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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:22 am 
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Well, it's been a while since I've been here, but it's spring break now and I have free time, so I've decided to try and finish one of my personal projects for once and bring Conflicting Factions to completion. For those of you who are unaware, Conflicting Factions is a forum-based space-opera TBS/RP with heavy emphasis on political and economic interaction, rather than military action. I've attempted to run it 6 times previously in these forums, with varying degrees of success each time (mostly bordering on "little to none"), so I thought it would be a better idea if I posted the rules ahead of time while I'm still drafting them to A) build interest and B) see if I am overcomplicating things as usual. So, without further adieu:

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Overview
Conflicting Factions is a turn-based 4x game played through a text-based medium, such as a webforum or email. The game plays out conflict between both player and NPC factions, with emphasis on roleplay elements and and creative action. This ruleset is not designed to be a rigid system, but a guideline for writing the threads of history.

Objectives
As in war, there are no clear objectives other than the ones you write yourself. That being said, beware, as there are many ways to lose; not just through conquest, but through other, subtler means. The game will end when there are no more ways to lose interestingly.

Turns
All turns happen concurrently each 'tick'. At the beginning of each tick, detailed turn report. In addition, I will write 'galactic news reports' which publicly report on events of that turn. You are encouraged to follow suit either with your own news reports or inflamed rhetoric from your leaders.

During each turn you can submit orders through the public forum and/or privately to me. Privately submitted actions are considered secret actions, and run the risk of discovery. Regardless of whether or not orders are submitted, some form of interaction is expected each turn. All outside interactions (i.e. secret meetings between players) are considered fair game, but no official interactions may occur without sending me a PM.

Characters and Factions
The two basic entities in Conflicting Factions are Characters and Factions. Think of a faction like a business, and a character like a person running that business. Each player can register only one character, but may register as many factions as they would like.

Factions have separate assets. For example, a single character may own two factions, but both factions will have separate amounts of money that cannot be shared unless explicitly transferred. Factions can be controlled by multiple characters, and characters can have limited control of other factions. What this means varies from situation to situation, and will be handled through RP.

Advisors are NPCs in a faction with technical training that you can consult for just about anything. Certain information such as amounts of goods being traded, predicted population growth, etc... can only be accessed by asking your advisors. To ask an advisor something, PM me with the question, as advisors pretty much act as my way of giving you infodumps. Advisors can also give helpful advice by their own volition, but are occasionally known to stretch the truth to "keep things interesting".

Finally, an important rule: factions can set up their own internal rules. For example, factions can draw up charters for individual members, or impose laws on faction members regarding everything from taxes to development to arms treaties. Have fun enforcing and breaking them.

Systems and Warping
Space is organized into sectors (rarely will more than 1-2 sectors be in play), which are broken down into (star) systems, which are further broken down into planets, then cities/bases. When a fleet enters a system, it goes into 'deep space' outside the orbit of any planet. See the next section for details on intra-system movement.

Hyperspace follows a circular topography: each system is connected to only two other systems in the sector. Let's take the following sector:
Code:
Sector A:
  Alpha Capricorn
  Gamma Aries
  Sigma Cancer (B)
  Delta Capricorn

A fleet can travel from Alpha Capricorn to either Gamma Aries or Delta Capricorn. Ships can move through an unlimited number of systems per turn unless blockaded by enemy ships (Sigma Cancer (B) is blockaded; see section on Blockades and Sieges). It takes 3 units of fuel to move through a system.

Planets and Movement
Planets are named after the system and a roman numeral indicating its position from the star. Earth, 3rd planet from the sun, would be Sol III. Planets occasionally have large moons denoted with a lowercase letter following the planet name. Our moon would be Sol IIIa. Let's take the example system Alpha Capricorn:
Code:
Alpha Capricorn
Planet   Size  Rating Resources
  I       800    20    0/20/15
  II     5500    80   60/40/10
  III    7000    55   35/60/ 5
  IIIa    200    30   10/20/35
A       80000     5    0/80/ 0
G IV    20000    10    0/ 0/95
  IVa     500    70   40/35/10
  IVc     700    20    0/70/20
  V      2500    40    0/20/25

Key:
A Asteroid Belt
G Gas Giant

The letter preceding the roman numeral indicates any special traits. Note that asteroid belts do not have a numeral. Next is planet size, representative of the planet's developable area, which ranges between 100 (incredibly small) to 5000 (medium size) to numbers unknown. It is used in several important formulas. Next is planet rating, which are the conditions for development on a planet, ranging from 0 to 100. Planets with ratings above 55 are considered safely habitable.

The final column is resources, which is the availability of resources on the planet from 0 (not there) to 100 (literally everywhere). The three numbers are organics/minerals/reactives. These values can increase or decrease from various effects.

Fleets can either be "in transit" around a planet, or "in low orbit" above a city/base. Fleets normally can only interact while in low orbit, but ships with special long-range components may be able to interact with planets while in transit.

It takes one unit of fuel to move from "in transit" to "in low orbit". It takes one unit of fuel to move one planet outwards, and no fuel to move inwards. 'Deep space' is considered the outermost "planet". So, it would take 5 units of fuel for a ship in low orbit around a city on Alpha Capricorn III to enter deep space (Launch > III > Asteroids > IV > V > Deep Space), and it would take 2 units of fuel for a ship in low orbit around a city on Alpha Capricorn V to low orbit around a city on Alpha Capricorn II (Launch > II > Orbit). Fuel is automatically purchased at the lowest possible price for the path, so normally no extra micromanagement is required.

Cities and Bases
Cities and Bases are collectively referred to as "colonies". Cities are population centers. Bases are satellite cities (e.g. military bases, mining bases) that have a main city, but are not necessarily on the same planet. Colonies are listed as follows:
Code:
Symbol Name            Owner   Inf.  Pop.  CoVal.  Development
Alpha Capricorn II
Arl   Arial             FNT     900  3100  130000  R 300/350 F 210/600 I 100/130 M  90/200 T  70/900
Cor*  Courier         FNT!MSO  1200  6200  160000  R 680/270 F 150/580 I 320/150 M 160/240 T  30/780
   
Alpha Capricorn III
Cal*  Calibri           MSO     500  1400  321000  R 170/450 F  80/620 I 160/190 M 120/220 T  20/800

Alpha Capricorn IIIa
CalCm Cambria           MSO      50     -       -                      I  30/200 M  15/350 T   5/980

Alpha Capricorn Asteroid Belt
CalM1 Remote 1         @MSO@     20     -       -                      I  15/350 M   5/450

Key:
# Contested
! Rebelling
@ Ceded

The first column is symbol, the abbreviation for the colony. Cities have 3 letters, while bases have their city symbol plus an additional 2. If it is followed by a star, it means it is a capital. The second column is name.

The next column is owner, which is the abbreviation of the faction with control of the colony. Colonies that are rebelling are trying to form a new faction or join another one, as designated by the faction after the exclamation mark (or if there is none, then it is simply civil unrest), ones that are contested have not really come under ownership but instead bear the name most in control at the point, and ones that are ceded are owned simply 'in name' (see section on Governance).

The next three columns are infrastructure, population, and commercial value respectively. Values of cities are always composite values, added up from districts. Infrastructure is a measure of the developed area of a colony. Population, in millions of people, measures how many people are in that colony; for bases, this value is negligible. Commercial value, in millions of credits, measures the values of all goods and services within the colony.

The final column is development. Each tag starts with a letter, followed by a number representing the total area of development, followed by number in millions of credits representing the value per developed area. The possible tags are (R)esidential, (F)inancial, Heavy (I)ndustry, (M)anufacturing, and High (T)ech.

Infrastructure, Population, Commercial Value, and Development
Infrastructure is the approximate developed area of a city. If total development exceeds infrastructure, the city will generally be in worse shape, so be sure that infrastructure keeps up with development. Infrastructure comes in three flavors: regular, orbital, and subterranian. Regular infrastructure costs:
Quote:
(current infr + (160 - rating) * 5) * (metal market price + M value) * units built * 10

Current infr is current infrastructure, rating is planet rating, metal market price is the cheapest cost for metal in credits (see section on Resources), M value is the value per developed area for manufacturing in millions of credits, and units built is the number of units built that turn. You can only construct up to the current developed area of manufacturing per turn.

So, assuming the cheapest cost for metal is 200 credits per unit, building 90 units of infrastructure on Arl (the maximum possible amount) would cost (900 + (160 - 80) * 5) * (200 + 200) * 90 * 10 = 468 mc.

Population and population growth does have a specific formula, but it's secret. Maximum population depends mainly on planet size and residential development, while population growth depends mainly on planet rating, colony infrastructure, and commercial value. Generally speaking though, the average rate of population growth is around 2% per turn.

Commercial value is somewhat analogous to GDP, and functions as the amount of "free-flowing" money available in the markets of a colony. Commercial value fluctuates much more than population, but generally tends to rise as population rises. It has a large impact on taxes (see section on economy) and on resource production (see section on resources).

Residential development is not only houses, but also basic commercial services and such that support residence. Any colony with residential development can support residents, and a base becomes a city once residential development begins. Financial development is corporate offices and banks that help support financial stability; greater financial development adds to commercial value growth and allows for the taking of loans and credit. Heavy Industrial development is more or less raw material industries, ranging from agriculture to mining, and determines the rate of resource extraction from a planet. Manufacturing development is factories and yards that build ships and their components, among other things; when idle, manufacturing produces consumer goods. High Tech development is plants and labs that build high-end ship components and conduct research.

Governance
Being in 'control' of a colony means the ability to build infrastructure, levy taxes, commission ships, etc... from that colony. However, there are multiple levels of control. The fine-grained details are carried out through RP, but there are distinctions between "control" of a contested area, "ownership", "control" of a city, and "control" of a base.

Control over a contested area (such as a rebelling or contested area) is control through military force. You can issue direct orders and attempt to collect income, but how successfully these will be carried out depend on the situation and status of the colony. For example, a contested city captured a turn ago is far less likely to cooperate than a rebelling city that has almost been quelled six turns ago.

Ownership implies that the colony being controlled is in name only, for example with a ceded colony. You cannot have direct control over a ceded colony: for example, you cannot mandate the construction of ships from a ceded colony or acquire resources below market price (see section on resources). However, depending on the terms of ownership, you will be able to collect a certain portion of that colony's income and post contracts for ships to be built.

Control over a city means that you have the means, through political connections and authority, to issue direct orders; it does not mean that you have sole authority over all action in the city. However, direct orders can be ignored (vetoed, rejected, etc...) if citizens feel that such actions are not in the best interest of the city, such as raising market taxes during an economic downturn. So while you do have the freedom to do as you please to these cities, these actions need political justification, otherwise the loyalty of the city will turn.

Control over a base means that you have sole authority over the base. Certain things, such as acquiring resources at production price or constructing ships (cheaper than commissioning them), cannot be done outside of a base.

As for less noble means of governance, such as propaganda, espionage, and bribery, it's left to the imagination of the RPer to come up with clever 'uses' of their money.

(todo:)
Economy
Resources
Ships
Combat
Blockades and Sieges
Ground Forces and Planetary Assault

-----

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Last edited by Normandy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:31 am, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:39 am 
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Holy crap, it's Normandy! Haven't seen you in a while, how's things?

Forum's kinda dead right now, so you maaay have trouble finding players for this. I might be interested, though... I'll have to read through the rules fully when I'm feeling more awake.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:21 am 
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sounds pretty interesting, i'd be up for it, although as sws said, it might be a pretty small affair

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:24 am 
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Sounds good and I will probably join depending if you get enough players but, one thing that I think should be changed is that you should be able to develope gas giants. NASA has plans for an orbital refueling station in orbit around Saturn collecting various gases to be used as fuel, but probably won't actually go though with them until long after we're dead. Don't you think the collection and processing of valuable gases in orbit around gas giants would be a very profitable business? Just saying.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:27 am 
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Haha, SWS, I've been lurking around every now and then, but I never really came up with the initiative to start building ships or comment again. Been pretty busy with school and extracurricular stuff, but I definitely do miss the old times. I'll drop by the IRC channel once I get around to reinstalling mIRC or something.

As far as number of players, I think I'd prefer 2-3 enthusiasts right now rather than 5-6 normal players just to test out mechanics, so I have more flexibility to tinker with the rules mid-game.

I'm considering having orbital gas giant colonies, but right now I'm trying to think up of a better balance between regular, subterranean, and orbital infrastructure, as well as a system for building new cities/bases. Right now I don't have rules for the latter.

Also, how's the length of the rules looking so far? The current length should be about 60% of the rules (the sections on economy and resources are looking to be a bit long right now), is the wall of text a bit too imposing right now?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:26 am 
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To some it might be a bit imposing but a few spoilers would fix that as for the orbital gas giant colonies at least your considering them.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:13 pm 
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Enthusiast here. =P
Me want in, sounds fun.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:39 am 
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Removed districts, and different types of infrastructure. Changed resource structure. Added "development" levels.

I think that development levels will really add a wealth of economic interaction and a number of strategies that you simply can't do in other games. If all goes according to plan and I properly implement a market system for resources, it should be possible to crash opponents' economies through clever use of stockpiling and trade agreements.

For example, say metal costs 200 cr/unit in your city, but only 100 cr/unit in an enemy city. Everything you do with metal will be 2x more expensive. Say you decide to sign a trade agreement with the enemy city for metal, but you didn't set a limit. Soon, after transportation costs are accounted for, metal now costs 140 cr/unit in your city and 120 cr/unit in the enemy city. On the one hand, the enemy now needs to pay more to use metal, but now their city has taken money (i.e. Commercial Value) from your city. As for you, you now don't have to pay as much to use metal (e.g. you can invest in more infrastructure or ships), but now your own heavy industry is suffering because of the competition.

Now, say the trade agreement is suddenly cut. Because your metal industry has been languishing, metal now costs 250 cr/unit, but the enemy city it costs only 80 cr/unit. However, now the enemy city faces a recession because the price of metal dropped so much, and now your heavy industry is seeing a boom because of all of the demand and infrastructure improvement you have been doing. Who wins out?

These are the sorts of interesting economic interactions that I'd like to see CF being used for.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:37 am 
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i like how it looks so far, everything seems like it'll be good fun as well as a good challenge

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:20 am 
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I will definitely join this! mostly because I am pretty good with Econ (at least my Econ teacher says so but I go to a crappy school so I probably have a crappy teacher).

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:18 am 
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Are you in regular econ or are you referring to AP Macro/Microeconomics? Because I wish I was taking the latter, I really wanted to try out econ. Don't have the time though >.>

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:39 am 
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Regular Econ although my teacher just takes whats in our book types it into a slide-show and acts like she came up with it her self.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:45 pm 
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Yes a strong economy based game with good conflict rules and WMD's would be rather fun with some unstable players. =P


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:41 am 
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Well, I decided to write a utility to help administrate a game, and I ended up with this:

http://www.gaussianstudios.co.cc/software/CF/

It's an applet for viewing systems, planets, and colonies all at the same time. You can sort by column and filter by system/planet. You can select multiple rows, and unselect all rows (ctrl-click) to display without filtering. I know most people are rather weary about using off-site utilities, but I'm trying to see if that can be changed.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:42 pm 
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You should try making it able to scoll horizontally for one, and also when you select a base/district, it should also highlight the planet its on, for simplicities sake.


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