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Combat and units in modern empire builder

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Hi

Im doing a realtime total war/europa universalis style large scale empire builder (you control cities on a map and train armies). Setting is near future post-nuclear holocaust. Combat occurs when to armies meet and is for now locked until one is destroyed. Units continuously pick and attack hostile units. Battles goes on as the game continues with player starting new battles, managing his/her cities etc.

 

Units are trained and form armies (up to 20 units in an army). They have 3 strength ratings (city attack/city defense/fighting on the map). First try is included below to give a sense of my idea.

 

Below is the unit lineup for now. Everything is rather abstracted, but that's the way i like it (research can change and modify later but i want to keep the no of base units rather low).

Artillery is strong for its cost but their strength drops fast if the army doesnt have enough "core" land units in it to back up the artillery.

 

Militia (1,2,1) - cheap, requires no infrastructure

Infantry (2,3,2) - core, require no factory work

 

Light mech (3,4,3) - core, first factory unit unlocked. Represents AFV, APC. Better name?

Tanks (5,3,5) - core, small bonus vs inf/militia. Could be called heavy mech maybe?

Anti air (2,2,2) - huge bonus vs air

Tactical artillery (5,5,5)

Siege artillery (8,1,2) only good on the offense

 

Gunships (4,2,4) good bonus vs tanks

Fighters (3,2,3) huge bonus vs air

Bombers (8,1,4) only good on the offense

 

Ships (lets do this later)

 

Does it make sense? Could a modern/near future battlefield work this way? (i know clashing two armies together is not really how wars are conducted these days but IF i sortof need that kind of gameplay)

Do the basic mechanics presented here seem reasonable? (I experimented with a lot of ways the player could be more active in the battles but it didnt work with the strategic/management layer of the game)

 

The idea is that battles will represent player planning and economy of the empire rather than action/control of the battles.

Edited by suliman

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I think your mechanics seem reasonable. What you should focus on now is making sure everything is balanced. You need to make sure that every unit not only has its use, but also that their cost is appropriate. I would start by assigning a cost to each unit type. Try and balance everything out. This is only theoretical, which leads into my main advice. PLAYTEST. Get a lot of people to play your game, and take as much data as possible. If you find that one unit type is too weak, maybe bump up its power levels, give it some other advantage, or lower its cost. Not every unit needs to be used as much as the others. Just make sure every unit has its use at least some of the time. Also, when you're playtesting, make sure that people find your system fun. If it isn't, then find out what can be done to make it so. If you can do both of those things, then I think you'll make a great game. 

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Yeah that makes sence Andy, I will. There is already cost for everything but didnt want to clutter the post.

I prefer to have even (rounded off) costs (like 10, 15 or 20), but maybe that limits balancing? Do you find it strange/ugly if game units would cost 11 or 17 resources? The economy is tied to other gameplay elements so I cannot just rescale costs. 

 

Anyone up for commenting on how the acutal military would look in such a scenario? (i renamed light mech and tanks as simply light armour and heavy armour, seemed to fit better with the abstraction in general).

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I think having scaling your costs up by a favor of 10 would be a good idea, but it really comes down to what units you're using for currency. Having 110 and 170 gives an impression of these units being expensive without the numbers getting too high. For example, dont make your units be worth 11000 and 17000.
When it comes to how such a military would look, you have some creative liberty due to the futuristic nature of your game. I say make the units be based on their abilities in game, or have them attached to the theme you want your game built around. For example, a mech would probably be quicker than a tank. Seeing as mechs are future technology, its really up to you. Tanks might be more realistic if infrastructure is broken down after the apocalypse, but then again you have the freedom of scifi. If you want mechs, just explain that a ton of mechs were left over after the apocalypse or something

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Ah no I dont mean mechs like robots:) 

The "light mech" represents mechanized infantry or AFVs (armoured fighting vehicles).

Wheeled or tracked vehicles, typically with less armour and firepower than tanks.

 

I might include futuristic units later, im not sure yet.

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Recon could be an alternative to Light Mech.

 

And to throw in some ideas for ships.

Fast Attack Craft - Light sea recon

Corvette - Anti-Aircraft/Missile

Frigate - Anti-Submarine

Destroyer - Naval engagements

Cruiser - Siege type

Carrier - Specialized utility

Attack Submarine - Stealth anti-ship, no land/city attack.

Ballistic Submarine - Stealth siege.

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Cool. But i will simplify i think:

 

Patrolcrafts - core, light, early unit (sea version of  light armor)

Destroyer - core, general anti-ship

Missile frigate/artillery ship - anti-city (needs backup of core units like land artillery. Cruiser seems to robust? Want these to be frigile. Or just make them really expensive but super strong vs cities and only ok vs ships. But cruisers are going out of style right?).

AA - anti-air (AA frigate? Are corvettes really AA ships?)

 

I will most likely skip both submarines and carriers. I know they are important to modern warfare but it doesnt play well with how armies work right now. But maybe i can make it work:)

Edited by suliman

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I think generally all modern ships are well equipped with anti-air. Reading up on it, Corvettes are you light patrol, Frigates are primarily for escorting and protecting other ships, destroyers are jack of all trades and cruisers are your big guns, I don't think they are going out of style as they are mostly big mobile missile silos ... you could go for a ballistic submarine for fragile but destructive maybe? (but than you'd need to take into account anti-sub mechanics, etc).

 

You say its post apoc but modern armies, has most of the modern hardware survived?

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Few cruiser classes are in still in use today (and by few countries), and most of them designed in the late 20th century so I might skip it. Its mostly a design-choice though so we'll see:)

 

I might want to have a pure AA ship to make navies more mixed (otherwise its just patrolcrafts+destroyer+anti-city ship)

 

Yeah some old hardware could've survived but i prefer to have players build up most of their own stuff (i dont like games where I start with to much prebuilt). The advancement in tech will continue with research (semi-futuristic) mostly buffing armies, economy etc. The world starting state (at around year 2030 maybe) will be mostly neutral/free cities (like rebels in total war) and a dozen "factions" (the players control one of these) which is aspiring empires of maybe 1-3 cities and a few low-tier armies/garrisons.

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