based on the original board game published by SPI
VOYAGE OF THE B.S.M. PANDORA
Biological Survey Mission
Adventures on Unknown Worlds
|(c) 2010-2016 Pawel Garycki
(computer portation and modifications)
(c) 1981 SPI (original board game)
J.Butterfield, E.Woods & others
Probably the most complex MS Excel game ever!
This is the electronic version of the legendary board game. There are
additional modifications which extend the original play. The player
commands the Biological Survey Mission and explores extrasolar planets.
Onboard the spaceship there are crewmembers, robots, rovers and other
kind of equipment. The scope of the mission is to explore the diverse
planetary surfaces and collect the living creatures. There are many
factors which influence the success of the mission. Although many of
them are random there is always a possibility to minimize the risk or to
find a proper solution to a threat. The game has a very high
replayability factor. Each time the plot this unique, especially when
choosing the Randomize option. There is a possibility to save the game
or watch the replay. It is also possible to play the chain of subsequent
games with the aid of the special Rebalance system.
The program is written for MS Excel. The user interfase is quite simple but this should not be a disadvantage in this kind of a game. The focus has been placed on the game mechanics. There is a lot of decisions the player has to make. The in-built help system, tips and indicators will provide the necessary aid. It is possible to visit very egzotic and mysterious places. The encountered life forms often behave in a very subtle way and require a specific approach. The balanced play is rewarded. Let the game take you on the journey full of adventures, puzzles and emotions. Unveil the unknown or just do the scientific job. There is a lot of freedom so that you can perform different styles of play. The program utilizes the in-built Randomization and Rebalance systems which vastly increase the replayability of the game. The power of these systems is so huge that the game is able to create a whole new mod on demand, carefully altering each aspect of the play (equipment, planets, maps, creatures and more) with a given strength. All the alteration is performed using complex statistical and logical rules so that the output keeps the spirit of the original dataset (it is designed as if a real human designer made it). It is very cohesive, even the random maps are geologicaly correct and respect the planetary characteristics.
The player chooses the extrasolar planet, moves in the cosmic space which is not free from special events. The spaceship enters the orbit of the chosen body. The planets have different gravities, atmospheres (various amount of oxygen, pressure or toxicity), hydrograph and geology. They are composed of various geological and biological areas on which it is possible to land. The player configures the future expedition, choosing the mode of movement (on foot or by the rover), crewmembers (equipped - or not - in spacesuits), robots, weapons, cages, exploration and support tools, kits and supplies (representing oxygen/water/catering/fuel). After choosing to land a new map is generated based on the available landing areas list, the planetary characteristics and the random factor. The units which are destined to leave the space shuttle move to a given site and explore the desired area. The terrain may be smooth or rough, covered by tectonic or geological features, different amounts of liquids and vegetation of different density, sometimes submerged. It may bo cold or hot. There may be a fog. Occasionally you can expect some artificial structures, their inhabitants or left tools... (As the existence of the rational alien beings seems to be contrary to the Catholic dogma of monogenesis please percept this possibility as a pure fiction). The encountered life forms require specific environment to live. Some of them are really endemic but provide a justified reward for their finder.
The exploration is not a safe profession. It is even worse during the hasty movement. There are numerous accidents to occur. They depend on the terrain or environmental factors and the player's contemporary or past decissions. Even in the space accidents are still the case. It is desireble to keep track on the supply expenditure. The rate of it depends on the amount of the supply-hungry units, the visited terrain and overall conditions on the surface. If the expedition runs out of supplies, the characters will starve and the equipment will refuse to work. Exploration of rare terrain is rewarded. The encountered life forms have different characteristics. Each specie is unique in at least one aspect and may act differently than others in a similar situation. The player initially evaluates the creature and decides whether to communicate, make a trap, wait, capture, kill or escape (usually under Communicate, Combat and Flee strategies). The captured beings will undergo further research onboard the spaceship. Sometimes the creature itself chooses the strategy, e.g. by performing a surprising attack. During an encounter there are often chases and combats in which the expedition can suffer injuries and damage. Infections are also possible. The expedition can perform healing, repair and the first aid.
The player collects Victory Points (VP). If a required number of them is reached and the spaceship successfully returns to the Earth, the player wins. VPs are gained for planetary and life forms' research; rare events, encounters, behaviors and areas; rare and diverse terrain; the use of specialized units; holographic pictures, successfull communications; delivery of captured creatures or tools; learning the creatures' indicators and balanced use of units. VPs are lost mainly due to crewmember casualties and equipment damage.
*** WARNING! ***
Close all MS Excel applications and workbooks before opening the .xls file with the game !!! Otherwise it may damage your settings and data. Do not ever open any other MS Excel workbooks while execution of the program! The cooperation with other Visual Basic application is NOT yet checked. It is better not to operate other VBA macros while execution of the program. Execution of the program may alter some default MS Excel settings so don't be surprised by this fact. They can be restored manually.
Unpack the archive to any destination.
Backup the files before the first use. Open BSMPandora xls file by clicking on it.
If VBA macros are disabled in MS Excel the program will NOT operate, possibly producing an error on opening. Enable VBA macros in MS Excel first. (Enabling macros in the old MS Excel: Run MS Excel (but not BSMPandora xls). In menu choose Tools --> Macro --> Security. Select 'Low'. Press OK. Close MS Excel.)
After doing so it is possible to play. The saved games and replays will be saved in the PandoraSaves folder. Don't delete the 'tutorial00001.txt' file! Always leave the program by the 'Exit program' button in the main menu of the game.
DISCLAIMER & END USER LICENCE FOR THE USE OF THE ELECTRONIC PORTATION
The computer version (all MS Excel worksheets and their content, VBA source code, documentation files) is based on the board game published more than 30 years ago. The author of the conversion does not claim any copyright to the original board game. The only copyright he claims is for the programmistic engine under which the game can be run in the electronic version and all the datasets which were not included in the original game (called mods). In order to play the computer version the user has to be the legal owner of the original board game so that the electronic distribution does not harm the original publishers and their interests. The included advertisments are not for any paid sites or services and are connected with the artistic works (all available for free) of the author of the computer conversion. Its tematic is somewhat connected to the space exploration, fiction, travelling and philosophy. I assume that the original game creators were also interested in popularization of such topics. The electronic version contains numerous changes to the original rules and datasets which the author of the conversion found necessary to include in order to improove the game, fix the original bugs, adjust it to the modern PC version and improove the balance. The ingerention was intended to be as least harmful to the spirit of the original game, the rules and the datasets as possible. The improovements are just overlays to the original content. The randomization and the rebalance also follow these rules. The original instruction was also partially translated for the needs of the PC version documentation. The extraction of the code of the program or its parts is forbidden. The program can be used only for playing the BSM Pandora game. No other use of the code is allowed, especially any commercial activity based on the virtual databases and the programmistic engine. The program is delivered 'as is' with no warranty whatsoever. On no condition does the author of the conversion account for the software or game errors in the program or in the game and for any harm the program could cause to the user and their property. The game may not be suitable for little children. The program creates a new folder called 'PandoraSaves' in the place where the file is stored and lanuched from. It is necessary for saving of the game saves and defragmentation of the table variables. Without this option the program cannot operate. WARNING! Don't use other MS Excel files while execution of the program as they can be damaged! All the opinions found in this Excel sheet, the VBA source code and documentation are not the author-of-the-conversion's opinions. The author of the conversion is ready for stopping the electronic distribution of the program whenever the original publisher wishes so, provided such claims are fully justified. Please email me if such situation occurs and show the evidence that the availability of the program on the author-of-the-conversion's site is not according to the law of Poland and international copyright law which Poland signs and ratifies. The download of the file can only be done from www.garycki.com and its subsites. It is not allowed to link directly to the file. Please point your link to www.garycki.com instead.