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

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  #11  
Old April 8th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffr0:

I can 'see' the "MULE" game in my mind's eye fairly well. I think I can work up a prototype of that that even my wife and my office mates would play against me.
OK, work on those planetary rules!

I'm trying to get a picture of the interstellar rules. I think the difference between Tradewar and Real War is that, with RW, the worlds are owned by only one 'government', and production is based on the UWP, so to them, the "office" is implicit and uncontested insystem.

In Tradewar, it seems that many players can have an office (a conglomerate unit made up of the planetary MULEish units) on the same world.

If we push trade squadrons around the board, then there ought be only one squadron per trade route per player, to represent all trade between two systems. Also, the 'game economy' ought to be such that the player will only run trade routes between the best trade routes available.

Thus, a fledgling line will fool around with, say, up to four far traders operating on relatively boring routes, while an established line will manage, say, up to four trade squadrons operating in those coveted high-yield routes.

In other words, the operating cost dictates what the player will deploy. Bigger company = higher costs for all units. This may also make it easier for new players to 'jump in' to an established game, with fledgling lines of their own (just the kind of thing that Oberlindes did against other locals and megacorps).

This may also imply that there may be only four or five offices per player.

Something like that would manage complexity very nicely.

As for combat, I see (1) hired corsairs, (2) Q-ships, and (3) a security squadron, maybe.
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  #12  
Old April 8th, 2005, 10:12 AM
Jeffr0 Jeffr0 is offline
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>> Totally go sans predetermined routes.

The way I see it, the "routes" are there so the Beowulf captains will know to stay out of my way. If I'm CEO of Oberlinde, then I get to decide where the routes are! So there!

[img]smile.gif[/img]

But seriously if the routes are just going to overly restrict the tactical options, I say omit them. It might just feel like your trolling along on somebody else's notion of what the future economy would look like.

...

I have a preliminary sketch of the planetary rules. I call it "Mularkle."

It's a straight ahead point scoring game right now. It doesn't have the wild fluctuating supply and demand influenced values that made MULE so exciting, though.

(Of all the Traveller stuff I've seen, it's most closely akin to the solitaire Space Prospector game I think I saw somewhere.)

I think I've got a decent system for handling planetary terrain and allowing the player to 'manage' production.... I don't have a system worked out where the ships come and buy up the products. I couldn't come up with a way to simplify that. If something creative can be done to handle that, the game might get a savoury new dimension to it....

As simple as I've tried to make it, it still seems a little too complex to spring on a 'civilian.'
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  #13  
Old April 8th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Just an idea how to make the TW points system very simple...

Assign a value to each planet based on population (real population, not logarithmic), tech-level and trade class. All ship counters currently in the system will divide these points between them, with the largest ships getting the points first. (This rule is needed to force small lines from the main routes.) The maximum number of points a ship counter will get is equal to its cargo value.

If there is an office on the planet, the points are doubled. If there is a warehouse it is tripled, and if there is a factory, it is quintupled.

The points can then be used to buy new ships (or old ships), buy offices, warehouses, insurance, protection etc...

If a ship has been attacked, but not destroyd, then it will get no points. If the attacker stole the cargo, then the attacker can get points in another port. Pirats will appear randomly close to pirates havens, and on lesser trade routes...
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  #14  
Old April 8th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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OK, let me take that and twizzle it around a little. Just glancing at a subsector map, we've got a nice abstract bag of data. Can it be made relatively easy to estimate value?

Economic value of a system:

1 point if the pop > 8 (name is ALL CAPS)
1 point if the starport is A or B
1 point if there's a naval base
1 point if the Xboat route enters this world
1 point if the Xboat route leaves this world
1 point if there are no competing ships and no buildings (including yours!)

We could even add one point if there's water present, or if the mainworld is an asteroid, if we had to.

Now, what's the economic value in trade?

As BeRKA said, there are X points divided up between transport units, with remainders going to the largest ships. The amount shipped cannot exceed the carrying capacity of the transport used.

Note that the most useless systems are worth 1 point, if there's noone else there. This makes startups barely feasible -- we assume small initial successes.

Consider that Offices, Warehouses, and Factories might be scoring units rather than game-production units. In other words, their cost of operations balances out their turn-based value; i.e. they're capital. So at one level, the game requires the player to establish beachheads on target worlds, and expand to the point of crowding out the competition. The value of said buildings could be 1, 2, and 3 points, plus the economic value of the world they're based on.

On the other hand, what if ground-units actually cost 1 point per turn each? It would hurt to establish a new office, but it hurts less for big companies that can build offices in big markets, and even less for a big company that owns a world's market.

Which brings me to prices. How about the price of an Office be set equal to the economic value of the target system? So the cost of establishing an office on Regina is initially 5, but the next guy to establish an office there only spends 4, and the cost of a establishing an initial office on Treece is only 1. But then there's the upkeep costs to worry about...

The nice thing about having a (simple) upkeep cost is that it's a natural force to keep the number of units on the board down.

And yet... I've forgotten the transports themselves. Surely they need upkeep!

Could that be made random? A roll of 1 on d6 each turn requires one point per ship for upkeep? This could emulate a dip in the business cycle, where downgrades could occur as a result to a shift in the market customers. Marginal operations may be forced out naturally this way.

Is this too complex?
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  #15  
Old April 8th, 2005, 01:43 PM
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OK, I could add 1 point if TL = A+.

Also, I see I have to have some incentive to establishing offices. How about limiting the number of trader units to 1 + the number of offices established?

Finally, I'm thinking there could be 1 point per leg of the Xboat route connecting to a world. This makes worlds like Jae Tellona more valuable.


A start-up could be as simple as a tramp trader. For example, a Free Trader with range 1, capacity 2 (on the order of 100 tons cargo), working two worlds: Macene, with a value of 3 (Starport B, Tech E, Naval base) and Fulacin, with a value of 2 (Starport A, Tech A). This guy would make 2 points per turn, with no recurring costs (except for that pesky random ship overhaul). Here's the picture:

http://home.comcast.net/~downport/ru.../tradewar1.jpg

Now, supposing in three turns he earns 5 points -- enough to upgrade his Free Trader to a division of subsidized merchants. With a carrying capacity of 3, he can move his ship to a more lucrative route:

http://home.comcast.net/~downport/ru.../tradewar2.jpg

In three more turns, he earns perhaps 8 points, and upgrades again.

http://home.comcast.net/~downport/ru.../tradewar3.jpg

After a turn or two of this, the player can then establish an office, allowing him to buy another trader group.

You know, an office serves another purpose. It allows a player to create a trader group at that world. So this player could establish two offices: one at Macene (where he could build a Macene-Risek route and perhaps a Far Trader to open up new markets) and one at Jae Tellona (where he could operate the JT-Rhylanor route).
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  #16  
Old April 8th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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... and here's my roughed out sketch of how Mularkle might work.

Might could.

Might be a little silly, but I'm shooting for something my wife would even play with me. It's sort of a Yahtzee meets Settlers of Catan family game at this point....

http://jeffro.mindsay.com/?date=2005-04-08


Edit: That looks pretty cool, robject. I amazed at how fast an off hand remark I made is turning into a real game.
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  #17  
Old April 8th, 2005, 03:43 PM
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Sometimes all you need is a spark...

Actually, the concepts have recently been smouldering around another COTI concept: Sigg and Oz recently figured out how to convert Fifth Frontier War counters to High Guard and back. In other words, your suggestion was a smack-on-the-forehead natural extension of their work.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 05:06 PM
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Actually the larger the ship is the lower its defense value should be because it becomes a much easier target and one meson hit is all it takes to trash any battleship.
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  #19  
Old April 8th, 2005, 10:21 PM
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Which specific rule are you referring to? Single ships, I assume?
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Old April 9th, 2005, 12:47 AM
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That won't work, though, because it doesn't take into account the effect of small ships being hit by big meson weapons. The two effects tend to cancel each other out.

This idea sounds pretty good, just be careful that it doesn't become a Traveller version of Campaign for North Africa.
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