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Game Idea: "Federate"... any takers?

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OK, so here's an idea I've been mulling over for a few years now. I'm not a programmer, but I am very good with Excel, so I'd like to think I have an idea of what's possible.

I'm in no position to implement this idea. I know it's not likely, but hey, let's give it a shot: If anyone wants to take it and run with it, be my guest. Just so long as I'm credited somewhere. A penny for my troubles would also be appreciated. :)

I already posted on Board Game Geek explaining the concept. I'll copy and paste here:

Please forgive me if I'm about to retread a worn path, but I've been looking for something like this for ages. It would play like a board game, but I think it could only be realised online. Which is why I'm posting here.

The game I have in my head revolves around a mechanic/concept I'm going to call "federalising." Let's call the game "Federate."

Imagine we're playing on a Risk board. Except instead of players controlling groups of territories, every territory has one player. This player is the same player from start to finish. Winning is determined by the territory's overall prestige/level of development throughout the game.

Every territory starts as an independent country. My territory produces a unique set of resources, like Catan. I trade with territories depending on if I can reach them and what my trading relations are like with them (automated based on settings?). I build and develop settlements, invest in technologies. And of course, form armies. The mechanics of all of this are pared to the bare bones, because the game is all about...

"Federalising"...

I invade you and some other players. You all surrender, and I now have an additional role of 'dictator.' Because you are no longer independent, at least some of your functions are disabled and pass to me. As 'dictator' I levy taxes, and decide how much freedom you have over your territory. Like what you can and can't build, who you can and can't trade with, etc. And of course, I build all the armies and make all the wars. If I get too despotic you can attempt a rebellion for independence. But you can still win the game under a 'benevolent dictator.' Because as dictator I can pool the kind of resources needed to do things an independent territory could never do alone.

Or we all get together and decide to form a democratic federation. One of us is elected 'president.' He rules just like the dictator, except we can propose votes to change his powers, our rate of tax, and/or replace him.

So technically speaking, when territories "federalise" an extra player is created. Whoever becomes dictator/president is playing two players at once, both controlling the resources of his own territory, and running the "federation."

Of course I'm sure much of this exists in MMORTS and turn-based games already. But if you had automated trading, Diplomacy-like battle mechanics, and drop-down menu politics, you could have a rich game simulating both international and domestic conflict that finishes in just an hour or two.

Does all this make any sense? Has a game like this been done before, so I can go and play it? Or if have I really come up with something new, would anybody like to try and implement it?

And from a subsequent post explaining why I think it will only work online:

I want a game with a similar pace and playing time to Risk. But to achieve the "domestic/international politics simulation" I'm looking for I need one person per territory, meaning 25-odd people. Plus any Catan-style resource trading will take way too long without some sort of automation.

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It's an interesting idea, but the glaring problem I see is taking options away from players when they federalize. One type of fun is making interesting choices. If you take away choices, you take away fun. Most games would eventually devolve into 2 or 3 superpowers, meaning only 2 or 3 of your 25 players are actually having fun.

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It's an interesting idea, but the glaring problem I see is taking options away from players when they federalize. One type of fun is making interesting choices. If you take away choices, you take away fun. Most games would eventually devolve into 2 or 3 superpowers, meaning only 2 or 3 of your 25 players are actually having fun.


I see what you mean.

I suppose this game is firmly in the Diplomacy tradition in the sense of being essentially a political simulation. Even when you become part of a federation/empire you're still playing politics, just now domestic politics. There is still activity, because the dictator/president does not remove all rights from member territories, just the ones he needs. Taking everything away is a recipe for instant rebellion. So even in empires territories will still be deciding how to spend their own budgets and who to prioritise trade with domestically. And even in the most domineering of empires territories can still communicate with each other secretly. Rebellion/secession is costly, but might be worth it for you as a province/state. So dictator or president, I have to constantly keep my finger on the pulse of my member territories, otherwise the day will come when they conspire to rebel against me or terminate my presidency.

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I find the idea quite interesting. I see a medieval realm with one or more kings struggling for power and his barons. A baron has some commitments like paying taxes or going to war when the king calls, but on the other hand he could scheme with other vs his king, could try to dispossess his king. A lot of options beside building his own realm like assasination, spying, scheming, wedding, economy, building an army etc.

It seems to be like a social game which could be "easily" implemented as multiplayer web game.

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I find the idea quite interesting. I see a medieval realm with one or more kings struggling for power and his barons. A baron has some commitments like paying taxes or going to war when the king calls, but on the other hand he could scheme with other vs his king, could try to dispossess his king. A lot of options beside building his own realm like assasination, spying, scheming, wedding, economy, building an army etc.

It seems to be like a social game which could be "easily" implemented as multiplayer web game.


Umm yeah that sort of thing. The point of the game is the domestic/international intrigue, so the game in my head that keeps 30-odd people online for a couple of hours tops needs to keep everything else to the absolute minimum needed to make it interesting. A Catan-style resource tree will do fine. I'm thinking trading (and possibly economic development too) would be automated based on drop-down menu settings, battle mechanics would be a hybrid between Diplomacy and Risk, making enough time for the players to negotiate with each other...

Thanks for the positive feedback! Would you like to thrash out some of the details with me? Or are you all busy with other stuff... because if you are that's cool. As far as I'm concerned everything's a bonus. I'm grateful you took the trouble to reply...

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