# My first module, need help.

I decided to create my first module so I could play an old board game with my dad (who lives far away) that we used to play when I was a kid. I figured it would be a good way for me to learn the Vassal editor.

The game is Rail Baron:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/420/rail-baron

I started off using the Monopoly module as I figured the games are similar in terms of dice, deeds, money, tokens, etc. I was able to adapt much of it to the Rail Baron module I was creating.

I have a couple questions that hopefully someone can help me with so I can complete the module:
(1) In Rail Baron there is a pay off table that you consult to determine the amount paid when traveling from city A to city B. There are 67 cities so I need a table that is 67 x 67. How can I accomplish this in Vassal where I can look up City A down the row and then City B in the column and find out the value at the intersection of that row/column?
(2) In Rail Baron if the player rolls double sizes they get to roll another bonus d6. If they have an express engine they can roll a bonus d6 if they roll any doubles. If they have a super-chief engine they can roll the bonus d6 every time they roll. I am assuming I would use a global property to track if they have a freighter (0), an express engine (1), or a super-chief (2). How do I tell if they rolled doubles or specifically double sixes and then if they have the right global property with those doubles roll a bonus die?
(3) I figured out how to enable movement trails for my piece but it only shows one move. As soon as I move the token again the trail starts over. How do I get it to show several moves similar to say the Memoir 44 module? I tried looking through it to tell the difference between mine and that one and could not find it.

Thanks in advance for any help provided.

• John

On Jan 26, 2011, at 6:35 PM, joja15 wrote:

I decided to create my first module so I could play an old board game
with my dad (who lives far away) that we used to play when I was a kid.
I figured it would be a good way for me to learn the Vassal editor.

Welcome.
Beware a tendency to try to automate too much of the game.
Generally simpler is better, as well as being easier.

The game is Rail Baron:
boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/420/rail-baron

I started off using the Monopoly module as I figured the games are
similar in terms of dice, deeds, money, tokens, etc. I was able to adapt
much of it to the Rail Baron module I was creating.

I have a couple questions that hopefully someone can help me with so I
can complete the module:
(1) In Rail Baron there is a pay off table that you consult to determine
the amount paid when traveling from city A to city B. There are 67
cities so I need a table that is 67 x 67. How can I accomplish this in
Vassal where I can look up City A down the row and then City B in the
column and find out the value at the intersection of that row/column?

Usually you would put an image of the table in a charts window and look it up in the table the way you do playing with the real board game.

(2) In Rail Baron if the player rolls double sizes they get to roll
another bonus d6. If they have an express engine they can roll a bonus
d6 if they roll any doubles. If they have a super-chief engine they can
roll the bonus d6 every time they roll. I am assuming I would use a
global property to track if they have a freighter (0), an express engine
(1), or a super-chief (2). How do I tell if they rolled doubles or
specifically double sixes and then if they have the right global
property with those doubles roll a bonus die?

You just put a button up for a bonus die and rely on the players to know when to roll the bonus die. That’s very simple and the easiest solution. It isn’t clear how much benefit there would be to automating the bonus die roll.

(3) I figured out how to enable movement trails for my piece but it only
shows one move. As soon as I move the token again the trail starts over.
How do I get it to show several moves similar to say the Memoir 44
module? I tried looking through it to tell the difference between mine
and that one and could not find it.

Not sure. It may have to do with mark pieces unmoved.
Perhaps someone with better knowledge of this can help out.

I agree that sometimes simpler is better. I think I was looking at trying to automate some aspects of the game to make it easier to play and to speed of the time to play. My dad is old and not super computer literate so making the experience not a steep learning curve will lower the barrier to entry for him. Also Rail Baron can take a long time with all the referencing of the table. If somehow that could be automated or made simpler then the speed of the game could be increased.

Making the payoff chart automated will greatly speed up the game and make it easier to use. If anyone has any ideas on this one item I would really appreciate it.

The bonus die roll could be easily achieved with the addition of a bonus die button that the players press themselves. The logic for when it is triggered is easy for the players to understand. I am still curious though is there an easy way to accomplish what I was thinking of i.e. detecting doubles and then triggering a bonus die roll of is that a pretty complex thing in Vassal? I am assuming it would be accomplished by rolling two dice separately and then using a trigger that compares the result. If the compare of the result is the same then it triggers through a key press the roll of a third die?

I will try to explore your suggestion about maybe I am marking the pieces moved and so that is why the trails are starting over. Being able to see the trails is important as I used an irregular grid for the map and regions for each milepost. Some of them are close together and I am worried about it snapping to the wrong one. By being able to see the movement a player can see if it snapped to the wrong milepost. It will also aid in calculating the fee for the trip as the player can review all the railroads they were on.

Again I appreciate everyone’s help! I am really enjoying making a module. Hopefully I learn enough to continue making modules of other games.

Thanks,
John

I’m sort of an automation junkie but it can be difficult and thing tends not to work as planned without a lot of experimentation and hair pulling. I would suggest creating a bare bones mod that you can play - albeit cumbersome - and then work on automating a few items here and there. Having said that…

I created a dice rolling scheme as a sample mod for another designer which is quite similar to what you’re looking for. You may be able to glean some information from that. Here’s the thread with the attached sample:

May be able to give you some advice on the other things but I’ve got to run right now.

Thanks Dr Nostromo! I started looking at the example and it looks complex but I think I see what you are doing. Later today when I have a free moment I will read the included SampleNotes.txt file and go through the module in detail. I feel confident that I will be able to figure it out and create an example that can automate the dice check.

If you can help out with the payoff table I would much appreciate it. That would really help speed up the game and simplify it for my dad.

Thanks,
John

I might be able to help you with the payoff table but I’ll need some more details.

From what you described, do you have a table that comes with the game? If so, you could just scan it and incorporate it into the game as a chart with a menu button to access it.

If it’s something you need automated, I’ll need some details as to how you want it to operate.

Ideally I would like to automate it because part of what makes the game take awhile to play is looking up payoff amounts. That gets even more tedious when implemented in Vassal. If I could automate it then the game would go much quicker.

Here Is a spreadsheet with the table:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/25099/rail-baron-payoff-chart-xls

In the game you travel from one city to another on a map. When you arrive at your destination you get a payoff. To determine the payoff you look at the table and find your start city for the row and then your ending city for the column. Where the row and column intersects is an amount that is your payoff.

Here is a PDF of the chart:
http://www.railgamefans.com/rgf/files/usapay.pdf

Here are some web based automated versions:
http://stevish.com/destinate/destinator.php - Implemented using PHP
http://mymost.com/lookup_chart.html - Implemented using Flash
http://jennyscript.com/rail_baron/ - implemented using Javascript
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/32296/rail-barron-trip-and-payout-manager - Implemented using Java

So on one side I want to see if it can be done in Vassal just to see if it can be done but on the other hand for just functionality I can provide a web link in game to the PHP or Flash version of the pay off chart. If I feel a little braver I may be able to take the Java script and/or the Java version and actually hook it into Vassal. If I did that I could then read from a global variable where the player started and where they ended to automate the city entry portion.

I appreciate all your help!

• John

You can’t place external links into a Vassal module so that idea is out …however, you could have a browser open to a payoff calculator page and refer to it when necessary.

I don’t think the mechanics for automating something like this into Vassal would be that difficult. It could be set up so that a player right-clicks a final destination and selects their starting destination from a list and it would add the payoff. But the time involved in plugging in all those values for each city would be enormous. Of course, if you have the time…

The last link in your posting referred to a Java program that calculates it. That might be imported somehow into Vassal but I don’t have any experience in importing Java classes. Maybe someone else here can help you with that.