Version 1.2 Thoughts on Armies and Resources

Discussion in 'EMPIRE (by Crazy Monkey Studios)' started by keithburgun, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    Hm, I don't know. Here's how I would characterize the so-far presented proposals for 1.2 according to the Next-Week-press criterion (and ignoring all others, such as choices at upgrade points):

    1. Wandering monsters
    At worst, this will be neutral to the density of Next-Week presses. The primary thing that wandering monsters adds to the game is the possibility of the player actively hunting down monsters with nonrandom probability of success (you can hunt for nests now, but it is basically just throwing dice). If actively searching for nests makes strategic sense balanced against the materials cost of exploration, than this will definitely be a net plus to the number of meaningful interactions in the overmap.

    2. Materials bar/Armies not purchasable any time
    This clearly results in fewer interactions turn-by-turn in the overmap. The player now has to wait for upgrades to do anything but explore, mine, or attack. Since the latter two are strongly circumstance-limited (i.e., you have to have minable mountains in your city, or monsters visible on the map), there is only a single action that the player can take on the majority of turns. This happens to remove what are currently the most dramatic choices in the overmap (see my post above), so it seems like an especially bad tradeoff to me...

    I agree with Nacht that this is better than the alternative of having an unchanging army that never reduces below three. But I still think that removing army maintenance from the materials economy is a blow to the level of interest in the overmap. Since I don't agree with the premise from the original post in this thread that the existing system is somehow "weird", it doesn't make sense to me that converting materials into a single-term balancer (exploration vs upgrade) is an improvement. (I also don't see how the addition of a new Army resource could possibly be thought to beat the current system in elegance...?)

    No need for a detailed response or anything, I don't want to keep you from actually designing this stuff :) Just want you to consider these points as you work on the 1.2 build.
     
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  2. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    The answer is that we have this system where you can choose which units to buy, but really, how do you make that choice? It's never interesting really, it's always either "I have cards that supports this", or "I'm missing this unit type" or "this is just the best unit so I need to get that". I don't think it's interesting at all to manage your army.

    Further, I think the game functions better when you always have 1 of each unit, overall.
     
  3. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    I'm not the guy who was arguing about the need for unit choice, and the post you're quoting has nothing to do with unit choice either, so I don't understand that response...?

    I'm meh on the question of whether the composition of the army changes. I'm arguing that limiting most of my chances to act to certain choice points--i.e. upgrade points--is bad for gameplay on the overmap.

    (Re unit choice, though: I can't see why you'd want to stop players from challenging themselves to field, say, a 5-archer army when that facility already exists; sounds like a great way to injure the game's commercial viability w/o actually giving it anything in terms of gameplay. While I understand the argument that "the game works better that way" in the abstract, the truth is I don't think there's any data to show that this is actually true. Also consider that if you are going to have a three-man army, Emperors will lose a lot of their already fairly low distinctiveness if that army has the same composition for all emperors.)
     
  4. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    There's never any data to show that a new idea for a new game system will be better. No such data could possibly exist. If you understand that the game works better that way (and "works better" means, creates a more balanced, more interesting, more elegant delivery of the core mechanism), then there's nothing else we can go by. My games are always going to be based on reasoned arguments that attempt to understand how a given system would affect a certain system, which is distinct from thinking such as "people expect X" or "game X has/doesn't have that feature".

    With all this said, we may not do the army change, since while it may in fact be better, it may not be better enough to warrant spending the time to do it and rebalance everything.

    Actually right before we pushed 1.1 I was pressing for removing the different starting armies, since that's something that melts away after just a few battles anyway.

    With that said, I actually think the emperors need to be MORE different, but in a more fundamental way.
     
  5. Dasick

    Dasick Well-Known Member

    I'm still theory crafting because apple and locked device etc etc, but here are some ideas that popped in my head:

    1) Reserves. When you start a battle, you can pick the units that will fight (they will be arranged randomly).

    2) Upgrades: all units upgrade from warriors. This would work with the material suggestion. Each time you reach 200 you can build a warrior or promote an archer>cavalry or warrior>archer

    3) Instead of building specific units, the unit building allow you to field a specific unit. IE you can only have as many archers as you have archery ranges (you might have to tweak city build options for this to work)

    4) Strife for dead units feels really harsh. Also, strife feels like really lazy design? As I understand it, deck-building fun comes from having to balance multiple things that you want, but cannot have, that is, choosing from two positive value things, not from positive and avoiding negative.
     
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  6. Fantom

    Fantom New Member

    Hi there, nice to read your posts... Let me feel that the game will continue to improve over time. Right now waiting for the 1.1 update for IOS.
    For the army concern, Did you consider the options of:
    1. Providing an unit each time you build the corresponding building (you need the "army" buildings because they provide you with useful capacities ; you will have to find an utility for cavalry buildings... more than levering the price of cavalry units - and create a warrior’s one). It will have other balancing problem to solve but...
    2. Make the number of cards in your hand depend on how many unit you’ve (encouraging you to have more than 3 units)
    3. Modifying the power of cavalry when they charge (moving two steps with corresponding card the turn they have to face enemies): dealing 1 damage when moving "normally" and let say 2 or 3 damages when they charge?
     
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  7. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    That's all well and good, but doesn't apply to what I was specifically referring to, which was the best composition of the army (drawing on the existing units) for a given set of design goals. That is eminently testable, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

    I agree that more and more fundamental differences would be desirable for the emperors. However, I need to point out that the context to which you are replying is one in which I was discussing invariant armies, so they would be pretty fundamental differences that would never fade away.
     
  8. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    I like all of those suggestions. One thing is though that Strife is definitely a required thing. What we need more of though is more "in betweeny" cards, which we'll work on.

    It's both. Nearly deck builder basically has strife (Curses in Dominion, Wounds in Puzzle Strike, etc).

    Wha? Also you know the game is on android too. Also version 1.1 is currently out for Android but not iOS yet.
     
  9. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    Random thought - monsters are somehow able to drop strife-bombs on players without combat? Perhaps by spawning a nest close to an existing city?

    Cities that fully deplete their surroundings churn out strife on a constant basis? (this could restore the 'you lose when the land is completely depleted' invariant)
     
  10. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Alright what I'm thinking now is:
    • You no longer gain a Strife for losing a unit - instead you gain 2 Strife for losing a battle
    • Keep cap on max units lost to 2
    • You also gain 1 Strife every time one of your cities is attacked (whether you win or lose) by a roaming monster, should happen somewhat frequently
    • Materials is a bar, when it reaches 200 you can purchase a unit (Cavalry costs 1 Warrior, Archer costs 1 Gem)
    • It costs (10*Distance In Tiles) Materials to launch an attack
     
  11. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    So, it's a bar but at the same time you have materials in stock? I mean, what if you spend a few resources on exploring, then the bar could "reach 200" every turn.
     
  12. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    No, once it hits 200 it resets to 0, just like the food bars.
     
  13. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    But doesn't that mean, that you deliberately have to keep it from reaching 200 if you want to be flexible in terms of launching attacks?
     
  14. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Hmmm... Good point. Maybe it goes from 200 to 100 instead of 0 then?
     
  15. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    Better, but probably still a little strange?
    You could also de-couple it completely. Give players a big upgrade whenever they have collected 200 (or so) materials altogether (independent from how many are used during that time). But then it would have no actual connection to the spending of materials... which would probably also be awkward.
     
  16. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    Doesn't this put us back at mandatory offensive outposting?
     
  17. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Intentionally, yeah. I see needing to actually move your cities to places that are important / useful to be a good thing.

    But anyway Nacht's objection might be enough to say forget about the "it costs material to attack" rule. It's not important to what we have here.
     
  18. XehutL

    XehutL New Member

    Why there is a limit for army size at 6? It would be nice to have the option up to 9, but every soldier over 4 can increase the waste level of Cities... say like 5% per one, i.e.:
    1-4: +0% waste level
    5: +5% wl
    6: +10% wl
    7: +15% wl
    8: +20% wl
    9: +25% wl
    ...?
     
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  19. Dasick

    Dasick Well-Known Member

    That's a cool idea xehut, and it also works as a comeback mechanic if a player loses her army.
     
  20. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    I know no one seems to agree with me on this but I just keep coming back to "buying units doesnt really make sense in this game". The reason is that if you have fewer than 2-3 units, the game just doesn't work (Not enough units to really have much of a battle), and if you have more than 4-5 units, the game just doesn't work (Too many units, becomes really calculatey and at the same time kind of spammy and random). There is a sweet spot between 3 and 4 - probably 4 is the right number.

    What if...

    You start the game with, and always have, 4 Warriors.

    The military buildings upgrade one of your Warriors into an Archer or Cavalry. If those are killed in battle, though, you lose them (meaning next battle, they'll just be a warrior).
     
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