Here's the link to the site, first: http://np.ironhelmet.com/
So hey, this is a game. And it happens in a browser. Thankfully it actually has some amount of quality to it and doesn't harp you to spend money or recruit people to progress. Throughout this post you're gonna see me use a lot of $ signs, but that doesn't mean actual money (the game setting I guess has adopted the United States dollar as a currency throughout the galaxy).
Neptune's Pride is a strategy game, real time, with a theme of galactic domination. It has very simple mechanics, and everything that makes the game challenging or interesting stems from how you interact with other players (peace-pacts, trade, that sort of thing). It's like the real point of the game is the social aspect, underlaying all the fleet moving.
I'm going to point out something right away - the game starts off REALLY REALLY SLOW. In real time. Your initial moves in the game will takes more or less 24 hours to complete. The game does snowball though. Even then, expect games to last anywhere from a week to a month.
Also to start games, it does cost real world dollars but I've already spent some money to be able to do that.
How to Play
A game played by myself and some G&T folks almost a year ago, toward the start of the game.
Players are represented by colors, as well as goofy portraits. Here's a few.
The goal of the game is to have the bulk of the stars in any given galaxy (there's several set galaxy layouts, or you can play randomized games). There is a hard number to reach in this respect.
Like I mentioned, the game has simple mechanics and commands. You click on stars or fleets on the main screen, and you get some options what to do with them. Fleets you can queue up travel paths, and stars you build your infrastructure. There's economy, industry, and science. That's it! Also, stars have certain resource counts, represented by a number / gray-ring around the stars themselves. The bigger the resource count, the cheaper it is to build your infrastructure. The more of any given infrastructure you have on a star, the more it costs to develop more of the same kind on the same star (example: 1 economy can cost 10 space bucks, but then the 2nd point will cost like 20).
- This is how you generate your money. By default, once a day, you're given your funds. Each point of economy gives you 10$.
- This is how you generate ships. Ships auto generate as the day goes by. Ships can't move on their own though, you need carriers for that, and those you build at a star regardless of infrastructure for 25$.
- This is how you generate your technology. More on that below, but I'll note that science is the most expensive thing to develop and with good reason. Like $100 minimum.
- You load ships onto these. By default if a carrier is in orbit of a star, all ships produced will go to that carrier. You can move ships between carriers or even to the star.
- This is a stat for each star you control. It determines how many ships will stay on the star, for defense, and excess ships will load immediately onto any carriers in orbit.
- Makes ships stronger. pew pew
- Makes your carriers travel faster.
- Makes your carriers able to travel further in a single jump.
- Expands how far you can see from stars under your control.
Combat and Fleet Movement
Combat is automated and simply a flat numbers game. Strength of fleets is pretty much determined by ship count x weapon level. Defending fleets have a +1 to their weapon level. You have no agency in controlling anything else aside from how many ships you move around and garrison.
Fleet moving is pretty important, especially in regard to keeping carriers alive and transporting ships for defenses to your borders (since those things cost money). When you tell a fleet to move, there will be a 30 minute period of time where you can cancel the move before the ship enters hyperspace. You cannot do anything with the fleet, nor can it interact with enemy fleets. You can queue up more jumps or remove queues, but between last destination to the next, it's just on its way.
That's why range is kind of important too - If you have stars A, B, and C, and want to get from A to C, you can save time making that straight jump. But having to stop by B adds more prep-time for jumps. There's also stars that you generally can't reach without longer range.
The same game as above, a couple weeks later.
Here's what makes the game great. It's making your peace pacts, temporary or permanent, with other people. The game has a function to officially ally with others (costs like $50, just on your side - they have to spend $50 too), which informs everyone and also makes you and your allies unable to attack each other, but it also has an option to disable that function when you're starting up a game. The latter is pretty much the only fun way to do things, because it means keeping your pacts secret, and provides room for backstabs. You can also trade technology with people for $25 in a single gifting of tech, but there's no hardline this-for-that rule enforcement. You can give your tech over and not get any in return. Probably a good sign that person means to fuck you over.
You generally start out with about four stars in the game. One of them will have 50 resources, 1 science, and several economy / industry point, more or less being your valuable home (not that losing it means you lose the game). There are other stars with just as much resources, rarely a bit more, but you have to find them.
At the start your first move is to send your fleets out to grab stars. You also should decide how to pursue your tech at the start (by default, it will be weapons), and you have some money to build more infrastructure. People have two wise choices here - you can either spend your money on science, or on economy. And if you really push the envelope you save some money to build on the neutral stars you capture on day 2.
So uh, who wants to play maybe?
You don't have to really invest a lot of time in this game, not until the ending days. And I can answer more questions to shit I probably didn't explain well!