Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
Altonian Brain Teaser: The Altonian Brain Teaser is an incredibly difficult puzzle that responds to neural theta waves. The game consists of a iridescent sphere, which the player attempts to turn into a solid color. To do so requires complete clarity of the mind, and the player must focus entirely on the task at hand, and no physical contact is involved. If one’s mind is not focused, the sphere itself will disappear.
Chula: Chula was a game played by the Wadi race. There are two levels of participation for players of the game, each represented in a different way. The primary player plays the game via a traditional physical apparatus with abstract structure to represent components of the game, including an inverted-pyramid shaped stack of horizontal planes representing each level (or shap), and small figurines representing the active internal players. The internal players play in a virtual world generated by the game where they interact with the game in the same way that they would physically interact with the real world. The primary player and the internal players can be considered to be on a team together, but the primary player cannot communicate with the internal players.
The primary player decides what paths will be available to the internal players and what challenges they will face. He makes a wager on the outcome, with challenges of higher difficulty offering higher returns. There is also a measure of randomness added by rolling dice, affecting the challenge. The internal players must defeat the challenges to progress in the game, moving along a path that is separated by levels called shaps. Along the way they can be harmed or even ‘die’. However, this is only in the world of the game and when it is over they will be returned to the real world unharmed. The goal of the game is to get at least one player to the final shap, which is referred to as ‘home’.
Dabo: A Ferengi game of skill and chance. The game relies on the spinning of a ‘dabo wheel’ similar to a roulette wheel. During various betting hands (similar to poker) each player either ‘buys’, ‘sells’, or ‘converts’ their gold-pressed latinum (money) in preparation for the next spin of the dabo wheel. Up to ten players can sit around the dabo wheel. When something good happens, everyone around the table yells “Dabo!”
Dejarik: Dejarik, also known as vrax, was a popular game from Galaxy 13491 which has withstood the test of time better than nearly any other game. It originated as a Jedi game, though as it became much more widespread over time, many beings became unaware of its origins.
Dejarik is played on a hologame table, which comprised a hologram generator within a table-sized cylindrical base, with a black-and-white checkerboard pattern on the top surface. When active, holomonsters – full-color, three-dimensional hologram playing pieces measuring between 5-30 cm tall – would be projected on the board. The pieces all resembled creatures, real and mythic, from throughout the galaxy, including the Mantellian Savrip, Grimtaash the Molator, Ghhhk, Houjix, Ng’ok, Kintan strider, K’lor’slug, and the M’onnok. These pieces, when moved by the player, actually acted out the moves as if really specimens of their species. If the pieces were not used for a certain amount of time or the game was abandoned by both players, they would simulate boredom.
Denjarik was brought back to the Federation aboard the USS Vanguard.
Domination: A game of war in which the players use a holographic globe that represents a planet, either fictional or real. The players, up to 30, each control an army on the planet and vie for control. They must manage supply lines, production, public opinion, and technoligical advances. In addition, the players have the choice of allowing computer generated generals to manage battles or to sieze control of one of their generals and direct their troops. Macros can be used to trigger specific stratagies or tactics. The goal of the game is to dominate the world in under 20 years. The game is turn-based, but the battles are played in realtime. This game is very popular amongst Romulans, Klingons, Andorians, and Cardassians. Some players prefer to play the game in complete realtime with games lasting for many years and played across numerous systems. The Governments of Delos 5 and Delos 7 have been playing the game to determine who is the true ruler of the star system – their ‘game’ has been going on for the past 17 years.
Dom-jot (The Game of Hustlers): Dom-jot was a game played with a ball and cue on a table with an irregular geometric coordination, similar to Terran billiards with certain elements of pinball. Rolling the terik into straight nines was considered an extremely skilled move in dom-jot.
Durotta: Durotta is a board game.
Jack: A game that originated in Xebec’s Demise. A numbered board [00-99] sits in a box and 5 multicolored stones are thrown into the box. They must strike at least one side. Players bet prior to the throw on which stone will land on what numbers. The stone only has to be partially on the number to win but if fully into the number the winnings are multiplied by 3.
Jetan: (Martian Chess) This game was discovered in an ancient ruin on the planet Mars in the Sol System. The game was reconstructed and became quite popular on Earth. Today the game is played on thousands of worlds and the basics of the game is taught to most children within the UFP. Jetan is played on a black and orange checkerboard of 10 rows by 10 columns, with orange pieces on the ‘north’ side and black pieces on the ‘south’. Each player has the following playing pieces: one Chief, one Princess, two Fliers; two Dwars (Captains); two Padwars (Lieutenants); two Warriors; two Thoats (Mounted Warriors); and eight Panthans (Mercenaries). The Chief, Princess, Fliers, Dwars, Padwars and Warriors are positioned along the row closest to the player, with the Princess at left center, the Chief at right center, and the Fliers, Dwars, Padwars and Warriors arranged to flank each, with the Fliers innermost and the Warriors outermost. The Thoats and Panthans are positioned along the next row out from the player, with the Thoats flanking the Panthans.
The complete arrangement of each side follows:
Panthans are limited to one step per move. Other pieces take two or three. They may change their direction of movement at each step in the course of a move, so long as this is in a direction permitted for that piece. Each must take the full number of steps specified for it. No piece can cross the same square of the board twice during the course of a move. The Princess, Fliers, and Thoats may jump over a piece that is in their path. A capture is made when a piece lands on a square occupied by an opposing piece with its final step or jump; the Princess may not make such a move.
The pieces move as follows:
- The Chief takes three steps in any direction. This is equivalent to three moves of a chess king, except that it cannot double back and may only capture at the third step.
- The Princess takes three steps in any direction; it may jump over other pieces but cannot capture. It may make one “escape” per game, jumping to any unoccupied space on the board.
- The Flier takes three steps diagonally; it may jump over other pieces. In an older version of Jetan these pieces were called Odwars.
- The Dwar takes three steps orthogonally.
- The Padwar takes two steps diagonally in any direction, or combination.
- The Warrior takes two steps in any direction or diagonally.
- The Thoat take two steps, of which one is orthogonal and the other diagonal; it may jump over intervening pieces.
- The Panthan takes one step in any direction but backwards.
Jetan is won when either a Chief captures the opposing Chief, or when any piece captures the opposing Princess. The game is drawn if each player is reduced to three or fewer pieces of equal value and it is not won within the next ten moves, or if a Chief is taken by any piece other than a Chief. These rules result in too many draws for the tastes of most players, so a number of variants have been proposed to address this issue, the simplest being that the capture of a Chief by a piece other than a Chief merely retires the Chief, without drawing or ending the game.
Kadis-kot: A board game played on a six-sided board with three sets of colored tiles: red, green, and orange. Visually, the game appears to be a variant of Reversi or Othello. It appears to be a game of logic and strategy for 2 players, but as many as 5 players can play.
Kal-Toh: (kal-toe) A Vulcan game of logic. Its goal is not about striving for balance but about finding the seeds of order even in the midst of profound chaos. The game itself involves a large number of small gray holographic rods called t’an, generated from a platform below. They are arranged in a specific manner, which eventually produces an icosidodecahedron. Kal-Toh can be played singly or against an opponent, each taking a turn to place a piece.
Kotra: Kotra is a Cardassian board game.
Pegging: A knife throwing game popular among street toughs and professional fighting men. The object of this game is for each player to throw, toss, or flip a dagger through the air so that it sticks into a peg in the ground. The two players take turns, with the first to throw being determined randomly. Player 1 throws the blade in a certain manner – perhaps with his teeth – and Player 2 must do the same. Then Player 2 creates his move and Player 1 must mimic it. This goes on until the peg is driven into the ground.
Some common moves are flipping the knife from the palm, from the back of the hand, richochet shots, and from between the teeth.
The game’s name comes from the forfeit required: the loser has to pull the peg out with his or her teeth, in addition to the loss of any wager. The peg is usually coated in some vile substance prior to play – or sometimes poison.
Sabacc: Following the Empire war this game has taken off inside the Federation and is now one of the more popular games found at gambling establishments. The game of sabacc used a deck of seventy-six cards featuring sixty numbered cards divided into four suits, and two copies of eight special cards. Each player is dealt several cards which make up their hand, usually between two and five, depending on the set of rules in play at the table. The cards themselves are small, electronic devices with a display panel covering the surface of one side; this panel is capable of shifting the displayed suit and value of each card when told to do so by the computer running the game, or when a player has the option to manually shuffle the card’s value. In this fashion, a player can receive new cards of any possible suit or rank without actually having to take new cards from the deck itself.
The design of the card is due to the unique nature of the game’s chance factor; in sabacc, strategy is as much about the fact that other players may have better hands as it is about the fact that a player’s hand might change when they least expect it. The values of the cards in play are shuffled at random and without warning; depending on the variant in play, this can even happen after a game has been called, but before the cards have been shown or tallied. Standard sabacc also includes the concept of locking the values of cards so that they do not change. When played at a professional table or venue, the table itself generates an interference field that players can push a face-down card into, and cards within this field are not subjected to randomization pulses sent by the game. Amateur or private games that do not utilize a professional table instead use cards that may be individually frozen by means of a special button on the card, or by placing a small interference chip overtop the card, simulating the field’s effect. In some rule sets, however, the cards are randomized only when specifically chosen by the player, typically by pressing a spot on the card itself.
A typical game of sabacc is composed of several sequential rounds, and officially ends when a player wins with one of three special winning hands. At the beginning of each round, each player contributes an ante to the hand pot, which goes to the person with the winning hand at the conclusion of that round of play. The winner of a standard Sabacc hand is determined in the following fashion: the player who holds the hand with a value closest to |23| (with both +23 and -23 being possible) wins the hand, and therefore the hand pot. Since -21 is actually closer to -23 than 20 is to 23, -21 would trump positive 20; however, in a situation where both -21 and 21 are in play at the same time, the positive 21 would triumph. Players with a hand above 23 or below -23 are considered to have Bombed Out, thus losing the hand, and in some cases, being forced to pay into the sabacc pot.
The sabacc pot is another pot to which players must ante each hand. This special pot can be won only by winning a hand with one of the three trump scores; a pure sabacc of 23 (either +23 or -23, with the former trumping the latter), or by holding an Idiot’s Array. The Array is a special hand containing a card called The Idiot, worth zero, a Two of any suit, and a Three of the same suit. When laid out on the table, an Idiot’s Array is read, literally, as 023, and is considered the highest hand in the game, trumping even a pure sabacc of 23. A win with any of those three special hands will give that player both the hand pot and the sabacc pot, and is typically seen as the end of gameplay for a single game.
Tournament play includes several variations on the order of play, the dealing of cards, and the options available to players. Due to the higher stakes nature of the cash games in such tournaments, players traditionally have the option to do something known as folding out of play; essentially picking up their earnings and simply leaving.
Beyond tournament play, most private games and professional establishments played sabacc using ‘house rules’, or allowed players to specify one of the many types of variant rules that the table could play by. House rules used a selection of special modifications to the rules for example often stating that a player could place at most two cards in the neutral field where they were unaffected by shifting, or that an Idiot’s Array could be crafted using two different numerical suits, rather than requiring both the Two and Three to be of the same suit. Another common house rule, as mentioned before, was that the bet amount was paid into the sabacc pot on bust, zero, or loss on call.
Sej: Sej is an Orion game that is played with two six-sided dice and three four-sided wands with symbols and colors on each wand face. The players alternately play Hands, which involves casting the wands; both players then roll the dice for procession of the points represented by the wands cast. The skill of the game is to determine whether to risk playing the Hand cast or to pass it. The game is won by the first player to accumulate 100 points.
Strategema: Strategema is a strategy game played on a holographic board. The object of Strategema is to manipulate circular icons to gain control of your opponent’s territory while defending your own. Strategema is generally played on a specially-designed computer. Both players sit at the computer-controlled Strategema table, facing each other, with the board continuously rotating in the middle. The game is controlled with metal thimbles placed on the players’ fingers. Electronics in these thimbles then calculate the movement of the fingers and send the information to the computer.
The duration of a Strategema game depends on the competence of the players. Generally, games last only a hundred moves at most. However, experienced masters can achieve games of well over a thousand moves. The longest game of Strategema on record was between Zakdorn master strategist Sirma Kolrami and Lieutenant Commander Data, lasting over 30,000 moves. Kolrami, realizing that Data was playing to achieve a draw, eventually threw down his controls in disgust and resigned the game to the delight of the Enterprise-D crewmembers who were watching.
The Game: An addicting holosuite game in which players wore an optical headset and used mental commands to manipulate holographic funnels to catch virtual disks.
Tri-Dimensional Chess: A popular strategy game throughout the Federation.
Terrace: Terrace is a board game.
Tongo: A card game played predominantly by the Ferengi. The game centers around a roulette-type wheel with an elevated pot in the middle. On each turn the wheel is spun, and the player has the choice to ‘evade’, ‘confront’, ‘acquire’, or ‘retreat’. Each choice has its purchase price, sell price, and its risk, all of which are interrelated. The Global Tongo Championship is held each standard year on Ferenginar.