New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

This is the place for games which are currently being created and developed, and where the designer is listening to feedback from other players. The game is not ready to play, and the designers are not looking for sign-ups - indeed, they may have no intention of GMing the game themselves when it is finished. But your input is welcome!

Moderator: Morg

Forum rules
Despite repeated requests, designers are still regularly posting maps of several hundred Kb size. All maps should be under 80Kb and preferable 50-60 maximum. Unless you have prior permission, any larger map will be removed without warning.

New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

Postby bilbert2 » 13 Feb 2020, 12:42

New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer’s Variant

Overview

Think of it as a combination between a text-based RPG like Zorg, Sid Meier’s Civilization series, and the Fog-of-War variant of Diplomacy. If you like these, or you just like drawing maps, this one’s for you.

I am looking for input on the clarity of explanations and rules before considering this ready. Obviously, each game would require a new map by the GM(s) (tricky situation, but required).

Background

This game will provide no map, but follows standard Diplomacy rules, except those mentioned in the Rules section. Instead of a map, information about a player’s starting nation is given in text form, and the nation must explore around to find empty SCs, find and establish diplomatic ties to other nations, and conquer the unworthy.

To function properly, each player will have to draw the world as they see it, piece by piece. This information will be precious, and I see it as a negotiation chip between states (reality will be decided by the players).

Setting

It is the dawn of civilization. A brave new leader has cobbled together groups of nomadic tribes to forge a nation. After ensuring basic domestic infrastructure and stability, the leader extends his view beyond the land he (or she) has lived his entire life. Convinced he has raised humanity to a higher level, he forms bands to set out and bring civilization to the savages in the surrounding territories. His quest will bring him in contact with other civilizations awakening around his planet.

For simplicity, the year will be 0 C.E. and count up.

Rules

Standard rules apply except where specified below.

The game will use the Build Anywhere (any owned SC can build) and Age of Empire’s (start with one SC, your capital) variant rules.

Communication

Game-based communication will not be allowed between players until they have established diplomatic ties using the Send Emissary order (see below). Once diplomatic ties have been established, anything can be communicated, including precious map info.

Ideally, this game would be run via email, since that would make it possible for the GM to better control information. If Discord or the forum is preferred by participants, it will be strictly honour code, since knowledge of the other players makes this rule unenforceable. In these formats, public communication between players is acceptable as long as the discussion does not refer to the specifics of the game.

Vision

As said before, there will be no map. Information will be given similar to Fog-of-War variant rule, where information will be given regarding type (land/sea/highground) and occupancy of all territories in vision of all owned SCs and units. The nationality of units within vision will only be given for those that have established diplomatic ties with each other; all other units will simply be called “unknown army” or “unknown fleet.”

Vision of a unit depends on two variables: elevation and proximity.

Proximity:
This is the distance from the territory. An adjacent territory has a proximity of 1. A territory two away (adjacent to the adjacent territory) has a proximity of 2.

Elevation: All territories are divided into two categories: lowlands/seas and “highgrounds”. To put it simply, units on highground can see one additional territory further; they can see lowland/sea territories within a proximity of two. Units on lowlands/seas can see adjacent highgrounds but cannot see whether any units are stationed there. Vision does not affect order outcomes, however: No advantage is given for highground holds or movements, in or out.

Exploration and Writing Orders

Vision information will not give names of territories, but rather just direction and territory type.

Territories are unnamed until entered for the first time. When they are entered, the entering nation will give a permanent name to the territory. The GM will assign the 3-letter abbreviation in future correspondence. All other nations that enter the territory will receive this name and code for the territory. The GM will change offensive, vulgar, or profane names.

At times, for clarity, the GM may give temporary place-holder names (e.g., Sea A, Lowland B, or Highground C). This may happen for order clarity or when a unit appears on a territory. These temporary names do not mean the territory does not have a name, but rather the nation receiving the GM’s communication does not know it.

A player’s order can use the direction and territory type given by the GM, the place-holder name given by the GM, or the actual name of the territory. If any of the above are input erroneously, the order typically fails. The GM reserves the right to overlook errors when the meaning was clear and apparent. The real name can be used, even if the name was learned through diplomatic correspondence rather than personal exploration.

Examples of acceptable and clear orders:
A-Babylon-5 moves to highground territory to its north (directions+land type)
F-Solaris to Lowlands B (place-holder)
A-TTS --> CBL (codes)
Army in Titanis moves to Care-bear Land (full names)

Order: Send Emissary

During Fall/Spring, besides the usual Support/Move/Hold orders, units may order a unit to “Send Emissary”.

A unit may choose to send an emissary on a diplomatic mission to a neighbouring territory. The unit:
  • does not move.
  • has a zero-value hold, meaning it will be displaced by an equal power attack/move to its location. This means one unsupported move can displace the unit sending an emissary. If the defending and attacking are both supported, the defending unit must have a greater number of supporting units to not be displaced.

The order only succeeds if the sending unit is not displaced AND one of the following occurs:
(a) the target territory is empty at the end of the turn and was uncontested (i.e., no bounces occurred there)
(b) the target territory is occupied by a unit whose orders are either Hold or Send Emissary

All other circumstances cause failure, with the emissary failing to return to the unit. The results of successful orders depend on (a) or (b).

In case (a), where the territory is empty and uncontested, the emissary returns the following information:
  • name of the territory
  • vision information from target territory

In case (b), the following occurs:
  • the name of the target territory is provided (no additional vision given)
  • diplomatic ties are established
  • contact information between players shared (i.e., email addresses or Discord/forum IDs)

Starting Conditions

Each nation will begin with one SC, its capital. The capital counts for two builds. All nations begin with one fleet and one army jointly occupying the city initially (this joint-occupation is a one-time and one-place occurrence, and cannot be repeated once one of the two units moves out). If there are multiple coasts, the GM will inform the player on which one the fleet begins.

Losing Capitals

If a nation’s capital is captured (not just occupied) by a foreign power, the competency and sovereignty of the ruler are questioned by his/her empire, and the nation is thrown into anarchy. Only through military force will the nation be able to retain control of the empire.

Consequences:
  • The conquering nation will only gain one build, not two.
  • The conquered nation will lose two builds for the capital, but all other SCs still count.
  • At the start of Spring, each of the conquered nation’s SCs will rebel: They will revert to neutral territories, whether occupied or empty. They can be conquered again at the end of the next Fall by any player, including the original owner.
  • If the conquered nation is able to regain any territories, it must choose one of them to be its new capital. This new capital will now count for two builds. When new capitals are lost, the above consequences occur again.

Win Conditions

Solo Win: One power has the majority of the SCs. The exact total of the odd-amount of SCs will not be given to preserve the deep fog.

Draws: Draws can occur at any time and follow the standard format. They will be private, if done via email, however. The GM reserves the right to call a draw if there is a long-term stalemate (a couple of years) AND the majority of the players agree to it.

After the game is over, all participants will share their maps for fun and closure.

Replacements

In the unfortunate situation where a player drops out, a lined-up replacement player will take over. Additional time to search for a player will be given if necessary. If one cannot be found, the GM and players will negotiate a way forward.

Each player is required to forward updated visual maps to the GM once a year, during build phases. They don’t have to be pretty, just clear. This is in case a player has to take over.

The GM will need to make sure old order results are preserved and the surrendered/abandoned player’s latest map is forwarded to the new player. The player must be educated that errors are possible in the map, from the original player’s mistakes or faulty intelligence from other players. In extreme cases where no recent map is available (shouldn’t happen), a simplified node map of the player’s actual explored territories will be passed on by the GM.


Information Given by GM

GMs should stay consistent in references. If needed, the nomenclature used by a player can be combined with GM’s previous references for abundant clarity. Having a “Second Eyes” or co-GM is a must in this game. Three things should be included in messages:
  • Results of orders
  • Gained vision as a result of an order, which includes new territories or revealed armies/fleets
  • Summary of own troop locations
  • Summary of foreign troops in view

Sample Message to Player:

Spring of 1 C.E. Records:

A-TYR failed to move to “Lowlands A” (you called “land to its north”).
Cause: bounced by unknown army.
Gained vision: unknown army occupies “Lowlands A”.

F-LIV successfully moves to “Lowlands B”. Locals inform you that the territory is called Natashka (NSH).
Gained vision:
-Additional unoccupied lowlands continue to the north, “Lowlands C”.
-An inland highround (“Highground C”) is to your southeast.
-To your southwest, a lowland city is seen (“City D”), occupied by a Neverland army.

F-MRK successfully moves to Sea B (you called “sea to southeast”). You are the first explorer here; please name the sea for your nation’s glory!
Gained vision: coastal lowlands to your southeast (“Lowlands C”, same territory as above); coastal lowlands to your east (Lowlands D); .

Troop Summary:
A-TYR
F-NSH
F-Sea B (awaiting name)

Foreign Troops in Vision:
Unknown’s A-”Lowlands A”
Neverland’s A-”City D”
Neverland’s F-GOF
Care Bear’s A-STR
Last edited by bilbert2 on 13 Feb 2020, 14:02, edited 2 times in total.
bilbert2
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 24 Dec 2019, 22:43
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: (1096)
All-game rating: (1101)
Timezone: GMT

Re: New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

Postby drillbit » 13 Feb 2020, 13:34

Sounds amazing!
Just a couple of questions regarding the capital:-

bilbert2 wrote:Each nation will begin with one SC, its capital. As the capital supports two builds - for the first move only - one fleet and one army jointly occupy the city.


I read this as the capital will always support two units, but only for the first move can two units occupy this centre at the same time.
Rather than, the capital will only support two builds for the first move only.
Is that correct?

Some funny bugger is bound to hold both pieces on the first turn, what happens then?
drillbit
 
Posts: 45
Joined: 23 Apr 2012, 12:16
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: (1284)
All-game rating: (1458)
Timezone: GMT

Re: New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

Postby bilbert2 » 13 Feb 2020, 14:00

drillbit wrote:Sounds amazing!
Just a couple of questions regarding the capital:-

bilbert2 wrote:Each nation will begin with one SC, its capital. As the capital supports two builds - for the first move only - one fleet and one army jointly occupy the city.


I read this as the capital will always support two units, but only for the first move can two units occupy this centre at the same time.
Rather than, the capital will only support two builds for the first move only.
Is that correct?

Some funny bugger is bound to hold both pieces on the first turn, what happens then?


I've clarified it that the joint occupation lasts just one the first move, but the two builds last. If that were to happen, I suppose the GM would make a judgement call. That sounds more or less like an NMR.

Thanks for the catch.
bilbert2
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 24 Dec 2019, 22:43
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: (1096)
All-game rating: (1101)
Timezone: GMT

Re: New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

Postby Strategus » 13 Feb 2020, 14:28

My first comment would be that I think if you use discord, you can control channels of communication, and so could prevent comms until diplomatic ties are established. Also see previous exploration game on the forum. Exploration Spice Island. Aeschines ran it and might give you some tips. For full control you could accept players by private message only, to preserve anonymity until contact.
The Devil makes work for idle forces

Better to have fought and lost, than never to have fought at all
Actual Platinum Classicist
I did WDC 2017

UK f2f Champion 2019
Just say "NO!" To carebears and kittens
User avatar
Strategus
 
Posts: 4190
Joined: 30 May 2015, 14:30
Location: England
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 1588
All-game rating: 1770
Timezone: GMT

Re: New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

Postby bilbert2 » 14 Feb 2020, 04:27

Strategus wrote:My first comment would be that I think if you use discord, you can control channels of communication, and so could prevent comms until diplomatic ties are established. Also see previous exploration game on the forum. Exploration Spice Island. Aeschines ran it and might give you some tips. For full control you could accept players by private message only, to preserve anonymity until contact.


I'll look Exploration Spice Island up. Thanks for the tip.
bilbert2
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 24 Dec 2019, 22:43
Class: Ambassador
Standard rating: (1096)
All-game rating: (1101)
Timezone: GMT

Re: New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

Postby Fatmo » 27 Feb 2020, 09:50

Intriguing.
You don't know what I'm thinking...because I don't know what I'm doing.

Conq wrote:Fatmo — you are a relentless mountain stream, ever-flowing, slowly but surely carving away at the rock face below.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjEgjTfcEJk
User avatar
Fatmo
 
Posts: 4140
Joined: 04 Oct 2010, 21:28
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: (1089)
All-game rating: (1050)
Timezone: GMT-8

Re: New Variant: Deep Fog; The Cartographer's Game

Postby ColonelApricot » 29 Feb 2020, 23:10

I love fog but I always thought it must be difficult in PBF because every player would need to be sent customised maps.
It sounds like you've found a way.
Definitely interested.
Dog of War in ToS
GRU of the Despicables in TTT
User avatar
ColonelApricot
 
Posts: 457
Joined: 06 Oct 2013, 11:48
Class: Star Ambassador
Standard rating: 997
All-game rating: 1404
Timezone: GMT


Return to PbF Variant Development

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron