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What are Good Penalties and Rewards for Population Happiness

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DarkDream
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Joined: 12/31/1969

In my semi-cooperative space 4x game I have a population happiness meter which changes based on player actions. Population happiness can either decrease or increase through player actions of meeting certain goals, voting for certain laws and so on.

As an example, if players lose a battle against an alien foe, that can decrease the population happiness.

Players in the game are factions in the Galactic Senate and the rewards or penalties for having lower or higher population happiness applies to all players.

Currently right now the penalties and rewards mainly effect player resource production. For example, if the population happiness is -1, all players' production is reduced by a third during the collect resource phase (players have individual engines to produce resources), while if the population happiness is +2, players receive a 50% increase in resources.

Besides not being super interesting, I do not like forcing players to perform calculations using division. I do have a production track on the player boards to help keep track of production (10 is the production limit). Perhaps I can graphically add to each circle on the track (number inside the circle is the production amount) smaller semi-circles on the outside of the main circle which would have the calculated values for each of the population happiness levels affecting production.

I want to keep population happiness and penalties relatively simple and ideally effecting production.

Any thoughts on a better reward/penalty structure or some more interesting penalties or rewards that can be used?

Thanks,

--DarkDream

X3M
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Joined: 10/28/2013
A mediocre suggestion

To change happiness. Some decisions should be able to "neutralise" the happiness.

Happy people don't like to go to war. Happiness is reduced.
Unhappy people that think war is the only option. Happiness is increased.

Lack of resources means reduction on happiness. I don't think it should be the other way around. But if you have to do this. Have it so that lack of resources reduces happiness. Until a point is reached that people can't work (burn out/sick/death, whatever fits your game). When that happens, production will drop a bit. Once dropped, you will eventually not have the required resources. And the happiness in turn will drop.
This should become stable at every level. But only start to move when another factor reduces happiness.

Something like;
-1 happiness, nothing happens to resources.
-2 happiness, resources at 90%.
90% resources, nothing happens to happiness.
-3 happiness, resources are still 90%.
-4 happiness, resources are 80%.
80% resources, happiness has an extra -1. Not per round, just a constant. This means that -4 will become -5 automatically.
-5 happiness, resources are still 80%.
-6 happiness, resources are 70%.
70% resources, happiness has still an extra -1.
etc. etc.

To have plenty of food and thus happiness for your population. You could choose to let some die. Which at first will reduce happiness. But later on, there is plenty of food. And happiness should steadily increase by 1. Which in turn will increase the resources. And which in turn might allow for a bigger population again.
I don't know how many rounds you have in mind. But this suggestion of mine might only work with games with an huge amount of short rounds.

apeloverage
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Joined: 08/01/2008
If happiness effects every

If happiness effects every player, what is the point of having it?

Is it that some strategies are good when happiness is high and others when happiness is low?

DarkDream
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Joined: 12/31/1969
How to Deal with Percentages

X3M wrote:

Something like;
-1 happiness, nothing happens to resources.
-2 happiness, resources at 90%.
90% resources, nothing happens to happiness.
-3 happiness, resources are still 90%.
-4 happiness, resources are 80%.
80% resources, happiness has an extra -1. Not per round, just a constant. This means that -4 will become -5 automatically.
-5 happiness, resources are still 80%.
-6 happiness, resources are 70%.
70% resources, happiness has still an extra -1.
etc. etc.

. . .
I don't know how many rounds you have in mind. But this suggestion of mine might only work with games with an huge amount of short rounds.

My game is around 9 rounds long.

My happiness meter is somewhat similar to yours but the problem is how to calculate percentages easily. Looking at various games shows that halving or quartering of amounts (rounded down) is what most people can handle. 70% or 80% just requires too much calculation.

apeloverage wrote:
If happiness effects every player, what is the point of having it?

Is it that some strategies are good when happiness is high and others when happiness is low?


This is a semi-cooperative game, so population happiness works as a shared resource thus all players will be concerned with it. As an example, if a population on any player's planet is killed this will cause happiness to drop and thus effect all players. Players will more likely help defeat the invader as it is in their best interest (not cause the production of their resources to be affected).

Having a happiness meter will also push players in some cases to work together to increase population happiness (happier population leads to better production).

--DarkDream

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