VassalModule

Preface

A new version of the piecepack module and a TON of new extensions has been released! See the progress on the bottom of this page. Please add any bugs or feature requests.

Note: This documentation is still a work in progress. --- JonathanDietrich

IMPORTANT: Latest version can be found on its vassal page.

Introduction

Vassal

VASSAL is an engine for building and playing Internet-capable versions of turn-based, human-vs-human games. Players move and manipulate game pieces via the mouse and keyboard shortcuts while typing accompanying text. Moves can be recorded into a log file and stepped through one at a time for email play. During live Internet play, all moves and text are automatically broadcast to other players in real time. Combining a live VASSAL session with a third-party Internet voice-chat tool (such as NetMeeting? or TeamSpeak?) allows you to play with people around the world at very close to face-to-face pace.

Where to Get It

You can get the vassal engine at vassalengine.org.

How to Use It

Please read the Vassal User's Guide before trying to use the program or the piecepack module. The guide explains how to install Vassal, and its basic functions. Information found there will not be duplicated in this documentation.

Piecepack Module

This is the core piecepack module. It contains all you need to be able to play most 1-8 player games that require 1 or 2 identical piecepacks and or the card suits. The graphics are all based off of the JcdPiecepack set, but with some differences, including some colour! Also included in the main modules are some coloured gems which can be used as counters or additional pieces, post-it style notes for keeping information on the table, and a bunch of different playing boards.

Where to Get It

Download the latest version. On that page you may find two types of downloads: a big packaged zip, and smaller update files. For now, just grab the big packaged zip (the description should say it includes a bunch of stuff). This zip file is important, because it will also create the correct directory needed for all of the fancy features found in the extensions.

Unzip this zip file somewhere. I suggest creating a modules directory inside of your VASSAL directory, and putting the contents of the zip file in there.

Later, you may find that updates to specific extensions or brand new extensions are made available on that same page. You can download these and then add them to your piecepack installation.

How to Use It

Once you have the vassal engine installed, you can start it. Choose Play Module and then select the piecepack module that you downloaded. The piecepack module should now be loaded and you are ready to go.

This section is only going to cover the piecepack specific functionality. To find out how to log on to the server and play games against others online, please read the Vassal User's Guide. It would be a good idea to open follow along as you read this, as it should help make things clear.

Starting Off

To start a game, choose File -> New Game.
This will prompt you to choose a side to join. The default option is <observer> which should only be used if you are observing other play. Choose a team, labelled Team A through Team H (that's 8 different teams if you are counting.)
Now you will be asked to select a board. The standard piecepack module comes with a bunch including Table Top, Table Top (No Grid), and 2 different chess boards. Future extensions may add additional boards. Select a board that is most appropriate for the game you intend to play and click Ok.
You are now ready to start playing a game. You will now drag various pieces onto the game board to set up the starting conditions for your game. Once ready you can start playing.

The Tool bar

The section running just under the menu is known as the tool bar. It contains an array of various buttons. Some of these buttons are built into the vassal engine, and others are created by the piecepack module or its extensions. When ever a button in the tool bar is referenced it will appear in this notation (Tool bar -> button name). Some of the buttons are graphical and so the button name may not appear as text, but it shouldn't be too hard to figure it out.

The Piece Pallet

Some of the pieces can be found in the piece pallet. You can open it by clicking the Pieces button (Tool bar -> Pieces). Once the piece pallet is open, you can choose the section from the drop down list and then subsection from the right hand pane. This process will be indicated in the descriptions below using the following notation (Pieces -> section -> subsection ). The pieces will then appear in the left pane. Pieces in the piece pallet can be dragged from the left pane and onto the board.

Right click

Most, if not all, of the pieces have commands associated with them such as rotate or flip. In order to access these commands, right click on the piece and then choose the option. You will notice that some of the commands also have keyboard shortcuts listed after their title in the menu. These shortcuts will allow you quick access to the commands without having to right click first.

The Floating Deck

Many games require that you draw a random tile or coin. In order to facilitate this the piecepack module uses a separate window to hold a couple of decks. This window can be opened or closed with Tool bar -> Deck. This window has four areas marked on it.
The top two act like decks of cards. These are marked with black outlines and are entitled Random Tiles and Random Coins. Piles of pieces get placed in these spots, then when you drag a piece off of it, you get a random piece.
These decks have the following options available in the right-click menu:
The bottom two act like discard piles. They have red outlines and are entitled Discard Tiles and Discard Coins. This is where tiles and coins when they are discarded from the board.
These decks have the following options available in the right-click menu:

The Pieces

Description of where to find and how to use all of the pieces.

Pawns

This module uses the star coins found in the JcdPiecepack as pawns. They are directional and have two states (ie can be flipped) They can be found in the piece pallet (Pieces -> piecepack -> pawns).
Pawns have the following options available in the right-click menu:

Dice

If a game requires you roll any of the piecepack dice, you can do so by clicking one of the dice buttons in the tool bar (Tool bar -> dice button) There are currently 4 such dice buttons: the four standard suit dice, the expanded suit dice, a standard suit selector die, and an expanded suit selector die. Clicking on one of the buttons will roll all of the dice depicted on the button. The faces of the dice will change to show the result, as well the results will be logged in the chat screen.
If a game requires you to use the dice as pawns, or it is necessary to keep certain information stored on a die for future reference, you will have to use the dice found in the piece pallet (Pieces -> piecepack -> dice). These dice function as pieces and can be dragged on to the board just like any other piece in the pallet.
Dice (on the board) have the following options available in the right-click menu:

Tiles & Coins

The tiles & coins can be found in the Tiles & Coins window which can be opened with Toolbar -> T&C. A second set of the basic tiles & coins are available in Toolbar -> T&C (2nd). The expanded suit tiles & coins are in Toolbar -> T&C (exp).
When you start the piecepack module, the tiles & coins have been separated out into their suits. This makes it easier to grab sub-sets of tiles or coins. As well the piles (decks in vassal terminology) have some features that make it easy to get just the the tiles you want.
Initial tile decks have the following options available in the right-click menu:
Tiles & coins themselves have the following options available in the right-click menu:

Gems

These are very simple pieces very much like the glass stones or gems you might find in some games. You can find them in the piece pallet (Pieces -> miscellaneous -> gems).
Gems have the following options available in the right-click menu:

Notes

There are currently two types of notes in the piecepack module: vassal built-in, and a post-it style note.
The vassal built-in has lots of functionality (which can be learned about in the Vassal User's Guide. It can be found on the toolbar (Toolbar -> note icon).
The post-it style note can be placed on the board and moved around just like any piece. It can be found in the piece pallet (Pieces -> miscellaneous -> notes).

NOTE: this entry is not complete.

Extensions

The Vassal engine allows module creators to release extensions that add new pieces and functionality to existing modules. The extensions available for piecepack are intended to allow even more games to be played.

Installation

In the same directory as the main piecepack module, create a directory named piecepack_ext and then put the extension file in the piecepack_ext directory. Now whenever you load the piecepack module, it will also load the extensions.

NOTE: Many extensions are included with the large zip file containing the piecepack module. In fact ALL modules created at the time that the specific piecepack module was created are included, and will therefore not require any special installation!

Icehouse

IceHouse pyramids. I am very happy with how this worked out.. translucent, stackable, nestable, 10 colours (red, blue, green, yellow, cyan, orange, purple, white, black and ice). Although the opaque pieces are available, they can not be used for hiding information.

How to Use It

This module adds an icehouse option to the pieces menu. Pieces -> icehouse will reveal a list of colours available on the right. Select a colour and grab your pyramids!

Icehouse Pieces

Each piece has the following options available in the right-click menu:

Checkers, Black & White Reversible Pieces, Match Sticks

This expansion introduces Checkers, Black & White Reversible Pieces, Match Sticks. These are all pretty basic pieces with functions similar to pawns.

How to Use It

Install it using the above generic extension installation instructions. This will add Checkers, Matches, and Reversible to the Pieces -> Miscellaneous menu. Choose your section and drag the pieces to the board as you would any other piece in the pallet.

The Future

Any ideas or suggestions are always welcome.

Ideas for future extensions

Bugs, Corrections, or Feature requests for Existing Pieces

User comments