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"Fortify Avalon!" Words that were as shocking as they were perplexing to me on a Friday night. Gone were the cries of Lil' Jon crying for us to go from the window to the wall. I didn't know what that meant either but I was on the dance floor, and at least pretending to know that was an option. Sadly, there is no way to pretend to know what you are doing in Stellaris. This was learned the hard way.
Playing the multiplayer feature with a couple of friends seemed like a good idea. They have more experience in the game than I do, and I figured that I would soak up their knowledge. First, though, there had to be some jokes at my expense. As a writer, this is something that I am used to. And to be honest, this time I really earned the jokes that flew my way.
One friend discovered that in a solo (and another multiplayer) game, I had not been researching technologies. My excuse that I had no idea that I was supposed to was as effective as trying to warm up a piece of ice. Apparently, the game tells you what to do with notifications, which should not be ignored like they are emails. "The orange tab at the top tells you," one friend cried out in anguished shock. "I ignored that as I do my emails!" My response did nothing to make my point. "I hope you don't get a job that relies on emails." Of course, I explained to him that as a freelance writer, my job solely survives on email. The stress was palpable.
For this game, I made sure that I was doing the research like I was supposed. So did the guys I was playing with. Every few minutes, they would make a comment about it. When I protested, I was told that I brought it up. Fair. As I told them, I thought our other friend had told them about my faux pas. He hadn't. I told on myself.
Getting further into the game, I realized it was like a Sim City game. You make decisions about the future of the Empire and watch the fallout happen in real time. Well, as real as having a star based empire will allow. During the play, some AI player decided to attack me.
At that point, we had already formed a federation (really helpful to have!) and they brought powerful armies to help me defeat the sick bastard. Which brought forth the opening line about building my military presence on one of my planets. Except I thought I had. Turns out, there were two planets with very similar names. Damn Stellaris set up mode. Once the mistake was realized, I went about doing it.
Despite the mistake, at least I improved. Sure, it could be said that anything would be an improvement from where I was but damn it I want a win here. Plus it was only the fourth time that I played, and that says something about me. No clue on what but it says something, right?
When I started my next solo game, I did everything that I was supposed to. The research was hopping along, my military might was something to behold, and my economy was buzzing along. The only thing that went wrong was that I fell asleep at some point and woke up to a bunch of notifications on the screen. Instead of ignoring them, I actually answered them. Then turned off the game because damn I needed some sleep.
Hopefully soon, we can go back into the multiplayer universe that was started and I can check on my little empire that has slowly become a universal force. Not as strong as the ones that my friends had made but close enough. Now I have emails to ignore and more stars to make mine.