The Trillion Credit Squadron campaign would not have been possible without the players. They all put a tremendous amount of work and creativity into the game. They designed the worlds, and they created the gloriously paranoid and Machiavellian environment that is unveiled in these pages...
Alistair Sheridan [President David Innes of the Federation of Sansterre]
Alistair was very quiet for most of the game. His usual strategy is to stay out of trouble and avoid making enemies until the game is almost over. He then weighs in on the winning side. This strategy failed spectacularly in TCS. I think he was fooled into bank-rolling Leigh's plans to build an invincible fleet. Few of his fellow players were fooled though - most came to the conclusion that if they wanted to take down New Home, then Sansterre would have to go too.
Dave Prince ['The Thatcher' of Esperanza]
As the absolute ruler of the Clusters' most populous world (Esperanza), Dave was always the man to beat. His fleet was equal to two or three of his rivals'. He was almost guaranteed to be the number one villain, whatever he did. Perhaps he could have played his cards more diplomatically, or perhaps he should have been more aggressively militaristic... you decide.
Jean Paul Tolley [Emperor Jean Richelieu of Amondiage]
Jean Paul played one of the Clusters' two 'charismatic dictators'. His people loved him, almost regardless of what he did. Unfortunately he's got his maths wrong when he designed his fleet, so he struggled to balance the budget for the first few months of the campaign.
Leigh Bethell [King John of New Home]
Leigh bravely chose to play the King of New Home - the Clusters' smallest yet most technologically advanced world. He could only afford a tiny fleet, not worth half those of his near neighbours. But what he lacked in numbers, he more than made up for in meticulous planning and devious diplomacy.
Matt Fitzgerald [L'Empreur Jean Pallois of Joyeuse]
Matt's character, the Empreur Pallois was never quite as popular as he imagined he should be. He did all the things any good left-of-centre dictator should do, but still his people refused to love him. Life's a bitch, but you can always send in the riot police.
Simon Billows [Commissar Karl Hoganstein of the People's Republic of Neubayern]
Simon decided to buck the trend and play the charismatic leader of a revolutionary communist republic. Surrounded by bourgeois imperialist regimes, he vowed to free the oppressed workers of the Clusters. Simon used computer simulations to hone his naval design, and the effort paid off. His formidable fleet helped him make friends, despite political differences.
Stephen Deas [Lord Soth, Chairman of the Board of the Serendip Belt Corporation]
Steve approached the game with a sort of morbid glee. Serendip Belt's fleet is lead by a collection of uniquely amoral Admirals. Its government is a ghastly corporate state. Steve singlehandedly defined the tone of the game, by inventing the devastating 'planetbuster' weapon. The threat from these weapons, and diplomatic efforts to ban them dominated the campaign right from the start.
Tony Jones [King Magnus VII of New Colchis]
Tony created the most imaginative and idiosyncratic of the Clusters' governments. King Magnus rules a xenophobic world, united by its strange spiritual religion. His people believe that he is the sixth reincarnation of the original Magnus, and therefore possesses centuries of accumulated knowledge. Perhaps he lost a marble or too along the way...
The game became so popular that some of our other friends asked whether they could take part. I managed to find a few small roles for them:
Andrew Miles ['Espionage Referee']
Poor Andrew. At first he agreed to play Esperanza. But I think he lost his bottle when he realised just how much work was needed to design a good Fleet. His Government of Esperanza - the "Cromwell" and his New Puritan Movement - remain as part of the official history. This cruel and repressive regime was overthrown by an even worse one, when Dave Prince's "The Thatcher" took over.
Later, Andrew foolishly agreed to referee the espionage part of the game. Unfortunately he still didn't really have any time to contribute, much to the frustration of players who had spent a lot of their budget on espionage. Ah well. He stayed in touch with the game and enjoyed it vicariously.
Dominic Tolley [The Hiver Trading Mission]
Jean Paul's brother Dominic contributed in two ways. Firstly he put together the excellent "Clusters' Sport" newspaper. Secondly he commanded a Hiver trade mission that came to the Clusters in the dying weeks of 5627 AD. They're a funny old lot those Hivers...
Harvey Maycock [Jim Bond]
After the emergence of 'Sid Terrorist', many worlds saw the need to engage highly skilled independent minded intelligence operatives. Harvey created the character of Jim Bond - agent of New Colchis. His unorthodox methods proved highly effective. And profitable, as I recall.
Pete Moore [Enthusiastic observer]
I don't think Pete ever had a formal role in the game. He threatened to play Elysée once or twice, but never really got round to it. Nevertheless, he enjoyed listening to the players' schemes, and we enjoyed gloating to him about our secret plans.
Quinton Carroll [Captain Kuryakin of the Imperial Scout Service]
Early on in the game, Matt (Joyeuse) despatched a delegation to the Third Imperium. His aim was to re-establish diplomatic relation with the huge interstellar government beyond the Clusters. The Imperium's response was to send a contact unit, commanded by Captain Katya Kuryakin. Poor Katya could do little but wring her hands as the 'barbarians' fought their inevitable war.
Tony Mitton [Former player of Serendip Belt]
Tony was another early drop out. He originally agreed to play Serendip Belt, but had second thoughts once he saw how much work it was. It was he who co-opted Steve to contribute. Originally Steve was going to design the fleets and leave Tony to deal with the espionage, but before long Steve was left in absolute control.
No list of contributors would be complete without 'TCS Widows' Club'. How ever did they put up with our constant obsession with the game?
Hilde Liesens [My beautiful wife]
Hilde was largely cushioned from the full horror of the game by her distance. For most of the time she was at university in Belgium, so she didn't have to put up with our inane gibberings too much.
Ginni Rose (now Carroll) [Quinton's beleaguered fiancée]
Ginni doesn't tolerate nonsense. Yet night after night we would invade her flat. Eat her food and talk about our game until the wee small hours. She was really very tolerant. Especially when we stole Quinton and gave him a role in the game. Thanks again Ginni for being so cool!
Jane Croft (now Mitton) [Ginni's generous flatmate]
Jane made us dinner. A lot. What a heroine!
Jenny Cubbage (now Prince) [Dave's lovely girlfriend]
One of the largest space battles was played out in Dave's room at college. The final weekend extravaganza was played out in Dave's house in Cambridge. Jenny didn't seem to mind us stealing her boyfriend away. Thanks Jenny!
Alex Tingle [the referee, me!]
I'm not thanking myself, but I thought this list of contributors wouldn't be complete without my name. I hugely enjoyed running TCS. Thank you to everyone for taking part in my stupid game!