The Stars! Class of 2399 by Nick Bennett

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The Stars! Class of 2399

By Nick Bennett

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2399: Build Defences. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, defences would be it. The long term benefits of defences has been proved by testbeds, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own, meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your homeworld. But never mind, you will never understand the power and the beauty of your homeworld until it's been bombed. But trust me, in twenty years, you will look back at resource graphs of your testbeds and recall in a way you can't grasp now, how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really played. You are not as slow as you imagine.

Don't worry about missing turns, or worry knowing that knowing that worry is just as effective as trying to calculate packet damage by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that packets you at 4 AM on some Saturday blitz. Do one thing every game that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other peoples' treaties, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealously. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The game is long and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember tech trades you receive, forget the skirmishes. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old border agreements, throw away your old war declarations.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what to do with your population. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 2422 what they wanted to do with their pop; some of the most interesting 40 turn olds still don't. Get plenty of germanium. Be kind to your borderworlds, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll ally, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll get Nubians, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll meet the MT, maybe your homeworld will get cometted on the 1st turn of a 100-year force-gen. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your fleet. Use it everywhere you can. Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Testbed. Even if you have nowhere to do it but a Net Cafe.

Read the strategy guide, even if you don't follow it.

Do not read articles on HG CA, they will only make you feel slow.

Get to know your allies. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your neighbours. They are your best link to germanium, and the most likely to give you tech in the future.

Understand that friends come and go. But for a precious few, you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in space and playstyle, for the more experienced you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were newbie.

Live on Wankers Corner once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live on Uranus once, but leave before it makes you soft. Use stargates.

Accept certain inalienable truths: tech costs will rise, allies will backstab, you too will get old and when you do, you'll fanaticise that when you were young, tech costs were reasonable, allies were noble and newbies respected the experts. Respect the experts.

Don't expect anyone else to ally with you. Maybe you have OBRM, maybe you've taken NAS, but you never know if everyone else has too..

Don't mess too much with your ship slots or by the year forty, you will have 1.

Be careful whose strategy you listen to, but be patient with those who supply it. Strategy is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of cutting the article from Google, changing the words, deleting the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the defences.