VBAM Galaxies

Blue? Green? Red? Refuse? It's time to talk about rules for a new community edition of the VBAM rules!
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OneMadOgre
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby OneMadOgre » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:49 am

I've been slower lately, but it looks like I need to take some more vacation soon. Still following with interest.

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BroAdso
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby BroAdso » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:00 pm

Agreed - still following with great interest. My workload increased about 10x since December unexpectedly, but I should get at least some down time in the next few weeks here, and I love some of the gameplay aids and ideas that have been bouncing around. I promise I wasn't posting on a lark, and I definitely haven't abandoned VBAM/Galaxies - remains one of the coolest boardgame-like systems I've encountered.

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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby wminsing » Tue May 23, 2017 1:37 am

So I've been EXTREMELY tardy on giving any feedback on this project but if it would still be useful I'd love to run a solo campaign using these rules soon-ish. My wife and I had our first child a few months ago and we're starting to settle into a routine that would allow me to take a stab at it.

-Will
"Ships and sail proper for the heavenly air should be fashioned. Then there will also be people, who do not shrink from the dreary vastness of space."
-- Johannes Kepler, 1609

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BroAdso
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby BroAdso » Tue May 23, 2017 3:03 am

wminsing wrote:So I've been EXTREMELY tardy on giving any feedback on this project but if it would still be useful I'd love to run a solo campaign using these rules soon-ish. My wife and I had our first child a few months ago and we're starting to settle into a routine that would allow me to take a stab at it.

-Will


I'd love to see someone else take a stab at a Galaxies campaign, and I'd absolutely follow along and try to work through experimental-rules questions.

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Tyrel Lohr
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:22 am

I've been AWOL the last several months, mainly because of work and end-of-the-year stuff having monopolized most of my time. I also had quite a few family commitments in May that kept me away from the computer.

BTW, Congrats, Will, on the new addition to your family!

I think further playtesting of Galaxies is still a good use of time. In the last few months, I've been working on a few parallel builds of the rules and trying to further refine the game system. That has worked through 2-3 alternative iterations of the rules along a similar theme. Geoff and I have been testing some of those changes before bringing them back to the group.

The approach in my last attempt was to strip the game back to a bare foundation and start incrementally adding features back in with an emphasis on simplifying some aspects of the rules and realigning it more towards the goal of being an approachable space 4x style experience.

I'll post more over the next week to introduce some of the concepts that we're testing, but one thing I worked quite a bit on was tweaking system generation and getting the economic model (for lack of a better term) tuned. In the process, I ended up narrowing the range of values considerably.

First, I ended up settling on three importances and no colony levels: Unimportant (2 Capacity, 1 RAW), Minor (4 Capacity, 2 RAW), and Major (6 Capacity, 3 RAW). This allows for a more natural escalation of economic value, with a natural 1/3 chance distribution for each of them. This simplifies that element of sysgen.

I then took the special encounter / anomalies and combined them with the system special traits. You have one trait per system, and that trait provides a system stat bonus and sometimes a secondary bonus. For example, a system with the Nebula trait gets +1 Capacity from the trait, but then all encounters in the system are at a -3 detection penalty.

The goal with this change has been to make the galaxy generally more interesting, and provide some good narrative hooks for players as they explore. Homeworlds in this case start with two traits: Native Biosphere (+2 Capacity) and Rare Metals (+1 RAW). This gives a homeworld stats of 8 Capacity and 4 RAW. With a starting Utilized Productivity of 6, this gives you 24 system output in your home system at the start of the game.

As part of the economic overhaul, I also started work consolidating the units to more clearly adhere to a 1-12 construction cost range. Geoff and I have been going back and forth on those, testing different conversions and seeing how they worked out. It's looking promising. Not much different from what we had before, with the exception that Frigates returned to the mix to occupy a new gap that appeared once corvettes were downgraded to 1 EP units.

But I'll starting rolling out some of those concepts for discussion soon. I think Galaxies, as it exists in the current doc, is going to remain its own beast, largely because of the OTHER major change that came out of a January development playtest -- a major overhaul of the combat rules to consolidate space and ground combat and make them use the same rule set. Then that spiraled a bit out of control. Which is another reason why I've been conspicuously absent.
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Caplin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:43 am

I'd love to hear more about this if it's still a going concern. Please update us when you're able.

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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:55 am

We should have more to announce in about 2 weeks. I've been rounding up edits and doing some testing on a 6-player game to test out what looks to be some final changes to the diplomacy and intel rules. The 2017 combat development has ended up arriving as a general consensus that consolidates a lot of the rules and should eliminate most of the problems we've had with system encounter resolution (aka the flow chart from hell if the stars aligned wrong).

If we continue on the current trajectory, I think I'll be ready to start a 6-player playtest game for those that want to test the new rules. I want to get through at least 3 turns per week if possible, on a M-W-F schedule, if at all possible so that we could get through a year of game time in a month. If successful, we could then get a solid 5 years of playtest time in while we finish up rules for the follow up expansions at that time.

Once the Rebirth draft is content complete I will plan on starting weekly dev diaries to get everyone up to speed on where we're at and start revealing the road map for future releases.

This has been an absolutely torturous experience for everyone (part of the reason I adopted the code name "Rebirth" for the current draft cycle), but I'm very happy with the current state of the Alpha 3 build of the rules. It incorporates major elements from the Campaign Guide, Companion, and Menagerie into a single book and codifies a lot of things that we'd left in the air previously. The rules are also slimmer than before, and we're sitting at about 70 pages before adding in force lists and player aids.
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Caplin » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:59 am

Yay! :)

I'm so happy to know this is still a thing. I'll definitely be watching the forum over the next while.

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Tyrel Lohr
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:17 am

I'm thinking about 2 weeks until we can get started, so be sure to check back and I'll IM you when we're ready to give it a go. I think I have 2-3 players that would be willing to commit to the playtest game, but I was really hoping to grab some more from here because I think a 6 player test is going to be what we want to get some good diplomacy testing going.

That should also give me enough time to finish getting the empire force lists recreated and ready. I think I have the starter units ready, as I have been using them quite a bit, but after the combat changes took effect about 2 months ago I need to update the unit stats and progression.
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BroAdso
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby BroAdso » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:15 pm

This is fantastic to hear! I'll keep my eye out and will totally be up for a playtest PBEM.

Did the new version that's in playtest keep with the changes we've been mocking up in the system generation process to allow for fewer and simpler planet classes?

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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:44 pm

The Rebirth iteration of the Galaxies rules keeps just three system importance levels (unimportant, minor, major) and eliminates the colony size. The special traits have been re-skinned to use effectively the same bonuses as we saw in 1E/2E, but with some actual background flavor applied to them. For example, the "Fair Biosphere" trait that gave +2 Capacity and +1 Census is now "Native Biosphere" that gives the same stat bonuses but also gives a +1 bonus to population increase rolls in the system.

I still ended up keeping the special encounters in play, but those cover the more exotic and rare special traits that didn't fit the system. The chance of rolling one of those is pretty low.

Geoff and I are still hashing out the detailed system changes, but my current take on that is to keep things simple and possibly focus more on inhabitable worlds as the only ones you can colonize and then have other "useless rocks" be more of a potential source of RAW that you could throw a mining station in orbit of to earn some extra income (similar to how Stellaris handles it). That would address the problem of having a lot of garbage system objects that no one is ever going to colonize.

But like I said, those kinds of advanced rules are still very much in the air. I've been focusing more on getting the economy and diplomacy/intel working, and also adjusting the (likely now integral) empire advantages and disadvantages.

The general theme this development cycle is that we have condensed many of the existing rules, taking what might have been 20 pages and fitting them into 4-6. This has meant pruning elements that don't really add to the game or aren't terribly interesting (of which the Menagerie trait list had a lot of examples).

I'm also focusing much more tightly on giving every ability and stat something interesting to do, and eliminating duplication where possible. I'm guilty of over-engineering some things in 2E, so I'm correcting that here given the opportunity.
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Re: VBAM Galaxies

Postby Emiricol » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:35 am

I'm loving where Rebirth is headed :) It has me excited about VBAM again!


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