Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
STARLANES(6)			 Games Manual			  STARLANES(6)

       starlanes - the game of starlanes

       starlanes [-v|c|m]

       Starlanes is a game of interstellar commerce for	1 to 4 players.	 Play-
       ers take	two-phase turns: the first phase is movement,  the  second  is

       The  object  of the game	is to become as	wealthy	as possible by trading
       and merging companies whilst out-smarting your friends and enemies.

       -v   Print version information

       -c   Force the game to play in color mode

       -m   Force the game to play in mono mode

   The Starlanes User Interface
       Starlanes is written using color	ncurses, but will detect a  black  and
       white screen and	will modify its	output accordingly.  On	Linux, setting
       TERM=console or	TERM=linux  either  on	a  virtual  console  or	 in  a
       color_xterm window works	well.

       After  the  initial  player determination screen, you will be presented
       with the	main Starlanes screen.	This screen is split into three	 indi-
       vidual  windows:	 the  map  window, the company window, and the general
       info window.

       The map window shows the	terrain	of the universe.  The legend is:

	      *	- Star
	      @	- Black	hole
	      +	- Infant company
	      .	- Empty	space
	      A	- Company A (Altair Starways)

       The companies are Altair	Starways, Beetlejuice  Ltd.,  Capella  Freight
       Co., Denebola Shippers, and Eridani Expediters.	On the map, the	compa-
       nies are	represented by the first letter	of their name.

       The company window shows	information concerning the currently  existing
       companies,  including  the  company  name, its price per	share, and the
       current player's	holdings.

       The general info	window will prompt the user for	input if the player is
       waiting	to  move or trade, but will also display special announcements
       as they come up.	 During	a player's turn, that player's	name  is  dis-
       played in the title bar of the window, along with his cash holdings.

       Also, mention should be made of two other windows: the player standings
       window and the company detail window (not to be confused	with the  com-
       pany info window.)

       The  player standings window can	be brought up during the player's move
       by pressing the 's' key.	 This window shows  all	 the  player's	names,
       stock  holdings,	cash, and total	worth, sorted by total worth.  It also
       shows the number	of sectors that	remain to be filled by	companies  be-
       fore the	game ends.

       The  company  detail window is invoked with the 'c' key.	 It shows, for
       each active company, its	name, price per	share, size, and  total	 worth
       (all  player's  shares  * price per share).  The	company	size and total
       worth are useful	in determining the result of a merger (see below.)

       If a screen redraw is necessary,	pressing '^L' at  almost  any  of  the
       prompts will accomplish that.

       Finally,	 if  the  players want to quit before the game before is over,
       press 'q' or '^C' and a quit verification window	will pop up.   If  'y'
       is pressed, the final game standings will be displayed, and the program
       will end.

   Player Movement
       During the first	phase of a player's turn, the computer will prompt for
       a  move	from  a	choice of 5.  These moves are chosen randomly (for the
       most part).  Upon making	your move, there are several things that might
       happen.	(NOTE: it is important to remember that	two objects on the map
       are adjacent only if they are orthogonally adjacent.   Diagonals	 don't

       If  you move into a sector that is completely surrounded	by empty space
       (.), that sector	will then contain an infant company (+).

       If you move next	to an existing company (A-E), that company will	expand
       into  that  sector  of  the  map.   If the new extension	of the company
       touches an infant company (+), that infant company will also be assimi-

       Given  that  you're not moving next to an existing company, if you move
       next to a star (*) or an	infant company (+),  a	new  company  will  be
       formed.	 You, as company founder, will receive 5 shares	in the company
       for free.  For calculating how much a company will be worth,  see  Com-
       pany Pricing, below.

       If  you	happen	to  move  next to a black hole (@), one	of many	things
       could happen, depending on the circumstances.  See Black	Holes, below.

   Company Pricing
       Determining a company's price per share is  fairly  simple.   Generally
       speaking,  a  company  is  worth	 $100 for every	sector it occupies (as
       given on	the company info window	under ``Size''), plus $500  for	 every
       sector  it occupies which is adjacent to	a star (*), minus $500 for ev-
       ery sector it occupies which is adjacent	to a black  hole  (@).	 If  a
       company's price per share drops to 0 or less, the company vanishes (see
       Black Holes, below.)  Also note that you	will not be able  to  visually
       estimate	 a  company's  price per share if that company has undergone a
       stock split (see	Stock Splits, below.)

   Holding Bonus
       Immediately after a player's move, he is	awarded	a cash bonus equal  to
       5%  of the total	worth of his complete holdings.	 This bonus is awarded
       even if the game	ends directly following	the move (see Game's End,  be-
       low.)   This is the cash	that the player	will then use during the trad-
       ing phase (see Trading, below.)

       If any companies	exist after a player moves on  the  map,  that	player
       will be given the chance	to buy and sell	stock.	This is	where the game
       is really played.  One must determine which companies are going to earn
       the  highest  profits  in  the next round and invest in those companies
       more heavily than ones that only	have  a	 small	chance	of  turning  a
       profit.	 (See  Strategy,  below.)   The	current	player's cash value is
       printed next to his name	in the general info window title.

       Use the arrow keys to select a company you wish to trade	stock in, then
       press  return.	You  will  be asked for	an amount to trade.  Enter the
       number of shares	you wish to purchase in	this company.  (Just press re-
       turn  again  or enter ``0'' if you don't	really want to trade with this
       company.)  Choose a negative amount if you want to sell shares (at 100%
       of their	value.)	 At this point,	the user can also press	the 'm'	key to
       purchase	the maximum number of shares possible, or press	the 'n'	key to
       sell all	of his holdings	in this	company.

       Once  the  player has completed trading,	he can press escape to end his
       turn, thereby transferring control to the next player.

       When a player chooses a sector of the map that would cause two or  more
       companies to touch, a merger occurs.

       First,  the companies sizes are checked and the company with the	larger
       size absorbs the	smaller.

       If the companies	are the	same size, the company with the	highest	 total
       worth absorbs the smaller.  (The	user can view company size and company
       total worth on the company detail window, see above.)

       Finally,	if both	company	sizes and total	worths	match,	the  companies
       will merge at random.

       If a three or four-way merger occurs, the merges	will take place	one at
       a time, in an order that	is somewhat clockwise.

       After a merger, each player will	have half the number of	shares of held
       in  the	vanquished  company  added to the number of shares held	in the
       still-existing company.	The  value  of	the  still-existing  company's
       price  per  share  will	increase by the	vanquished company's price per

       Additionally, each player receives a cash bonus equal to

	      10 * stock price * holdings percentage,

       where stock price is the	old price per share of the vanquished  company
       and  holdings percentage	is the percentage of total stock once owned in
       the vanquished company.	For  example,  imagine	that  Altair  Starways
       (worth  $500 per	share) is merged into Denebola Shippers.  Also,	assume
       that the	player owned 50% of the	total shares in	Altair Starways.   Us-
       ing the formula,	that player would receive a bonus of

	      10 * $500	* 50% =	$2,500.

       For more	hints on how to	deal with mergers, see Strategy, below.

   Stock Splits
       When a company's	price per share	climbs above $3,000, a stock split oc-
       curs.  All player holdings in that company are doubled, and  the	 price
       per share is halved.  See Strategy, below, for money making tips	during
       and after stock splits.

   Black Holes
       Since black holes drain $500 from any company that is in	 contact  with
       them,  it is possible that the company's	price per share	will drop to 0
       or less.	 If this happens, the entire company is	sucked	out  of	 space
       and all player holdings are lost.

       If  a  player attempts to place an infant company (+) near a black hole
       (@), that infant	company	will be	immediately sucked up, resulting again
       in an empty sector.

       Likewise,  if  a	player attempts	to start a new company that would nor-
       mally be	worth $500 or less per share next to a black hole, the sectors
       that the	new company would have occupied	all become empty space (.).

       For some	ways to	make black holes work to your advantage, see Strategy,

   Game's End
       The game	ends when 54% of the map is filled with	 companies  (about  70
       sectors.)   The player who made the final move receives his 5% holdings
       bonus (see Holding Bonus, above)	and the	final standings	window is dis-
       played.	The player with	the highest total worth	is the winner.

       In  order  to  maximize your profits, you must wisely invent your cash.
       For instance, if	a company is near a black hole,	it is likely  that  it
       will  lose  $500	per share in the next few rounds.  Likewise, if	a com-
       pany is near a star, it might soon have a $500 gain.

       Also, the larger	the company, the greater that chance that it  will  be
       added onto (just	because	it takes up more room on the map.)  If you own
       300 shares in a company,	and its	value  goes  up	 by  $100  per	share,
       that's a	$30,000	increase in your net worth.

       Another	thing  to watch	for is when companies are about	to merge.  Re-
       member that the number of shares	you own	in the smaller company will be
       halved  before being added to the bigger	one when they merge.  This can
       be used to your advantage, especially if	the smaller company  is	 worth
       significantly less than the larger.  If the big company is worth	$2,000
       per share, and the small	is worth $200 per share, you can buy 10	 times
       as many shares in the smaller.  When the	companies merge, the number of
       shares in the smaller company is	halved,	but it's  still	 5  times  the
       amount of stock you could've purchased in the larger company.

       Don't  forget that when two companies merge, the	players	receive	a cash
       bonus that depends on the percentage of stock they owned	in the smaller
       company	(see  Mergers, above.)	It is good to try to own a higher per-
       centage than anyone else.

       A way to	gain profit earning potential is to have  a  large  number  of
       shares  in  a  company  when  the  stock	 splits	two-for-one (see Stock
       Splits, above.)	Even though your initial net worth  remains  the  same
       after  a	 stock	split, you'll now increase your	net worth by twice the
       value you used to whenever the company's	price per share	rises.	 Also,
       if  your	 opponent  has	100  shares and	you have 150 before the	split,
       that'll change to 200 shares and	 300  shares,  effectively  increasing
       your lead in shares by 100%.

       Black  holes  weren't  present  in the original game, but were added to
       give players who	have fallen behind a chance to shaft the leaders.   If
       your  opponent  owns 100	shares of Altair Starways and you only own 50,
       you can extend the company against a black hole.	  Your	opponent  will
       lose $50,000 from his net worth,	but you'll only	lose $25,000.

       Finally,	 a  reminder  to invest	as much	money as you possible can each
       round (unless it's too risky.)  The reason for  this  is	 the  5%  cash
       bonus all players receive each round based on their holdings (see Hold-
       ings Bonus, above.)  Your cash earns you	no interest.


       This version of Starlanes was written and is  Copyright	(C)  by	 Brian
       ``Beej''	   Hall	  1995-1997.	The   author   can   be	  reached   at	Starlanes comes	with ABSOLUTELY	 NO  WARRANTY.
       This  is	 free  software,  and you are welcome to redistribute it under
       certain conditions; read	the file COPYING for details.

       I'd like	to thank the unnamed authors of	 the  original	Starlanes  for
       creating	 such  a thought provoking and fun to play text-based game.  I
       got my first copy on a First Osborne Group (FOG)	disk in	what must have
       been  1982  or  so,  and	used to	spend endless hours playing against my
       friends.	 For us, the game is just as fun as ever.  To the original au-
       thors, I	salute you!

       There are no computer controlled	players.

       Doesn't respond if ^Z is	pressed	to suspend the game.

       If  only	 one  person is	playing, he or she will	frequently make	enough
       money to	break the fixed-field-length windows and/or cause the variable
       that holds player cash to overflow.  Try	to keep	your earnings under $2
       billion until I convert these variables to long doubles.	 :-)

Starlanes V1.2.2		 29 March 1996			  STARLANES(6)


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help