A scenario-based 3x3 Team Game
Long ago, aeons before anyone ever set foot in the Echo Cluster, they had already been here. The Celestials had visited this cluster, finding the planets here were populated only by the most basic forms of native life, and no space-faring race had ever heard of this Echo Cluster. It was a quiet and peaceful place in the galaxy. The Celestials, higher beings believed to have a big hand in matters in the galaxy, were amazed the Echo Cluster was as yet unoccupied. There were many planets that could support life, abundant resources and plenty of native races. This, they decided, would be the perfect evolutionary testing ground.
Among themselves, the Celestials had been discussing for centuries which strain of species they ruled were the stronger one. This had sometimes lead to heated discussions, with claims of superiority of one species by one of the Celestials being denied by the other Celestials. For each example any one Celestial could come up with, the others were quick to argue special circumstances, an advance in evolution for those species or some major setbacks for the other species. Besides, all examples in favor of one species were easily matched by examples where other species had prevailed.
Now, the Celestials had found the perfect location to see which species would evolve best. They had a nice cluster, not influenced by the rest of the galaxy, with plenty of planets, plenty of resources and enough native life to prosper from. They would place their species into this cluster and observe.....
The Three Species
The Celestial strains of evolution are made up of races with similar characteristics. They share some or more genes, and if one looks deep enough down the evolutionary ladder you will find some common ancestor and the event which lead to this particular direction in their evolution. This war will determine once and for all which is the stronger strain, which course has proven to be the most powerful form of evolution.
These are the baseline humans. They have evolved separately into the Federation, the Rebels and the Colonies. Very similar, though with different beliefs and political systems. Now they have joined forces, recognizing their common and binding factor. They all say they fight for the good cause, but in fact all they want to do is dominate the entire cluster. These humans consider themselves the only true strain of evolution and feel they are superior to the others.
These human races together have quite the bag of abilities - they can refit ships, revolt enemy colonists and sweep minefields without even going near them, to name a few. Their combined shiplists make up a nice, well-rounded ship-list. Torpedo-launching cruisers from big to small, a bunch of special ships and some very efficient carrier designs. Although the humans do not possess the most powerful of ships, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Consistent with their racial characteristics, these guys will fight straightforward. They just love to send out their battle groups, outer lights brightly burning, unstoppable by minefields, like a hand of God making things right. They don't cloak, they don't do ground assaults, just plain old combat. Which should be more than sufficient, as far as they are concerned.
These are the deviant strain the Celestials, the results of mixing basic humans with native races. The Lizards, the Birdmen and the Fascists have come to where they are now by sharing the gene pool with the Reptile and Avian natives for the Lizards and Birdmen. The background of the Fascists is less clear. They have a lot of feline, lion-like characteristics, but also have some canine, dog-like habits. Either way, they are very brave and very strong. These Deviants have enhanced senses, are stronger, faster and sneakier than baseline humans. They too, of course, feel superior.
As a result of their evolution, the Deviants have put less effort in developing powerful warships. The ships they have designed mainly complement their characteristics. Although they do have some worthy battleships, the majority of their ships are medium-sized and equipped with cloaking devices. The special abilities they have developed add to this: they can plunder enemy planets, manipulate planetary friendly codes and they have built a device to keep their own natives happy under the threat of violence. To 'balance their odds' in combat, they have even designed two shiptypes to be used as kamikaze-ships, causing sufficient damage to enemy ships before they even get the chance to fire their weapons.
These deviant species are either sneaky or bloodthirsty, or both. They are stronger than the other races in hand-to-hand combat, and as such they love to send out cloaked warships to take over enemy planets. Their ideal form of warfare is hitting their enemies without warning, settling things in one decisive blow. With their superior characteristics, they feel there's no stopping them from coming out on top.
The most dark and evil-minded Humans have distanced themselves from 'ordinary' evolution in a very early stage, and have chosen the power of mechanics. In need of a competitive edge of the other races, the Cyborg, the Evil Empire and the Robots spent most of their time incorporating mechanics into their evolution. While the Cyborg have opted to enhance their bodies to become a mixture of human and machine, the Empire has built mechanical probes and stormtroopers under human command. The most drastic attempt had been pulled off by the Robots: they have completely discarded with all human form and are 100% mechanical.
Their love for machines is reflected in the characteristics and ship designs of the machines. They assimilate the native races they find to also 'evolve' them into native/mechanic hybrids, their ships can send out probes to scan any and all enemy planets in sight, and because of their sophisticated knowledge of mechanics they can lay enormous minefields. Their ship designs tend to be huge and of the fighter-carrier type, supporting their belief in brute force.
These Machines represent the dark side of the cluster. Their preferred method of operations is to go at their enemies like a rolling thunder. Massive waves of fighters are launched to quickly kill any opposition. Their awesome carrier designs strike fear in the hearts of their enemies, and that is just how they like it. According to them, there's no stopping the coming might of the machines. It's just a matter of time until this cluster is theirs.
About this scenario / game
This scenario is based on an old idea I've been thinking of for quite a while. It is more scenario-based than based on equality, but with some minor changes to the settings I think it should be pretty balanced.
This is the first time I've made a scenario like this, and the adjusted settings have not been play tested for balance between teams yet. Pick (or as some of you know him: Lord Firefall) has kindly agreed to host this game. Don't go bothering him about the game's settings or setup, complaints should be addressed to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sign up if you want to be involved in a fun game, and wish to stick till the end. Settings might be unbalanced, and if they are there may or may not be changes during the game. Personally I'm not a big fan of changing settings mid-game, so don't count on any big changes. Now read this paragraph again. I take you totally understand the meaning of all this and wish to participate in this game with this knowledge. Don't join up only to drop out halfway because the settings are 'all screwed' or something, because I don't like that. Many people don't like that. Personally not only do I not like it, but it tends to make me post your name and such on various player forums and in the newsgroup. Anyway, enough of this, on to the game's description.
This game is not meant to be an economical exercise. It should be a fun game, with plenty of action. For this purpose, and to balance out the teams, there are some custom settings:
The game will be set in a rich universe, with rich homeworlds, very high starting money (15,000 MCs) and a very high population (3,000,000). There will be no meteor impacts, Ion storms will be disabled.
To balance out the teams, the following changes have been made:
- Firecloud chunnel is disabled
- Cobol does not scoop fuel
- No Ion Storms
- Loki does not decloak ships
- Lizards start with two probes without beams
- Birds and Fascists get a 125% mining rate
- Cost of cloaking lowered to 2kts per 100kt hull mass
- Birdmen have ground combat ratios equal to the Fascists
This way, neither of the teams have an advantage in movement. The Deviant team is strengthened somewhat: Fascists cannot be decloaked either, and Birdmen also get to play a role inside this team when it comes to ground combat. Helped further by the absence of Ion storms which generally hurt cloaking races more than others, the Deviant team should be on par with the other teams.
The game will be hosted twice a week, with host running in the night between Thursday and Friday and the night between Sunday and Monday. This schedule might be slowed down to one host run a week later on, if the players request it. If you think twice a week is too slow, you obviously never played a game with two close allies before. Coordination will be the key in this game, use your time wisely.
The game will be last team standing. The only way to win is by killing off the other teams or if they cry for mercy and surrender.
To prevent two teams from ganging up on the third, this game implements the honor-system. But not in the old-fashioned way; alliances between the species are not forbidden. These species hate each others guts, but hate has never prevented anyone from forming (temporary) alliances or trading abilities.
Feel free to form an alliance with anyone and everyone, but be aware: backstabbing is allowed in this game. Consistent with evolution having caused a division into the three different species with three different beliefs and all three of them feeling superior, nobody feels any obligations to the other species. Humans might form an alliance with the machines if they feel it's in their best interest, but they feel superior and want nothing less than to destroy the machines in the end. So there is nothing preventing them to plunge a good old knife deep into the mechanical back.
So let this be clear: no matter what the circumstances or the agreement or deal (but I'm your mother!), anything goes. If you're exchanging RSTs with another team, don't be mad if everyone ends up having them. If you agreed to trade a ship, don't be surprised if you fly right into a trap. If you give your ships to the Feds for a refit, don't expect them back because he promised to return them. When flying through Robotic minefields safely with the code he gave you, expect that code to change when you're knee-deep in mines. Anything goes.
As said before, I don't know how balanced these teams are. I think with the changes in the configuration the Deviant team, arguably the 'weaker' team, has as good a shot of winning as any of the other teams. It could very well be I've underestimated this team to begin with and they might now turn out to be too powerful. If this is the case, remember these words: "I don't know how balanced these teams are". Keep in mind this game is supposed to be fun, so if you're losing be a sport about it and go down fighting. Don't hide behind excuses of the other teams being far too strong (we have the Celestials for that discussion, remember?) but make the best of it and get your revenge in future versions of this game.
I would also like to encourage everyone in this game to make heavy use of the Lair Player Forum. Make fun of your enemies, mock them, vent your loathing of them, show your superiority by posting glorious battle reports, taunt your enemies, mislead them - use the forum. If you haven't done this in previous games, take my word for it: using the forum adds a lot of fun to the game.