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Member Since 30 Jun 2003
Offline Last Active Jan 18 2016 08:38 PM

#5167220 Fleets with personality & no micromanagement (4X)

Posted by on 16 July 2014 - 02:55 PM

It does seem a bit confused still. On one hand you want to have the player design and build ships and on the other hand you don't want them to actually deal with ship assignment and use.
Why not let the admirals design and build their own ships in an abstract way that the player just sees the overall status of the fleet?
Once upon a time there were three admirals.
War Master Black - An elite fighter, who utilized the latest technology, surprise and stealth in all his battles.
The Yellow Lord of Char - Who knew every salvagers trick in the book and ruled a vast junk planet, he could push even the old ship to its limit and command vast armadas.
The Blue Eyed Mystic - Whose telepathic powers unlocked the potential of his crew, and devastated the enemy.  She preferred to stay safe behind vast shield walls while artillery ships laid down devastating bombardments.
The emperor allocated them each 100 points from the empires military capacity and commanded them to take the fight to the enemy.
War Master Black built a fleet three high tech war cruisers equipped with energy absorbing hulls, cloaking fields, an array of devastating weapons, and the fastest engine available.
The Yellow Lord of Char built a fleet of 50 refurbished drones, 10 strike craft, and 5 custom built cruisers with the latest weapons payload.
The Blue Eyed Mystic - Built a super carrier filled with fighter and bombers, 4 shield projector ships with gravity nets, and 2 heavy artillery ships able to inflect damage over a vast area.

#5167033 How to avoid "stacks of doom" in 4X?

Posted by on 15 July 2014 - 12:14 PM

Important note: the topic is not about limiting the total number of ships the player has but about making it not desirable to keep all these ships in one fleet. It's about how to make it desirable to have 3 smaller fleets at once instead of one big fleet.


If there a lot of targets then players can either go through them slowly with one big fleet or have smaller fleets that are as big as they need to do be.


You could add weapons of mass destruction into the mix. Making it possible to devastate or destroy entire fleets.


You could add stealth making hit and run attacks by small fast fleets useful.  One small fast stealth ship might be able to drop a nuke on an enemy city before they even know they are under attack.  


"Magic particle" weapons. The most powerful equipment drains X particles from surrounding space. X particles are a finite resource in a given sector and take time to recover so a large particle weapon based fleet can completely drain the area of X particles in a prolonged fight leaving themselves defenceless. 


Spacing guild bribes. The spacing guild conrols intersetteler travel the more ships you want to move the more it will cost you.



But ultimately if there isn’t a deterrent or a sufficiently large arms gap then large stacks are always going to be the key to battle.  Your large fleet versus the enemies’ large fleet and the one with the edge in weapons, or ships is going to win.

#5167007 How to avoid "stacks of doom" in 4X?

Posted by on 15 July 2014 - 09:55 AM

I agree large 4x maps tend to be less fun. Large maps are slower, turns take longer, you have to destroy more planets and fleets and if you're stronger then your opponent this isn't challenging just time consuming. 


I wonder how you could make a 4x game that was fun to play on bigger maps? Competiting with half a dozen races of 18 planets is fundimentaly going to be more exciting and challanging then half a dozen races fighting over 60 planets.

#5166992 How to avoid "stacks of doom" in 4X?

Posted by on 15 July 2014 - 09:09 AM


ferrous: Master of Orion has something similar and it didn't stop players from stacking up. In MoO, you have command points (not sure if that's what they're actually called), which are produced by certain buildings of which you could only have one per colony. Bigger ships require more command points. If use up more command points than you create, the maintenance costs of your fleets are increased quite a lot actually. But with just a few economically strong colonies you can counter the effect by producing trade goods.


I guess Microprose had the same idea about limiting the usable number of ships, but it didn't work. At least not in the way they intended. In the early stages of the game this is sometimes a limiting factor to the speed of fleet growth but in the long run, new technologies and economic tactics make it a useless trick. Maybe that was actually done intentionally as some fort of positive feedback mechanism to make games end in a reasonable time (even single player games can take up a whole day though).


That's just poor implementation, in Kohan, if you lost your major economic cities, you were truly horked, unable to build, and unable to repair your troops, and they would take repeated damage if they left your supply zones.



Its a difference in scale I think. in most 4x games individual planets become less important the longer you play. In MOO2 and other 4x you could have a powerful empire with half a dozen planets but by mid game and later you might have anywhere between 20-50 planets.  By then generally the micromangement burden exceeds the usefulness of optimizing a given planet which is why newly conquered planets after the first half dozen or so just tend left to governs or prebuilt building queues becoming research outposts or cash generators.


That's my experience anyway.

#5166904 How to avoid "stacks of doom" in 4X?

Posted by on 14 July 2014 - 09:48 PM

Europa Universallis has a maximum support limit on each space exceed it causes your forces to weaken through attrition. Also army moral is a key combat stat and much larger army can be defeated if its moral is low from constant fighting. You could have something large fleets exeeding your supply range and capacity could gradually weaken. damage, and max hp, and shields might decrease every turn, they might run out of missiles, or ammunition. 


You could have a logistics stat which determines the max fleet sizes or the maximum number of ships you can own.


Planets and colonies might be highly vulnerable unless defended ala Risk.  Forcing you to leave ships behind to defend or have newly conquered territory taken away very easily as you front expands.


The speed of the fleet might be based on its size. 1 small ship moves 10 parsec a turn.  10 large ships move 1 parsec a turn.


Scorched earth anti colony weapons are devastatingly effective.  1 fast attack ship making it to a colony is enough to destroy it.


MOO2 had telepathic control which was my main tactic.  A cruiser or bigger can instantly convert a planet to your side once its defences are destroyed.


Privateers/partial knowledge raiding/destroying can be done as a stealth action.  If you have a small and powerful enough force an enemy colony can be raided or destroyed with out the enemy knowing who attacked them.  Based on distance from their capital, the size of the attack force, and number of turns spent attacking.

#5166456 is this much importatnt to have a strong fixed gdd?

Posted by on 12 July 2014 - 02:11 PM

Like tools like trello for organizing big projects, like building websites, apps, or games because its great having all the ideas and features available and I can plan around them easier.   I can embed wire frames and tasks list, inspirational images,


But I agree there is something about the having cards in my hand that I much prefer.  I like having a stack of cards I can take with me when I unplug from the net.  And I use cards for all my chapter notes and story points when I'm working on my writing.

#5166423 is this much importatnt to have a strong fixed gdd?

Posted by on 12 July 2014 - 10:02 AM

rather then a wiki or single document you can only use an online scrum board / collaboration tool like Trello

#5165567 Survive together but only one can win

Posted by on 08 July 2014 - 10:04 AM

Giving people things without them knowing works better on a computer than in a card game. However here's a suggestion:
Each player has a private deck of cards relevant to their character type, e.g. assassin has weapons and assassination attempts, parasite has infection, engineer has fixing, etc.
Each turn, a player must give one card to another player face down (let's call it the event deck).
Each turn that a player's event deck has more than x cards they must shuffle the event deck and draw one card from it.


Performing hidden actions is definitely a lot easier on the computer then it is in a board game but I like your suggestion. 


Each turn every player gives 1 story card from their story pool to a player going around the table clockwise . That player then shuffles those cards into their story deck. Every player draws at least 1 story card from their story deck each turn. To keep everyone playing even dead characters get to hand out cards.


I've got 3 types of cards that can exist in the foraging decks and what I'm now calling personal story deck.  Cards with a red eye on them indicating events, cards with a black spot on them which are mystery cards, and grey boxes which are supply cards.


Event cards are always flipped over and shown to everyone and take effect immediately there is also an added rule that if you reveal that top card of deck to be an event card you must play even if that would mean drawing more cards then you were originally suppose to.  This makes foraging extra dangerous because the more cards you draw in a turn the more likely you are to get injured.


Mystery cards are placed in front of the player and depending on the card are either face up, face down, or player choice.


Supply cards are held in the players hand and consist of gear, supplies, and actions.  The play can put any of these cards into the central stash or keep them for themselves. Gear is only useful once in play and can only be played at the start of the turn unless you have a special action.  So its up to you if you want to let other players no you have that gun or not.  Having it in play lets you use it but keeping it hidden might be useful later on.


The key will be making sure the players both depend on each other to survive, but at the same time need to win by being the last one left.


m toying around with a similar game concept for a while now, but it doesn't really work out for me. If players want to win they don't care if they lose hard (all die) or if they lose soft (everyone survives, but one player wins). So in the end everyone tries as hard as possible to win and doesn't care about cooperating.
I don't know how to fix that because if I remove the individual goals of the players then it often boils down to one player telling everyone else what to do.


Yes, I don't want player just going around attacking each other they should be working together at least for a while. So I'm going to have to come up with a system were players can't directly attack each at the start you need a reason first.  Like someone hoarding food while others go starving, someone being revealed as dangerous alien parasite.


That's why half the class are light co op classes.  The engineer, heiress, and explorer need the other players alive and well if they want to have a chance at winning.  There cards and play style are aimed at aiding the other players.  


The engineer is extremely useful when dealing with technical challenges and is the only character who can repair and operate certain devices on the ship.  But a clever engineer gets to play the ultimate trump card.  If help arrives unless the engineer has been played badly they will always win.


The heiress needs the other players to recover her missing heirlooms. Its impossible for her to find them all on her own. Her cards are about helping friends and hindering others. Her and the engineer also have the opportunity to share victory.


The explorer needs other players out foraging and clearing the way if they want to reach the temple in Zone 4.


The dark classes need the other players to but also have to try and remain secret.

The Parasite grows stronger the more infection tokens are on the board and once revealed they can attack or be attacked by any player.

The cultist wants everyone to nearly get saved before they all die.

The assassin needs to stay alive long enough to arrange an accident for their target.


hmm...  Now I'm wondering if the dark classes are going to work.  If you have 4 player game and 3 players are revealed as the engineer, heiress, and the explorer and everyone knows that there is a parasite player then its going to be obvious who that is.  I suppose I could change the initial set up and have the dark classes be dark pasts instead, and add more dark pasts and classes.  That way every player has a combination the heiress might also be a parasite.  The explorer might also be a thief.  

#5165408 Survive together but only one can win

Posted by on 07 July 2014 - 06:15 PM

I'm doing all my prototyping with cards and dice as its much easier and fun to play test.


Getting players to work together is key. They need to be working together and helping each other towards some goal while keeping their personal agenda a secret. 


One way I'm doing that is with a central stash of supplies.  When a player forages they draw cards supplies, gear, events, actions. Any supplies and gear they find they either keep for themselves or donate to the central stash where it can be used by everyone. Supplies are used to repair parts of the ships, buy gear, and consumed as part of events or every turn in the case. Every turn every character needs to consume 1 food from either the central stash or from their private stash.  Not eating results in the character becoming weakened and more likely to be injured as well as only being able to forage for half the number of cards as normal.


So in this way players are encouraged to share food but they'd be smart to keep at least 1 or 2 food cards to themselves.


Also at the start of the turn a shuttle event card is revealed these effect everyone and either challenges or opportunities.


For example:


Challenge – Hull Breach – Technical – Phase 0

The sound of screaming sirens and flashing red lights gets everyone running from their quarters.  Somehow during the night a puncture opened in the hall and oxygen levels are dropping rapidly.

Roll a d6 that is how many points are required or all characters suffer 1 wound.

1 point for each Mechanical Part Discarded

1 point for each player who spends the turn helping

2 points if the engineer has been revealed.

*The Engineer can reveal herself to resolve this challenge for free.


Opportunity – Ships Mascot – Biological – Phase 0

You found this little guy curled up in a damaged cargo hold isn’t he cute?  Let’s call him spike either that or dinner.

The survivors can choose to keep spike as pet if they do he consumes 1 food per turn or at the start of any turn can “convert” him into 4 pieces of meat.

At the start of turn roll a d6

1 – Spike bites a random player they gain 1 infection token.

2-3 – Spike goes hunting and returns with d3 food.

4-5 – Spike follows one of the foragers they get a free foraging card. The first injury encountered while foraging that turn kills spike instead.

6 – Nuzzles a random player restoring 1 point of sanity.


Foraging is going to be a central mechanic to the game in zone 1 you can forage for up to 10 cards per turn rolling a d10 if you roll less then the number of cards you drew then you suffer 1 wound. Higher zones are initially locked but have better stuff and more risk.


All characters have 4 wounds except the heiress who has 3 which is not known until she's revealed, and the assassin who has 5 but he can play dead if he suffers 4 wounds and have not yet been revealed.


I'm also trying to figure out a way for players to give cards to other players without them knowing.   At present I'm thinking there is a central deck of personal event cards where players can add cards to they have found foraging.  These cards would be good, bad, or neutral.  The parasite character wants to give infection cards to other players. The assassin and cultist want to plant cards that injure other players.  But at the same time I need to good cards that players can plant that help the other player. Like the assassin can plant a 1 shot pistol that player can reveal at any time to give them a gun during an attack. Or the explorer can give out map fragment cards that let zones be unlocked earlier.


But I'm just not sure. 

#5165316 Survive together but only one can win

Posted by on 07 July 2014 - 12:22 PM

I've been toying around with an idea for the last day or two its still just an initial concept but I'm trying to get an idea if there is anything similar out there I can look at.  The core idea is based on game theory specifically that idea that the players have to work together to survive but only player can win. 


The basic concept I have at this stage is that players are marooned on an alien planet. Each player has a character type each with a unique victory condition there are also a couple of chance base victory conditions that can occur once certain conditions have been reached.  


For example:

The Cultist -  Only wins if they are the last surviving character on the final turn of the game.

The Engineer - Wins if they have the parts to complete the short range teleporter and help arrives.

The Heiress - Needs to recover her lost heirlooms and help arrives

The Assassin - If their target dies in an accident and the assassin has the transponder then they win.

The Parasite -  Wins if all players become infected.

The Explorer - Wins if the secret of the temple is uncovered.


Help arrives is an event that can occur after the communications relay and distress beacon have been repaired. One character gets rescued promising to send help for the rest...


All classes have a bonus that applies to all events of certain type but only if the player has revealed their character.  Initially characters are kept secret players can choose if and when to reveal which character they are or may be forced to as the result of an event.


Players forage for supplies, which they can horde or share with group. They can work together to rebuild parts the ship and deal with events but in the end only one can win.


Its still very rough at the moment but that's the core of the game.

#5164730 Congratulations, you died! :)

Posted by on 04 July 2014 - 07:33 AM

I always loved the groundhog day idea. My favourite take on it was the very funny episode of supernatural about the mystery spot where each day Dean dies in weird and wacky ways.


If you're looking for examples of games like the only one that spring to mind is Majora's Mask where you have three days to save the world. If you haven't managed to get everything in place to stop the moon from crashing into the town then you are sent back to the beginning. Its good because there different things happen at different times and the clock is always running and there is something you can do to help everyone one in town you just have to figure out what they need. You only need to help them once and that permanently solves their problem in most cases. They varied from listening to an old lady's story to stopping aliens from abducting a girls cows. 


You don't need combat in time loop game to make it work.  You could take elements from the life sim games like princess maker, long live the queen, magic academy, lifequest, and then throw in some mystery and relationship building elements.  


The character could take art or cooking classes to improve those skills, get to know the people in the town and peice together their back story.  Want the two brothers to reconcile?  You need to back the cake their mom used to make and find the lost toy.

#5164638 Speed of fleets

Posted by on 03 July 2014 - 02:39 PM

Masters of Orion 2 gets really easy if you hack the starting points so you can have all the perks.


Some times big slow ships can be a waste. Galc CIV 2 had Terrorstars which could destroy a whole star system but they took loads of research and resources to build, took 10 turns after completion before you could use them, no defences of any kind and then had the slowest movement possible in the game which meant they were completely useless. 


I always found slow ships so very painful when trying to expand my empire in games.  I don't want to have to have wait ages for them to move from core worlds to the enemies territory. I want to strike hard and fast capturing all the enemies tech not spend most of my time waiting for the armada to get to the enemy only to wipe them out in an instant.

#5164396 Speed of fleets

Posted by on 02 July 2014 - 02:30 PM

If you have different speeds of ships and adjustable speed options what about having a lag behind option?  You could intentionally make your invasion and anti planet ships slower then your main fleet so that they arrive a couple of turns later giving your main fleet a chance to clear the way before they arrive.


On the above post ideas.  A common idea in sci fi is the hyperspace jump where ships have to exit hyperspace several times during a long journey to recharge the engines or refuel.


Your bigger ships might be able to open a hyper space window wide enough to encompass the smaller vessels.  Flying as fleet might mean that a trip from A to B takes 2 jumps even though your rusted out old refinery ship would normally take 6 jumps to get there.  In this way your ships don't so much have a "speed" but a maximum jump range per turn. Fuel ships could either extend the jump range or increases the number of jumps a ship can make before it needs to stop to refuel.

#5164335 Congratulations, you died! :)

Posted by on 02 July 2014 - 09:40 AM

There was PS3 game I had called Way of the Samurai 4 where at key events you could cause various business to open or close in future playthroughs.  If you ensure the language school is open at the start of a game you can understand the british characters in the city.  Likewise different endings required certain business to be open or closed at the start of a playthrough.



I always thought that metrodvania, or rogue like game where death played a key part would be interesting.   If the game had a dynasty system where you acquire treasure, relics, and unlock new areas to explore during each life. It could be a lot of fun.  The key would be that each death should advance you in some way even if its only a little. Unlocking a new piece of starting gear, a couple extra inital xp or gold.  But at the same time significant gains can only be made through achievement. Fully explore the pyramid and you can start with anything from the ancient egypt gear set, kill the mummified Pharaoh +1 starting level or +1 hp.  Find all the hidden treasures in the pyramid and gain the mummy class to play as.


Treasure would allow you to upgrade your base. Relics would provide you with new powers and bonuses.

There could even be dead man switches that you have to die in order to open new areas like in order to get passed a volcano you have to break a wall in an underground cave that causes the lava to fill the cave.It would rather amusing to have some kind trap palace filled with death traps and switches and the only way to get through is to sacrifice countless characters.


As a premise you could be a scientist sending out mini clones into alternate dimensions and time periods. Clones can't move from one area to another but you can change things in one area from another. Stop a volcano from erupting in prehistoric times and it adds atlantis to the ancient world but causes parts of ancient egypt to be flooded.

#5163935 How to greatly reduce fleet micromanagement?

Posted by on 30 June 2014 - 03:26 PM

I recently played Sins of the Solar empire rebellion (curse you steam sale!!) and felt disappointed but it got me thinking.  The back bone of your fleet in that game are capital ships and each race has 6 different types and can have at most 12 in play at once I think.  But it all feels rather flat and boring and usually just left it to the AI to fight all the battles.


But then I read your last post and remembered Battlestar Galatica.  What about a fleet management system that was like that? Each Fleet has its core 1 or more capital ships and a number of support ships. The player customizes their flag ship with all the bells and whistles they want chooses an admiral and the support ships and that's its.


The admiral would have a command point rating which is the total amount points you have to spend on that fleet as they level up they gain special abilities, contacts, and increased command points.  


Support ships could take many forms.

  • Fuel ships - that increase range
  • Munitions Ships - That provide rearming outside of starbases
  • Scout ships - search nearby systems
  • Assulat Craft - For boarding enemy vessels
  • Strike vessels - small fast attackers
  • Carriers - Carrying wings of bombers and fighters
  • Civilian ships - for colonizing planets.