Tom Francis, author of the wonderfully funny essay chronicling his attempts to find love in MMOs, is back with a running diary of his attempts to take over a galaxy in Galactic Civilizations II. Now, Francis has done this once before, but now GalCiv II has gotten an expansion pack and is even bigger. And this time, he's going for dominance via peaceful tactics, not war. He's finding that a peace pledge is making things slow going indeed, but there's a certain je ne sais quoi about his descriptions. My favorite so far is his reaction to a more aggressive race trying to extort the planet 'Solidarity' from him:

Hello Korath, dead race walking. Remember what you said about us having no technologies to offer? I happen to know you have a cultural influence problem on your doorstep, and I also happen to be the sole proprietor of the most powerful cultural influence technology in existence. How much would you pay for that? Your entire treasury? That'll do. You don't know this yet, but you're about to find yourself at war with the biggest, fiercest creatures in the universe without a penny to pay for it. And you don't know this yet, but the money you just gave me was the last I needed to construct a Krynniac Conversion Centre outside your homeworld, a cultural broadcast station thirty-six times more powerful than the best one you could build. One so powerful that your entire home solar system will be officially in my territory. So no, you can't have Solidarity.

Francis is up to day 9; if the other diary is any indication, we should have another eleven days or so to look forward to. It's worth a peek on the weekdays just to see how things are developing — I laughed so hard I cried when I read the original installment. Galactic Civilizations Diary: We're up to Day 9 [PC Gamer blog]