That time I almost ruled the galaxy

What is Neptune’s Pride?

Neptune’s Pride is a long form internet based board game of galactic conquest. It’s gameplay is comprised of a series of decisions separated by hours of inactivity.

In Neptune’s Pride, you are the master of a small grouping of stars.  Your objective is to parlay your small set of initial resources into a vast interstellar empire by using strategic planning, patience and careful consideration.

In this game, when you decide to send a fleet of your ships to a neighboring star the trip can take hours, even days in “real time” meaning a game can last for weeks, even months as you routinely check in to see how your empire is progressing.

Neptune’s Pride is played against other real world players who also check in from time to time to form alliances with other players, distribute resources among their many burgeoning worlds and coordinate their fleets of ships to venture further into the cosmos and into inevitable conflict with other hostile players.

It’s a very satisfying distraction that only takes a minute or two of your time every day and can go on for weeks until finally one player’s wit and perseverance wins out and they are ultimately crowned the ruler of the conquered and subjugated galaxy.


Interview with Jay Kyburz

I had the chance to sit down and speak with Jay Kyburz, creator of Neptune’s Pride and learn more about his vision for this sprawling game of galactic conquest:

Profile photo of Jay Kyburz

Galactic Conflict

The lines have been drawn and the war to decide who will rule the galaxy has begun!

Marko and I participated in a game of Neptune’s Pride and carefully logged each of the major events which transpired throughout the campaign.

This analysis should serve to enlighten potentially interested parties as to whether or not Neptune’s Pride will scratch that pesky desire to rule the galaxy itch.

Follow along with us or consider starting your own galactic empire!


  • GideonKain (me)
  • MkaY
  • Joan of Arc
  • fox65
  • Migori
  • James T Kirk
  • QMouse
  • Kaert

Each player has been allocated six stars and $550 in an arbitrary currency, let’s call them Starbucks®, no wait, credits…let’s call them credits.

Day 1 – Stardate: 4813.01

Wisdom of the Stars

Space is vast, and yet it can seem uncomfortably cramped as each of us shares space in a galaxy rife for plunder. Throughout this game we will be pressed upon by opponents as we fight to not just sustain our empire but to grow it beyond our initial set boundaries.

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:

Based on the little experience that I have with this game, this time I have to try something different. Maybe forging alliances and be willing to trade more tech than before. In any case, I’m really looking forward destr– I mean playing with other avid players. Maybe cooperating with others will allow me a better start.

GideonKain said:

Last time I played, I was too quick to expand without protecting my newly gained assets. This time I will concentrate on bolstering my defenses and ensure that what I capture, I keep.

Lessons Learned


MkaY and GideonKain have entered into an agreement wherein MkaY will develop Terraforming technology and GideonKain will develop Hyperspace jump technology and then trade it to more quickly develop their respective empires

Remember: Trading technology allows two empires to benefit from each other…if they each keep their word.

Day 2 – Stardate: 4813.02

Wisdom of the Stars

“The first steps in any endeavor are always the most important because with each decision made the ultimate set of total possible outcomes diminishes.”
– Emperor Xena’brax LXVII

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:Day-one-MkaY

In this game, people are trying to secure their future development and secure their nearby borders as soon as possible. I’ve also done the same and put heavy emphasis on trade like many others it seem. One observation currently that I’ve made is that in the early games, people tend to leave one close neighbor with whom with they not send messages. That is the direction they’re going and I also already see who my real enemy is.


GideonKain said:

I’ve decided to concentrate first on developing technology. Rapid expansion can quickly leave you spread too thin.

A friendly observation or a thinly veiled threat?

I have already received no less than four offers from other players to ally and trade. Several of them note that it would behoove me to accept their offer due to our close proximity.  A friendly observation or a thinly veiled threat? I also received the opposite justification where a distant player suggested we coordinate since we are not in immediate risk of conflict. I find it very interesting that being close and being far can both be justifications for peace.

Lessons Learned


By setting each star’s garrison size to at least 1 ship this allows a player to avoid the unfortunate situation I fell prey to last game. Often times an opponent will send a Super Carrier with just one ship to steal away stars that haven’t been properly defended. In the example to the left my massive fleet of over 1000 ships is hurtling through the cosmos away from a recently captured world unable to assist it all because I didn’t set the garrison size.

Remember: Always leave a man behind…wait, what?

Day 3 – Stardate: 4813.03

Wisdom of the Stars

 “Sadly, the word friend is sometimes just a shorthand for: someone that does what you want them to do, when you want them to do it. ”
– Admiral Milton O’Shea, 113th Armada, Stellar Defense Leauge

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:

People will quite easily get together for the possibility to rapidly expand their territories. Or at least, currently it seems to be like that.

The latest agreement has been an agreement of not two, but four players! This kind of gang mentality will take out the enemy next to me and my only waypoint to the bigger galaxy: fox65.


GideonKain said:

Well that escalated quickly. I already have found myself breaking promises I made to allies all for the sake of maneuvering myself into the most comfortable position I am afforded. As it stands, I plan to trade technology with fox65 and then immediately use that in conjunction with other allies surrounding to make incursions into his space.

Day 4 – Stardate: 4813.04

Wisdom of the Stars

 “Speak softly and carry a big stick”
-Unknown politician from long lost Sol system

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:

What a great trade run. Now that trading went exactly like I wanted, I have the most advanced technological frontier in the galaxy. However that isn’t a big merit considering that anything for anything with tier 2 technology.


I also notice that without hyperspace range 3 there is no route to my galaxy and even with that, only one star. This basically makes it a bastion of defense for me. On the other hand, they know where I’m coming from…

I have found myself in a tight spot.

Other players are rapidly advancing outward while I am confined to a section of relatively isolated space. Luckily, the way the game seems to work is the more distant the star the higher it’s initial resources. I have been trading for technology and now have Level 2 of all Tech excluding Weapons which I am bartering for now. I acquired Terraforming through a heated negotiation with MkaY.


Day 5 – Stardate: 4813.05

Wisdom of the Stars

 “Let the chips fall where they may.” -American Idiom

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:

I’ve sent my ships, but had to alter the routes a bit so I don’t hit the heaviest fortification that fox65 pretty much knew that the attack will eventually come from that direction. Let’s see how it goes. It unnerves me that some of the allies have been awfully silent when asked about their situation…

day5_thebigpush-300x193GideonKain said:

My ships are off, there is no turning back now.

To better coordinate our impending and hopefully secret advance on fox65‘s empire I setup a countdown clock to better coordinate the (potential) four attackers. Hopefully they all keep their word.

The Fall of Light Blue – Invasion Countdown Clock

Day 6 – Stardate: 4813.06

Wisdom of the Stars

 “Loose lips sink ships” – World War 2 propoganda

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:

Oh my. Something is not right as I see one of GideonKain’s star belonging to another player. We were betrayed and my ships we’re still on the way. The consipariton against others seemed to backfire which not only did reveal our plans but delivered the opportunity for others to use those plans to their advantage.

GideonKain said:

I awoke to find my empire in flames.


All our carefully laid plans were for naught. Joan of Arc  was feeding our intentions to fox65 the entire time. I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘betrayal’ but it was a devastating use of information we thought was confidential.

Our other ‘ally’ Migori made no action whatsoever.


Joan of Arc sent hundreds of ships into my space using our own timetable against us. It was a well executed maneuver that will no doubt destroy my empire.


In hopes of surviving, I asked Joan of Arc to spare me. He was not open to negotiation. (in hindsight I could have grovelled more.)


I consolidated every ship I could muster to intercept his invading fleet, hundreds of ships perished in the ensuing battle but in the end he emerged victorious.


In a last ditch effort, I made contact with James T Kirk, asking him to attack Joan of Arc now as his southern border is now likely sparsely defended. James T Kirk asked smartly for resources in order to accomplish this and knowing that my empire was on the verge of inevitable collapse I capitulated.

Hopefully, James T Kirk will use these resources to strike at the heart of Joan of Arc‘s empire, though playing this game has taught me that my donation may just as likely be used to bolster their alliance.

Lessons Learned

You can never be sure of a person’s intentions unless you can be absolutely sure that they have more to lose by diverging from the path they said they would take.

Remember: Words are easy things to use and even easier to be used against you.

The Days that Followed…

Wisdom of the Stars

 “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended toby a bodyguard of lies.” – Winston Churchill

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:

Now look at that. Something that seemed to be a good idea backfired quite nastily. I did manage to grab a few stars from fox65 at first, but stretching my fleets so thin actually lost me those stars because I made the dire mistake of leaving too few troops for the most important stars.

With GideonKain gone and without any allies I could already see my end. My enemies however, had a flourishing trade between their nations so not only was I alone with my army, my technology level could not match others. When the attacks came, the outcome was no surprise.

Despite my efforts to regain the most important stars I had, my attacks were repelled time and time again. fox65 knew the value of that star so he made sure that I couldn’t regain it. So furious were my attempts that it eventually changed the star’s name to “I Will Survive”


Defeated, still loving the game, I reached out and decided to fight until the bitter end…

Closing Thoughts 

Wisdom of the Stars

“War Is Hell” – William Tecumseh Sherman

Astronomical Overview


Situation Analysis

MkaY said:
Ok, it isn’t the outcome we desired, but I loved every moment of it.

Now you would think that this kind of outcome would upset a player, but that is not the case. That is because Neptune’s Pride does something better than most board games or online strategy games. This game is injected with fun and social interaction with real players.

Like I said before, Neptune’s Pride is a very satisfying distraction that only takes a minute or two of your time everyday and can go on for weeks until finally one player’s wit and perseverance wins out and they are ultimately crowned the ruler of the conquered and subjugated galaxy. In truth, you can sometimes find yourself willingly stuck to your computer screen watching the time go by one second after another…

GideonKain said:

Every game I play a game of Neptune’s Pride , I become a better strategist. I can think more moves into the future, I can recognize trends and plots in their formative stages that would have previously gone unnoticed. The only major concern I have with my education in galactic conquest is that I’ve been perfecting my ability to lie ever more convincingly to people without flinching.

MkaY and I are currently embroiled in another battle that has gone far better thanks to the lessons we learned in this previous campaign.

At Cycle 30, with well over 10,000 ships per player and tech levels moving into double digits we currently find ourselves in a “mexican standoff” eyeing each other down, looking for any sign of weakness.

This is one of those games that I will find myself participating in for many years to come. It takes such little actual effort to play, just a few minutes per session, but I find my mind gravitating back towards it several times a day. I have woken up and walked directly to my computer to see how the machinations of the previous night have played out.

Neptune’s Pride really makes me feel like the ruler of a vast galactic empire. My first responsibility will always be to my people and I will do anything in my power to safeguard their future, even if I have to damn my soul in the process.

Additional Information

Play the free online board game that inspired this article.
Neptune’s Pride

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Eventually I did win a game of Neptune’s Pride, and it only nearly cost me my sanity.