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Subject: Vassal module now available rss

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Judd Vance
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This module has been in the works for 3 years. It has pretty much every Vassal trick I ever learned.

There are two versions of the module and I'll explain why:

Live: When Dan and I play-tested the module in the early days, it was time consuming. When you settled a location, you would discard the connecting card, discard the transportation (cart/ship) card, discard a colonist (if required), and then go to "deck" of settlement markers, drag it over to the location, and then go to the deck of neutral settlements, find the card and take it to your discard pile. This takes a lot longer to do with a mouse than it does playing the board game.

It was also really easy to forget a step or two in the process. Ditto for purchasing a legion and forgetting to play the required colonist card. You also had to adjust your silver on many transactions. In battle, one of us would have the Celtic Allies strategy card and forget to adjust the battle track +1.

When these things happened, I would find myself saying, "The module should do all of these steps for us."

And to that end, I created an EXTREMELY automated module. It performs multiple steps on each action. Examples:

* It pulls newly settled location cards into your discard deck (even from your opponent).
* If you draft a card, the money is automatically removed and if you can't afford, the option is grayed-out.
* When you reinforce battles, it automatically moves the battle track.
* It reminds you to pay your strategy card maintenance.
* A click of a button automatically updates your silver and victory points at the end and cycles the strategy deck and moves the turn marker.
* A click of a button retrieves your reserves and reduces your silver (it even knows if you drafted the Deep Reserves card and will act accordingly).
* If you try to cheat and tell your opponent that you have no bribeable cards, it will send every bribeable card you have in your hand and reserve to the board and inform your opponent.
* At the end of battles, it will adjust prestige, send double-sword generals to the empire deck and discard locations.
* It automatically updates your cavalry value as you add cards to the battle.
* If you move your ship into the Corsica-Sardinia sea zone, it will mark or unmark the corresponding locations with a Big Green X to signify they are in or out of supply and will calculate these accordingly at the end of the turn (you can see this in the picture below).
* It will automatically calculate the money and exchange it in pillages and advance the marker.
* When you draw cards, it will automatically reshuffle as needed.

and much more.

It reduces errors and cuts down game play by a good 75-90 minutes because it takes a long time to drag and drop pieces all over the map with a mouse.

When using this module, it is very important to read the "READ ME" documents that are accessed on the main window icon toolbar. Look through the tabs and get familiar with the module. If you do, it will pay off huge dividends in a live game. Plus, humor me: I spent a good 6+ hours making those Read Me files with the screen shots.

This module uses a lot of right-clicking because these commands trigger the automated functions and provide commentary on the narrative window so your opponent can follow along, which is huge if you do not use Skype.

The only drawback is with the countless card interactions there may be a bug somewhere. If there is one, it is pretty obscure because I have play tested this a LOT and I learned years ago to create manual overrides, so the players are not stuck. However, if you find something wrong, read the Read Me file first and make sure it is an actual error and not a misunderstanding of how the module is handling the action. If there is an error, please post it here. I am subscribed to this and will see it.

Whenever you play somebody, be SURE both of you are using the same version of the module. If I have updates and one of you are using 1.1 and the other is using 1.0, it will create a world of errors. (That is a common Vassal rule: just re-iterating)


PBEM: This game is not easy to play by e-mail. (Log: I will raid Tendaris. Send e-mail. Response: I will block you...it will move very slowly). But for those who want to, I created a module more geared for PBEM. Almost nothing is automated in it. There is extremely little chance for a bug in it. You drag cards and manually move markers.
If you use this module, you had better know how to play the game well. That means not forgetting to put those newly settled location cards in your hand or being sure to drag a colonist icon to the discard deck when it is required or cycling the strategy deck at the end of the turn, etc.

And again, be sure you are using the same version of the module. If one of you is using the PBEM version and the other is using the live version, your game will be a disaster. I would recommend the live one as it is more robust.



Link to module



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Derek Roy
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Wow! I downloaded the "Live" module. What a stunning amount of work you put into it, Judd! Clearly a labour of love...
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Sean McCormick
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Judd, do you find Hands to be significantly more difficult to play assync than AFoS? Because Acres on Yucata is not particularly challenging to play that way--I haven't tried to do so via Vassal, which might be more cumbersome.
 
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Judd Vance
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My very first module was based on acres' module. And it is a real mess to play. Everything mess I described at the beginning of the post was a result of that. The worst part of that was the money: it used tracks with 10s and 1s for the money and you had to use sliders. The first upgrade I made was to print the total silver and give the player the ability to right-click on it and change the number.

The reason that dude didn't use coins even though Acres used them -- and the reason I ignored coins in this game was because there were coins in the Caesar XL module and I got so annoyed with moving coins with a mouse pointer, than I overhauled that module to use the digital system I incorporated into this one.

Moving your pieces on the VP marker is easy on the board game, but a real mess in Vassal, as you cannot see if your marker is on top of your opponents marker. I used to get frustrated with that when I played the For the People Vassal module, so that is why I went to the digital VP counters.

I have gutted and rebuilt this module so many times that there is only one thing remaining from the original Acres module, and I kept it there as a "tip of the hat" to it: the settlement/development/fortification markers are straight out of that module.
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Robert Factor
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Wow. Just wow, dude. Tops, even for you.
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Don Lloyd
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Judd, you have done a phenomenal job on this module!

I previously spent some time digging around the complexities of building Vassal modules for myself. I can verify that you have truly pulled out all of the stops and created an outstanding module. Kudos my friend!

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Judd Vance
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If you downloaded the "Live" Vassal module, delete it and go do it again.

Right before I released this, I added the actual battle round markers. It was easy to add and I made sure that it synced with the battle round marker on the track marker.

With all of the automation I missed that when you actually attack a location, it signals BOTH markers to increase by one round and 1 + 1 = 2, so it was incrementing them 2 at a time.

Thanks to eljin_j for the heads up.

I fixed the module and it is uploaded. I didn't want to change it to 1.01 for such a tiny change 1 day after releasing it.

Note: this did not affect the PBEM version, because it has no automation baked into it.
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Tom Kassel
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The Diplomacy strategy card takes 2 silver from each player when they attack, pillage, raid. Is that the way it is supposed to work? The card sounds like it would only affect the side not possessing it, though I suppose one might argue that diplomacy was a two way street.
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Judd Vance
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No, it is supposed to take it only from your opponent, not you.

I looked into it. If you are Rome and draft the card, it works fine. If you are Carthage and you draft it takes it from each of you.

I will fix it tonight and upload it, but you probably won't see it until tomorrow, due to VassalEngine's new (annoying) policy. Stay tuned and I'll let you know when it goes up.

Thanks for posting. When I tested the card, I had each side draft it and make sure the other guy was losing 2 silver when he did that stuff and missed checking the same side. Lots and lots and lots of stuff to check in that module.
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Judd Vance
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OK, the update is live. Go and re-download it.
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J Torni
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I was playing a solitaire game.

Rome had controlled Syracuse, but it was raided and empty. The Carthagenian fleet was on Sicily Sea Zone.

Roman player had the Camarina card in hand but it wasn't OOS. Should this be the case since Syracuse is no longer an active supply source?
 
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Judd Vance
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airjudden wrote:
[q="Zorbo2000"]I was playing a solitaire game.

Rome had controlled Syracuse, but it was raided and empty. The Carthagenian fleet was on Sicily Sea Zone.

Roman player had the Camarina card in hand but it wasn't OOS. Should this be the case since Syracuse is no longer an active supply source?


See the Read Me: On the first tab (Important: Read this before playing)

Quote:
Rules enforcement: This module’s automation features are for convenience. The module enforces a few rules. For example, if you see something grayed out, that means you lack the prerequisites to perform that function, such as sufficient silver. However, do not assume this module enforces every rule. It does not. Players still need to know how to play the game.


And then under Read Me --> Map Locations, under Automation:

Quote:
Supply: If your naval unit is the only one in the Sardinia-Corsica sea zone, your opponent’s locations will automatically show out of supply markings and then disappear once supply is re-established.


And then:

Quote:
However, there are times you will need to right-click on the map:
• Raiding a location.
• Settling a conquered location (this is not automated because some areas require a colonist).
• Random Events, such as Traitor or Epidemic.
Rare cases where settling an area puts another out of supply (ex: Carthage conquers and settles Cosa, putting the Roman settlement at Pisa out of supply).


Supply is only automated on Corsica-Sardinia. It is just too difficult to automatically manage elsewhere. Players should know the rules well enough to be able to manually control that. Just right-click on Camarina and select the "location is OOS" option and it will put the big green X on it. (Again, see Read Me --> Map Locations.) Doing that will add the words "OOS" to your card. The marker on the board and it's corresponding card are tied together.
 
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J Torni
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OK, I missed that in the readme and wanted to be sure I didn't understand any rules wrong.

Thanks.
 
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Thumis Dalidalisa
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I am playing as Rome in the automated module. I have a card with a colonist parchment icon. When I try to develop a different location, "develop" is grayed out. Only by rightclicking on the same card that has the colonist parchment icon, is the "develop" action not grayed out. I don't think that's the way it should work, right?
 
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Judd Vance
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Kolumel wrote:
I am playing as Rome in the automated module. I have a card with a colonist parchment icon. When I try to develop a different location, "develop" is grayed out. Only by rightclicking on the same card that has the colonist parchment icon, is the "develop" action not grayed out. I don't think that's the way it should work, right?


See Read Me (button on the main screen's icon toolbar) --> How to: Fortify & Develop tab.
 
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Thumis Dalidalisa
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I did look at the readme and I still think something is wrong. The read me states "if these options do not all exist, the right click option will be grayed out."

But in this case, the options DO exist (I have a location card with a town and a colonist parchment icon card, and still the option is grayed out.
 
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Judd Vance
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From the Read Me:

Quote:
To develop a location, you MUST have a colonist card in your hand. If developing a location, the location card is discarded and the settlement marker on the location is exchanged with a development marker in the pool. If these conditions do not all exist, the right-click option will be grayed-out. But if the conditions DO exist, the option will appear and you will need to select it (see example below). After selecting this option, your side’s end of turn “SP” value underneath your silver amount will also increase by one. Because you may have more than one colonist card in your hand, it is not automatically discarded: you will need to select the one to discard.



If you want to develop, say, Tarentum. You right-click --> Location Card Options --> Develop this location (add colonist card).

If you do not have a colonist card in your hand, the option is grayed out. If Tarentum is the only colonist card in your hand, the option will not be grayed-out. The module is looking for "A" colonist card. It is not necessary looking for a legal move. The players should know the game well enough to realize that if he selects the develop option and has no other colonist icon card, he cannot complete the action.

If Tarentum is already developed, the option will be grayed-out.

If you tried to develop Velia, there would be NO develop option, because that location cannot be developed. It is only worth 1 VP.

I put a Roman settlement on every developable location on the map and then checked the cards. They all work.

From your description, it sounds like are incorrectly using the card, such as trying to use the Pisa card to develop Aleria when you have to have the Aleria card and it just so happens that Pisa is already developed, but when you go to the card that has the colonist on it, such as Syracuse, you see the option because Syracuse is not developed.
 
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Thumis Dalidalisa
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I am looking at the module. I (Rome) have the Pisa card in my hand. I also have the Tarentum card, which has a colonist parchment icon. When I right click on Pisa, the "develop" action is greyed out. Ditto the Temesa and Cosa cards also in my hand. The development action is not greyed out when I right click the Tarentum, though.

So, I still think there is some glitch in the module. Or I am misunderstanding some rule of the game,
 
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Judd Vance
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Kolumel wrote:
I am looking at the module. I (Rome) have the Pisa card in my hand. I also have the Tarentum card, which has a colonist parchment icon. When I right click on Pisa, the "develop" action is greyed out. Ditto the Temesa and Cosa cards also in my hand. The development action is not greyed out when I right click the Tarentum, though.

So, I still think there is some glitch in the module. Or I am misunderstanding some rule of the game,


Here it is. I put those same 4 cards you list in my hand and attempted to develop Pisa. Click the magnifying glass for more zoom:



It works just fine. Here is the Vassal file:



There are 3 things that disable the DevelopLocation function. The first is not having a colonist card in the hand. I did not show this in detail. Basically, every time you add a card to your hand, it checks to see if you have a colonist icon. If so, it adds 1 to the total number of colonist symbols in your hand. Every time you move a card out of your hand, if it has a colonist symbol, it subtracts one. If that total = 0, the DevelopLocation function is disabled for all cards in your hand.

I showed the other two conditions in detail. It says to restrict the property DevelopLocation (the option you see that allows you to develop the location that you are saying is grayed-out) if SpaceDevelopable!="yes"||CardHouseStatus!=1.

In Vassal lingo, that is saying if the variable "SpaceDevelopable" does not equal "yes" or CardHouseStatus dose not equal 1 then disable the DevelopLocation property. In other words gray it out.

Both of those variables are on every location card in the game.

SpaceDevelopable is a yes/no variable. If the location is worth more than 1 VP, this variable equals "yes". Otherwise, it equals "no". That is why you cannot develop Cosa and Temesa. I hardwire these properties on every individual location card. You cannot affect these in game play.

CardHouseStatuse is an interger variable with every location card that equals 0, 1, or 2. If you have no marker on the corresponding space, it equals 0 and consequently, your card will have "OOS" printed on it. If your space has a settlement marker, this variable = 1. If it has a development marker on it, this space = 2.

You said when you right-click on Tarentum, you can develop it. That tells me that the module acknowledges that you have a colonist in your hand. That location can be developed, and it has a settlement marker on it. Everything checks out with that card.

Pisa also is a developable space. Like I said, I hard-wired that variable and as you can see from the picture above that shows my hand, I did that correctly. The fact it shows I can develop it, shows that everything is right with that function.

That means that the only way the DevelopLocation function would be disabled for the Pisa card is that you don't have a marker on it or else you already have a development marker on it (a big red house).

One last check in to make sure your card says "Rome" across the top. If it says "Carthage" let me know.

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Thumis Dalidalisa
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Well, I don't think this conversation is going anywhere. I'll try reinstalling. Thanks for the quick replies.
 
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Jonas Kissling
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Hello everybody,
does anyboy have some log-files to share? I'd love to replay some games to learn the game by watching it played.

Cheers, Jonas
 
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Matt Bugbee
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First of all, thanks for the absolutely fantastic module, Judd! Easily one of the best I've used.

My friend and I came across two questions as we played our first game:
1. Is there any automation around the end of game scoring that we missed? It's certainly not a big issue to count it up manually, but we were a bit spoiled after having everything else done for us the whole game.

2. We decided to play with the hidden reserves optional rule and noticed that there didn't seem to be a way to prevent the name of a card being recorded in the log when sent to the reserve. Assuming we didn't miss something, an option that would work well would be to not display the name of a card going to the reserve if it's masked. Obviously not essential though -- this module has so many features that only the most luxurious requests are left!

Thanks again for the module and all of the work that went into it!
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Judd Vance
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1. No. The effort and time, which would be extensive -- probably on the order of 4 hours of work -- isn't worth the payback. The end game scoring is quite easy to calculate and it's right there in the player aid (click the charts button). Players should be able to do that and with 2 people checking the work, it should be easy to double-check each others work.

2. When I made the module, there was no hidden reserves, so I have never accounted for it. I think you can right-click --> mask on the card to flip it, and then manually drag it. No guarantee the automated feature works with it. You are probably better off using the non-automated module if you want to play with hidden reserves.
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Matt Bugbee
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Gotcha, totally understandable on both counts. Unfortunately, manually dragging still produces the log message, but I realized that sending a bunch of empty messages to scroll the reserve message out of view should work fine instead. Thanks again for the quick reply and awesome module!
 
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