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How are my turn mechanics?

3 replies [Last post]
Kalmari Krapula
Joined: 11/19/2010

So hi all,

I'm currently working with too many games, but this one is about empire-building.

So game is for 2-5 players, but there is also 5 other countries to deal with. One turn is approximatly 4 months and there is three different kind of turns. April-July, August-November and December-March. Every season gives some advantage or disadvantage to moving and warfare. Also in the spring there are some elections, in autumn areas produce raw materials and in winter you collect taxes and pay your troops.

Every turn, each player including AI players can build, move their troops, battle, trade and collect income if possible. After every player has done these, there is negotiation phase with human players only. AI players take actions first. Starter of AIs is chosen by random and other countries follow in certain order. After all AIs have played, human players take turns in order, starter chosen by random.

There are 54 areas in game, 48 controlled by 5 different AI players and 6 controlled by players in the beginning. About 15 areas bring victory points fo current controller, 8 areas have points between 1-4, 5 areas 4-7 and 2 areas 8 or 9. 12 of these areas are controlled by AI players in the beginning.

Areas produce 245 monetary units and 230 rawmaterial units per year. There is also a chance for increasing or decreasing production and income separatly by random events

AI players are also capable to fight each others, but also able to ally with players or another AIs.

How do you find the game by this limited info? Is it too complicated? Is it going to be if I add food-resource? How are turns? Actions and order of turns?

rcjames14's picture
Joined: 09/17/2010

It looks like you have a lot of the elements necessary for a resource management, empire-building war game, but you seem to be missing the goal.

Is it a fixed turn game where the goal is wealth/victory points? Or do you envision a conquest game that only ends once one player acquires a certain amount of territory? Or, perhaps players win once they reach a certain level of advancement?

There are a number of different objectives that you could imagine and each one is going to have an impact on what economic elements are important. However, without knowing what you envision as the objective of the players (as well as the motif), it is hard to comment on the suitability of the turn structure.

However, knowing nothing about the goal, I would caution against a mechanic that requires a very lengthy turn. These days, it is much more fashionable to design games with short turns, off-turn actions and/or collective phase based play than to give a player ten different things to do before the next player can go. You mentioned in another post that you enjoy a game that lasts a couple hours long, but in general, gamers these days tend towards games that max out at about an hour and a half, and involves a lot of simultaneous decision making.

So, anything you can do to collapse play into smaller tasks which everyone can perform together (such as phases of each season), will likely make your design more enjoyable. In this respect, A Game of Thrones comes to mind as something that you might consider in counter-distinction to what you are doing.

Kalmari Krapula
Joined: 11/19/2010

Oh, I forgot to mention it :) And to make game more understandable: theme is politics of a 19th-20th century country and players are different political parties, AI is controlling other countries.

The goal is to gain certain amount of victory points. Victory points are in most cases related to some specific area, but you can also gain those by some extra-ordinary military achievements. I also considered that victory points could be bought, which could make economical aspect more interesting.

In negotiation phase there is also elections and running for different offices, for example minister of treasury. Every office is giving some power, instead of advanteage or disadvantage. Example Minister of education make decisions where universities are build and Armaments minister can modify military. It's also possible you to attach some of your party members as military staff or governors of provinces, but then you don't have so much supporters in parliament.

I thought seasons could have been nice, making turns little bit lighter, instead of collecting every resource every turn and making wars little bit more interesting by seasonal changes.

Hope this helped you a little bit. :)


Every year (every third turn) in the game appear some random events, divided in four main categories: Military, effecting on-going wars and casus belli, Economics, effecting trade and resources, Illness, effecting numbers of inhabitants and Enthusiasm, effecting citizens happiness.

Now I have a little problem of rank them in order of importance. I have mechanism which allows me to randomly choose 3 of 11 options. Every option is attached to one of categories. This means some of the random events are happening more often than others, so how should I balance these odds? In your opinion.

Joined: 02/08/2011
I like the idea of multiple

I like the idea of multiple game ending objectives. That adds ALOT of strategy and lets players focus on one or more possible win conditions they can try for.

I like the "1 turn = 1 season" idea. But keep the actions per turn low as stated by rcjames14, it creates boring downtime for the other players.

The politics aspect could work, but I think you need to have positives and negatives for each party. Such as; one party favors military budgets (more money spent on large aggressive armies) but does not care much for education (thus less technological progress this year). Also, I think you'll need something besides all the different countries having a voted democracy. Maybe some have a monarchy still, or 1 or 2 have a tyranny ruled by only 1 man forever, what he spends his money on being totally random.

As to balancing your random events, maybe you could include a tracking for each event when they occur. If event X happens 4 times, then event Y occurs instead. OR have all these possible events in a card deck that is shuffled before play. If that works.

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