2 player Triumph & Tragedy

My friend and I have played several 3 player games of Triumph & Tragedy. I have a Mac, he has a PC. When we tried to play a 2 player game he was able to choose his Axis units and activate the ready button. I was able to choose West/Soviet units but the ready buttons would not work. I closed out of Vassal and retried with no success. We switched sides and he had the same results. He could also select units but the ready buttons would not function. We both tried selecting one factions armies at a time and then selecting both factions armies before trying the ready buttons. Nothing worked. Any thoughts or suggestions?

I had the same problem and have been in touch with the designer of Module V 36.3. He advises that the module does not work correctly for 2-players when one is playing “Allies/UN” (representing the West and USSR being played by the same player).

He suggested the two players sign on as “West” and “Axis” and, each time the West player wishes to play the USSR (or vice-versa) he retires from his current persona and becomes the other side. This will also need to be done for the initial start-up and the clicking of the big red buttons. Basically, it’s known as the “hot-seat” system but it does work even though being a little tedious.

It also means he will have a small advantage over his opponent because he can play one of his two sides to benefit the second - which is sort of a-historical and not really in the spirit of the game.

I am going to see if I can correct the module error - but I doubt my abilities match my ambition. If I am successful, I will try to get the new module on to Vassal. Otherwise check it out on Boardgame geek - I’ll start a thread there and probably offer the module through Dropbox.

I couldn’t resist taking a quick look, though I know precisely zero about this game. The “Ready” buttons on the main map would need some redesign. They have quite a few Triggers and Global Key Commands in them, each of which has a property match expression of varying complexity. One thing that jumped out at me right away on both the West and Soviet buttons was the following style of check (see bolded portion below) in several of the Trigger expressions:

{PlayerSide==“West” && NumWestReady ==0 && If(WRBLayer_Level==2 && (AxisStart==1 || USSRStart==1),1,0)==0}

or in another Trigger:

{PlayerSide==“West” && WRBLayer_Level==2 && (WestReady==1 && AxisReady==1 && USSRReady==1) && LegalSetup_Axis==1 && LegalSetup_West==1 && LegalSetup_USSR==1}

There’s a matching set of problematic expressions on the Soviet ready button, mimicking all of the above but with the key portion PlayerSide==“Soviets” in the expressions.

So hopefully it’s apparent that if you are occupying the Allies/UN player side, all of the bolded bits above will return FALSE, hence the whole expression will resolve to FALSE and the Trigger will not resolve. Shorter: the buttons don’t work, you aren’t in the player side it’s expecting to see.

As this game is using a predefined setup, it will not be sufficient to edit all these expressions so that they work on a larger range of valid player sides–you’ll have to update that setup or replace it with a new one.

Hi Joel:

I can’t leave this one alone - looks like you’re in the same boat! The number of Global Key Commands in the module is daunting especially as I’m not 100% sure why they’re there. I think the module would be better off if the big red buttons were not there. The game can quite easily be set up by the players placing their chosen cadres at CV1 and not have the module do it. I just wrote to the game designer (who is also shown as the VM designer) as follows:

"I believe you and I have spoken before on this matter about a year ago. I am in touch with Adam Ruzzo (Bridger) and have also contacted Brian Evans.

I am trying once again to produce a working module for T&T that allows the 2-player version to be accommodated (it currently is not with versions 35.2 - Brian - and 36.3 - Adam) and to add a Solo facility for learning the game without taking over the family dining table.

Currently, playing one side as “Allies/UN” and the other as “Axis”, the set up sequence allows the Axis player to decide the nature of is 1CV cadres. After he has pressed the red “READY” button and turned it green, the Allies/UN player can not perform his 1CV selections - either for the West or the USSR. Could this have anything to do with the VSAV file used to set the scenario up?

My initial efforts concentrated on adding a Solo player (Referee) to the mix and making modifications to let that player have access to all activities within the module. I fear I must have missed something essential because, although the referee option is available, selecting it doesn’t provide access to everything during the game and I just can’t get past the red button barrier. Is there anything fresh you can offer to ease my pain?

I hope to hear from you and look forward to achieving an outcome that benefits everyone."

Can you point me at the part of the module that deals with the big red buttons - I feel I need to try and understand what I need to change if I remove that facility?

How come you always appear when I’m trying to do something complicated and probably beyond my abilities? It’s greatly reassuring and very welcome. By the way, in searching through Global Key Commands, I found a few typos that I suspect would affect performance mostly in the form of omitted spaces.

I think the set up is done via a pre-saved game file to which I don’t have access. If I can manage to produce a VSAV file to replace this, where do I insert the file name?

Sure you have access to the predefined setup–it’s in the module. Remember, a module is merely a ZIP file with an altered file extension. You can see what filename you’re looking for by viewing the details of the predefined setup in the Editor.

The Ready buttons are in At-Start Stacks defined in the map.

Adding a Referee player side will also not prove sufficient. Many of the piece prototypes employ the Restricted Access trait, so you’d have to add your new player side the list of sides that can access those pieces. And you’ll be in the same boat as above, you still must update the existing predefined setup or create a new one from scratch.

Thanks, Joel. I think I am on a hiding to nothing trying to adjust someone else’s module. One needs to have access to their brain to stand much of a chance. I have decided, therefore, to start from scratch. I’ve asked the original developer, Brian Evans if he is able to let me have access to the graphics files so I can get the best possible reproduction and definition. I can do it without but it’s a massive task. I got cooperation when I corrected the module for N: The Napoleonic Wars from White Dog Games and they are now providing this to interested customers for the game.

I believe I can get a result that does the job I want for Triumph & Tragedy and there is a lot of interest on BGG so the effort will be worthwhile if it succeeds. Wish me luck and, as ever, thanks for your interest.

Is there a reason why the graphics in the existing module are not up to snuff? They looked workable enough to me. I think you will spend an order of magnitude more time starting from scratch than you would in spending some time to review the module, frame the task at hand, and resolve the action steps. Unless there is a wider scope of changes, they are:

  1. Find these action buttons as they are defined in the Editor. As stated above, they are in At-Start Stacks on the game map. The module author appears to have been very detailed in his names of things and description of Triggers and GKCs, so this is pretty well documented
  2. Change the expressions to allow them to work for more than one qualifying player side.
  3. If you don’t want to create a new predefined setup from scratch, use the Refresh Counters tool to update the existing predefined setup to incorporate the changes you make.
  4. Save this just-refreshed setup locally on your computer, and learn how to load it back into the module.

Maybe before any of that, you want to think about if retaining these “Ready” buttons is even a thing you want. What problem are they solving for? Is it simply for live players to indicate when they’ve completed their setup? It might a bit overwrought–is this something people could indicate with just a chat message?

The existing graphics will be fine - I hadn’t realised I could access them via the module file. That should make life a lot easier. I spent several weeks last year reviewing the module. What I discovered was how limited my knowledge of Vassal is. When I construct a module, I probably do not use half the facilities available because I don’t know what they do. The tendency is to identify a function I want to incorporate (e.g. flipping a counter) then looking through the trait list to identify something that sounds like it might achieve the objective and experiment with the parameters until either I succeed or move on to the the next likely trait. It’s trial and error but, as my experience grows, it gets a little less error prone. Consequently, when I look at a module like T&T, designed by someone who would appear to be highly literate in Vassal design, I see my limitations in glorious Technicolor!

For someone with your capabilities, I can imagine that your suggested way ahead would result in an understanding of the designer’s approach and the ability to modify, reject or use his work. For me, half the time, I sort of don’t know what I’m looking at or exactly what it is intended to do, so I don’t know whether to embrace it, modify it (and how) or delete it. Pathetic, really, but it is what it is.

I am in touch with the game designer, Craig Besinque, and am trying to reach the module designer (I think it was Joel Toppen) to see if there is a route in that direction that is worth pursuing. I do know that there are some typos in the existing module (I’ve found a few myself), so I know it has errors that might lead to it not working properly. All in all, I think I’ll pursue my start from scratch approach and see what happens. At least Craig has given me the go ahead and said he’ll try to contact Joel for me, so progress is being made.

I hope I can continue to contact you if I need your help further - I do appreciate your interest.