveal the location, but I do think it will make an excellent backup homeworld, and we will begin laying plans for a massive annexation effort soon.
In an instant, the sky turned white hot, brilliant. Then, an instant later, all that is left is cold. dark. empty space.

Half the Consortium navy has been vaporized.

All residents of the Consortium out-system colony have been put on danger-pay.

More, later.

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