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FTL Ships and STL Coms (was RE: [VV] Vectorverse FTL)

From: Jalinth <jalinth@k...>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 18:28:31 -0500
Subject: FTL Ships and STL Coms (was RE: [VV] Vectorverse FTL)

>Another question is that of how FTL communications work. Is
>there instantaneous (or fast) communication between worlds,
>or do you have to give a message to a ship and have it take
>it to the destination?
>The latter leads to an interesting setup (you send off a fleet,
>and won't know the result of the battle until weeks later, when
>either your fleet returns or the enemy jumps in), but is
>difficult to run in a campaign (since players will tend to know
>where all their ships are and what has happened to them).

One way I've encountered of dealing with this is from

It makes we want to track down a copy of the game. Looks + good.

Fifth Frontier War
designed by Marc W. Miller
1981, Game Designer's Workshop

In this interstellar combat game, there is no FTL communication faster 
than a courier ships. So the news that the grand admiral is basing their

strategy on is often several weeks old. The game gem is the elegant way 
this is approximated with an abstract game mechanism.

The ugly, brute-force alternative is to have two game maps in two 
separate rooms, one per player, and with the assistance of a referee who

provides each player with intelligence delayed by the appropriate time

The FFW solution is far more elegant, abet a bit abstract. Each task 
force has an admiral, each with a "leadership rating". Each task force 
has to pre-plot their movement several turns in advance. The better the 
admiral, the fewer turns in advance the turns have to be plotted (i.e., 
the leadership rating is the number of moves in advance that have to be 
plotted). The task forces are bound to their pre-plotted moves, even as 
the moves become increasingly irrelevant as the situation evolves.

So the finely honed ability of an excellent admiral to predict the 
future movement of enemy fleets is here approximated by the flexibility 
of not being bound by a lengthy set of pre-plotted moves. An admiral who

can foresee far in advance is modeled in the game by a short set of 
pre-plots, giving a faster reaction time.

And of course there is the legendary admiral who has a leadership rating

of "zero".

The FFW solution provides 80% of the effect of the theoretical perfect 
solution but with only 20% of the effort.

An amusing feature of the game is how difficult it is to remove moronic 
admirals with abysmal leadership ratings. Many owe their positions to 
well-connected fathers rather than due to merit. A bit of chrome is the 
Imperial Writ, which allows the imperial player to swap admirals between

two fleets once during the game.

"Where is the prince who can afford so to cover his country with troops 
for its defense, as that ten thousand men descending from the clouds, 
might not, in many places, do an infinite deal of mischief before a 
force could be brought together to repel them?"
- Benjamin Franklin-1784

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