Due to real-life issues the update is postponed to Sunday 21st May (eek). Late orders or changes may still be accepted; please message me for details. -The Galaxy- About 50 million years ago, two spiral galaxies began to collide. From their initial wild embrace, many small fragments were flung into deep space, their planets bombarded with asteroids and comets in the process, triggering further evolution... We are one such bundle just a small bundle of stars and nebulae, set adrift on the deep. On a clear night, you may look up and see the beautiful galactic merger still happening in slow-motion, many thousands of light years away, with many millions of years left to play out. Astronomers say that in the far future, our stars will be pulled back into that great celestial dance. But who can wait that long? It is a vision that has beckoned your ancestors over generations, inviting them to dream of flying above the sky and into the stars themselves. And so, through the genius of your people, the age of Faster Than Light travel has now dawned. Yet, quite why so many other sentient races are now emerging at the same time, in our relatively tiny island in space, is something a mystery - oneof many mysteries that make up our existence... Aside from all this, there is deliberately no backstory to our small ‘galaxy’ - player races are assumed to be the first generation of sentient beings that have mastered Faster Than Light (FTL) travel, and history is yours to create. Whether the galaxy becomes united in pursuing the greater mysteries of existence, or delves into genocidal war and imperialism, or both, or somewhere in between, is up to players to decide. In this game you will be spending Eco Points (EP) as ‘money’, although it really represents the ability to of your civilization to harness creative and destructive energies - morale and motivation being a factor in this also. Players will control a faction made up of units and/or some sources of income, living in a galaxy made up of a hexagonal pieces that represent star systems, nebulas, black holes, or patches of empty space. Each hex can only have one star system (though it may be a binary or triple), and for the sake of sanity, there are only a few ‘interesting’ planets represented in any system. Planets are where most factions will get most of their income. To begin with, your faction is one race (or related species, or symbionts, etc ) expanding from its original homeworld. But, bear in mind that factions could get a lot more complicated later on The game has Stats, a Map, a Planet list/doc, and Updates from your friendly moderator, and Stories & Background written by players. Stats Overview Faction Traits: are essentially modifiers and bonuses that you can choose for your faction. An exhaustive list is listed further down this page... Economy (EP): is fuel for everything else, presented as banked EP + most recent income. EP builds colonies, ships, military, funds diplomatic and covert ops, and buys research points. Upkeep for your fleets, military is automatically deducted (just let your friendly GM know if you want to skip on any upkeep). Bonuses are also added in - from trade and technology, from having access to a wider range of resources (a benefit of expansion), and from having happy and motivated citizens. Freighters: shown as the amount of freighter ships you have vs the amount that is needed to keep your economy, production, and foreign trade ticking over nicely. Having a small surplus is good, but they do require a little upkeep. Freighters are somewhat abstracted - they can be assumed to be going back-and-forth between your various planets and trade routes throughout a turn, and are only shown on the map where they are doing special tasks; Freighters can be used to transport military forces (or fighter wings) for invasions, but are especially vulnerable to opposing forces. Freighters can also be sent to scrounge some EP from unclaimed planets and asteroid belts. Tech Level: your current tech level, followed by accumulated research points in brackets. Superior tech gives an advantage in combat, diplomacy, trade, espionage, and allows your ships to venture further into space (see Movement). Tech adds to your bonus income and also makes it easier to develop your worlds. EP converts to research points, but consistency pays - a sudden massive investment may waste a little EP, while you’ll get some extra research per turn from the average of recent tech spending. Gathering 10x your current tech level in research points will trigger a breakthrough to the next level. Note that you cannot normally go up by more than one Tech Level per turn, though some research points can be carried over. Strengths: these are tech fields or industries in which your faction does especially well, compared to others at a similar Tech Level. These may translate straight into trade and EP bonuses, or otherwise factor into combat and events. Every increase in Tech Level is a chance to specialise in a new area, but you can only specialise in a handful of fields at a time (otherwise they lose meaning). Upgrade Bill: as your tech level goes up, there’s a cost to upgrade your existing fleet and military. The bigger this bill gets, the more your forces will not get the full benefit of your current tech (don’t count on ships being able to move at full speed, etc). Repair Bill: if ships or infrastructure have been damaged, the cost to repair them will be listed here. Damaged units can still be given orders, but it is not guaranteed they will be able to move on the map (at least not full range), or fight effectively. Other Rules FYI: You don’t need to know all the mechanics and I’m happy for players to be ‘hands off’ and roleplay-ey as they like! Movement: all ships can move freely throughout your Zone of Supply during a turn (the coloured borders on the map), which by default extends one map hex outwards from every settlement you control. Outside this zone you run into a movement limit, which is equivalent to your Tech Level x number of map hexes per turn; if your Zone of Supply is broken into islands, you must move between them at this rate. Short-range fighters and ground forces need to be carried around on other ships. Note that every turn that ships spend outside of your zone of supply, they risk taking damage from attrition and accidents - a progressively greater risk, the more time is spent away from friendly space. Exploration: an unexplored star system has its name in brackets on the main map, and it may have an icon denoting that heavy elements (crystal icon) or organic molecules (tree icon) have been detected by telescopes. To find out more, you must send a fleet to the system. It will take at least a turn to survey the planets in detail (if any exist). You’ll then see a suitability rating in the planets sheet. The rating can be different for each race - the planet is scored on both environment and resources. Planets with a higher rating will be easier to colonise, and your colonies and garrisons will need less upkeep there. The range of highest : lowest ratings is also shown on the map next to the planet name. Technically, any ship can explore, but it can be a dangerous business, especially for clunky freighters and the like. But your specialist Explorer Fleets are guaranteed to survey a system in one turn, and are much less likely to take damage from accidents. Colonisation / Development: You can attempt to colonise or develop any planets that you know about on the map. Feel free to simply allocate some EP for ‘grow eco’ in general, with either a general plan to develop a few core systems or expand outwards with small outposts - players will not be punished for avoiding details. Note that you can also assign EP for auto-colonising systems that are being explored during the turn, if a good planet is found. The cost to increase a planet’s economy by +1/turn is a standard 3EP. The EP output of a planet is noted in big letters next to the planet on the map. However, there are several elements of risk: * Habitability Rating (see Exploration) brings more risk at lower levels - essential a dice roll that has to be on-or-under the rating to succeed. * If the planet’s total EP output is close to the planet’s Habitability Rating plus your Tech Level, then there’s an increasing chance of failure due to overcrowding / resource exhaustion, and you actually risk damaging the planet’s environment (certain Faction Traits may help). Most homeworld planets begin at or near this state. Note that on shared worlds, EP from all factions contributes to overcrowding, not just your own. * If the distance to the destination is more than one turn’s travel out from your Zone of Supply (see Movement), there’s an extra chance of failure on top of all that - increasing the further out you go. However, you can launch multiple attempts per turn, and each failure to colonise a particular planet will increase the odds for following attempts. The upside is that most failed rolls will return 1 or 2 EP to your bank at the end of the turn, assuming colonists and machinery can be salvaged. Migration: if you allow it, and you have the freighters available, then some of your EP value on overcrowded worlds can be sent to colony worlds each turn (representing population), though this does not necessarily add to your overall income. EP output cannot normally be moved away from worlds without overcrowding issues - you’ll need to have a good excuse for this (such as imminent alien invasion) or have the kind of citizens that allow themselves to be evicted at will (collectivists?). Terraforming / geo-engineering: this is an expensive option for long-term gain, to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. It could also be a way to squeeze rivals off of a planet. It is likely to cost between 8 and 20 EP, and increase the planet rating by +1 or +2 points for your species (not necessarily for others!). You need only have a fleet in orbit of the target planet to begin, though the process could take several turns. Any existing inhabitants can interfere with your efforts, so a troop presence may be needed. Unit Spawning: units cannot be given orders the same turn they are built! In addition, a planet must have EP output equal to the total EP value of all units being built there in a turn, or else the units have to be built at double the normal cost, or built over several turns. This building limit is doubled for your capital/homeworld, or any planet with a Space Station or Habitat in orbit; the latter two items ignore spawning rules themselves, as they are already expensive to build. Disbanding / Scrapping units: you’ll get a portion of the original EP back, somewhat randomly, but always at least 1/3 of the original cost and always at least 1EP. Combat: at the start of the game, nobody really knows how an interstellar war would work. It will take some experimentation to work things out! But in general: you can expect Combat Fleets to be able to bombard planets to damage the economy and ground defences, for which reason you may wish to build Defence Guns to fire back, while versatile Fighter Wings can disrupt enemy fleets and also assist in ground battles. Explorer / Scout Fleets may lack staying power, but can perform raids and provide early warning for other ships with their powerful sensors. Planets can of course be captured and held by sending in your ground military, or settlements may gradually be pounded into dust from orbit. Blockade tactics and attacks on freighters alone may be enough to play havoc with an enemy’s economy. Positioning of your fleets will also be important, as the fleet that arrives first to a battle will be able to recharge and ready itself for the enemy, while fleets going a long distance into battle will arrive with less time and energy to spend... Diplomacy - the benefits: players are of course free to devise any kind of treaties, mutual protection pacts, and alliances they like, however - in game terms there are three particular things that you can ‘give’ to another player (with or without receiving them in return): * Trade - opening to trade with a foreign power allows both sides to benefit from extra EP income, provided there are enough freighters to go around, and that their freighters can arrive at one of your planets or bases within one turn’s travel (maybe more, if the returns are high enough). If the trade is kept one-sided, then the side sending the freighters will tend to benefit more than the other. Trade may also bring exposure to cultural influences, crime, infiltrators and subversive ideas, for which reason you may want to limit it to a few 'treaty ports'. * Right of Passage - allow a foreign power to use your zone of supply just like their own. All of their ships (-specify if this includes military-) will be able to move freely and without limit throughout your space during the course of a turn. The foreign power will still pay upkeep for their own forces. * Research Access - allow a foreign power to learn your technology and science. If they are behind you in tech level, they need only half the usual amount of research points to advance a level, and can advance up to two tech levels per turn. If they are at the same tech level, they will share some spillover from any progress you make, regardless of who has most research overall. Spying, Influencing and Covert Ops: this is a matter of how much EP you are willing to spend, as well as what you want to do - in theory, nothing is off limits, provided you have actually have met and know a little about the other faction. It will also be relative to how much EP a rival is also spending on their spies / diplomats. Where signs of enemy agents have been seen, you’ll receive more info, and perhaps funding requests for counter-ops. We’ll handle all this via PM’s of course Galactic Wonders / Special Projects: these are mainly about prestige and cultural value, but they can also bring in EP, military or tech bonuses. If you have an idea for a special project or wonder, we can discuss the cost via PM. Be aware that alongside an EP cost, you may be given targets to achieve, ie raise a planet to a certain EP / turn, reach a certain Tech Level, or something along those lines. Beyond the Rules: there are of course many things not mentioned above. Politics, culture, factional infighting, civil unrest, unique techs and ship designs, killer viruses, portals, super weapons, invasive space critters, etc, can all still feature in the game through other ways, and impact on your friendly GM’s decision-making process, even if hard rules don’t exist for then. Buildable Items - Units and Stations FYI: this is not a final list - I’m open to suggestions. Spoiler Buildable Items List : Freighter: 2EP ~ 0.25 EP upkeep 1 Cargo Freighters are vital to keep your economy running smoothly, keep colonists supplied and get the maximum EP income - see your Freighter stat. Surplus freighters can also gather a trickle of resources from asteroid belts and unclaimed planets. 1EP’s worth of civilians can also be transported per turn. They can also transport ground military forces and fighter wings, but are vulnerable to enemy fire en route. Even if freighters are armed, they will not stand much chance against enemy fleets. Troops: 2EP ~ 0.25 EP upkeep Standard ground military unit, composed of infantry (robot or organic) with accompanying dropships and artillery. They are used to take and hold planets against enemies, rebels and such like, and help maintain order during riots or in disaster zones. They require transport to other worlds. They can engage defence batteries on the ground and fire back against enemy fighter strikes (but not fleet bombardment). In certain circumstances, they could also be used for ship-to-ship boarding! Ground Armour: 4EP ~ 0.5 EP upkeep Powerful ground forces comprised of armoured vehicles and/or ‘mechs’, capable of rapid advance across open terrain. Armoured forces are resistant to small arms and casual bombardment, while they can carry a heavy punch themselves, and may even damage ships in low orbit. They have an intimidation factor against enemy ground troops, and can act as a shelter or transport for both friendly troops and civilians. However - they will struggle to flush out a determined enemy that has dug in to rugged terrain, in tunnels or barricaded in cities. Fighter Wing: 2EP ~ 0.25 EP upkeep Fighter Wings are versatile units that can operate in deep space or just above the surface of planets, attacking enemy ships and ground forces and providing close air support. In numbers and with the element of surprise they could be deadly to enemy fleets, however they can only perform ‘hit and run’ attacks so should not be relied on to destroy the enemy by themselves. They require a transport to travel between systems / map hexes. Defence Guns: 4EP ~ 0.5 EP upkeep Powerful, armoured defence guns that have the firepower of 1.5 combat fleets. They may be a mixture of orbital platforms and hardened surface bunkers. However they can not escape battle, nor can they be relocated to other worlds without dismantling. They are more vulnerable if enemy troops are able to attack at close range. Defence Guns may take time to build on colony worlds, or they can be rushed for double the normal cost (see Unit Spawning). Fleet: 4EP* ~1EP upkeep A ‘fleet’ is perhaps made of just a single ship, or perhaps a flotilla of small vessels, or somewhere in-between. All fleets have some basic abilities in combat, repair, scanning, damage control, salvage and so on. But you have three main varieties to choose from - the precise makeup of these fleets is up to players to decide, as you can have anything feasible within your tech level (but you should let your friendly GM know at the time of building): * Explorer / Scout / Science Fleets (0.5 Cargo): are loaded with gear to survey new planets, and have superior sensors and scientific gizmos, and while being less likely to suffer accidents while exploring. They can also investigate anomalies or alien wrecks in-situ. In combat mode, they are good at scouting and raiding, and as an experimental weapons platform. However they lack the transport to carry a noticeable amount of troops, fighters or civilians by themselves. * Combat Fleets (1 Cargo): are specially designed for battle, and/or to intimidate. They specialise in dealing out and/or taking (or deflecting) damage, with stronger hulls and more room for weapons, power, and targeting apparatus. They can also have 1 cargo space, enough to carry a Fighter Wing or ground unit directly into battle, or even 1EP’s worth of refugees from a planet. * Cultural / Diplomatic Fleets (1 Cargo): are designed to impress and influence, being fitted with luxurious living spaces / biospheres, and can serve as meeting places for alien diplomats, a place for traders to forge new deals, and a way to show off your culture. In an emergency, these fleets can carry ground forces, fighters, or 1EP worth of civilians, but will lose their impressiveness while hosting such passengers. Needless to say, their combat abilities are minimal (if any). Bigger Ships?: Fleets (in all their varieties) can be built to larger and larger sizes, each requiring double the EP of the last: 8, 16, 32, 64 EP and so on. Each size is noted by bigger icons on the map, and may be considered to have 2.5x the firepower, armour, and toughness as last - plus double the cargo space, not to mention the intimidation / prestige factor. But they also make bigger targets, cost more to repair and upgrade, require double the upkeep, are less maneuverable, and will be more easily spotted. Space Station: 8EP ~1 EP upkeep 2 Cargo The main function is to extend your zone of supply (free movement) into surrounding map hexes, serving as an outpost where you don’t want a colony or cannot build one. It can be built anywhere within one turn’s move from your existing zone of supply. If a station sits on a trade route or asteroid belt, and/or can act as spillover from an overcrowded planet, then it may start to generate an EP income by itself. Defence Guns can be built and attached to a Space Station, each taking up a cargo slot. Otherwise they have few combat options, being matched by just one Standard Fleet, but they can take quite a beating, more likely to be captured or disabled than destroyed outright. Stations may be able to relocate once built, but this will cost a certain amount of EP. Habitat: 16EP ~1EP upkeep 4 Cargo Essentially a scaled-up Space Station, but with much more living space, with gardens and farming onboard (according to the tastes of the inhabitants). It can generate more EP than a Space Station, especially in the role of population spillover from a planet. Habitats are more genteel environments than space stations and will be good places to meet with alien diplomats. A station can be upgraded to a habitat by spending 8EP. Habitats will eventually fill up, at which point you'll be prompted to build more.