This week you may notice an advertisement running in the Skyscraper spot alongside the comic– one featuring a few characters from Galaxion! This ad is for a free browser-based game called Star Pirates. The game is set in a future where the Earth has been destroyed and all that are left are space pirates, roaming the asteroids and struggling to survive. And dominate.

Star Pirates do the sorts of things you’d expect pirates to do– raiding, fighting, gambling, etc– but you also improve your ship with researching technology, you meet and hire crew, and you take on mining jobs. All the while you are gaining experience and credits as you try to save up enough credit to buy those fancy bigger ships.

When the folks at Snakehead games first contacted me to design an ad for them, I thought it would just be a job. But you know what? I played the game and quickly got addicted! I like that this game can be played in little quick bursts whenever I have a few moments. I can hop over and do a quick Salvage Foray, a bit of research to improve my ship, and maybe attack another pirate or two to gain experience and increase my stats. You deplete your fuel and energy (not to mention Hull Points, if you’re battling) with each action, and then you have to wait for these to replenish before you can do it again. For me, this is a good thing because it ensures I parcel out my playing in little coffee-break-style spurts instead of frittering away hours at a go (and we won’t talk about games that’ve caused me to do that!). Supposedly this makes it ideal for bored cubicle workers, but I work from home so I don’t get that bored. ;-)

But what makes the game really neat– and what’s got me really excited about promoting it– is the social aspect. Pirates can join up into fleets, and fleets can combine into armadas. Wouldn’t it be awesome to join a Galaxion-themed fleet, with our own little community there, where we can go a-plundering and conspire to take over the universe (or at least just have a nice chat over some virtual tea and cookies)? A number of other sci-fi webcomics have already done just this, and I gotta say, it sounds like a lot of fun. Pirate-y role-playing is encouraged, but totally optional.

So if you too think this sounds like fun, joining up is easy. Click on the ad, or else click this link here which will take you to our very own welcome page, where you can register to receive your invitation to join the Galaxion fleet! Or take a quick tour of the game first, and see what you think. Warning: surprisingly addictive! Did I mention it’s free? Oh, and one thing to know is, you will have to achieve a few levels (easy to do) before you are permitted to post in the general forums, but until then you can read what’s been posted by others, and there’s lots of good game play tips and advice to be found there.

One more thing I should mention– Star Pirates is a totally separate entity from the comic, and I have no control over the game or the fleet (though I will happily play along). The in-game “story”, such as it is, is very much a creation of the players (who are nearly 50,000 strong).