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Origins of 2300AD

Copyright 1988
by Game Designer’s Workshop
HTMLized with permission by Steven Alexander

The background history for 2300AD was developed over the course of 1985-1986 using a grand social-political-economic-military-diplomatic simulation known as The Game. The future course of history depended not on just one person’s ideas of what the future would be like, but on the interaction of many people’s ideas - the ones that survived were the ones who understood the conflict and diplomacy of The Game. Beginning with the conduct of World War III, players manipulated their nations on 5- or 10-year turns to bring them into the future of the year 2300. Players in The Game were:
John Astell (Mexico, Romania, and India)
Rich Banner (Russia, Zimbabwe, and Canada)
Kevin Brown (Cuba, the Ukraine, and Australia)
Timothy Brown (United Kingdom, Algeria and Manchuria)
Larry Butz (Venezuela, Italy, Iran, and Angola)
John Harshman (France, Argentina, and Israel)
David MacDonald (Milgov of U.S., Poland, and Canton)
Marc W. Miller (Azania, Japan, Bolivia, and Egypt)
Matt Renner (Civgov of U.S., Sweden, and Nigeria)
Wayne Roth (Brazil, Spain, and Turkey)
Loren Wiseman (New America, Germany, and Indonesia)
Frank Chadwick (referee and kibbitzing player)
Assuming World War III happens, where does the world go from there? In worst case scenarios, nuclear winter destroys the world’s climate, or radioactivity contaminates the environment to the extent that life as we know it is destroyed. But what if World War III is contained enough to allow the lesser developed nations to survive? The Game inflicts the World War III of Twilight: 2000 on the world and then follows 300 years of future history under the guidance of several national players.
The Game: The Game was the center of attention for the GDW design staff for nearly six months (late 1985 to early 1986). Because the staff was already experienced in playing just this sort of game, the rules (these rules) were very loose and very open to interpretation. During the course of the game, they were changed, modified, and upgraded several times. This set, however, is the original with which the group began the game.
Warning: Don’t expect that you can actually play The Game using these rules. Instead, use them to understand the process that was used to produce the future that became 2300AD.
This package contains this set of rules, a set of charts, a set of technology coupons, and a map of the world (the map is missing its individual resource boxes).
2300AD, the role-playing game based on the future history that The Game produced, was recognized as one of the best games of the year by Isaac Asimov’s SF and Analog magazines. The detailed future history in 2300AD is a realistic future role-playing game.
I. Sever Diplomatic Relations
II. Production
A. Primary Production: Food, Minerals, Oil, Coal, Uranium, and Electricity.
B. Secondary Production: Money
C. Builds: Facilities, Military Units, Political Influence Points (PIPs), Insurgents, Declarations of War.
D. Population Growth
E. Labor Reallocation
F. Placement of Builds
III. Diplomacy
A. PIP Conflict
B. PIP Upgrades
IV. Armed Conflict
A. Low Intensity and First Year
B. Second Year
C. Third Year
D. Fourth Year
E. Fifth Year
V. Transportation and Trade
VI. Maintenance
A. Maintenance: Money, Fuel, Energy, and Food
B. Attrition of unmaintained units/facilities
C. Voluntary stand-down maintained units
Territories produce goods and materials every turn.
Primary Production extracts or produces food, oil, coal, electricity, uranium and minerals. Results of primary production are placed in the region in which they were produced.
Secondary Production is conducted by labor, transportation and industry and produces money. Money is held in a country’s central bank for use in builds and maintenance.
Builds are carried out by purchasing new facilities, units, PIPs, insurgents, and declarations of war.
A player may not build more of a military unit than he already has, but may always build one. The only ground units which may be built are militia. In the production phase of later turns a militia may be converted to any other type of ground unit by paying that unit’s full build cost.
Facilities and units must be placed in the region which provided minerals, fuel, and/or labor for their construction. If labor is required, it must be taken from the region’s general labor pool. If only money is required to build them they can be placed in any owned region.
PIPs and declarations of war may be placed in any non-player region or any player’s capital. Insurgents may be placed in any region which the player does not own.
All build costs are listed separately except for declarations of war. A declaration of war costs money equal to the total of PIPs purchased that turn.
Population growth is conducted separately for each region. ED1 regions increase by 20%, ED2 regions by 15%, ED3 regions by 10% and ED4 regions by 5%. Increases are based on non-starving population, and include facilities with intrinsic labor (factories, transportation, mechanized agriculture). If increase is less than a whole number, use a decimal die roll to determine if the population increases.
Labor reallocation within a region may be from farm to the general labor pool or vice versa. Up to one labor unit may be moved from one region to an adjacent region and allocated to either the general labor pool or the farm sector in that region. The cost to move a labor point is equal to the ED of the region it comes from plus the difference in ED of the two regions if it is being moved to a lower ED region. If the region it is being moved to has no developed transport net, double the cost.
Prerequisites are sometimes listed to build various items. These can consist of technology levels or facilities required in the region of production. These requirements must be met at the moment of production. For example, mechanized farming requires an active transport net. A player could not build a transport net and a mechanized farm in a region at the same time; he would have to build the transport net first and the mechanized farm later.
Diplomacy is conducted through Political Influence Points (PIPs). PIPs can be placed in any non-player region or any player capital. In the diplomacy phase players can engage in diplomatic conflict and, following resolution of all diplomatic conflict, upgrading of relations.
Restrictions on PIP Placement: A player may not place PIPs in a region which has been absorbed into the home country of another player. A player may not place PIPs in any region which already has PIPs of a player who has an Alliance with the player. A player may never place PIPs in a region which another player Controls. A player may never place PIPs in a region which another player has militarily occupied.
Diplomatic Conflict: Once all players have placed their PIPs, players may conduct diplomatic conflict. If more than one player in a region wishes to conduct diplomatic conflict, roll a die to determine order.
Each player may make one diplomatic attack per turn. This is done by totalling the attacking player’s PIPs and comparing them to the defending player(s) PIPs in the region. Reduce this to one of the odds ratios on the Diplomatic Conflict CRT, roll a die, and check the results.
A player may attack one or several of the other players’ PIPs in the region. If several are attacked, total all PIPs of the defending players. For example, France has 10 PIPs in Lake Woebegone, Russia has 3, and India has 2 (never mind why). France could attack Russia at 3:1, India at 5:1, or both at 2:1. It could not run two separate attacks, however.
Upgrading Relations: After all conflict is done, relations in a region or capital may be upgraded. If a player has 5 PIPs in a region, he may replace them with an Understanding. If a player has an Understanding in a region and 5 additional PIPs, and provided no other player has a Control or Alliance in the region, he may replace the Understanding and 5 PIPs with an Alliance. If a player has an Alliance with a region and 5 additional PIPs, he may replace them with a Control. If a player has Control of a region and 10 additional PIPs, and provided I let him, he may absorb the region into his home country. I will let him if it makes sense. Russia can absorb all of its former territory, for instance, but would have trouble absorbing the southwestern United States.
Restrictions on Upgrades: Players may only have Understandings and Alliances with player-controlled countries. They may never seize control or absorb them. The exception to this is that a player may treat any region of another player’s country as a non-player region for purposes of PIP placement and relations provided the player placing PIPs militarily occupies the region.
Effects of Relations with Non-player Regions: Understandings allow a player to station minor military units in the region, conduct low intensity combat against insurgents, provide economic aid to the region, and move goods through the region during trade, and will place the country in a favorable trading position versus other countries.
Alliances allow a player to station major military units in the region and places it in a most favored nation status with regards to trade.
Control allows a player to completely run the country. In addition, no other player may place PIPs in the region and all existing Understandings and PIPs from other players are removed.
Absorption causes the region to be added to the group of regions comprising a player’s home country.
Effects of Relations with Player Countries: Understandings prevent the opposing player from declaring war on you. Alliances prevent the opposing player from placing any PIPs in a region in which you already have PIPs (except his own capital) and prevent him from conducting any diplomatic conflict with you in any region except his own capital.
At the beginning of each turn a player may break diplomatic relations with any country he chooses. A breach in diplomatic relations removes all PIPs and existing relations of both the breaching and the breached country from their opponent’s capitals and prevents them from placing any additional PIPs in the opponent’s capital that turn. In addition, the breaching player must pay double for any PIPs purchased that turn.
For example, Germany has succeeded in reabsorbing Bavaria, but is now fearful of a French invasion, and so has managed to gain an Understanding with France, thus preventing a declaration of war. At the beginning of the next turn, France breaks diplomatic relations with Germany. The German Understanding with France is removed, as are all French PIPs in Germany. Neither Germany nor France may place new PIPs in each other’s countries that turn and France must pay double for any PIPs purchased in the production phase. France can, however, purchase a declaration of war against Germany that turn, thus allowing an invasion of Bavaria.
Food Aid: A player does not need an Understanding with a non-player region to provide food aid. For each unit of food provided, the player receives 1 free PIP, up to the maximum of labor units in the region currently starving. These PIPs, unlike normal PIPs, may be received even in areas under another player’s Control.
Economic Aid: A player receives 1 PIP in a region for every two dollars of economic aid he allocates to the region. Note that a player must have an Understanding with the region in order to give economic aid. Insurgents can be used to destroy PIPs of an opposing player in a region. See the Armed Conflict rules.
There are two broad types of units in the game: major units and minor units. Major units are on big counters while minor units are on little ones. All minor units are ground units. Major units comprise ground units, naval units, air units and spacecraft.
Sequence: Each turn can consist of up to five combat turns, each representing a year of high intensity combat. The first combat turn is also used to resolve low intensity combat. In each combat turn, each player (or allied group of players) rolls a die to determine order of action. Then each player (or alliance) conducts all action in turn.
High Intensity Combat actions within a combat turn consist of:
1. Strategic deployment
2. Operational supply
3. Operational movement
4. Combat
5. Breakthrough Operations
Strategic Redeployment consists of moving any or all units as many regions as desired within the following restrictions:
1. A unit may only move through land regions which are part of a player’s home country, a region of another player who will allow transit, or a non-player allied or controlled region.
2. A unit may only move through a sea region if transported by a merchant ship.
3. A unit may never enter a region containing a hostile unit.
4. A major unit may not strategically redeploy though a rough terrain region unless there is a developed transport net in the region.
Operational Supply consists of paying the normal maintenance cost for all major units which will conduct operational movement or combat that combat turn. Fuel for maintenance may be drawn from any friendly region provided the unit being supplied could normally conduct strategic movement to the region containing fuel.
If a unit begins the operational supply supply phase in the same region as an enemy unit, it must either be given operational supply, retreated to a non-occupied region, or removed from play. Ground units removed from play may either be broken down into minor units or converted to insurgents, at the owning player’s option.
In addition, units destroyed in previous combat turns of that game turn may be replaced by paying half of their normal build cost, in money (only), and placing them in any region of the home country not occupied by enemy units.
Operational Movement consists of moving units into an adjacent, enemy-occupied region. A major unit may not operationally move into a rough terrain region unless there is a developed transport net in the region.
Combat consists of attacks by operationally supplied units on enemy units. Combat is resolved in the following general order:
1. Space Combat
2. Air Combat
3. Naval Combat
4. Land Combat
Each general type of combat is completely resolved before proceeding to the next type. Within each general type of combat, units attack in order of their attack priority (the number in the lower left hand corner of the counter), with higher attack priority units attacking first. Both the attacker and defender attack during combat.
Each individual attack is resolved by rolling a die and comparing it to the attack value of the attacking unit (lower right hand corner) and the defense value of the defending unit (parenthetical value in the lower center of the counter). The defense value is subtracted from the attack value. If the die roll is equal to or less than the modified attack value, the defending unit is eliminated. Otherwise there is no effect.
Units are not limited to attacking enemy units only of the same general category. For example, during the air phase a bomber could attack a naval unit or a land unit when its turn to attack came. There are some general restrictions of which units can attack which. Some of these are:
1. Bombers cannot attack other air units.
2. Ground units cannot attack naval units.
3. Spacecraft cannot attack anything but spacecraft (except that ICBMs are, although they are spacecraft, can attack just about anything they want to).
4. Air, ground, and naval units cannot attack spacecraft.
Others will be decided on as we go along, but these give you the general idea.
If, at the end of all combat, only one player has ground combat units left in a land region or naval combat units left in a sea region, that player has won Control of the region. All hostile air and naval units must be withdrawn to an adjacent friendly region or eliminated.
Two factors can modify the attack priority value of units in combat: surveillance satellites and AWACs aircraft. Whoever has the most surveillance satellites left in orbit after space combat is completed is given a +1 on all subsequent combats everywhere. Whoever has the most AWACs aircraft in a region at the beginning of combat receives a +1 on all air combat in that region and each adjacent region. Whoever has the most AWACs aircraft present in a region after air combat receives a +1 on all naval combat in that region and all adjacent regions.
Breakthrough Operations occur only if an attacking player destroys all enemy units in a region. If he does so, the victorious units in that region (and only that region) may again receive operational supply, conduct an operational move, and then attack again.
For example, France is attacking Germany in Bavaria. France attacks with 1 Mech unit, 1 Infantry unit, and 1 Bomber unit. In addition, France has 1 AWACs aircraft and an ICBM-launched ASAT system and has 1 surveillance satellite in orbit. Germany has an Improved Mech unit, a militia unit, and a fighter unit in Bavaria. [Germany also has 1 surveillance satellite.]
In space combat, France launches its ASAT system and succeeds in destroying the German surveillance satellite. As France has a surveillance superiority, France receives a +1 on all subsequent attack priorities.
In air combat, France starts with an AWACs superiority and thus receives an additional +1 to attack priority. The German fighter has an attack priority number of 3 while the French bomber has a 2. Normally, the German fighter would attack first. However, the satellite and AWACs advantage raises the bomber’s priority to 4, allowing it to attack before the fighter. It attacks the German improved Mech unit. The bomber has an attack value of 4 while the Mech unit has a defense of 1. The French bomber must roll a 3 or less to destroy the Mech unit, which it does. The German fighter now may attack and elects to hit the French Mech unit. The fighter has an attack value of 3 while the Mech unit has no defense value. Thus the German fighter unit must roll a 3 to destroy the French Mech unit, which it does.
There is no naval combat.
In ground combat, the French infantry has an attack priority of 2, as does the German militia unit. However, the French attack priority is raised to 3 due to his surveillance satellite. He must roll a 2 (the infantry’s attack value) or less to destroy the German militia unit. He misses. The German militia unit may now attack. He could fire at the French infantry unit or the French bomber. However, militia has an attack value of only 1 and since the bomber has a defense value of 1 no attack against it would succeed. Instead, the German militia unit attempts to roll a 1 against the French infantry unit, but fails.
At the end of the turn, Bavaria is still disputed and contains a French bomber, infantry, and AWACs, and a German fighter and militia. No Breakthrough Operations are possible.
Low Intensity Combat
Low intensity combat is conducted by minor units and insurgents. [Note: major units may attack minor units during high intensity combat, but minor units may never attack major units]. Low-intensity combat is exactly like high-intensity combat with the following exceptions:
1. Minor units and insurgents never require operational supply to attack.
2. Minor units may attack other minor units, insurgents, or PIPs.
3. Insurgents may never move.
4. Insurgents may attack PIPs and other insurgents without restriction. Insurgents in a region may only attack minor units if those units attacked an insurgent that turn.
5. Regardless of whether or not high intensity combat is being fought, only one combat turn of low intensity combat is fought per game turn.
Trade has no particular rules: players can make any deals they want to. However, there are limits on how much stuff can be moved around in a turn. Stuff is moved by land, sea, and air. No movement is allowed into or out of a region which suffered a nuclear strike that turn.
Land Transportation: Food, coal, and minerals can move through any number of regions that have a developed transport net. They may move out of one region and into one region without a developed transport net per turn. Thus, a unit of coal could move out of a region without a transport net and into one with a transport net and then any number of regions, and then finally into a region without a net. However, if it started in a region without a net and moved directly into another region without a net, that would end its movement for the turn. Oil, electricity, hydrogen, and money can move through any land regions, regardless of whether there is a transportation net.
Sea Transportation: Any number of items can be moved through a sea zone which contains a friendly merchant ship. A string of such ships is referred to as a merchant pipeline.
If there are insufficient ships available to construct a pipeline, each merchant ship may move up to 50 zones per turn. A ship may carry one food, coal, or mineral or two oils or hydrogen while so doing. The ship may load and unload as many items as desired, paying one zone of movement each time it does so.
Any individual item may travel part of its movement by land and part by sea. However, it may only be loaded and off-loaded from a ship once per turn. No merchant ship used to move combat units during the combat portion of the turn may be used to transport stuff during trade.
Air Transport: Air transport is used exactly like sea transport. It may be used to fly items by individually moving them or may form part of a pipeline. Aircraft, however, may not move coal or minerals.
During the maintenance phase, active units must be maintained and inactive units may be reactivated. In order to maintain a unit, all of the prerequisites for its construction must still be present. For example, a factory requires an active transport net. If the transport net is inactive, the factory cannot be maintained. Any units or facilities not maintained become inactive. If a facility which absorbed a labor unit in its construction becomes inactive, the labor unit is placed either in general labor pool (if from a factory, R&D facility, or transport net) or a food box (if a mechanized farm). If the labor unit is not fed, it is instead flipped to its starving side.
Inactive items can be reactivated by paying twice their normal maintenance. All prerequisites for their construction must still be present to reactivate them. No inactive facility may be reactivated in an area which contains insurgents.
Attrition: Following maintenance, attrition is performed on all inactive facilities and starving labor units. Inactive transport nets are removed on a die roll of 1 (on a d6). One third of all starving labor and other facilities are removed. Draw these at random, with a die roll used to determine removal of excess units not divisible by three.
Air, naval, and space units which are not maintained are treated as inactive facilities for purposes of attrition. Non-maintained ground units turn into insurgents or disappear. Major units, regardless of type, are removed and replaced by 2d6-2 insurgents. Minor units which are not maintained are replaced by insurgents on a die roll of 1-3, and removed without replacement on a die roll of 4-6. Half of all insurgents thus created are independent insurgents while the balance are loyal to the originally controlling character.
Voluntary Stand-Down: A unit which was maintained during the turn may be voluntarily removed from play. If it is in hostile territory it may be converted to loyal insurgents. Each major ground unit becomes ten insurgents; each minor unit becomes one insurgent.
Each nation received, as part of its start-up package, a list of it technological achievements and its current technological levels. Technological levels could be improved by expending resources on research and development in specific fields.
Technological Advances: When a nation reached one less than the required tech level (for a specific achievement; ie, a beanstalk, star drive, better armor, etc.), it receives information on the precise requirements for the specific achievement. This provides the nation with a foretaste of what it will be capable of. For example, when Japan reached Energy Tech Level 2, it received the coupon for Hydrogen Net (use of hydrogen in place of petroleum to support a transportation network). It then knows that, by applying research and development efforts to Energy, it can ultimately produce and field a hydrogen transportation net.