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Acharis

Industrial revolution strategy (post mortem and ideas)

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I insisted on fixed 1 coal + 1 iron = 1 steel (s the player can instantly calculate how many mines he needs to build to assure flawless enonomy). Which made all improvements like efficiency technologies impossible (other than by big steps) and what worse all factories always had the same efficiency no matter the labourers (labourers availability only affected the wages costs - if there was a shortage of workers you simply paide much more). I also insisted on no fraction of resources (like 0.95 coal) which probably was a mistake...

The easy way round this seems to be to vary the time it takes to produce a single resource. For example, if a fully staffed mine produces one unit of coal every 10 seconds, then an understaffed mine could produce only one unit of coal every 15 seconds.

 

This allows you to avoid fractional resources, while still providing concrete production benefits to hiring additional workers.

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The easy way round this seems to be to vary the time it takes to produce a single resource. For example, if a fully staffed mine produces one unit of coal every 10 seconds, then an understaffed mine could produce only one unit of coal every 15 seconds.
It's turn based strategy. There are no seconds :)

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Its probably a little different then you intended but I'm thinking of my new favorite board game 7 wonders, specifically that you don't produce resources but resources buildings determine how many resources you have access to on a give turn.  So if I build a lumber mill which generates 1 wood then on any given turn I can spend up to 1 wood not spending that wood does nothing and it doesn't carry over to be two wood next turn. If I want to build something that costs 2 wood I need to build a second wood generating building or buy it from a neighbor.

 

What if you did the same?  If I build a coal mine, iron mine, and a steel mill then on a given turn I can either spend 1 coal and 1 iron, or 1 steel.  If I want to build something that costs 1 steel and 1 iron I can't until I build a second iron mine. 

 

When it comes to capacity you could limit that by food.  Let say initially all provinces can support only 1 production building. Building a farm as the production building generates 1 food each point of food allows you to open another production slot in a province.  So If I build a farm in the light green province on your map then I could open a second production slot there or 1 in any adjacent  province.  Which means I could use that to open a coal mine and an iron mine in yellow and a steel mill in brown.  Technology could be used to provide increases in production or global improvements.  Fertilizer for instance might mean each farm generates two food instead of 1.

 

As for transport what transport technology could do is determine how far resources can travel. Initially only adjacent provinces can share resources. But unlocking new technology could increase that. Roads might let provinces use resource 2 spaces away while railroads mean they can be used anywhere on the map. In this way planning where to build your resources buildings is as important as what you build.  Building a steel mill in pink is useless if there isn't a coal and iron mine in purple or brown. Likewise I can only ever use that steel in one of those three places.

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The easy way round this seems to be to vary the time it takes to produce a single resource. For example, if a fully staffed mine produces one unit of coal every 10 seconds, then an understaffed mine could produce only one unit of coal every 15 seconds.

It's turn based strategy. There are no seconds :)
It doesn't matter, you are simply measuring mine output in coal units per turn rather than coal units per second.

The same 2/3 ratio between the production rate of a fully staffed mine and an understaffed mine can be realized as 1 coal every turn vs skipping production every third turn, 1 coal every 6 turns vs 1 coal every 9 turns, 15 coal per turn vs 10 coal per turn, etc.

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Primarily, I wonder how to do some "unit/markers/tokens placement on the map". I mean, the map I drawn has these (utterly cute and tasty to me :D) square piles of tokens (green ones and red ones). I would love to find use for them.

 


Its probably a little different then you intended but I'm thinking of my new favorite board game 7 wonders, specifically that you don't produce resources but resources buildings determine how many resources you have access to on a give turn.
Generally and principally, I'm against blindly borrowing from boardgames. 7Wonders mechanic is very good and makes a lot of sense for a boardgame (I even used it in one of my cardgames). But the core purpose of this mechanic is reduction of downtime (counting resources); with computers, well, the computer can do all the dirty calculation :) I think for a computer game "real" resources that "physically exist" are better in most cases...

 

 


As for transport what transport technology could do is determine how far resources can travel. Initially only adjacent provinces can share resources. But unlocking new technology could increase that. Roads might let provinces use resource 2 spaces away while railroads mean they can be used anywhere on the map. In this way planning where to build your resources buildings is as important as what you build. Building a steel mill in pink is useless if there isn't a coal and iron mine in purple or brown. Likewise I can only ever use that steel in one of those three places.
The biggest problem with transport of resources is that's it's hidden from the player. How he/she can know that resources travel this way (other than reading manual)? If I try to portrait it on the interface somehow it would be bloody messy I suppose...

 

This brings me to the old designer's mantra, "do not design/implement things the player won't see". So I wonder about the transport of resources system in the first place, I'm not sure if it wasn't a mistake.

 

What if I ignore transport of resources completely? Like, everything is automaticly transported to central stockpile and then used up as needed?

I can still use railroad network for 2 things: it increases population migration between provinces (which is important) and each factory/mine need to pay transport fee upon *production* (not use) of resource of any kind (railroad level in a province would reduce that cost.

OR

Let's make it very simplified, first a province uses up it's *own* production and then sends the rest to the central stockpile, which then is redistributed. This would be more intuitive to the player, since if you build a lumber camp and lumber mill in a province it might suggest that you wanted the lumber camp to provide logs to the lumber mil, not to some paper mill in different province.

 

What you think?

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The central stockpile can be entirely virtual, a mere abstraction for manual and automated management purposes. Actual resource movement can be done between actual places and on the actual road, rail and channel network with explicit trains, ships etc. and automated in the guise of minimum cost network flow problems (given resource producers, consumers and stockpiles, minimize the cost of moving them to the appropriate destinations along the edges of a graph representing places and transport between them). This kind of automation can remove the tedium of ordering transport of materials, collect statistics (how much does it cost to transport a certain resource, on average? Which long or expensive routes are contributing?) and signal to the player that a certain road, rail trunk, channel, river etc. is saturated (rejecting transport of low-priority goods). Details of a certain road etc. can show what travels on it and between what places. There should be a place for both global resource decisions (e.g. I built all possible mines but I need more Iron quickly for warships: buy it from abroad or recycle old ships?) and local transport decisions (e.g. Paris needs so much fish that it has to arrive fresh from Marseille: which railroads should I build in the middle of France?); what's important is making them interesting, nontrivial decisions and cutting the boring or useless details.

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I mentioned the 7 wonders style approach is for two reasons one it is a very simple mechanic that is easy to pick up plus has a lot of depth. The second reason is that it is very easy to visualize on your map.  You have tokens that represent iron, wood, coal and then from a simple glance I can see that a province provides two wood. Just because its a strategy game doesn't mean you have to bury the player in spreadsheets.

 

I guess the things about transport routes is how critical resources movement and stockpiling is to the game. Is it like Transport Tycoon? Do I need to concern myself with maximizing the output of a steal mill by transporting coal and iron from half a dozen different provinces and ensuring that those transports aren't going back empty? Can I just build anything anywhere and have access to it?  If so does that make the map a bit irrelevant since there is effectively only one province instead of several?

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I am with involving transportation and revealing its cost clearly to player. It doesn't have to be super micromanaged but something like

 

- Province transportation

Road : cost 100

If you upgrade to Railroad its 20% less etc.

 

Or you can simply set a fixed cost X number of provinces.

 

And for  1 coal + 1 iron = 1 steel , I think using decimal is good but you could do 1+1=2 steel as Railroad Tycoon does.

 

Btw, if I am not mistaken, at early industrialism labor was extremely abundant, so doubt any overhour applies, but ofc classic demand-supply rules does.

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You have tokens that represent iron, wood, coal and then from a simple glance I can see that a province provides two wood.
Too many resources, it won't fit on the map. There are also things I didn't mentioned like spice consumed by population and several dozens other resources. It would mean like 10-20 icons per province...

 


I guess the things about transport routes is how critical resources movement and stockpiling is to the game. Is it like Transport Tycoon? Do I need to concern myself with maximizing the output of a steal mill by transporting coal and iron from half a dozen different provinces and ensuring that those transports aren't going back empty? Can I just build anything anywhere and have access to it? If so does that make the map a bit irrelevant since there is effectively only one province instead of several?
No, it's not like Railroad Tycoon at all. The main reason for railroad is that it is very in theme, so I wanted railroads somewhere. But I don't really like (find it fun) the whole resources transportation.

 

As you said this could make the map irrelevant (and that's why I tried to do the trasportation in the first place) but I feel it was a mistake... Instead the map should have other purposes like social, ideology, people migration, rebelions, demonstrations, spread of culture, education.

 


Btw, if I am not mistaken, at early industrialism labor was extremely abundant, so doubt any overhour applies, but ofc classic demand-supply rules does.
Well, yes, but not preciselly. An important part of industrialization was a huge improvement in agrarian technology, it allowed to free hordes of farmers (1 could tend the fields now where 10 were needed before) and let them convert to labourers.

Anyway, it's not that important to stick so close to historical accuracy :) If overhours are desired for the game mechanics I can use them.

 


Or you can simply set a fixed cost X number of provinces.
What you mean exactly? I'm not sure I fully understood that part.

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