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Governors and other officials (4X)

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Theme & mood: you are the Emperor, it's a rather big empire 50-200 planets under your control. You don't deal with low level logistics and things like that, do not build any buildings on planets but make edicts, grant audiences, appoint/fire officials. The only thing you have a more direct and low level control (apart from opverall administaring of the empire) is the miliatry (moving squadrons around and managing fleets but you still have no control over individual ships).

 

IMORTANT:

1) The game is about no micromanagement, so keep it in mind, there can't be too many heavy micro solutions

2) It's not Crusader Kings 2 in space, also it's not Kings of the Dragon Pass. Yes, there are similarities, and you can borrow from these but keep it mind it's not a game like these.

 

 

How it works now:

Each imperial official (planetary governor, admiral, squadron commander, marshal, general, courtier, diplomat) has 3 stats:

* Competence (how good he is at its job, whatever the job is)

* Loyalty (how loyal that official is to the Emperor in case of rebellion, coup, civil war, etc)

* Corruption (how much money that person steals: everyone is corrupted to some degree, it's a big bureaucratic empire you know :D).

So you have nice interesting choices like "OK, he is an idiot but a loyal one, should I keep him?" or "very competent but super corrupted and disloyal". In addition, each civil official (governors, courtiers, diplomats) belongs to a faction so sometimes you have a person with stats you like but you don't want to strenghten that faction even further.

Overall, that part is EXCELLENT and I prefer to not touch anything here.

 

At the moment you don't appoint any officials, they are auto spawned whenever there is a vacant position (which is nice for the pace, no popups annoying the player whener some old governor dies and need replacement) you only fire people (and then their vacant position will be auto filled next turn, in the meantime that position being not filled so you face penalties). That part is surprisingly decent, works better than it sounds, but... not super thrilling and causes problems later (next paragraph).

Overall, that part is MEDIOCRE.

 

And now the strategic level, like if you want to reduce curruption in the empire. What you do is just click over random planets and if you see a person with high corruption you fire him. Well, not so bad (definitely not convenient nor fast). Or you can summon every single official to an audience and then scroll through horses of these (100-250 personas, up to 500 in the late game biggest size empire) and can at a glance see the stats and fire that person. Well... again not super convenient but not super terrible either.

The problem is, it's not working :) Like you can not go below corruption 6.50 no matter what you do (long term). I mean, each official start with every stats between 1 and 12, so when you want to reduce corruption and you fire everyone with corruption 7 or above it works (50% chance the new person will have it lower), but if you want to go below 4 then and fire everyone with 4+ the new one still will have between 1 and 12 witgh the average being 6.50 (so worse). And that's the big problem.

Overall, that part is POOR.

 

 

Problems, acceptable solutions, thoughts, etc:

First, I need to change the POOR part to something decent :) Obvious. And I need to do it without introducing tons of micromanagement and hassle. Especially if that hassle was to be done every single turn. I'm OK with making the player spend more time dealing with officials, because it fits the mood and theme of a powerfull Emperor sitting on a throne and managing a vast empire with minimal direct control.

I get a feeling that I might be forced to make the player to not only fire but also appoint officials (not necessarily directly for each position but maybe select candidates from the imperial college which then will be in a queue to take over any vacant positions, or something like that).

 

There is also a problem with military branch, while appointing/firing every single planetary governor sounds acceptable, doing so with every squadron commander (officer) and a local planetry defence officer seems overdoing it (you have 200 of those alone in the late game and their impact to the game is minimal unless they are on some important border planet), so probably for the military I would prefer a solution with more "hands off". I mean, military is supposed to have their own rules for hierarchy, seniority, etc, no president/emperor/dictator deal with those directly, it's not the civilian branch with filling positions according to political needs and so on, they are more or less professionals loyal to the government.

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As for the "average 6.5" issue, I can suggest new officials start with a lower value of corruption. You know, the more you manage the power, the more it consumes you. So old (and skilled) officials will have a high value of corruption (but here the loyalty factor can be kept into account), compared to new (and maybe less skilled) ones.

Edited by arka80

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BTW, here is a screen of the imperial court to get into the mood :)

https://www.facebook.com/PocketSpaceEmpire/photos/a.1518291948449273.1073741828.1518285091783292/1637882779823522/?type=3&theater

 

As for the "average 6.5" issue, I can suggest new officials start with a lower value of corruption. You know, the more you manage the power, the more it consumes you. So old (and skilled) officials will have a high value of corruption (but here the loyalty factor can be kept into account), compared to new (and maybe less skilled) ones.

Well, I have the "officials get boost to competence & corruption over time" mechanic. But it's too low of an impact. Also corruption is just an example, same goes with "how to increase competence" and "how to increase loyalty". The player has no sufficient tools to manipulate these.

 

 

Academy concept

Maybe like this: everything works as in the first post, but there is a buffer/pool of "candidates" from which the game assign offices. The buffer consists of "students" (separate for each branch, so civils and military do not mix). The player can see and affect this pool of candidates, before they are assigned any office. Like if the buffer is low (less than 10 candidates left) there is an event "The rector of the civil services academy selected candidates and asks for imperial approval" then you get a screen full of candidates and you decide who get to go to the academy and who don't, or maybe in bulk, like 3 groups and you decide which group will go to the academy.

Now, when there is a vacancy the oldest from the candidates pool (again civil and military are separate pools) get the office. If for any reason the pool is empty (like if the emperor was too picky and didn't allow anyone) a completelly random one will be spawned and appointed to the office.

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For the military, how about appointing one or more generals, and maybe that general will start training (all) the officers under his command until they got the same stats as him ?

After 20 or so turns while having the same stats as the general, an officer has a chance of increasing his stats(once) and the player can choose replace the general with such officer.(thus slowly over the course of the game, the military gets better.)

"general-independent" stat increases should probably have the choice between -1 corruption, +1 loyalty, +1 competence, +1 corruption + 2 loyalty, +1 corruption + 2 competence, and possibly +1 corruption + 1 loyalty + 1 competence.

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But...

if you have +100 planets (oh mama!) and each has a governor with 3 stats that you want to matter, that WILL feel like micromanagement.

 

Idea:

1. You always have 8 governors. When you aquire more planets, each guy governs more planets (he governs a sector!). This way you can actually monitor the guys and you can allow their stats to have REAL inpact on the game. If you have 150 guys in a list, no player can care about them, and if one is bad, that doesnt matter since he's just 1/150 of your administration anyway.

 

2. Also, with only 8 guys, you can afford a popup when there is a free vacancy -> give the player 2 candidates to pick from (the other one is discarded). So the player has to make a choice.

 

3. Does all governors have to be men? I dont know your setting but it seems a little strange.

Edited by suliman

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For the military, how about appointing one or more generals, and maybe that general will start training (all) the officers under his command until they got the same stats as him ?

After 20 or so turns while having the same stats as the general, an officer has a chance of increasing his stats(once) and the player can choose replace the general with such officer.(thus slowly over the course of the game, the military gets better.)

"general-independent" stat increases should probably have the choice between -1 corruption, +1 loyalty, +1 competence, +1 corruption + 2 loyalty, +1 corruption + 2 competence, and possibly +1 corruption + 1 loyalty + 1 competence.

Hmm, interesting. I have tons of doubts and I don't think it would fit the game mechanics, but for some reason I like the "feel" of this concept :) Not sure why :)

 

In secrecy I would tell you that personally I feel the player should appoint Admirals and Marshalls only :) The rest of officers (like mere Generals and Commodores) being below the dignity of the Emperor to deal with :)

Yeah, limiting direct player's infuence over military to the top level officers only would halve the total number of officials the player need to handle... I don't care what mechanic is used, but I would *love* to have such reduction :)

 

Maybe you have direct access to top 10 most senior officers in each branch (army & fleet) only and then promote/demote them so you have contol (indirect and imperfect) who is at the top and has the most to say how the military works internally? While lower rank officers are deal with automatically, with you maybe giving some generic edicts like "prefer loyal ones upon promotion"? Anyway, I love your idea to not let the player deal with the low rank ones.

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Measure how far the fired official was from average in each stat: (I'm going to use Competence/Loyalty/-Corruption. -Corruption so that higher is always better for simplicity). Bob is 11/4/9. The average official in your government is 7/6/5. Then Bob is +4/-2/+4. He was very competent and non-corrupt but his loyalty was low.

 

Now generate a new official with weighted random stats: Competence and -Corruption are likely to be lower than average, but loyalty is likely to be higher. I'd also always give the new officer a different faction.

 

Somebody at 0/0/0 and at -2/-2/-2 would both generate a normal random distribution, since they aren't more extreme in one category versus another.

 

Firing Somebody at +8/+4/-1 is going to heavily skew against corruption. Firing somebody at +2/+2/-1 will skew against corruption, but lightly. Basically, nobody reacts much to firing an overall incompetent officer. But firing an outstanding officer for corruption sends a strong message.

 

To enhance the effect, you might allow a firing to impact future firings as well; that +8/+4/-1 will ensure lower corruption for a number of hirings afterwards.

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the emperor would have a "minister of war" or "grand admiral" as the top military official. there would also be some sort of ministry for civil servants, sort of a personnel office, that would run the civil service academy. there would be a minister of civilian personnel.

 

the civilian academy and military academy would train candidates automatically. number of available candidates would be based on population. new appointments would automatically come from the trained pools of mil or civ candidates, on a best stats basis.

 

both the military and civilian branches would have a department of internal affairs that would automatically fire corrupt officials. might want the emperor to be able to influence how much they do this by speaking with the war or civ ministers.

 

with integrity ranging from 1 to 12 with an average of 6.5, lets say you want all 12s. at the start 1/12th will be 12s, and the rest get fired. now you have your original 1/12th, plus 1/12th of 11/12's, that are now 12s. with each round of purges, 1/12th of the <12 integrity officials get replaced with 12 integrity officials. so overall average integrity asymptotically approaches 12, but never hits it until rounding gets you the last little bit. this strikes me as an acceptably realistic model. a good test: lets say you're stalin, and instead of purging for 12 integrity, you're purging for 12 loyalty. obviously, with the first round of purges, shooting 11/12ths of your officer corps and high ranking civil servants is going to throw the empire to hell in a hand basket for a while. just like the real thing did to russia.

 

using the system described, you have the emperor speaking to the top civilian or military minister and setting limits (weed out all officers below 6 loyalty, and all civil servants below 6 integrity). then the automatic systems go about achieving those averages. sort of like setting your tax rate. nice and hands-off, high level, just like you want.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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But...
if you have +100 planets (oh mama!) and each has a governor with 3 stats that you want to matter, that WILL feel like micromanagement.

Idea:
1. You always have 8 governors. When you aquire more planets, each guy governs more planets (he governs a sector!). This way you can actually monitor the guys and you can allow their stats to have REAL inpact on the game. If you have 150 guys in a list, no player can care about them, and if one is bad, that doesnt matter since he's just 1/150 of your administration anyway.
I'm glad you mentioned it, I wanted to talk with someone about it for a while :)

 

Not exactly. If you look at it from the point of 100 planets, you are right, but when you look at it from the point of "I got these 2 new planets this turn" it's not micro at all. Note that you don't build anything on these planets, you can do only two things, set the specialization and appoint/fire the governor. That's the only thing you will be able to do with planets ever. So, I'm hesitant to remove individual planetary governors.

The problem starts if the planet want to replace governors at all planets at once :)

 

I agree on the 1/150 of your administration part... The impact of individual change is too low then.

 

But, now the good parts. As a player I like more governors. I'm the Emperor, it's a big Empire, and just 8 governors... nah! At least 25 of those sounds right to me. Maybe indeed 100+ is overdoing it but below 20 is no fun at all either. It feels like MoO2 with their lame 4 administrators (I HATED it), such a powerful empire and they can't afford a governor for each planet :) It was a mood breaker for me. I do want more officials, much more, maybe not hundreds but a lot for sure.

 

As for "If you have 150 guys in a list" I avoid such a list. Each branch is separate (like an officer can't be promoted to a governor they exist in separate boxes). Also that's why I disallowed moving governors between planets. To avoid the need of such list to exist. OK, it exists if you make a general audience and demand that every single imperrial official was summoned to the court (but again, it adds to the mood as well, looking and this list of faces :D)

 

Another thing, during the early feedback from players (well, they did not play the game just read the premise and saw screens) a HUGE, I mean a surprisingly huge number of them were super excited about the personnel management! All of them were shouting "Crusader Kings 2 in space" or "King of the Dragon Pass" :D I was really surprised (no one asked about combat! Not a single one!) and like half or 1/3 of them were about this personnel staff. So, I simply can't degrade it to 8 governors :( They would kill me :D Kill me to death :D

 

 

A wild thought, maybe make it 2 tierred? You have those planetary governors but also you have prefectures with a prefect and those prefects add x10 to the impact. Maybe up to the point that you can't fire governors but only prefects?

But I still like being able to fire a planetary governor because I don't like his face :(

 

Another wild though, actually players suggested it, make the planet elect a governor democraticly on their own.

 

 

Note: I also have Courtiers mechanic (which is not utilized yet). You have exactly 12 Courtiers (so their impact is high and they are manageable) and they are your direct henchmen/ministers. I could use ideas here too.

 

 


3. Does all governors have to be men? I dont know your setting but it seems a little strange.
The artist has not made the female faces yet :) These will be done later.

 


To enhance the effect, you might allow a firing to impact future firings as well; that +8/+4/-1 will ensure lower corruption for a number of hirings afterwards.
Interesting. Whom you fired affecting who will be recruited next. All using existing mechanics and interface... Maybe I could use it...

But i worry about factions. Sometimes you fire someone because of the faction not stats... so the algorithm could misinterpret it.

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