When to join a game? This is not an insignificant question. 64 player games take about 11-14 days to fill, where you choose to leap in is important, depending on your play style. Much can be gleaned from watching the positions in a game fill. Lets take the Theta Phad game currently filling, it has 13 positions unfilled of 64 seats, which mean this game will start by Friday April 24th, this means a weekend start for a game. A game starting on a Friday, develops over the weekend, meaning people have more time to devote to the game. They will visit it more often, are not encumbered with work, and positions will generally be better played and developed as a result. Games that start over the work week, will have more AFK and QUIT in the first two cycles then weekend starting games. I joined at the 32 player mark, and the first thing I looked at was the player alliances that currently existed, there are two that have at least 5 players each. Did you know you can conduct diplomacy while a game fills? You can, and diplomacy started here can give you informants that can be used later in the game. If someone you know and are friends with joins, say hello, and let him know you are you. I generally am a good ally, and players who have played with me will want to play with me again. That won’t be the case if they don’t know I’m me. Another start strategy is to join late, if not last. If you are the last player to join the game, you are effectively launching it at a time of your choosing. This give’s you the GOLDEN HOUR, that vital first hour of play in which a average position of 8-10 systems after the 1st cycle, is turned into a excellent position of 16+ systems because you have optimized your start. This advantage cannot be under stated.
Here is where the the ruler comes in, with that first hour, you now see the entire map. An can measure the distances between you and neutral systems, as well as other plays such distances. You can answer the question, who will get there first with the most. If you can take that 49 value system by arriving there an hour before another player can, then you send a stack of 10, and maybe reinforce it. If you can’t, well then you decide how much you want to gamble. A carrier with 1-5 fighters might be worth the risk of trying to take a 49 value system, if that other player hasn’t shows signs of activity. If a player still has 5 econ, 5 ind, and 1 research, he may not be active in the game. If he only has 1 carrier, he definitely isn’t active. Against such players, play aggressively.
How to start? Lets use the current 64 game format, because all starts there start with the same resources.
$500 + 4 systems with resource values of 50, 35, 25, 15.