from Patrick McKenzie | by Patrick McKenzie

Patrick McKenzie


12 months ago

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Terra Invicta stories: Me: I’m playing whackamole discouraging coups in Central America trying to improve it to use position on equator to shift mass to orbit. CIA: We are great at preventing coups in Central America!

Me: Do I need to remind you who a) did not prevent the American War of ‘24 and then b) lost it to the insurgents? CIA: That was a whole four years ago. It was a different time. Me: Whatever just please don’t #*{%{ it up this time I want to unify CA under Guatemalan leadership.

Japan/Canada/Spain: your orders? Me: Research, space mission control points, and then funding to plow into Guatemalan development projects, in that order. Fascist states of America: We’re kicking the aliens out of Africa! Me: … I am surprisingly in favor of your foreign policy.

Me: You know if you do that frequently enough the aliens are going to get mad at you? I read spoilers. FSoA: That’s why we have nuclear weapons. Me: … I am surprised to say this but I’m glad you’re on our side? Oh, look up in the sky, what is that? FSoA: A plane?

Me: Central American Republic Missile Cruiser reporting for duty. FSoA: Do they fire space bananas? Me: … I am so glad you are here to pull aggro from the aliens while I do percussive engineering on their space infrastructure.

The game isn’t as successful at making the faction avatars into legitimate characters like Alpha Centauri did (they have voiced lines for techs but they just have so much less *impact* than SMAC did), but as a story generation machine, it’s amazing.

Also I think the game master sometimes cheats *in your favor* to help out human players whose bad decisions put them behind the curve. I was falling behind in space (due to the War of ‘24 costing me most of my Boost and mission control) and an unnamed tech billionaire intervened

“Looks like you’re falling behind in space. That would be disastrous for humanity. Happily I can found a space company in my spare time. Here is four Earth-orbit stations worth of mission control and enough boost to maintain them.” Me: Wow I am glad I check my inbox.

Also apparently I have to read up on orbital mechanics to successfully understand the game system for getting ships from earth to e.g. Mars to defend my interests there. It’s not just “click here to move” but rather involves deltaV management.

The faction most amenable to the interstellar invaders also assassinated one of my councilors (in-game pieces who you conduct most of your actions through), costing me a lot of experience points. The replacement’s first mission was to fly to Tel Aviv and suborg the Mossad.

Second mission codenamed %{*}%] Around and Find Out.

Their counselors are now playing a very high stakes game of Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego except that when I find a clue the next action is the Assassinate button.

America had a coup *again* and my fascist friends were sent packing in favor of a total power vacuum. I took advantage of the situation and now control 2 of 6 control points including the presidency. The CIA learned when POTUS told them that he also worked for their boss.

If a counselor was as ineffective in this game as the CIA is I’d assume they had been turned by the enemy, but that can’t happen to organizations, as far as I know. (Meaning, apparent loyalty is always actual loyalty.)

Also it turns out that Guatemala’s valiant effort in making humanity’s first space-based warship was about as effective in combat as the HMS Bounty would have been versus the USS Nimitz. Thankfully intel discovered this before we fed it to a barely armed scout vessel.

I am beginning to appreciate the wisdom of YouTuber PotatoMcWhiskey, who strongly advised rushing for Boost early and transitioning to a space-based war economy versus becoming overly involved in earthly affairs. Central American independence movements are wrecking my tempo.

Side note: guess who did not check that YouTuber’s nickname prior to mentioning his accent exactly matched that of an IRL Irish coworker, to that coworker.

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