Module:Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
|Players||2 to 6||Scale||[[Category:|Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery]]|
|Length||60 minutes per player|
|Age of Empires III.vmod||module||6.11 MB||2021-05-02||3.3.5|
This Vassal module was designed to allow up to 6 players to play: Denmark, England, France, Holland (the “Dutch”), Portugal and Spain. It was tested to satisfaction with 5.
There is a board for each faction. Buttons at the top allow the owning player to add 1 unit or 1 coin of each type (when allowed). Units can also be sent back to the relevant faction board through a right-click menu command. The same can be done with Merchant Ships, Trade Goods, Buildings, (Americas) Discovery Counters and (Rest of the World) Discovery cards. Faction boards are visible by all players and accessible via the faction buttons in the module toolbar, but for convenience’s sake, each player will likely want to keep only their board open at all times and access the others when needed (unless they have a large screen… I use a 43” 4K TV). The windows are Vassal hand windows that have been divided into rows for each type of game piece. The built-in commands always send the pieces to the front (left) of the relevant row and the program then displays all the pieces in neat rows (though a click in the board window might be needed for it to refresh). Dragging and dropping pieces into these windows is not recommended (and not needed), but to do it properly, drop in the front of the relevant row.
The map is displayed small upon start and can be resized as needed. There are buttons in a variety of places:
- A right-click menu command on the green button on the left of the Turn Order track will bring up turn order makers for all 6 factions in a random sequence from left to right. Markers for unused factions can and should be deleted via right-click menu command; they won’t be needed in the game, and then the remaining markers should be repositioned via drag-and-drop to fill in holes in the turn order.
- A right-click menu command on the red button on the right of the Turn Order track will pick up all the (remaining) turn order markers and stack them to the left. In Turns 2+, player order is determined by play on the Initiative track, so expand the stack, and then drag-and-drop the markers to their rightful place on the Turn Order track per the Initiative Order track. Note that while I used the same design for the Turn Order markers as I did for the Colonists (in the physical game, Colonist figures are used), these markers should not be used as Colonists.
- A right-click menu command on the green button on the left of the Trade Goods track randomly draws 4 Trade Goods that are displayed vertically to the right when instructed by the rules. If there were Trade Goods left from the prior turn, they are automatically discarded.
- A right-click menu command on the green button on the left of the Merchant Shipping area is used to place a new Merchant Ship in the area when instructed by the rules (for clarity’s sake the piece is actually displayed just on top of the green button).
- A right-click menu command on the green button on the left of the Capitol Buildings track randomly draws 5 Buildings for the relevant Era that are displayed vertically to the right when instructed by the rules. If there are Buildings left from the prior Era, they are automatically discarded. This functionality is only to be used at the end of each Era.
- A right-click menu command on each of the five yellow buttons to the right of the Capitol Buildings Area randomly draws a Building in the button’s location. This functionality is to be only used at the end of each turn that is not the end of an Era to refill the Building offering.
- A right-click menu command on the red button in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean randomly draws and displays 1 (Rest of the World) Discovery card when instructed by the rules. If the card is defeated, a right-click menu command will place it on the board of the faction that won it. If the card is not defeated, a right-click menu command will return it to its deck (which is automatically reshuffled)
- A right-click menu command on a Question Mark button placed in all regions except the Caribbean randomly draws and displays a Discovery counter for that region. If the Discovery counter is defeated, a right-click menu command on the counter will place it on the board of the faction that won it and another right-click menu command will identify the region as “Discovered” (meaning that a Discovery counter should no longer be drawn for it). If the card is not defeated, a right-click menu command will flip it over until the next time a faction attempts to “Discover” the region. Note that I decided not to preset Discovery counters in all the regions as drawing them when needed helps track where discovery attempts were made.
Note that specific (point) “regions” (to use the Vassal term) are defined for the Turn Order, Initiative, Colonist Dock, Trade Goods, Capitol Buildings, Specialists, Warfare and Turn tracks. Dragging-and-dropping pieces on these tracks will automatically result in pieces locking to the nearest such regions. There are also specific (point) regions defined for the various buttons described above, and for where these buttons display pieces, as well as for the Trade Goods locations in the various regions. If a piece is dragged-and-dropped near one such region, it will likely snap to it. That’s particularly true in the Atlantic.
The game regions are all defined as “zones” (to use the Vassal term), meaning that pieces can be dragged-and-dropped in them freely and there will be no “snap to”. The Merchant Shipping and Discovery areas are also defined as zones since multiple pieces can be placed there by each player. Whenever placing pieces in a zone, it is recommended that each player stack their pieces in one spot in a region and use the stack viewer capability to see the contents of the stack.
In the event of simultaneous combat resolution, each unit can be shown as Killed (red cross-mark) via a right-click menu command. Once combat is over, those units that were killed must be returned to their decks (not their player’s board) via another right-click menu command (“Eliminate”). It is best, but not essential, to remove the Killed mark before Eliminating a unit (if you don’t the piece will display as Killed the next time it is bought, but then simply adjust its status at that time).
When the time comes to figure out trade combos and get money (coins), the players should use the right-click menu command available for the Merchant Ships and Trade Goods. It effectively allows a text entry (red text over black background displayed in the middle of the playing piece), so all pieces used in a trade combo can be designated A, B, C, etc.
A separate board, accessible via the module toolbar, is available to track VPs when instructed to do so. A VP marker for each faction is stacked at the start of the track; simply delete those that are not needed, and then move the VP markers as needed on the boards--no region or zone is defined on this board, so make sure you position the markers clearly as you would on a physical board.