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Acharis

Mechanic for internal struggle of an empire (strategy)

39 posts in this topic

One game I play every now and again is Don't starve a game in which the designers release a free content update about once a month, you could do the same for your game.

 

Do you have an end game in mind for this?  Or is is build for ever? 

 

If the game is more about short to mid length sessions (1-4 hours) then you could have 1 main plot and several sub plots that play out with the board setup with different parts each time the player then wins by completing the main plot.  You could then start with say a dozen plots and say dozen sub plots and then add more over time.

 

Short repayable games that are different each time open up are whole lot of possibilities for an empire strategy game.

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So, you realise you are basically describing Crusader Kings 2, right? (Ok, it doesn't have admirals per se, but it does have disloyal generals.) I feel like I must be missing something everyone else saw, because it seems like "CK2" should have been the first post in the thread.
A good question. My answer is, I don't want it like CK2 at all, not even remotely similar :)

 

CK2 was about conquest of other kingdoms while maintaining some internal stability by "divide and rule" and fighting against backstabbing of your nobles. Also it was about succession, dynasty and heirs.

 

While I don't mind these aspects I want focus on something else and a different mood. You start as an emperor. Not as just one of the nobles, but THE EMPEROR :) And I want it to be felt. You can't lost your throne, it's an instant game over (and when you are disposed the empire crumbles to dust, since YOU are destined to rule and YOU are the only one that can do it :)). You know, the typical megalomania :) It's strictly about playing as an emperor, not as a noble. Also I want more vivid internal struggle. Not just a bunch of nobles that you can deal with. I want rebelious population, guilds, various factions, usurpers, aliens invasion, spread of dangerous ideas, fight among fellow citizens of the empire (you rule various races), space pandemics, lost colonies, ancient artifacts, internal diplomacy, stability of the empire.

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but what about games like Age of Castles or Ant War?
Yes, a mapless strategy game. Yes, the mechanic definitely fits it. The main problem with these is short play time and low replayability... It's pure mechanic, and such games are easy to master for each play since the conditions are identical every time.  If there was some way to add different starting conditions (in "normal" games the map is mostly used for this) or some other "randomizer"...

 

BTW, here is a my minigame in that style: http://silverlemur.com/minigames/wiztowersim.php (no download needed)

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So basically what you're saying is that if we go for an event-based approach, gameplay is gonna be roughly similar every time you play the game so it gets boring quickly.

Yes, but not only that.

 

Map with provinces provides a synergy, the final effect is better than the sum of its parts. If you have provinces on an island it results in a completrely different strategy than if you have then on a continent and you are surrounded by two big enemies (set of provinces shared by same owner) and than if you are on the same big continent but surrounded by dozens of small enemies (few neighbour provinces per owner). And this all has emerged on its own, it was not really scripted or anything.

 

Another thing is that events makes the player only RESPOND. If you have a map you can PLAN your strategy and predict what you will do, you can ACT. In case of events you don't know what will hapen and when and you can't make much of a plan. Actually, very varied and random events are worse, because it results in a total unpredictability and chaos...

 

 

But what if there were no random events (or not only them) but random OPPORTUNITIES? Like you get a random opportunity and you can decide if you want to pursue it, also the random opportunity lasts for at least several turns so you can plan. Maybe something like that could work?

 

 

BTW, here is an interesting flashgame, a mix of card game and a minimalistic map (but you don't move any units on the map and geenrally there are no units to fight):

http://www.kongregate.com/games/africacrossgames/the-liberation-of-north-korea

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So basically what you're saying is that if we go for an event-based approach, gameplay is gonna be roughly similar every time you play the game so it gets boring quickly.
After playing Twillight Struggle Nth time, I have changed my opinion a bit. I don't think the replayability of a map does not come from different maps. I single static map that you play on over and over is still surprisingly replayable (if compared to pure event based games)! I wonder why...

 

I start to think that maybe a map + events that affect the map are the way to go?

 


Oh, you can have the player manage the nobles.
Some french king had decided every nobleman should be with him 9 months a year, making them spend money on parties and all and then loaned them money, making them more dependent on him.(because nobles can rebel)
Oh, no. I'm not gonna portrait Versailles of Luis the Sun, no way! There is a limit how degenerated, depraved and sick a game can be :)

 

On a more serious note, just managing nobles seems meh to me. As King of Men said, if you want to manage nobles go and play CK2, it portrayed it very good. I don't think I woulod be able to do it much better than they. Plus, I lean more towards a bureaucratic empire, like there is this emperor and organizations, guilds, corporations, social struggle, spreaders of dangerous ideas. Less feudal and more modern (not that they can't be nobles there, I don't have anything agains them, but just limiting it to nobles seems not so great to me).

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On a more serious note, just managing nobles seems meh to me. As King of Men said, if you want to manage nobles go and play CK2, it portrayed it very good. I don't think I woulod be able to do it much better than they. Plus, I lean more towards a bureaucratic empire, like there is this emperor and organizations, guilds, corporations, social struggle, spreaders of dangerous ideas. Less feudal and more modern (not that they can't be nobles there, I don't have anything agains them, but just limiting it to nobles seems not so great to me).

You imply that managing nobles in a bureaucratic empire is inappropriate, but you can focus gameplay on handling specific important people (as opposed to giving abstract orders to faceless organizations) in any social structure.
If nobles have a limited importance for the Empire and the Emperor (e.g. as sources of succession by assassination plots, as marriage fodder and as trusted diplomats), the game can bring to the forefront other types of important people: generals and heads of bureaucracies, political or religious leaders, scientists and artists, entrepreneurs and managers, and all other relevant types of powerful or influential special persons (e.g. fairies or alien visitors, artificial intelligences, superheroes of all sorts, wizards...).
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