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  1. Here's how I might approach it: The noble houses rule baronies of planets. The emperor is the political leader of the empire, but lacks direct authority: he requests fleets, taxes, etc. from the nobility and they provide it (or don't). The barons are mostly in competition with each other: they view themselves as the true source of power in the empire. They covet each other's planets and nurse secret ambitions to raise a large enough fleet to seize control over the entire empire. As the emperor, you have a certain amount of discretion in doling out power. Newly settled or conquered planets must be granted to the barons. Internal migration and trade rules shift economic power. If you build a new spacestation the baron controlling it is strengthened. If a baron acts against your wishes (or more importantly, against the wishes of his fellow barons) you can punish him, giving away planets. Possibly you can play the whole game this way, making sure no baron gets strong enough to seize control while keeping them happy enough to not just kick you off the throne. But more likely you'll want to strengthen your tenuous source of power. As you have successes, you can increase the imperial authority. First you might make military requisitions mandatory. Then you form an imperial fleet directly in your control. Eventually you claim direct authority over the fleet. You claim a capital planet in your control, then a whole imperial barony. If you act too rashly the barons will dipose you, but by keeping them focused on each other and slowly gaining power you can eventually abolish them and take sole control. From a gameplay perspective, this also provides a natural feature gating mechanism. At the start the barons are powerful so you have limited tools at your disposal. By taking a power (I get to appoint the high admirals) you unlock a new mechanic, hopefully having figured out the basic ones by now.
  2. In a totalitarian global total war scenario there's presumably not much international trade going on, so something superlinear in the number of cities could simulate the value of non-local resources and specialization. If you wanted to get simulation heavy this could take into account resource diversity, but you could also hand-wave away and say "any city is going to be rich and poor in different resources." In essence by conquering a new city you got access to purer iron ore letting you smelt steel faster and produce more tanks, which is all abstracted into "more wealth." This would encourage snowballing for quicker games where somebody gets an edge and then conquers the world. Especially if you require geographic diversity this could have a counter where a player has to stretch themselves thin to maximize wealth, opening themselves up for counterattacks until they can resolidify with the additional wealth. Another resource to consider is "stability": If people aren't being fed, they'll turn to scavenging rather than showing up for their shift at the factory. If people keep vanishing into the countryside to get away from missile strikes, specialized knowledge keeps getting lost. If the highways are crumbling, deliveries are slow. Here construction would lead to better stability (more farms, road repair projects, hospitals), but it would mostly be a function of not letting your cities be attacked. Spies sowing unrest, air strikes, raids on truck conveys between cities would do economic damage, so you could fight wars two ways: either seizing cities with troops for knockout blows, or wearing your opponent down and then going for the conquest.
  3. The easiest solution to grinding is to have a shallower difficulty progression. If a player doesn't have to grind, most won't. If you want to actively discourage grinding (e.g. you want them to fail a lot at greater depths, or the system and setting are causing players to grind even though they don't have to) timers and exponential cost/reward both work. Another option is consumables: Every day in the dungeons sees your party growing stronger and getting better equipment, but losing their health potions/spell reagents/whatever. By doling out more potions the deeper they get, they're being lightly pulled along (but have some pacing decisions of their own) Another variant is the constant risk of catastrophe. The deeper you go the bigger the danger, but even at a shallow depth an angry RNG will kill you. You might die 50% of the time if you're too deep, 15% at the "right" depth and 2% during grinding. Now grinding is a tradeoff, because you're making later content easier but it's eventually riskier to keep facing this lowgrade danger rather than just racing to the end.
  4.   Yup, that was the situation I was referring to (not that proc uses forces speed, per se, but that speed forces greater and great proc focus). Basically if the game is well balanced you probably won't see slow attackers using procs, or pure DPS fast attackers. That could be fine, but it's a loss of valid customizations. That said, it does make the general balance problem easier if you're willing to focus on a slice of valid builds and let non-standard builds have expected poorer performance. Note that this is basically the observation that even though option 1 exacerbates the issue, it's still an issue at some level with option 3.     It's kind of option 3 with a big caveat. A 40 turn attack might causes 40 ongoing damage. A 10 turn attack causes 20 ongoing damage. So after 40 turns, the faster attack has proc'd a lot more ongoing damage. But there's limited or no stacking, so actually if all 4 attacks were against the same target, it only has 20 ongoing damage. To get the full 80 point of possible ongoing damage the attacks had to be distributed among 4 enemies. The viability of that approach does depend on the larger combat system.   If you've got various skills with different effects, you might want to consider a reverse option 3 more seriously. It does break a certain expectation (maximize speed to get the most procs in), but it sort of feels like it fits the combat roles better: the slow attacker has a few important decisions about which powerful proc to activate (and then waits around for the attack to finish). The fast attacker is then responsible for using his greater flexibility to deal with the stronger effects his opponent is dishing out.
  5. Generally speaking, I think a fast attacker should be slightly weaker in aggregate than a slower attacker. If the fast attacker gets better benefit from proc's, this would mean the slow attacker needs substantially higher core damage per turn or health to make up for this additional drawback. I think option 3 would actually start locking characters into roles, where the fast attacker needs to maximize proc output to keep up. The reason the fast attacker will tend to be weaker is that they have more opportunities to switch strategies. A slow caster has to commit to an action 100 turns from now when the situation may have changed. A fast attacker can swig a potion or start retreating or use a different skill at much shorter notice. So we expect them to get better situational benefits, which needs to be balanced by something else. Stack limits seem like a natural way to provide variety: The slow proc is stronger, so the slow attacker has an edge one-on-one (offsetting their strategic limitation). However, the fast attacker has more aggregate proc output assuming they can spread it around. So in a crowd situation the fast attacker has the edge in proc power. However, in keeping with his role that requires smart situational awareness: maximizing proc output needs to be balanced against the benefit of defeating opponents one at a time to reduce aggregate damage output. The slow attacker is less flexible but is optimized for the obvious case of "take them down one at a time". The fast attacker can achieve better raw output, but needs to balance that against basic tactics.
  6. It feels like a quick party game: perhaps an amuse bouche to kick off a boardgame night. The core mechanic seems to be a cooperate vs. mooch simultaneous decision, but I suspect the strategy will be limited from your randomly drawn hand. If you have 4 leisure cards this hand, you're going to be mooching whether that feels strategically correct or not. Still, that sort of chaos can make for a fun light game, where everyone has a chance to win. And the more game savvy will pick up on changing play based on everybody else's draws or even tracking whether key cards have been played this shuffle, so there's a bit of depth for those who want it. Keep it moving fast and I think it's a fun base. If you want a deeper game, I'd figure out ways to penalize non-mooching play (grinding out your VP fairly is probably the safest and least interactive path) and some mechanism for shifting your strategy beyond your random hand of cards.
  7.   I like the idea, but one thing I'd note is that social anxiety is not a symptom of Asperger's. An Asperger's individual might also experience social anxiety, and I can absolutely believe its more common in that sub-population, but they're different things. An Asperger's individual might, for example, have very specific circumstances where they feel prompted to reply in a social situation. That may be interpreted as social anxiety by others, but subjectively the individual is just following their specific social norms. It's also not uncommon for an Asperger's individual to have the opposite problem of the protagonist and have trouble with social cues about when it's not "appropriate" to keep talking on a subject.   Your protagonist is an individual, so it's totally reasonable that his experience matches your mechanism, but I'd caution overgeneralizing that.   Depending on the point of view you want to express, you might have the "win" state being the creation of relationships with like-minded, supportive individuals. Asperger's spectrum includes a tendency towards very passionate interests, finding interest groups on the topic could flip the interactions such that engaging reduces stress. It's also not unusual for an Asperger's individual to be very talkative with a very select group of friends/family and silent otherwise. Perhaps the accumulation of personal coping strategies and a supportive social network allows the player to accomplish things previously outside their ability (holding a job or getting promoted, romance, etc.)
  8. a few more ideas:   "I Want to be a Poser!" "Posers Save The Day" "Our Hero The Poser" "The Great Poser Adventure"
  9. What's the demons' motivation?   One possibility: The demons secretly provided the magic for the cataclysmic spell. They neglected to share the cancellation spell. Their strategy is to frighten powerful magical beings off their world and then cancel the spell at the last second and invade the abandoned world. Perhaps they are physically powerful and have some innate powers (interdimensional travel), but lack magic. So they steal the magical technologies of other beings.   That could leave an expansion where the players can return to a demon controlled world A, filled with massive cities torn by war, abandoned, and then looted and populated by demons.
  10. Some other possibilities:   zombie animals zombie torso's: The aftermath of a zombie feeding frenzy, incapable of much motion, but hard to notice slightly sentient zombies: Able to use simple tools or shoot a gun guard zombie: chained in place, sign a human wants to keep people out graveyard zombie: The risen dead, more rotted and so weaker, but in especially big hordes
  11.   In this usage, complexity refers to the factors that must be explicitly learned to play reasonably, and depth refers to the amount of "stuff" below the surface that can be discovered for greater mastery (or fun). Usually complexity means inherent complexity (a long rule book) and depth means emergent complexity (many interesting patterns derivable from the rules). Sometimes it means the surface rules needed to understand a game at all (a strike in baseball) versus information which is useful but not critical (infield fly rule).   Go players talk about "eyes", "knight jumps", "moyo's", "influence", "heavy play", "fighting spirit", etc. None of those appear in the rules. Contrast that to an argument about which MOBA character has better control skills, which might focus on cooldown times and range. Those are explicitly defined variables with specific values set by the developers. There's a different experience between deriving further and further understanding of the consequence of rules in Chess, and pouring over the relative cover bonuses of 30 tanks in a crunchy wargame. People have different preferences between the two, but they are different things.   If we want to really dig into designing appropriate complexity, the more relevant discussion there is probably things like learning curve, epiphany moments, levels of mastery, tree width, rule scope, etc. But for the question of "simple or complex", I think "depth over complexity" and "as simple as possible but no simpler" is sufficient.
  12. Too simple is safer then too complex. Wrap a Skinner box in fancy graphics and people will enjoy it. Reskin rock-paper-scissors and people will compete with each other. Ask them to carefully time a jump over and over again and they'll master that skill.   But within the bounds of "not extremely complex" and "well made" you can make a lot of different stuff work. And generally, more depth will result in more replayability. More depth is likely to correlate with better critical acclaim.   I think intuitive, interesting choices is key. You can get away with a lot of complexity if the choices are intuitive. In chess, a beginner has only the slightest inkling of what's going on, but capturing pieces is probably good, moving towards the king is probably good, keeping pieces protected is probably good. A beginner doesn't have to feel lost and overwhelmed, they can play what they want to reasonable effectiveness and learn from that. In an rpg, maybe a weapon has ten stats and choosing the right one involves really exquisite trade-offs. But if each weapon also has a "level" and "suggested class" then a casual player can make a quick, reasonable choice and move on.   Mirroring real world knowledge is also a good idea. In a war game I might not understand all the rules, but I'll try to defend on the high ground, try to pincer or break through the enemy line, defend my artillery, not attack the pikemen with my cavalry. If the mechanics make those smart ideas then I can ignore a lot of the behind the scenes complexity. If my intuition is violated, then I really do have to master the rules, which is liable to cause to me to just move along.
  13. If you're just going for an interesting variety of units, Cavalry could be worse at attacking/defending cities. Then a too heavily mounted army has trouble taking/holding cities, but an insufficiently mounted army is destroyed before reaching a city.   If you want to be more historic, that time frame is sort of the fall of cavalry dominance. An infantry unit versus a cavalry unit in the field would heavily favor the infantry. One approach was to use artillery to disrupt a position enough that the cavalry could get close and rout them from the field. Another was to just use them for supporting roles: scouting, masking movements of the infantry, raiding supply lines. Something like a weaker base set of stats, but more conditional bonuses could probably simulate their place historically (still valuable but no longer capable of going toe-to-toe on an open field). You could also leave them a little overpriced for basically just a speed bonus, which is not a terrible simulation of their role at the time.   You might also want to consider splitting out European style massed infantry divisions and skirmishers/partisans/native war-bands. Then you can have a rock-paper-scissors system, where cavalry are poor at facing massed infantry, but can chase down and clear out skirmishers. Massed infantry is vulnerable to hit and run tactics by the skirmishers, but not critically so.
  14. If you make the bottom rungs of the hierarchy fun and empowering, then structural stagnation is less of an issue. The player shouldn't feel exploited/forced, they should feel like they're playing a different game, or only playing with people on their level. For example, layer 1 players could compete to control layer 2 players, but the layer 2 players don't see any game change if they switch hierarchies. Anything that minimizes direct competition across/between tiers should help   Another option is to speed up the whole aggregation of power thing and have short game cycles. Make it take 45 minutes to seize power and break the economy, and then reset the game every time somebody "wins"
  15. I've never played it (too daunting/expensive), but I believe CMANO is used for training/simulation in the military.   Various militaries publish some of their wargaming material (especially after FOIA requests), for example here's extremely detailed descriptions of made up nations the US uses for some wargames, here's a set of rules for a tabletop game.