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Planets (Version 3.x)

Introduction to Planets


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What is it about?1

Planets is a multi player strategy game of galactic conquest. Such games are also known as "4X" games (meaning Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate).

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Of course you are not alone, you are opposed by ten other races with the same goal in mind. The goal of this game is to build an empire for yourself, seek out the other races in the Echo Cluster and destroy them in the pursuit of galactic conquest. To accomplish this mission you must develop an economic base upon which your empire can be built. Your average empire consists of three key components: planets, starbases and ships.

Of these three components, planets are the base on which an empire is built. The planets in the Echo Cluster contain all the resources you'll need to construct your empire with. Starbases and ships have to be built by you with those resources, and should be seen more as the body of your empire. They are the tools used to develop, expand and improve your empire and of course to wage war on others. As you will quickly discover, your homeworld alone does not hold enough resources to build anything resembling a decent fleet with.

The planets in the Echo Cluster hold the resources for your empire. Every planet has minerals in its core, ready to be extracted by whoever colonises the planet. The minerals, once extracted, can be used to build starbases and ships. Most planets also have a native population of some sort, providing you with money once you've colonised the planet and tax the natives. Money is the second important ingredient for building an empire. Planets also allow you to spread your colonists around. The colonist populations will grow on most planets, and can also be taxed for money if you wish. Last but not least, you can build factories on planets that will provide you with supply units. These too are an important part of your economy.

How is it played?

The game is played turn by turn where all players use a client program to give commands, and send their orders to a host. The host gathers all turn files, carries out the commands given and uses them to generate and send a new result file to the players for the next turn. There are two triggers for the host to generate a new turn: either all players have submitted a turn file (called Quickhost), or a deadline is reached (called Scheduled Host). If scheduled hosting is used, it's the player's responsibility to send his turn file to the host in time.

The game ends, if one player (or an alliance thereof) fulfills the winning conditions. These can range from the unimpeachable (total annihilation of all enemy races) to a simple vote (all remaining players agree who has won). Or something in between (eg. one player controls 125 planets for 10 turns, or the player with the highest score at turn 100, etc.).

So what's the situation more closely?

You find yourself on a planet within a cluster of planets. It's usual to have 500 planets in an area of 2000x2000 light years, but maps can be customised to be larger or smaller (at the moment most host and client programs cannot handle more than 500 planets, but they can cope with fewer). All you know is that there are somewhere within that cluster also the other races around (games can currently have up to 11 players). And all want to occupy as much space as possible. Maybe your planet is already orbited by one or two ships you are given to start with. Most certainly, your home planet will be orbited by a starbase, your means to construct (further) ships. In order to build ships on a starbase, you need to have an appropriate amount of resources on the planet. A single planet will most likely contain all types of resources, but they need to be extracted from the planet using mines, money will have to be collected from your colonists or the natives by taxation and supplies are only produced by factories.

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[1] Section adopted from Donovan

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Page last modified on January 07, 2008, at 10:56 AM