The Triplanetary CampaignThis is posted for playtest. Comments should go to the Triplanetary thread on BoardGameGeek, at https://boardgamegeek.com/article/26898965#26898965. All material is copyright © 2017 by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. Thanks for your interest and help!
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A campaign game may involve a dozen or more players, and be played out over
dozens of sessions, as commercial (or piratical) empires are built and crumble again.
This is a roleplaying game as well as a tactical one. Negotiations with the other players
will help you succeed in your own goals!
The campaign uses the MCr purchase table, with one exception: to reduce
bookkeeping, fuel is free. Pirates refuel at Clandestine; other players may refuel at any
base or from friendly tankers.
Ships must still ration their fuel carefully to leave a margin for error – or for pirate gunfire!
@D-HEAD = Merchants
Merchants are the driver of the economy. They use commercial ships to carry cargo
and freight throughout the system. There are assumed to be hundreds of merchants in
space, enough that the Space Patrol cannot specifically protect any one ship, but must
answer calls for help as they occur. There's a lot of cargo out there, so merchants can
pick up a load whenever they are ready – but stolen cargoes can be easily sold
because there's a big market.
Each merchant starts with either two transports or one packet, fully loaded with fuel, on any world(s). Merchants may buy transports, packets, liners, and tankers, starting them on any world.
Each merchant player keeps track of their own delivery "cycles," as in the Piracy
scenario (p. 00). A merchant receives MCr 3 for each successful delivery via transport,
as long as the delivery is either to Terra or to a world that merchant's ships have not
visited during the cycle. Merchants are not affected by the status of their competitor's
cycles, unless the referee (see below) wants to make competition more intense.
The MCr 3 payment assumes the cargo is carried in a transport. Merchants may buy other ships:
@D-HEAD = Prospectors
Asteroid prospectors start with MCr 25, and prospect and sell as in the Prospecting
scenario . . . with the added hazard of pirates.
Prospectors may buy transports, packets, and tankers, starting them on any world. They may also buy all equipment listed in the Prospecting scenario.
@D-HEAD = The Space Patrol
The Patrol starts with two corvettes and two corsairs, located on any world. Its job is to
protect shipping and suppress piracy.
The Patrol's Budget: The Patrol receives MCr 4 on any turn when a ship is actually under attack (including maneuvering to surrender). It gets 3 on any turn when a pirate ship is merely detected but is not attacking, and 2 on turns when no pirate is detected. The Patrol does not have to pay for fuel; it refuels free at any base. Likewise, its mines and torpedoes are free. Its only expense is new ships.
The Patrol may not engage in civilian commerce.
Prize ships: The Patrol may take captured pirate vessels into service, or sell them on any world for 75% of their new price. The Patrol is expected to return recaptured civilian ships to their owners, but once a captured ship has made it to Clandestine, it's treated as a pirate and may be taken as a prize and sold by the Patrol.
Patrol tactics: The Patrol should not shadow civilian launches, or permit them to shadow its own ship movements. The Patrol wants the pirates to show themselves so it can act.
The Patrol may not burn toward a pirate ship until it has entered detection range of a world or ship, or until it attacks a target.
@D-HEAD = Pirates
One player may start as a pirate, with either two corvettes or a corsair, fully fueled, on
Clandestine. Pirates treat the blue asteroids surrounding Clandestine as clear space.
The pirate's objective is to steal merchant cargoes and sell them at hidden Clandestine
or rowdy Ceres. A stolen cargo, regardless of its origin or the ship carrying it, nets the
Pirate MCr 10 when sold. If the pirate ship or fleet does not have enough cargo space
for the whole cargo, it gets paid only for the percentage that it can carry away from its
Stolen ore and CT shards may be sold at Clandestine, at prices as for Ceres. Note that a pirate ship may not steal a CT shard unless it has PM grapples!
Pirates may not engage in regular civilian commerce; it's too much like work.
Detection of pirates: This rule is important and will require a certain amount of roleplaying. Pirate ships only become "detected" when they enter detection range of a world or ship (5 hexes for worlds, 3 for ships and bases), or when they fire on a target. Other players must simply ignore the pirate ship counters that they "cannot see."
Prize ships: The pirates may take captured vessels into service, or sell them for 75% of their new price on Clandestine, or 50% on Ceres or any world.
Refueling: The pirates may refuel only on Clandestine. However, a successful pirate may keep a hidden tanker or two in-system to refuel ships and prizes.
If all pirate warships are eliminated, the pirate player may re-enter the game after 20 turns, with either a corsair or two corvettes on Clandestine. The Patrol gets no money during this time of no piracy, because the Grand Senate of Earth does not have the sense that God gave a flatworm.
@D-HEAD = Victory
Play to a specified number of turns, a specified number of sessions, or a specified date on the calendar. Then calculate all players' net worth (the Patrol also wins if he knows he has done a good job). Or just play an open-ended campaign, with players going and coming, and see what develops!
@D-HEAD = Referee
A campaign game may have a referee who reins in any unrealistic behavior, such as civilian ships shadowing Patrol courses, or Patrol captains who head directly toward every pirate ship counter before it is actually detected. The referee also has the power to change any "social" rules to keep things interesting. For instance:
@BOXHEAD = Variant: Orbital Bases
In this variant, it is assumed that every planetary base has a highly developed orbital