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Maybe the key to a good 4X game was to make it a negotiation game?

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

I used to be a good fan of master or orion 2 and when I started to play board games, I was trying to find a 4X space game similar to MOO2 that I could play with my friends. Unfortunately, I never really found a game I liked.

I had a discussion some time ago with one of my friend who said that maybe it's not just possible to recreate the experience of MOO as a board game, and it should just remain as a video game.

But now lately, I have been thinking. Was finding a MOO2 baord game really what I was looking for?
Why did I want to play MOO2 as a board game?

I think the answer to those questions was:

- Play a space 4X games in a few hours instead of a dozens or more hours.
- Play with my friends without the hasle of setting up a LAN with multiple computers.
- Have better diplomatic relationship since the opponents are real players and AI diplomacy suck in all 4X video games.

So maybe the key to making a good 4X game is not about empire building, it's about diplomacy and Social interaction which is the only thing that board game can surpasses video games.

Now I am not sure if such game exists, but the goal would be to create a 4X negotiation game. Therefore every action you make needs somewhat the approval of the others around you.

The same concept could be expanded to other 4X games like civilization or master of magic where in that game, you are in a kind of constant cold war: if you nuke my city, I'll pestilence your empire.

The most of the empire building and exploration phase could actually be part of the setup so that the negotiation between players can occur on turn 1.

Don't know if what I say makes any sense.

ArkhamArkhiver's picture
Joined: 12/08/2018
Makes Sense

It's surprising that I can't recall a 4X game that really emphasizes negotiation as the primary deciding mechanic. I mean, most multiplayer games will have negotiation, but imagine if every action resulted in players voting and manipulating the referendum via cards, chits, dice, or whatever else. Add in some bluffing and bidding, some hidden information, and that'll be mind kind of game.

bottercot's picture
Joined: 02/06/2018
Exactly what I've Been Thinking

For forever I have had a huge obsession with turning video games into board game. I'm not sure exactly why; I think part of it is the time it takes to play some video games, but another large part I think is that my parents see me on my computer playing games and think, "Boy, my son is a deadbeet," then see me playing board games that I made, and think, "Glad to see him using his brain," or see me playing board games with friends and think, "Good, they're being social/active."
Regardless, I have had a huge obsession. I want to, am in the process of, or have created board games for Alien: Isolation, the FnaF franchise, the Escapists, Overwatch, and many others, and have wanted to create a Civilization inspired board game or deck building game for longer than I can remember.
It's very interesting to me to see that it's not just me who feels this way.

Joined: 01/30/2012
Most computer games have

Most computer games have negotiation only at the 30,000-foot level, probably because it seems more fun to focus on building an economic engine and developing a armada to stop on the enemy's throat. Few people want to engage on the internecine details of xenocommerce - do I really care about tariffs on Saalian brandy imported from Farpoint Station?

I enjoyed how MOO abstracted things like that to what I believe were called Trade Pacts. Two factions with sufficient warmth to each other could agree to a pact that would initially penalize them and then gradually begin turning a net profit for both factions.

However, I've always been bothered by in-game diplomacy with both computer and human opponents because the human players don't have a real incentive to be trustworthy. There is usually little reason why I shouldn't immediately backstab someone if it helps me win the game. Contrast that to real-world diplomacy that obviously has much longer timeframes, infinitely more important impacts, and a much richer set of nuances, methods and decisions. Some games actually bind players to the diplomatic decisions they have made, but that is pretty rare, and it can have its own frustrations by handcuffing the player who _wants_ to be the erratic dictator of a failed state.

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