Triplanetary

Tagged: Game

Board and counter Wargame (1973). Game Designers' Workshop (GDW). Designed by Marc Miller.

Triplanetary is an early space combat Wargame, noted for the elegance and simplicity of its design. Small numbers of spacecraft are represented by counters on a mapboard divided into hexagons, with a plastic overlay on which movement vectors can be drawn and erased. The system models Newtonian Physics in a two-dimensional universe, including entering orbit around a planet or accelerating by passing through its gravitational well, without the need for complex calculations. Fuel is limited; much of the gameplay depends on exploiting the rules of orbital mechanics within a version of the inner Solar System which has been flattened to the plane of the ecliptic. The background presented in the game's scenarios is not particularly detailed or serious; the sketched out Future History has a curiously antique tone, drawing on such sources as Jack Williamson's Seetee sequence. A version of the Triplanetary movement system is used in the starship combat rules for Traveller (1977) and various associated Wargames such as Battle Rider (1994) and Brilliant Lances (1993), and its ease of use has been influential on the later development of space-based tactical Wargames in general. [NT]

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