### STARTING POSITIONS

You may have looked at the Alterrra rules by now and been puzzled as to the starting position, and when the game ends. The game ends on a randomly determined turn, so the players can't adopt an "end game" strategy. The real world doesn't work that way. What isn't evident in the rules is the starting conditions of nations and agencies.

All the values for nations and agencies are determined randomly. I haven't decided yet whether to use a normal curve or a flat distribution for the values; I suppose playtesting might help determine that. Each nation has 6-12 areas, 25-75 each of IND and MEC points, 75-135 each of AGR and POP points, 75-225 RES points, and 15-50 TRA points. A search of my notes and my memory fails to reveal the starting limits for M\$; again, that (and all the other numbers, actually) will be amenable to playtest modification. The initial values for IND output, AGR yield and MIL technology are between .6-1.4. Areas in a nation are clear on a 1-4, desert on a 5, and mountainous on a 6 (the roll of a die, obviously). AGR, POP, and RES points are randomly located in the areas of the nation in this manner: each area is assigned a value according to its terrain, then all the values are added together. A random number of that magnitude is generated for each point, which determines which area it's assigned to. In all cases clear areas are assigned a value of one. For AGR and POP points, desert and mountain areas have a value of .75; for RES points they have a value of 1.25.

Agencies have the same initial range limits for M\$, TRA, MEC, AGR yield, IND output, and MIL technology. They don't have AGR, POP, RES, or IND points. They do get 2-6 free intelligence questions at 70% accuracy.

I don't remember if nations and agencies were to start with any stockpiles in place. I tend to think not, but I'm not sure if it would be better to start with or without them.

The map is to be generated from the area GIF file by a random walk. By this I mean that each nation will be randomly assigned one of the numbered areas as its starting point. If that area is already assigned another area will be randomly chosen. All the areas connecting to this one will be checked to see if any are a part of another nation, and if there is at least one that is unassigned one of those unassigned areas will be selected randomly to add to the nation. That area will now be checked in the same manner as above; this sequence will continue till the required number of areas are assigned to the nation. Any areas that don't get assigned to any nation are considered ocean.

That's it for now. Please look the simulation over and let me know your thoughts.

Douglas Loss