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What an emperor of a space empire does?


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3664

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 04:49 AM

A very general "everything welcome" brinstorming about what an emperor of some sort of a space empire can/should do? What are his daily routines what is his job?

Alternatively, you can note what he is not supposed to do.

 

It's for a strategy game that simulates a space emperor (rather then the space empire), so a game more from the point of view of the person, the emperor.


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#2 mousetail   Members   -  Reputation: 1158

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 04:52 AM

He sits around, eats snacks and lets his governors do the work I would say, but that wouldn't make a very interesting game...



#3 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3664

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:04 AM

:) Not if everyone wants to assinate him and he needs to check if these snacks are not poisonous (or to be precise determine which ones are the poisonous ones and whom he should behead for this) :D

 

 

Audience - he sits on the throne and people and coming in and he needs to sort out various issues (while not having the time to deal with them all)

Assigns ministerial positions/officials of all sorts

Gives out medals and promotions to officers

Fights his brother who want to usurp the throne


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#4 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8933

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:07 AM

I see the Emperor as an analogy of corporate business high-level management (often called "Strategic Management").

My personal experience is that of video game development, and I've noted this:

 

- Provides budget, allocates resources and defines an objective.

- Receives key indicators/metrics of smaller-scale (projects/orders) developments and how close they are to achieving the intended result.

 

In other words, as an Emperor (or anyone from high management) you should:

 

In the context of a mission:

- Allocate budget and people, and demand an objective (Attack Tau Ceti for conquest, you can use everyone you need from Squadron Corps 22T (approx 1000 soldiers) and up to 130K$. I want this done as of date X.

Then, your underlings will assemble a fleet that they believe fits the budget, and can get the job done before the end-date. They will launch the operation and report on their progress. It is quite possible that they will inform you of their inability to provide the necessary result given the circumpstances which you have set, and you will hav an opportunity to act if necessary to either perform damage control (aborting the project perhaps) or see it through by adding additionnal resources ($, people, or time). You might also revise the scope of your operation, for example, limit the conquest to planet X-22 of the Tau Ceti system.



#5 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3664

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:25 AM

Random mechanics:

 

The emperor is sitting on a throne and there is an audience. You have a pool of "money" and "people". Various officials come to you and ask for resources, you decide (one by one) if to grant it or not. The trick is you don't know who will come next and how important the next request might be, so you can't determine perfectly how much mony you can still spend safely (maybe the last one will come with an info about an invasion?)

 

Military (fleet and land imperial infantry regiments) could be as "tokens". You don't move them on any map but "assign/borrow" to certain task (upon request). For example an official come in and says they might have detected aliens near planet X and request scout ships squadron. You would have 3 options regarding how many ships to send (if any), and then all the assigned ships will be locked (unavailable) for X days.


Edited by Acharis, 09 May 2013 - 05:26 AM.

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#6 mippy   Members   -  Reputation: 1002

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:53 AM

Something like this:


Edited by mipmap, 09 May 2013 - 06:54 AM.


#7 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1797

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:04 AM

Random mechanics:

 

The emperor is sitting on a throne and there is an audience. You have a pool of "money" and "people". Various officials come to you and ask for resources, you decide (one by one) if to grant it or not. The trick is you don't know who will come next and how important the next request might be, so you can't determine perfectly how much mony you can still spend safely (maybe the last one will come with an info about an invasion?)

 

Military (fleet and land imperial infantry regiments) could be as "tokens". You don't move them on any map but "assign/borrow" to certain task (upon request). For example an official come in and says they might have detected aliens near planet X and request scout ships squadron. You would have 3 options regarding how many ships to send (if any), and then all the assigned ships will be locked (unavailable) for X days.

 

That really doesn't make much sense. The last person in line brining news of an invasion would likely have badgered someone with the important news, and a group of high level officials would have pushed their way to the front of the line. If they were late and came at the end anyway, then the emperor would simply whistle get everyone's attention again and say "Well, sorry chaps, all your stuff is canceled, found something more important."

 

 

May I suggest reading Dune: House Atreides (1999), Dune: House Harkonnen (2000), and Dune: House Corrino (2001)? They deal with high politics in a space empire, and may give some ideas of what can actually be done. 


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#8 polyfrag   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1841

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:46 AM

 

Issuing proclamations and such


Edited by polyfrag, 09 May 2013 - 08:48 AM.


#9 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8933

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:53 AM

That really doesn't make much sense. The last person in line brining news of an invasion would likely have badgered someone with the important news, and a group of high level officials would have pushed their way to the front of the line. If they were late and came at the end anyway, then the emperor would simply whistle get everyone's attention again and say "Well, sorry chaps, all your stuff is canceled, found something more important."

 

Well, having a reference of Risk assessment could help.

 

Project Management is a lot like managing this kind of chaos, and, for a job, its actually fun. I'm just not sure you can easily gamify this.



#10 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9863

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:55 AM

Mostly, an emperor would be dealing with attempts to dethrone him. 


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#11 Plethora   Members   -  Reputation: 679

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 09:17 AM

The audience thing is good, but I think the real key to it all is to keep in mind that the emperor is inevitably going to have to deal with factions within his empire.  The emperor should realize that regardless of how he got there, the key to staying there is keeping support from other power brokers in his empire.

 

To that end, the actions you take as emperor should making your supporters happy, getting those who do not support you out of power, while simultaneously making sure that no one entity ever ammasses enough power to be a threat to you.

 

In practical gameplay terms, various factions should regularly make requests or even demands of you, you can decide whether or not to grant them, but the game should give you information on how that will effect the support you get from that faction. 


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#12 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3664

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:42 PM

the actions you take as emperor should making your supporters happy

I was thinking about that part for a long time and the main issue I have with it is the mood of the game. If you are to please the people then how is emperor different from a president of a federation? It simply turns into a democration... Which is not feeling emperish at all :D Or it could turn into the old ZX_Spectrum "Dictator" http://www.nrtoone.com/dictator/ which does not fell right either.

 

I mean, if you are an emperor you should not make others "happy", maybe content if you really have to. But to worry all the time about your subordinates feelings or dancing to please them... No, I don't want to be that kind of emperor :) I don't want to at all :D

 

But the second part "getting those who do not support you out of power, while simultaneously making sure that no one entity ever ammasses enough power to be a threat to you" sound perfectly within the mood...


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#13 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1797

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:34 PM

the actions you take as emperor should making your supporters happy

I was thinking about that part for a long time and the main issue I have with it is the mood of the game. If you are to please the people then how is emperor different from a president of a federation? It simply turns into a democration... Which is not feeling emperish at all biggrin.png Or it could turn into the old ZX_Spectrum "Dictator" http://www.nrtoone.com/dictator/ which does not fell right either.

 

I mean, if you are an emperor you should not make others "happy", maybe content if you really have to. But to worry all the time about your subordinates feelings or dancing to please them... No, I don't want to be that kind of emperor smile.png I don't want to at all biggrin.png

 

But the second part "getting those who do not support you out of power, while simultaneously making sure that no one entity ever ammasses enough power to be a threat to you" sound perfectly within the mood...

 

The difference between your emperor staying on the throne, and the president getting re-elected, is that the emperor only needs to maintain strong relations with a handful of people in other areas of power who support him, ie, military/nobility/businesses. While you need to be reasonably popular with the general population, it is really more lip service to them just just make sure they always stay just happy enough to not be willing to put in the effort and risk of a rebellion. 


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#14 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3664

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:16 PM

The difference between your emperor staying on the throne, and the president getting re-elected, is that the emperor only needs to maintain strong relations with a handful of people in other areas of power

Hmm, an important distinction. I would also add that an emperor has his own assets (emperor only loyal regiments not just imperial regiments), so even an emperor on exile would still retain some personal forces (in theory, in practice exile=death for an emperor :D).

 

There is also another question regarding an empire, should it be rather feudal (emperor & other nobles) or more modern (emperor & organisations / private owned corporations)? The feudal seems more natural at the first glance, but in the real world (Babylon 5 :D) the modern one is more common I guess. Both models have advantages...


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#15 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1797

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 03:54 PM

The thing is, nothing says they can't really be both. The universe laid out by Frank Herbert, and continued by his son, have this beautiful mix and balances of power. The Noble Houses are very much driven by economics and the management of whole planets, while the corporation side focuses more on larger scale trade and the economics across the whole empire. Your nobile houses are more like major family businesses that keep an iron fist on local markets, and the few major corporations are almost their own secret societies driven by profits. 

 

So the emperor's job becomes one of pitting other players in politics against each other, and it is a very delicate balance. Offer too much support to one side, and they will rise over you and cut your throne out from under you. Be too ineffective, and the nobles begin to work together and over throw you.


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#16 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3664

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:20 AM

Anyone, more ideas/thoughts? It's brainstorming, it can be anything related, it can be incompatible with what others said (it can be even incompatible with what you said previously :D). Just anything that you find would fit.


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#17 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 818

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 06:09 AM

An emperor (and kings for that matter) are political jugglers that play one faction off another. There are lots of underlings to get things done but he probably holds his position because he maintaines support of sufficient factions or was neutral enough (and thus has not much real influence)  to the most powerful which wouldn't allow someone from the other factions to be emperor.

Historically 'great' emperors did significant things to get to their throne (and/or while on their throne), while others inherited the position and may do very little.


Being a 'space' emperor may not matter much to differentiate from any other kind

Emperors of course denote some kind of 'empire' which is generally 'large' as entities go (means there can be BIG factions also as well as big territories to be controlled and possibly large numbers of people out there who might not like being ruled or the way they are ruled)

It also often means that there are 'kings' below (vassals of) the Emperor which owe some kind of fealty and recognition to the 'emperor' (there also can be locations which no longer have their own political entity in charge and are run by governers who owe allegiance to the emperor (or his empire).


Edited by wodinoneeye, 11 May 2013 - 06:16 AM.

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#18 All Names Taken   Members   -  Reputation: 416

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 04:42 AM

Coordinate a network of spies? Tell your military where to go and who to conquer? Maybe you could do a Medieval style system of power, marry off your sons and daughters to form political alliances type of thing. Hobnob with diplomats of foreign/alien powers? Shoot lightning at people?



#19 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3664

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

About real emperors

 

There is notion that an emperor is someone who is in power only because he is making sure other powerful factions/personas in the empire are content. I agre, that's the most intuitive and maybe even the most common case. Yet, there are exceptions, it's not the only model possible.

 

For example look at Russain Tzars. It was such an absolute monarchy I'm not sure we can even talk about a feudal system anymore. Traz was able to do basicly anything with anyone  regardless their nobility status or wealth. They even invented "ranks" as if some sort of RPG levels http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_Ranks biggrin.png

 

Another example could be a king of France Luis something (the one they called the Sun). He turned all nobles into courtiers, they were preoccupied with their artificial statsu on the court so much they ignored everything else leaving all the real power in the hands of the king (it was rather skilled manipulation I would say biggrin.png)

 

Emperor of the known Universe from Warhammer 40k (well, maybe not exactly "real" but still), except the Horus Heresy he was never to worry about other powerful people.

 

And the last one, I have read about some dictator in Africa (by Rudyard Kipling). All that mattered there was how many "ears" anyone had (ears means how many times you are to speak with the dictator a day/month, your real rank was of low importance). There was no track of any factions to worry about (just 2 separate secret intelligence agencies, who hated each other much more than the dictator and therefore were never to cooperate).

 

Oh yes, and don't forget Stalin, althrough not an emperor, do you really find any proof/lead that he cared about other powerful factions (OK, he was worried so he was organising regular purges of his henchmen)? He did not. Except the propaganda to the masses (which no one belived in anyway, I can tell first hand because I was born under communist regime) there was no dealing with "happines of other factions" at all.

 

 

I wanted to say, we don't need to stick to the "making other factions happy" model (unless you feel that it's the best fit for that kind of game).

 

 

 

This also bring me to the next point, let's discuss now what kind of emperor you would want to be in a game like that. What are your personal preferences? Which ideas posted so far you liked best? In short, if there was a game where you are to be a space emperor, what kind of game *YOU* wish it to be?


Edited by Acharis, 12 May 2013 - 07:14 AM.

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#20 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8933

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:55 AM

Regarding an Emperor's ability to enforce his position:

 

You have to think of an Emperor as a King of Kings. During the middle ages, kings built their army through a network of interdependant relationships: The King named someone his Lord and Vassal in exchange for his support, economy and army. The Emperor is just a sum of its kings which are just a sum of their lesser Lords.

Emperors such as Charlemagne were rather strong, but still very vulnerable. It was really a political game, and the Church really helped them stay into power. You will need to depict that which allows them to remain strong from a political standpoint.

Other Kings were relatively weak. It took a while until Kings started to field armies of their own (rather than a conglomerate of their bannermen).

I'd really play the influence card here.






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