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Subject: 'Hidden' references in DarkStar rss

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Klaude Thomas
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Not quite so hidden if I write about them, obviously, but for interests sake I thought I would list the more direct references included in the game.

1. Empress' power is a hat tip to the Vulch, Clone, and Filch powers from Cosmic Encounter.
2. Empress' Hurricane is named after the Divine Wind, i.e. the Japanese WW2 pilots who died in service to the Emperor. It arose because part of the game design was finalised while working on Midway.
3. Empress' Inquisition is a (greatly powered-down) version of the most intractable and interesting card in the Dune boardgame - i.e. Truth Trance!
4. Imperial Commissioner's power is a hat tip to Zombie from Cosmic Encounter.
5. Imperial High Lightning is the name of a module from the Traveller RPG, set around the 'Imperial High Lightning' spaceship.
6. Tactical Oracle is of course a hat tip to both the Atreides from the Dune boardgame and the Oracle power in Cosmic Encounter.
7. House Coil's power is a re-framing of the Bene-Gesserit coexistence power from the Dune boardgame.
8. The brick-work layout (essentially hexes) reflects the parsec maps from Marc Miller's Traveller RPG.
9. Petition is modelled on cantrips from Magic the Gathering.
10. AM-missiles were inspired by the stacking nuclear missiles from the boardgame Apocalypse aka Warlord.
11. Decimate is named after the Imperial Roman practice of the same name.
12. Flank is named after the (very powerful) Flanking ability from Magic the Gathering.
13. The Lightning core effect nods toward the (imba) Virus power from Cosmic Encounter.
14. Deep Defences are another Traveller universe feature.
15. The Outsiders are named after the aliens of the same name from Larry Niven's 'known space'.
16. Pandemic is a hat tip to the excellent coop boardgame of the same name. In both games, the game can win (or if you like, all players can lose) via a fictional disease.
17. The Apocalypse game-ending card is another reference to the boardgame of that name aka Warlord.
18. Prophet is a reference to The Prophet from Frank Herbert's Dune: Messiah.
19. Bureaucrats were originally to be called 'ansibles' - from Ursula Le Guin's sci-fi universe, as represented in such great reads as The Left Hand of Darkness.
20. The mechanics of the Decree card are a hat tip to the Trader power from Cosmic Encounter.
21. The mechanics of Core Control are a nod toward the various unpleasant discard card effects owned by Black in Magic the Gathering.
22. Reformation is a (greatly powered-down) Time Walk, from Magic the Gathering. A card that was stolen from me some years back...
23. The Support edict is named after the Support order from Alan Calhamer's seminal boardgame, Diplomacy. Its effect is a nod to the Hajr card in Dune.
24. The rules of Agreements deliberately reflect those of Bribery from the Dune boardgame.
25. The advantage to attacker (i.e. prevails in draws) reflects that given to 'aggressor' in the Dune boardgame.
26. The Empress' flavour text hints toward the Hot Sleep stories by Orson Scott Card - better known for Ender's Game.

Nowhere were mechanics spatchcocked in or compromised for the sake of a neat reference. It is more the case that I drew on mechanics that were in one sense or another archetypal. Cantrips being a good example. The Roshambo nature of card play in battles, another.
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Martin Tyman
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Dodged a bullet on that one. Mercifully, googling for "spatchcocked" just came up with chicken recipes. But I think I get the meaning from the context.

To bad you did not squeeze sand worms somewhere into the design...

Where did you get the idea of the Star Drive Flu? The idea of recovering from a flu and suddenly knowing how to build Star Drives amuses me to no end.
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Klaude Thomas
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Good question. Some more then...

27. Star Drive Flu? During the Asimov/Niven/Pournelle period there were some stories in which iirc rDNA was employed to inject knowledge without the bother of study. I can't remember the titles. That led to the concept that the Outsiders could use a virus to spread dangerous knowledge.
28. DarkStar is of course also a nod toward the John Carpenter movie of the same name. The idea of collapsing stars to make space a safer place resonated.
29. Vulture squadrons drew their name directly from the dystopian future RPG, Paranoia. Quite different of course, but the name stuck. Conceptually vulture squadrons are organic spacecraft that reassemble themselves from the parts of others. Scavengers. In the backstory the Commissioner's traditional authority gives him sole license to salvage wrecked Imperial spacecraft.
30. Tactical Oracle's archive card effect is a nod toward Sorcerer from Cosmic Encounter. In CE Oracle and Sorcerer cannot be used together. Giving Oracle the Sorcerer's power in DarkStar is intended as a quiet piece of humour.


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