madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
John Geary's knowledge of military tactics and protocols are from before he went into suspended animation 100 years ago during a battle against the corporate Syndicate. In the meantime, he has become a legend, and he has to struggle with the differences between expectations and reality. He's thrust into the command role, taking control of a fleet of 200 ships, and each book covers two related adventures as they try to make their way back home from behind enemy lines.

The Lost Fleet is about commanding hundreds of ships and all of the politics and morale involved in that. It’s a good series, but Jack Campbell starts with the bar set a little too low, emphasizing pure quantity and removing any tactical maneuvers. It’s sort of like the first couple of times people play Storm of the Armadas, where the battles turn into a joust, so I suppose it's natural.

Like Storm of the Armadas, it simplifies things by starting both sides with essentially the same technologies. This series also reminded me that human beings can’t react fast enough to aim and fire weapons over the sorts of distances and speeds that are common in space warfare.

More than any other story I’ve read, The Lost Fleet emphasizes the delays between giving orders and having them executed. Quite often the characters actually take naps between engagements. Jack Campbell is the first sci-fi writer I've read that does this. What he doesn't do is explore the resulting PTSD, although that would make for a very different story.
madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
No, the editor hasn't returned the most recent version of Storm of the Armadas (SotA) yet, but I've decided to change it enough that the new version will have to be edited, too. Fortunately, the changes will only affect certain sections of the game, so hopefully my editor won't be facing as much work.

This version includes a few changes to how the flip order is handled, eliminating the need for two-sided velocity counters. That comes at a cost, however, in that the counters have to be two-sided or you need twice as many counters. Not only that, but, while the flotilla counters will still have weapon arcs marked on them, those arcs won't be accompanied by the ship codes. I planned on inserting an image comparing the two, but it seems I first need to upload it somewhere else. Ah, the hazards of not having webspace.

The new version of SotA also cuts down on the number of ships in each flotilla, meaning a reduction in record keeping.

Overall, the game plays the same as before. These are just tweaks to the system.
madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
I just got the most recent version of Storm of the Armadas back from my editor. Besides the usual raft of minor changes, he suggested that I do a major revision of the rules, maintaining that they're poorly organized. I can see his point, too. So...back to work. The game will need at least one more round of revision and editing. I hate that these delays are piling up, but I do believe that the game is getting noticeably better each time.
madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
Well, I ran another playtest of Storm of the Armadas today, and found out the game works with me there. The scenarios need adjusting, but the game will be going back to the editor in just a few days.

The scenario I ran today was an intercept. This involves the forces coming at each other from odd angles. Victory could be achieved by getting your dreadnought off through the enemy's normal deployment zone. Alternatively, you could fight the incoming force. We didn't have time to finish the game, but I'm satisfied that it ran okay.

Keep an eye out for the beta test version soon.

Oh, and I figured out a lot about Metropole Luxury Coffin (MLC), mostly because someone's creating a videogame inspired by Thoreau's book set around Walden Pond. While the approach is the opposite to my own (nature vs. hotel), the struggles are similar. I'm going to see just how much I can adapt into MLC. I won't be able to adapt everything, and that's okay.
madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
I've presented many games at academic conferences. They're a great place to get feedback on more serious games, like Terribly Beautiful, for which the target audience is miniscule.

This time, however, I'm running Storm of the Armadas at Congress. It's still a small target audience (sci-fi wargaming grognards), but, when compared to previous games I've presented, it's positively massive. What's more, I've been testing the new version for a while, so I don't expect it to break, but that's always a possibility.

Sometime afterwards I'll be releasing the first beta version, without the artwork, stories or optional rules. The second beta will include the optional rules and replace the two-letter codes for the ships with icons.

An Update

May. 6th, 2017 02:24 pm
madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
This post is just to keep you up to date on where I am on my various projects:

Storm of the Armadas: revising the game after my last playtest

RPG: I've decided to avoid the heroes saving the universe concept, but I'm still deciding which of my other games to edit

Dissertation: Exploring the changing definition of the narrativist genre
madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
I consider Storm of the Armadas to be a playable game with a steep learning curve at the beginning. Maneuvering in space doesn't work like it does on a planet. I've tried creating movement rules that closely held to real physics, but abandoned them because they were too complex to run smoothly. Instead, I kept some aspects of space movement (no air to slow you down) and abandoned others (turning is based upon velocity, rather than a calculation involving thrust, mass, velocity, direction and gravity). But turning isn't the only place I chose playability over reality.

There is no stealth in space. Yes, I know it's being hotly debated, but, extending modern technology into the future, it is entirely likely that nothing within the solar system could escape detection for long. So, why did I include elite ships whith stealth capabilities? Their presence makes for a far better story. Furthermore, stealth in space would have some similarities to submarine warfare, such as the ability of a lone ship to hide better. There would be differences, too, such as the need to engage targeting in order to overcome ECM, thereby offering the target a moment to react.

Other unrealistic aspects of space combat include the shape of the flotillas, firing arcs, weapon ranges, and units interfering with each others' lines-of-sight. Heck, ships should each maneuver differently. All of these rules were inserted in order to shape certain tactics.

The result I was going for was something similar to the battles found in Tanaka's Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Those battles were based, however, on Napoleonic warfare, and I wanted to address some of the differences that space offered.

To update the list of inspirations, I completely forgotten that I had read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and am now reading other books in that series.

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madunkieg: The Fool from the tarot deck (Default)
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August 2017

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