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Subject: Nations Dev 4: Skill rss

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Rustan Håkansson
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Nations has 4 difficulty levels. At the start of the game you choose, just like in the Civilization computer games, what difficulty level to play at. Chieftain is easiest and Emperor is hardest. This allows groups of similarly skilled players to vary the game by collectively deciding on what difficulty to play. Most importantly it allows players of different skill level to play together in a meaningful way.

The inspiration for how the difficulty system works comes from Go, where the handicap system works very well and allows for interesting games between players with very different strength.

In Chess there is no handicap, instead players gain or lose more or less ranking points after the game based on the relative strength of the players as expressed by their ranking. Chess is a competitive game best played in tournaments (all 4 designers have played a lot of chess), but that is not the game we wanted to build with Nations. We wanted balance during the game.

In Nations the easier skill levels get 1 more resource per difficulty level at the start of the round, but if your nation increases in population you get nothing extra for playing on easier levels. An expert player on Emperor will struggle hard to keep up with a first-time player on Chieftain. Two players who are almost evenly matched will get a tighter game if one plays on Prince and the other on King.

The difficulty levels is a very appreciated part of the game, which we did not anticipate when we introduced it.

Nations designer diary index (complete, 40 entries)
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Wim van Gruisen
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Den Bosch
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RustanR wrote:
In Chess there is no handicap [...]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_handicap
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Rustan Håkansson
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Ok, handicaps exist in chess, so as a fact this part of the text above is incorrect. I've even played in many tournaments, mainly at junior level, when there were handicaps of some form. But handicaps is not used in the same way as in Go, and on higher levels it is never seen.
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