specularium

Rebel Physics

Peter J. Carroll

Latest Blog Post

  • New Year 2021

    Pandemic

    Chinese bats now seem to have killed more Brits than the Luftwaffe, or indeed the annual toll of WW2 did. Nevertheless, we have a home-grown vaccine that may well sort this out by the summer here and in the entire world thereafter. I hope that we do not punish the government at the next election. This pandemic represents a disease of progress and civilisation – our fault for exploiting wild animals and encouraging mass travel around the globe. Authoritarian regimes have had much lower casualties, but freedom has a price, better Dead than Yellow or Kraut. The Labour opposition here has whined and bleated, failed to come up with policy alternatives, and grudgingly agreed to the government’s tactics. Let us thank all the gods we did not have Comrade Jeremy Corbyn in charge during this crisis.

    Politics

    Culture War or Class War?

    Here in the UK, we have an irritating amount of overspill from the so-called ‘Culture Wars’ allegedly wracking the fabric of American society.

    Wokeism, Anti-Colonialism, BLM, Cancelism, and Minority Sexuality advocacy seem to have coalesced into a single liberal virtue signalling package against which an equally polarised backlash has formed to promote White Supremacy, Anti-Globalisation, Nationalism, and Conspiracy theories.

    What underlies this Polarisation? - The Economy.

    For the last several decades the professional and managerial classes in the USA, and to some extent the UK, have screwed the lower middle and working classes through globalisation. The wages of the poorer in rich countries have stagnated or declined in real terms as manufacturing has become outsourced to the developing world or insourced to cheaper imported labour. Meanwhile the managerial and professional classes have profited from cheaper goods and services and capital invested overseas.

    This becomes all too clear when you examine ‘The Elephant Graph’. -

    https://www.ejiltalk.org/being-charged-by-an-elephant-a-story-of-globalization-and-inequality/

    The rich in rich countries often opine that they have helped to uplift many parts of the developing world and that this would lead them to adopt western style values and democracy. The later has singularly failed to materialise. The rich in rich countries have merely succeeded in shifting wealth to themselves, and from the poor in their own countries to the rich in poor countries.

    All the issues which have become polarised into the so called ‘culture wars’ revolve around the concerns of the poor in rich countries.

    The American dream of a working-class family with their own home and car and with one parent as homemaker now seems a rarity or a forgotten fantasy for many. I has also become exceedingly difficult to achieve in the UK.

    QAnon’s seemingly mad ideas about a conspiracy of ‘Satanic Paedophiles’ actually makes a certain amount of metaphorical sense if interpreted as a conspiracy of ‘Greedy Capitalists Denying Poor Children a Future’.

    Yet for all sorts of historical reasons America can never admit that it has a Class War, so a Culture War stands in as a proxy for it. Socialism comes close to blasphemy in the land of the free, and in the land of the free, many choose to regard poverty as self-inflicted despite the glaring inequalities of opportunity.

    The American democratic party, rather like the British Labour party, now seems dominated by Rich Liberals, and both ignore the lower orders whose mores and habits they despise.    

    Liberalism sets great store in an offensive against the side effects of relative poverty rather than its cause. Thus, it campaigns for any imaginable minority grievance rather than address the underlying economic factors which give rise to them.

    Many Americans voted for Trump in the hope that he would do something about the American response to Globalisation. He seemed a strange choice but nobody else from the American elite dared to put themselves to the task, and America elects only from what it considers its elite. Trump may or may not now disappear, but the underlying issue will not, particularly under the pretence that it remains a Culture War.

    Do not expect a revolution. Revolutions the world over, only tend to succeed under middle-class leadership.

    Many British voted for Brexit in the hope it would allow us to deal with globalisation on terms of our own choosing. Our Conservative government at last talks openly about levelling up the economies of our poorer areas and classes. I live in hope.

    Esoterics

    The main part of this blog consists of an extensive email interview that Mr Ian Blumberg-Enge requested I give. This took place over the last week, because of its substantial size I have placed it here: -

    https://www.specularium.org/wizardry/item/308-interview-january-2021

    Written on Thursday, 14 January 2021 10:02 in Blog Read 293 times

Latest Games Post

  • Frontier Space War 2.

    Frontier Space War 2. Multiplayer or Solitaire.

    Outline. This strategy game models a possible future in which various groups have colonised the nearest habitable star systems and then started to dispute territory, economics, ideology, and alliances. It can accommodate up to five players or alternatively a single player can play each faction in turn to evolve a narrative and perhaps put names to all the star systems and major warships.

    The structure of the game can support a variety of backstories. Backstory ‘A’ relates a geopolitical expansion of various human factions into space. Alternative backstories appear at the end.    

    Backstory A. In AD 2050 humans discover a warp-drive mechanism that can enable ships to travel to star systems within 20 light years in about 3 months. This fortuitous discovery came at a time when ecological, climatic, population, and political crises on Earth had almost reached breaking point. European backed missions settled large numbers of people on habitable planets in six nearby star systems forming what became known as the Terran Sphere governed according to Synarchist principles by a vast self-perpetuating bureaucracy.   

    Over the following decades various factions dissatisfied with the philosophy and politics of the Terran Sphere of seven worlds ventured further into space to colonise other worlds.

    Eurasian backed colonists established Vostok on Soviet Neo-Communist principles where hierarchies of endless committees decide everything.

    Colonists backed by the Americas established Kalifornia on Darwinian and Capitalist principles where wealth and power and a certain amount of democracy decides everything.

    Various mystically and religiously inclined groups, particularly the New-Age-Ecumenicists backed the establishment of Nirvana which operates as an Aquarian Theocracy run by those considered the most enlightened.

    Exactly who initially conspired to back the establishment of R’lyeh remains a matter of ongoing debate, but it attracted a mixed consortium of misfits, occultists, illuminati, anarchists, rebels, devils, and chaoists who eventually settled for the collective name of Goths. R’lyeh operates as a Magiocracy run by those considered to have the most magical charisma by popular acclaim.

    Within a century the four splinter factions based on Vostok, Kalifornia, Nirvana, and R’lyeh colonised secondary systems in their vicinities and developed increasingly distinct cultures and slightly divergent technologies. Despite interstellar trade and commerce, tensions over resources and the control of unaligned worlds led first to the Treaty of Terra which recognised spheres of influence and neutral worlds, and then to its breakdown as diplomacy failed and factions started building warships and interstellar struggles began.

    The conflict plays out with each faction using limited numbers of huge and expensive vessels. Factions can also employ specialised command vessels denoted as Flagships which add to the combat capabilities of flotillas of ships and which factions can exchange in alliances. Some backstories attribute the enhancements conferred by flagships to AI computers, others to genetically enhanced human capabilities.

     

     

    Factions.      Philosophy     Colour         Capital World      Flagship AI Capability

    Imperials      Synarchists     Silver          Terra                    Tactical Attack and Defence

    Soviets         Communists    Red             Vostok                 Tactical Defence

    Capitalists    Darwinians     Bronze        Kalifornia             Tactical Attack

    Aquarians     Mystics          Green           Nirvana                Psychic Defence

    Goths           Occultists        Purple          R’lyeh                  Psychic Attack

     

    The following chart shows the ideological relationships of the five factions.

                            

                           Individualist

                                      l

                                      l

           (Goths)               l              (Capitalists)

                                      l

                                      l

    Magical -----------------(Imperials)----- Rationalist

                                      l

                                      l

          (Aquarians)         l               (Soviets)

                                      l

                                      l

                             Collectivist

     

    Types of Vessel.

    Cost   Type                                                                    Dice             Number available/Faction

    5       Fortress                                                           – Icosahedron D20.           4 (all)

    5       Battleship                                                       – Dodecahedron D12         2 (1A, 4I)

    4       B-Cruiser/H-Cruiser/P-Battleship/Monitor.  – Octahedron D8         (2G, 2A, 2C, 2S)

    3       Cruiser (Frigate/Fortress Carrier).                 – Cube D6                           4 (6I) 2I 1

    2       Destroyer                                                       – Tetrahedron D4                6 (all)

    1      Frigate                                                            – Tetrahedron D4                 (10I)                                            

    5      Flagship                                                           – Tetrahedron D4               3 (4I)

     

    Star systems have production values 1, or 2, or 3, or (5, Earth), shown by relative size.

    Sequential turns. Throw for first turn.

     

    1) Count production from all occupied systems. Purchase extra vessels if possible and place at a Fortress. If no Fortress, purchase one if possible and place on a home system. Factions may store unused production as markers at a Fortress. The number of ship pieces provided reflects the maximum that a faction can maintain.

    * Occupied means either a system held by a ship or fortress or a home territory not occupied by a rival.

    2) Move any number of vessels from any star system to any adjoining one connected by a jump route. Frigates and Fortresses can only move if carried in a Frigate or Fortress carrier.

    3) Black holes act as long-range jump ports, 1 turn to move directly from one to any other one.

    4) Settle any conflicts arising. Risk protocols – up to 3 attack dice against up to 2 defence dice. Players may advance chosen ships into a round of combat in a concealed fashion and then mutually reveal them if desired.

    Flagships. Act as combat modifiers to a whole flotilla, (all of a Faction’s vessels at a system).

    Tactical AI, Supercomputer using massive parallel calculation. Attack or Defence.

    Dice                          Tetrahedron   Cube   Octahedron     Dodecahedron     Icosahedron

    Attack or Defence          +1              +2           +3                      +4                       +5

    Psychic AI, Quantum computers with a mysterious degree of prescience. Attack or Defence. Roll each dice thrice. Use the highest of 3 rolls.

    Initial dispositions, numbers and production values of star systems, and total.

    7 Imperials     53 222 11 (16)

    8 Aquarians    3 2 111111 (11)

    6 Goths           3 22 111 (10)

    8 Capitalists   3 22 11111 (12)

    8 Soviets        3 22 11111 (12)   

    14 Neutrals    222 11111111111 (17)         (Total systems, 51)

    Combat Resolution, in each round attacker and defender must put forward at least one piece.

    Attacker puts forward up to 3 units. Defender puts forward up to 2 units. Roll appropriate dice. (Adjust for flagships if present.) Pair off dice, attacker highest against defender highest, defender second highest against defender second highest, to determine casualty numbers, defender wins draws. Each side removes the appropriate number of casualties at will, (irrespective of the ship’s dice scores).

    Flagships do not need to participate in a round of combat to lend their enhancement to all vessels (including themselves) in a flotilla. A flotilla can only use one flagship to enhance it.

    Rounds of combat continue until either all attacking, or all defending forces become eliminated. Or by mutual agreement participants can decline combat. Any non-home territory with more than one faction occupying it does not contribute production.

    Treaties.

    Any Faction may send a Flagship to assist an allied Faction. It then acts under the control of the receiving Faction. However, the Faction which gave it retains two options: -

    a) In its own turn the donating Faction can reclaim it and order it to move.

    b) At any point during combat involving the Flagship, the donating Faction can order it to change sides.

    Special heavy vessels, dice modifications: -

    (Aquarians) Dreadnought – D20 attack or defence, cost 6. (Instead of a second battleship.)

    (Aquarians) Heavy Cruiser - D12 defence

    (Capitalists) Pocket Battleship, (Goths) Battlecruiser - D12 attack

    (Soviets) Monitor – D20 attack, D4 defence.

    (All) Fortress in Carrier – D20 in attack or defence. Fortress Carriers can be scrapped to allow rebuilding elsewhere.

    Starting Positions.

    Each Faction places a Fortress at their capital, and one turns worth of produced ships anywhere on their home-worlds. A second round then begins, and conflict can occur.

    Ships may remain on black holes, but no production can occur there.

    Victory Points. – Control of Earth +1. Control of another Faction’s Capitol +1. Loss of own Capital -1. Ending with more territory +1. Ending with less territory -1.

    The Imperials start with more territory and productive capacity, but rival factions surround them. Alliances prove crucial to the outcome.

    Alternative Backstories.

    B, Alien Powers. The five factions represent Humans plus four other Alien species with advanced technology that all acquired interstellar capability at about the same time.

    C, Neo-Feudalism. The factions represent the five ‘Great Houses’ that developed the biotech that gave them personal dominance over humanity and the ability to devise warp-drive. Flagships represent the personal command ships of senior family members and/or their clones.

    Written on Friday, 17 July 2020 20:41 in Games Read 2112 times

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