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Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

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ariel
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Joined: 04/27/2012

Ok,
So there is Risk, (Which I guess could be counted as a board game) and numerous others...

I don't want to start a brawl here, but for a game that needs an economic backup for your army, (To pay for new troops) why do no games have a "Run out Resource" feature? That is my nickname for resources that run out. Basically, for Risk you have a never-ending supply of soldiers, they will never run out. (Provided you own the right countries) Other games are similar, you get a regular, everlasting income or you capture points which give you the economic/troops push you need. Ever played THE COMPUTER GAME Age of Empires? Warcraft? Starcraft? These games have resources scattered on the map that players have to gather. The resources run out quickly, so often it can be the richest player who wins. There is a whole lot more tension/strategy. If you kill an enemy base too late, you miss out on resources. (They will have taken them)
I figured that it would be cool to have this feature in a boardgame...

jwarrend
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Re: Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

Ariel wrote:

So there is Risk, (Which I guess could be counted as a board game) and numerous others...

Which others? Your topic indicates that you think ALL war and empire board games are stupid. How many have you actually played?

Quote:
I don't want to start a brawl here, but for a game that needs an economic backup for your army, (To pay for new troops) why do no games have a "Run out Resource" feature?

It's really a question of what a game is simulating. For example, in a game where each turn is a year, then the resource supply could be considered to be "the annual harvest", and there's no reason that should run out. At the level of two countries at war, finding resources to fund the army probably isn't that much of a problem, either. Of course, a country may be diverting funds from other needful things, and I suppose you could simulate this if you wanted to, but added realism doesn't always result in added fun or added playability.

I'm actually in the early stages of a game about the 30 years war, which ravaged the German countryside, and in that game, economic decline, and thus, an increased difficulty to pay your army, will be a factor. But I wouldn't expect every game to incorporate this effect.

Quote:
Ever played THE COMPUTER GAME Age of Empires? Warcraft? Starcraft? These games have resources scattered on the map that players have to gather. The resources run out quickly, so often it can be the richest player who wins. There is a whole lot more tension/strategy. If you kill an enemy base too late, you miss out on resources. (They will have taken them)

Sure, but that doesn't make these games better; only different. For one thing, WarCraft is an operations-level game, not a "grand strategy" game, and this kind of consideration may be more reasonable in such a game. And additionally, there are of course potential pitfalls in a depleting resource game; if, as you say, the richest player wins, is this a war game or a game about racing for resources?

Quote:
I figured that it would be cool to have this feature in a boardgame...

It may be; try your hand at designing such a game! But don't call an entire genre of games "stupid" just because they happen to abstract one aspect of reality that you think should be included. Instead, view it as an opportunity to create a unique game that incorporates these effects.

-Jeff

doho123
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Re: Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

Ariel wrote:
why do no games have a "Run out Resource" feature? That is my nickname for resources that run out. Basically, for Risk you have a never-ending supply of soldiers, they will never run out.

Some games DO have resources. Wallenstein is a good example of a war/empire building game where you need to determine the balance between A) spending gold to build your army or your empire, and B)trying to keep your peasants happy (so they won't revolt), yet forcing them to work to mine for gold and farm for food.

Civilization (the Avalon Hill board game) had a nice little mechanic where trying to build your empire too fast, would effectively cause bad things to happen because you didn't have the support structure there.

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Re: Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

Ariel wrote:
why do no games have a "Run out Resource" feature? That is my nickname for resources that run out. Basically, for Risk you have a never-ending supply of soldiers, they will never run out.

Struggle of Empires has an interesting economic mechanism: you need money to make attacks. Money is available from a number of sources, but can also be obtained to an essentially infinite degree by taxing your own population. But taxing makes you accumulate "unrest" (which can also come from other sources), and too much unrest can cost you victory points or even lose you the game outright if your nation collapses in revolution.

In addition to gold and unrest, you must also manage your population level, which is another form of resource which can run low.

In A Game of Thrones you must manage your supply level, which controls how many armies you can field and how large they can be. You must also manage your "political power," a currency used to maneuver for strategic advantages and to obtain the support of non-player forces to hold regions you have taken after your troops have left.

So there are definitely wargames that feature limited resources. But I also agree with Jeff: a game designer's #1 job is playability, not simulation. I'm not very fond of Risk, but that's not because I think it's a poor simulation. I just don't think it's a very interesting game.

DSfan
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

Quote:
So there is Risk, (Which I guess could be counted as a board game) and numerous others...

As Jeff said, how many war games have you actually played?

If only Risk then you really havent enjoyed anything. There are so many different types of war/empire games that its impossible to use the term all because as most board gamers know, you havent/couldnt have played every one.

The term all (imho) should never be used lightly. All is too vague of a word. A better choice would have been: Why is Risk so stupid?

Quote:
Ever played THE COMPUTER GAME Age of Empires? Warcraft? Starcraft? These games have resources scattered on the map that players have to gather.

Actually I have, but these are more similar to real world scenarios. Oil can run out, diamonds can run out, metal can run out, etc. Boardgames cannot recreate real world scenarios as well as boardgames do; although there are some games that come very close. Boardgames have to stick to a less accurate scale so that things do not become too complex.

Hopefully I've made a point in my ramblings, or at least got my point across.

Justin

ariel
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Joined: 04/27/2012
Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

OK GUYS,
I do admit, the title was primarily designed just to get people angry and involved. (With an emphasis on involved!) Yes, my use of "all" was too condemning, I agree, but at least it got you into the discussion!

Quote:
"Boardgames cannot recreate real world scenarios as well as boardgames do;"

-So said one of the above people....

I assume that was meant to be COMPUTER GAMES. No problem though..
Ok, lets get one thing straight. By "Run out resources" I mean: Not merely a method of spending money/deploying troops, (Not just a limiting mechanic) resources that actually run out. That is, will you buy (spending resources) workers (so that you can harvest the resources faster) or will you spend the money/resources on soldier pieces to go and kill the other player who has just bought lots of workers? That's the kind of strategy I would like to see incorporated. I agree, Warcraft and others, are on a order scale. (Is that what you call it?) That is, it's not armies, but individual men/soldiers. Warhammer is one game that has that "controlling men individually" feature I guess, but why do so many other games miss it out?

By the way, I DEFINITELY HAVE NOT played every war boardgame....
lol.
Ok, so a lot of games do have resources... That's not what I was asking/stating. (lol) I was targeting "Run out Resources" not just a limiting mechanic, or ways to spend your money.

larienna
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Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

First of all, I HATE warcraft, his friends and many other RTS.

I find it totally stupid that you know from the start of the game that you will only have 30000 gold for the whole game. Which mean that you can calculate in advance all the troops and building that you will be able to make for all the game. Which makes it look like a puzzle game : find the right combination of troop and building to finish the game.

I also never accepted the fact that all the gold spend is dissappearing in a void dimentional pocket instead of your local economy. So it is impossible to set some taxes to get back some of your gold you have spent.

You must consider that civilisation survives by using regenerating ressources. In Risk, the number of ressource a country can give you is not the ressource reserve but the ressource level it can regenerate to give it to you each year.

In games like Romance of the 3 Kindom, yes you can run out of food at a certain time of the year to feed your solders, but when september arrives, you get some food back. Of course, some player will get more that others ( which is the reason why you are at war ) but if you want, you can survive indefinately. While in warcraft (and his friends), you have a timer on the top of your head.

This is why, for a game like warcraft, I would have better had a system where you reguraly get ressource but where each unit has a maintenance cost that you must pay, preventing you from making your army grow indefinately. If all your income is spent on maintenance, there is no ressource left to build new stuff.

For example, in bell of war, if you play the advanced rules, you must calculate the fuel income you have. You cannot move more unit in a turn than your fuel income. This is a way of limiting a ressource without placing a timer on the head of the player.

jpfed
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Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

One good way to start a discussion on a topic is to say, "What do people think about X?" or "I'm confused about the lack of X in Y. Why doesn't Y have X?"

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Natural resources never run out. They just get more and more expensive as more and more sophisticated means are required to extract the resource from the environment.

For example, in America the ores from which metals are derived used to contain a great deal of metal per unit mass. This isn't the case now, but we've got a lot of technology in place to get metals out of what is essentially just a little better than dirt.

Along the same vein (no pun intended) we will eventually have to get really good at getting oil from the Earth's crust. And when it gets too expensive to do that, we'll switch to alternatives (unless the rising costs of oil cause everything else that depends on it for transport to become more expensive, depressing the world economy and making it such that we don't have the wherewithal to build the infrastructure for oil's replacements... that would be, um, interesting).

I think it's possible to make an interesting game that incorporates these economic realities, but I would make the game *about* economics. If I were to include war in such a game, I would like the idea of giving war a back seat to economics, where wars simply induce changes in economies.

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Re: WarCraft, etc.:

In WarCraft III, the more troops you have, the smaller the amount of resources collected that actually goes into your coffers (the rest goes to an upkeep cost).

My RTS experience is limited to Blizzard games (the WarCraft games and StarCraft (when are they going to give me my sequel?!)) but in those games, there is no land over which you have clear enough dominion to levy taxes on.

Incidentally, it would be a bad idea to plan out every last troop expenditure in those games- there is always the threat of a surprise attack that would invalidate your plans. You also don't know the real extent of the resources you can secure- maybe you'll be able to take the next bed of resources before it's depleted, or maybe you won't. So they aren't really puzzle games.

ariel
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Joined: 04/27/2012
Empire/War boardgames --Why are they all so stupid?

Yes, I agree with jpfed, Warcraft and Starcraft are NOT puzzle games.

Larienna, I have no idea why you "HATE" Warcraft... (That doesn't seem to be making it less popular) but a player can certainly not predict all the units they are going to get in a game.

I wasn't really asking about the realisticness of "Run out Resources", but I admit that depends on what game perspective you are aiming for. I personally am going for the fantasy/medieval slot. For a more realistic approach, never ending resources might be the way to go I suppose...

Perhaps I should ask my question/s a different way:

*Does anyone know of a game that uses "Run out Resources" (the way Starcraft does)?

All the examples I have heard so far are not really the same.

I mean a set amount of resources on the board/map at the beginnning of the game, and as play commences, players gather/harvest these resources to create/train new soldiers etc.

*Why, even if there is such a game, is there not more around?

For example, the board game Warcraft III doesn't even have this feature?
Does Age of Mythology boardgame even have it?

And yes, Starcraft was and is THE BEST RTS ever created. I too am looking forward to the sequel.

----(Why, when Starcraft came out around the same time as Warcraft II, (And was way more popular) Did Blizzard go on to make more Warcrafts? When everyone knows Starcraft II would totally rock the market?)----

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