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best ways to manage tech tree

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MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014

In my game, I have generals who each can do the same "tech tree" troop development to take a common man and make him an infantry soldier, or take an infantryman and make him a cavalryman, etc. In order to "upgrade" a troop, they must assemble supplies, but each general has his own economic advantage. For example, one makes infantrymen at a lower "cost" of supplies. Another general makes cavalrymen at a lower "cost." The tech tree is 2 levels...first basic resources are assembled to make supplies. Then the supplies are used to upgrade troop. I currently have resources being managed by "tracks" rather than collecting chits. Then I have separate chits for collecting "supplies" made from the resources. Each player uses a separate board (they are all the same) to track their chits (i.e., their supplies they have ordered.

Does this sound okay...or has anyone found a better way to manage tech tree / production levels better?

Secondly, does anyone see the "player power" of the economic advantage as too boring if that is the only power they have? What might be other ideas for additional powers and how could I implement them?

Thanks for your replies.

Centaur255
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Joined: 06/23/2015
Player Special Abilities

Interesting. Seems like a workable system - am I correct in thinking that the soldiers all fight at the same value, they can just be easier to upgrade/produce? If so I don't think it's bad (and for new gamers they'll likely appreciate this because it makes learning the game easier), but I think someone who is used to a RTS-style game might find it a boring special ability (as they like complexity in the strength of units, build speed, etc.).

Tech Tree/Production is one of the hardest parts of any board game. On the one hand we want to incentivize strategy in how you build up your forces, but at the same time if it's too hard/long/complicated to access a good unit, people will opt to just not buy the big stuff and will spam the small stuff. Not a bad strategy, but it can antiquate certain units in the game (as an example, War Suns in the old game Twilight Imperium, for those who remember that game).

A few other ways to look at tech tree/production, just to throw some ideas out there:

1) Reduction of a specific resource: Without knowing too much about the resources, if some teams didn't have to expend a certain resource I think people would enjoy that (it would be like not having to spend wood in Catan, for example), or if the amount of that resource they needed was reduced, people would like that.

2) If there were bonuses like, "When you upgrade X number of infantry to cavalry, upgrade 1 more this turn for free" or something like that, as that makes them feel like they not only saved resources but gives the, "I can do something others can't do" feeling, which is good for people getting to like a particular civ.

3) If there are combat rolls/rules having modifiers to those will definitely incentivize people (especially if the special power is attached to a general or someone like that), but that can throw the balance of the game off, so just be careful with that (how much wood is a +1 to all artillery teams worth?).

Just some ideas - hope they're helpful!

let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Cost Reduction

Cost reduction is a simple mechanic to add some distinction to different factions/races/civilizations. Some are already noted above, such as the "buy three, get one free" mechanic already listed. Here are a couple more:
- Bonuses on specific terrain
- Reduced cost for certain types of buildings in general
- Reduced cost for buildings built with certain raw materials
- Discounted movement costs for units on a certain terrain type
- Increased range of attack at the cost of attack speed/initiative
- Discounts on a specific type/branch of the Tech Tree
- Free basic unit armour/defense upgrade
- Unit cannot be surprised/unit always wins initiative vs. most (or specific) unit types
- Ignore first hit from a certain unit type
- Increased effectiveness at a non-combat task in some way
- ...etc.

Depending on your specific game and the impact other aspects of the game on your tech tree, there are plenty of ways to go about this. I personally like to see experiments with terrain and certain locations (see "Bonuses on specific terrain" above). It encourages players to expand into areas they might not have otherwise, in order to attain some useful patch of ground.

MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014
good ideas to consider

Centaur255 wrote:

Tech Tree/Production is one of the hardest parts of any board game. On the one hand we want to incentivize strategy in how you build up your forces, but at the same time if it's too hard/long/complicated to access a good unit, people will opt to just not buy the big stuff and will spam the small stuff. Not a bad strategy, but it can antiquate certain units in the game (as an example, War Suns in the old game Twilight Imperium, for those who remember that game).

A few other ways to look at tech tree/production, just to throw some ideas out there:

1) Reduction of a specific resource: Without knowing too much about the resources, if some teams didn't have to expend a certain resource I think people would enjoy that (it would be like not having to spend wood in Catan, for example), or if the amount of that resource they needed was reduced, people would like that.

2) If there were bonuses like, "When you upgrade X number of infantry to cavalry, upgrade 1 more this turn for free" or something like that, as that makes them feel like they not only saved resources but gives the, "I can do something others can't do" feeling, which is good for people getting to like a particular civ.

3) If there are combat rolls/rules having modifiers to those will definitely incentivize people (especially if the special power is attached to a general or someone like that), but that can throw the balance of the game off, so just be careful with that (how much wood is a +1 to all artillery teams worth?).

Just some ideas - hope they're helpful!

I have a player power mechanic similar to 2, but I like your number 3 idea as one of the powers. The combat (that the troops fight) is actually an abstracted dice roll using specialized dice...I could simply ignore certain results or modify them as a power.

Thanks!

MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014
let-off studios wrote:Cost

let-off studios wrote:
Cost reduction is a simple mechanic to add some distinction to different factions/races/civilizations. Some are already noted above, such as the "buy three, get one free" mechanic already listed. Here are a couple more:
- Bonuses on specific terrain
- Reduced cost for certain types of buildings in general
- Reduced cost for buildings built with certain raw materials
- Discounted movement costs for units on a certain terrain type
- Increased range of attack at the cost of attack speed/initiative
- Discounts on a specific type/branch of the Tech Tree
- Free basic unit armour/defense upgrade
- Unit cannot be surprised/unit always wins initiative vs. most (or specific) unit types
- Ignore first hit from a certain unit type
- Increased effectiveness at a non-combat task in some way
- ...etc.

Depending on your specific game and the impact other aspects of the game on your tech tree, there are plenty of ways to go about this. I personally like to see experiments with terrain and certain locations (see "Bonuses on specific terrain" above). It encourages players to expand into areas they might not have otherwise, in order to attain some useful patch of ground.

These are also good ideas. Many options that I did not consider.

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