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Production and/or Action system

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

This one is a bit weird to ask. I have 2 game which has the same core concepts and very common mechanics. One is civilization themed and the other one is Space conquest themed.

The problem is that players are allowed to do and put in play various things. But I have no system to actually control this. It seems that production and actions are closely bound with each other. I am now trying to find some ideas.

A short game description: both game would have colonies/cites that contains population. Some of these will be simple colonies or settlements while other ones will be capitals or more important colonies/cities that could give more advantages than regular cities/colonies.

Right now, the population expansion use a production system of it's own which is: at the beginning of the turn your homeworld/homeland produce 1 population that allows your empire to expand. It stays the same for the whole game. So all players will grow at the same speed until no more expansion is possible.

Still there are other things to produce in this game like: Fleets/Armies, Wonders, Technologies, etc. So I need some sort of production system for theses.

Here are some restrictions/solutions I found (Note: sometimes by "action", I mean producing a certain type of stuff. Ex: Produce army/fleet is an action)

Expandable Game: I want to game to be partially expandable. Which mean that you can add new things to produce and it won't change the balance of the game. If for example, I add wonder constructions, I don't want it to hinder army production else the game won't produce as much armies than in a no wonder game.

Add up the income: A typical solution is to give an income to each city/colony, add it up and let the players spend their income. The problem is that it is long to calculate. It also does not fit with an expandable game because now the players would have more things to spend on splitting up more the revenues.

Trading and Special Resources: I want to have trading partnership with other players in my game. Generally, the concept behind trading is that you have something that you don't need that other players want. In order to achieve this, I would probably need some special resources to create different resource income for each player. Else I'll have to do like in Twilight Imperium where you get an income bonus.

Special resource usage: How the resources are used is also another problem because if you don't have a specific resource, it prevent you from doing certain things. This is why I thought that resources should only unlock access to certain stuff instead of needing to pay these to do an action.

Maintenance: Another way I thought is that you can produce as many things as you want it a turn, you just cannot maintain as many things at the same time. For example each capital could give you gold/credits which can each allow you to support and army/fleet. But if you loose all your armies/fleet, you can produce them all as long as you have the gold/credits to maintain them. This solution could be mixed with some other solutions.

"Just do it" action types: I don't want to have a system where for example you accumulate cubes on a track and when it fills up you get an action. If you want to do an action, you can do it now. I could still reconsider this restriction if for example I want the number of capitals to influence the speed at which each action is performed.

Unlimited actions: One of the problem I have is with counting a number of action you can do each turn. If for example you can do 2 actions out of 3 different actions every turn, it means that there is an average of 1 action per turn that will not be done. Now the problem is that if in some advanced rules or expansions, you add 2 new actions, it means that only 2 out of 5 actions will be done each turn. This is why I thought that uncounted actions could be a solution to make sure that expanding the game won't change the gameplay.

1 action per capital: I thought that each capital could each give you an action so that the larger is your empire the more it can do. Again the problem is that it strongly depends on the number of actions available. Still adjusting the production to the empire size is generally a good idea to reflect reality correctly.

For each action type: Another approach is to restrict each action types individually. Each actions types can be accomplished a certain numbers of time. So that adding new actions will not prevent the old actions from not being fulfilled. So it makes the game expandable. As an option, it could be powered up if you have many capitals.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Made a flowchart

I designed something and I made a flow chart out of it. Most of the restrictions above are taken into account.

Go look at the following flow chart before continuing.

Population: At the beginning, you have your amount of population which somewhat influence all your production levels.

Production type: For each type of production level, the amount of population is used. Here we have food, production and technology. The amount of production types you have does not matter because the value is not split between the types. So you can indefinitely add new types. By the way, special abilities can increase or decrease the amount of income received from the population ( bonus or income multipliers, etc)

Each production types has 2 different categories. I'll use the middle one for the example below. The income of the production type is split between these 2 categories.

Production Spent: This is the number of production you pay to buy things. On the right you can see that there is 2 things you can buy: a new fleet at the cost of 5 and a new star forteress at the cost of 10. The income you spend is split between the things you want to buy, so if you want to build 3 fleets, you need to pay 15. This is generally used when the count of things produced is important (ex: nb of fleets in play). Of course, special abilities could give bonus income to spend or reduce the cost.

Production Level: You can also pay a maintenance cost every turn from your income to keep a certain production level. The cost must be met every turn, else you enter some sort of economic depression, and you must lose a turn dropping your level. You can increase your level once per turn. The production level is a value read by other elements of the game. In the example above, the production level can determine the maximum amount of fleets you can place in play and it set the number of ships in every fleet in play.

Another example in the technology branches. Tech level give you access to new researchable technologies and it makes your ships better in battle (ex: roll more dices) because your ships are always up to date and well maintained with the new technologies.

Also note that some special abilities could increase or drop the level for certain types of actions.

Expandability: How can this game be expanded without splitting the income:

A) You can add new production field. For example "Intelligence", and assign intelligence spent and intelligence level. B) You can always have new elements in the game that read the various production levels.

But you cannot add new things that you must pay to produce. For example, you cannot pay 10 production to place in play a space colony else it would chage the average amount of income spent on fleets and star forteress. If you really need to do this, you must create a new production type.

Special resources

Here is my new idea for special resources:

There is currently 3 kinds of resource (for the space themed game) : Minerals, Chemicals and Organics.

You keep track of how many of each type you have. Thematically, the same type of resource is not exactly the same (you have various kinds of minerals, but the one you get is not important). So Having more resources of the same type is good.

Some stuff in the game would have requirement. For example: If you want to use this technology you need to have access to 2 types of minerals and 1 type of chemical.

Trading: Each player can trade all their resources since even if they are the same(since they actually are different). For example, if a player has 2 minerals, and another one has 1. They could both trade each 1 type of mineral and they would get respectively 3 and 2 types of mineral. So trading does not make you loose a resource to get another one. It just increase the variety of resources you get access to.

By making sure that resources unlock access to certain things, it will make diplomatic relation more tense since a lost resources could mean losing certain advantages or abilities.

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