Human Republic Playtest Thread

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Tyrel Lohr
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Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:05 am

The Human Republic
A VBAM 2E Playtest Camapign
Summer 2011

To kick off the finalization of the rules, and give me a springboard for some final rules testing, I am going to be posting up some explanatory journals for a new playtest campaign. If you run into any rules that don't seem very intuitive or problems with the math/logic, don't be shy; speak up and let us know. I'll also plan on holding player votes on some courses of action, just to make things more interesting.

Campaign Setup

This campaign is an exploration campaign using a randomized startup for the Human Republic. I rolled randomly for each of the human's homeworld system statistics (Carrying Capacity, RAW, Orbital, Biosphere, Science, and Jump Lanes), with the only difference being that I applied a +2 modifier to each roll to ensure that they would be above minimums. The human home system, Terra Nova, has the following statistics at the start of the game:

8 Carrying Capacity, 6 RAW, 3 Orbital, 3 Biosphere, 4 Science, 6 Jump Lanes

The Orbital and Biosphere values are only average, but the other values are above average. In particular, the RAW and Jump Lane values are particularly good. I'm glad the Republic is starting with 6 RAW, but I am a bit trepidatious about the number of jump lanes connecting to our home system. This gives us ample room to explore and expand, and the amount of commerce income we can generate in our home system will be quite high; however, it also means that it is going to be more difficult to protect our system from outside attack.

Terra Nova is currently the only system on our campaign map. We are using a hex map to track the star systems on our campaign map, with one star system present in each hex. Because Terra Nova has 6 Jump Lanes, there is a jump lane connecting it to each of the adjacent hexes on the map. I am using the optional exploration rules from the Companion, which function much like their 1E counterparts, so each of these jump lanes are currently unexplored. The Republic will have to build FTL-capable scouts to explore these lands before it can start exploring into neighboring space.

If a player wasn't using the optional exploration rules, they could instead just start sending ships across the jump lanes to rapidly start exploring the campaign map just by moving into new systems without any delay whatsoever.

The following colony statistics have been assigned to Terra Nova at the start of the game:

6 Census, 4 Morale, 5 Productivity, 5 Shipyards, 5 Agriculture, 5 Tech, 5 Intel

These stats give us a pretty average start for the campaign. We have room to grow still in our home system, so even if we don't find any really good systems immediately we'll still have some place to purchase Census increases. Morale we'll have to worry about a bit, but we do receive a +1 bonus to our morale checks since Terra Nova is a capital system. That reduces the chances of a -1 Morale penalty from a morale check to about 3% per turn (not very likely).

Terra Nova has a production capacity of 5 x 6 = 30 (Utilized Productivity x RAW). This means that we'll earn 30 EP per turn from the colony in income, and we can purchase up to 30 EP of non-starship units at this colony every turn.

Our shipyard capacity (Utilized Shipyards x Orbital) is more worrisome, as it is only 15. This means we can purchase a maximum of 15 EP of starships per turn at Terra Nova. Another consequence is that the most expensive starship we can build at Terra Nova is also 15 EP. We won't be able to build any large battleships here anytime soon, and even large cruisers and battlecruisers will be difficult without some colonial improvements.

The colony's agriculture capacity (Utilized Agriculture x Biosphere) is 15, and our colony requires 6 agriculture capacity per turn to feed our Census. This leaves 9 excess agriculture capacity per turn that are converted into population points. We use population points to increase colony Census values, at a cost of 10 times the colony's new Census value. It would cost us 70 population points to increase Terra Nova's Census to 7, for example. That means that, at present, it would take 70 turns for us to be able to experience population growth at Terra Nova! However, that same 70 PP could be used to purchase 1 Census in seven different systems, and if we can find a system with 4+ Biosphere we can actually end up with enough agriculture capacity to double the rate at which we generate population points.

Our tech capacity (Utilized Tech x Science) is 20, which means that we can purchase at most 20 tech points at Terra Nova each turn. Our current tech advancement cost is 70 tech points [(# of Census + # of Colonies) x 10], so it would take a minimum of 4 turns of full tech investment for us to achieve a tech advance. This ignores the fact that, of our 30 EP a turn we earn, quite a bit of our income is going to be spent on maintenance costs for our units, building new units, purchasing new colonies, upgrading infrastructure, etc. We could spend the full 20 EP per turn on tech points, but that would tie up a significant amount of our income and slow down our expansion plans.

Intel capacity (Utilized Intel x Jump Lanes) at Terra Nova is currently 30, so we can purchase at most 30 intel points per turn there. That is more than enough for our needs, and we probably won't need much intel infrastructure at our other colonies since our home system's intel capacity is so high. Your average system only has 3 Jump Lanes, so Terra Nova's intel capacity is actually pretty anomalous. It does mean that the Human Republic might want to hew towards an intel-heavy game strategy, as they are actually in a position to pursue one.

The next step after generating our home system's statistics is to design and purchase our starting units. We start with a total construction cost of non-starship unit classes equal to our production capacity (30) and a total construction cost of starship unit classes equal to our shipyard capacity (15). Obviously, if we controlled more colonies we would start with more unit classes available. As it is our options are fairly limited, and we'll have to be careful as to how we spend our points.

Let's start with our non-starship unit classes first. We have 30 points to split between all of our ground force, starbase, and fighter unit classes. I think it might be a good idea for the purposes of this playtest to split these evenly down the middle, with 10 points allocated to each option.

First, I'm going to design a starbase class that we can use to protect our home system from attack in case we run into any hostile alien powers early on. This will be the Protector-class defense base, with a construction cost of 10 EP. UPDATE: I just realized that I messed up the starbase construction rules. I originally said the Protector base should have 10 x 1.5 = 15 mass units at TL 0 and 10 EP cost, but this is incorrect. The base should only have 10 mass units (equal to construction cost) because the current TL doesn't give any bonuses. The starbase doesn't get the mass unit bonus but instead halves its mass unit cost before calculating maintenance costs. Doh. I think we want the Protector-class to serve as a multi-function base that can do a little bit of everything, so I am going to give it the following stats:

Protector-class - Starbase - 2 DV, 2 AS, 2 PD, 2 CR, 2 BC
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 10, Maintenance Cost: 1, Command Cost: 1

This makes the Protector-class of starbase a jack of all trades that can take a bit of punishment, has equal offensive and defensive weapons capabilities, and enough Basing Capacity (BC) to base 2 EP of flights (fighters, shuttles, bombers, gunboats, etc.). I think this is a good idea for us, as it frees up our starships from having to provide these services to our home system.

Veteran VBAM players will notice that the starbase has Command Rating. All units in 2E need Command rating because that is what is used to assemble them into squadrons (space) or divisions (ground), and planetary defenses are no exception. When a scenario is generated, each player chooses one or more squadrons/divisions to include in the battle -- so small squadrons provide less concentrated firepower. The Command statistic is also used to generate formation points that a task force uses to purchase formation levels which in turn define how many hits it takes to damage them. High formation levels make units harder to damage, so having a high Command rating is good even if a unit isn't serving as a squadron's command element.

Next up in the hopper is a ground unit. We can build troops, installations, or aircraft, which are the ground equivalents of starships, starbases, and flights. In this case we're just going to design a troop unit to garrison our home system. We'll call this Infantry-I, as it is going to represent a standard infantry unit:

Infantry-I-class - Troop - 3 DV, 2 AS, 2 PD, 3 CR, 0 BC
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 10 , Maintenance Cost: 1, Command Cost: 1

In designing this unit class I opted to give it higher Defense and Command ratings, skimping out on Attack Strength (AS) and Point Defense (PD). I also completely omitted Basing Capacity as I don't intend on building any planetary aircraft anytime soon. Aircraft can be useful, especially if an enemy doesn't have any PD to defend against them, but they can't fight by themselves and what we need now is a decent defensive troop unit.

We've allocated 10 EP towards flight unit classes, so now is the time to spend those points. Unlike the previous unit examples, however, we aren't going to spend all 10 EP on a single flight unit class, as that would make it much too large for the kinds of carriers we have available. Instead, I am going to split the points between a series of different flight classes, each with their own mission roles.

Flights and basing are a topic that has been in a state of flux since 2E started development. One of the elements that has been up for debate a number of times is how to handle flight basing in 2E. In 1E, each point of Basing could hold a single flight unit of any size. In 2E, we have approached the problem where each flight has its own command cost, and the maximum command cost of flights a carrier can hold is equal to its Basing rating. The question then became this: how do you determine a flight's command cost? After much testing, the current rules say that a flight unit's command cost is equal to its construction cost. This limits the number of flights that a unit can base, but it also makes it so that some flights are just too large to be based from some carriers.

Keeping that in mind, we want to field enough flight classes so that each is useful, but we don't want any of them to cost more than 3 EP each because our Protector-class base only has 3 Basing available.

Gladiator-class Heavy Fighter - Flight - 1 DV, 2 AS
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 3, Maintenance Cost: 1/3, Command Cost: 3

Falchion-class Medium Fighter - Flight - 1 DV, 1 AS
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 2, Maintenance Cost: 1/4, Command Cost: 2

Jian-class Medium Fighter - Flight - 1 AS, 1 PD
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 2, Maintenance Cost: 1/4, Command Cost: 2

Dart-class Light Fighter - Flight - 1 PD
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 1, Maintenance Cost: 1/5, Command Cost: 1

Banshee-class Shuttle - Flight - 1 DV, 1 CR
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 2, Maintenance Cost: 1/4, Command Cost: 2

Each of these five flight classes offers its own advantages and disadvantages. The Gladiator can take a bit of damage and has good firepower, but it is large and doesn't have any anti-fighter defenses. The Falchion is a smaller version of the Gladiator with a bit less firepower but the same Defense rating. Both the Jian and Dart have Defense ratings of 0, meaning that the first point of damage they receive will destroy them. The Jian trades survivability for dual AS/PD weapons, while the Dart is a pure interceptor. The last flight design is the Banshee, a recon shuttle meant to serve a similar role as the Raptors from Battlestar: Galactica. They have some Defense rating, but they also have a point of Command rating. The humans can use this flight to artificially boost a fleet's Command rating, and a carrier or fleet that bases a lot of them could end up much better defended as a result.

Individually none of these flight classes are all that impressive. This is because the Human Republic is only a TL 0 power, and the units it can design are extremely limited as a result. Once we get to TL 5 we'll be able to build a Gladiator-sized 3 EP fighter with 5 mass units to spend instead of the 3 we had to spend at TL 0. Even our light fighters will have twice their capability at TL 5. At TL 10 we'll be able to design units with twice our original mass unit limits -- quite an improvement! Of course, our maintenance costs will also increase as a unit's maintenance cost is equal to 10% times the number of mass units spent. Since all of our flights were designed using 4 or less mass units, special fractional maintenance costs are applied to them. This helps to make up for the fact that they are really quite weak.

To put the maintenance cost issue into perspective, a TL 5 successor to the Gladiator -- let's call it to the Myrmidon -- would have 5 mass units to spend (150% x 3), but its maintenance cost would be 1. This is three times the maintenance cost of the Gladiator for only a 66% gain in actual performance. This might seem high, but the Myrmidon's extra mass units could make it anywhere from two to three times hardier than the Gladiator, and possibly have even better firepower (if splitting between Defense and Attack Strength). The Myrmidon remains the same size as the Gladiator, too, so it has the same command cost. The difference in maintenance is also pretty marginal considering that a unit with maintenance cost of 1 only pays 1 EP per campaign year in maintenance.

Okay, we've designed our non-starship units, so now it is time to design our initial starship classes. Our poor shipyard capacity has left us with only 15 EP of starting starship designs, which is honestly pretty limiting. I would normally want to split that 15 EP between a few different ship designs, but in this case I think we might be better off starting with a single mid-sized scout ship that we can use to start exploring the galaxy. We've got our defense bases for protection after all, so it isn't like we have to have a destroyer-size ship to protect Terra Nova right now.

Pandora-class Scout Carrier - Starship - 4 DV, 0 AS, 0 PD, 2 CR, 3 BC, 1 FTL, 1 Scout
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 14 , Maintenance Cost: 1, Command Cost: 2

The Pandora-class scout carrier is going to be our starting ship. I know, I know... it is a completely unarmed ship that has little to recommend it other than the fact that it has a FTL drive and scout equipment, plus enough Basing to carry a few fighters. I ended up making the ship cost 14 EP in order to keep the class' maintenance cost down, as I don't think the 1 mass unit that the extra economic point buys us is worth the doubling of the unit's maintenance cost. Give us a couple of tech levels of refinement and then the extra costs would more than worth it, but we're just not there yet.

What do we do with the leftover economic point? We might as well use it to design something, even if it isn't going to be worthwhile.

Iris-class Courier - Starship - 0 DV, 0 AS, 0 PD, 0 CR, 0 BC, 1 FTL
Tech Level: 0, Construction Cost: 1, Maintenance Cost: 1/5, Command Cost: 1

Welp, that's definitely a starship. The Iris has nothing but a FTL drive strapped onto it. A single point of damage destroys it, and it doesn't have the electronic warfare systems to even coordinate with other fleet units. It's dead weight in a battle, but couriers of this class might be useful if we want to put a cheap picket in a system to take ownership of it or watch the traffic that passes through it.

Our initial unit classes are now designed. Now we can spend points from our initial economic pool to purchase some of these units and place them at Terra Nova. The Human Republic has five times its production capacity in economic points to spend, so that is 5 x 30 = 150 EP. This is what I am spending the human's points on:

4 Infantry-I
4 Protector SB
4 Pandora CVX
6 Iris CR
4 Gladiator HF
4 Jian MF
4 Dart LF

This spends all 150 EP in our initial economic pool. I am not sure if purchasing those 6 Iris-class vessels is going to benefit us long-term, but it would be nice to be able to station one of those in each of our adjacent star systems once we have them explored. That way if someone stumbles into one of the systems we'll at least know about it.

It dawns on me that we haven't assigned any AIX values to the Human Republic. The VBAM 2E diplomacy rules use the Aggressiveness (AG), Integrity (IN), and Xenophobia (XE) rules that were originally published in the 1E Companion, though with a few alterations so that the non-player empire rules can be used with player empires without putting too many diplomatic restrictions on the players. There are limitations now, though -- an empire has a diplomatic relationship value with each opponent it has come in contact with, and this relationship value determines how easy it is for an empire to sign treaties or issue declarations against them. The Human Republic will have 50 AG, 50 IN, and 50 XE, making them exceptionally average.
Year 1, Turn 1

It's the start of the campaign, and as such we start with game with a resolution of the Economics Phase of Turn 0. This gives us some economic points to work with. The Republic's colony income is 30 EP and we don't have any commerce income yet because we haven't built a trade link at Terra Nova yet (that is going to be one of our first priorities). Our purchases expense for Turn 0 was 150 EP, covering the cost of our starting units. That leaves maintenance expense to be calculated. Our total maintenance cost of units should be 16.33; an empire pays 10% of its total unit maintenance costs each turn as maintenance expense (round fractions up). The human's current maintenance expense is therefore 2 EP per turn.

Our economic point pool is going to start at 28 EP this turn, based on this calculation: 150 (initial economic pool) + 30 (colony income) - 150 (purchases expense) - 2 (maintenance expense). That is the maximum number of economic points we can spend this turn.

In the interests of long-term economic development, I am going to record an order to purchase a trade link in Terra Nova. That costs us 25 EP, but will generate about 36 EP per campaign year once it's built and active (with rounding it would actually generate 4 EP per turn in commerce income). That's enough to cover the cost of maintaining our military forces for the near term. Most starting systems would only generate 18 EP per year under these conditions, but we have twice as many jump lanes present and that boosts our system's Commerce value (Census x Jump Lanes).

We have 3 EP left that we could spend on tech or intel points, but for right now I am just going to bank them for use on future turns.

The Republic Navy is currently split into four squadrons, each containing a single Pandora and a mixed compliment of fighters. These squadrons are going to be issued exploration orders for the turn to start them exploring the jump lanes that radiate outward from Terra Nova.

That completes the Turn Orders Phase. There isn't much going on this turn, so we skip forward to the Movement Phase to resolve exploration attempts. Our rolls were 8, 4, 10, and 2. Each of our Pandora scout carriers have 1 Scout rating, so they gain a +1 to their rolls. The third exploration squadron's 11 roll gives it a +1 to future scout rolls, but the fourth's unmodified snake eyes means that it is in peril. The simplified peril rules currently in playtest for the COMPANION requires us to roll a D6 for this squadron; this is the number of turns that the squadron will be lost and out of supply before returning to Terra Nova. I rolled a 3, so the squadron will be out of supply for three turns (starting this turn) and will return to Terra Nova on Turn 4 after its third Supply Phase that it is out of supply.

Let's look at the ramifications of being in peril for this squadron. The Pandora-class has 4 DV, and a unit takes 1 damage per turn it is out of supply. By the time the carrier gets back it will have racked up 3 damage. This isn't enough damage to cripple the ship, but it is pretty close. If the ship had been out of supply for 4 turns or more it would have been crippled and it would have been forced to destroy some of its based flights to cover its reduced (halved) Basing rating. The cost to repair the Pandora when it gets back is going to be 25% x 14 = 3.5 = 4 EP. The repair cost would have been increased to 50% x 14 = 7 EP if the ship had received crippling damage.

This exploration mechanic for resolving units in peril replaces the systems previously used in VBAM 1E, and even contradicts the exploration rules found in previous VBAM 2E drafts. I adopted this change to the exploration rules because it makes them simpler to apply and eliminates a lookup table. It's always nice to have one less table to have to refer to!

On to the Piracy Phase to see if we have any pirate activity. Piracy checks are resolved by rolling 2D6 for each capital system, then going through the list of systems on the campaign map and using the result rolled for the nearest capital system and adding any applicable modifiers that the system might have. Terra Nova currently has a +1 modifier because the system doesn't contain a trade link (e.g., nobody trading there means that there is less chance of piracy). The system receives an additional +1 because it currently contains a total construction cost of combat units greater than or equal to its Commerce value. Terra Nova rolls a 5, so the system itself has a 7 after modifiers. That's a no effect result, so nothing happens.

For the sake of argument, let's say that we had another system near Terra Nova that had a trade link in it and a Piracy value greater than zero. That hypothetical system would have a piracy modifier of -1. Terra Nova is the closest capital system to this other system, so it would take the 5 we rolled for that and apply its -1 modifier. This gives it a piracy check result of 4. 3 or less is +1 Piracy, so the system just skates by without getting a Piracy increase.

During the Morale Phase we roll our morale checks. We again roll 2D6 for each capital system and then evaluate each colony to see if it the morale check has triggered a change in Morale. The morale check roll for Terra Nova was a '3', which would normally be a -1 Morale penalty. However, Terra Nova receives a +1 modifier to its morale check roll because it is a capital system. This gives the system a '4' result, which is no effect.

Agriculture production for the turn is 15, with a total agriculture cost of 6. This gives us 9 excess agriculture capacity. An empire earns 10% of its excess agriculture points as population points each turn (round up), so we earn 1 PP this turn.

The Economic Phase now comes at the end of the turn... which doesn't make that much difference compared to how VBAM 1E worked, but it does make sure that it takes place at the end of the campaign turn when the income was earned and not at the start of the next turn. We haven't done anything to change our income this turn (our trade link won't actually be completed until the end of the current turn -- that ensures we don't earn income on things that weren't in place this turn!), so our income stays the same as on Turn 0. We earn 30 EP colony income but have purchases expense of 25 EP and maintenance expense of 2 EP. That leaves us with 28 + 30 - 25 - 2 = 31 EP in our point pool for next turn.

The last phase of the turn is the Update Phase. This is when our infrastructure changes and trade links are placed. As mentioned previously, because these improvements are implemented after the Economic Phase any new Productivity or trade links we purchase won't make us any money until the Economic Phase of the next campaign turn. The trade link in Terra Nova will generate us 4 EP per turn next turn, increasing our per-turn income by 13%.

Here're our empire pools at the end of Turn 1:

Economic Pool: 31
Population Pool: 1
Tech Pool: 0
Intel Pool: 0
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

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Tyrel Lohr
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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:14 am

I plan on running the remainder of the first campaign year, but after that I am going to be looking to the forum for some guidance on what the Human Republic should do. For the first forum vote I am going to ask participants to vote in a political party whose political platform will determine how I spend our nation's money. Here are the candidates:

The Social Party wants to spend resources on intelligence resources to help improve our Morale and maximize food production for maximum population growth. The Social Party is interested in maximizing Terra Nova's Morale value so that there is little or no chance of the system going into Unrest or Rebellion.

The Military Party wants to expand our armed forces, with a special interest in developing a robust exploration program to map nearby space. A Military government would seek to design new starship classes and keep a constant stream of military production flowing at Terra Nova.

The Merchant Party wants to fund exploration, but only as an excuse to build find new systems where they can establish colonies and trade links to generate as much commerce income as humanly possible.

The Industrial Party wants to spend money to purchase infrastructure improvements at Terra Nova, expanding Productivity and Shipyards in particular. They tend to prefer fixed defenses over mobile ones, as they see defending Terra Nova itself as their first priority.

The Technocratic Party would use the Republic's money to finance research projects to increase its tech level. Modernizing armed forces is a secondary goal for the party, but most of the Republic's funds would be spent on empire and colony tech level development.

Just put the name of the party you are voting for in bold in your post and I will tally the votes at the end of the year and see what course of action the Republic is going to be adopting for the next 5-year cycle.
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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby Charles Lewis » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:35 am

The Merchant Party
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Coat of Arms motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:07 am

Year 1, Turn 2
It's our second turn. I found and corrected several issues from the first turn that I neglected -- old habits die hard, and I was forgetting some order of operations changes and screwed up on the costs and stats for the Protector-class starbase. I had to reduce all of the stats of the Protector by 1 to get it down to its corrected mass limit for its size, but the adjustment to its mass cost to cover the starbase/installation bonus that I had omitted ended up saving the Republic money each turn on maintenance.

With those corrections made, we should probably note the actual configuration of our armed forces and how they are assembled into squadrons and divisions.

Scout Squadron 1

1 @ Pandora, 1 @ Gladiator

Scout Squadron 2
1 @ Pandora, 1 @ Gladiator

Scout Squadron 3
1 @ Pandora, 2 @ Dart

Scout Squadron 4
1 @ Pandora, 2 @ Dart

Picket Squadrons 1-6
1 @ Iris each

Skywatch 1
2 @ Protector, 2 @ Jian

Skywatch 2
2 @ Protector, 2 @ Jian

I had originally intended to base the Gladiators on the Protectors, but since the Protector bases can only base 2 CC of flights now I had to substitute Jians instead. I created two different Skywatch squadrons so that they would be of equal strength in case only one of them was drawn into combat.

We have 31 EP that we can spend this turn. In the interests of filling out our two skywatches, I am going to order Terra Nova to build 2 @ Protectors, costing the Republic government 20 EP. We'll worry about building the fighters that will be based upon these bases later. Using the current completion time formula, the pair of Protector bases will take 10 / 5 = 2 turns to build, so they will be completed in the Construction Phase of Turn 3 and will be available for assignment on Turn 4.

That purchase leaves us with 11 EP left to spend. I am going to split this between 6 intel points and 5 tech points, just so we can build up our resource reserves.

Our exploration rolls for the three non-imperiled scout forces are 5, 6, and 7 with modifiers of +1, +1, and +2, respectively. No effect. On future turns I will just be giving the modified die results, and eventually just relaying any notable successes or failures. Exploration is a slow, often tedious process by design; it keeps a player from exploring the entire campaign map early in the game and makes exploration successes that much more important.

Piracy check roll is '10', which becomes 11 for Terra Nova because we still get the military patrol benefit but we have a trade link in the system now so we lose that +1 modifier . If we would have had any Piracy in the system we would have reduced it by 1, but we're already at our minimum Piracy of zero.

Morale check roll is '8', which becomes a 9 for Terra Nova. No effect.

Agriculture Phase: Agriculture production is the same, so we gain +1 population point.

Construction Phase: We start work on the Protectors. A significant change from 1E is that we start paying maintenance on units as soon as they start construction, so you have to watch out how much you have being built because you could end up breaking the treasury before the units are even built. This is especially true for prototypes that might spend a year or more in development before construction really ever begins.

Economic Phase: 31 EP (starting) + 30 EP (colony) + 4 EP (commerce) - 31 (purchases) - 2 (maintenance) = 32 EP for next turn.

Economic Pool: 32
Population Pool: 2
Tech Pool: 5
Intel Pool: 6


Year 1, Turn 3
Our turn orders are lean this turn, as I am going to save up to purchase 6 Productivity at Terra Nova. That purchase will boost our colony income by 6 EP per turn and allow us to increase the rate at which we can make other purchases.

Productivity remains a significant driving force in 2E, but this wasn't always the case. At one point I had removed Productivity entirely in preference to a Census x RAW formula for calculating colony income. After some discussion I decided that it would probably be better to reintroduce Productivity as the means by which RAW is converted into economic points.

Movement Phase: No exploration successes / failures.

Piracy Phase: 11 rolled, giving us 12. No pirates in Terra Nova, and we continue to bust their chops at every opportunity!

Morale Phase: 5 rolled, giving us 6. No effect.

Agriculture Phase: +1 PP

Construction Phase: The two Protectors have been completed and can be assigned to squadrons next turn.

Economic Phase: 32 EP (starting) + 30 EP (colony) + 4 EP (commerce) - 0 (purchases) - 2 (maintenance) = 64 EP

Economic Pool: 64
Population Pool: 3
Tech Pool: 5
Intel Pool: 6

Year 1, Turn 4
This turn we are going to order Terra Nova to increase its Productivity to 6. This will cost us 6 x 10 = 60 EP. The leftover 4 EP will be spent to purchase 2 Jian fighter flights. We're also going to issue a reorganization order to move one Protector into each skywatch. This will bring both squadrons up to their maximum command cost limit. We may want to consider building a larger starbase class that can act as an "anchor" for the smaller defense platforms, a unit that has enough Command rating to control a large number of them. We'll add that to our to-do list for the future.

Reorganization Phase: Our Protectors join their squadrons.

Movement Phase: Oops, Scout Force 3 just rolled snake eyes and is going to be out of supply for 2 turns. That means it is out of supply this turn (Turn 4, first Supply Phase out of supply) and next turn (Turn 5, second Supply Phase out of supply), and then return on Turn 6.

Scout Force 4 has returned to Terra Nova after its sojourn into the wilderness. The Pandora-class scout carrier in that squadron has now racked up 3 damage and it would not be a good idea for us to send it out again because we could end up losing it. We'll have to pay to get it repaired next turn.

Piracy Phase: Rolled a '2', so our +1 gives us 3. Terra Nova gains 1 Piracy, which has the effect of reducing our commerce income by 1 EP per turn until the pirates are hunted down and killed. The presence of pirates in the system also provides the system with a -1 penalty to both piracy checks and morale checks. Not good.

Morale Phase: Rolled a '7'. Our capital system +1 modifier is cancelled out by -1 piracy modifier. Luckily the result is no effect.

Agriculture Phase: +1 PP

Construction Phase: The 2 Jian fighters are completed.

Economic Phase: 64 EP (starting) + 30 EP (colony) + 3 EP (commerce) - 64 (purchases) - 2 (maintenance) = 31 EP

Update Phase: Terra Nova's Productivity is increased by 1 to 6. This occurred after the Economic Phase, so it doesn't affect our income this turn. Upon further reflection I am thinking that it might be better to just move infrastructure and trade link building back to the Construction Phase with the stipulation that they just don't generate any income this turn. Productivity and trade links are the only issues, and should be fairly easy to moderate. It might also not be that much of an issue to just let them create income on the turn that they are built, representing the influx of funds from tapping the new market/production. What do people think?

Economic Pool: 31
Population Pool: 4
Tech Pool: 5
Intel Pool: 6


The first campaign year is almost half over. Yes, you heard that right -- I have relented and campaign years are now 10 turns long instead of 12. That discussion from last year has stuck with me and with the slate of modifications to the rules this last few months it struck me that since so many things are calculated as 10% of a total (commerce, agriculture, maintenance) that it really made more sense to go with a 10 turn campaign year just so you can honestly say that a unit's maintenance cost was more or less the amount of economic points per turn it costs to maintain a unit of that class.

The plan for the rest of this year is to get our tech level to TL 1 and Terra Nova's colony tech level similarly improved, then we can start prototyping some new unit classes -- or rush towards TL 2 and *then* start working on some new units.
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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby BLHarrison » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:55 pm

Industrial Party

That said, I think Industrial and Merchant parties could be a natural team-up, each needs the other, but enough differences to cause some disagreements.

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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby mwaschak » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:39 pm

Military Party

We must be ready for all of the dangers of space!

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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby mavikfelna » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:24 pm

Industrial Party

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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:43 am

Year 1, Turn 5
Turn Orders Phase: This turn we are moving the Pandora from Scout Force 4 into the yards so that it can undergo repairs. Those repairs will cost us 14 x 25% = 3.5 = 4 EP and one turn of construction to repair. That leaves us 27 EP to spend on other projects. We couldn't build a Pandora this turn, though, because those 4 EP of repairs uses our shipyard capacity, reducing it to 11 EP this turn. We could start prototyping up to 11 EP of new unit classes, but we'll pass on that for now. I want to get our tech level boosted first.

For that purpose, I am going to allocate 20 EP towards tech point purchases. This is the maximum number of tech points we can purchase because Terra Nova's tech capacity is currently 20. If we bought more Tech infrastructure we could increase the number of tech points we could buy each turn.

The two Jian fighter flights we bought last turn are ordered to join the orbital skywatch squadrons at Terra Nova.

Reorganization Phase: One Jian flight is added to both Skywatch 1 and Skywatch 2.

Movement Phase: No exploration successes. Scout Force 3 is still lost in space, but will be back next turn.
Piracy Phase: Rolled '8', no effect.

Morale Phase: Rolled '10'. If we didn't have any Piracy in Terra Nova this would have been modified to an 11 and given us +1 Morale in our capital system, but the threats facing our solar merchant fleets has everyone a little skittish so Morale stays the same.

Agriculture Phase: +1 PP. You should be noticing by now that population growth is slow and steady, and the only time there is ever any excitement in the Agriculture Phase is when something bad happens.

Construction Phase: The repairs to the Pandora are completed and it'll be ready to return to exploration next turn. Because the scout took a turn off from its previous exploration all of the exploration bonuses it racked up on previous turns are lost, so it will start from a clean slate.

Tech Phase: We are now up to 25 tech points in our empire's tech pool. Our current tech advancement cost is still 70 TP. Another 3 turns of heavy tech investment will net us our first tech advancement. The current tech goal is a tech level increase, but we could have been trying to develop a new special ability instead. We can change our tech goal once we complete research on the current one.

Economic Phase: 31 EP (starting) + 36 EP (colony) + 3 EP (commerce) - 24 (purchases) - 2 (maintenance) = 44 EP

Economic Pool: 44
Population Pool: 5
Tech Pool: 25
Intel Pool: 6


Year 1, Turn 6
Our damaged Pandora is now repaired and ready to return to exploring. Other than the piracy problem in Terra Nova, everything seems to be going pretty well for us. But what to do about the pirates? We can wait for our military patrols to eventually hunt them down, or we can buy some more intel points so that we can use our intelligence assets to destroy them. The mission difficulty for a Sabotage: Anti-Piracy mission is 2, so it would take 2 x 10 = 20 intel points to be guaranteed success on the mission. We could try it with a lower chance of success, but that would be a gamble. Still, losing 10 EP a year to the 1 Piracy hurts our economy. For now I am going to wait and see if the military can cure the problem, but if our Piracy problem gets worse I will have to take action using that intel mission.

I do think it's time for us to build some more scout carriers to help expand the number of scout squadrons we have available, so we'll queue up a new Pandora to build this turn along with the 20 EP of tech investment.

Turn Orders Phase: 1 @ Pandora purchased at Terra Nova for 14 EP, 20 EP tech investment

Movement Phase: Scout Force 1 is in peril and will be disappearing for 4 Turns. When it gets back it will be crippled and, because its Basing rating will be halved, the Gladiator flight on board the carrier will be destroyed because the ship won't have enough Basing rating left to accommodate it.

Scout Force 3 returns to Terra Nova. The ship in the squadron is damaged, but it also has accumulated a +1 modifier to its exploration rolls. I am going to keep it exploring despite its damage in hopes it can use that modifier to get us an exploration success on future turn.

Piracy Phase: Rolled a '9', no change.

Morale Phase: Rolled a '9', no change.

Agriculture Phase: +1 PP.

Construction Phase: The Pandora we ordered this turn starts construction. It has a completion time of 3 turns, so this is its first Construction Phase under construction. It will be completed in two turns.

Tech Phase: Total tech points banked is now at 45. Another two turns of tech investment and we'll be a TL 1 power! Woo hoo!

Economic Phase: 44 EP (starting) + 36 EP (colony) + 3 EP (commerce) - 34 (purchases) - 2 (maintenance) = 47 EP

Economic Pool: 47
Population Pool: 6
Tech Pool: 45
Intel Pool: 6

CM Note: I almost forgot to double check our maintenance expense after building that Pandora. Luckily I didn't have to make any changes since that ship brings our total maintenance cost to 19.83, so just *barely* under the level at which point our maintenance expense would increase.


Year 1, Turn 7
We've got a bit of cash reserves built up, but we're going to keep expanding our fleet, using the only class we currently have available, and dumping the rest into tech.

Turn Orders: 1 @ Pandora (14 EP), 20 tech points (20 EP)

Movement Phase: No exploration. Now Scout Force 2 is in peril and out of supply for 3 turns! We just can't win no matter what we do. There's only about a 3% chance per turn of exploration of ending up in peril, we've just gotten abnormally unlucky.

Piracy Phase: Rolled a '8'; no change.

Morale Phase: Rolled a '6'; no change.

Agriculture Phase: +1 PP.

Construction Phase: There are now 2 Pandora-class scout carriers under construction at Terra Nova. One is one turn 2 or 3 and the other is on 1 of 3. If construction continues at this pace we should have enough scouts out there that we might actually find *something*.

Tech Phase: The 20 TP this turn brings us to 65 TP, or just 5 TP short of our tech advancement cost. Next turn!

Economic Phase: 47 EP (starting) + 36 EP (colony) + 3 EP (commerce) - 34 (purchases) - 3 (maintenance) = 49 EP

Economic Pool: 49
Population Pool: 7
Tech Pool: 65
Intel Pool: 6


Year 1, Turn 8
We're going to invest enough into tech points this turn to get a tech advancement, but then what? We need to save up some economic points to pay to modernize Terra Nova to this new technical standard. This is done by purchasing a colony tech level upgrade whose economic cost is equal to 10 x Census (60 EP). This upgrade will allow us to purchase TL 1 units at Terra Nova.

Turn Orders: 10 tech points (10 EP), 4 intel points (4 EP)

Movement Phase: Success! Scout Force 3 has succeeded in exploring one of the jump lanes that connects Terra Nova to its neighbors. We randomly pick a jump lane to explore, put the exploration force in that system, and then roll stats for our new star system that we're going to call Archer:

7 Carrying Capacity, 1 RAW, 3 Orbital, 1 Biosphere, 2 Science, 5 Jump Lanes

Archer is just not very good (sorry Bakula). It has decent Carrying Capacity and Orbitals; and the number of jump lanes connecting to it make it a good commercial destination, but having 1 RAW and 1 Biosphere really makes it a less than stunning find. It might be a good place for a 1-2 Census colony just for the commerce income it could generate, but it isn't going to make enough money on its own to be worth putting any Productivity there. We could build some Shipyard infrastructure in the system and have them be fairly productive, but if Archer's Census remains low it still won't function as much more than a forward repair base.

Image

Here's a map of the Human Republic as things stand after this exploration success. As you can see many of Archer's jump lanes are going to connect to two systems that also connect to Terra Nova. This might be good or bad, depending on what ends up in these systems. Given our luck this far the systems probably will either be worthless or contain a colony belonging to some ancient evil that will quickly destroy us.

You should also notice that the background behind Archer is already blue, not a grey color that would denote a neutral system. Because Archer is within Terra Nova's supply range (1/2 Utilized Productivity, round down, or 3), it is part of the Human Republic's sphere of influence. Spheres of influence are very important in 2E, and you can expand and pick off an opponent's claimed systems simply by having a higher effective supply in the system than he does. The presence of military forces in a system acts as a trump card and preserves ownership of a system even if the enemy has a higher effective supply, but it is also a more provocative move that is liable to make your opponent question your intentions. Colonized systems are considered Controlled and can't be flipped like Claimed systems can, so your inhabited systems are always safe.

Piracy Phase: Rolled a '8'; no change. Note that now that we have two systems on the map I have to do piracy checks for both of them, but I still only roll for the one capital system on the map. If I had rolled a '3' we would have gained Piracy in Terra Nova but note in Archer because Archer doesn't have a trade link present, so it would get a +1 modifier to its piracy check. If we moved adequate defenders into the system, there wouldn't even be a chance of Piracy increasing in the system; however, we would be paying to maintain those defenders, so it would end up costing us money either way.

Morale Phase: Rolled a '9'; no change.

Agriculture Phase: +1 PP.

Construction Phase: One Pandora is at 2 of 3, the other at 3 of 3. That latter scout carrier will be finished during this Construction Phase and available for assignment next turn.

Tech Phase: With 75 TP in our pool, we have achieved a tech advance! We subtract our tech advancement cost from the pool (75 - 70 = 5 leftover) and increase our tech level by 1 to TL 1. Now we have to pick a new tech goal. We could either try for another tech level increase or we could try to research a new unit special ability. I am going to pick a tech goal of Endurance tech, as it would be nice to be able to build a dedicated scout that could actually be out of supply for a couple of turns without taking damage.

Economic Phase: 49 EP (starting) + 36 EP (colony) + 3 EP (commerce) - 14 (purchases) - 3 (maintenance) = 71 EP

Economic Pool: 71
Population Pool: 8
Tech Pool: 5
Intel Pool: 10
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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:13 am

"Early election results indicate that the Industrialist Party is leading in the polls with 50% of the votes, equally 30 seats in the Senate. The Merchant and Military Parties are tied for second place with 25% of the remaining vote, or about 15 seats each. High-ranking political insiders believe that the Industrialist and Merchant parties may be negotiating to form a coalition government that will keep the Militarists and other parties firmly in the minority should Industrialist dominance come into question on election day. Stay tuned to SNN - Solar News Network -- for additional news as it becomes available"

Everyone has until sometime tomorrow to get their votes in. After I get done processing Turn 10 of the year I'm going to install the winner and elect one of the lucky senators as our new Chancellor. Given that BLHarrison was the first Industrialist to vote, you might want to start prepping any specific instructions for what you would like to see happen during the next few years of game play. In the interests of time I will keep playing out the turn-by-turn operations of the Republic, but I'll be relying on the Chancellor and his government for guidance.

We'll probably end up having annual elections, as the original 5-year plan is probably too long considering what can happen in a year. The more player interaction we can get the better I think, too.
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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:00 pm

Throw a spanner in the works: Technocratic Party
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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby BLHarrison » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:48 pm

Tyrel Lohr wrote:"Given that BLHarrison was the first Industrialist to vote, you might want to start prepping any specific instructions for what you would like to see happen during the next few years of game play. In the interests of time I will keep playing out the turn-by-turn operations of the Republic, but I'll be relying on the Chancellor and his government for guidance.


How detailed to you want the suggestions? How soon? And do you want them posted to this thread or in another thread?

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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 pm

BLHarrison wrote:How detailed to you want the suggestions? How soon? And do you want them posted to this thread or in another thread?


You can get as detailed as you would like, though the most practical option would be to give me a list of priorities and things that you want the Republic to try and do in the next year or two of operations. For example, you might request that we colonize Archer at the first opportunity, develop a new warship, improve infrastructure to a certain level, etc.

Your fellow Industrialist senator, Mavikfelna, should also probably weigh in and possibly add some directives to the list. The other players representing the other factions might also want to chime in. I'll have Turn 9 and 10 done and posted tonight, then we'll tally the votes and see if anything has changed.

For the purposes of this playtest thread, I am going to apportion the senate seats (10 per Census) between those that vote each year. The party with a simple majority in the senate gains political control for the next year, after which we have another vote and see if political control has changed. The party with political control determines the Republic's agenda for the next year. Players can feel free to create their own political parties or alter the existing ones (I just put them out as rough archetypes to get the ball rolling).

With five current participants in the thread, the three non-Industrial Party members do have the option of forming a coalition government and taking political control. They would have to agree on a political agenda, though, which is something that they aren't likely in a position to figure out right now. Barring a wave of last minute voting, I think we are still going to see an Industrialist Party with BLHarrison and mavikfelna in control of the agenda. I know I bestowed BLHarrison with the chancellery, but both of you should have a say in what the government does given that you are both from the presumptive victorious party.

Again, the plan is to get Year 1 completed tonight, review the political landscape, and then get started on Turn 1 of Year 2 tomorrow.
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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby BLHarrison » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:16 pm

The below list is in approximate priority order, but if it turns out we can complete a lower item quickly without overly delaying a higher item, go ahead and do it.

Be advised that my computer access can be irregular. In fact I most likely will not be back on line until Sunday (31 July 2011). If it does not over step any bounds consider my current Industrial senator as "Vice-Chancellor" if I am unavailable.

<political mode/on> This of course is only a inital draft and of course I welcome input from the other members of the Senate. However we must start somewhere and the below listed agenda I feel is best for our Republic.

• Increase industrial and shipyard capacity on Terra Nova by at least 1 in the near term. Overall gradual increase of both the Home-world and any colonies to maximum practical production level. In other worlds if it is cost effect to max out a world’s industrial capacity, do it.
• Start a colony on Archer, to take advantage of Archer’s shipyard potential.
• Eliminate or reduce the current piracy problem. If the Intel solution is most cost effective go that way. Otherwise use the military
• Add at least one other defensive station to Terra Nova. If flights are effective vs. pirates consider prototyping a station with more flight basing capability holding the most effective vs. pirate flights
• To insure that our population keeps being feed, increase our agricultural production by at least 1
• Continue the exploration of the jump lanes that radiate from Terra Nova, in order to discover new sites for industrial expansion.
• Once the new worlds are discovered, focus first on planets with the highest raw and/or bio ratings
• Eventually construct at least 2 defensive stations to the Archer system to act as an “outer work” for Terra Nova. With so many jump lanes this route to the home world must be protected as well.
• Once all jump lanes from Terra Nova are explored. At least one defensive station must be build in each system in order to provide “Outer-Works” for the home system. Mobile forces should not be neglected, but protection of both the Homeworld and it’s approaches must be a high priority
<political mode/off>

If a sudden surge from the other parties or a cololition aggreement removes me from this position, consider the above this Senator's suggestions :D

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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby mavikfelna » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:05 pm

While I agree with the esteemed chancellor potentate on our priorities, I do request a few small changes to the priorities.

I would recommend starting Archer colony, though with only 1 or at most 2 census, first and reducing piracy second before increasing the local industrial and shipyard capacity. This is due more to the costs involved rather than a repudiation of the Industrial Party Policy.

I would also not build further local defenses at this time, though once out system defense are built up returning to the home system would be advisable.

We do need to ensure that all our stations and fleets have sufficient flights available as well.

--Mav

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Re: Human Republic Playtest Thread

Postby BLHarrison » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:42 pm

mavikfelna wrote:While I agree with the esteemed chancellor potentate on our priorities, I do request a few small changes to the priorities.

I would recommend starting Archer colony, though with only 1 or at most 2 census, first and reducing piracy second before increasing the local industrial and shipyard capacity. This is due more to the costs involved rather than a repudiation of the Industrial Party Policy.

I would also not build further local defenses at this time, though once out system defense are built up returning to the home system would be advisable.

We do need to ensure that all our stations and fleets have sufficient flights available as well.

--Mav


My esteemed college does bring up several good points, perhaps moving addtional Terra Nova stations to a lower priority, perhaps after we know what we have to defend.

If it is more cost effective to start the colony on Archer first, then deal with the pirates, then expand our industrial capacity, then by all means do so.

Prototypeing a new type of station, even if we don't build it right away can have many benifits including flexabity via basing different types of flights in the new station.

I yeild the floor.


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