The game I am working on currently has three resources: Ore, Research and Gold.
Ore is just production that allows you to build space ships and other buildings.
Research is used to acquire technologies.
Gold is used just like Trade Goods in Twilight Imperium 3. It is a "wildcard" resource where one Gold can be used as either one ore or one research.
Using Gold in this manner did not really work because having one unit of Gold is in a sense like having one Ore and Research at the same time (with the understanding when it is used you can only select it being either Ore or Research).
Players colonizing planets ended up concentrating on Gold exploitation rather than Ore or Science unless the Ore or Science that could be generated was significantly more than the amount of Gold. This reduced interesting decisions and made Gold a super resource.
As such I am looking for some ideas on how to change this third Gold resource so it adds more to the game and leads to more interesting decisions.
A lot of 4x video games and some board games (Eclipse) use some form of currency or energy as a form of an upkeep limiting resource. For example, the number of colonies, ships or buildings is limited by how much energy you generate a turn.
In Eclipse, the amount of actions you can do and the number of systems you can control is limited to how much money is being generated. At the end of a player's turn their is an upkeep phase where one must pay up for all the activity done.
I would like to have something similar except without having the annoying upkeep calculations and paying after the fact. It feels too much like having a miniature balance sheet.
Here are some ideas I have had so far.
1) Use Gold as an economic resource that allows one to do more or less actions based on how good the player's economy (measured by how much Gold) is.
In the game, each player has 5 actions tokens per turn. By exhausting an action token, a player can execute 1 action.
I was thinking that after a player has exhausted all their action tokens, they could spend X amount of Gold to unexhaust a token. Idea being that the better economy you have, the more efficient you are and thus the more you can do.
Right now, a player must permanently use up an action counter to colonize a planet (negative feedback loop). Perhaps Gold can be used to get more action counters?
2) Use Gold as a form of Energy where space ships and new colonies need Energy as well as Ore to be built. Thus it would take longer to build ships and colonies the less Energy you have. A negative feedback loop can be added, by requiring extra Energy for each extra colony you create.
3) Use Gold/Energy as a limiting factor on how many colonies one can have. For example, in order to settle a colony on System X, must use up 2 energy tokens.
These energy tokens are created only once by another system which produces energy.
If the System, that uses those energy tokens is destroyed then those 2 energy tokens are reclaimed by the player to be used again. Also if the system which generated those 2 energy tokens is destroyed then those tokens must be removed by the System using them and discarded.
Which of these options do you like? Any new options you can think of or other derivations?