Hey all, it's Sadira here again and I am sitting with Starsfan, current leader of Hipmunks and with a promise of some cookies, he has agreed to sit down and chat with me awhile.

Sadira: Starsfan, how long have you played Utopia?

Starsfan: I played from around age 10 to age 25 or so, took a very long break, and now I'm back! I've played consistently since age 65 in my second run at the game.

Sadira: How did you get into Utopia?

Starsfan: Oh man you are really testing my memory, and right at the start of the interview too. I think I just saw some kids playing it back in school in the school library.. back when everyone would just hang out at the computers during lunch time. It took me a while to figure out how to find the game they were playing, but Iíve been hooked ever since I had the good fortune of getting involved with kingdoms that really emphasized social interaction from the very first times I played the game, which is what really got me involved with the community and has made my time playing this game a real pleasure.

Sadira: Do you play other games as well? What games?

Starsfan: No to be honest I don't play a lot of other games at all. I've been trying to get into stuff like DOTA2 and civilization during this recent time of isolation, but games don't tend to capture my attention for too long. Utopia is unique in that regard.

Sadira: I think of all the people I have spoken to; you are the first to say that you really don't play any other game. Do you feel the social aspect of Utopia is what is the biggest draw for you?

Starsfan: Definitely. In my time playing utopia Iíve never been the most active or technically proficient player in game. I've always been more of a presence in the discord than in game, as my KD mates can attest to whenever they take my account and note my pathetic daily bonus activity totals.

Sadira: Does your significant other hate that you play utopia? Have you tried to get them into playing?

Starsfan: Haha well I am currently single so that's not an issue for me! I've never managed to recruit a partner into playing the game, but I have managed to rope in some people from work and friends in the past.

Sadira: Oooo you heard it here people, Starsfan is single and I heard from a reliable source that he is super cute.

Starsfan: Well I'll have you know that Caff has first dibs on my hand in marriage, sorry to disappoint!

Sadira: Fair enough. Would you like to give a shout out to any past kingdoms you have played for?

Starsfan: Well I have to mention my previous home Sprinkles, which is easily the KD Iíve played the longest for in any of my time in the game. The atmosphere in Sprinkles and later the Sprinkles / Bravehearts KD merger is kind of the template that Iíve taken forward as a kingdom monarch and come to think of as the ideal in utopia

Sadira: Who do you feel you learned the most about this game from?

Starsfan: This is actually an interesting question, I feel like I've learned the most about the technical side of executing a war strategy, and how to build a province from my time playing in "ghettos" (what I would call new kingdoms) when I first came back to the game in ages 65-70 or so. Not necessarily from any particular person in those KDs, but just from observing what the successful KDs did differently than us when we encountered them in war. One of the nice things about this game is that people are usually really happy to help new players out and you can get a lot of great advice just by asking in game. As for learning about the best way to build a team and bring everyone together to accomplish an objective, the Sprinkles leadership team of Caff, QueenMab, Leet, Hotspur, and Sjippe have been my biggest mentors and influences

Sadira: How long have you played in your current kingdom and when did you take the reins?

Starsfan: This is my 4th age playing with the Hipmunks, I was invited into the KD by Caff back in November of 2019 and I was helping out with war leadership duties about half way through my first age. I transitioned into the monarch chair in my 2nd age with the KD, and I've been leading since.

Sadira: How would you describe your kingdom and kd mates?

Starsfan: They are the most knowledgeable and committed KD i have had the pleasure of being a part of, they make my job so easy On a personal level it's a great collection of guys and gals, the sort of people I will be connected with long after my time playing this game is over.

Sadira: The past year has seen Hipmunks come back from hiatus and become a force to be reckoned with. To what do you attribute the success of the kingdom to?

Starsfan: I would say that the strength of the kingdom is what in business you would call the institutional resources and knowledge which are possessed by the members of the kingdom. I would say that the ratio of former monarchs and war leaders that Hipmunks possesses is arguably the highest of any kingdom that I am aware of in the game, so we have amazing support for when people are unavailable or need to step back from the game for a weekend. There are not many kingdoms out there which can enter into a week long war and not have to impose on any one person to run more than a couple of waves during that time, not many kingdoms that can draw on the informed opinions and experience of so many talented leaders. I have seen people joke about how more than half of our KD is in the leadership channel... it's not far off from the truth, and it's a real blessing.

Sadira: Does your kingdom have a particular goal in mind each age?

Starsfan: The large majority of players in Hipmunks prefer to play an active warring style, where we seek to war as much as we can, and fight the best kingdoms in the game as the wars come available. We have had in my time with the KD more "serious" ages and more "casual" ages, but that mostly relates to the setup of the kingdom to start the age. I believe it would be correct to say that our high finishing positions in the charts have been late age developments in the time that I have played here - attributable to 2nd half of the age string of war victories. We have not actively competed for the land or NW crowns during my time with the KD.

Sadira: Do you have a particular race combo that you love and find yourself always wanting to play?

Starsfan: I do not have any preference when it comes to role in the kingdom, I usually fill in and do whatever spot I am assigned or whatever role nobody else in the kingdom wants. I am a fairly regular cleric ever since they put that blasted ability to cast self-spells on your team mates in the game.

Sadira: Do you have any suggestions to potential new players or existing players that might find themselves lost?

Starsfan: I would recommend finding a kingdom where the leadership has the mindset of a teacher and will actively support your entry into the game and your learning. This is a great game, there's nothing else that I have found which is comparable to it! What I see a lot of times though is that leadership can be very dogmatic and have very little energy to help players integrate into the game successfully. I don't blame those people because I know from experience that they often have very little support from the rest of their KDs and just organizing people to be successful by yourself can be tremendously challenging even when the people in the KD are experienced players. There are KDs out there which are better options for new players than the one you might randomly get placed into however, so I recommend looking for a KD with an active chat and players who you feel comfortable chatting to and express a willingness to help you out! That was my great luck in finding sprinkles, and once you find a KD like that you will stick there!

Sadira: If you could go back in time and give the 'newb' you one piece of advice, what would it be?

Starsfan: "Don't fall out of the game, you'll miss out on so much!" I really regret those years I took off during university and my early career, i lost touch with so many of my friends from back then and i wish i could have those years back.

Sadira: Describe any funny or peculiar incidents that made you either laugh until your sides hurt or had you wanting to throw your computer/phone out the window.

Starsfan: Well I recruited my co-worker Darren to play the game (known as Subcurse to my friends in Sprinkles) and Leet was grilling him about his province in the general chat while we were both at work. I kind of forced Darren to type something not very kind to Leet (an expression that may come to your mind from time to time) and Leet was so shocked at the timid new guy doing this in front of the whole KD on his first day that he didn't know what to say and was completely disarmed.. I think he was the monarch at the time too. People still bring that up from time to time as being one of the funniest things that has happened in chat that they've witnessed. Poor Subcurse was traumatized out of the incident and never let me get control of his phone again.

Sadira: -=chuckles=- I bet. If you could sit down and have a drink with DavidC, what would you be drinking and what suggestions would you like to mention?

Starsfan: Well I am 2 years sober and I'm trying to watch what I ingest for my health so unfortunately it would be carbonated water for me! I think he would be a fascinating guy to talk to, I would really chat more about our shared history in the game (me and him were in competing KDs way back when as I seem to recall) and the behind the scenes stuff. If I did have a suggestion it would be that he should listen to my good buddy Hex more.

Sadira: Kudo's to your sobriety. Bonus question: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Starsfan: Oh man now you're going to give my KD mates ammunition for not being able to respond with the correct answer in reference to that movie
i just watched holy grail not too long ago too for shame.

Sadira: Do I need to toss you off the bridge?

Starsfan: Yeah i think that would be for the best.

Sadira: Anything you would like to add or any shout outs to any players?

Starsfan: Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview me, I have always found it really enjoyable to read about the experiences of other people playing the game and I think it's an excellent thing that you are continuing this tradition of raising awareness of the members of this great community we have. I've already given some recognition to my friends from Sprinkles and Bravehearts, a bunch of whom I still get the pleasure of leading and playing with every day in Hipmunks! (Hi there Moneyman, Hotspur, Rommelus, Orek, and Logan!) Along with Caff and Mab and Sjippe these are the people that have been there every day with me for years now I am also so grateful to the Hipmunks leadership at the time I joined the kingdom for making me feel at home and putting their trust in me to run the kingdom. Much appreciation to Dowla, Swagger, Peetah, Vengeance, Dax, Tadpole, Hex, Pigggggg, Child, Popcorn, Fearless, and the rest of the Hipmunks crew... I told you we had a giant leadership team didn't I? hope I didn't forget anyone. I forgot someone lol...insert Swagger.

Sadira: Ahhh Swagger. Can't forget the mane

Starsfan: Yeah, he would give me some **** if that went out without me catching it lol Honestly, Iím still not sure that's all of them

Sadira: Thank you for taking the time out to chat with me and letting the Utopian Community get to know you. I wish Hipmunks luck this age.

Starsfan: Thank you very much Sadira it was a pleasure; we hope to meet everyone reading in war some day! look for us on the battlefield

Sadira: Absolutely!!