So I’ve been on a bit of a strategy tear recently, for no particular reason. I’m amazed at how few accessible, interesting strategy games there are out there, particularly 4X ones.
But I’m not here to bitch about that. At least, not yet. Why am I here? NEPTUNE’S PRIDE.
Okay basically this is a free game that you are supposed to play by planning ahead, coordinating all of your moves, and checking in on when you’re bored at work.
Basically how it works is this: you start with 4 planets. You also start with a small fleet of ships on each planet. You can make the planets you have better by adding Science (for better ships) Industry (for more ships) or Economy (for more cash to upgrade other planets). The more you put on each planet, the more it costs to improve, making you immediately aware of just how much you’d love to have more stars under your control. Capturing stars is a simple matter of sending out your fleets to a nearby star. This is where the whole “check back later” thing comes in. The fleet takes 30 minutes to “spin up” in order to jump. Jumping to a new star takes, on average, around 15-18 hours. So usually you’ll execute your plan maybe once per day. You can also talk to other players, and trade tech with them.
Although you can just grab stars at the start, most of the game you’ll depend on strategic alliances to ensure you can conquer territory because there’s a significant advantage to defending.
If you’ve ever played Diplomacy, you know how this works.
If you’ve never played Diplomacy: I seriously considered smothering some friends of mine in their sleep during a game of Diplomacy. The requirement to agree to do something, then send out orders and agree that yes we’re totally doing that, and then finding out that no, no your dear friend is a horrible horrible GODDAMN LIAR who sold you out to those damn Aldebrannians and you can’t pull your fleet back and oh my god he’s been working for them this whole time and you need to DESTROY HIM is something that is terrible but also great fun as a game mechanic. Emphasizing the gains, and losses, you can get from diplomatic relations means that a friendly game can get entertainingly ugly incredibly fast.
I’ve been playing a bit, and it’s a pretty slick and easy to use interface with very simple but entertaining mechanics. Really, I wish they had a “quick” version that I could play with some friends as well. Although it takes some remembering to check in, I’d really recommend this to someone who wanted to know the fun, and the furious terrifying anger, that comes with a solid strategy game played against real people.