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?