Here is the situation, I have a light war game with various kingdoms and that keeps comming in the game to kick out other players. (like in britania)
Invasion does not occur every turns, and I want players to fight each other when there is no invasion. My solution was to use some sort of random events that will change the balance established between players.
I got some inspiration from pocket civ. I first thought it was unfair to have random targetting event because unlucky players could feel like if they have no control on the game. I remember a critic about twilight imperium domain tokens which rewarded and punished players randomly for no reasons. On the other hand, in my game, random event are more likely to target players with larger empires.
Right now, each territory has the value 1, 2 or 3. An event will target one of these number (there are 3 copies of each event). The problem is that there are really few things to change on the baord. There is only : troops, buildings and influence. So if I want to have various kinds of events, at least 9, I need to make event that will change the rules for the whle turn. In that case it's hard to remember, so I need to place a pawn/token/marker besides each targetted cities as a remeinder.
In order to prevent random destruction, I used an alternative I called the time bomb: if the player does not spend ressource to solve the problem, something will get destroyed.
Since I don't find all these mechanics very elegant. So I was looking for an alternative mechanic. Or maybe a semi-random mechanic. Or anything else which can change the established balance of power on the board.
If you have various territories, then it seems like the best way to target the leader is by tying the random bad events to the number and quality of territories they own.
What if, for ever territory a player owns (or for every *point* of territory, from 1-3 points as you described), they place a cube of their color in a bag? Then, a certain number of cubes are drawn, and the affects of a given card or effect applies to the players whose cubes are drawn. You can track this on the board, as in Pillars of the Earth, which provides clear spots for various effect cards to go where all can see them, or Twilight Struggle, which does the same with tokens.
That way, it's still unpredictable, but generally speaking whoever is winning will be the most likely to have his cubes drawn.
Disadvantage: you'll have to either assign provinces on the card (your best province doesn't produce, lose all the buildings in your worst province, all of your grain-producing provinces don't produce grain this turn), apply it globally for a player (food shortage: all of your nation's infantry are at -1 this round), or introduce another mechanism that chooses a province after choosing a player.
Alternatively, you could have cards (or tokens) for each province in the game. These are drawn and the affects applied by province, so that controlling more land increases your exposure to risk in a direct and targeted fashion. Having multiple cards for some of the really good provinces, as well as a way to remove cards, look at and re-arrange cards, or other such shenanigans could increase the strategy of this otherwise random element.
Consider two different global events:
a) All players lose 100 population.
b) All players lose 1/2 their population.
Which one is "worse" or "nastier"? Well, it all depends on how big your populations is. If you have 100 population, you want to get hit by (b) and you don't want (a). If you have 1,000 population, you barely care about (a) and really don't want (b).
The point? Global effects that use percentages instead of "flat" numbers hurt players in the lead more than players who are behind. You may want to modify some of your global effects accordingly.
Of course, division is harder crunching than subtraction, but that doesn't really matter. Making players take these penalties as a sort of upkeep cost is a thought. You draw 1 card per 100 population at the end of your turn?
Ooh! All territories have a "threat rating". Territories that are more valuable (strategically or resource-wise) have higher threat ratings. During the "barbarian hordes" phase of the turn, check each territory by drawing cards from the threat deck equal to its threat rating. Resolve the cards accordingly.
Example: I have five territories. Three of them are insignificant provinces and have TRs of 0. One is fairly useful and has a TR of 2. One is really good and has a TR of 5. I have two troops on the TR:2 and six troops on the TR:5. The TR:0 provinces have one troop each. I draw two cards for the TR:2 and get Barbarians (2 Barbarians attack) and a Disease (Roll a die. If 5+, lose a troop. Resolve before reinforcing or combat.). I draw five cards for the TR:5 and get Barbarians twice (for a total of 4 Barbarians), Barbarian Archers (1 Barbarian Archer unit), Disease, and Bad Weather (Can only move one troop in or out of the province.). Resolving the TR:2, I roll for disease and do not lose a troop. I can reinforce before combat and move one troop from an adjacent TR:0 to the TR:2, for a total of three troops to the two Barbarians. Once combat resolves, I have one troop left and no barbarians. Resolving the TR:5, I roll for disease and go down to five troops. I reinforce with two troops from the other two TR:0 provinces, then resolve combat (Seven troops vs. four Barbarians and one Barbarian Archer). The Barbarian Archer lucks out and kills one of my troops (down to six). After a quick and bloody combat, I'm left with three troops in TR:5.
Right now, all cities ahve the same threath value. You have 1/3 chance that your city get targetted.
I like the idea that events get worst from time to time if you do nothing about it.
Right now the cities labeles 1-2-3 are appart from each other. The other solution would be to make groups of cities with the same number. The disadvantage is that it is more likely to target 1 specific player. The advantage, is that I can place some tokens on the area and the player must spend ressource to remove tokens in order to makes futher events less worst.
In that case, it's not an instant event, you can actually see it comming.