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Dictator (rebels, uprising, coups)


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 01 December 2013 - 01:55 PM

This topic is for a "dictator" type game (turn based strategy/sim). I want to focus here on internal conflicts like rebels, uprising, military coups.

I look for anything related, comments, polishing, other ideas.

 

 

A *very* short list of other games of this genre

Dictator from ZX-Spectrum (remake here: http://www.nrtoone.com/dictator/ ), Tropico 1,3,4 (a nice one, partially based on ZX-Spectrum version but with focus on infrastructure, but the internal struggle part is weak, especially in earlier instances), and some very old PC almost text only game I can't recall the name that you always ended up overthrowed no matter what you did.

In short, not much to borrow from :)

 

Premise of my game

You are a dictator of a small island made up of around 16 provinces. Each province has some infractructure, ecnonomy, population, etc. Among other things these can revolt (not necessarily the whole population, could be just some factions that don't want you in power anymore). By design the situation on the island would be somewhat unstable, so you would need to face some internal threats on regular basis even if you keep the population perfectly happy.

 

My idea of implementation (the rebel part)

There would be a RED faction (some sort of extremely levist communits that wants to replace you). The map (and the whole game) would be kind of "layered", each province would have infrastructure, population and other stuff you can affect. It will also have statistics of RED support level in a province, number of their bases and guerillas. You can't easily affect this "enemy" layer, it does not affect you as well. But when a rebelion breaks up, all these provinces will spawn enemy military units that you need to fight of with your army before they reach and capture your capital.

 

You would have 2 main assets to fight RED, police and army (tokens on the map). Police would be used to slow down the support of the RED. The army would be used to fight RED when things go too grim (like full blown uprising with spawn RED units or fight the guerillas). Optionally, you would be able to send army to do more drastic, semi police like actions, but it  would cause discontent among the population.

Or maybe police would be tracking rebel bases and then the army would launch attack to eradicate them.

 

Generally, you would be trying to reduce the support of RED (by not upseting population and by using police) and later, when inevitably they start a rebel, use army to crush them (and protect your palace).

 

 

I was also thinking of adding another faction, the YELLOW (or orange), some sort of rich plantators or capitalists that would like to get rid of you as well, BUT above all they do not want the RED to take over. They would always attack RED first, and in a desperate situation, they could even help you (they see you as the lesser evil).

So you have a dilemma, they are bad and they undermine your rule (reduce stability of your country and have other unpleasant effects), but they are not that strong (to rebel openly) and they could help stop the RED. You could want to get rid of them or order police to overlook them so they can fight your common enemy, the RED.


Edited by Acharis, 01 December 2013 - 01:56 PM.

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#2 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 801

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 09:55 AM

Hmm. Not enough for me. But here's how it might happen. Use whatever you like.

 

 

Your country was a peaceful Monarchy for xx(xx) years with minimal military force primarily the royal guard.

 

There have recently been minor rebellions, these were reported as terrorist and neighboring country attacks to prevent a greater uprise.

 

This turned out to be a bad political move for your King/Queen. Being branded as terrorists the rebels gained sympathy and their faction grew exponentially until the country's leader issued an emergency doctrine.

 

The use of dictator rule by lottery was popular that decade.  Rather than spending billions to restructure the government and lose his rule the King/Queen stood down momentarily (1 year) to become a figurehead while the common man was allowed to do as he pleased.

 

Fearing anarchy the dictator's year of power was a superb success for the country and they recovered. All went back to normal.

 

Today is 15 years later. You were elected as dictator from the lottery because you're over 30 y.o.. The supporters help you quell the anarchy yet again. Your monarch however is dead. WOOPS? The city-states are unable to agree who has the right to take place as King and because you have no noble heritage the royal law forbids it. In an attempt to continue the peace you step forward and "volunteer" with silent supporters backing you to continue as dictator until the danger has passed.

 

Your supporters weaken over the course of a few years.  Rebellion against the unfair dictatorship begins.  You have no plan, and you only have the tools you were given, so you use all the resources available to....

 

(options)

[ feel free to mix and match ]

1. expand national military, continuing to promote nationalism. The economy has a war-time boon and you may negotiate for arms across national borders. Abundant weapons go straight into rebel hands and there is constant fighting.

 

2. form secret police (loyal to you alone). Not so much a secret, they are a highly trained tyrannical order of death police who kill anyone who whispers their name, or inappropriately mispronounce yours.  The economy quickly stagnates. You're likely to be assassinated.

 

3. be all hush-hush and politically correct. Everything's fine, is what you'll tell them. Random events and mixed feelings tear through your country like a storm. The royal guard continue to watch their new ruler, you. You rewrite the law and become king (still a dictator from rebel eyes). From this point on it is a moral battle, and a lot of hand shaking. Anything could happen.


I've read about the idea guy. It's a serious misnomer. You really want to avoid the lazy team.


#3 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 05:19 PM


Hmm. Not enough for me.
Finally someone posted something! Thanks.

 

What exactly do you mean by not enough? Like:

1) The rebel mechanic is not so good

2) The rebel mechanic is OK, but you would want more alternative options (like running your country peacefully without any rebels)

3) Something else?


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#4 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 801

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 07:09 PM

At that moment there wasn't enough for me to really understand what could be influencing. So I expanded on that in an Earth modern realistic setting which is pretty similar to every warfare game I've played.

 

But if I start to be creative I might consider scenarios from an alternate timelines, or another universe like Gundam, other planets getting involved, etc. If the red faction were a second sentient species of bats who grew up on your 16 provinces alongside you, and your orange was an alliance of planetary bodies, you would have to redefine the influence you control in so many ways.

 

So I'm just guessing you're staying on Earth modern realistic. All humans of a single race, women and men alike literate equal rights. That sort of thing.


I've read about the idea guy. It's a serious misnomer. You really want to avoid the lazy team.


#5 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 801

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 08:00 PM

I'm not trying to be overcomplicated. Here I'll contribute directly to some rebel Ideas. I think this'll help.

First I'll brainstorm some targets that rebels could somehow take over for their own benefit, or simply to break you down.

I put question marks next to stuff that's probably going to once again overcomplicate things.

ZONING

residential living space
(easily convertible to army barracks)
see classes of citizen
also shelters / hospitals / schools

FOOD / SUPPLIES
farms
depots
Transported goods
research and medicine
computers?/power grids? (assuming we're in a 1st world society just this time)
weapons

TRAVEL / MIGRATION
(most things here can also be guarded and overtaken by your army / at the expense of citizen morale hitting an all time low)
transit
vacation / tourism locations
migration processing
identification

YOU

CITIZEN CLASS
royalty?
land owners
middle class
serf (slave)

POWER IN NUMBERS
police
army
see citizen class



Now that I've thought of some targets. The rebel faction(s) are assumed to be sustainable if they acquired any one of these from the get-go. Sustainability simply implies they're not going to give up.

In the long-run if their numbers grew higher than your army, while maintaining an infrastructure they've captures, they'd definitely win at that point.

Any short term goals would involve attacking and capturing supplies. Starving citizens in an area you lose would quickly join them. More weapons has the obvious benefit of making their attacks deadly, which reduces the effectiveness of your army.

All things in-between having its own benefit.

In order to survive some people like to travel. The economy can enjoy tourism to increase capital. When these things go away, people start to get really annoyed. The rebels will also need to travel in the same manner so it is proactive to restrict travel with checkpoints.

Guerrillas are probably a nomadic group who survive without shelters and constantly change their identity and recruit just enough people to keep running, and thus they aren't visible to police, nor would they attack the army head-on. They could severely damage any of the above targets if they're left unchecked for long anyway.

Afterthought.

A full blown transit shutdown will quickly starve everyone to death in a matter of weeks. Realistically this is one possible way how the game would end with you surviving as a continuing dictator.

Then a superpower will stick their foot in the door, see you have everyone under control and try to assassinate you.


I've read about the idea guy. It's a serious misnomer. You really want to avoid the lazy team.


#6 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 04:57 AM

At that moment there wasn't enough for me to really understand what could be influencing.

OK, I will explain the very core of the rebel mechanic.

 

- there are 16 provinces, one of them is your capital

- each province has "rebel support" variable, it increases over time, the speed of increase depends on how you treat your population, you can dispatch police units to a province to slow down the rebel support increase

- sooner or later a "rebellion" event will be triggered, when it happens the "rebel support" value will be converted into rebel combat units (traditional units that move on the map)

- your army units will fight rebel units, if rebel units reach your capital you lose

 

 

That't the basis, there could be extras like not only rebel support is created but also it can create rebel bases (which you can destroy before rebelion starts), or guerillas (bad province event, can get rid of them by dispatching army to a province).

My primary question is if this mechanic is good? Get rid of it? Keep it? Polish/improve it?

 

So I'm just guessing you're staying on Earth modern realistic. All humans of a single race, women and men alike literate equal rights. That sort of thing.
Yes, it's supposed to be a standard banana republic simulation :) As for "modern" I was thinking more like 60-80s of XX century (cold war, USA vs soviet and you balancing between them, Cuban missile crisis).

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 11:28 AM

Maybe some polishing is in order. I'll ask some questions.

 

Are there value limits? Looking at the example game: 0 low 9 high and actions to increase or decrease past the limit results in no change.

Is there a setup phase? If so do I choose where my capital will be?

Are there multiple phases per turn once the game started?

Can the the rebellion event occur multiple times?

Is there any more you can reveal about how fighting works?


I've read about the idea guy. It's a serious misnomer. You really want to avoid the lazy team.


#8 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:32 PM

1) Are there value limits? Looking at the example game: 0 low 9 high and actions to increase or decrease past the limit results in no change.

 

Yes, partially. Support can't be higher than population of the province. If there are 2k people, rebels can at most get 2k strength (which is unlikely since support of 50% would be a soft cap). It also means the player can afford (and actually should in many cases) let the situation go wild in some uninmportant provinces (mountains with a few small villages, let the rebels rule there) and focus on defending important provinces instead (capital and provinces with cities).

 

 

2) Is there a setup phase? If so do I choose where my capital will be?

 

No. You are a dictator, not a settler, you inherited/obtained the country with a pre existing situation and your goal is to change it (or not let it degrade further). There also will be, quite likely, different scenarios (with different starting conditions).

 

 

3) Are there multiple phases per turn once the game started?

 

No... Each turn would probably represent 1 month, so you will be operating at the strategy level. Note that most of the time you will be dealing with economy (building infrastructure) not with fighting rebels.

 

 

4) Can the the rebellion event occur multiple times?

 

Yes, definitely.

 

 

5) Is there any more you can reveal about how fighting works?

 

I think it will be quite primitive (since it's not a wargame). You have police units, regular army units and heavy army units. Rebels have just one generic rebel unit. Police units can fight rebels but that's a last resort, they are primarily used to suppress the support before the rebelion occurs. Regular army units are like 2-3 times stronger than rebel units. Heavy army units are not really meant to fight rebels, they are 3 times stronger than your regular army units and are used for military coups threats, they can fight rebels, but not much better than regular units and they have heavy penalties in mountain provinces.

 

Generally, when opposing units occupy the same province they fight until one is crushed (destroyed rebel units will spawn "guerillla markers" in the province, which you should deal with later). The combat in province represents a series of battles in a big territory (a province is rather big battlefield), it could take 3 turns (months) to reach a conclusion.

 

Each province is controlled by the government (you) or by rebels. If you are fighting an opponent you can withdraw to neighbour province that is controled by your side (so you can retreat with your police units for example).

 

You (the player) are time pressed, the very existence of regular, moving rebel units (not guerillas) makes people doubt if you (the government) is controling the country. Prolonged fighting with rebels might make the population to overthrow you (or a military coupt will start if the military decides that a general would be a better dictator since you are so incompetent). Generally, rebels, even during a rebellion are not that deadly strong, but they have all the time on this planet and they can start a new rebellion later; you don't have this luxury and you need to crush them every time and you need to do it swiftly.


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#9 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 09:29 AM

I wonder about two things.

 

First, maybe there should be some sort of "domino" effect? Like the if there are rebels in a province, it get's harder to get rid of rebels from neighbour province. So, a province surrounded by rebel provinces would be extremely hard to clean up. Or something similar, I'm not sure...

 

Second, how about more militry "operations" options for the player? Like airborne transfer of troops (needs to be limited somehow) or some elite units maybe?


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#10 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1433

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 07:09 AM

You can just have your army move slower due to having to recon against ambushes etc. when going through a high-rebel province.

Instead of airlifts maybe think about shiptransport of troops, needing harbors to reach provinces fast makes the map more interesting.
(plus they 're restricted to sea/rivers, it also makes the game more realistic)



#11 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 12:22 PM

You can just have your army move slower due to having to recon against ambushes etc. when going through a high-rebel province.

Instead of airlifts maybe think about shiptransport of troops, needing harbors to reach provinces fast makes the map more interesting.
(plus they 're restricted to sea/rivers, it also makes the game more realistic)

Due to the nature of my map implementation I can't make rivers. As for sea it's problematic as well since it's an island so more than half of provinces are coastal... Maybe if I restricted it to movement between harbours...

 

But, I was thinking, maybe for this game resign from traditional movement? I mean, there are mere 16 provinces total, that's not a lot of space to move around. Maybe allow instant "teleportation" of player units and use some sort of "logistic capacity" to limit how many units can be moved each turn?

 

Like this:

- you can move 2 units per turn, +1 if a lot of mobile units in the army, +1 if good road system,+ 1 if not moved anything in the previous turn
- you can move only to a province that is controled by you or is neighbouring a province controled by you

- heavy units can't enter mountainous provinces


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#12 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1433

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 02:07 PM

You can call it helicopter transport, maybe allow the army units themselves to move independently but at a much much slower rate ?

Actually needing a helicopter base for this and having the province it is in influence it would make the game more interesting.



#13 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:15 PM

You can call it helicopter transport, maybe allow the army units themselves to move independently but at a much much slower rate ?

Actually needing a helicopter base for this and having the province it is in influence it would make the game more interesting.

Well, I like helicopters, but I hesitate, it's kind of unrealistic to move all/majority of forces by helicopters if this is a banana republic. That army simply can't be that rich/advanced. Maybe more like small strike groups of special forces that use helicopters to deal precise counter insurgency strikes?

 

But I like military bases of some sort too, I also feel it could make the game more interesting. But how exactly could these work?

 

My idea is that there are like 16-25 provinces total (managable to a player and has the feel of a banana republic on an island). There is one capital city province, 3-4 city provinces, several standard provinces like 3 per city (just countryside with farms, maybe some mines) and some wastelands (mountains/swamps) that are supposed to be breeding grounds of rebels.

So, I wonder if there could be some military bases in some provinces as well that would affect nearby territory maybe? Or maybe use cities as supply points for army?


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#14 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1433

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 07:29 AM

The choppers were meant to be a small force, although obviously a force can only be small in comparison,

if they can move 2 units every turn, the total # of units in the army should be at least 15, possibly many more.


Edited by powerneg, 02 January 2014 - 08:34 AM.


#15 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3452

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 03:08 AM

Some interesting links to fuel the imagination smile.png

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-insurgency (a lot of COIN (counter insurgency) stuff)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-insurgency_aircraft (counter insurgency aircraft, an interesting concept...)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Self-Defense_Forces_of_Colombia (AUC, a paramilitary organization, half friend-half enemy)

 

 

 

And an interesting wall of text:

David Galula

David Galula gained his practical experience in counter-insurgency as a French officer in the Algerian War. His theory of counterinsurgency is not primarily military, but a combination of military, political and social actions under the strong control of a single authority.

Galula proposes four "laws" for counterinsurgency:[8]

  1. The aim of the war is to gain the support of the population rather than control of territory.
  2. Most of the population will be neutral in the conflict; support of the masses can be obtained with the help of an active friendly minority.
  3. Support of the population may be lost. The population must be efficiently protected to allow it to cooperate without fear of retribution by the opposite party.
  4. Order enforcement should be done progressively by removing or driving away armed opponents, then gaining support of the population, and eventually strengthening positions by building infrastructure and setting long-term relationships with the population. This must be done area by area, using a pacified territory as a basis of operation to conquer a neighbouring area.

Galula contends that:

A victory [in a counterinsurgency] is not the destruction in a given area of the insurgent's forces and his political organization. ... A victory is that plus the permanent isolation of the insurgent from the population, isolation not enforced upon the population, but maintained by and with the population. ... In conventional warfare, strength is assessed according to military or other tangible criteria, such as the number of divisions, the position they hold, the industrial resources, etc. In revolutionary warfare, strength must be assessed by the extent of support from the population as measured in terms of political organization at the grass roots. The counterinsurgent reaches a position of strength when his power is embedded in a political organization issuing from, and firmly supported by, the population.[9]

With his four principles in mind, Galula goes on to describe a general military and political strategy to put them into operation in an area that is under full insurgent control:

 

In a Selected Area

1. Concentrate enough armed forces to destroy or to expel the main body of armed insurgents.
2. Detach for the area sufficient troops to oppose an insurgent's comeback in strength, install these troops in the hamlets, villages, and towns where the population lives.
3. Establish contact with the population, control its movements in order to cut off its links with the guerrillas.
4. Destroy the local insurgent political organization.
5. Set up, by means of elections, new provisional local authorities.
6. Test those authorities by assigning them various concrete tasks. Replace the softs and the incompetents, give full support to the active leaders. Organize self-defense units.
7. Group and educate the leaders in a national political movement.
8. Win over or suppress the last insurgent remnants.[9]

According to Galula, some of these steps can be skipped in areas that are only partially under insurgent control, and most of them are unnecessary in areas already controlled by the government.[9] Thus the essence of counterinsurgency warfare is summed up by Galula as "Build (or rebuild) a political machine from the population upward."[10]


Edited by Acharis, 07 January 2014 - 03:09 AM.

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