Here is the link to the new map...
Rick's 4 player Tournament Map
This is a 3D map for Warp War. Zeta Ophiuch (17M+10) is a real O class star which is moving quickly thru a dust cloud. The other stars and warp lines are imaginary.
The idea behind this map was to build a WW map with a lot of dust clouds.
I think that symmetric maps are dull, so this one is NOT symmetric. You may wish to let the 4 players bid starting BP for first pick of the starting worlds.
The suggested Starting Worlds are Nicce (24N+4), Imp (21V+15), Longfall (7L+6) and Delfa (10B+14). Starting worlds should have +8 BP per turn added to their economic Value. Of course, you may chose to pick different starting worlds if you wish. I designed this as a 4 player map, but with different starting worlds, you could try a three player campaign on it.
This map is designed for 3D play. Each hexagon in the map represents 20 hexagon 'cells' stacked above each other, numbered from +1 (the bottom) to +20 (the top). To designate which cell you are discussing, give the column (a number), the row (a letter) and the height (a number following a '+' symbol). So Kent would be located at cell 4D+18.
It costs 5 movement points (PD 5), to move horizontally or vertically, or 7 movement points to move both horizontally and vertically. (This is accurate to true 3D movement within 2%.)
Because of the considerable vertical distance in the map, occasionally warp lines will visually cross each other. While traveling along a warp line, pass straight thru any such crosses. These two warp lines do not touch, and you can not switch between them mid movement.
These rules are a bit different from my other map. It costs double MA to cross a purple dust hex side. (So 10 points normally or 14 if you are travelling both horizontally and vertically.) Additionally, you take damage if you cross thru multiple such hex sides in the same movement phase.
Zero damage for crossing 1 dust hex side.
Three damage for crossing 2 dust hex sides.
Eight damage for crossing 3 dust hex sides.
Fifteen damage for crossing 4 dust hex sides, etc.
(Damage is number of dust hexsides crossed, squared, minus one. So Damage = (X * X)-1 where X is the number of dust hex sides.)
You may assign this damage to any ship components you have (normally armor if you are using those alternate rules). Shields do not protect against this damage.
The map does not show if a hex side is dusty between vertical cells. The rule is this: if a hex has 5 or more hexsides with dust around it, all cells in the vertical column of cells have dusty hexsides between them. If a hex has 4 or fewer hexsides with dust, then you can travel vertically between cells with out worrying about dust.
For example: 3J+1 to 3J+20 allows you to travel vertically with out worrying about dust, where as 4J+1 to 4J+20 do have dusty hex borders between the cells in that vertical stack.
This star has such a powerful solar wind no dust is within 2 cells of it. So there is a 'bubble' of free space around it. For example, 16M+8 to 16M+12 are clear hexes with no dust cloud hexsides touching them. If any ship moves into Zeta Ophiuchi's cell, it will take 5 damage per movement point spent in that cell. (If the ship has enough power/drive to move and power its shields, then the shields WILL protect against this damage.) There is nothing of value in that cell, so normally players will simply avoid that star.
This empty bubble is most important if you are traveling from Prinmset to Prosaic.
There are 4 White Dwarfs in this map. By dropping close to the surface of the dead star, you can do a burn and get more speed from your fuel then normal (the Oberth effect). Each White Dwarf in the hex gives you +7 movement points for moving in normal space as you leave the hex. (This bonus can not be used along warp lines.)
Further, if two white Dwarfs are close binaries (shown by two White Dwarfs close beside each other in the hex, with no text between them), then you can use a gravity assist to get an EXTRA +7 movement points when you leave the hex. (7 each for the two WD, +7 MA for the gravity assist = 21 bonus movement points.) Thus White Dwarfs can give you a significant bonus to your movement.
White Dwarfs are not given names, they are simply called 'WD' prepended to the hex location. So the distant binary pair of white dwarfs in cell 19L+2 is called WD19L.
Most stars have an Economic Value (EconV) associated with them written in white. For example, Tzolk'in (16Q+5) has an EconV of 3. In my rules, to use this, you must transport a factory costing 10 BP, to that world to harvest the economic bounty of a system.
If you would like to use my economic rules, they can be found here...
Some worlds have no white number (including all White Dwarves). Such systems have an economic value of zero.
Map Organization and Strategic Advice:
Note, that warp lines only join stars of similar class. (So G stars on the main sequence only join other G stars.) Larger stars tend to have longer warp lines so the Pertick-Ufith-Sithem-Jean series of warp lines dominate the map and allow tremendous movement on this dust choked terrain. All players are advised to not allow another player to dominate these warp lines.
In my experience of playing on such maps with economic values, players are well advised to grab as much territory as early as possible. Aggressively scout the warp lines near you and do not be too meek about ceding territory to your opponents.
A few stars far from others with no warp lines and no (or little) economic worth have been eliminated from the map, to reduce visual clutter.
That is it. Building these maps is a lot of work, but I'm pleased how nicely it has turned out. Please let me know if such maps are useful to you. If anyone tries out this map, please let me know how it played for you.
Warm regards, Rick.
- Last edited Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:51 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Fri Jan 6, 2017 7:25 pm
Thanks Rick, great map.
Wow! Thank you, Rick. Your maps are works of art!
Would you be willing to write a comment detailing how you create your maps. Software? Process? Etc...
Do you playtest them along the way?
Re: ZetaOphiuchi Sector - How to build.
Hi Clay, Rob.
Thank you for the kind words.
I have downloaded The GIMP, which is the open source Photoshop clone. One reason I have spent so much time on these maps is I wanted to get more practice with The GIMP.
The map is made up of many layers. These are (from the bottom up):
-- Black Background
-- Map Key
-- Nebula Layer
-- Internal Hex Numbers (the number columns and the letters running diagonally upwards).
-- Hex layer (This includes the numbers and letters around the outside of the map.)
-- Hexside layer. (Where gas clouds can cover the gold hex sides.)
-- Stars layer.
-- Star Name Black Out layer. (You will notice that when the star name runs over the gold hexside, the hexside is blacked out. Little patches of black on in this layer will make the names clear. This layer also blanks out internal hex numbers if they make the area look too messy.)
-- Econ layer. (Text about the stars & star name goes here.)
-- Bottom Warp lines
-- Medium Warp lines
-- Top warp lines.
I grabbed the gold hex grid from some other program (Dungeon Djinn I believe), and then trimmed it to make an octagon shaped area. It is basically a rectangle with the corners trimmed so as to make it harder for players to turtle in the corners.
It took a bunch of time to get the basic hex layer and internal hex numbers layer done. But now I can reuse these on every map I make.
I think about where I want to put nebulas and grab some space photos. I manipulate the art to make them more purple, since in my maps the dust clouds are purple. (Purple looks pretty and is visually distinct from other color uses on my maps.)
Usually the nebula art is the wrong size so I use the resizing tool and rotation tool to put them where I want.
Then I think about stars. These are put down with a combination of putting stars where I want and randomness. If stars randomly end up directly above each other, I move them a bit to one side or the other because all stars in a hex are one system. I never have two systems in a single vertical column of hexes.
Likewise, I usually end up with some areas that are too dense and others which are too empty. I move stars around a bit to allow me to put down names, info and warp lines, with out the map getting too crowded.
Then I start doing LOTS of little details. Purple hex sides to clearly show where the nebula slows ships. Entering economic details for every world. Adding warp lines. Deciding if I want White Dwarfs to speed deep space movement between certain areas. Darkening out internal hex numbers if they are covered up by warp lines, or making a hex look too busy, etc. etc.
In my maps, warp lines only go between stars of similar classes, so I will sometimes change a stars spectral class to make the warp lines go where I want. Multi star systems can act as switching stations between different groups of warp lines and I think carefully about where I want multiple star systems and what colors the stars will be.
I usually know where the home worlds are, but at this point I start 'playtesting' the map by carefully thinking about how I think it will play. I do a bit of math, figuring out how each empire will be expected to grow for the first several turns. Often while I am balancing the map at this stage, I will adjust the economic values, add or delete stars and make changes, to make the map more fair.
I am not obsessed with making the map 100% fair. To do so, the map has to be symmetric, which is dull. As long as the starting positions are close that is good enough. One player pulling ahead is what diplomacy is for after all.
Finally, if I have stars that are far from anywhere and not very valuable, I delete them.
Using the Map:
When I GM'ed a warp war campaign, I used the map with seperate layers for each player (which showed where their ships were.) By hiding those layers, I could send a unique map to each player.
In my campaign, players didn't know where the warp lines were, and they couldn't see Brown Dwarfs until they came within 3 cells of them, so the player's private layers had black areas blanking out warp lines and stuff they had not discovered yet. (On that map, the hex grid levels were at the top with the player's private layers just below them.)
That map also had a separate area where I could make notes to myself and which showed the location of artefacts, R&D and economic bonuses that could be discovered when people explored that system.
For those who don't use The GIMP, I export the map to a *.png file.
Time to Make:
This is a long process, likely 100 to 200 hours of work per map.
I'm thinking of making a smaller, 3 player map eventually. Then I will likely be done with Warp War maps for a long time.
Warm regards, Rick.
- Last edited Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:44 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:43 pm
Wow! Very informative write up!
I've never really learned how to use GIMP, so much as just messed around with it whenever I need some basic editing done. However, I've often thought of investing some serious time into both GIMP and Inkscape since they're both amazing looking tools.
If you have resources that you think the community would benefit from for map production--like the hex grids or specific How-To's--I'm sure we'd all appreciate it. I bet a video where you build a tiny, demo map would be awesome.
Of course, that's a lot of work. I'm very appreciative of the map and work you've done.
- Last edited Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:11 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:10 pm
I'm not set up to create videos, so the above description will have to do you. Thank you for the Geek Gold!
Warm regards, Rick.