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Traveller Wargames Discussion of the various Traveller wargames and miniatures systems.

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Old August 28th, 2012, 12:48 PM
Aleem Vren Aleem Vren is offline
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Default [Imperium] Something I could use input on

Having gotten back into Traveller recently, I find that I'm also in the middle of an Imperium kick as well, thanks to some posts here and elsewhere. BTW, I am referring here to the original versions of Imperium by GDW/Conflict Games, not the more recent version published by Avalanche Press.

The original rules had some holes in them, gaps that I've been slowly able to fill over the past week or so thanks to some discussions I've read on the game around the net as well as some old articles I've managed to dig up. But one thing still eludes me; what is the correct initial set up restrictions for the Imperial Player for the First War scenario in regards to his initial outpost placement?

Does the Imperial player need to set up an unbroken chain of outposts leading back to one of his three starting worlds, or can there be empty systems in between? Marc Miller clarified the Imperial set up by stating in an article in Dragon Magazine #20 that the Imperial player cannot place a starting outpost on Procyon because they could not start with a tanker in Sirius, thus Procyon would not be 'connected'. Thus, it would seem that by connected, he means connected as per the Economic rules where the tanker rule he mentions is listed.

Now those rules state that the only thing that blocks connection between an outpost and a world are enemy starships other than tankers and transports. This would have a large effect on how the Imperium player can set up his initial province. Since the only Terran starhips on the map will be confined to the initial Terran systems, it leaves much of the map open for the Imperials to place outposts all over it.

But then, it would also mean that if, for example, a Terran player started out with all of his starships in the Sol hex, that then the Imperial player could place a starting outpost at Procyon, since the Imperial could then trace a route around Sol thorough Barnards Star, Proxima Centauri, and Junction, despite them being Terran outposts.

That seems odd to me, so I'm wondering if the above is indeed correct, or if someone has any information to the contrary to help clarify the matter.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 03:22 AM
sabredog sabredog is offline
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According to my original rules from the much-tattered game I have the outposts must be connected.

Placement is done this way (per the set up in the rules for The First War:

Imperial Player
1) place three world markers at Dingir, Gashidda, and Ishkur.
2) Place the 7 outpost marker to link all three worlds.
3) Now place the other three world markers in systems that will be connected to all the other worlds.
4)"Care must be taken that all Imperial outposts and worlds are connected."

As a result, the Imperial worlds and outposts are pretty much going to be limited to the Imperial edge of the board.


Terran Player
1) World markers at Sol, Alpha Centari A&B.
2) Outposts at Junstion, Barnard's Star, Proxima Centari
3) The Terran Player then has "3 Outpost markers to be used during play as the Terran Player sees fit".

The Terran Player sets up first, but is restricted by the rules to just the 6 systems listed in the set up.


The Imperial Player needs to link his worlds together with his outposts, so he will be restricted to the systems along his edge of the board. "Linking" would seem to imply that at least one outpost is between each world marker.

Neither player will be able to place an outpost or world marker on Procyon until game play begins using these set up rules.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 09:24 PM
Aleem Vren Aleem Vren is offline
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Yes, I've always played it as you say, and it does seem to me to be what was intended. The question came up when I was teaching the game to 4 different people over two weekends in our local gaming group. Two of the players tried to set up the game with the systems not being linked. They were confused by the phrase 'connected' thinking of the rules as written in the Economic phase where the only thing stopping systems from being connected were enemy starships. I was kind of stumped for an exact reply at the time, other than to say 'well, that's the way I've always done it!' Hence my search here and there to see if this has come up elsewhere at all.

I think if the rules had actually said linked, or said 'with no empty systems in between' it would have helped to clarify things. I wonder how many others over the years have read these rules differently? It's interesting to see how different people can interpret a set of rules or instructions. It's no wonder that writing rules or instructions can be such a pain in the neck.

Last edited by Aleem Vren; September 2nd, 2012 at 09:28 PM.. Reason: correction
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 11:25 PM
sabredog sabredog is offline
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I think other than the language the biggest problem was the lack of consistency between the original print and the re-release through Avalanche. I far preferred the original for its clean design and better-written rules, which was always a hallmark of GDW's wargames, with Imperium being one of the best they ever did.

But for the record, the original rules specify both that the Imperial worlds and outposts must be "linked", and state that they all have to be "connected".

Since the setup rules come after one has (hopefully, but not always the case when explaining the game to someone else) read the rules as they are laid out the reader already understands those linked and connected concepts as the game uses them. But I agree - something more explicit would have been good to have included in the set up rules just to make it perfectly clear. I never had any problems with anyone not understanding the rules as they are, but it might be a generational thing, too. Wargames like the old '70's SPI and Avalon Hill ones don't seem to be the norm anymore, and the current games seem a lot simpler and players more likely to try to find loopholes like they are playing an RPG instead of a wargame. Still, I envy you having opponents for Imperium - these days I don't know anyone who will sit still long enough to play it.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 02:12 AM
Shonner Shonner is offline
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I've had the game on one of my game tables all set up for play and waiting for me to one day re-write the game rules for the player action sequence onto one page. The original rules, as written, require the player to hunt around through paragraphs to find were the game rules are. I was never a fan of that writing style for games. Twilight Imperium 3rd edition did the same thing with their rules. Hide them.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 03:51 AM
sabredog sabredog is offline
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There are only about 15 pages of simple rules, not counting the CRT's and turn charts - how hard is it to read that and remember it? To me Imperium was (and still is) pretty beer & pretzel compared to Air War or Tobruk (and about on par with Rail Baron), and none of the rules in it were hidden to anyone I ever played it with.

I think the problem nowadays is just the short attention span of players.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 05:18 PM
Aleem Vren Aleem Vren is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
...I think the problem nowadays is just the short attention span of players.
This is indeed what I have found as well. Believe me, it has taken me a few years to get the group into playing more of the older wargames, or to even look AT a wargame for that matter, and I still wouldn't yet try out something really substantial like Tobruk as you mentioned. Man it's been a long time since I played that one!

It seems to me as well that back in the day, when I read the rules for the older games, that if I came across something that was unclear, I would just sit back and think what was intended and go with that. Now, it does seem that players are trying to find exploitable loopholes, like this whole thing on the Imperial placement. I also had to field questions on maintenance, do you have to pay maintenance on the first turn or not, and on the Imperial replacements, can the Imperial player place a ship lost in the first Terran turn to immediately appear as a reinforcement during his subsequent production phase? I don't recall having any of these questions when I played the game back in the day. Anyway, after posting hither and yon trying to find answers to their questions, I just passed the questions over to the Consolidated errata to see if they want to sort any of it out for a later addition, while in the meantime I'm just going to 'house rule' these questions with the way I've always played the game.

Anyway, the real satisfaction for me has been seeing how everyone has been enjoying playing this truly classic game, and as more games have been played, these original 'burning' questions have become less and less important. The only sad part is that we only have my one copy of the game at the moment, so they have been having to que to play so they can each continue their various campaigns. In fact, two of them are searching about trying to find a used copy available via EBay and the like. Pity that the last time we had a chance for a reprint it seems to have gotten rather badly handled by Avalanche, though I hear it is salvageable with some of the later rules Avalanche made available as well as some of the fix-it kits that are about. Still not really sure if it's worth bothering with though.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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I still have all my old SPI and Avalon Hill games - Tobruk and Air War (and its later add-on with the "XF-16" F-16 prototype) included. They were some of my favorites and still are. Those were the days.

Re: Imperium replacements. In addition to my heavily worn and falling apart original in their flattened and much-taped box, I also have the original rules and map on my Classic Traveller CD from FFE. I took the map to Kinkos and had them print out a full-sized copy for me a couple of years ago, along with a fresh set of counters I glued onto cardboard and cut out to replace the worn out old ones. You might want to look into something like that. Nowadays Kinkos will even do that for you over the net and mail you the new map and counters. And then you can print out a copy of the original rules for yourself to use as well.

I laminated my new map so it will stand up to more use (and spilled drinks). I might even do the same for Fifth Frontier War if I can find some players someday.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 06:16 PM
Aleem Vren Aleem Vren is offline
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Oh, excellent idea, thanks! Even better since my original copy is starting to get a bit rough around the edges.

I too remember those days of SPI and Avalon Hill. It was an AH game, France 1940, that first got me into wargaming. Then I couldn't get enough; even bought a strange ziplock bag game called Drang Nach Osten made by some crazy guys calling themselves the Game Designers Workshop. Still wish I'd hung on to that one instead of selling it many years ago.
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