|The World of The Gunny
|What is Beyond the Stars?
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|Author:||Þórgrímr [ 16 Dec 2008 16:49 ]|
|Post subject:||What is Beyond the Stars?|
Beyond the Stars! is a unique 4X game due to its inherent freedom to design your Power as you see fit. For example, it does not assign any intrinsic benefits to centrally planned economies over free markets. Any such distinctions are made in your description of your Power, and how you practically play it.
Thus, if you wish a police state, you should start with in a large number of Secret Police and Informers, or if you want a free trade economy, you should let others invest in your nation, have a large merchant fleet and make plenty of Trade Goods. There are some Advantages and Disadvantages that can be used to further define a Power, but the specific angle those take is still up to you. For example a Fanatical Population could be the result of a bunch of indoctrinated, ignorant peasants ordered to die for the Fatherland, or it could also be the result of a free society who see themselves as the greatest civilization in the galaxy and will defend their freedom to the death.
In the end, it's all up to you, and how you physically construct and play your Power . Freedom of choice, not restrictions, is what Beyond the Stars! is all about. Have fun in designing and playing your Power, and welcome to the fascinating universe of Beyond the Stars!
Now that the official hogwash is finished you are probably reading the various rules threads and shaking your head in amazement at the insane amount of rules for a game. I would tend to agree with you all, except for one point. To achieve the freedom of choice I want to give the players requires a hefty ruleset to cover most any contingency. Sure, I could rip out the rules for Machine, Cyborg and Bio-Tech civs, the Mechanology and the Mega-Corps rules, but that would leave just a plain old ordinary, and boring, 4X game.
The way I see it, if a player wants to play a power based on any of the above, they should be allowed to with a set of rules that allow them to. But the downside to that freedom of choice is a hefty ruleset.
Now you may be asking yourself why did I take on the Don Quixote-like attempt to make such a flexible, and in someways complicated, set of rules? Glad you asked! Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for Christmas, 1968
Back before there was such a thing as computer games, and even D&D along with its ilk, I was a board wargamer. My first ever game was given to me as a Christmas present in 1968. It was Avalon Hill's 1966 Guadalcanal. I was hooked for life with that game.
Then came the 1970's and the advent of SPI ( Simulations Publications Incorporated) and the advent of the Monster Game. Once again I became an even rarer version of the boardgamer, I became a monstergamer. The bigger and more complex the game, the better I liked it. As long as I got a feeling of satisfaction from the complexity. To highlight what I mean by that, lets take a look at two monster games I have played and to some extent enjoyed.
The first is SPI's Next War. I freakin' loved that game. it was huge and complex. But as a Warsaw Pact player it was frustrating and enjoyable to see Southern Germany open to your armored thrusts, and then realize to make those thrusts you would have to risk your units with Fatigue Point gains and possible NATO counterattacks that could disrupt or even destroy entire divisions that were strung out and at the ends of a tenous supply line.
Some folks disliked the fatigue point rules as being too complex, but to me it was perfect to represent overextended units and just how fragile they are to counterattacks. And before you ask, yes I got my ass handed to me as the Warsaw Pact player once. Beautiful counterattack, it was a joy to watch, even though the third Shock Army disintegrated in that attack. This is what I mean by getting satisfaction from complexity.
The second game was SPI's Campaign for North Africa. All I can say about this one is quote designer Richard Berg about it, "CNA was designed to be the most realistic game on the north African campaign. When you play it you will see the frustration Rommel experienced by his lack of supply. In fact Combat is a side effect of the logistics system and is not the main focus." Amen Richard. I would only recommend this game to accountants or gamers with a logistics fetish, it is that tedious in its complexity. And this is what I mean by not getting satisfaction from the complexity.
Fast forward to the 90's, SPI is gone, TSR is on its last legs, Avalon Hill is bought out by hasbro!!!! (Will the horror never end? ) and the king of the game world is a freakin' card game!!!! Magic, The Gathering!!! Fast forward to 2003, Magic is still there, and what has become the most popular board games? The mind numbingly simple German board game!!!!! So mind numbingly shallow they are a hit with the mainstream wannbe gamers.
By 2003 I was so sick of the dumbing down process, which is STILL continuing by the way, I began to tinker with creating my own set of rules for a 4X game I wanted to see.
So that is the history of why I began my crusade as Don Quixote, erm, I mean as a concerned gamer, to try and reverse this dumbing down process, if even just in my li'l corner of the universe.
So, I hope the bright folks who inhabit this board will help me shape and forge these rules into a fashion a true Grognard would love.
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