Mayday

In high school, I had a copy of this board game designed by Marc Miller of Game Designer's Workshop (GDW), and I've gotten back into it lately (in a big way). It is a space combat game where the ships move in a fairly realistic 2D approximation of Newtonian physics. Christer Karlsson has created a great "Gamebox" file for Mayday so it can be played via email using Cyberboard. Here is Christer's page with lots of other Gamebox files.

Here is some more info about Mayday. The original rules, map and counters are on the Classic Traveller CDROM from Far Future Enterprises.

Modified Cyberboard Gamebox and Scenario Files

I wanted to make some changes to Mayday's counters and board, so I modified Christer's Gamebox file.

Mayday uses a vector movement system in which there are three counters on the board for every moving object, representing its past, present, and future positions. When you start firing missiles, there are a LOT of counters on the board, and usually several hexes contain more than one counter.

To the Gamebox file, I added a game board with larger hexes so you can easily see multiple counters in the same hex. I made a lot of new counters by copying and modifying Christer's images of the original Mayday counters, adding blue and orange to the original green and red starship/missile counters (to allow for up to four players) as well as "E" and "F" lettered starships. I made some of the round "small craft" counters into mini versions of the starships (to make cooler representations of the small fighters described in the instructions), and made three-color past-present-future counters for the large ships. I was thinking it would be cool to have tankers moving in orbit with which you would need to rendezvous to refuel your fighters.

Here are my modified Gamebox and Scenario files: MaydayMWS.zip (134K)



Hex Boards

For playing the game in person with a real board, I created these board sections with HexDraw.

1.5 Inch Grid

If you print this image file out so it is exactly 10.5" tall, then trim off the white margin with scissors, you will get a board section with 1.5" hexagons that can be placed or taped next to other identical sections to make a large gaming area.

2 Inch Grid

If you print this image out so it is 10" tall, you will get a board section with 2" hexagons.



Ship's Status Displays (SSDs)

Here are some "Ship's Status Display" pages for keeping track of damage, fuel use, etc for the ship types used in Mayday. You can put them in plastic page protectors and write on them with dry-erase markers. (342K zip)



Counter Sheet

Here are my modified Mayday counters for Cyberboard. I recommend printing the image out on a sheet of full-page 8.5 X 11" peel-off label paper so it is exactly 10 inches wide, so you will get a grid of 1/2" square labels. Then spray the counter sheet with with this stuff, cut out the labels, and stick them onto blank white 1/2" game counters like these.



Sand Cloud Counters

In Mayday, you can cast sand to create a cloud around your ship to impede laser fire. If you print this image out on overhead transparency plastic so it is 7.5" wide, you will get a grid of 1/2" counters you can cut out and put on top of ship counters to indicate that they are in a sand cloud.





Mayday In 3 D

"He's intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern
indicates...TWO-DIMENSIONAL thinking."





Here is a way to make Mayday into a 3D game using LEGO blocks. I stole the idea from Darell Phillips, who uses Duplo blocks to represent the altitude of miniatures for the game Attack Vector: Tactical. See here. Cool idea!

What I did was get some gray LEGO 2x2 tiles and stick on my Mayday counter labels:



You can attach these to stacks of regular black 2x2 LEGO blocks to show altitude.

Here, the red ship is in a slow climb and the blue ship is in a steep dive.



Incorporating the third dimension into the game is straightforward. Use the following table to find the 3D range between two counters based on horizontal range in hexes and vertical range in levels. The table was generated using the Pythagorean Theorem, with the results rounded to the nearest whole number. This is very similar to how it's done in Attack Vector: Tactical.

                                3D Range Table                                                       
                                                                                                        
                              Horizontal Range in Hexes                                                
               1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15                              
            +-----------------------------------------------------------                                
           1|  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15                                
           2|  2   3   4   4   5   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15               +                
           3|  3   4   4   5   6   7   8   9   9  10  11  12  13  14  15               |\               
           4|  4   4   5   6   6   7   8   9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16               | \              
           5|  5   5   6   6   7   8   9   9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16               |  \  3D Range
Vertical   6|  6   6   7   7   8   8   9  10  11  12  13  13  14  15  16      Vertical |   \            
  Range    7|  7   7   8   8   9   9  10  11  11  12  13  14  15  16  17        Range  |    \           
in Levels  8|  8   8   9   9   9  10  11  11  12  13  14  14  15  16  17               |     \          
           9|  9   9   9  10  10  11  11  12  13  13  14  15  16  17  17               |      \         
          10| 10  10  10  11  11  12  12  13  13  14  15  16  16  17  18               +-------+        
          11| 11  11  11  12  12  13  13  14  14  15  16  16  17  18  19               Horizontal       
          12| 12  12  12  13  13  13  14  14  15  16  16  17  18  18  19                 Range   
          13| 13  13  13  14  14  14  15  15  16  16  17  18  18  19  20                                
          14| 14  14  14  15  15  15  16  16  17  17  18  18  19  20  21                                
          15| 15  15  15  16  16  16  17  17  17  18  19  19  20  21  21                                
                                                                                                        



For example, in the above image, the red and blue present position counters (white-on-red and white-on-blue respectively) are two hexes apart on the hex grid, so the Horizontal Range is 2. The blue counter is only 2 blocks above the board while the red counter is 4 blocks above, which means the Vertical Range is 2. Based on the table above, the 3D range between the counters is 3.



Here, the red ship was diving but is now leveling off. It has just launched a missile at the blue ship, which is climbing.

My friends and I have played several 3- and 4-player games with this system and it's pretty cool. An additional benefit of using the LEGO blocks is that the players who have been killed off can entertain themselves building stuff out of LEGOs while they're waiting for the rest to finish the game.

This method of 3D could also be applied to Triplanetary.



3D LEGO Mayday Version 2

Here's a different way to do 3D Mayday...a hex contains a single LEGO pole that can hold multiple counters on multiple levels.





In the above image, the red ship is flying up and to the right, and the blue ship is flying straight down. The red ship's missile has just intercepted the blue ship and will detonate this turn. The blue missile will intercept the red ship next turn.



Here, the blue ship is climbing to the right, the green ship is flying straight up, and the red ship is making a diving left turn.

We tried playing a game like this once, and it didn't totally work. But maybe we'll try it again and it can be improved. The simpler system with the 2x2 bricks doesn't look as cool but is much simpler to play with.


3D LEGO Mayday Version 3!

Here is a much better method. Weights are added to some 2x2 bricks, and they are used as bases for stacks of 2x2x2 "space stands". Weights which work well are the 1/4" tungsten cubes used to add ounces to Pinewood Derby cars for Cub Scouts. (We did this when I was a kid, but used lead sinkers for fishing). This was each counter can stand by itself, and unsticking LEGO joints is not necessary to pick up a piece and move it.


Rules

We've tweaked the rules a bit to make the game more playable.

  1. We always use the "simplified computer rule" in which the computer programs are all running and do not have to be loaded and unloaded.
  2. The way a "homing" missile is described in the instructions, it always moves toward the PRESENT position counter of the target. This means you can't hit a moving target unless it is flying straight at you. So we have the missile move to the target's future position counter.



Attention Gamers:

I am always interested in hearing from people who want to play Mayday (the 2D version) via email using Cyberboard. Write me a note.