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synopsys of scenario :
"Trader Joe" is a scenario written to gauge how the monopolistic use of economic pressure by a wealthy centralized empire might be used to influence the behavior of otherwise hostile empires. Trader Joe's ultimate objective is to maintain a balance of power between competing empires in the neighborhood, ultimately to stalemate them from conquering each other. Player 1, as "Trader Joe," begins with a virtual castle in the middle of the galaxy, defended by dense nebula, SRMs, and LAMs. The empire begins with lavish riches in tradeable goods, including supplies, metals, trillum, chemicals, and even ambrosia. He must use these goods to obtain a stronger foundation, as the empire is lacking in Men and Ships, and there are no nearby planets to which the empire may naturally expand. It is a trade capital after all, and there is no immediate need of these ships. The merchant empire has an elaborate network of gates and warp links that extend its reach into the six surrounding empires, and even into the scattered planets on the edge of the galaxy.
For purposes of our scenario, Trader Joe has struck a secret deal with a powerful distant ally. If Trader Joe can maintain the balance of power in this neighborhood for 60 years, his ally will deliver to him all of the starships and men he needs to take control of the area forever. If he fails, the ally will consider Trader Joe unworthy of his support, and look elsewhere for allies. Trader Joe may choose instead to follow his own path of war, however, so he is not to be trusted to maintain the peace. Trader Joe may choose to abandon the deal with his distant ally, and seek to grab control of the region by force. Any player empire, including Trader Joe, who is able to conquer any enemy capital or the original homeworld of an enemy, will be considered by distant forces to be the most competent power in the region, and will receive a fighting fleet great enough to defeat every other empire in the neighborhood. So, empires must take care not to give too much war power to Trader Joe in their negotiations.
Surrounding empires must decide whether to trade with Trader Joe, or band together, even with sworn enemies, to boycott his monopolistic practices. Each empire may be offered the chance to addict their empires to a steady stream of ambrosia, or reject such offers from Trader Joe. With the addition of a Trader Joe type empire, the excitement and danger of negotiation and compromise are introduced to the anacreon team game. The development of a large empire may depend heavily on your trading skills. Interestingly, the relative strength of players to develop their internal economies may not be the over riding factor in success. Trader Joe must constantly seek to offset disparities amongst empires to maintain the balance of power - so weaker players may frequently be favored in trades with the central monopoly.
Player notes... for clarification Be alert to strict requirements of victory conditions: Any war alliances you may make with Trader Joe are temporary only. Trader Joe may not declare victory as an ally of any other player empire (and vice versa). Trader Joe must act alone in any victory. Trader Joe may only win if his own empire strikes the blow that captures an enemy capital or original homeworld, or alternatively, if he prevents all other empires from striking that blow for a period of 60 years. Similarly, the two competing teams may not declare victory by working together to defeat Trader Joe. Only the empire or team that strikes the actual winning blow over an enemy capital may declare victory. All other teams lose when this event occurs. Thus, both teams also have an incentive to prevent the enemy team from capturing the Trader Joe Capital.
This scenario was written to be played as a 3 vs.3 vs. 1 team game, but it can be played as a free for all, or 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 vs. 1 game. The player acting as Trader Joe starts the game as player 1- or alternatively, someone who is not playing the game (a neutral party) may establish an account and password for Trader Joe - set up the game - and then give the account name and password to the player who will be Trader Joe, who will begin his turn on year 2. Players should decide on any changes to the rules in advance of the game and circulate them to all players. If played as a 3 vs. 3 vs. 1 game, the first team should consist of Players 2, 4, and 6; and the second team should consist of Players 3, 5 and 7. Alternatively, player empires can be side by side, and can be set up with Players 2, 3 and 4 on one team, and Players 5, 6, and 7 on the other. If played as a 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 vs. 1 game, the first team should consist of players on opposite sides: 2 and 5, 3 and 6, 4 and 7; or can consist of players with empires that are side by side: 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 6 and 7. Unless otherwise agreed, the Player acting as Trader Joe will be free to position the players in any manner he or she sees fit. If a neutral party positions the players, the neutral party will not disclose which person is playing any particular position. Note to moderator: Occasionally, you will get the message "Unable to find space in zone for random world." Just hit "okay" until the game begins - or restart the game, if necessary. If a player capital spawns in dense nebula, restart the game.