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Space 4x World Development Mechanic

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DarkDream
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I am working on a space 4x game right now, and and trying to brain storm and experiment with a mechanic to have planets generate resources with a population.

Right now, there will be a planet card. On the planet card, indicates what type of planet it is (water planet, standard terrestrial planet and so on). On the second half of the card will be a row that indicates the resources generated by the planet.

For example, a row will show a food icon with a 3 next to it, and a water icon with another 4 next to it.

This means on each turn it will generate 3 food and 4 water.

Now below this row will be a row with circles or squares where each square can contain 1 population cube. There will be a maximum number of squares indicating the max population a planet can support.

For a human like species, each population will require 1 food and 1 water. So if there is two population cubes, the population will require 2 food and 2 water.

Now you can only have a population cube if the resources generated on the planet can support the population. A simple subtraction of the population needs from the planet resources indicates what resources are left. In this example, you will have 1 food and 2 water left after supporting the population.

Now this excess can be exported or traded with another world (maybe a desert planet needs water for a population as it does not naturally generate it). However, the limit to how much excess can be transported is the population size. One excess resource can be exported per population cube.

In this example, as you have 2 population cubes and an excess of of 1 food and 2 water resources, 1 food and 1 water can be exported, or 2 water.

With this type of mechanic, for example, an event can occur which can reduce a planet's supply of food (famine) causing starvation due to not having enough food and causing the population to go down. Also blockade of a planet can prevent export of a resource to another planet causing possible starvation as well.

Other resources can be raw materials like ore, for example, which can be exported just like food. Ore is needed to build space ships or robots and for a robot like race, it could essentially function as food.

Does this seem too complicated? Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

My goal is to generate different resources on different planets so trading is stimulated with some species being better at settling certain planets than others.

--DarkDream

ElKobold
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Depends on what the focus of

Depends on what the focus of your game is - if it's leaning more towards economics, it could work. What's the desired game length? How heavy you want your game to be? Games with lots of resource management tend to downplay the combat side and take long time to play (Through the Ages comes to mind)

It seems that there will always be an 'optimal population size'. Do you want to simulate overpopulation as well?

DarkDream
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Good Questions

Yes. I want to focus on more the economic aspect, but try to keep it as simple as possible.

I have used the Star Wars universe as an inspiration and in that universe the galactic economy is ruled by trade between different planets.

The idea is to create dependency relationships between planets which will result in greater wealth for both planets if trade was not available. It can also lead to situations where if, for example, if a planet relies on food from another, this interruption in supply can cause grievous problems.

I want to try to introduce interesting decisions where a planet can be self-sufficient with a lower population, but produce less and be less wealthy or push the population to the maximum resulting in more wealth at the cost of being totally reliant on imports.

My goal in terms of game length is 2 hours or less.

The fighting between space ships will be greatly abstracted out. I definitely want resource management to be a significant factor, but not so much where it really takes a long time to play.

I actually want to focus more on the political aspect of different players working together.

Yes, the optimal population size will be the maximum population a planet can support. I realize this may not be realistic, but at least for now, I would like to *not* simulate over population (happiness reduction, efficiency loss and so on).

ElKobold, thanks for the input.

ElKobold
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DarkDream wrote: 1)The idea

DarkDream wrote:

1)The idea is to create dependency relationships between planets which will result in greater wealth for both planets if trade was not available.
...
2) I would like to *not* simulate over population (happiness reduction, efficiency loss and so on).
...
ElKobold, thanks for the input.

1) You could use the 7wonders-style trade. Where an opponent can't refuse to trade something. Otherwise you'll need to have quite high minimum amount of players for this to work.

2) I would then remove the resources required to support the population from the equasion. Only list the surplus. Will be more straightforward.

You're welcome :)

DarkDream
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Simplifying by Concentrating on Excess Resources

Quote:
2) I would then remove the resources required to support the population from the equasion. Only list the surplus. Will be more straightforward.

ElKobold, I think that is a good idea.

So how about this:

- A column of just the excess resources produced.
- Inside the column, a circle with a icon for each resource where multiple resources of the same type have a circle. For example, 3 water then 3 circles.
- Just under the icon indicates the population level required to create the resource. For example, a "2" indicates for this resource to be produced the planet must have a population of two cubes.
- A cube of the resource or some token is placed on the appropriate icon squares when the specified population number is reached thus producing the resource. When the resource is traded, it is obviously removed and placed on the traded partner's planet. By having cubes or tokens, it will show at a glance what resources are left.

So for example, if you have a column of five circles:

Food with a 1.
Water with a 1.
Food with a 2.
Water with a 2.
Water with a 2.

Then at population of 1, the excess resources is 1 food and 1 water. At population level of 2, the excess resources is 2 food and 3 water.

Now, like before, if you want to take into account the consumption of an increase in population (1 population takes 1 water and 1 food), then as above moving to population level 2 would take 1 of the excess food and 1 water with a net of excess 1 food (2 food - 1 population increase), and net excess of 2 water (3 water - 1 population increase). This can be "hidden" by doing the following:

Food with a 1.
Water with a 1.
Water with a 2.

Does this seem better?

--DarkDream

ElKobold
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Or something like

Or something like this:

[___][___][___] - Population
(_1_)(_1_)(_0_) - Water output
(_1_)(_2_)(_1_) - Food output

So you place your population cubes on the [ ] spaces.
And then look on the value under the last occupied population space. That's the amount you chose from (but no more than your population size).

DarkDream
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Good Diagram

ElKobold wrote:
Or something like this:

[___][___][___] - Population
(_1_)(_1_)(_0_) - Water output
(_1_)(_2_)(_1_) - Food output

So you place your population cubes on the [ ] spaces.
And then look on the value under the last occupied population space. That's the amount you chose from (but no more than your population size).

Nice thinking. In the example you gave, I think you are saying that at a population level of 2 then you would have a total of 1 water and 2 food output, correct?

I think I would prefer, when you get to a population level of 2, you would get an additional 1 water and 2 food for a total of 2 water and 3 food. I would like to it that way, as when you move up a population level you gain that amount of cubes to distribute.

[Edit: I missed the part where you mention you choose the amount based on total population. I think I now understand the diagram.]

The only problem, is that by concentrating on simplifying it to concentrate on the excess production, I have hidden the population consumption.

For example, for a Terran population on a water world planet. It maybe this:

[___][___][___] - Population
(_1_)(_1_)(_1_) - Water output
(_1_)(_1_)(_0_) - Food output

Now behind the scenes, a Terran population uses up 1 food and 1 water. So initially, for example, the total amount of resources for the planet is 2 food and 2 water. As 1 water and 1 food is used up by the Terran population, you are left with 1 water and 1 food as excess and fits the diagram.

As a water species on a water planet only uses up 1 food and no water, the diagram changes to this:

[___][___][___] - Population
(_2_)(_2_)(_2_) - Water output
(_1_)(_1_)(_0_) - Food output

A robot species that uses no food or no water (uses energy as its fuel) would turn it to this:

[___][___][___] - Population
(_2_)(_2_)(_2_) - Water output
(_2_)(_2_)(_1_) - Food output

Maybe the planet should have this final profile, and place little resource cubes equaling the amount in the ( ). To add a population cube you consume some of the resources (the amount is the species type) by removing the cubes (or moving them onto the population square to show the consumption) and the amount of cubes left in the output section is the excess.

Or maybe have an "input" section which shows the resources needed to support the population (in the above example the cubes can be moved to the output to the input)?

Any ideas? Seems like getting really close here.

Thanks again.

--DarkDream

ElKobold
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DarkDream wrote: Nice

DarkDream wrote:

Nice thinking. In the example you gave, I think you are saying that at a population level of 2 then you would have a total of 1 water and 2 food output, correct?

Yep.

DarkDream wrote:

I think I would prefer, when you get to a population level of 2, you would get an additional 1 water and 2 food for a total of 2 water and 3 food. I would like to it that way, as when you move up a population level you gain that amount of cubes to distribute.

Well, I was tryin to incorporate your original idea (as i understood it) when larger population would consume some of the resources, so there will be less excess resources, after certain level.
So you only ever look in the column directly under the final population cube and claim as many resources, as you have population, from those resources available.
So in my original image, if you would have 3 population, you would only be able to collect 1 food.
If you would have 2 population, you would be able to collect either 2 wood, or 1 food and 1 water.

DarkDream wrote:

The only problem, is that by concentrating on simplifying it to concentrate on the excess production, I have hidden the population consumption.

The population consumption is included. The only problem is it assumes same consumption for any race.

:/

I need to think more about this...

fayinsky
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ElKobold wrote: The

ElKobold wrote:

The population consumption is included. The only problem is it assumes same consumption for any race.

If the consumption for any race on any given planet is the same when population is at the same level, you can use a modifier/trait for that race.

Using DarkDream's example:
Terran population can be deemed as the "standard" race in your game with the food and water output modifiers both as 0/0/0.
A water species on a water planet only uses up 1 food and no water. So the food modifier is still 0/0/0, but water modifier is now +1/+2/+3.
On the other hand, the robot species uses no food. Thus the food modifier for them is +1/+2/+3.

Hope it helps.

Fayinsky

ElKobold
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fayinsky wrote:Terran

fayinsky wrote:

Terran population can be deemed as the "standard" race in your game with the food and water output modifiers both as 0/0/0.
A water species on a water planet only uses up 1 food and no water. So the food modifier is still 0/0/0, but water modifier is now +1/+2/+3.
On the other hand, the robot species uses no food. Thus the food modifier for them is +1/+2/+3.

Hope it helps.

Fayinsky

I was thinking about suggesting this, but then we're back to the same math as before.
In which case it's better to leave it as it was in the first place - two values, and each block of certain race consumes X of Y, then collect any of the remaining resources, up to the total of population.

I was trying to come up with the mechanism to visually display the yield, with placing blocks in the right spot, without having to calculate it.

Jarec
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Use different colored species

Use different colored species tokens which would "give back" the resource they do not use, when adding up the resources for each planet.
For example if you have three blue tokens on a planet (as the aquatic creatures) you'll add three water total to your surplus.
Brown tokens (as robots) would add one food and one water each, as they use neither.

DarkDream
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Another Thought

@Jarec That would work. But may be a bit fiddly.

Using your idea of different species colored cubes for a population, instead of one number in the output for a resource, have, for example, three numbers arranged in a circle with a species color behind the number. So a number behind a green matches Terran species, a number behind blue is aquatic species and number with a grey is a robotic species. So you match the population cube counter with the colored number in the column to get your output.

-DarkDream

Jarec
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I actually meant to use the

I actually meant to use the colored tokens with the system already discussed.

[___][___][___] - Population
(_1_)(_1_)(_0_) - Water output
(_1_)(_2_)(_1_) - Food output

For example, if you put your Terran tokens in the tracker above, you'd use the regular output, no water and one food. If you put let's say one Terran and two Aquatics on it, you'd look for the output for 3 population as usual, but get two bonus water for your two blue tokens on there.

So when the resource phase comes, you'd look for the population tracker for the surplus as normal, but also check the amount of tokens on the card and their colors if they yield any bonuses.

ElKobold
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Jarec wrote: So when the

Jarec wrote:

So when the resource phase comes, you'd look for the population tracker for the surplus as normal, but also check the amount of tokens on the card and their colors if they yield any bonuses.

Sounds like a good fix to my suggestion.
Let's see what DarkDream comes up with in the end.

DarkDream
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Very Neat!

Jarec wrote:
I actually meant to use the colored tokens with the system already discussed.

[___][___][___] - Population
(_1_)(_1_)(_0_) - Water output
(_1_)(_2_)(_1_) - Food output

For example, if you put your Terran tokens in the tracker above, you'd use the regular output, no water and one food. If you put let's say one Terran and two Aquatics on it, you'd look for the output for 3 population as usual, but get two bonus water for your two blue tokens on there.

So when the resource phase comes, you'd look for the population tracker for the surplus as normal, but also check the amount of tokens on the card and their colors if they yield any bonuses.

I understand now. You are using the population cubes themselves as a bonus to be added. Very neat. This seems to work.

Let me put my thinking cap on for a little longer just to fill in the rest of the details in terms of the exact card look and other situations.

Let me think, as an example, the situation where there is a desert planet which has no water and no food resources. I guess it would look like this:

[____][____][____] - Population
(_-1_)(_-1_)(_-1_) - Water output
(_-1_)(_-1_)(_-1_) - Food output

This indicates to support a Terran population you would need to import both 1 food and 1 water per population to let it survive (rule would be you are not allowed to have a population if the excess is in the negative).

In this case there would be no excess resources. A desert species, could for example survive with no water (absorbs moisture from the atmosphere into their skin), and thus would have a bonus making the excess at 0 for water making it so no water is needed for import.

Thanks.

--DarkDream

ElKobold
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DarkDream

DarkDream wrote:

[____][____][____] - Population
(_-1_)(_-1_)(_-1_) - Water output
(_-1_)(_-1_)(_-1_) - Food output

I would make a desert planet something like this:

[____][____][____] - Population
(_-1_)(_-1_)(_-2_) - Water output
(_0_)(_-1_)(_-2_) - Food output

That is if you have star wars-like setting.

There can still be life on the planet. So small community could survive, hunting some giant send worms or whatnot. Or growing their own food in small domed farms.
For larger population you will need import of food as well as water though.
You could also make it non-linear, to represent the difficulty of logistics etc.

One thing to import enough supplies for an outpost, another thing to do the same for a huge megalopolis.

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