Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Imperium» Forums » Rules

Subject: Rational behind the movement system rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Hansen
United States
Sun Valley
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Or, why can that single scout squadron stop my battlefleet???

The above has been a common question in the game of Imperium, and so I thought I would post a bit on Marc Miller's technology he created for interstellar travel. This is based on his Traveller RPG system, but that system's genesis is woven in with the creation process of the Imperium game, which is itself now part of the Traveller canon.

Interstellar travel makes use of what is called the Jump drive system on a starship. This system allows a ship to enter Jump space and allow the ship to travel to it's destination in 1 weeks time. How far that destination can be from the ships starting point is connected with the starships Jump Drive rating. This rating is a number from 1 to 5, which represents the number of parsecs that can be traversed in that 1 weeks time. So for example a Jump-4 drive ship can travel up to 4 parsecs in 1 week. Note that in the time frame represented by the game, which is set several thousand years before the time frame of the Traveller RPG, the technology level of the Imperium and Terrans would be Jump-2, though at the very end of this period of wars between the Imperium and the Terrans, the Terrans would develop Jump-3 drives.

However, in order for these Jump drives to operate, they require a tremendous amount of fuel, specifically hydrogen as stated in the rules. The starships each have the capacity to hold only enough hydrogen to make one interstellar jump, plus some left over for interplanetary maneuvering, so they are basically stuck in a system until they can refuel. Now the hydrogen fuel needed can be loaded onto the ship from a friendly naval base, or be gathered by the starship either from the atmosphere of a gas giant, or by scooping up water from a terrestrial planet and then processing it onboard the starship into pure hydrogen. These last two procedures however are rather time consuming and dangerous; not only are they tricky maneuvers even under the best of conditions, but the starship is also highly vulnerable to enemy fire. In game terms it would likely translate into the ships having screen factors of 0 during refueling, essentially making them an easy target even for the smallest of enemy ships. Naturally, the refueling fleet's admiral will have to divert some of his forces to form a High Guard, ships left higher in a planets gravity well to protect the starships while they refuel. But this also adds to the time involved in doing the refueling, and doesn't entirely mitigate the danger to the refueling ships from a determined enemy attacker. An example of this comes from the Azhanti High Lightning game, also by GDW, where one of the titular cruisers in that game was destroyed during an emergency refueling run by a handful of gunboats lying in wait inside the gas giant's atmosphere.

Thus, the key to militarily defending a system from enemy starships in Imperium and the Traveller universe is not to try and control the entire volume represented, but rather to interdict the systems gas giant planets or planets with large bodies of water. So even a single scout squadron, using hit and run tactics, and indeed just by their very presence in the system, will very much slow down the ability of an enemy fleet to refuel quickly, or at all depending on the situation. And this seems to be the rational behind even just one squadron stopping a fleet of starships attempting to move through a system; not by direct combat but by hindering their ability to refuel.
15 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fraser
Australia
Melbourne
flag msg tools
admin
designer
Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
badge
Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ichirou wrote:
Or, why can that single scout squadron stop my battlefleet???


Good write up.

A friend and I used to play this a lot years ago and we soon found the method of sending out, what were in effect, suicide squads to defend empty systems to stop the big nasty battlefleets being able to pass quickly through to your home systems.

It certainly didn't stop them, but it sure does slow them down.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ethan McKinney
United States
El Segundo
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Well, I think that one big reason is so that a single huge stack can't strike anywhere that it wants to, both winning the game at a stroke and making it boring ...

Another factor is speed of information. Fifth Frontier War has fleet plot their movement five turns (weeks) ahead, representing how long it takes fast scouts to make the jumps back to the fleet with reconnaissance information! In Imperium we can imagine that no information flow back to the defender's fleets until an attacking fleet makes contact with a defending squadron. Given the longer duration of a "turn" in Imperium, you have to pause movement to represent the possibility of the defenders reacting to the new information.

Of course, this doesn't fit with the production element of the turn length.

I think that the best answer is, "The game doesn't work without it."
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Hansen
United States
Sun Valley
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
elbmc1969 wrote:
I think that the best answer is, "The game doesn't work without it."


Oh quite right. Taking the game as is, from a design standpoint it has to be this way. I would imagine that to do otherwise, considering the length of a turn, would be to allow the non-phasing player a one or more reaction moves at the end of each phasing players move, but before combat.

However, my rational for posting the above was to show a thematic reason for the rule as is and to give people some background before they write off the rule as unrealistic or try to change it about.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.