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Loyalty Metre

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Matt201
Matt201's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2010

I am making a game set in Ancient Greece, and the whole crux of the game is dependent on the two players (Athens and Sparta) gaining the support of various city-states. The power who holds the support of the city-state gains their resources (i.e. men and ships), and Athens also demands tribute. The idea is that both powers have to keep their allies happy, otherwise they revolt.

My problem is I don't know what the best way to keep track of this would be. There's a few options I have thought of myself, but I'm sure there has to be a better way to do it.

The board is split into different regions (eg. Attica, Lacedaemonia, Corinthia, Thessaly, Macedonia, Lesbos, Naxos, Corcyra, etc.) that have their own resources for the allied power. At the start of the game, I'm not sure how to distribute them.

Some ideas:

AUTO ALLOCATED: The same regions are given to the same power at the start of every game. The bonus is it is easy, and allows for the greatest historical accuracy. The obvious disadvantage is the limiting effect it has on the game, as each one starts the same.

FIRST PAST THE POST: Whoever "occupies" the region first gains ownership. It is just as easy to implement as auto allocating, but it disadvantages Sparta (who's starting location is at the bottom of the board, while Athens is in a more central location).

RANDOM ALLOCATE: "Ownership cards" are shuffled and dealt out. Disadvantage is it doesn't allow for predetermined strategies as players have no idea/influence over what they get, and it also pushes up the "luck" factor in the game, which is something I would like to avoid.

ELECTION/BIDDING WAR: The two players start with a number of "bidding chips" (could simply be an amount of money) and then bid for the regions one at a time. Once a player spends their chips, they can't bid anymore. I've never tried this in a two player setting, and I'm not sure how well it would work in such circumstances.

Which one would you suggest, or even better is there another way to do it?

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My other difficulty is implementing how the powers keep their allies happy. Athens demands tribute from their allies. I want a system whereby the more they demand, the higher chance that the allies will revolt.

I'm thinking of having some sort of loyalty track for each region. Maybe you start with 5 points, and whenever you do something that negatively affects said region, you lose one or more points. When the counter reaches 0 points, the state revolts. I would also like to include a system where the player can crush a revolt. I don't really know how it would work, but maybe if they have hoplites in the city, there is a chance they will not revolt or something.

Also, some states are more likely to align themselves to one power than the other (eg. Corinth more likely to Side with Sparta, because they dislike Athens). If I go ahead with a loyalty track system, these regions get less than 5 for their counter, or something.

You can also "occupy" a region. When this happens, should the city's allegiance change to the occupying force? Or perhaps for each turn that the original owner doesn't send aid, they lose 1 to their counter? If they don't send support soon enough (reasons include they don't have enough resources to spare, it's too far away [a player can only move troops across one adjacent region per turn] or they simply don't need the city anymore) the region revolts and then aligns itself to whoever claims it (this case being the occupying force).

As you can probably tell, my system is EXTREMELY messy, and to be honest I'm not very happy with it, but I don't know how else to handle it. ANY suggestions would be fantastic, because I really want to get this game off the ground.

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Loyalty

Initial Setup
I would suggest including both the historical setup and one of the other options. That way you get the best of historical accuracy (for those who want it) and replayability. I'm quite happy with games that say, "For historical accuracy set up according the picture on page 2, otherwise use the following rules..."

Loyalty Counter
If your max loyalty is reasonably low (like five) then you could use a "pawn and ring" system like these:
https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts/peg-pawn-yellow
https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts/ring-yellow

The color of the pawn indicates the owner, and the number of rings indicates the current loyalty. It's a little bit fiddly but it keeps all the components on the board and doesn't take up much space. It even lets you have "neutral loyalty" which indicates the resistance of a neutral territory to foreign influence.

I have no idea what your mechanics are, but one way of simulating revolts would be if the revolts are triggered by the other player (e.g. pay coins to inject spies/dissidents into a territory). Then the difficulty (or cost) of inciting a revolt is equal to the loyalty plus the number of hoplites in the city. Being harsh on your territories (e.g. raising taxes) reduces their loyalty and makes them an inviting target for your opponent to send dissidents.

Territories with anti-Athens sentiment could have a cap on their loyalty if they are owned by Athens (e.g. max loyalty = 2). That way Athens can capture the city as usual, but they are easy for Sparta to incite a revolt unless Athens keeps a large garrison there. I can't think of an elegant way of showing which territories have which sentiments, other than marking them directly on the map.

Loyalty Setup
What about this for an initial setup idea that works with the loyalty factor: During initial setup, all territories except Sparta and Athens start neutral and both players start with the same number of loyalty rings to allocate. Take turns placing 3 loyalty rings at a time on neutral territories in any combination you want, with the caveat you cannot place any more rings on a territory that already has one or more rings. So you have a tradeoff between putting lots of rings on territories close to your opponent (to make them hard for him to conquer) or putting 1 ring on territories close to yourself (to stop your opponent putting rings on them).

Just some ideas for the mix.

Regards,
kos

raiderrobert
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Joined: 03/05/2012
Suggestion

I don't know what the aim of your game should be, so take this setup suggestion with a grain of salt: I'd go with starting with your own city-state and nothing else, and make the aim to gain a critical mass of the city states and then have an election based upon their current influence. If you win the election, you win. And I'd make the election based off of the influence for each region. For instance, city state X has 3 influence on it right now for you. On a d6, you have to roll between 1-3 in order for the city state to vote for you.

Turning to how to keep your allied city states happy, you may want to take a page out of Civ5 and how it handles city states. You pay them or complete favors for them. Paying for them is pretty obvious, but it'd also be expensive. However, favors could be like 'mission' cards, and as you complete each one, they give you influence in different regions.

I realize that my system introduces some randomness into your initially random-less design, but I like dice. :)

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