Lately it has been a lot of talking about strategy games in this forum, so I've been thinking about the subject quite a lot. I'd like to talk a bit about the possibilities of an action point system in that kind of games.
In the turn based strategy games that I've played that implement an action points system, I've always seen that the action points are assigned to each unit, so for each unit in the map, the player has a fixed amount of things to do. To put it in a simple example: if each unit has 5 action points per turn and the player has 10 units, each turn he will make actions for a total amount of 50 action points, 5 for each unit; if he has 100 units, each turn the player will make actions for a total amount of 500 action points, again, 5 for each unit.
What I've been thinking is: what if the player had a fixed amount of action points per turn instead of per unit? I.e., each turn the player has 50 action points, regardless he has 10 or 100 units, so it's possible (and likely) that he is not able to update all his units each turn (or that he hasn't enough units to spend all his action points, but I think that shouldn't happen often in a well designed system).
I think that allows for some mechanics interesting to explore:
For instance, if sending a unit to somewhere in the map costs action points, but once the point of destin is setted, the unit moves each turn at a fixed speed, without spending more action points the following turns. Suddenly, the player needs to think the possible outcomes of sending a unit somewhere, because moving a unit to a different place means less action points to spend in other things that turn.
Alliances then would acquire a new strategic relevance: two players attacking another one means that the defender has less action points than his aggressors combined, so acquiring allies and multiplying the attack fronts could be a decisive factor, as the defender wouldn't have enough action points to defend effectively all the fronts.
Also I'm thinking that specific buildings and units could increase the amount of action points per turn, something like upgrading government buildings, or training generals, for example.
So, what are your thoughts about this idea? Does it make sense? Do you know any game that implements something similar? What interesting mechanics do you think could be implemented with that system in mind?