Orders of Magnitude

Empire-building among the stars
mundungus
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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby mundungus » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:18 pm

cricket wrote:1) SDFs are needed to "control" a system, but cannot move on their own.

2) Fleets can move on their own, but cannot exert control over territory.

3) Bases are needed to build new units, but again, cannot move.

What power do SDFs have that allows them to control systems where fleets cannot? Is it that they contain surface armies? If so, does it make more sense to separate the armies from the ships, rather than armies-and-control-oriented-ships from non-control-oriented-ships?

Can you say more about why you believe supply and maintenance are essential? Are they worth the bookkeeping?

As envisioned, there's no bookkeeping... simply count your units and pay that much.


...but you have to do that every turn. This slows things down. Are there better ways to prevent turtling?

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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby mj12games » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:20 pm

mundungus wrote:What power do SDFs have that allows them to control systems where fleets cannot? Is it that they contain surface armies? If so, does it make more sense to separate the armies from the ships, rather than armies-and-control-oriented-ships from non-control-oriented-ships?

I envision SDFs as planetary forces as well as short-ranged space forces. I'm not sure I understand your choices: what are "non-control-oriented-ships"?

...but you have to do that every turn. This slows things down. Are there better ways to prevent turtling?

If there are, I'm listening.
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Enpeze
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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby Enpeze » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:46 pm

cricket wrote:One of the things I hate about empire-building games is waiting around for my turn... so it's really a personal preference rather than an objective "this is better than that".


One possible solution could be to let the players do their turns simultaneously without any specific order. This may sound a little bit chaotic, but I know with mature players it is not. If there is a disagreement between 2 players (eg two players refuses to make all or part of their navies before one of his enemies does it - eg. because they want to see how the enemies places their ships) a special player is the judge who decides which player has to begin to move.

This could be combined with some "hour glass" mechanic, where there is a limited amount of real time is available to move his ships.

While simulatenous strategic movement is AFAIK not the standard (it works with mature players very good - for our gaming group I invented a 4x game with such a movement mechanic in order to cut boring waiting time - but this was years ago), working against the clock is indeed. For example the adorable Space Hulk uses a clock for the marine player.

Another mechanic could be the following. Everybody moves his navies simulataneously in eg a 4 player game. After the 1st and 2nd players are finished with their move, they say so. After the 3rd player is finished he says so AND he turns an hour glass which initializes the time limit for the 4th player.

I know this is totally strange mechanic for the average wargamer but OTOH its cuts the waiting between the turns considerably. Of course there is an additional drawback: movement of navies AND combatphases has to be divided in 2 seperate phases and no pinning of fleets is possible. (because every movement is "simultaneous")

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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby mundungus » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:09 pm

cricket wrote:
mundungus wrote:What power do SDFs have that allows them to control systems where fleets cannot? Is it that they contain surface armies? If so, does it make more sense to separate the armies from the ships, rather than armies-and-control-oriented-ships from non-control-oriented-ships?

I envision SDFs as planetary forces as well as short-ranged space forces. I'm not sure I understand your choices: what are "non-control-oriented-ships"?

I guess it strikes me as odd that fleets can't control systems.

Maybe it's not worth distinguishing hyper-capable and non-hyper-capable fleets (at least not in the basic rules). Instead, allow each fleet to carry one army. On the planet's surface, armies fight each other the way fleets fight in space, except that:

1) An invasion can't begin if the defender has a fleet or base in the system.
2) Invading armies can't retreat.
3) Fleets can choose to be involved in the battle; they can retreat to deep space, remaining in the system but not taking part in the battle anymore.
4) Bases must be involved in the battle (because they're presumably in orbit).

So, something like:

Army: $1, fights on planet, can be carried
Fleet: $3, fights on planet or space (can retreat from surface battle), can move and carry one army
Base: $5, fights on planet or space, involved in production

Are there better ways to prevent turtling?
If there are, I'm listening.

One possibility is victory points that accumulate from turn to turn; everyone but the one currently gaining the most has a vested interest in disrupting the status quo.

Another is to make the game end when, after (say) three complete turns, no systems have changed hands. Ooh, I kinda like that...

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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby mj12games » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:13 pm

mundungus wrote:I guess it strikes me as odd that fleets can't control systems.

Why?

Think of SDFs (or armies, or corps, or whatever) as providing the necessary infrastructure to actually exploit a system's resources. Fleets can "control" in the sense that they can fight off potential rivals, but you still need the ground-pounders.

Maybe it's not worth distinguishing hyper-capable and non-hyper-capable fleets (at least not in the basic rules). Instead, allow each fleet to carry one army. On the planet's surface, armies fight each other the way fleets fight in space, except that:

I would REALLY prefer to avoid separate "space battle" and "planet battle" steps.
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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby mundungus » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:51 am

cricket wrote:Think of SDFs (or armies, or corps, or whatever) as providing the necessary infrastructure to actually exploit a system's resources. Fleets can "control" in the sense that they can fight off potential rivals, but you still need the ground-pounders.

Yeah, I can see that. I guess I'd thought of that infrastructure (and, indeed, some non-hyper-capable ships) as being part of a base.

That's why, in OoM:

Fleets move, fight, and hold systems for victory purposes
Bases fight, produce, and hold systems for either income or victory purposes

In production (or, more precisely, placement), each base can produce one ship. One base can be produced per occupied system.

What is gained from adding the portable SDFs? They certainly make things (a little bit) more complicated. Do they add some interesting new decisions, or is it just that having only two types of units feels too bland?

BTW, bland is not at all a bad thing in a campaign system. The Simplest Campaign System works extremely well (although of course it wouldn't work as a board game). Okay, we did spice it up with terrain, but that's all.

I would REALLY prefer to avoid separate "space battle" and "planet battle" steps.

Agreed -- this is, after all, a game about spaceships.

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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby mj12games » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:42 pm

Another reason I like the idea of a maintenance cost:

If players know their empires can only support X number of units, it makes the decision on what to build that much more important. For example, building another base not only costs more money, it also takes away the ability to support an additional fleet or army.
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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby Blacklancer99 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:01 pm

cricket wrote:Another reason I like the idea of a maintenance cost:

If players know their empires can only support X number of units, it makes the decision on what to build that much more important. For example, building another base not only costs more money, it also takes away the ability to support an additional fleet or army.


I think that maintenance cost are a good thing too. I think in a "conquer the galaxy" game, some logistics/supply rules are also a good thing as there is a time honored tradition in science fiction of flanking a fleet, cutting its supply lines, and forcing it to a halt or possibly even turning it back. Basic book-keeping for such things doesn't make a ridiculous amount of paperwork in a strategic level game and increases the decision making which is what such a game should be all about anyway.
Erik
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
Mark Twain.

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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby mj12games » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:15 pm

Blacklancer99 wrote:I think in a "conquer the galaxy" game, some logistics/supply rules are also a good thing as there is a time honored tradition in science fiction of flanking a fleet, cutting its supply lines, and forcing it to a halt or possibly even turning it back. Basic book-keeping for such things doesn't make a ridiculous amount of paperwork in a strategic level game and increases the decision making which is what such a game should be all about anyway.

A thought: Maintenance cost is doubled for any units not in the same sector as, or in a sector adjacent to, a friendly base.
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Re: Orders of Magnitude

Postby Enpeze » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:25 pm

I am not fond of paperworking. I would prefer not to write even a single note on paper in SS. Keep it simple.
OTOH I would love to see a way how to circumvent the trap of amassing more and stacks of ships. In MOO2 they had a base ship limit to prevent this. Eg. a base "delivered" so and so many ship command points. If you build x bases then you have y CPs. Each ship need not only production points, it needed also a fixed amount of CPs if you want to operate it. This lead in a very simple and elegant way to hinder a player to amass a ridicolous amount of ships, only because he has the production capacity for it.

Possibly in SS one could have a similar system. eg. 1 base provide the right for producing 1 or 2 fleets (or so). The amount of bases could be limited either to a hard number of 10? or it could be dependent on the amount of specific solar systems. (bases can only be built in sun or colony type A-C) Thinkable is also a type of "elite" or "command fleet" which is independent and dont need any bases but each race only has 1.


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