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Summary of Maelstrom and 3rd Cycle Changes
The last game I played was 2nd cycle over 3 years ago. Is there a summary of changes from 2nd cycle to 3rd, and from 3rd to Maelstrom?

I'm intrigued about playing this game again with an entirely new map, races, and rules.
(08-19-2019, 01:58 PM)Vulkar Wrote: The last game I played was 2nd cycle over 3 years ago. Is there a summary of changes from 2nd cycle to 3rd, and from 3rd to Maelstrom?

I'm intrigued about playing this game again with an entirely new map, races, and rules.

Best bet is to jump into the "training game" that is about to launch.

Then work with your "mentor" to learn the nuances of 4th cycle (Maelstrom). There is a good guide for Maelstrom updates from 3rd cycle (someone please post the link) but nothing from 2nd to 3rd that I'm aware of, but I also kind of skipped 3rd cycle just like you are doing...
Here is a link to UMNotes. Page 4 post 6 has the 3rd cycle to maelstrom info
The rules are updated for 3rd cycle. I believe they start with a what’s new area if I remember right.

There are links on order entry with links to current rules 3rd cycle

Here is a link to current 3rd cycle rules I believe
Thanks, Draugr.

I've reviewed the 3rd cycle docs and the Maelstrom release notes, however, the only document I've seen updated for Maelstrom is the Kingdom Traits doc.

Where would I find the updated rules, orders, kingdom dossier, etc. for Maelstrom? I can't seem to find any of those.
No update it is 3rd cycle with the release notes
In the 3rd cycle, all brigade types were given a special ability. Do the new troop types introduced in Maelstrom all have special abilities as well? I can't find any reference in the release notes or elsewhere.
No none have been added yet per the game master.
Only thing the get is regular if recruited from NU and stormgate make vet guards
Zamora recruits Zamorans as regulars too.  I just noticed that yesterday.
I did 2nd Cycle around 1989.  I had Steve run the game for a couple years and when that wasn't working out, turned Alamaze over to my 15 year older brother Phil, who was pretty much universally loved by his players and would spend hours on the phone.

Phil though was talked into reprogramming Alamaze when he got it, by a couple fellows who just assumed it would be a few weeks of simple stuff.  Six months later, they had finished documenting the existing Alamaze code.  In that interval, Phil lost 50% of Alamaze customers.  Then what they converted it to was called Clipper.  Ever hear of it?  Me neither. 

By 1996, the internet had arrived, and this kind of was a bumpy decade of PBM transitioning.  Phil in the new century held on by his high touch style, but now charging $8.50 a turn that came through snail mail was losing ground.  Phil became ill with progressive cancer, eventually stopped running Alamaze, and passed.  A few years earlier, having concluded my career in finance, I returned to the PBEM genre with Fall of Rome, a very expensive endeavor with all professional developers at Dallas game studios.  The main developer for Fall of Rome, Fletcher Dunn, wrote a textbook:  The 3D Mathmatics of Game Design, or something like that.  Fletch was a genius, but we were breaking ground all over the place.  For example, this was 2003-2004.  Now you take Amazon, etc., and all virtual shopping for granted, but believe it or not, Fall of Rome and Fletch were about the first to establish subscription based automated billing.  This after the company I had engaged to do it that had billed me about $40,000 for their effort, had given up.  At this time, getting a website with flash and other whistles also cost about $40,000.  Now its essentially free.  Fall of Rome was the first, maybe only, PBM style game with a full graphical interface.  We still don't have that in Alamaze.  In Fall of Rome, you would drag and click your assets on the game map, for example, and it would plot the best movement path for you if you liked.  Fall of Rome won Game of the Year at Origins, giving me two for two on designs produced.  Yea.  But it was a commercial failure.  Players just didn't care about the history of the beginning of the Dark Ages, despite all the pains for historical accuracy. 

So I did have to return to finance, being CFO for three small companies, one SEC reporting, one venture capital, one run by an idiot.  Then I was done with being an employee and reacquired Alamaze.

The beginning was called The Resurgence.  Same classic map, same submitting Excel files and me entering orders.  Word got out of the return of Alamaze after five or so years of being dark.  Response was good, but we were still in a world to me much like what I had left in 1992 or so.  All manual process.  I was about going nuts and admit to being bitchy on this forum as I was spending a good 8 hours a day just entering orders, and I had always detested detail work. 

Mike was a player, The Wise One.  He communicated that he had been working on an Alamaze redo as he thought it had been abandoned.  We worked things out, and that was bumpy not so much with Mike and me but with some others.  So through some blood, sweat and tears, Mike and I brought us out of the Excel era and into the interface you see now.  And Mike added many of his own touches, and the interface is almost entirely his doing, I just made a few comments.  And he has fingerprints in Alamaze results as well.  Small example: the clever names of the PC defenders, and other command results.

On to 3rd Cycle, The Choosing.  There were lots of new orders, lots of new spells and artifacts.  The biggest changes were a refresh of the map, most notably Viperhead on the  other side of the Sea of Terror, and the Avalon island being three areas instead of one, as well as numerous smaller changes, like changing the shape of the Southern Sands.  But besides the new commands and spells, the concept of cultural traits was born, so the changes to standard were systematized, hopefully in a cogent way.  Now there were 20+ traits like Military Tradition, Adventurers, Trackers, Archers, Riders, Orators, Secretive, Seafaring, Spy Network, as well as proficiency ratings in each terrain, up to Supremacy, like Dwarves in mountains and Elves in forest, and a similar system for magic, at highest Supremacy, then Mastery, down to Advantage and Standard and below.  Another big change was Alamaze had always had the Elves in Oakendell and the Dwarves in The Talking Mountains, for example.  Now in The Choosing, each region could have alternative kingdoms.  Oakendell would have either The High Elves or the Great Druid.  The Talking Mountains would have either the Dwarves or The Warlock.

Maelstrom, the 4th Cycle was designed and put in mothballs, and then Mike surprised me with renewed interest, but an expedited schedule.  So much time was spent paring down Maelstrom to what we have, which still is in my opinion the best PBEM style game ever.  I'm sure I shocked you with that review.  A huge thing from design was redoing all the spell lists, so altering the key component of Alamaze of magic very significantly.  In general, all kingdoms got a higher base level of magic ability and better core spells, and the supremacy mage kingdoms became somewhat more specialized, rather than getting all spells earlier.  Of course we introduced more than 20 types of PC improvements, from bazaars to legendary castles.  But by far the biggest changes were first, that any of now 24 kingdoms could be in any of now, 12 distinct regions each with their own flavor, and this played out on the completely new map of the continent of Maelstrom, which also has the twist of a 13th region consisting just of the defacto capital of Maelstrom called Stormgate, and its aptly named bountiful producing village, Cornucopia. 

On other matters, due to the automated nature of most all of Alamaze now, we dropped prices pretty much 50% across the board from 3rd Cycle, which was already reduced at least 3x from 2nd Cycle.  So those who are coming back from 2nd Cycle remembering $8.50 a turn, now are at Scout Level Service getting a minimum of 10 turns for about a dollar more than that each month rather than per turn, at $9.95 with turns available not days but seconds after the deadline, and with turns running faster if all players indicate "Ready".

Enjoy Alamaze Maelstrom, and tell your friends.

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