Started planets in the mid-90s on a FidoNet mailbox. I learnt to play on the Fascists, but my first game against real players was with the Feds. It did work quite well, but I suppose the other players spared me (I was only eleven at the time). My lack in strategy, experience and patience could be levelled by the will to know every rule, trick and statistics. But that can't have worked too good, because so many things were new to me when I found NU. Although I have tried all races, the Klingons still remain my favourite - maybe the Deth Specula from Star Trek IV made a big impression.
Bird of Prey picture stolen from here. Search the planets.NU forums with a Search Plugin.