VBAM Galaxies

Blue? Green? Red? Refuse? It's time to talk about rules for a new community edition of the VBAM rules!
User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Emiricol » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:40 am

The more I think on it, the more I am dearly loving the idea of making each turn phase a discrete unit, completed fully before moving on to the next phase.

The single squadron combat is possibly my second favorite new development. Top 3 without a doubt. That said, the traditional CSCR setup could be an optional rule.

I mentioned it in another thread, but I love the idea of making each book's optional rules a separate file (free dowload, because people love free stuff). It has the distinct advantage of allowing the book to get finished without worrying about what the optional rules do to the page count (and without waiting for them to be playtested, etc., which will greatly speed the process).

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:56 am

Emiricol wrote:The more I think on it, the more I am dearly loving the idea of making each turn phase a discrete unit, completed fully before moving on to the next phase.

It leads to be some interesting interactions, especially in regards to planning out the rest of your turn. You still effectively are doing all of your purchases at the start of the turn, just in the Economics Phase now instead of the old Turn Orders Phase. But now the Intel missions you pay for in the Economics Phase and run in the Intel Phase can give you information that you can then act upon during the Movement Phase of the same turn.

When it comes to running a turn, what I'm doing is breaking each empire's turn sheet down by phase and then moving a "Current Phase" marker down the page so that I know which phase(s) I have completed and which I haven't. That is working for two empires, but once I get a few more it might be different.

The biggest mental impasse for me has been getting over not completely recording all of your turn orders for everyone before you start the turn. This really breaks it up into more bite size chunks and then I just bop back and forth between empires completing things a phase at a time.

The single squadron combat is possibly my second favorite new development. Top 3 without a doubt. That said, the traditional CSCR setup could be an optional rule.

The single squadron combat seems to be working pretty well. I haven't found too many battles where it was a significant limitation. That Klingon raider attack is one where I really wish I would have had more of my ships in the fight, but at the same time that was more a consequence of me not having a decent command ship around to lead a fleet. Once you get to the CR 5-6 level I don't think you'll see too much problem outside of a major fleet action, and at that point you'll probably have a better command ship around.

The original CSCR rules could be included somewhere as an optional rule, sure. All of the rules elements are still there, and the CC changes might actually make it a bit more balanced than it was before. I also penciled in a "Grand Fleets" optional rule to start spitballing ways to address Murtalian's concerns about fleet sizes. I think a simple command limit multiplier would probably address that, so you'd include like 2 x CR ships instead of just 1 x CR if you want to fight with bigger fleets.

I mentioned it in another thread, but I love the idea of making each book's optional rules a separate file (free dowload, because people love free stuff). It has the distinct advantage of allowing the book to get finished without worrying about what the optional rules do to the page count (and without waiting for them to be playtested, etc., which will greatly speed the process).

Almost all we have are optional rules :o But for small rules, putting them into free releases is an option. I also think we need to go back to the Menagerie-style playtest system where we just release the rules out in the wild so people can use them and let us know what they think, then when it comes time for release we can roll it all up.

That's why I've just tossed everything into the GoogleDocs and made them public for Galaxies. That way we can all jump in and work on things together. Find the rules that work or don't work, and see where there is room for improvement.

Galaxies itself has been a really neat project thus far largely because of the feedback and "theorycrafting" that has been going on with the rules. I think we've touched on a lot of the bigger paint points and figured out some good solutions. Now we're to the dirty part where we have to jump in and start testing things and finish making decisions about the leftover pieces.

I think the next section of the rules that I really need to concentrate on finishing is the Encounters Phase / combat. If I can fill in those gaps then I think most of the game should be "playable". I'd really love for several of us to all be jumping in and playtesting and seeing how our campaigns go, and where we don't have enough rules or where some fixing is in order.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
murtalianconfederacy
Captain
Captain
Posts: 363
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:17 am
Location: Aboard the MCS Bavoralkin

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:21 am

I don't have any specific details on hand because most (okay, all) of my campaigns were done on P+P, but one of my Grand Fleet campaigns (hmm, I like that) was the one I ran only two years ago, Once More Unto The Breach (viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1575). I must admit I'm almost Klingon-esque in the way I build my fleets up--I can have a maxed-out Grand Fleet of a flagship with 12-14 CR commanding up to 10 squadrons (!). I'm the outlier in that regard, mainly because most of my fleets were built with SX and translated, and in that I equated cruisers with hull 9 and battleships with hull 20. And with the Grand Fleets I ran, it makes the paperwork easier. I think I can reign back my dictatorial excesses if there's optional rules doubling/tripling CR...:D
Not every laser dot has a loaded gun at the end of it

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:03 pm

Looking back at Once More Unto the Breach, it seem like doubling the command limit would accommodate most of your fleets and get them into the battle at the same time. For example, the New Anglian League's 1st Fleet looks to have 27 ships (including the flagship). The Aethelflaed flagship has CR 16, so doubling it to 32 for command limit accommodates all of the ships easily, with some room left for a few more ships.

In a lot of cases, squadrons ends up being about 3-4 ships each, so if you had 10 squadrons that would be about 40 ships. At that point, the flagship CR multiplier would just need to be adjusted a bit. If your CR is usually around 14, then doubling gets it to 28. That is still pretty good, as you can pull ships in more easily from the reinforcements to fill in the gaps. But you could also go to a 3x multiplier and be able to pull everyone in. I still think 2x CR would be a bit fairer, and you should have enough losses each round with that many units that you'll be able to bring in quite a few reinforcements each round to replace ships that have been destroyed.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:05 pm

Just a FYI post to let you know that I'm going to be working on getting the diplomacy rules finished today based on our recent discussions. I'll see what the best way is to split those discussions up and get things implemented. I'll also be expanding on the NPE rules draft that I have in the Lost in a Sea of Stars GoogleDoc to get that to the point that we we can begin playtesting the final changes and make sure we're not missing anything. Not sure how far I'll get on that today, but I'll try to make some progress.

I am going through and doing another pass on the Galaxies doc to see what other outstanding rules we have to address before we'll have a fully playable draft. I know there are lots of pockets of incomplete rules, and I'm going to make note of those so that I can try to finish them up, too, over the course of the next two weeks.

Just a reminder that anyone that wants to leave comments or add on to the GoogleDocs are free to do so. Everyone should have comment level rights, so you can get in there and add content or make edits if you want to!

I am also hoping to get a bit more playtesting of my own done today after another extended hiatus.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Emiricol » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:51 pm

I skimmed Galaxies and didn't see a new ruleset for designing ships. Can someone point me to the Galaxies version of the design rules?

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:40 pm

Emiricol wrote:I skimmed Galaxies and didn't see a new ruleset for designing ships. Can someone point me to the Galaxies version of the design rules?

The rules are still in a scattered form down towards the bottom in the Creating Your Own Empire section. I wasn't going to finish them until we knew where we were heading. I probably should revisit that.

The CP amounts per class should be in there for everything but ground forces. I still think we should go for light (Cost 2, Maint 1/6, CP 6), medium (Cost 4, Maint 2/6, CP 9), heavy (Cost 6, Maint 2/4, CP 12) for those units.

Each Era above starting era is +10% CP.

The 2E ability costs are about all the same, except that Explorer is now non-rated and is just +1 Maint to get the ability.

I'll try to go in and update those rules this week and see what I can do to clean up the confusion and lock those down a bit more. I think Diplomacy is about to a point that we can start testing the changes and see what all we're missing after the recent discussion, too.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:36 pm

Activity here has really died down this last month. I think that's mainly because most of the "sexy" features of the game have been discussed, and now we're down into the nitty gritty components that aren't terribly interesting to hash out and update.

I'm going to keep hacking away at these last few items, but I think we're at a point where players need to speak up and let us know what you think and where we should make changes. Specifically, for those that have been playing with the Galaxies rules, how have things shaken out for you so far?

I'm planning on starting a playtest game in the new year for us to work through things together and figure out what we may still need to change. Some of that might include simplifying some of the rules, or excising rules elements that don't seem to fit with the base game any longer. For example, the mine warfare rules might be adding too many special cases or making the movement rules unnecessarily obtuse. If that's the case, then they can be moved to the optional rules so we can refine them. Or if the movement rate is too fast and everyone wants to go back to one jump per turn, or two if one is a major lane, then we can adjust accordingly.

Basically, I'm looking for any and all feedback on what we have at this point and where people want to take the rules from here.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Emiricol » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:36 pm

Actually, mine warfare was something I've been thinking about. I did an ad-hoc battle or three to test the single-squadron idea and my solo campaign Empire's designs against Universal List ships, and on the one that included mines I found them a bit overpowered. OTOH there's about 4 variants floating around, so that issue may have been addressed already and I'm just banging up against version control issues. (My nemesis!)

I may be the minority here, but my initial enthusiasm for the 2-jumps/turn change has been tempered. It changes the entire tempo of the game and makes strategic errors in placement less critical, not more. Maybe that increased forgiveness is what you want for the basic game though... I just didn't like it, which is why I didn't include it in my new ongoing solo campaign.

In my test game, I also made all new encounters NAEs, and found it to be rather boring. In my solo campaign I am using a modified system where a d10 roll tells me whether it's an NAE (1-7) or NPE (8-10), with a -4/-2/-1 die modifier based on distance from a Cen 3+ player system. If it works out, it'll mean NAEs are the only possibility when close to a major player system, but up to a 30% chance the more remote the explored system is.
----

EDIT
Tyrel Lohr wrote:The CP amounts per class should be in there for everything but ground forces. I still think we should go for light (Cost 2, Maint 1/6, CP 6), medium (Cost 4, Maint 2/6, CP 9), heavy (Cost 6, Maint 2/4, CP 12) for those units. ... The 2E ability costs are about all the same, except that Explorer is now non-rated and is just +1 Maint to get the ability.


I'm already using the ground unit breakdown you list, and it is working out pretty well. I added a variety of ground unit abilities, which mostly apply to Support units (MNT modifier) but a few that apply to the combat unit itself (EP cost modifier). Also added rules for Flights doing air support/strikes for the ground battle, and cover/suppression for the support units. I have not playtested ground combat yet, as I didn't do it in my pre-solo testing scenarios before starting Rising Tide, as I did with the space combat rules.

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:54 pm

I've been mulling over the movement rate change myself, and while it works better on larger game maps I think it actually diminishes the importance of major lanes and makes it too easy to pivot and redeploy your fleet across the galaxy. But swapping back to 1 jump per turn (2 if one is a major lane) makes the mine warfare proposal not work as well, and the contested movement / zones of control almost a non-factor.

The question of what mines should really do and how best to implement them really has me thinking that they should be kicked to the curb for now until we can all discuss the best way of really implementing them. Do they end up being free fighter-like defenses that are included with minelayers or in Defensive scenarios? Or should they be a completely strategic weapon that only affects the strategic layer? I'm really not sure. The 2 jump per turn movement made them into more effective strategic weapons by limiting movement, but with slower movement that isn't really an option anymore. They could retain some of that ability, but probably not.

Non-Aligned powers are really boring, and I'm leaning towards removing the diplomatic elements from them again and just having them be treated like in 2E, where they are just neutral systems that you can trade with or conquer as you see fit. Just leave them there to do their thing, basically.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Emiricol
Captain
Captain
Posts: 267
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:09 am
Location: Near Seattle
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Emiricol » Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:15 am

I'm probably sticking with the slower movement rates. I just really haven't liked the change of tempo it gives the game when 2-jump is the norm, but that's just my preference and can easily be houseruled whichever way "official Galaxy" goes. It will also make jump lane improvements more important.

I'm not really concerned with mines/ZOC etc. because I'm preferring a simpler baseline that retains a lot of options, like the other Galaxy rules have done. Although I could change my mind once I bone up on those rules. I haven't really gotten deep into consideration of mines, but there are a lot of ways it could go Mines could be used to

- provide Scout Functions specifically used to modify formation levels for one or both sides
- function like DSats in most types of encounters, using minelayer functions as CR
- Reduce scenario length unless some ratio of minesweeper:mines is achieved
- make normal Jump Lanes into Restricted Lanes unless X minesweepers are present
- Sever supply and trade lanes through a system until cleared

Those are just some random thoughts on the many different directions mines could go in Galaxy :shock:

User avatar
BroAdso
Commander
Commander
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:27 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby BroAdso » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:20 pm

I'm back, with Thanksgiving and election season over! Yay!

That also means I have time to resume playtesting and futzing around. I think I might go for a Dominion War scenario, another shot at the Four Years War, or maybe go out of the reservation for me and do a Star Wars or an original 4x style campaign.

Any pieces of the rewritten rules since late October you particularly want to see getting a workout? I am really impressed with the amount of progress that's been made!

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:28 pm

BroAdso wrote:Any pieces of the rewritten rules since late October you particularly want to see getting a workout? I am really impressed with the amount of progress that's been made!

At this point I think a general playtest that just throws everything we've got against the proverbial wall to see what sticks should be good. I think movement and diplomacy are two areas that still need some discussion, but I'm feeling good about most of the rest.

I want to spend part of the next two days going through and trying to apply a few changes after I've let the rules percolate a bit myself, but I think it's all been good progress because, even if not everything ends up in the main rules, we have a really good foundation to build from, and I really appreciate everyone that's thrown in and offered assistance getting this far!

I will probably make a "cheat sheet" of rules elements that we might want to discuss to figure out if they should be moved back to the optional rules or not. After the last month of sitting and thinking about where we are, I think there are several rules that would probably benefit from being pushed to the optional rules. That includes things like retreating from combat or the outpost colonization. I like them, but as with extended construction times I think that it might be easier to bolt on later rather than explain in-line. And I would almost rather the Galaxies "player's guide" be more straightforward and easier to use if at all possible.

I need to get some more turns done on my campaign, too. I got distracted in November, but did get 3 turns done. Have to finish up the last 9 to get done with that year, though :)
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:57 pm

As an update, Jay and I are having a mini-conclave to reconcile the concepts from Galaxies with some of the other projects that he's been working on over the years. It's kind of a boiling pot approach, going back to 1E and throwing in bits of 2E, Galaxies, etc. and seeing what happens.

I think I'm to the point that I need two players that have time and availability to start working through a very early prototype of this new direction. The rules aren't nailed down completely and we're filling in notes as we go. The rule of thumb right now is to play through a sample game and figure out what the *expected* results are and then make sure we get the rules to that point.

PM or email me with your contact info if you're interested in this "concept test". I'm expecting that it'll probably take about 10-15 minutes per day.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"

User avatar
Tyrel Lohr
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:48 am
Location: Lusk, WY
Contact:

Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:45 am

Another month, another update!

I've been continuing to work on the Galaxies side project and have it almost to a playable state, but I'm starting an internal 2 player playtest game in order to knock off the remaining rough spots and make some final decisions about the state of the rules and where they are going. Once they're ready, then I'll share the rules doc with everyone here to give an idea of where I think we're going to take VBAM.
"Touch not the pylons, for they are the messengers!"


Return to “VBAM Galaxies”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest