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feudal vs absolute monarchy (space empire)


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3438

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 04:32 AM

Related topic http://www.gamedev.net/topic/642909-what-an-emperor-of-a-space-empire-does/

 

For a game about being an emperor (SF). I wonder about the government model and the gameplay implications (especially external empires/threats vs internal threats).

 

Generally, there are two models (yes, I know there are more possible but I'm ignoring all democracy/federation models as boring):

- feudal structure when the emperor is just the most powerful noble among all nobles and he constantly fight for power with his vassals

- absolute monarchy where the emperor holds all/most the power and there are no other nobles or they are very weak

 

Now, my theory (which I want to check/confirm) is that:

* when a game/story is about absolute monarch there has to be some external threat (alien invasion, other empires, other powerful enemy) or a falling empire (but not by nobles, more like rebels, independence movement), the internal struggle could be at most about an usurp by a one person, and can't be too frequent, like once in the whole game

* when a game/story is about feudal structure there should not be other empires at all, since it's all about the struggle among the nobles (imagine Dune, it would not make sense if there were other empires in that book)

 

Is it true? I'm not asking about rare exceptions, I'm asking if it makes practical sense to make a game/story that works otherwise. I'm also asking about your personal feelings, how you would want it as a player.

 

 

Feel free to go off topic and discusss things mildy related to the primary question, I'm generally interested in talking about space empire game.


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#2 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3438

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:14 PM

Maybe I should simplify the question.

 

 

Do you think a game where you play as an emperor surrounded by powerful AI nobles should also have enemy empires that try to conquer your empire? Or should the game focus on internal struggle between the nobility and the emperor only?


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#3 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2697

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 10:12 AM

If you use the Dune series as an example you can have both - in the early books (Frank Herbert's work) you deal with an empire comprising of many powerful nobles and other internal factions jockeying for position and power whereas in later books these groups face an external threat i.e. the returnees from the scattering not to mention the absolute rule of the God-emperor.

 

Creating factions that control particular resources and managing these groups to maintain stability in your empire whilst at the same time working towards a defence from an external enemy from which you seek to keep the various factions loyal rather than allying with the enemy or alternatively isolating themselves from all affairs would be an interesting premise upon which to play.



#4 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3438

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 03:56 PM

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If you use the Dune series as an example you can have both - in the early books (Frank Herbert's work) you deal with an empire comprising of many powerful nobles and other internal factions jockeying for position and power whereas in later books these groups face an external threat i.e. the returnees from the scattering not to mention the absolute rule of the God-emperor.

Yes, but note that in the earlier ones the nobles were fighting each other and there was no extrernal threat, in the latter they stopped fighting when there emerged an external threat. I mean, can these exist both at the same time?

 

Also, it's a well known trick for dictatorship regimes to find an extermal threat (invasion of some other country, war) if things go wrong internally. During a real war and a real threat no one wants to overthrow own governement no matter how corrupted.

 

I'm not sure if these are not mutually exclusive (in a given point of time, these priorities/attitudes could change when the external threat emerges/perishes).


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#5 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2697

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 05:54 PM

I'm not sure if these are not mutually exclusive (in a given point of time, these priorities/attitudes could change when the external threat emerges/perishes).

 

You are discounting factors like betrayal. A faction that might see a better interest for them in defecting to the side of the enemy or alternatively be woo'd by the enemy. Unless of course you design the enemy to be an implacable force with no regard to these potentials, for example factions that may have had power but have lost ground against other interests become potential betrayers simply from their own experiences with being kicked in the teeth or alternatively a faction that seeks a growth in power. These sorts of thoughts would be most effective in situations of the enemy being a force that conquers for control as opposed to one that conquers for genocide.



#6 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3438

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 06:09 PM

Betrayal is marginal. You can't expect 50% of population or nobles to betray their own empire, probably less than 5%. That's enough for some event/additional issue but not for the core problem of the situation. In basicly any situation when an external threat approaches the empire a huge majority of will cooperate to fight it of and only after it's dealt with they would go back to backstabbing each other.

 

A good point with the genocide thing, but with the space empire thing it's almost always exactly this thing, an alien race that wants to take over, and even if not kill or enslave the population (and nobles) they would be made second rate citizens. No one except madmen or the most corrupted and/or stupid ones would agree to it.

 

As for force that conquers for control, actually the sutuation is not that different. Would they leave the current nobility in their current places of power? Would the nobles sutuation improve after a new, external, emperor arises? Unlikely, such external emperor already would have his own loyal henchmen and other obligations to fulfill to his own nobles, there would be less use for existing establishment.

 

In both situations the nobles (and usually population as well) end up being in a worse situation than before. Therefore they would support their own, even if corrupted and hated, emperor to fight off the invasion.


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