The advent of the mega-alliances had me concerned. The goal of the original galaxy games seemed to be right out of the Highlander movies, "There can be only one!" The trend of the game seemed to be going away from one-on-one battles and towards many-on-one battles. Maybe this means that the players are just getting smarter or that diplomacy plays a bigger role in Explorer games than other galaxy games. Anyway, I wanted to find a way to reward those players who go it alone without having a major impact on the game and the the Explorer Partial Bombing Rule was born.
The rule is quite simple, if you bomb a world with help it gets reduced to nothing. If you go it alone, some small percentage of the world's population and industry will remain and deed the planet and themselves over to you.
Even the simplest rules need further explanation:
This is defined to be when two or more races, who are at war with a third, meet at a planet belonging to the third and when the battle is done both have surving ships with offensive capability.
If at least two of the surviving races would have bombed the world if they
were the sole survivors of the battle then the world is destroyed. If only
one race survives (independent of how many began the battle) then the world
will become theirs.
A maximum percentage and minimum conversion percentage are defined. The amount left on the world will be fraction of the pre-bombing total randomly choosen bounded by the specified maximum and minimum percentage values.
Additionally, absolute maximum and minimun threshold levels are set. Planets
will not be bombed beneath the level of the average world times the minimum
percentage and worlds will be bombed at least to the level of the average
world times the maximum percentage. This is to keep those who grab a huge
world from gaining too big an advantage and keep the small worlds from
suffering too much abuse.
The exact numbers may vary from game to game. I am currently running games where the maximum percentage is 35% and the minimum percentage is 10%. With an average world size of 600 this means that people can capture a world that has 210 population and industry remaining. Stockpiles of colonists and capital are destroyed.