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Solo Traveller

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  • Paul Williams
    I have played several Solo Traveller variants over the years. I m not quite as prolific a writer as Baddawg so I ll give as much detail here as time permits
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 31, 2004
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      I have played several Solo Traveller variants over the years. I'm not quite
      as prolific a writer as Baddawg so I'll give as much detail here as time
      permits and you can all ask me further questions about details as they
      arise. I hope this is enough to whet your appetites for now :-)

      Before I go on, I am starting up a PBEM game where players control factions
      who have fled charted space during the Rebellion and ended up in Astron /
      Theta Borealis / Khaeaw sectors trying to start pocket empires around 1146.
      I might have room for a few more players so if any of you are interested
      then drop me an email offlist at paul .dot. williams .at. williamsgames
      .dot. com and we'll see what we can do. It'll be a slow-paced game as we are
      all busy people, so probably expect monthly turns. You don't need any
      special books or anything, I supply all the rules necessary. I figured that
      with all us solo gamers out there, why not?


      Belter / Beltstrike!
      ********************

      The classic one, I originally made up my own rules as I didn't have any of
      the early JTAS articles, Belter game, or Beltstrike! boxed supplement.
      Eventually I got all of these and mostly their rules were better than mine
      so I switched.


      Mercenaries
      ***********

      The second classic solo Traveller option. Originally I just tried to make
      sense of Book 4, and then I got Striker and that helped a lot. Later still I
      got the Battletech Mercenaries Handbook (which is now out there second-hand
      in many guises, I think there is a recent reprint by a different company and
      the book is now called the Mercenaries Fieldguide?). Anyhow, the Battletech
      Mercenaries books and then the great computer game Mechwarrior: Mercenaries
      inspired me to do loads of 'merc company trying to survive by fighting for
      various factions in the Rebellion'. I liked the battles obviously, but I
      really loved the whole economics of running a merc company for some reason I
      cannot fathom.


      Grand Survey / Grand Census
      ***************************

      The third classic solo Traveller game. Either 'Go survey the unknowns' or
      'Go resurvey the knowns' its just as fun. After I got Grand Survey and Grand
      Census I played a few more of this type of game in a lot more depth. But
      initially I just used to play and replay surveying the Spinward Marches,
      thinking that it would be great background preparation for a campaign set
      there for my friends which we never ended up playing :-(


      Trader / TradePost v2.3
      ***********************

      The other classic Traveller solo :-) Originally I just used Book 3, then I
      got Merchants & Merchandise, then Merchant Prince, and eventually I played
      with loads of hybrid rules until it got so complicated I gave up. Now, using
      the Tradepost v2.3 software (
      http://freeport.pocketempires.com/Publications.htm ) that computer-assists
      player-owned starship travelling & trading, crew salaries etc., and a copy
      of Spinward Marches Campaign and Spinward Marches Supplement 3, I solo play
      a sort of March Harrier game where I start with a merchant character with a
      ship, some money and no crew on Regina, and I start out into the Spinward
      Marches and see how I do plying the Spinward Main etc. The best solo games
      see me struggling to break even, one memorable game saw me make enough money
      to finance a second ship and start competing with March Lines and Al Morai
      :-) This is probably the easiest variant solo game to play if you just have
      the original Little Black Books for Traveller.


      Passenger Liner
      ***************

      A variant on the Trader solo, this one was partly inspired by a computer
      game called Sim Tower. Basically the idea was to build ships with various
      features that would attract tourists and passengers, and do charters to
      worlds that would also attract tourists and passengers, and make money and
      try to grow and compete with rivals etc. I could never quite get this one to
      feel quite right, but I used to imagine something a bit like an old
      trans-Atlantic passenger liner or the Space 1889 liners to Mars or touring
      the solar system etc.


      En Garde! Traveller
      *******************

      Much of my inspiration initially came from playing En Garde! and then
      adapting it for Traveller, followed by a period where I would play Prison
      Planet (Adventure 8) as a solo game in a similar fashion to En Garde using
      prisoner reputation as a substitute for En Garde's social status. Prisoners
      would rise and fall up the Greasy Pole and the rewards for reaching the top
      were things like a chance for parole, early release, outrageous perks from
      the Warden etc. I replaced the whole military regiments and foreign war
      campaigning with prisoner gangs and work details assigned to the Danger Zone
      which was often as hectic and dangerous as the Front :-). Duels were a
      simple case of prisoners fighting to preserve their Reputation.


      Dictator / Tropico Traveller
      ****************************

      I was always a Dictator addict back in the Sinclair Spectrum days of
      computing (although of course I cut my computer gaming teeth with a Binatone
      Pong machine back in 75/76, and Star Raiders on the Atari 400 back in
      79.....). Dictator was basically a computerised adaptation of the boardgame
      Junta which I played a few times but could never afford! More recently the
      Tropico PC computer game resurrected the format. Basically I solo this in
      Traveller on paper as if I am the dictator of a country on a Balkanised
      planet and I have to keep the various factions (peasants, army, church,
      secret police) happy whilst strengthening my dictatorship against my rival
      balkanised enemy countries, and trying to get into bed with one of the two
      or three global superpowers who might give me aid. I got Striker around this
      time so I would merrily solo a few Striker combats (on paper in those days
      as I couldn't afford miniatures!).


      ConspiracyX / XCOM Traveller
      ****************************

      Borrowing the stuff about Base creation wholesale from the XCOM computer
      games and the ConX rulebook and Aegis Handbook and adapted it for Traveller,
      adding some tables to regulate events and development, research etc. I
      played a solo Traveller game that was pretty much the plot of ConX and the
      XCOM computer games. I created a group of characters who get recruited to
      form an XCOM-type group to combat some kind of alien menace. In the
      Traveller universe I usually used a combination of Kafers from 2300,
      primitive Chirpers and aggressive Droyne, Zhodani psi-troops, Vargr raiders
      and a few other aliens that looked basically just like their counterparts in
      XCOM :-) We had to hold out long enough to find out what the aliens' goal
      was, and then thwart it. Simple.


      Pirate Base
      ***********

      Using the Base stuff from ConX again, I created a group of pirates /
      corsairs who then had regular adventures commerce raiding and maintaining
      their base in the Wilds. Eventually I got hold of Hard Times and a few edocs
      floating around the internet about the Economics of Piracy, and then I got
      GURPS Planetary Guide 3: Granicus the pirate haven. These gave me even more
      ideas about fun pirate adventures for my solo campaign.


      Flowchart Traveller
      *******************

      Later, I encountered a great guy called BrassJester on the Citizens of the
      Imperium boards over at www.travellerrpg.com who posted a few things about
      solo Traveller using flowcharts that he designed. Using books like GURPS
      Traveller : Starports I played an enjoyable starports campaign where I
      rolled up an adventuring group who I then soloed as they set up a
      combination construction and security company who got firmly embroiled in
      the adventures of enlarging the local starport, mining & transporting,
      trading & building and doing their own mercenary security contracts.


      The Long Night's Journey Into Day
      *********************************

      Using the Pocket Empires and Imperial Squadrons books for T4 I solo play a
      world reemerging from after the Long Night, usually in a part of space
      nowhere near Sylea :-). Having data about nearby systems that is centuries
      out of date, they first colonise their own solar system before STL
      colonising nearby systems and finally redeveloping/rediscovering the jump
      drive enabling them to expand their new empire into and across recharted
      space, recontacting former civilisations and discovering the fates of the
      rest.

      I use a combination of the tables in Pocket Empires, and the system
      generation facilities of Stuart Ferris' excellent Heaven and Earth program
      (version 1 available from http://www.downport.com/wbd/HEAVEN_&_EARTH.htm
      (he's now working on version 2 which is looking very good indeed - the
      mailing list for that is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HEMailingList/ )). A
      fellow solo Traveller BrassJester from the CotI boards gave me the very good
      idea of creating a Life Index table to roll on for each world based on its
      star, its orbit, its size, hydrographics etc so mostly you encounter basic
      life rising up the scale to vegetable life, animal life, and the rare and
      prized intelligent life, which is great for solo games where you want to
      postpone 'first contact' for a while.

      Again the great BrassJester on CotI gave me further ideas for this game, he
      soloes an 'Earth emerging into space' game which inspired me to do various
      things with mine. I haven't heard from him in a while but I'll see if he is
      interested in posting anything to this group.


      The Long Day's Journey Into Night
      *********************************

      Using the Collapse effects from MegaTraveller's Hard Times supplement, and
      the forthcoming Bearers of the Flame being developed and playtested by
      Quiklink Interactive (BotF basically picks up the history of the One True
      Universe where The New Era left off, there will be a completion of the
      Gilded Lily trilogy and lots of stuff in the new 1248 milieu for T20 and
      Classic Trav), as well as Pocket Empires and Imperial Squadrons from T4, I
      solo play a world that is the capital of a pocket empire on the cusp of
      charted space's descent into the Long Night, or that is descending through
      the Hard Times of the Rebellion era.The aim is to stave off the hard times
      and collapse for as long as possible and preserve whatever cultural and
      local values that the society in question views as central to quality of
      life.





      OK there are others that I have done but my current lame excuse of a
      shoulder injury is telling me that this is a good start and I can always
      write more in follow up emails. I hope you find something in here to pique
      your interest and if you do please ask me to elaborate or suggest your own
      ideas!

      Cheers,

      Paul
    • Rick Devonshire
      WOW! I glad you re not a prolific writer. Your getting me interested in Traveller again, after all these years. I ll have to go into the back room and
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 1, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        WOW! I glad you're not a prolific writer.<grin> Your getting me interested in Traveller again, after all these years. I'll have to go into the back room and scare the spiders so I can find my old traveller set.

        It's later and I found it. Hmmmm It seems I've got the "Deluxe Edition" including the introductory adventure "The Imperial Fringe" And a map of the "Spinward Marches" I also seemed to have acquired Supplement 6 "76 Patrons"
        Oh goody, I feel a lead purchase coming on.

        Incidentally, I had a space trading game on the old Amiga, similar to Traveller, the name of which escapes me at present. Does anyone know if this game or a similar one ever made it to PCs ?

        Rick
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Paul Williams
        To: SoloWarGame@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2004 4:20 PM
        Subject: [SoloWarGame] Solo Traveller


        I have played several Solo Traveller variants over the years. I'm not quite
        as prolific a writer as Baddawg so I'll give as much detail here as time
        permits and you can all ask me further questions about details as they
        arise. I hope this is enough to whet your appetites for now :-)

        Before I go on, I am starting up a PBEM game where players control factions
        who have fled charted space during the Rebellion and ended up in Astron /
        Theta Borealis / Khaeaw sectors trying to start pocket empires around 1146.
        I might have room for a few more players so if any of you are interested
        then drop me an email offlist at paul .dot. williams .at. williamsgames
        .dot. com and we'll see what we can do. It'll be a slow-paced game as we are
        all busy people, so probably expect monthly turns. You don't need any
        special books or anything, I supply all the rules necessary. I figured that
        with all us solo gamers out there, why not?


        Belter / Beltstrike!
        ********************

        The classic one, I originally made up my own rules as I didn't have any of
        the early JTAS articles, Belter game, or Beltstrike! boxed supplement.
        Eventually I got all of these and mostly their rules were better than mine
        so I switched.


        Mercenaries
        ***********

        The second classic solo Traveller option. Originally I just tried to make
        sense of Book 4, and then I got Striker and that helped a lot. Later still I
        got the Battletech Mercenaries Handbook (which is now out there second-hand
        in many guises, I think there is a recent reprint by a different company and
        the book is now called the Mercenaries Fieldguide?). Anyhow, the Battletech
        Mercenaries books and then the great computer game Mechwarrior: Mercenaries
        inspired me to do loads of 'merc company trying to survive by fighting for
        various factions in the Rebellion'. I liked the battles obviously, but I
        really loved the whole economics of running a merc company for some reason I
        cannot fathom.


        Grand Survey / Grand Census
        ***************************

        The third classic solo Traveller game. Either 'Go survey the unknowns' or
        'Go resurvey the knowns' its just as fun. After I got Grand Survey and Grand
        Census I played a few more of this type of game in a lot more depth. But
        initially I just used to play and replay surveying the Spinward Marches,
        thinking that it would be great background preparation for a campaign set
        there for my friends which we never ended up playing :-(


        Trader / TradePost v2.3
        ***********************

        The other classic Traveller solo :-) Originally I just used Book 3, then I
        got Merchants & Merchandise, then Merchant Prince, and eventually I played
        with loads of hybrid rules until it got so complicated I gave up. Now, using
        the Tradepost v2.3 software (
        http://freeport.pocketempires.com/Publications.htm ) that computer-assists
        player-owned starship travelling & trading, crew salaries etc., and a copy
        of Spinward Marches Campaign and Spinward Marches Supplement 3, I solo play
        a sort of March Harrier game where I start with a merchant character with a
        ship, some money and no crew on Regina, and I start out into the Spinward
        Marches and see how I do plying the Spinward Main etc. The best solo games
        see me struggling to break even, one memorable game saw me make enough money
        to finance a second ship and start competing with March Lines and Al Morai
        :-) This is probably the easiest variant solo game to play if you just have
        the original Little Black Books for Traveller.


        Passenger Liner
        ***************

        A variant on the Trader solo, this one was partly inspired by a computer
        game called Sim Tower. Basically the idea was to build ships with various
        features that would attract tourists and passengers, and do charters to
        worlds that would also attract tourists and passengers, and make money and
        try to grow and compete with rivals etc. I could never quite get this one to
        feel quite right, but I used to imagine something a bit like an old
        trans-Atlantic passenger liner or the Space 1889 liners to Mars or touring
        the solar system etc.


        En Garde! Traveller
        *******************

        Much of my inspiration initially came from playing En Garde! and then
        adapting it for Traveller, followed by a period where I would play Prison
        Planet (Adventure 8) as a solo game in a similar fashion to En Garde using
        prisoner reputation as a substitute for En Garde's social status. Prisoners
        would rise and fall up the Greasy Pole and the rewards for reaching the top
        were things like a chance for parole, early release, outrageous perks from
        the Warden etc. I replaced the whole military regiments and foreign war
        campaigning with prisoner gangs and work details assigned to the Danger Zone
        which was often as hectic and dangerous as the Front :-). Duels were a
        simple case of prisoners fighting to preserve their Reputation.


        Dictator / Tropico Traveller
        ****************************

        I was always a Dictator addict back in the Sinclair Spectrum days of
        computing (although of course I cut my computer gaming teeth with a Binatone
        Pong machine back in 75/76, and Star Raiders on the Atari 400 back in
        79.....). Dictator was basically a computerised adaptation of the boardgame
        Junta which I played a few times but could never afford! More recently the
        Tropico PC computer game resurrected the format. Basically I solo this in
        Traveller on paper as if I am the dictator of a country on a Balkanised
        planet and I have to keep the various factions (peasants, army, church,
        secret police) happy whilst strengthening my dictatorship against my rival
        balkanised enemy countries, and trying to get into bed with one of the two
        or three global superpowers who might give me aid. I got Striker around this
        time so I would merrily solo a few Striker combats (on paper in those days
        as I couldn't afford miniatures!).


        ConspiracyX / XCOM Traveller
        ****************************

        Borrowing the stuff about Base creation wholesale from the XCOM computer
        games and the ConX rulebook and Aegis Handbook and adapted it for Traveller,
        adding some tables to regulate events and development, research etc. I
        played a solo Traveller game that was pretty much the plot of ConX and the
        XCOM computer games. I created a group of characters who get recruited to
        form an XCOM-type group to combat some kind of alien menace. In the
        Traveller universe I usually used a combination of Kafers from 2300,
        primitive Chirpers and aggressive Droyne, Zhodani psi-troops, Vargr raiders
        and a few other aliens that looked basically just like their counterparts in
        XCOM :-) We had to hold out long enough to find out what the aliens' goal
        was, and then thwart it. Simple.


        Pirate Base
        ***********

        Using the Base stuff from ConX again, I created a group of pirates /
        corsairs who then had regular adventures commerce raiding and maintaining
        their base in the Wilds. Eventually I got hold of Hard Times and a few edocs
        floating around the internet about the Economics of Piracy, and then I got
        GURPS Planetary Guide 3: Granicus the pirate haven. These gave me even more
        ideas about fun pirate adventures for my solo campaign.


        Flowchart Traveller
        *******************

        Later, I encountered a great guy called BrassJester on the Citizens of the
        Imperium boards over at www.travellerrpg.com who posted a few things about
        solo Traveller using flowcharts that he designed. Using books like GURPS
        Traveller : Starports I played an enjoyable starports campaign where I
        rolled up an adventuring group who I then soloed as they set up a
        combination construction and security company who got firmly embroiled in
        the adventures of enlarging the local starport, mining & transporting,
        trading & building and doing their own mercenary security contracts.


        The Long Night's Journey Into Day
        *********************************

        Using the Pocket Empires and Imperial Squadrons books for T4 I solo play a
        world reemerging from after the Long Night, usually in a part of space
        nowhere near Sylea :-). Having data about nearby systems that is centuries
        out of date, they first colonise their own solar system before STL
        colonising nearby systems and finally redeveloping/rediscovering the jump
        drive enabling them to expand their new empire into and across recharted
        space, recontacting former civilisations and discovering the fates of the
        rest.

        I use a combination of the tables in Pocket Empires, and the system
        generation facilities of Stuart Ferris' excellent Heaven and Earth program
        (version 1 available from http://www.downport.com/wbd/HEAVEN_&_EARTH.htm
        (he's now working on version 2 which is looking very good indeed - the
        mailing list for that is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HEMailingList/ )). A
        fellow solo Traveller BrassJester from the CotI boards gave me the very good
        idea of creating a Life Index table to roll on for each world based on its
        star, its orbit, its size, hydrographics etc so mostly you encounter basic
        life rising up the scale to vegetable life, animal life, and the rare and
        prized intelligent life, which is great for solo games where you want to
        postpone 'first contact' for a while.

        Again the great BrassJester on CotI gave me further ideas for this game, he
        soloes an 'Earth emerging into space' game which inspired me to do various
        things with mine. I haven't heard from him in a while but I'll see if he is
        interested in posting anything to this group.


        The Long Day's Journey Into Night
        *********************************

        Using the Collapse effects from MegaTraveller's Hard Times supplement, and
        the forthcoming Bearers of the Flame being developed and playtested by
        Quiklink Interactive (BotF basically picks up the history of the One True
        Universe where The New Era left off, there will be a completion of the
        Gilded Lily trilogy and lots of stuff in the new 1248 milieu for T20 and
        Classic Trav), as well as Pocket Empires and Imperial Squadrons from T4, I
        solo play a world that is the capital of a pocket empire on the cusp of
        charted space's descent into the Long Night, or that is descending through
        the Hard Times of the Rebellion era.The aim is to stave off the hard times
        and collapse for as long as possible and preserve whatever cultural and
        local values that the society in question views as central to quality of
        life.





        OK there are others that I have done but my current lame excuse of a
        shoulder injury is telling me that this is a good start and I can always
        write more in follow up emails. I hope you find something in here to pique
        your interest and if you do please ask me to elaborate or suggest your own
        ideas!

        Cheers,

        Paul



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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ty
        For the discussion of and exchange of ideas on solo wargames of any description. For the support of full and part time solo warHello I ran Reasearch Station
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 23 12:00 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          For the discussion of and exchange of ideas on solo wargames of any description. For the support of full and part time solo warHello

          I ran Reasearch Station Gamma solo using a combination of Mythic and Two Hour Wargames - Larger Than Life, LTL is designed to give a cinematic feel so once you have your cast (good guys), the bad guy and the theme (eg, Rescue hostage or Retreive item) you are ready to go - the game is a series of encounters linked by travel scenes, each scene will generate plot advancement points, when enough have been accumulated you are ready for the final scene where you confront the arch-villain.
          With Reasearch Station Gamma its all there, I have attached a link to my Blog report for it.


          Cheers


          Ty



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Hockey Fan
          Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I really appreciate them. Star Smuggler looks especially interesting, but the other ones look quite good too, e.g. Stars
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 25 12:25 AM
          • 0 Attachment
            Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

            I really appreciate them.

            Star Smuggler looks especially interesting, but the other ones look quite good too, e.g. Stars without Number, etc.

            Ty, I didn't see a link to your blog, so if you could re-post that, I'd appreciate it. I'd like to check it out.


            Best regards,

            Rob
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