GC2: Diplomacy Continued

About half of the players responded with comments about the latest system and they were all positive. This next post should generate some more discussion and controversy among players as I look at some possible tweaks to the game. The survey results indicated majority of players were interested in either some kind of shared victory conditions and/or some kind of faction system similar to WW2 Conquest.

As an aside, for empire choices in this next version I was considering having each player pick an ancient earth culture as a basis. Greek, Aztec, Roman, Japanese, Egyptian, etc. as source cultures might add some flavor but still give you the flexibility to act as you’d like and embrace the culture as much as you’d like.

Option 1 – Faction system with no shared victory
There will be three Affinities in the game based on your empire’s attitude about their role in the galaxy. The three affinities are:

Technology – Cybernetics, Robotics, using technology to overcome
Genetics – Gene manipulation, hybrids, and creating organically superior beings
Enlightenment – Psionics and metaphysical development

While there is not a shared victory system, the individual victory conditions to establish dominance in the galaxy will become more difficult if other empires with your affinity are eliminated. So as an example, if the base victory condition is 5 upgrades at level 6, perhaps each eliminated empire with the same affinity adds one additional level 6 upgrade required.

Affinities then will function to add some possible flavor to your empire (Cyborg Roman Centurions, Wolf Men Vikings, or Psionic Chinese Monks?)  and encourage you to be concerned with wars across the galaxy. They would not, however, force you into alliances or prevent you from working with other players as you see fit. It should provide a natural starting point for those alliances, especially with new or unfamiliar players, but is more flexible than would be in previous games.

Option 2 – Shared Victory via Pacts
If  we want a more specific shared victory system, we could set it up such that two empires could spend several turns and publicly create a pact between them allowing for shared victory conditions. Doing so would be public, have a multiple turn timeline for establishing the relationship, and conditions such as alliance timeframes or money costs to forge a strong enough relationship between the two empires. Doing so might take otherwise strenuous victory conditions to a more achievable level.

One comment from Paul, the winner of GC, was that upon achieving victory there really wasn’t much further discussion. In previous games, the alliances on top and those on bottom had more communication sharing stories and reveling in victory or speculating at what could have been in defeat. Allowing more closely tied relationships might provide a little bit more fun for players who enjoy working with others.

A shared victory game might require some additional attention on winning conditions and seeing what could be done to keep the individual empire game decisions important. I do worry that funneling massive resources to allies could create less diversity of choices and a flatter game.

What do you think – do either of these options sound good? What concerns do you have with either faction or shared victory conditions? What questions do you have about how they might work?

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7 Responses to GC2: Diplomacy Continued

  1. Paul says:

    I sorta lean towards the first option, which sounds more like how we played theaters of war. Shared affinity, incentive to help each other out, but can play your own game.

    The second option intrigued me, though, and I think if you could flesh it out a bit more, I might have a better idea how I feel about it. Almost seems like the two options here aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

  2. Brian says:

    If we have to choose one, the first option is probably the best. Gives the game a bit more of the old Conquest feel with the factions. Victory will be a lot harder though with the general level of attrition in these games, which might lead to the victory conditions being ignored in favor of a “KILLMAIMBURN” strategy.

    The second option effectively exists already, eventually one faction is dominant in the game and can just say the game is over. The same win condition that exists in Diplomacy, once the consensus is that the game has run it’s course the players vote that it’s over. I would love to see this concept fleshed out more and think that something akin to the whole Blood Brothers thing from Greek would be nice.

    The lack of discussion after the game had a lot to do with the fact that one person won. Nothing was open ended, Paul had more upgrades, Brad had the second most, Eric and I failed in our last ditch effort to get second.

    It’s not really covered in any of these last two posts but it still falls under the umbrella of “Diplomacy.” I’d like to see the return of NPC nations/empires/cultures. I know it’s a bit of a handful for the GM to RP the various smaller factions, but I feel they added something to the WW2 versions. Having a few scattered around like City States/Barbarian encampments from Civ would be fun.

  3. Pingback: GC2 Combat Ideas | The War Room

  4. Hawke says:

    Good point, I don’t think I was clear but the two options are definitely not mutually exclusive… could easily work with each other! I’m going to see if I can’t figure out some mechanics for the Blood Pact from Greek, good stuff.

  5. Eric says:

    I do like the option for early obvious alliances. In ToW the communist nations had a pretty strong amount of discussion right from the get-go and we worked well with each other until Danny went bomber happy and destroyed half of Europe and the two of us eventually went to war. But with so many people in the game it was really nice to have that early safety net of people you knew you could rely on a bit early on.

    The Pact system would also be nice, but we’d have to do some brainstorming to flush it out more.

  6. Alex says:

    When it comes to diplomacy I think it’s important to have a balance between personalities and objectives. If the faction system is too strict you’ll have a situation where players only ally to achieve pre-determined objectives which can detract from the open ended freedom individual player diplomacy has historically contributed to the game. Alternatively if diplomacy is a free for all, alliances formed around personalities (ie friends) can quickly unbalance a game.

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of WW2 conquest was that choosing a country sort of gave you some historical baggage to provide context and some immediate goals to get you started, but as the game wore on there was always that freedom available to shed history and alter your objectives. I think Matt’s Option 1 sort of captures the flavor of this situation. I would go a bit further with Option 1 given that there are or will be specific victory conditions embedded into this version of Conquest and allow for the concept of shared victories if there are explicit active alliances playing together.

  7. Dan says:

    I like option 1. I also think building in some sort of “culture” type bonus of having more of your type of people alive creates an interesting incentive to care about what else is going on in the universe, but also guards a bit against the USSR laying waste to Eric et al approach. Obviously, the costs shouldn’t be so high to force the cooperation.

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