Kilgore on December 30th, 2011

If anyone out there plays Magic: The Gathering, I recommend checking out the Forge game at CCG HQ. It’s a great system with a bunch of very dedicated developers and a large body of motivated testers (players). It’s very much a system in development, but there are new beta builds out every few weeks and I’ve been quite impressed with the effort and the results.

They currently have 9855 cards available in the game. The very active community finds bugs and problems (there are plenty) and they are usually addressed very quickly. The number of new cards, bug fixes, and new features rolled out every few weeks with each new build is impressive.

The latest beta build came out today. I haven’t actually played it for quite a while, but I’ll be downloading the latest and giving it a try over the weekend.

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Kilgore on July 16th, 2010

This post over at Dungeons & Digressions reminded me that I wanted to look into an old text computer game I used to play quite a bit called Star Merchant. The BASIC program was available in a 1981 issue of Creative Computing magazine.

My uncle typed it in to a big honking Texas Instruments computer and we had hours and hours of entertainment. Basically, you travel from starport to starport, buying and selling cargo in hopes of making a profit.

Star Merchant Screen Shot

Star Merchant Screen Shot (click to enlarge)

I haven’t looked at the code in 30 years, but it sure appears to be a nearly straight rip of the Trade and Speculation rules from classic Traveller. A few cargoes have been replaced, otherwise it looks and acts pretty much the same.

The speculation rules are one of the “mini games” within Traveller that, like the character creation rules, made that system so enjoyable.

You can download a Windows version of the computer game here and try it out if interested. It works just like I remember it, though the crew does seem a little easier to please. I seem to recall that most games ended when the crew went on strike continuously. As in, it was a constant stream of strikes and you could not do anything else. I also do not remember hull damage in the version we played back in the day, but I just might be forgetting.

The key is your first two or three cargoes. If you don’t get good options, you’re pretty much out of luck. If you can do well in your first couple of jumps, you should be able to keep going for quite a while.

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