VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

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Re: VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

Postby Emiricol » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:54 am

Pretty please, if you bring back Civilian Fleets make them optional rules. I much prefer the recent, more "organic" approach to such fleets.

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Re: VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:20 pm

Re Stealth and Detection

Great thoughts, countercheck.
  • No Contact is a good name to replace the No Detection result and is a better way of describing the fact that you know something is in the system but can't quite tell how many units are really there.
  • I think having a bonus for previously detecting a fleet in the system is an excellent idea. I'd be tempted to make the bonus scale against the previous level of detection on the previous turn, with a +1 for limited, +2 for significant, and +3 for complete.
  • Point well taken on the potential for abuse from players building massive Stealth dumps to obscure the rest of their force. I think your solution to have Stealth obscure Command Cost for detection purposes might be the way to go, but I'm a bit fuzzy on whether or not that opens more doors for abuse or unexpected consequences.

    I have a feeling that we might have to have the Scout/Stealth interact be a two-sided component with the first giving modifiers to detection, and the second being the obscuring of individual units after detection. I can see an opponent being able to detect the least stealthy units in an enemy fleet first in preference to those with more comprehensive Stealth-to-Command Cost ratios.

    I'll have to think on all of these points this weekend and come back with some revisions to see how things pan out. There are avenues to explore here, but some of the obvious ones seem to make the detection rules much more involved than they should be. But that has been a continual problem with the Scout/Stealth interaction and trying to get it to work in a consistent way.

Re Civilian fleets

The high costs of civilian fleets in their current incarnation required to balance out their effects, such as in the case of colony fleets. But Emiricol's strong objection is probably a good reason to keep civilian fleets back to being optional rules for utilitarian units that can be hired by empires in situations where they don't have other units to do the same job.

If the concept was rolled back entirely to being strictly civilian transport fleets, they should probably cost 1 EP per turn (very high) and then the purchase cost could be reduced or even eliminated. The transport fleet could then be bestowed with the Cargo and Construction duoply of abilities and the other conceptual civilian fleet types and abilities removed (perhaps to be revisited for mercenary bands or corporate interests).

Scout fleets could probably get folded into Intel, with a new Intel mission for scouting jumplines by covertly supporting wildcat explorers, or into Tech, representing funding for scientific investigation.


The exploration intel option I had before was one that gave you a cumulative +1 to exploration rolls. This was done because otherwise having a mission that could successfully explore a lane would have to cost a lot to keep it from being the default solution. A better option might be a low cost mission (2 difficulty, 10 IP) that gives the +1 to future rolls, but then also lets you have one exploration roll for that lane. That would balance out over time but still keep dedicated explorers as the better option in most cases (unless you have intel points to burn).

The second part of your question just gave me an idea. Historically, the way VBAM handled tech espionage really just didn't work well at all because it was not generally all that useful from a cost/benefit perspective. But the Espionage: Tech mission could be changed so that it doesn't give you tech points (because that breaks the economics) but it could increase your tech capacity. The amount of tech capacity increase would be target system TL / empire TL x utilized Research infrastructure. This bonus would give the empire the ability to fund more research on the next turn. So running one against your own colonies isn't going to be very useful, but if you're a TL 1 power poking around a TL 12 power's labs where they have 4 Research, you'd come away with a 12/1 x 4 = +48 research capacity bonus on the next turn. That allows the mission to balance a bit better than it has in the past.

Which brings me to another thought. Is there a way to suborn pirates? Use an intel mission to bribe them to join your faction?


There has been in the past, but I didn't add the rule back into the book. There were rules before for buying off pirates so that they would fight for you for an allotted time period. Tying it to a intel mission is different, though, and would probably be difficult to quantify in those terms. But it'd be doable. I'll investigate it. Probably tie the mission difficulty to the pirate's maintenance cost, and then have the player pay twice that to maintain them. The pirate force then receives that money to pay maintenance, repairs, and buy new units from the black market.
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Re: VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

Postby countercheck » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:30 am

I suppose you could get around the stealth problem by increasing both the cost and the effectiveness of Stealth, and treat it more like defensive EW. If it takes up enough room, it can only be mounted in larger ships, which take up more shipyard capacity and can't be built or prototyped as quickly or cheaply. It'll need to be deployed more carefully, and it'll be easier for an enemy to bring it into a combat encounter. The encounter system seriously privileges combat units being built large and support units being distributed into a network of small ships.

It needn't be as complicated as all that. If Stealth obscures units, just have each side total the CC of their fleet, halving the CC of units with Stealth, and omitting those with Improved Stealth altogether (I'm assuming stealthy will be priced like Atmospheric, so it's only really effective on smaller warships). Divide by 10, round down, and send that number to the other player as a modifier. It'll give the opponent an idea as to the minimum number of ships in the fleet, but since there could be up to twice as many Stealthed CCs, and an infinite number of ships with Improved Stealth, the intel it gives isn't really actionable. If you include my suggestion that players can choose to go active or lie doggo to further manipulate detection modifiers, then the information is even less useful... learning that your enemy gave you a detection modifier of +0 could mean there are up to 9 CCs of unstealthed ships, 19 CCs of unstealthed ships running silent, 18 CCs of stealthed ships, or even 38 CCs of stealthed ships running silent. It runs the range from a single scout to a small stealthy task group, and that's just at +0. Then, after the detector rolls, they tell the detected player what percentage of the fleet needs to be revealed. The Detected player sends the list of ships back, starting with the largest, least stealthy, moving down to the smallest, most stealthy.

There IS a fair bit of back and forth in this... but Detection rules and efficient e-mail play rarely go together. And it's not actually worse than the previous system. This also creates specific detection based break-points for fleet design. I don't know if that's a problem. Actually, using fleet size as the base chance for detection might also deter people from filling fleets with old style Stealth dumps. If you can only fit 1 level of stealth in a 1CC ship, you just break even.


I really like the idea of paying 1EP to shift 1 unit/Census. If you wanted to be punitive, you could declare that an empire's civilian traffic is equivalent to the number of Starports they have. If you ship more units than you have starports, you start eating into domestic traffic and prices rise as you disrupt trade, doubling the cost to 2EPs.

I also really like the idea of an Intel mission that gives a +1 to exploring a jump lane and/or gives you an exploration roll. First, it's another use for Intel, and second, it means an empire can still expand without proper scout units, but it's expensive enough to make it worthwhile to invest in scouts.

Is running out of Tech capacity generally a problem? I suppose it would allow a one time dump into tech that could let you jump ahead, but I figured there's always some way to use those EPs =P You could also use a similar system for modelling tech transfer between allies.

Re: Pirates, I was thinking they could just be folded into the armed forces of the empire. If, say, you launch an intel mission against a pirate unit sufficient to destroy it, you can pay a surcharge, and add it to your fleet instead. Bribing bandits and pirates to join an empire's military is a time honored tactic - I'm thinking about the Romans and all their Goth mercenaries, who were basically bribed to work for Rome rather than looting it.. I just wonder if some players might cultivate piracy in portions of their empire as a recruiting ground for pirates... and if that is a bad thing =)

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Re: VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:27 pm

One of the great problems with Stealth is that it is a flat 2 MU per point of Stealth, so that ships can be more stealthy than others and it can scale against an opponent's Scout value that also improves at the same rate. The more I look at things the more I'm thinking that it might be easier for everyone to have the concealed movement rules handle the possibility of going without detection, and then defer the Scout and Stealth bonuses to situational bonuses on a per-scenario bonus based on the amount of Scout/Stealth in a task force. It might require reworking the Fast modifier, but I could see a task force receiving +1 Advantage per 5 Scout value and Stealth reducing the opponent's Advantages at a rate of -1 per 5.

I'll try it out a few different ways and see what ends up working the best. I've also noticed a few other encounter-related changes I want to make, namely increasing scenario length a bit to reign in the number of very short scenarios that seem to be cropping up, as well as to make the Deep Space scenarios more attractive.

I really like the idea of paying 1EP to shift 1 unit/Census. If you wanted to be punitive, you could declare that an empire's civilian traffic is equivalent to the number of Starports they have. If you ship more units than you have starports, you start eating into domestic traffic and prices rise as you disrupt trade, doubling the cost to 2EPs.


Census still can't be moved (you have to decrease population to convert them back into population points, then purchase a new population increase elsewhere), but the point still stands that it gives players an option for moving their ground forces or flights to adjacent systems without having to us their own military freighters.

I do like the idea of Starports giving a bonus of civilian fleets. Maybe civilian shipping costs are halved in systems that contain Starports? That way you could move 5 CC of units for 3 EP instead of 5 EP. Helps defray the cost of the Starport a bit.

I also really like the idea of an Intel mission that gives a +1 to exploring a jump lane and/or gives you an exploration roll. First, it's another use for Intel, and second, it means an empire can still expand without proper scout units, but it's expensive enough to make it worthwhile to invest in scouts.


I'm finding that cheap throwaway frigates with FTL make decent scouts early on. It's very slow going to be sure, and you do end up losing quite a few of them, but it works if you don't have enough scout cruisers available to keep exploring. Using intel to get a scout bonus also will be beneficial to empires that receive special modifiers from government/social traits that give them bonuses to their intel missions.

Is running out of Tech capacity generally a problem? I suppose it would allow a one time dump into tech that could let you jump ahead, but I figured there's always some way to use those EPs =P You could also use a similar system for modelling tech transfer between allies.


The way I rebalanced the tech system is that with full Research utilization you can at most get +1 TL per 10 turns (1 campaign year). This lines up beautifully with how things were in 1E while preventing the "last turn tech point dump" that we ran into there. Empires that are still expanding at a rapid pace probably won't have full Research utilization and will tech at a slower rate, but that's not a problem because it's probably going to take 10 turns to prototype a new unit at the last tech level, let alone worrying about the next.

As for tech transfer, I think the most reasonable option is going to be a research treaty that gives each power a bonus to its own research capacity equal to 10% of its research partner's total research capacity. For example, if an empire with 19 research capacity signs a research treaty with a power that has a 6 research capacity, they would receive +1 and +2 research capacity, respectively. Not a huge bonus on the surface, but if the 6 RC empire only has 6 Census, then it can now tech up every 60 / (6 + 2) = 8 turns instead of every 10 turns. If the other power has 22 Census and 19 RC, it could tech up every 220 / (19 + 1) = 11 turns instead of every 12 turns. Sign a couple of those treaties and the bonuses could really snowball.

Re: Pirates, I was thinking they could just be folded into the armed forces of the empire. If, say, you launch an intel mission against a pirate unit sufficient to destroy it, you can pay a surcharge, and add it to your fleet instead. Bribing bandits and pirates to join an empire's military is a time honored tactic - I'm thinking about the Romans and all their Goth mercenaries, who were basically bribed to work for Rome rather than looting it.. I just wonder if some players might cultivate piracy in portions of their empire as a recruiting ground for pirates... and if that is a bad thing =)


Okay, I could see how that would work. Propaganda: Piracy or even just Propaganda: Unit, with a mission difficulty equal to CC+1. If successful, the unit immediately switches sides and joins your empire. That difficulty makes it more expensive than destroying it outright with a Sabotage mission, but you get to capture the unit so that makes up for the extra expense.
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Re: VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

Postby countercheck » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:14 am

Tyrel Lohr wrote:One of the great problems with Stealth is that it is a flat 2 MU per point of Stealth, so that ships can be more stealthy than others and it can scale against an opponent's Scout value that also improves at the same rate. The more I look at things the more I'm thinking that it might be easier for everyone to have the concealed movement rules handle the possibility of going without detection, and then defer the Scout and Stealth bonuses to situational bonuses on a per-scenario bonus based on the amount of Scout/Stealth in a task force. It might require reworking the Fast modifier, but I could see a task force receiving +1 Advantage per 5 Scout value and Stealth reducing the opponent's Advantages at a rate of -1 per 5.

I'll try it out a few different ways and see what ends up working the best. I've also noticed a few other encounter-related changes I want to make, namely increasing scenario length a bit to reign in the number of very short scenarios that seem to be cropping up, as well as to make the Deep Space scenarios more attractive.


Sure, that could work. Or you could apply it to the encounter surprise roll. That's cool too. Tactical intelligence rather than strategic. That would have the benefit of forcing a player to include his stealth and scout ships in the encounter... they don't provide their bonuses from afar.

In my games, I'll probably reskin Stealth as ECM... I don't understand why large ships should be able stealthier than small ships, but I can see them packing in more jamming equipment and infowarfare stuff.


Tyrel Lohr wrote:
I also really like the idea of an Intel mission that gives a +1 to exploring a jump lane and/or gives you an exploration roll. First, it's another use for Intel, and second, it means an empire can still expand without proper scout units, but it's expensive enough to make it worthwhile to invest in scouts.


I'm finding that cheap throwaway frigates with FTL make decent scouts early on. It's very slow going to be sure, and you do end up losing quite a few of them, but it works if you don't have enough scout cruisers available to keep exploring. Using intel to get a scout bonus also will be beneficial to empires that receive special modifiers from government/social traits that give them bonuses to their intel missions.
Of course, disposable scout frigates are awesome. But alternatives are fun too.

Tyrel Lohr wrote:As for tech transfer, I think the most reasonable option is going to be a research treaty that gives each power a bonus to its own research capacity equal to 10% of its research partner's total research capacity. For example, if an empire with 19 research capacity signs a research treaty with a power that has a 6 research capacity, they would receive +1 and +2 research capacity, respectively. Not a huge bonus on the surface, but if the 6 RC empire only has 6 Census, then it can now tech up every 60 / (6 + 2) = 8 turns instead of every 10 turns. If the other power has 22 Census and 19 RC, it could tech up every 220 / (19 + 1) = 11 turns instead of every 12 turns. Sign a couple of those treaties and the bonuses could really snowball.
[/quote]

Probably want to tie it into the tech level differential, so small, high tech empires don't get unreasonable boosts from big, stone age empires.

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Re: VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:14 am

Work is continuing on the Second Edition draft. We've started some extra internal playtests to check out recent changes to the rules and continue to inch closer to completion. Below is a PDF version of the Colonies chapter from the current draft. I'm still working on balancing the intel missions and trying to figure out which missions to keep and which to possibly save for later books. A flavor of Virtutis Umbra's subversion rules are included in this draft, though they'll probably be made into optional rules and moved to another book instead of being presented as part of the core rules. The biggest problem with the intel rules has always been trying to balance the cost of running missions against their benefits. Make them took expensive (as in 1E) and you end up with them being ignored more of the time. But you don't want to make them too good or players will end up spamming an endless stream of intel missions that will end up slowing down the game unnecessarily. The intel rules in the current draft are an attempt to find some sort of happy medium.

Players will notice that the Colonies chapter reads like a potpourri grab-bag of rules. This is part of the reason it has taken this long to get it more or less finished (minus some obviously incomplete portions - you'll notice some text off set or a different color; these are sections that are still waiting for some final text editing). After reviewing the rules and comparing them to 1E I decided that it would probably make more sense to compact some of these rules sections that were individually only 2-6 pages in length where they dovetailed with the colonial infrastructure. So far this seems to have worked, but I'd appreciate any feedback on the organization of the section.

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VBAM2E Colonies

Postby nimrodd » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:55 am

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.1.1 New Colonies New colonies are established during the Colony Phase of the turn in which they are purchased. They start with 0 Census, 1 Morale, and a colony tech level equal to the current tech level of the empire that paid for the colony mission.


Unless things with Tech have changed, I would change the wording of that last sentence to read, "They start with 0 Census, 1 Morale, and a colony tech level equal to the current tech level of the Capital that paid for the colony mission." Otherwise you might have a colony sent out with a higher tech level than the Sector Capital (as opposed to a homeworld) that paid for it.
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Re: VBAM2E Colonies

Postby nimrodd » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:08 am

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.2.1 Population Growth
Any excess food beyond the amount required to feed an empire's Census are converted into population points that a player can use to found new colonies or increase populations at its existing colonies.


Except that population points are not used for purchasing colonies any more.

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.2.2 Population Increase
Example #1: An inhabited system has 4 Census, 5 Morale, and is TL 5 (Interstellar). It would cost a player 50 population points to purchase a population increase at the colony. The colony would have 5 Census and 6 Morale after the population increase is applied to it during the Colony Phase that turn.

Example #2: If the system from the previous example only had an Information tech level its population increase cost would be increased to 120 population points.


It should be increased to 150 population points, not 120.
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Re: VBAM2E Colonies

Postby nimrodd » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:22 am

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.3 INFRASTRUCTURE
An empire can only build (infrastructure increase) or remove (infrastructure decrease) points of infrastructure from systems that it has colonized, and then only if the system isn’t in a state of rebellion or currently contested by another power.


Shouldn't it be, "An empire can only build (infrastructure increase) or remove (infrastructure decrease) points of infrastructure from systems that it controls, and then only if the system isn’t in a state of rebellion or currently contested by another power."
Otherwise, a conquering power could never tear down any infrastructure, or increase it for that matter.
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Re: VBAM2E Colonies

Postby nimrodd » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:42 am

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.5.2 Loyalty Checks
Every colony also has a chance of gaining Morale from its loyalty check. A natural ‘20’ roll on a loyalty check increases a system’s Morale by 1. Systems with luxury resorts receive +1 Morale on a natural ‘19’, too. This potential bonus allows colonies a chance to improve their Morale values over time even without player intel investment.

A loyalty check roll of 1 always results in the loss of 1 Morale, and a roll of 20 always results in the gain of 1 Morale regardless of any other factors that affect system loyalty.


These two paragraphs (on page 6) should be combined, as the second paragraph partially duplicates the preceding one.
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Re: VBAM2E Colonies

Postby nimrodd » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:35 am

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.5.2 Loyalty Checks
Example: Proxima is an inhabited system with 4 Census, 2 facilities, and 5 CC of friendly ground combat units that have a total of 7 Police value between them. The target value for Proxima’s loyalty chance is 5 (Census + 1). The roll is modified by -2 (facilities) [I did not see this anywhere in the modifiers listed], +2 (friendly ground forces), and +1 (friendly Police value) for a total die modifier of +1. This system will lose 1 Morale on a die roll of '5' [this should be '4'; base roll is 5, with +1 bringing it down to 4] or less, or it will gain 1 Morale if the roll is a natural ‘20’. If one of the facilities in this system is a luxury resort, it will gain a point of Morale on a natural ‘19’, too.

Consider what would happen if an enemy force moved into Proxima and landed 13 CC of enemy ground forces in the system and destroyed the system’s two facilities. Proxima’s loyalty check modifiers would change to -7 (enemy ground forces) [this should be -6; 13CC / 2 round down], +2 (friendly ground forces), and +1 (friendly Police value) for a total modifier of -4. The system would now lose Morale on a D20 roll of '9' or less, more than doubling its chance of Morale loss!


Okay, first of all, I am not fond of these Loyalty checks as they are written right now. Even without ANY modifiers, Proxima (from the above example) has a 25% chance of losing morale and only a 5% chance of gaining morale EVERY TURN, just because it has 5 census. Even if you had a bonus of +10 to your roll, you still never have more than a 5% chance of increasing morale. This just seems to me to be a very depressed empire; " I exist therefore I suck."

If nothing changes from the above 1st paragraph example, with a 4 or less to lose morale, you only have a little less than 11% chance of making it through the year without losing at least ONE morale (assuming that the morale phase comes up each campaign turn).

My suggestion would be that on a d20 roll, a 1-5 gives a -1 to morale and an 16-20 gives a +1 to morale. The above example of a +1 bonus would shift this to a 1-4 giving a -1 and 15-20 giving a +1. Again natural 1's and 20's always are a -1 or +1 respectively. This would make morale ebb and flow a little bit, but if the empire is running fine it would all balance out. Only if one of the conditions in the list above existed would this normal balance start to be out of whack. I would change the "Bonus" for friendly ground troops to only being able to cancel a negative modifier (up to the limit), instead of giving a bonus. I would also give a bonus of +1 if your morale is maxed out in the system; no your morale could not get any higher, it just reduces the chance of it getting lower.
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Re: VBAM2E Colonies

Postby countercheck » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:56 am

I wouldn't mind if colonies started with Tech Level of Sector Capital-1, frankly. New colonies might have better tech than old colonies, but they probably aren't going to be cutting edge. Possibly allow for that tech level to be bought up at colonization?

I love the new intel missions. Love. But all the calculations seem a bit complex. They also imply that defensive missions only fail on a 1. Anti-subversion missions are ridiculously cheap given the expense of inserting moles, and it's going to be an odd empire that doesn't counterinsurgency any system that dips below max morale. Is it possible to use a Counterintelligence mission on a hostile system to prevent the target from performing missions on his own people?

Propaganda: Subversion is better than Espionage: Infiltration in all ways.

You might want missions that must target capitals to be able to target Core Worlds too.

I also feel like half the defensive assets of any hostile system the mission is staged through should contribute too, to prevent intel missions from too easily striking the soft underbelly. I know I said it was complex already. Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

And possibly just add the number of jumps to the difficulty. Should it not be harder to deploy missions even to neighboring systems than your own?

When multple systems co-operate on an intel mission, do the increased number of intel points required to meet the difficulty count towards offensive intel points for the purposes of overcoming defensive intel?

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Re: VBAM2E Colonies

Postby nimrodd » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:05 am

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.5.4 Reprisals

The Reprisal Table numbers are off.
Also, the last sentence of the 4th paragraph doesn't really make sense.
VBAM2E Colonies wrote:Particularly brutal reprisals that result in the wholesale slaughter of civilian populations (Census loss) double the relationship penalties for empires that object to these heinous crimes against sentient life. Relationship bonuses aren't doubled by these deadly attacks, however, as the warlike nations that approve of reprisals place such little value on sentient life that the mass execution of a few million enemies of the state is seen as a purely urbane and appropriate exercise of imperial authority.


The second paragraph of the examples has what appears to be an error.
VBAM2E Colonies wrote:Two nearby powers, one with AG 92 and the other with AG 22, can trace trade routes to the system where the reprisals took place. The first power rolls '38' against its AG 92. This is less than half its AG, which indicates that the power approves of the tactics used. Its relationship with the reprising power is increased by 1D6 x 2. A D6 roll of '3' results in a +6 relationship bonus.

According to the paragraph at the top of the page, this should not be doubled, only a 1D6 modifier.

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.9.2 TECH LEVEL OVERVIEW
...
Each tech level increase that an Interstellar civilization achieves allows it to design, prototype, and produce more powerful military units, and the strength of these military units normally doubles every 10 tech levels the empire advances beyond TL 0.

Unless your Tech Modifier is now 10% instead of 5% (ignoring Command Cost modifier to Max Mass), you double at TL20, triple at 40, quadruple at 60, etc.

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.9.4 COLONY TECH LEVEL [second paragraph]
New colonies start with a tech level equal to that of the empire that purchased them. Because of this empires that are within a few turns of a new tech advance may prefer to wait to purchase a colony fleet until after they advance their tech level.

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.1 COLONIZATION
Because colony missions originates at a capital system, an empire can't purchase new colonies if they don't have an imperial or sector capital.

Since, every Colony Mission originates from a Capital System (Imperial or Sector), and Sector Capitals can be of a lower Tech Level than the Empire, shouldn't the first sentence read, "New colonies start with a tech level equal to that of the Capital that purchased them."

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.10.3 DEFENSIVE INTEL
Systems rely on defensive intel to protect themselves against an opponent's intel missions. A system's base defensive intel is equal to 1 plus its utilized Intel value divided by 3 (round down). For example, a system with 5 utilized Intel would have 3 defensive intel.

That should actually be "2" defensive intel in the example. (5 [utilized Intel] + 1) / 3 = 6 / 3 = 2

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.10.5 ESPIONAGE
Espionage: Diplomacy
Difficulty Level: 1
This mission provides an empire with information about which other nations the target is currently in contact with and their basic level of diplomatic contact based on their current relationship value (see X.X Diplomatic States). This mission can only succeed if it targets an opponent's capital system.

Does this mean the Imperial Capital, or can it be a Sector Capital?

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.10.5 ESPIONAGE
Espionage: Tech
Difficulty Level: 3
This is an attempt to infiltrate an opponent's research laboratories with the intent of stealing their technological secrets. This mission provides an empire with a bonus to its total research capacity on the following turn equal to the target system's utilized Research value times the difference between the target's colony tech level and the tech level of the empire that is performing this mission.
...
Example: A TL 3 empire performed a successful Espionage: Tech mission against a TL 11 colony with a research capacity of 6. This empire will receive a +24 research capacity bonus next turn.

That should be, "This empire will receive a +42 research capacity bonus next turn." ([TL]11 - [TL]3) x 6 = 8 x 6 = 42.

VBAM2E Colonies wrote:5.10.8 OPERATIVES

There is not a Propaganda: Operatives mission.
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Re: VBAM2E Colonies

Postby zyffyr » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:38 pm

nimrodd wrote:That should be, "This empire will receive a +42 research capacity bonus next turn." ([TL]11 - [TL]3) x 6 = 8 x 6 = 42

8 x 6 = 48, not 42

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Re: VBAM 2E Playtest Files (Was: Any Updates?)

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:10 pm

I'm sorting through all of the notes and will get back to specific points as I work my way through them. Here are a few quick notes so far:

  • I changed the colonization rules to reflect that colonies start with the tech level of the capital that organized the colony mission and removed the text from Population Growth that indicated that population points were used to purchase colonies.
  • Jay and I discussed the Morale issue, and Charlie had previously remarked that he was running into problems with the loyalty check percentages. What we've hammered out so far is to reduce the variability of the loyalty check modifiers, create a few extra ones, and then set a standard target for loyalty checks. What this gives us is a 4 or less is -1 Morale, and 20 or more is +1 Morale. The "fully garrisoned" bonus for ground forces is then changed to a flat +1 modifier if the total command cost of friendly ground forces is greater than or equal to the system's Census. The enemy occupation penalty is the reverse of that. The Police value modifier is changed to also be a +1 modifier when the total Police value is greater than or equal to Census. I have also adjusted martial law to be a -3 modifier, but this may be reduced to -2 if it ends up being too severe.

    The other modifier change then is to add positive modifiers for colonies that have an importance below Core World. I have renamed Colony importance to Major Colony for this purpose. The modifiers are +3 Outpost, +2 Settlement, +1 Major Colony. This establishes the base chance of Morale loss at 5%, 10%, and 15%, respectively. Core Worlds are then at 40%. Having full ground force garrisons at the worlds drop these value by 5 percentiles each (0%/5%/10%/15%). Deploying Police forces further improves the chances of avoiding Morale losses.

    My larger concern with changes is that the chance of gaining Morale should not be overwhelming, as that would reduce the necessity of using intel missions to affect public opinion. The current change shifts the situation so that Morale growth is highest as small colonies and lowest and mature ones. This is probably a fair balancing point, although I do worry a bit about smaller colonies gaining Morale too quickly. That probably isn't a major issue, however, because most players are going to quickly ramp colonies up to at least Settlement level within the first few months of colonization, and realistically we'd be looking at most a 6 turn window during which the system would have a 20% chance per turn of gaining +1 Morale. This does create a potential strategy of establishing colonies and letting them sit at 0-1 Census until their Morale maxes out, at which point you continue developing the colony. It would be a long-term gamble, but I could see if being viable.
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