I stole the title from an article that was on copyright, but covered success stories for content creators in the digital age – keep it simple and awesome.
So, as much as I like the dice/energy system, it fails the simple test. Too easy for “The Great Hat Disaster” to bump all the dice, at which point the entire game turn is screwed. I also could not find enough stuff for the Agents to do that was awesome – it looked too much like being an unpaid intern.
Revised player roles:
- Imperial Princes (up to 10 players)
- Great Houses (x3, with 5 players each)
- Pirates (up to 15 players)
I’m fairly happy with the Senate, no maor changes there.
Combat, because the pirate players are each individuals, I have to drop the idea of Faction based cards for determining victory.
Initially there will be three types of combat units:
- Raiders (build by Pirates)
- Cruisers (built by people controlling colonies)
- Dreadnoughts (built by Imperial players with Atomic Power).
Players are free to trade/gift units to other players (and this is the only way that Pirates can get Dreadnoughts or Imperials can get Raiders, unless they are lucky in combat and capture a unit). Initially only Imperials control colonies, but as the game progresses, Pirates will capture colonies too.
Later in the game, the Senate will be able to authorise the construction of additional special capability units. This requires a crisis to trigger, so the players have time to learn the basic combat system before it gets made more complex.
The combat resolution mechanic is:
- Draw a card – the card lists a unit type (Raider or Cruiser or Dreadnought)
- The side with the most of the unit type wins
- The Defender wins ties
- The card will list two sets of casualties that the loser takes, winner takes no losses.
- Loser retreats.
Casualty results are in the form of [Unit Type] [Loss], where the types of loss are:
- One unit destroyed
- One unit captured by enemy
- All but one unit destroyed
- All units destroyed.
Initially the Imperial forces have a 2/3 chance of winning battles (because the Pirates probably don’t have Cruisers or Dreadnoughts early on). The game economy, however, will allow Pirates to rapidly recruit new Raider forces. This means that the strategic risk of combat is actually borne by Imperial forces – while the chance of losing all your Dreadnoughts is low, losing all of them in an ambush is a great disaster. This chance of disaster is deliberate, because it will force the Imperials to engage in diplomacy and to work together when there is a crisis.
Pirate players can be bribed by the Empire, gaining the Pirate the designation of Warlord as long as they work for the Empire.
Trade – leaning towards a variant of civilisation trade cards, but simplifying it so each set of trade card lists what the set is exchanged for. Players get one trade card for each colony world they control.
Civil Wars – ideally I will develop a mechanic that allows the players to resolve the civil war entirely during the period when the GMs are tidying up the map table. My current idea is to give players “support cards”, which can be traded around. In the inter-phase, Princes can trigger a Civil War, at which point people spend and compare support cards.
Emperor – to make the Civil War worth fighting, the Emperor will get a lot of beanies to distribute among their supporters.
Maps – looking at having sector capitals that generate atomic power, and colonies that generate trade cards, and some deep space zones for Pirates to skulk in.
Thats where my thinking is at the moment.
So, assuming war is a continuation of politics by other means, what are the goals of the different player types? Do pirates get into fights because they get caught by local or imperial forces while trying to loot sectors? Or are they essentially just autonomous dictators trying to seize little fiefdoms for themselves? Or are both options possible depending on player whim?
The core motivation is competition with like player roles, i.e. pirates compete with pirates, princes with princes. So a pirate wants more territory and ships than other pirates, and at the start of the game this is best done by attacking imperial players. They can try and acquire this through solo play, or by working with other players. The acme of skill for a pirate is to be so powerful people start paying you tribute to go annoy other people.
(I like the sound of the battle resolution economy)
Part of the combat design is that it will generate catastrophes. For an Imperial player an “All Dreadnoughts” destroyed result is horrific (as each Dreadnought is worth a VP), and for the Empire it creates a power vacuum for pirate expansion.