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SpaceRook

RTS idea: prisoners

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I have no interest in making an RTS, so I feel safe in describing my idea here In most RTS''s, the goal is to totally wipe out the enemy. This isn''t very realistic. In modern war, it is rare for one side to kill every last one of the enemy. Usually, they take prisoners. I think it would be interesting if you could take prisoners in an RTS. For example, if you totally outnumber the enemy, they might surrender. You could then put them in work camps or get some kind of information from them. OR, when a player is outnumbered, they could surrender in hopes that they could free their men later. The enemy would invoke some kind of penalty for slaughtering surrendering soldiers (if this was a game like Civ, maybe you could make it so neighboring allies would look down on you if you killed surrendering soldiers). Some games have variations on this idea (i.e., capturing enemy units and using them for your own purposes), but none have done it in the way I describe. What does everyone else think of this idea? ------------- SpaceRook Latest Project: Paper Shredder Visit my homepage for other projects!

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Good idea.

Most RTS are of the interspecies kind that''s simply out to annhilate each other. But having a more realistic game where you have to take into consideration the surrender of soldiers would add quite a wrinkle. I think there would be a penalty on the morale of the side that had the troops surrender (in some ways I think this is worse than having your units die...since if some of your comrades die, you may feel sad, but also partially mad that they were killed. If they just surrendered, things feel more hopeless). And of course it would be a burden on the unit that was surrendered to.

As you mentioned, how you treat the prisoners could also affect how allied nations or unallied nations respond to your nation.

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I like the idea. Total annihilation gameplay must go away.

quote:

The enemy would invoke some kind of penalty for slaughtering surrendering soldiers (if this was a game like Civ, maybe you could make it so neighboring allies would look down on you if you killed surrendering soldiers).



An idea for a penalty that can work even in an one on one game would be that if a side kills prisoners, soldiers from the other sides will no longer surrender and will have a global moral bonus when fighting this first side. This can be coupled with propaganda units that would spread the word about how evil the other side is, and with recon/commando units that can get informations about the enemies side (taking pictures / rescuing prisoners - creating propaganda material).

Of course, there should also be a significant penalty for treating the prisoners correctly to keep things balanced (they need food and shelter, they may try to escape, so they need guards - reducing the active army). Torture may get informations.

But the problem of prisoners is closely related to the damage model of the game. I''d like that the focus of battles be not to cause damage to the enemy but to force him to abandon certain positions. The Panzer General series did this well. Repeated attacks on a unit would decrease its entrenchment bonus. A heavily entrenched unit, particularly in a rough terrain (cities, forests) could resist most direct attacks with little casualties and cause heavy damage on the attackers. But if the unit is repeatedly attacked from the air and by artilerry fire, it grows soft and it starts to take more and more damage. Also, certain attacks (level bombers, some arty) can suppress elements of the unit, meaning the unit''s active size is effectively reduced for the rest of the turn.

This means that a force that is retreating can defend well without many casualties - just resist a bit until the enemy really starts to deploy his forces, then fall back to secondary positions (secured and entrenched by units that retreated earlier). This also means that a surrounded force is doomed - it takes concentrated enemy fire, it loses it''s entrenchment fast, it is cut off from supplies and reinforcements, and must remain on the same positions.

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