At the time of writing we’re in the second day of our Neptune’s Pride game, which came about after Joe’s interest was piqued by Craig’s recent article on the game and set about establishing a game within the Dennis Publishing offices.
“Neptune’s Pride is a free to play online strategy game,” Joe explained in an email to most of the staff. “It’s slow and takes about one month to finish one game, mainly because it’s played in real-time. So, you might launch a fleet at a nearby undefended planet and it would take two days for your ship to make the journey – by which time the situation may have changed.”
“Orders can’t be rescinded once they are given and the game has a political focus – lots of making and breaking alliances. Who wants to play?”
In the end eight players signed up; bit-tech’s Alex, Clive, Joe, Harry and Paul were joined by coding legend Jamie Cuthill, Micromart’s Kevin Pocock and PC Pro’s Mike Jennings. A game was quickly set up – you can see the initial map below.
Day One - Click to Enlarge
The starting positions were, as was quickly pointed out, not entirely fair – a byproduct of using a custom map. Harry (Dark Red) was speculated to have one of the best positions, nestled down in an easily defended corner of the galaxy with stars laid out in such a way that they could form a natural defensive line. Also, since his colour was darkest, some players didn’t even notice him to start with.
However, only a few hours into the game it was Kevin (Purple) who established an early lead – thanks to the number of planets that were immediately close. Everyone started with four stars, but by the middle of Day 2 he’d extended his empire to include eight stars.
Paul (Green) and Joe (Yellow) drew the short straws, it was felt. Paul was still away on holiday and, with only limited computer access, may not be able to hit the ground running like most other players. Joe, on the other hand, got dealt the middle of the map – a position which, as Harry put it, “means he’s going to get demolished very quickly.” Then again, what does Harry know about Strategy games?.
The average playing time of a game of Neptune’s Pride is apparently one month, so we’re going to be keeping track of the game as it evolves through weekly reports like this. Flip the page for some more detailed thoughts and plans from some of the players – but be warned that they might not be as totally accurate as this opening page. Misinformation is a powerful weapon to turn against your enemies and in Neptune’s Pride anything goes…