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Lamentations of the Damned: Playing Far Horizons for the very first time

The plague of armed conflict had now spread even further, engulfing the Tilkata and ensuring that galactic peace was a fleeting commodity.

Granny Goodness, Ambassador of War to the Consortium, now held the dubious distinction of dual ambassadorships, for she was now Ambassador of War to the Tilkata, as well.

Acting on orders from Darkseid, himself, Granny Goodness initiated a military strike against the large Tilkatan space freighter, Colony Prime, disabling its engines and leaving it a sitting duck just floating in space.

Parademons then boarded the ill-fated freighter, taking hostage its entire crew, and flying it back to the nearest Apokoliptian War Forge. There, in relatively short order, the massive vessel was stripped of any usable technology, and scrapped to provide material for a huge new statue crafted in the likeness of Darkseid's image.

The Consortium space freighter, SystemBus, witnessing the attack, prepared to flee the system for the safety of deep space well beyond this star system's gravitational pull. Granny Goodness, ever alert for just such a ploy, locked its Apokoliptian sensors on target.

A huge explosion lit up the target zone! SystemBus and its crew were suddenly no more, blown to smithereens in the twinkling of an eye. The Consortium had craved war, and now it was beginning to reap the just reward of its years of misguided policy. On the Consortium homeworld, many citizens now began to clamor for their government to sue for peace.

While far out in in the vastness of space, a sole pair of eyes began to glow bright crimson.

He already knew the outcome of the battles, even as his imperial messenger approached his throne room to deliver him the news.

His enemies would yield to him that which he sought, or entire worlds would fall prey to the fury of his galactic wrath.
Enjoying both sides of the story!

As the government of the species known as the Consortium continues to weave a web of galactic deceit, let us review a couple of his claims, by subjecting them to the starlight of scrutiny:

(05-10-2011, 02:53 PM)ixnay Wrote: For the benefit of other species, who might be listening. HEED THESE WARNINGS:

1. Darkseid does not respond to communication, and will apparently attack anything that moves.

There is no truth to this assertion. That the Consortium has failed in its bid to manipulate the entire spectrum of interstellar communications to its own advantage should not be mistaken for a supposed inability - or even unwillingness - on the part of Darkseid or his empire to respond.

(05-10-2011, 02:53 PM)ixnay Wrote: 2. Darkseid is undefeated in multiple combats, suggesting superior military tech.

Provoked combat, I might add, both politically and militarily. The AntiVirus initiated military hostilities with Darkseid, after firing upon Granny Goodness.

The Consortium has clearly embarked down a path of deception unrivaled in the history of the galaxy, heretofore. Their aim is clear - to establish information dominance!

It will take a few turns to get our scouting program back in order and re-establish info dominance in our sector of the galaxy.
- The Consortium

The historical record on who fired first, in the exchange of fire between the AntiVirus and Granny Goodness, is not murky. To the contrary, combat logs from the event are crystal clear, and long since a matter of public record.

The Tilkatan ship entered a known war zone. The Consortium had previously declared the Tilkata to be friendly. Then, in a rapid blur of convenience, a story was concocted as cover for what was, in actuality, a plot by Consortium government officials at the highest levels to feign surprise at what their previously-declared friends were up to - and in their own star system, at that. The Consortium stretches truth to the breaking point, in its bid for information hegemony, as a precursor of some greater plan to enslave the galaxy within a sphere of Consortium-approved "information." Darkseid is not deceived! Darkseid claims no halo, but the Consortium seeks a deliberate widening of the conflict beyond the exceedingly narrow scope of the conflict's battlegrounds, thus far - a conflict that has taken place wholly and only in Consortium-controlled star systems.

Whatever supposed "evil" that Darkseid may represent to the galaxy, one thing is beyond dispute - evil takes many forms, and the Consortium is drenched in the evil of its own malevolent lies and treacherous deception!

Let us now explore further, the lies and propaganda of the Consortium.

(05-10-2011, 02:53 PM)ixnay Wrote: 3. Darkseid has fielded a frigate, so his Manufacturing tech is at least 20.

Here we have a classic case of Consortium hypocrisy, in brazen fashion. They brag about rushing out their empire's largest warship, ever, the frigate Shockwave, even as they criticize Darkseid for building the very same class of vessel that they, themselves, are building. This is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black, in the words of the long-extinct human race of Planet Earth fame, from a bygone era.

The Consortium government's memory is also hyper-selective and conveniently short. Here is a recent communique that the Consortium government sent to the Minions of Darkseid:

You received the following message from SP Consortium:

We hope you enjoy your petty victories. Tomorrow is
another day, and we are putting our shipyards to the
test in building a "peacemaker" class dreadnaught to
restore security in Sector 12. We urge you to make
peace with your maker.

*** End of Message ***

Note how they boast proudly and arrogantly about building a dreadnaught, even as they clearly lack the technology to do so. More Consortium lies revealed for what they are - pure galactic tripe!

(05-10-2011, 02:53 PM)ixnay Wrote: 4. Darkseid has played us all for fools with his pretense at being hapless and confused by this game. He has projected large amounts of force-concentration and demonstrated high tech levels. He also mastered the art of "hijacking" the Tilkatian colonizer. He knows very well how to play this game, and is very comfortable with setting up his orders.

How desperately - and sloppily - the Consortium government grasps at straws to distract from their incompetence and their treachery. The Tilkatan ship entered a known war zone. Accordingly, it was forfeit, as a spoil of war, under longstanding and widely accepted rules of civilized warfare by many species.

No one has played the Consortium for fools. They are fools!! They are hopelessly tangled in their ill-conceived web of deception intended to confuse and mislead other species across the galactic rim.

(05-10-2011, 02:53 PM)ixnay Wrote: 5. Darkseid has executed the classic "rush strategy" -- amass forces early and clobber the nearest neighbor fast. Any deficiencies in economic development can be more than made up for in the pillaging of entire homeworlds. His hijacking of a mere transport netted over 700 economic units. I have played this strategy many times in other games. The only way to stop him is to take advantage of his over-extension now, before he can consolidate power.

Is there no end to Consortium hypocrisy? They have played this strategy many times in other games, they assert. And what stopped them in this game from using the strategy that they seek to falsely assign to us? Nothing, of course. Their grand object is to distract other species from actually scrutinizing the lies that pour without ceasing from Consortium government figureheads, by tossing up an endless smokescreen of criticism of Darkseid. Once more, as with the building of frigates, it is OK for the Consortium to do such things, but other species should not. Darkseid is not subservient to the likes of these Consortium demons!

(05-10-2011, 02:53 PM)ixnay Wrote: 6. Darkseid has been playing us all like a fiddle, masterfully. Is he new at FH? I don't know. But he is certainly an experienced PBM gamer, and I have a strong suspicion that his game log was designed at least in part to lull his competitors into a false sense of security. And it worked. Bastard.

It is evident on its face that I am an experienced PBM gamer. Else, why would I have started this website? Once again, the Consortium seeks to erect strawman arguments, and then demonize Darkseid for having the courage to stand up to - and reveal - this nest of liars that is the Consortium government.

And yet another "message of peace" sent by the Consortium prince of lies to the Minions of Darkseid:

You received the following message from SP Consortium:

Foul Minions of Darkseid!
You have sent a warship into one of our many peaceful
colony systems, after having scanned it with your
treacherous scout ship! While your ship is rather puny
and not much of a threat to Consortium interests, we can
not avoid the conclusion that you are asking us for a
right solid beat-down. We hope to accommadate you as
soon as possible.

*** End of Message ***

If our ship was so puny, then why did it supposedly destroy half the Consortium fleet? Consortium provocation has been a recurring theme in Consortium attempts to "communicate" with the Minions of Darkseid.

Are the words "a right solid beat-down" the words of a species actually seeking peace?

The Consortium is a species of war mongers!! The limited military strikes that they have suffered, thus far, have grown out of a Consortium policy of lies, lies, and more lies - not to mention threats.

Information dominance, indeed! It is deceitful propaganda of the very worst sort that spews ceaselessly from all quarters of the Consortium government.

"Desaad!" commanded Darkseid. "Report!"

His servant slithered closer to the throne, his master's stern gaze evidencing the seriousness of the moment.

"Yes, m'Lord,"
Desaad replied, the gnawing feeling in the pit of his stomach the same as always in the presence of this planet's overlord.

"The Consortium transport has been destroyed, as you commanded, m'Lord," Desaad paused, afraid to scratch the itch on his chin.

"And the Tilkatan transport?" followed the immediate retort. "What of the Tilkatan ship?"

"Your forces have seized it, m'Lord," again, Desaad replied. "All proceeds as you predicted."

Darkseid stared into the depths of Desaad's soul.

"The Tilkatans will crave revenge, no doubt," Darkseid pondered aloud. "Dispatch more ships to the war zone to enforce the embargo against the Consortium vermin!"

"Aye, m'Lord,"
Desaad acknowledged in the most humble fashion that he could muster. "Aye."

"And what news do you bring to me of the Neohumans?" Darkseid inquired.

Desaad responded, "They seek technology, m'Lord."

"Are they allies of the Consortium?" the overlord asked?

"This remains an unknown factor in the galactic question, sire," Desaad quipped. "The Neohumans are an unknown.....commodity."


Let us examine closer the propaganda that pours forth in ever-increasing volumes from the Consortium.

Consider, galactic friends, the following Consortium assertion:

(05-10-2011, 02:53 PM)ixnay Wrote: 2. Darkseid is undefeated in multiple combats, suggesting superior military tech.

Multiple combats? Indeed, but out of the three starships engaged by Darkseid's forces, two of them were transports. Unarmed transports. There haven't been multiple combats between multiple Consortium and Apokoliptian warships. Only one, the battle where the AntiVirus, acting on direct orders from the highest echelons of the Consortium government, fired on an Apokoliptian vessel. The Apokoliptian ship returned fire, in self defense.

Having initiated hostile military action, the Consortium now seeks to cry foul. If they did not want their star vessels to be fired upon, then why did they take it upon themselves to initiate combat with AntiVirus?

Attempting to deceive the galaxy at large, by portraying Apokoliptian military prowess as vastly advanced above Consortium military technology, without emphasizing that two of the three vessels cited in support of their assessment of technology differences were not warships (which is relevant, to obtain an honest assessment of comparative military technology), only serves to demonstrate the extremes to which the Consortium will go, in its vain bid to portray itself in a positive light.

With regard to hijacking a ship, I did take note of it, during one of my numerous prior attempts to gain a better understanding of the rules and mechanics of this game. This portion of the rules isn't as confusing as some of the other parts that I have encountered since I first started playing this game.

(05-14-2011, 01:02 PM)ixnay Wrote: We take a moment now to drop out of character...

* * *

Hahahahahahaha! Darkseid's logic is as tortured as the now-deceased crew of the Tilkatian colonizer were, no doubt, just prior to their demise!

This little colony we had was an insignificant little presence in a nothing-burger star system. Had Darkseid come in with his own colonizer and demanded a planet, I would have made no strenuous objection. I will even go so far as to say that if he had returned with a warship with at least a small colonizer-type freighter to lend at least a stamp of legitimacy to establishing a military presence there, I would have been unable to justify a deep-space attack.

Does anyone really and truly believe that the Consortium would not have objected, had I dispatched a colonizer-type freighter to the sector in question, and commenced colonization efforts? How quickly and efficiently the Consortium processes its lies for propaganda purposes!

In the wake of the eruption of open hostilities that destroyed the Consortium star vessel, AntiVirus, a period of relative peace took hold across the galactic rim.

Was this merely a precursor to greater galactic peace?

Or were the dogs of war about to be released across the entire galaxy?

With no response to my prior e-mails having been forthcoming, I have decided to post a closing entry in this, my diary-like thread that pertained to my relatively short stint in the game, Far Horizons.

Though I skimmed the rules many times, I never did end up reading the entire rulebook for Far Horizons from cover to cover. In hindsight, it's just as well, it seems, since the game has apparently gone belly-up, while Ramblurr continues his tour of the world. I don't really begrudge him the opportunity that has manifested itself before him. Moderate a dated space game, or tour the world? That one is a no brainer, in my book.

I never managed to colonize another planet, in spite of my previous alluding to the same. It's such a shame that we didn't get at least one more turn run, since more warships were en route to enemy locations. Pah!

At game end, what I now affectionately refer to as the last turn run for this particular game of Far Horizons, the Minions of Darkseid controlled a fleet of four warships. Respectively, they were:

Escort Granny Goodness
Escort Devilance
Frigate Mantis
Frigate Himon

Originally, I had intended to post nothing that would be informative of what my empire was created around - Darkseid. Sure, old Darkseid is a comic book character, but I needed something to go with for this test game, and he seemed as good of a choice as any.

The game was a fairly quiet one, for the relatively short duration that it lasted. To help fight the boredom, I decided to deviate from my original plan.

I opted to forward with the war against the Consortium, when I did, primarily because I felt that it would damage that empire's chances of winning the game. War, by its very nature, tends to be an expensive undertaking, and this game proved to be no exception to that general rule. At a bare minimum, by being hard-nosed about war with the Consortium, it would force that player to alter their existing strategy.

It never mattered to me how my empire ultimately fared. My perception of Darkseid is that he acts in his own interests, on his own whims. No sacrifice is too great for his ultimate glory.

My own experience in the game was that Ixnay, the Consortium player, would not favor fighting a war against an empire on his own home turf - complicated by the fact that he likely did not know where my own homeworld was located. I found his homeworld first, and he suffered for that stroke of destiny.

I perceived that Ixnay wanted to build up his forces unobstructed. he wanted to develop a good economy, one that would provide a solid footing for wars to come much later. What better way to throw a monkey wrench into Ixnay's plans, than by forcing him to contend with war well before he wanted it?

Regardless of how Darkseid's war with the Consortium would eventually turn out, I felt that it would leave the Consortium weakened - and hence, easy prey for other empires that made contact with them later in the game.

Revealing the locations of Consortium worlds ensured that Darkseid could never hold them uncontested, for any length of time. They were, in a word, expendable.

At game end, my empire's tech levels were as follows:

Tech Levels:
Mining = 24
Manufacturing = 25
Military = 21
Gravitics = 16
Life Support = 8
Biology = 11

The overall minimal amount of communication and interaction with other empires in the game made the game far more boring that it had to be. Little wonder why Darkseid acts as he does - The loneliness of space definitely impacts the mind.

The game is better suited to creating an empire from scratch, than it is trying to make a pre-existing empire fit within the game's format. There were no Boom Tubes nor advanced Apokoliptian technology to aid me in this game. And that, I think, is one of the deficiencies of the game, although how does one design a game to effectively allow one to emulate virtually any pre-existing space culture known to the human imagination?

Having no advanced Apokoliptian technology to speak of, I opted for the next best thing - the impression of advanced technology. Destroying the Consortium freighter helped with this, although I had enough sense to know that I wasn't fooling any experienced Far Horizons players. For all practical purposes, though, Ixnay, himself, was the other players in this game, as far as I was concerned.

I didn't really know how to role play Darkseid. I never really intended to. But, as things progressed, I decided to inject him into the dialogue, for better or for worse. I didn't feel that he would trust anyone, and that coming into contact with Darkseid's empire would be quite a different adventure than, say, coming into contact with NASA or with Starfleet would be.

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