Solar Diplomacy

Synthetic 7-player variant set in our solar system beginning 3901. Created and brought to site by Zachary Jarvie (President Muffley). GM: President Muffley. Game ended with no resolution.

Solar Diplomacy

Postby President Muffley » 23 Jan 2010, 02:17

I’ve made new variant. It’s set in the Solar system. :)
Players will have to cope with the movement of planets and the supply centers on them. :roll: ;)
I think I have the rules and the map more or less how I want them . . . .

What do you all think of the Map/Rules?

I’m not really ready to commit the time to running it today.
But I would love some comments from the community. If there is interest in playing it I will keep the interested individuals it in mind if I run it a few weeks/months.
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby superplayer » 23 Jan 2010, 02:28

I like it and it looks very interesting :mrgreen:

But it seems all so confusing, what with all of the various areas and such. Perhaps you could make a smaller version with bigger words or at least abbreviated ones? If you could do that and post it onto this forum like others do for theirs, I think it would be much easier to take in all of the map at once.

I might be interested in playing a game when you start it, but it's hard to tell since this is vastly different from any variant that I have seem. Good job, however!!
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby jstott » 23 Jan 2010, 07:36

It looks pretty good. A few things, though:

I would make more space areas, and make them tessellating shapes. Also, I'd change the way space movement is done by being able to accelerate in one direction one square per turn (so you can change your speed from N 1 to N 1 E 1, to N 1 E 2, to E 2, to E 1. Also, I'd male space accessible from all spaces on a planet, and create some level of three dimensionality.
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby DOI » 23 Jan 2010, 11:17

Holy crap, visual information! Having said that, I like the idea. I like that the centre I'm fighting over might suddenly drift away on me. There are probably some things that you can do to simplify:
- Make the planets all move one space per turn. It may be less accurate, but it's easier to keep track of.
- Why change the phases? Is there a reason to enable builds at any time?
- Immediately replace disbanded units. Again, it's hard to keep track of, to remember when that unit disappeared.

But I like being able to choose to disband in a home centre, the movement rules make sense, the iconography is probably as good as it can be, and I'd like to play it when there's a game.
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby vaderi » 23 Jan 2010, 18:20

I like the idea of this game. I don't like the disbands rule, it seems needlessly complex.

well done.
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby President Muffley » 23 Jan 2010, 21:54

DOI and vaderdi

You may both be right about the disbands rule. My thinking was that I wanted to make it “hurt” somehow if a unit was destroyed. In standard dip a destroy in spring leaves you in the fall with one less unit. But your right its more book keeping. It should be streamlined. On this point I think I will take your advice.

As for making planets move one space per turn . . . I feel I have to stick with this limited “accuracy” that the current planets movement rates give the game. It does create an imbalance. The game gets progressively more confusing as you get closer to the sun. :D But it is what it is.

The reason why I have 4 movement seasons is because it’s all based around earth’s orbit.
I suppose I could have just given earth two positions but Venus goes around the Sun in roughly half the time of Earth(if earths orbital period is 1 Venuses is 0.62). Having two movement seasons would fix the position of not just Mercury but Venus also . . . . and the whole Idea was to model planetary movements.

So by giving earth 4 positions on the map It could be done to look semi-accurate but still be (again relatively) simple. It would have defeated the purpose of giving Earth 4 positions if it moved 2 positions every season . . . . . so that’s why my variant needs 4 movement phases.

[Mars takes close to twice as long as Earth to orbit the sun (orbital period 1.88) so that’s why it has 8 positions. All the other heavenly bodies have 12 positions on my map and I just did some “math” too figure out how often they should move.]

As for why players can build in any season. I figured . . . why not. It’s true that when you change any rule it makes it more complex (or at least less familiar) . . . . and that should be avoided. However I did not want to add a “5th” season for builds. For the same reason, I got rid of the designated retreat phases.

I felt that when compared to adding more phases and making the game longer, changing a rule and making the rules less familiar was the lesser of two evils. I could have still restricted builds to the Winter phase but if you can do it in one phase why not another?

superplayer is right in that I should have made the planets larger(at least on the solar map) that might be easy to change but I don’t know If at this point I have the patience . . . . we will see.

Jstott, tessellating shaped space zones would look really cool! But I lack the artistic talent (that’s why all my asteroid fields are all very basic geometric shapes). Plus what I really wanted to do was play on a map that modeled planetary movement. It was just easier to draw circles for the orbits (good ellipses were too hard for me) and then sub divide those circles to divi-up space for the fleets. As it is I am very happy that most planets have 3 approaches to them.

As for your idea of accelerating fleets (like Rocket ships right) that sounds like a fun idea . . . . but I think it would be too much book keeping for a game that already has more than is ideal. Also that would really lock players into their plans limiting your diplomatic options.

I thought about making all spaces on a planet or asteroid field accessable to space . . . . but I wanted planets to have orbits so that a unit not on the planet’s surface could travel along being pulled by its gravity. This allows players to have orbital defenses or establish “air superiority in an invasion. It does slow some players worn though . . . . I worry that Venus and Mars are the week players. Venuses natural SC’s are on Mercury but it talks him longer to get them than it does any of the other planets to get their SC’s. Getting rid mercuries planetart orbit sopaces (like Ceres is) might aleaviate this. . . . . i'll take a serios look into that.

Earth has the quickest builds with the two on the moon and I wondered if this was unbalancing making earth more powerful/dependable than other powers. I thought about taking that one and the “4th” from each of the Gas Giants and placing more in the asteroid belt but I think I like the current set up . . .every bone should be able to 4-5 before heavy fighting breaks out.

Well I wrote too much again . . . :roll:
Thanks for the comments . . . . Keep them coming!
While I don’t think I will make any major changes, I will take all suggestions into account.
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby Waterice man » 23 Jan 2010, 22:27

In my opinion, excessive imbalance is irrelevant. No problem with giving one power too many units and another too few - look at the Imperial Variants!
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby slythytoav » 24 Jan 2010, 01:11

Well, my inner physicist is screaming, but it sounds like a good variant. I do agree with that the disband rule is excessively complicated. I do like the changes to the retreat rules. It gives more ways to get opposing units destroyed which makes up for the penalty for disbands being lower. (Assuming it is to be changed)
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Re: Solar Diplomacy

Postby PiT (The Physicist) » 24 Jan 2010, 08:13

Looks very interesting, & I'd love to play it.
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Postby Pedros » 18 Apr 2012, 07:55

{Editor's note: my only responsibility for the contents of this post is copying it from the details Muffley sent to me! And including an over-sized map - even though it's a quarter of the size of the original!!

Solar blank.gif
Solar blank.gif (114.03 KiB) Viewed 3158 times

{Well - that didn't turn out too well! I'll try again}
Solar 3901
Solar 3901 is a variant of Diplomacy by Zachary Jarvie (2010)

The successful colonization of the solar system has taken place. However the returns on the investment money spent on the colonies was not as lucrative as speculated. Having been forced to absorb the staggering financial loss of the centuries long colonization effort the Allied Earth Federation collapses in the year 3752, falling into feudal anarchy. All inter-colonial travel ceases for 149 years. As earth begins to rise from the ashes 6 other independent nation’s spring up to challenge earth and lay claim to the numerous colonies that have survived the nearly 150 years of isolation. The game begins in spring of 3901.

Unless otherwise stated, standard diplomacy rules apply.

Like Regular diplomacy, the Solar 3901 variant has 7 powers. Table 1 shows their starting positions.

Game Board
The games map consists of an abstract chart of the solar system as seen from the North Pole of the Sun. It contains a 76 sectors of open space; between these sectors of space are located planets and asteroid fields that orbit around the Sun.

Each planet/asteroid field rotates, counter-clockwise, in its orbital ring according to its Orbital Movement Rate found on table 2. Planetary movements take place after all orders for each season have been adjudicated.

Each orbital ring is marked with a number of positions for planets to occupy as they orbit. The starting position of each planet is based on predicted solar positions at the start of the actual year 3901.
( ... t=0&tz=CET )
The placement of colonies (as well as Ceres) are not based on any information other than the imagination and an attempt at game balance (see the end of Rules for optional random starting set-ups).

Planets, Asteroids and Supply Centers

Supply centers are located on planets, moons or within asteroid fields. To win the game a player must control 20 of all 38 supply centers.

Each planetary map is an abstract two dimensional representation of a planet, its major moons and the orbital spaces around each planet. Movement may only be issued across bordering provinces. The only exception to this is that for and army movement between Europe and Indo-China is possible. For example you cannot move from one of earths orbital spaces to South America. Also, Africa and Indo-China are the only provinces on Earth to border 2 orbital paces. North America, Antarctica, Australia, and Europe only border one orbital space.

Movement can take place between any planets outer orbital spaces and any of the 3 sectors of open space on the solar map that border the planet. This holds true for the outside sectors of the asteroid fields as well. Players cannot make moves between the solar map and planetary surface or any space located within the interior of a planet or asteroid field map.

Special places on the map
The outer rim: Any Fleet that is pushed beyond the sectors J1-J12 is Lost in Space and Automatically Destroyed.

Hot Side (Mercury): Armies cannot enter this province (hot foot, hot foot!). Fleets may enter but if they are ordered or otherwise forced to HOLD in this zone they are auto-destroyed after the phase.

Cold Side(Mercury): Fleets cannot enter this province (because of deicing problems with the ships). Armies may enter but if they are ordered or otherwise forced to HOLD in this zone they are auto-destroyed after the phase (they freeze to death).

Gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune): Only armies may move into Gas Giant planets. An army located inside a Gas Giant cannot be dislodged by any attack nor can any support issued from a Gas Giant be cut by any attack.

As in standard diplomacy players have two types of units, Armies and Fleets.

Fleets may freely move between any sector of open space, planetary orbit, moon, or asteroid province. Fleets located on the surface of a terrestrial planet (Earth, Mars, and Venus) or on Earth’s moon may only move to a planetary orbit bordering its location. Fleets may not move along a planet’s surface.
Fleets may not move to a Gas Giant (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune).

Armies cannot move into the sectors of open space on the solar map. They may however occupy any terrestrial planet surface, moon, asteroid field, or orbital space around a planet. Armies may also move in and out of Gas Giant planets. Armies can be convoyed by Fleets located in any space other than a planet’s surface, earth’s moon, or a Gas-Giant.

Seasons, Builds, Disbands and Retreats
Unlike standard diplomacy there are 4 movement seasons each year, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

Builds may be performed in any season! Supply Centers are acquired in a different fashion than traditional diplomacy. To acquire a supply center a player must occupy it for 2 consecutive seasons with a single unit. This is accomplished by moving to a province then successfully Holding for one season. Moving one unit in then replacing it with another unit, as the first unit moves out, will not acquire a supply center. Issuing a move to a supply center that is ordered to build results in a bounce and a failed build. Builds can be supported in order to insure their success (Example: Army Australia support Build Fleet in North America).

Builds can only be performed at a player’s “Home Centers”. Home centers are those supply centers located within a players home planet map. This included supply centers that player does not start the game with. The Asteroid City States may issue a build order from Ceres and any of the 7 supply centers that share the same solar orbit with Ceres. As with standard Diplomacy any occupied supply center is not available to build from.

Players may disband units in any phase. For a unit to be disbanded it must be located in one of the players Home Supply Centers. A player cannot disband units in the same season that they issue a build order. If a unit is disbanded or destroyed a player can not issue a build to replace it until one year has passed. So if a unit is disbanded in a Fall season the player cannot issue a build to replace the unit until the next Fall season.

Retreats do not take place between seasons. Instead they take place in the following season along with all other moves. A dislodged unit may issue a Move or a HOLD order each is made with a set “weight” of zero. Dislodged units may NOT perform a convoy or be convoyed. They may NOT give or receive support. Dislodged units may only Move or Hold and may not intentionally issue a “disband” as in standard diplomacy. Failure to issue an order results in a Hold.

A dislodged unit is automatically destroyed if after issuing its order it is still sharing a space with any other unit including other retreating units. Any dislodged unit that moves to (or after Holding, resides in) a space left vacant by a bounce is automatically destroyed as in standard diplomacy. A dislodged unit that moves to (or after Holding, resides in) a province that contains no other units and was not left vacant from bounce is not destroyed and may make a normal move during the following season.

Players may not replace units that are destroyed until one year has passed. So If a Unit is dislodged in the Spring and then Destroyed in the Summer a player can not issue a build to replace it until the Following Summer season. If between during that time a player increases his supply center count he may build from the increase in centers but he must still wait a year to replace the destroyed unit.

If players are dislodged from a sector of open space they may not retreat/move to any sector within a planet or asteroid field if the attack or any support for the attack that dislodged them came from any space within that particular planetary or asteroid field map.

Table 1. Starting Positions
Planetary Powers Starting Supply Centers
Venus Republic Love City (F), Cupid (F), and Aphrodite Valley (A).
United Earth Fiefdoms N. America (F), Europe (A), and Indo-China (A).
Principality of Mars Second Try (F), Blue Hills (A), and Xi City (F).
Asteroid City States New Dubai (F), New Huston (A), New Tokyo (F), New Cairo (A)
Jupiter Federation Io (A), Europa (F), and Ganymede (F).
Saturn Alliance Titan (F), Rhea (F), Ipades (A).
Uranus Empire Oberon (A), Tatiana (F), Umbriel (F).

Table 2.
The attachment temp.jpg is no longer available

* Ceres (A moon/dwarf planet) and all the colonies within its orbital ring move 1 sector every 2 seasons. After the Summer 3901 it moves one sector. The following Fall 3901 it holds its position, it moves again after Winter3901 and “holds” again in the following Spring.
** Jupiter, (as well as the Trojan and Greek outposts) move to a new sector after every Winter season. The outpost asteroid fields are always positioned 2 sectors on either side of Jupiter.
*** Saturn moves for the first time after the Summer season of 3903. It moves every 10 season there after( following Winter 3905, Summer 3908, Winter 3910, Summer 3913, Winter 3915, Summer 3918 Winter 3920, ext…)
**** Uranus moves after the Spring 3907 season and every 28 season there after (following Spring 3914, Spring 3921, ext…).
***** Neptune only moves to a new sector every 55 seasons! The first one is after the Fall 3914 season. Then again after Spring 3928.

Optional Rules
#1: Random Set-Up
a. Instead of using the standard set up place each planet and asteroid field at random positions within their respective orbital rings. Remember the positions of the Greek and Trojan asteroids are always fixed with respect to Jupiter.
b. Just randomly place (or otherwise adjust) Ceres and the three asteroid belt asteroid fields

#3: Build Anything Any Ware.
Players choose their staring builds before the spring move. They may issue builds from any SC they possess.

#4: Start with All Home SC’s
Players start the game with all SC’s in their home Planets map. Warning this could unbalance an already shaky game!

#5: Armed Neutrals
All neutral supply centers start the game with Armies or Fleets(random). Use David E. Cohen’s Mandate of Heaven Rules for determining the actions of Neutral Units. When this rule is used the three Prison colonies on the “triangle shaped” asteroid field could be made into and 8th player.
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