Saturday, 4 August 2018

34th Curator-organized Stellaris Multiplayer game

These are friendly/social multiplayer games, based around my 34th Curator's Mod Pack, and with me, Peter34, alias the Curator, as the host.

Here is the mod pack:

Curator Games
We communicate via text chat and voice, in English. The voice system we use is Skype; ask for the Curator Host's Skype user name, so you can add him.

The Curator decides which version of the game we use, but as of now we're using 2.1.2beta. He makes this decision based on testing and on scouring Reddit and the visible Paradox Forums for reports on how bugged or stable a new released patch is.

The mod pack will change over time, mods removed, added, or swapped out for other more-or-less similar mods. These changes will be documented, so pay attention. (The only change that's likely to happen before we begin this first game, though, is that the More Insults mod gets added.)

I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the mods in this pack, before we begin playing, which is on Sunday the 19th of August, 2018, at 12.15 CET (Central European Time).

The Curator has all the DLC

  • Leviathans
  • Utopia
  • Synthetic Dawn
  • Apocalypse
  • Distant Stars
  • Plantoids
  • Humanoids
  • (Horizon Signal)

This first game, we play every Sunday from 13.00 to 18.30 (with one pause), then vote on whether to play a 3rd shorter phase from 19.30 to 21.00, although the very first game day, 19th of August, we begin earlier, 12.15, so that people have 45 minutes to create their empires.

The Core Rules
Core rules, don'ts

  • Don't skip reading this document. Most people can't read. The target audience for the Curator-organized games is the literate minority
  • Do not ignore text chat. You want a really fast way to get booted from the game? Ignore what's written in text chat. On multiple offences, you'll get blacklisted permanently and so unable to join further games
  • Do not give players misinformation about how the game mechanics work. Also remember, we're using mods, and some of the mods change the game relative to vanilla
  • Don't use voice chat if your English is very hard to understand, e.g. due to speaking with a strong accent. If there is a real problem, you will be ordered by the Curator to switch to text chat. And that'll be an order, not a request
  • Fail to notify another human player about it when you start Integrating his empire

Core rules, feel free to

  • Drink alcohol or use drugs, during play, in moderation (the Curator stays sober by preference). If you become incoherent or profoundly annoying, you'll be dealt with, but otherwise this is a social game, and we humans do tend to dull our brains with chemicals during social events
  • Give other players help and advice about how to play the game. Unless a player specifically tells you that your advice is not welcome
  • Lie about your intentions. Deceit and trickery is perfectly fine, although if you consistently screw over other players, in several games in a row, you might get a reputation as a treacherous git. Such is life
  • Play the same kind of empire every time. If you're having fun doing that, then more power to you!
  • Use out-of-game commo (text messages, private Skype chat, etc) to form secret alliances with other players, possibly while pretending to hate each other in-game. As long as you don't ignore the regular text chat
  • Roleplay your empire. If you're Materialist, it's OK to trash talk Spiritualist empires, and vice versa. Or if you think that the catmen species is adorable and cute, even though they're running a fierce and very, very serious warrior empire, do let them know, even if they hiss angrily at you
  • Miss a phase, or an entire session. This just means that your empire will be played by the AI while you're gone. That's a personal disaster for you, but it doesn't really hurt anybody else
  • Declare war on other player empires, and/or forcibly vassalize them or turn them into protectorates, etc. You may even integrate another human empire, although if you do that, then you have to notify the player about it, once. It sucks real ass to have one's gameplay experience end because one got integrated without being aware of it
  • Go AFK during un-paused play. You can announce it if you want. But do remember to read the text chat backscroll when you come back. "But I was AFK" is not a valid excuse

Core rules, banned empire types:

  • Determined Extermiator (DE)
  • Devouring Swarm (DS)
  • Fanatic Purifier (FP)

For this game, Driven Assimulators (DAare an acceptable player choice, as an experiement, although I've been advised to ban them. They'll probably be banned in future games, but not in this one.

Do also note that the above bans are for human empires; AI empires can be any of the above, and some probably will.

Machine Empirs and Hive Minds that are not of the above types, as well as and Inward-looking Perfectionists, are acceptable choices.

Valid reasons to postpone a scheduled game day

  • Major world impact event, on the scale of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, having occured before the scheduled game day is to begin. If one occurs during a game, a vote is called. If just one player says he wants the game to stop for the day after such a major event, the game stops. Unless civilization itself ends, the game will then be resumed on the next scheduled day
  • A finale or semi-final in the men's soccer world championship or men's soccer European championship (the Curator doesn't watch sports, but he recognizes that there is such a thing as a force of nature, even if spectator sport is a deeply silly thing). Do note that it has to be pointed out to the Curator that such a game is conflicting with a scheduled play day, otherwise he absolutely won't know
  • The Curator being struck by illness or severe stress. Sadly, this can occur
  • The Curator's ancient computer burning out (yeah, that's a thing that might happen too)

If the Curator's empire gets destroyed, the game will continue, with him AFK most or all of the time (trying to remember the scheduled phases and pauses), until its natural end, so that the other players can continue to have fun.

Play Schedule
We play at scheduled times, usually once per week, usually on Sundays.

Each time we play, the gameplay is divided into phases, with a long pause in between phases. Usually these pauses are 30 minutes.

When we begin a new game (new empires, year 2200), the start time is 45 minutes before the usual schedule. This is to give everyone time to create empires, especially in terms of asking for advice from others and in terms of getting used to the new options, especially from the Xenology and StarterTech 2 mods. You don't have to show up more than 15 minutes in advance, but if you're still fiddling around with your Empire when it's time to start the game, then we will begin without you.

The usual start time is 13.00, so when a new game starts, we begin at 12.15.

Except for the scheduled pauses, game speed is set to Normal (that means we progress 10 years per hour played) and is never paused. Don't pause or unpause the game, unless the Curator host forgot a scheduled pause or phase start.

The first two phases are 2.5 hours each (150 minutes). So we play from 13.00 to 15.30, take a half-hour break, then play again from 16.00 to 18.30.

Just before the 2nd phase ends, the Curator Host is supposed to remember to call a vote, asking if anybody wants to stop playing. The Curator Host has a vote, too. If nobody says they want to stop, then there is a longer 60 minute pause, until 19.30, and then we play for another 1.5 hours (90 minutes), until 21.00.

Thus we progress either 50 or 65 years into the game, every day that we play, having played from 12.15 to 21.00 in the most extreme case (but with two pauses), and from 13.00 to 18.30 in a more typical case (still with one pause). And always at Normal speed, which is a rather slow and strategic-feeling pace.

Alternate parameters
Future games may experiment with some of the parameters above, possibly even to a crazy extent
  • Pause lengths may differ (20 minutes but more often, or 45 minutes but less often, or the pause between 2nd and 3rd phase being shorter or longer), or the lengths and numbers of phases might change, or maybe we play twice a week (possibly with a shorter Evening Phase on Wednesday or Thursday evenings where we play for 1.25 hours, 30 minutes pause, play for 1.25 hours, total 2.5 hours).
  • Some games may be pure text chat (no voice allowed).
  • Some games may be cooperative, essentially cooperative PVE vs very high difficulty settings, possibly even crisis times moved forward from 2300 and 2400 to 2275 and 2350, respectively. Some such games may be explicitly mandatory cooperation, in which case deceiving or attacking other human empires is illegal
  • Some games may be cooperative against one hostile player, this player being expected to be very, very skilled and 'ardcore, and perhaps playing one of the "forbidden" empire types, DE, DS or FP (or DA). All the other human players are then expected to cooperate against this "hostile" player, and PVP will not be tolerated at all
  • Some games may be played in Danish instead of English. Only apply to such a game if you can handle both spoken and written Danish very well
  • The Horizon Signal DLC might be disabled
  • We might use the More AI Personalities mod or the Gulli's Planet Modifiers mod, or both, even though these are not and almost certainly never will be included in the 34th Curator's mod pack
  • Advanced AI starts may be set to a value other than zero
  • No Fallen Empires
  • No AI empires (value set to zero)
The schedule for the first game

First Sunday
12.15 Players can join Skype voice/text commo, enter the Lobby, create their empires.
13.00 Play starts, phase 1 (2.5 hours).
15.30 First pause (0.5 hour)
16.00 Play resumes, phase 2 (2.5 hours)
18.15 The host ask if he we should prolong play with a 3rd shorter phase. If none of the players vote no, then we do that.
18.30 Second pause (1 hour)
19.30 Play resules, phase 3 (the shorter phase, 1.5 hours)
21.00 Play ends no later than this

Next Sunday
13.00 Play starts, phase 1
15.30 First pause
16.00 Play resumes, phase 2
18.15 Host asks for votes against playing the 3rd phase
18.30 Second pause
19.30 Play resumes, phase 3 (the shorter phase)
21.00 Play ends

The mod pack contains a bunch of new species Traits from the Xenology mod, and some new "Origin"-type Civics from the StarterTech 2 mod, and some other things. If you show up 5-10 minutes before the game starts blithely assuming that you can just quickly create your standard empire type, you're at risk of missing the train. We will start witout you, at the scheduled time.

Galaxy Parameters
  • 1000 stars (largest vanilla size
  • 4 Spiral Arms
  • 13-P AI Empire, where P is the number of human players (thus 9 if there are 4 players. The default is 15)
  • zero Advanced AI Starts (who doesn't hate these fuckers?)
  • 2 Fallen Empires (def. for this galaxy size is 4)
  • 2 Marauder Empires (def. is 3)
  • ×1.0 Tech/Tradition cost (default)
  • ×1.25 Habitable Worlds (default is ×1.0)
  • ×1.0 Primitive Civilizations (default)
  • ×2.0 Crisis Strength (def. for this galaxy size is ×1.5)
  • 2300 Mid-Game Crisis start year (default)
  • 2400 End-Game Crisis start year (default)
  • Captain Difficulty (2nd lowest; Ensign is lowest)
  • Scaling Difficulty is set to off
  • AI Aggressiveness is set to off
  • Empire Placement is set to clusters (necessary for the No Clustered Starts mod to function)
  • Advanced Neighbours is set to off
  • ×1.25 Hyperlane Density (def. is ×1.0)
  • ×0.75 Abandoned Gateways (def. is ×1.0)
  • ×0.75 Wormhole Pairs (def. is ×1.0)
Do be sure to express interest as early as possible.
The 34th

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