Friday, April 4, 2008


This is to illustrate the point I'm trying to make over the problems in creating a map for us based on "real" maps. Some of the comments imply that folks are bothered because our territories inevitably overlap ... and some folks even claim the same towns for their "capitals."
While the last is a little extreme, frankly (a true Frankszonian is always frank!), it'd be believable!
These maps are of just Southern Hesse and supposedly after the simplification of things post Napoleon .... see how many overlaps and variegated independent places you can count?


There's a discussion on the EvE blog about how to generate a map of our imagi-nations.
I've argued that we use a "real" map and just plug in the country names without worrying about borders.
The picture above is just southern Hesse, and AFTER the post Napoleonic reduction of autonomous states. (Historical Frankfurt, btw, is the tiny red blob about middle / right.
A century earlier, the wild juxtaposition of land claims and heritages would make any deeper precision on a "real" map impossible anyway.
So, some dozen different princes claim the same spot ... your point is?
And it would make a handy excuse for a wargame, and could just as handily ignored!


Byrhthelm said...

Dash it all! I said those mushrooms tasted peculiar! Never again! (lol)

Oh my, pyschedelia on a bicycle. What a superb piece of cartography.


Snickering Corpses said...

Here's part of my point for large states, particularly. Suppose a new guy joins the group, and plants his state of Hesse-Dormouse right in the midst of where Hesse-Engelburg is.

I've got a few potential problems:

1) If he draws his own map, he may plant towns where I've got no towns and empty space where I've got towns. Who's right? We can't both be right. You can have two geographers, and one or both can be mistaken, but there is still an actual area of terrain in that spot, and if there's a forest on that spot, it doesn't matter how many mapmakers draw a glacier or a desert there, it's still a forest. How do we decide whose geography is right?

2) What do I do about it? If Hesse-Dormouse is a tiny little state with perhaps 2000 men under arms, I send in 10,000 as a large state and execute all the rebels. So now what....Jeff kicks the guy off of EvE because his nation has been destroyed?

3) Suppose he doesn't consent to being attacked, and I don't consent to having rebels in my territory? Who wins?

4) Suppose he lives near Bill, and they set up a scenaroi where he offends Gallia, and Gallia decides to crush him? Since he's completely surrounded by Hesse-Engelburg, Gallia has to violate H-E sovereignty by marching troops through my land to attack him. So what if I don't want Gallian troops marching through my land? Do they two agree to never have a wargame together, because their troops can't meet without violating my consent?

My point is, there are consequences to having nations inside the territory of other nations, and if everyone affected isn't in agreement as to what's happening, you may run into conflicts between the players in what's supposed to be just a friendly game. Just ignore it is troublesome when every statement of someone's storyline is a violation of my own storyline.

tradgardmastare said...

I feel that Snickering Corpses has put the matter extremely well - thank you.
i have been musing upon these matters a lot recently and feel we need to address this matter as more and more blogs become involved - each with their own fascinating and particular contribution.
There are many things for us to think through together and exciting times ahead for us all in the 18th century - but we need to proceed together and with caution.

Snickering Corpses said...

A few more comments:

The primary reason I prefer a bubble map to a physical is the problem noted here, of dealing with states within states, and that while small states can be stuffed in, large states can run out of places to claim. There's only so much Europe.

With a bubble map, you can indicate who shares a border, and if they want to set up a scenario where they both claim some part of that border, they can. But nobody's *forced* to deal with conflicting land claims simply because we had to stuff another country into Europe. And if Hesse-Engelburg doesn't want Gallian troops to pass through it on the way to Hesse-Dormouse, we can assume there's some other little state on one of the other edges of the bubble that Gallia can go through. And we can keep stuffing more states in, though the map file itself may get difficult to read. Still, it's no problem if our combined land area is eventually larger than the planet. ;)

MurdocK said...

When it comes to 'story lines' like any kid games the only 'real' one is the one you are telling.

However, once others are 'in the game' it becomes ever more important to remove the 'fuzziness'.

So to answer snickering corpses objections:

1) by 'fixing' the map early, then YOU are setting the agenda for that region. The later player will have to accept that (at least in this corner of cyberspace) those territories are 'claimed'.

2) nay, such things may have happened historically, we I think would have to behave more histerically. bring in some good humour and 'permit the small bird to sing'...such a city state could easily be 'slipped in' without hardly a notice on any map.

3) This is not a 'winning' situation in my mind. Remember this is a genial location for imaginary nations of the Eighteenth Century to carry out diplomatic affairs War, rebellion, dissent, etc are all parts of "diplomatic affaris". Like it or lump it anyone could tear off and start all sorts of crazy things without the map, permitting someone with a Russia flavor to directly attack Spain via land? We have already seen 'agents' try and burn Paris...

anything is possible...a map just makes it harder for the really wild to take place.

To ultimately answer your 'win' question I offer this quote:
Winners are those who give the most.

Think about it.

4) the bubble-map has the EXACT SAME problem, physical space requires it. However we also are dealing with 'imaginary' if it is decided to have a go at someone 'inside' your territory, guess what...THEY ARE GOING TO.

This is exactly what happened to Frankfurter last year when Stagonia turned up to ruin his little battle. IN the end we got a better tabletop game, more players got to be involved and the entertainment value went WAYY UP!

More players gave so more players got to win!

Snickering Corpses said...

I think the issue on the physical space consideration is primarily whether you're trying to make a map that fits a particular screen size, or just trying to make a map file. If you're trying to make a map file that will fit within, say, an 800x600 screen resolution or an 8.5"x11" printout, I'm not sure that's possible and properly indicate all the countries. I think whatever file we end up with needs to be something that can be scrolled around and looked at, rather than trying to fit it all onto one screen, just as a practical limitation. The more tiny countries we add, the more we're going to have to zoom the map in to be able to see any of them.

A lot of our countries are much smaller than the surface area their name covers up if you try to plant them on a screen-sized physical map. You'll have to resort to what a lot of the paper maps do in regions with many small countries, which is just numbering them and having a key off to the side with the names.

Regarding point 4, with a bubble map, they don't *have* to be inside my territory, which is my point. A physical map eventually *requires* that either I accept someone within my territory, or we tell someone they just can't join EvE because all available regions are claimed. The bubble map as I'm thinking of it can expand theoretically infinitely, as it simply shows they're "in my area" and what general direction they're in, unless they share a border.

My point is that if they're not inside my territory, it can be assumed that Gallia finds some other route to get there than crossing through my territory. If, however, Hesse-Dormouse exists solely within my territory, then Gallia cannot get at them without crossing me. Which means that for them to have the battle they want, I'm either obliged to have a battle with Gallia which I don't want, or I'm obliged to let my nation's sovereign territory be trampled all over so as to allow someone else to game what they want.

You mention Stagonia turning up to ruin Frankfurter's little battle. And there's all of us who turned up as Allies for Tipplebruder. However, nobody questioned whose territory each of those armies marched through, what the actual appropriate march rate was, whether or not any of Soweiter's neighbors would actually allow them to march through them, etc. If we're going to be bound by a physical map, then any travel outside one's borders needs to be mapped out and check with each intervening country whether they'd object or not, and whether they'd fight or not.

andygamer said...

I think the bubble map idea is best as it allows for a ton of future gamers along with the present ones to join without having the constraints of trying to fit anything into a genuine historical map and the chances of running out of "real" map space for players.

For those who are in favour of "real" maps, isn't the bubble map idea supposed to see the gamers make detailed "historical" maps of the insides of their country (or bordering countries if the gamer is running more than one)? That's where the detailed maps come from that an invader will use whether the notional invader is a gamer from halfway around the world or a local enemy (like Jeff and his local buddies in British Columbia) fighting it out.

But maybe some sort of accommodation can be reached by starting with a real, period map of Europe; then have bubble map insets printed along the real map edges with a line running from the inset to an area on the real map roughly in line with the fictional countries' ethnic makeups? So a set of countries run by one gamer or group (like Jeff's) with French and German countries would be generally indicated as coming from the French-Imperial border regions; ones with all-Germanic adversaries could be generally indicated as being in the centre of the Empire or the areas near the Prussia-Austria border? (Or Germanic-Russian or Germanic-Polish etc.)

So if I ever get off my butt and do the Italianate states I'd like (with French and Austrian historical or fictional stand-ins able to interfere), then my inset of bubble maps would be linked to an area of the southern Imperial states along the Austrian-Imperial-Venetian etc. borders of the real map.

How's that for a compromise?

P.S. Look out for a spam or phishing link on your blogs, guys, from Saturday, April 05 that's hitting alot of the blogspot sites (even the ones in French).

abdul666 said...

A very interesting debate -NOT, happily, a *controversy*, everyone is working for the common good. And don't forget the numerous comments to the two recent posts devoted to the question.

We all agree that a 'real' map is necessary at least as a background to a 'bubble' one. Not only for gaming (sorry, 'campaigning') purposes, but also to have all of us appearing on the same map, as *belonging* to the same Imaginary Europe.

But for a bubble map to 'work', rulers of *large* Imagi-Nations have to accept that the area covered by their own 'bubble' on the common map is (far) smaller than its 'real' extension. (I'm totally unbiased -or viciously biased, as you prefer- the Monte-Cristan contribution to the overall area being practically null).

Indeed the underlying principle of a 'bubble' map is that the surface of our Europe is not a portion of a smooth sphere but rather (like some figurations of the surface of virus) a portion of sphere bristling with (± bulbous) excrescences. There is no other way to have 'our' total area larger (and theoretically almost infinitely so) than the 'physical' one.
Thus the bubble map is an attempt to project a 3D volume on a 2D plane. If each 'bubble' keeps its 'own' radius we will have superpositions, defeating the very objective of the bubble map. So each (group of) country (/ies of the same 'creator') could appear on the 'bubble map' only by their 'roots' (try to visualize a group of mushrooms growing from the same point on a tree stump).

The relative position of the neighbouring 'roots' could be ascertained by the relative position of the 'geometric centers' of the 'bubbles' -not two correspond *exactly* to the very same portion of the 'real' geography, thus their respective 'geometrical centers' are never perfectly superimposed.

A consequence of the 'bubbles' system is that potentially any portion of 'real geography' is mutiplicated (as in 'parallel universes'). One world-builder can freely built a city where another places a lake -both are 'right'. Having several 'Frankfurts' or 'Strasbourgs' is no longer a problem, but please change slightly the names or add a qualiticative (neue, alt, westlich...) to avoid confusion!

As for who has a common border with who... it's precisely part of the 'raison d'être' of this blog. If 2 players agree to fight and can meet across a tabletop -or have a 'proxy' to play their encounter- they will fight -either they have a common border, or we suppose a 'network' of NPC (non-player countries) allowing free trespassing to the 'aggressor'. Even the Duchy of the North can invade Monte-Cristo in search of a decent wintering place for the Ducal family - we don't bother here with 'between bubbles' logistics.
But on the other hand no player can impose war to another: at worst his troops will 'deviate' to NPC...

If two of countries have a common border, the implication is that 'on the *real* map':
-either it is also the case (thus the geography is obvious),
-or -most often- they partially 'overlap' on the 'real' map; the geography, terrain, even meteorolgy... of the 'overlap' (actually a *duplicated* area, with a copy in each 'bubble') are those of their 'border'...

Well, have been specially verbose to-night!

abdul666 said...

As a (peace-bringing and conforting) conclusion, there is NO real difference between a 'functional' bubble map with each 'bubble' appearing only by its 'root' and Arthur's suggestion to "use a 'real' map and just plug in the country names without worrying about borders."

Alan, please keep trace of the Banat of Togaras: who knows how the War in the South-West will turn? In our Real World the 3 Baltic States reappeared after centuries of occupation...

Not that some form of enjoyable synthesis between Western Europe and the Orient could not be endvisaged (yet, Levantines who let their women display their hair and face are clearly Maronite Christians... or Neo-Byzantine Moon whorshippers?).

MurdocK said...

Ultimately in the end I think we are going to have both, the Europe shaped map and the 'bubble' map (if anyone was taking the mushrooms that abdul666 was using please share them so that more of us can understand?) styles that are being discussed.

In the end, this is an entertainment and diversion, not a way of bullying one another.

I am a fan of the physical map, if only for planning a more detail oriented campaign.

For the storytellers, such a map also has merits, since the criss-cross of various players will encourage more participation.

Since time and space are elastic in this collection of 'imagi-'nations I think that both can be achieved.

I have some ideas about the variety of 'germanic' mini-states and how to solve them on the 'larger' context map. They are solutions that have been used by map makers for centuries and will work out very well for us here.

My 'pecking away' at the mapping project has been rather slow of late and will get another delay, due to family and tabletop "IN PERSON" gaming. But I am hopeful to have a rough draft by the end of April.

Fitz-Badger said...

I am a big fan of beautiful maps. I only caution that many a wargames campaign has gotten bogged down in the details of maps.
As long as the map doesn't doesn't create a need for bookkeeping; as long as it doesn't determine who can or can't attack whom; as long as it doesn't restrict where someone can set up an imagi-nation (especially newly minted ones); as long as it doesn't mean we can't have another Offenbach Tuba Works battle or a defense of Tippelbruder with assorted allies comeing from far and wide; as long as it doesn't force players to do things with their imagi-nations and characters that they don't want to do; then great. In short, as long as it's fun for each and every player, then draw up your maps and have fun. :-)

I do tend to prefer the bubble map concept. It's more free-form, so new nations of any size can be placed anywhere without disrupting existing states.

In the end, though, we could all just agree that no matter what the map shows if Gallia wants to attack Hesse-Dormouse (great name, by the way!) and the Hesse-Dormouse player agrees they can just do it. No need to keep track of map movement and how long it would take for an army to get from one place to another or what other nations' territories might be crossed. But that means the map is more decorative and less functional.

Maybe it's best to have a bubble map to show rough locations and let individuals or groups map countries with more accuracy and detail as they see fit.

For my part Batrachia and the Soweiter League are somewhere in Western Urope, probably somewhere between Belgium and Switzerland (or as the Bullwinkle show described Applesauce-Lorraine - "somewhere between France and Baja" -iirc). I don't know which states within the League border which other ones or which ones border Batrachia, but it doesn't matter to me. If I want to have Batrachia attack Heisenberg-Hasenpfeffer and have contingents from Grand Thidwick, San Gelato and Saxe-Urquhart help out it will happen.

The key word is "Fun" :-)

that's my 2 pfennigs

Bluebear Jeff said...

Just to correct one comment made in passing . . .

I am NOT going to be kicking anyone out of EvE because their country got destroyed in a war.

I don't envision kicking anyone out . . . unless it is obvious because of inappropriate posts (porn, for example).

As for maps, while I like nice detailed maps, I feel that the "bubble map" concept is more appropriate for EvE for the reasons mentioned by several others.

That being said, I'm not about to object to any detailed maps that members put forward.

-- Jeff

Frankfurter said...

I rarely do this, but I'm going to post an "Amen, Brother!!"

Fitz Badger wrote:
As long as the map doesn't doesn't create a need for bookkeeping; as long as it doesn't determine who can or can't attack whom; as long as it doesn't restrict where someone can set up an imagi-nation (especially newly minted ones); as long as it doesn't mean we can't have another Offenbach Tuba Works battle or a defense of Tippelbruder with assorted allies comeing from far and wide; as long as it doesn't force players to do things with their imagi-nations and characters that they don't want to do; then great. In short, as long as it's fun for each and every player, then draw up your maps and have fun. :-)