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Introduction

Introduction

Unless you have tried Play-by-Mail or Play-by-eMail games you are likely to be in for a surprise when it comes to playing Phoenix: Beyond the Stellar Empire. The game, with over 20 years of continuous history is an open-ended, persistent universe, turn-based strategy and resource-management role-playing space opera.

From the perspective of a new player however all you really need to know is the following:


  • The sign-up process assigns you your first spaceship, its captain and its crew.
  • You have a mission to follow taking you through space to various worlds.
  • Completion of the mission opens up more missions.
  • You can start a few more spaceships and each new one also comes with a mission.
  • You give orders to your ships sending them places and undertaking actions.
  • Everybody’s orders are processed in a single run Monday to Friday (turn-based).
  • The results of these orders, called turns are then viewable.
  • All positions exist in the game at all times even if you are not submitting orders for them (persistent universe).
  • Better ships are researched and built along with ground based mining and production facilities (resource).
  • There are factions called affiliations that are in various states of hostility with each other.
  • Players run warfleets, engage in piracy and argue over territory and resources (strategy).
  • There are in-game events and story arcs along with those created by players.
  • Together with in-character forums, often used to reflect the events and story arcs in the game (space opera).



So all you really need to know is that you can plan the orders for your ships (and later as you get more involved, the other positions you can control). Submit them when you are happy with them and wait for the next day and their processing. This may at first seem something of a strange concept – waiting!?! But consider when you have twenty space ships, half a dozen mining operations and are making haulage deals with other players or exploring frontier worlds. If you join one of the actively hostile factions, you may become embroiled in a war and have to coordinate your squadrons of warships with theirs, analyse data of the enemy and collectively determine their strategy. Suddenly a few hours on an evening becomes a very small window.

The strength of Phoenix: Beyond the Stellar Empire lies in the anticipation that you get from awaiting your critical results – how did the battle go? Did your interception fleet get the pirate that attacked our freighter yesterday? What was the anomaly in the upper atmosphere of the gas giant?

There is also a sense of accomplishment that can span years. You may for example be the first to discover some aliens capable of trading with stellar communities. From there you may survey their world, find a suitable place to construct and outpost and from their develop it into a starbase and then over time make this the trading hub of the local region of space. By this time it may be protected by orbiting weapons platforms and serviced by dozens of mining and resource outposts across the star system. The article From Missions to Meglamania gives more of an insight into this.

To start with though all these orders, turns and information can seem a little overwhelming. It is something referred to by the players as the Phoenix Learning Cliff.

Along the way you will be contacted by representatives of other affiliations. They will invite you to join their faction. Leaping right in is possible and is covered by the article Fast Tracking.

 
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As part of the update outlined in the 7th February post, turn fees have been increased as from today.

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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic