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Subject: The Ultimate Civilization game? rss

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Christian Marcussen
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Disclaimer... I'm sure someone has done a post like this but I could not find it through the search. So if someone can remember a thread and can do a more precise search then please link me. Thanks!

Ok. I have been suggested to do a Civ game and right now I'm doing a lot of research on what is out there. However it's always great to hear the opinions of the public! So I have a few questions which I would love some answers on:

1) What is your favorite Civ game and why?
2) Does your favorite game have a downside - what?
3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?
4) What geographic scale would you like? (an entire planet, a continent, a single country etc)
5) Real world or generic/modular?
6) What time scale would you like? (i.e. should it be from Stoneage to Space Age, or will less suffice).
7) To what degree would you like military and armies to play a role (i.e. completely abstract, or with moving armies around the board)
8) Which would you prefere:
*(a) Large control of your capitol. The capitol would be the defining center point of how your overall civilization is doing.
*(b) Your nation has a few important cities. You can manage a few details in each city, but not as extenssive as option "a"
*(c) No control over cities. They are abstract objects to show that I control the land, and provide income.[/i]
9) If you want a generic, non-earth board - how do you feel about still using traditional Earth cultures and possibly leaders?


Let me say that I'm not all that keen on doing what some have called the Holy Grail of Civ games; The Two Hour Civ game.

I would of course offer some ways of playing shorter games, but the thought of playing through thousands of years in a few hours does not really appeal to me (unless the publisher specifically asks for that).

Thanks for your contributions!
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Dan Rosewater
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As for boardgames I dont have a favorite civ game yet...
It seems that this will be a rather complex game (which is good).

Players should be able to rather freely develop their civilization along "tech trees" (like in computer games such as Age of Empires)
This should cover the following field of activities:
- Political
- Clerical
- Technical
- Society
- Economical
- Military

Of course development benefits are interwoven.
One of the greatest challenges will be that it is easy to track those without becoming a book keeper slave of the game.
The player must be able to check his status at a glance and not count points spread on dozens of cards. Me as a gamer wants to concentrate on strategy and tactics and not repetitive stuff.

I want that the game offers interaction between players that is not limited to military actions, but also political or clerical ones.

These are some first thoughts, written down spontaneous (so no guarantee that my wishlist is complete).


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Christian Marcussen
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Thanks a lot both of you.

Quote:
4) What scale would you like? Not picky, assuming you are asking if the game should progress from the dawn of time to the space age, or some fraction thereof.


Just to be clear (and I'll edit my first post). What I meant was if you want a global view of the entire planet, or rather a smaller portion of land (like a single continent, or country).

Quote:
5) Real world or generic/modular? Modular is good, and makes for varied game experiences, but set up time is usually significantly longer. I am torn


Well, if modular it would be an obvious choice to incooporate this as part of the exploration portion of the game. Thus setup would not take significantly longer as the board would be revealed gradually. At least that's one way of doing it.
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James Perry
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1) Advanced Civ. The tech tree, balance of city support vs military vs taxation, trading, calamities (both tradables and non-tradeables). Interim and long term goals.

2) Length of time to play (not a major issue for me, but it does limit the amount of times the game gets played). Inability to focus what your group is good at creating for trading. I would prefer a method in which you need to gather a variety of trade goods to advance, rather than corner the market in one trade good.

3) Probably Advanced Civ with alternate trade goods (mentioned above), expanded tech tree, addition of political intrigue (I envision some kind of card driven system where you can sabotage, spy, steal, etc.). I'd like more hidden information to induce a fog of war effect.

4) Nomadic to Spacefaring, epic

[edit] Just saw your new post, I would like seafaring to factored in, so global would be my answer [/edit]

5) Generic/modular

Of course, what I'm asking for is probably a 12 hour game with an enormous amount of bookkeeping. But if you can do it in a simple five-six hour game I'd probably buy it.
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Justin Nordstrom
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Happy to chime in...

marqzen wrote:


1) What is your favorite Civ game and why?
2) Does your favorite game have a downside - what?
3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?
4) What scale would you like? (an entire planet, a continent, a single country etc)
5) Real world or generic/modular?



1. Favorite by far is Advanced Civilization
2. Yep, plenty of downsides. It takes a long time to play (about 7 hours in my experience), it requires several players (at least 6) to have an enjoyable feel, it requires several purchases to make a successful game (the base Civ game, Ad. Civ expansion and the Western Expansion board)...right now it would cost a substantial sum on e-bay for a new player to get into the game, the Civil War card, while not as damaging as people often fear, does produce some very strange scenarios, and the game components themselves lag behind newer euro-style civilization games. Still, this is an excellent, wonderful, game when played with the right opponents.
3. I've gradually come to accept that playability trumps most other gaming concerns (component quality, mechanics, etc...) While I love Advanced Civ, Diplomacy, and other similar games, they mainly collect dust. So the most important factors would be a game that can be played in one sitting (say, 3 hour playing time tops) and that scales well, accommodating a varied number of players. If this could be accomplished in a format that also balances a military and economic balance, I'd say you'd be on the right track.
4. I think a "planetary" civ game wouldn't be much fun. As for the continent/country scale, I'd guess something in scale that is similar to (though not necessarily) the Mediterranean basin would be good.
5. Real world for sure. For what it's worth, I'm not sure a civ-style game has to go back to the dawn of history either. Age of Renaissance, for instance, does a good job of reflecting a civ-style game in a different historical era.

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Dan Rosewater
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Koldfoot wrote:
Exploration is tricky. Random exploration will lead to charges that the game is too random. Unless you have a neat idea to handle that, you should have the whole board revealed at the start of the game.


I emphasized on what I strongly support in Koldfoots comment.

Length of time to play: as you stated, 2hrs will be not feasible for an epic game. But then if it would take 8hrs to complete, I only would find rarely people to play with me. It should be played within one evening, so about max.4hrs would be ok.
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Darrell Hanning
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1) What is your favorite Civ game and why?

I suspect my favorite civ boardgame to date is one I haven't played - Through the Ages - but it should be arriving w/in the next month. Until then, there are things I like about several - 7 Ages, Antike, Antiquity, Civilization...the list is long. I like 7 Ages, Antike and Civilization for the scope, Antiquity for its focus on fundamentals (such as starving to death). But none of the boardgames come close to being my favorite Civ game - that would have to be Sid Meier's Civ IV.

2) Does your favorite game have a downside - what?

They all have downsides. Any design is a compromise, and when you're talking about a game that attempts to deal with the scope and depth of an entire culture - to a somewhat convincing degree of detail - there's going to be more compromise than in many other games. But in the case of Through the Ages, I would suspect the biggest downside is the lack of a geographic context.

3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?

And to turn question number two around, I'd say something such as Through the Ages, but with a geographic context that impacts resource availability, population dispersion and density, trade opportunity, and of course, war.

4) What scale would you like? (an entire planet, a continent, a single country etc)

Nothing smaller than a continent.

5) Real world or generic/modular?

The map does not have to be that of Earth, but that does raise some interesting possibilities (What would the Incans have been like, had they settled all of North America?) For optimum scale, I see something along the size of SPI's old Conquistador map - big enough to show North and South America in a size that fits on just about any table (with a decent degree of detail), and a scale that supports a global map that would fit on bigger tables.

Playtime is of no consquence to me - if it's that close to being a thorough and immersive civ game, I'll have no problems getting people to play it for hours upon hours. If you're not willing to spend as much time as it takes to play a full game of 7 Ages (assuming the game is roughly in that "Holy Grail" range), then you're looking for something that mandates far more compromise than I prefer.
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Christian Marcussen
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Koldfoot wrote:
marqzen wrote:

Well, if modular it would be an obvious choice to incooporate this as part of the exploration portion of the game. Thus setup would not take significantly longer as the board would be revealed gradually. At least that's one way of doing it.


Exploration is tricky. Random exploration will lead to charges that the game is too random. Unless you have a neat idea to handle that, you should have the whole board revealed at the start of the game.


I have a few simple ideas how to make it work.

PS: I have added "Time Scale" to my initial questions since it's quite essential. Obviously the smaller the timeframe the easier the game is to design and produce - yet it can be just as interesting.
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Christian Marcussen
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Regarding the geographic scale of the game: It seems reasonable to say that the larger the scale, the more abstract. And the more abstract the less interested I become personally.

I guess I like to be more hands on with developments.
 
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David Reed
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I'll bite. Yes, the question has been asked before and hashed out, but I am not sure that it has been asked from a designer's perspective.

Quote:
1) What is your favorite Civ game and why?


I have four: two of which are board/card games and two of which are computer games (I think that the Civilization building game tends to work very well in computer form). They are Advanced Civilization, Through the Ages, Sid Meier's Civilization IV (Civ IV) and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC)

Quote:
2) Does your favorite game have a downside - what?


All of them can take a fair amount of time. In addition, Advanced Civ requires a good number of players that are able to devote the time needed to bring the game to completion (I think that I've been able to play the full game to completion, in a face-to-face setting only once). Through the Ages is a bit abstracted, due to the lack of a map, but gameplay is somewhat streamlined and you need fewer players. Where computer games have an advantage is in an instant save and restore of a game in progress (plus application of the rules without the players needing to know them). If there were a way to design a Civilization building game that had an easy and quick way to save the state of the game, it would eliminate the gripes I (and many others) have about the length of the game.

Quote:
3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?


An ultimate game for me would have all of the standard hallmarks of a civilization building game: tech tree, exploration, expansion, trade, etc., but would also include the concept of different civilizations being able to customize their units based on research, culture and needs. While Civ IV does give each civilization a unique unit, SMAC is only game that I know of that lets units be customized to a high degree (chassis, propulsion, weapon, defense and up to two special abilities).

Pair that with the ability to have a saved state and things would be good.

Quote:
4) What scale would you like? (an entire planet, a continent, a single country etc)


For a science fiction theme, an entire planet is a good idea. For a historical themed game, a region is probably the right approach, with off-board areas to represent less-important regions.

Quote:
5) Real world or generic/modular?


Modular would allow the creation of real world (or the real world pieces could be fashion in a way to be modular enough to be used in other ways). If the theming of the game is science fiction or fantasy, modular would also be useful...

Interesting questions - good luck with your work!
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Christian Marcussen
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While I would love to theme it in a sci-fi world I doubt that is what the publisher had in mind

The detail you mention in your "ultimate civ game" answer is a tough one, and is the kind of thing that is best handled by a computer.

I am however toying around with the idea of letting the player detail a few things in their major cites or their civilizations capitol.

 
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João 'Finding a new way to make you WTF today' Marum
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1) What is your favorite Civ game and why?

Advanced Civilization. It is game that has most of the elements I look in a Civ game. Trade, a structured tech tree, war, etc

2) Does your favorite game have a downside - what?

Well, at this moment I would say Adv Civ has no discernible downside for me, not even the huge playing time is considered by me a downside. If I really enjoy playing the game, than playing it for 8+ hours will always be an enjoyable experience. Maybe the close to a downside I can find is the fact that Civ does not have a fog of war mechanism, which I believe would enhance the gameplay.

3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?

Like Adv Civ, with a playtime of 4 hours. Maybe include a more complex tech tree, a fog of war mechanism and a deeper diplomacy mechanism between civs.

4) What geographic scale would you like? (an entire planet, a continent, a single country etc)

I actually don't care either way, as long as the play area is vast enough for players to have flexibility in their play. It can be a village or a whole planet, as long as players feel they have lots of options available at every turn.

5) Real world or generic/modular?

Either way is fine by me.

6) What time scale would you like? (i.e. should it be from Stoneage to Space Age, or will less suffice).

I actually would prefer a complete history, from Stoneage to present times. I don't care much for Space Age or beyond present times, though it may make the game more interesting in the long run.
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1) What is your favorite Civ game and why?
- I really like Attika as a base concept, and would love to see something like that developed into a meatier game. I love the buildings, the upgrade idea, and the way the resources work in it.

- I will say that I have enjoyed all the PC versions of "Sid Meier's Civ" and I kind of liked his board game implementation. I enjoyed the sense of building up my nation from a tiny city to a world-spanning empire.

- My all-time favorite game in the genre was "Master of Magic", a PC version of "Sid Meier's Civ" but with magic and monsters and odd races. It was a self-consistent, near-perfect game.


2) Does your favorite game have a downside - what?
- Attika is too short a game, focusses only on one civilization and one time period.

- "Sid Meier's Civ" is too 'epic'; it takes a long time to play and has too many time periods for my taste.

- Not enough random events, including plague and climate change and other catastrophes (hurricanes, for instances).


3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?
- One that focussed on either the development of a specific age -- Stone, Neolithic, Bronze/Chariot, Classical/Iron, Medieval -- or combined all to some of those, stopping at say the invention of Gunpowder.

- I would not mind a fantasy version, with Gods or magical forces or monsters or what-have-you.


4) What geographic scale would you like? (an entire planet, a continent, a single country etc)
- I like the use of the Mediterranean type of board (southern Europe, northern Africa, the entire Middle East) in many such games. I find that it allows for a lot of options, including trade and defense. The sea lanes provide a means for both trade and ship battles. Being a crossroads allows for maximum trade, as well as moving land forces.

- Putting things near the water allows for having lots of cities to be built; this is a logical thing that most people can relate to.

- The crossroads of the world thing has caused a lot of history to occur there. Limitting the geography to such an area would preserve an epic feel without losing focus, as would likely happen with a world-scale map.


5) Real world or generic/modular?
- I would prefer it to be either the Mediterranean (see above) or your own world, which might have legs. The idea of a modular Civ board is intriguing; it is one of the things I really like about Attika.

- Perhaps there can be "huts" with chits on them


6) What time scale would you like? (i.e. should it be from Stoneage to Space Age, or will less suffice).
- I prefer a limited time-scale. If this focuses only on one Age, sees it all the way through, and is well done then I am more likely to enjoy it than a game that strives to represent several eras.

- If you do create a multi-time-scale game, giving the Ages a theme (pre-Gunpowder, post-Gunpowder) would be preferred. I find it jarring sitting at a game where one civilization has F-14 jets and another is puttering along with Knights.


Hope this helps.
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Also:

In "Civ IV" for the PC, the players have a set of powers (2 per the leader they choose) that allow certain benefits. I find this a huge improvement on previous versions. So, yes, player/civilization powers.

A tech-tree that is intuitive.

I am with Koldfoot, in that combat should be an option but not the main point of the game. I would love to see trade and tech-discovery being the two main driving impetus' of a Civ game.

Hope this helps.
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Christian Marcussen
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It all helps... thanks!

Quote:
3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?

Like Adv Civ, with a playtime of 4 hours. Maybe include a more complex tech tree, a fog of war mechanism and a deeper diplomacy mechanism between civs.


Quote:
I am with Koldfoot, in that combat should be an option but not the main point of the game. I would love to see trade and tech-discovery being the two main driving impetus' of a Civ game.


If you guys have the time to elaborate on the highlighted points I would be very happy.

Quote:
- If you do create a multi-time-scale game, giving the Ages a theme (pre-Gunpowder, post-Gunpowder) would be preferred. I find it jarring sitting at a game where one civilization has F-14 jets and another is puttering along with Knights.


I agree! I have a few ideas to avoid this phenomenon, but I'm not sure how they will work yet.

--------------------------------------

I have added a new question to my initial post
 
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Greg Parker
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1) What is your favorite Civ game and why?
Advanced Civilization would be my favorite because of the trading element that leads to advances, and combat is abstract and not of high importance.

2) Does your favorite game have a downside - what?

The downside to Adv Civ is of course the time it takes to play. up to 12 hours. I would like to see something in the 4-6 hour range.

3) What would the ultimate civ game be in your opinion?

a) it should be historic on a continent scale
b) it should have many routes to victory/success
c) my actions and those of my opponents should play the primary role in my success (not too luck based)
d) Each nation should not be overly programmed by its historic past, in other words let me reinvent the history.



6) What time scale would you like? (i.e. should it be from Stoneage to Space Age, or will less suffice).
I am partial to ancient civilization but not opposed to Renaissance/Reformation etc. Definately pre 17th century.
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I know I'm not really answering your question, but I've recently come to the conclusion that Catan: Cities & Knights is actually one of the better "short" civilization-building games out there.
 
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Darrell Hanning
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Quote:
Quote:


Quote:
- If you do create a multi-time-scale game, giving the Ages a theme (pre-Gunpowder, post-Gunpowder) would be preferred. I find it jarring sitting at a game where one civilization has F-14 jets and another is puttering along with Knights.


I agree! I have a few ideas to avoid this phenomenon, but I'm not sure how they will work yet.


Tempus solved this problem, but most people were too busy beating the crap out of it, in the back alley, to notice.
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Q7. Yes, I want to see armies moving. It adds an element of tension to the game. I would not mind if one army piece on the board represented lots of units by, say, having those units be cards beneath that Army's number.

Tech-Tree.
I want one that the average person can follow. One that makes sensse. You can see that Fire leads to Bricks and Early Metallurgy. Early Metallurgy leads to Bronze. That the Wheel leads to Chariots. Hunting leads to Archery which can lead to the Composite Bow which could lead to the Crossbow and the Chu-no-ko (multi-fire crossbow). That Pikes lead to Bayonets. That Farming leads to Monarchy or Despotism. That Construction leads to City Walls. Engineering to Seige Engines. And so on.


Trade.
Every region should have a unique arrangement of resources, and the Tech they have access to should allow them to exploit it to the best of their ability. This should lead to surpluses. A nation could reinvest those surpluses into its own growth or trade them with others. Now, I would prefer that the Trading be done by use of Caravans and Trade Ships in addition to face-to-face negotiations.


Tech-Discovery.
This could be obtained by trade, or by doing research. I suppose the easiest way to handle this would be to have Tech Cards with a discovered Technology on them and a benefit, its prerequisites, plus what Techs it could lead to. Along the top or bottom you could have boxes representing its research cost.

So a player wants to research Engineering and has all the prerequisites. He draws the Engineering card from the Research Deck. Each turn he would need to add cubes to those boxes that could represent the work of his scholars along with any Resources he is willing to put into to gain this knowledge quicker.


Hope this helps.
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Christian Marcussen
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Osiris Ra wrote:
...

Hope this helps.


As your posts always do
 
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Christian Marcussen
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Regarding Civ IV the computer game. Does it not bother anyone else how you chose to play as say Cleapatra throughout the ages (pardon the pun). I know it's inconsequential in terms of gameplay - but it kind of takes me out of the theme when I wander around with my ancient units and come across the ancient units of... Napoleon?

------
New Question added to my initial post
 
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I would prefer cities to be abstract entities or you wind up micromanaging them; as you do not want this to be a city-simulator I would leave that out.

As far as images, I do not mind having say an ancient image as my Civ marker. So being Cleo or Ramses just helps other players remember who I am. Although it might be jarring to some for an instant, once the game begins most of us will focus on the troubles at hand. Also, a picture that is concurrent to the time you start your era makes for a good identifier. Using a later-based picture, like say Nappie leading my Phallangites, is much more jarring to me.

Hope this makes sense.
 
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1. Advanced Civilization is my favorite due to the breadth of the game. A lot of flavor is packed into those 8 hours of play.

In the Civ-lite category I find Antike has done the best job of pulling off as much of Adv Civ as possible within a reasonable amount of play time. Also, it scales well between 3-6 players, which is rare for most games, and lastly, there is little downtime between turns.

2. For Adv Civ the downside is mostly with the game length. I don't mind playing for 8 hours, but getting at least five other people to commit to that time for one game isn't realistic, and thus it doesn't get played. Also, I never found the tech tree in the game did enough. It is an older game and at this point my expectations lean more towards unique powers being granted for each tech.

For Antike the major drawback is that it isn't ambitious enough. I'd like to see an Advanced Antike that plays for about four hours. I want a bigger map, more tech, more resources, bigger rondel, etc. Just give me more of what is there to flesh out the chrome, but still wrap it all up in one evening of play.

3. The ultimate civ game is going to be one that is realistically playable on a regular basis. That means 4-4.5 hours, including rules explanation, so that it can be played in one evening. It should be able to play well with 3-6 players, and maybe eight players I guess if it is going to be the "ultimate".

My ultimate civ game would have a robust tech/culture tree, but it would be one that allows for a lot of unique strategies to be built out of it. If the tree has too many choke points where everyone has to get to in order to succeed then it can get boring. Ideally there will be enough horizontal movement in the tree that players can create wildly different flavors with their civs.

Trading is also important and having a variety of goods to make and resources to harvest adds a lot of flavor. While the game Mare Mediterraneum was awful, it had around 20 different goods to trade which added a nice touch. I always enjoyed the resource system from Imperialism and Imperialism II computer games, which probably has its closest translation with Keythedral in the boardgame world. Having something more detailed and flavorful would be great to see.

4. Whatever scale works the best for the design is fine with me.

5. I have yet to tire of the Mediterranean, but if there is a good way of doing a modular board that doesn't make the game feel abstract then go for it.

6. Shorter timescales seem like it would be more successful for the design, especially when you have the limitations to deal with in terms of a boardgame format.

7. The game needs a variety of ways to win, among them some kind of military combat. If you go the military role there needs to be some kind of design solution to prevent the problems of your typical multiplayer wargame, where attacking someone ends up weakening you and your opponent, whilst a third player is able to wait in the wings to mop up the survivor.

The other thing that I'd like to see with a military conflict is one that doesn't occur mostly at the end of the game. If there is going to be military conflict, I'd want to see lots of little wars throughout the game, rather than a lot of build up and détente for an end game showdown.

I've always conceptually liked the "overrun" designs for games like Britannia, Vinci, History of the World, and Barbarian, Kingdom & Empire however the end result, well save for BKE, was something that was a bit too gamey and abstract. Rather than really capturing the ebb and flow of civilizations, it was just a very long series of optimizations. Adv Civ gave you some of this flavor with the various calamities drumming up a lot of shakeups on the gameboard, and so it pulls it off well, but the trick is to find something that can get packed into a smaller time frame.

8. I'd like to see both A and B (as two different games). I'd like to see a game where everyone is a greek city state that is trying to dominate the greek peninsula over the course of several centuries, with the base of power and the engine of the empire coming from your detailed home city, kind of a Puerto Rico diplomacy/wargame.

I'd also like to see a B version, where you have the whole Mediterranean to take in, and where several key cities end up being keys to the regions economy and are a bit more detailed than the rest of the cities and economies, much the way it would have looked during the Roman Empire.

Lastly, I think one of the key things I'd want to see in any civ design is that it not be built like most other eurogame economic engines. In pretty much all of these designs you end up creating this race to see who can get the engine up and running the quickest and then shutting the game down due to run away leader problems. Players shouldn't spend hours and hours playing, finding that they finally have all of their components in place, only to find that the game is going to end in a turn or two.

There needs to be enough breathing room that the first half of the game is about building yourself up, and the second half of the game is about out maneuvering each other, rather than racing against each other. Efficiency shouldn't be the core key to success, but instead a good dose of risk taking initiatives.

I think a lot of that could be done well by shaping the tech tree in such a way as to emphasize certain aspects of play depending on the stage of the game.

But yeah, wrapping all of that up in four hours of play would be wonderful. If that time frame is impossible then I wouldn't go past six hours. Anything longer and it won't be feasible save in very special circumstances.
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Hi Neil. What a fantastic post - thanks!

echoota wrote:

I've always conceptually liked the "overrun" designs for games like Britannia, Vinci, History of the World, and Barbarian, Kingdom & Empire however the end result, well save for BKE, was something that was a bit too gamey and abstract. Rather than really capturing the ebb and flow of civilizations, it was just a very long series of optimizations.


Could you elaborate on the term "overrun" in regard to game design. Do you mean getting bigger than your opponent faster, or does it relate to something else?

Regarding time frame, I think they are aiming for stone age to modern day. It's dooable but it presents some hindrances design wise which would not be there otherwise. A system may work great to cover pre-gunpowder civilizations... But once air planes, tanks and long range missiles start entering play things get screwy. I mean simulating modern day politics and warfare interestingly is a game in itself. This means that you have to make design compromises OR get rules more complex. If not then you end up with the actual age beeing mostly inconsequential and flavorless. In most games it mostly means your military units are stronger.

I'm using elements of two pretty fleshed out game designs I have. One is a modern day geo-olitical game and the other is a conquest/civ game set in The Three Kingdoms period of China or Rome. Both work nicely in their respective settings and are interesting. Now I need to take the right elements and merge them into something spanding over a larger time-frame and still keep it relevant. The fun of game-design!


 
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Neil Carr
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marqzen wrote:
Could you elaborate on the term "overrun" in regard to game design. Do you mean getting bigger than your opponent faster, or does it relate to something else?


I guess what I mean by overrun is that with all of those game designs it is intended that many civilizations rise up, reach their peak, and then go into decline and are then overrun by another player's emerging civilization. Players get points for how far the civilizations expand and also how long they linger in the game.

So rather than players being tied to a particular civilization that persists over the course of the entire game, each player manages a succession of civilizations that rise and fall.

Conceptually it is more realistic, especially for a game that spans from the stone age to the modern era. History of the World spans from when the first empires were born in ancient times till about the 19th century, however there is no tech tree to really differentiate between older civilizations and newer ones.

The problem with all of these games though are that they are built around this one particular model, and so it doesn't leave room (unless you want to make the games take 12 hours to play) for other things like tech trees, trading, building up infrastructure, etc.

Interestingly, Barbarian, Kingdom & Empire is designed as a game that never has to really end. If a player gets knocked out or a new player arrives they just become another horde that pours in from a side of the board. If a player can't play anymore then their civilization goes into decline. Ultimately it doesn't really work, the game isn't compelling enough to play it like you'd play an rpg week in and out, but I always liked how the designer made it open ended.

Not that it is in your design scope, but I've always wanted to see someone implement a civilization game that is built around an rpg model, where the group keeps playing on a scheduled basis in a persistent world. I'm not sure how it would be done, but each player would have a civilization instead of a rpg character, though the civ would function mechanically in similar ways to a character.

Anyway, finding a way to at least evoke the rise-peak-stagnation of a civilization and how out of it a more dynamic civilization is born would definitely spice up what would otherwise be a race up the tech tree, but the trick would be to not let that govern the core of the design. As I mentioned, Adv Civ with its calamities, in particular the civil war one, is able to shake things up a bit and inject more dynamic flavor, without dominating everything else in the game.
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