Taking a quick break from some good diplomacy discussion, I wanted to discuss some combat changes. First, there’s four changes that I’m committed to in the next version, and then I’ll go into the two changes that may cause controversy:
Map Changes – First, I will have a map that should allow allies (and enemies?) to be closer, the ring map gave you essentially 2 neighbors and if one of them turned on you with some help it was a challenge to get through. Combined with diplomacy and faction changes mentioned earlier, I think people may think twice about attacking.
Planet Hopping – New to the game, if you are in an enemy territory and move to another enemy territory there will be a penalty. It will be some kind of “free shot” from ships that remained in the territory that will allow you to risk getting hit twice in one game turn. The free shot may not be at full strength, however orbital platforms will likely be particularly good at this. Retreating to neutral or friendly territory will not generate a free shot. This should allow a fleet to overtake a border colony but they will take more losses to do so and will have to seriously consider the consequences of being deep in enemy territory.
Structures (Shields, Orbital Platforms, etc) You will be able to destroy structures and rebuild them. So having 3 shields may help you initially, but eventually they will may get destroyed. I don’t think I’ll continue to allow upgrades to be destroyed (the 50% chance of destroying an upgrade if you killed a citizen) it was fiddly and didn’t work the way I hoped, but I think chipping away at structures will be worthwhile. Repairing them wont cost money, but resources (likely only 2 to make them cheaper than technologies so like 1 gas 1 ore to rebuild a destroyed platform).
Economic Impacts – In a future post I’ll discuss upgrades and economy ideas, but let’s suffice to say that war of any kind in a colony will affect the economic income of nearby colonies. This should be tool to both hurt enemies and one to find allies from neighbors who have skin in the game due to conflict. Constant war at Martin would have affected QQ, TL, AND KT in the nearby colonies as an example.
Now, on to the two changes that I think we need a lot of feedback on…
Shields – Oh, before I get here I wanted to mention I do want to allow everyone to name ships immediately. Of course GM veto on out of theme or stupid names. But, I think instead of 1 hit, 1 kill… 1 shield would allow ships to survive longer. This will be balanced against cost and ships without shields would be able to spend a turn for a repair action, perhaps costing some money to regain their shield. The idea is your named ships could fight again, and it might give some incentive to do incursions and retreats, repair, regroup, attack again. You will not be able to focus fire and will hit shielded ships (if available) before hitting unshielded ships.
Ship Classes – I toyed around with a LOT of ideas for ships with this one and have finally settled on something that I think expands out the ships without adding a ton of additional rules and balance testing… all based around Exploding Dice. All ships roll 1d6 to attack and hit on a 4+ (can be adjusted, of course). Depending on the class of a ship, a natural 6 would trigger some kind of additional effect other than the normal hit:
- Cruiser = Allows you to roll for a second hit
- Battleship = Automatic second hit in your own territory
- Torpedoboat = Also hits a platform (shield, orbital, etc)
- Destroyer = Automatic second hit in enemy territory
- Carrier = Bombers hit the planet, preventing 1d4 citizens from acting next turn
- Interdicter = 1d4 enemy ships cannot move or take a free shot (see planet hopping above) next turn
Instead of having different costs, these will unlock based on the level of Engineering (or Education or Military… we’ll get to upgrade changes later…) in the colony that builds the ship. Essentially, we’d all determine which is the best and worst and rank them in that order… above is a suggested order with Battleship purposefully placed low to encourage an early defensive game.
So, I think these two combined reach a goal of making combat interesting but not too complex. You have choices of ship classes, but they wont always come up and the bulk of ship combat will still be the rolls and destruction of ships. Shields on ships will allow them to last longer and allow you to recover from a potentially damaging attack. And finally, I think with the above changes there will be some interesting choices of how you manage your fleets rather than get all the allies to clump together and hit one planet at a time until you eliminate a player.
I appreciate the continued feedback… next post I will get into some details about how upgrades might work as I try to zero in on some code-dependent changes to the new system.