We need a Revolution!

*Warning*Long post

By on December 14, 2008 3:06:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

StoweMobile

Join Date 11/2004
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*Warning* very long post, thanks for reading if you have the patience.

Ok, this is something that has always bothered me. In every 4X or empire building strategy I've played to date, they have had one terrible flaw. None of them have modeled rebellion or revolution in a close to acurate way. I have yet to play a game where civil war was something you actually have to worry about. It seems so strange to me that such a large part of human history has been largely ignored by such a game genre. This is especially true for games like Civilaztion since it is, after all, an attempt to model the course of human history in a different setting. Though I've only played Civ 3 and 4, I played those alot and neither of them model rebellion very well. In Civ three if you didn't keep a city happy enough it simply would start to "rebel". All this did though was stop production from that city until you made the people happy again. This was largely just very...very annoying. That is why in Civ 4 it was changed to were unhappy civizens just stoped working....this, though a much better game mechanic, is rediculously inacurate.

--Probably the best+most acurate mechanic for rebeillion (that I've seen) is the Total War series. In those games (Rome and medieval 1+2) each city had a happyness level that was tied to a % chance of revolting. This was based on things like tax rate, military garrison, religious conflicts, ect. If a city revolted the citizens would start destorying building and killing your units garrisoned there. If it got too bad they would kick out your military garrison and form a rebel faction in that city. The problem with this for Elemental is that 1. We don't know how minor factions will work in the game, and 2. How would this work with cities taking up more than one tile. Maybe, depending on the type of rebel army, they could rise up in different tiles. For example, lets say you are playing a fallen faction. You've just taken a Human city, and after a little rebuilding you decide you want to crank up food production to feed your ever growing army.... So you force the farmers on a few tiles to work extra long and decreased food rations for that city. After a few day the farmers have had enough. A rebel army formes in one of the tiles with a farm. You can either crush these peasants, or risk loosing your new city. Now lets say the farmers take the city from you by capturing the keep. Now they either have the option of returning to control of their former empire, or forming their own minor faction (One that is ruled by farmers and who desire to start similar revolutions across the world!!!)

*These are just random ideas, as I have no idea how any of the relate mechanics will work(or if there in the game lol). If something like this was added it would add alot of depth to the game. Besides just a cool and realistic rebellion mechanic, it would force players to really have to think when determing how to treat their civizens.

--Another game with a cool rebellion mechanic is the Europa Universalis games. Europs Universalis Rome imparticular. Besides rebell armies forming if the peasants get pissed there is another cool aspect. If your generals become too popular with the people and your armies(In the game, after fighting with a particular leader for awile, individual units would become loyal to that leader, and thus support him if he rebels), they might just rebel against you, attempting to usurp power from the senate (a la Ceasar!) or you can side with the general and try to overthrow the senate and set up and empire. This is a very nifty mechanic for Civil War, and one of the best I've ever seen. I thing Stardock would be remis not to add a system for civil war in the game. Maybe your heroes have a "Loyalty" meeter, and if it gets two low, they will rebel and try and depose you as ruler. For good measure you could also make it to where when you kill the traitor you get back any essence you foolishly gave this backstabber. This, again, would add more depth as players would have to be carful when hireing/imparting essence to heroes. For example, lets say you hire Koonan the barbarian . He is rediculously powerful, but being a barbarian, he has very low loyalty. Now the player has to decide whether to risk imparting essence to him, and/or letting him lead a very large army. You could also have a system for increasing/decreasing loyalty. Maybe you could pay the heroes extra gold to increase their loyalty, or giving them positions of power, such as governorship of a city (maybe each heroes also has traits that make him a good or bad at various aspects of running a city. This would be seperate from their battle traits. This again could be similar to the system in Total war, were when a leader is in a city they give that city certain bonuses/penalties). This would add in more decision making. Lets say you what Koonan to lead an army, so to increase his loyalty you must make him governor of one of your cities. The problem is Koonan, again, being a barbarian, has alot of penalties as a governor. Now you have to weigh the need for a powerful hero leading your army, the risk of his low loyalty, and the production/economic penalties he would impose on a city as governor.

---At any rate, a combination of these different mechanics would make the game very interesting (with some twenking to make them appropriate for the game obviously) These are just some random thoughts I had. Thanks for reading if you did, and sorry for my bad spelling!

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December 14, 2008 7:29:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The think with civil wars is that they can be very annoying. I did not enjoy the rebellion mechanic in the more recent Total War games, because it's simply inevitable once certain cities get beyond a particular size that you will lose and have to reconquer them.

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December 14, 2008 7:54:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A mechanic different from the "Morale - Tax - Enemy_Influence = Prob._of_Rebelion" would be nice.

Europa Universalis' one seems fun... Need to invest in some "brainwash" magic just in case.

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December 14, 2008 8:38:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wintersong: NERVE STAPLE THEM ALL!

On the subject of Koonan, I have another wrench to throw into the works.  Temporary loyalty might be bought with gifts, or with (Three Kingdoms) MORE RESPONSIBILITY.  Yes, you can have Koonan loyal now knowing that he's going to ask for more next year.  Ooh, decisions - big rebellion now, or larger rebellion later.

Colonization can be adapted for this.  You produce rebel 'heroes', who produce unhappiness in your towns.  When the rebellion hits, towns with more than 50% disloyalty join the new faction, and rebel heroes join the new faction.  Of course you can execute them, for a BIG increase in unhappiness, or imprison them, for a slow unhappiness 'leak'.  OR you can start fixing the problems, and maybe that rebel voice offers to join you (or move on to your neighbor's kingdom).  If we have espionage heroes capable of hiding their presence and/or inciting revolt, that melds almost seamlessly into this.

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December 14, 2008 9:17:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the reason revolutions and rebellions are generally not included in games is because they are usually annoying and frustrating, not fun. Rebellion needs to be both predictable and avoidable (both to an extent, anyway).

And, honestly, I don't know how much I'd like to see rebellion in Elemental. For one, it seems like the channeler will be the life-blood of a healthy civilization. Revolting would deprive the rebels of that life-blood. Even if revolution is implemented, I hope heroes won't be a part of it. For one, it seems that heroes will derive much of their power from the channeler - if they turn against the channeler, there goes that power...

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December 14, 2008 10:21:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The thing about revolutions is the vast majority in human history haven’t been successful. Typically a lot of criteria have to be in place for a rebellion to be successful otherwise a government like several games mentioned here end up having to deal with an annoying but not necessarily dangerous revolt. The change sought by rebels is more often achieved by peaceful influence on the government with some sporadic “radicals” causing types of troubles. If Stardock does include a rebellion type sub-program in Elementals I hope it just isn’t at random like a lot of games out there were no matter how much you do or plan rebellions are inevitable and nothing more than annoying. The rebellion system I would like to see in Elementals would range from full scale regional revolt (United States and Great Britain) to peaceful manipulation / negotiation (India and Great Britain) or a mix of the two (like in South Africa with Nelson Mandela). 

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December 14, 2008 10:36:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It makes me wonder what people bases the assumption on, that barbarians would've low loyalty.

Regardless, I'd say that the problem with rebellions is that they're generally undesirable. Sure, a minor rebellion here and there could be "a part of the game", but major rebellions or revolutions have the means to make or break a game.

Also, short of seceding to another channeler, why would people rebel, no matter how cruel or unforgiving you are. You're literally a god amongst men, capable of singlehandedly heal or murder thousands of people at a whim.

The Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron games were great. But they follow a historical linearity slightly influenced by the choices you make (sometimes majorly; Go Confederate States of America! Show those commies!) that is just not present in Elemental (or any other 4x game that I know of). Everything makes sense when it happens and isn't just random - there's a very real, well-written (and often well-documented) explenation as to why things are happening as they are.

 

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December 14, 2008 10:53:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm all for a dynamic and complex revolution system.

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December 14, 2008 11:57:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Spartan,
I'm all for a dynamic and complex revolution system.

Me too, as long as you can turn it off if the final implementation is no fun for you.

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December 14, 2008 1:32:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would enjoy a full fleshed revolution system that could be used by sneaky channelers to make more "interesting" the life of opposing channelers. Spies, assassins, rebels,... The more different kind of "battlefields", the better.

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December 14, 2008 5:10:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Perhaps including Civil War or revolutions as a "Mega-Event" that can be switched off at the startup screen (the only reason I am for it being an option in this case is because Stardock has handled such things that way with Galciv 2).  However such a mechanic would greatly increase gameplaye and replayability if done correctly.

As for StowMobile's original post, I would recommend that you download the Revolutions Mod from Civfanatic.com for Civ 4: Beyond the Sword.  That mod includes revolutions, civil wars, and civil unrest (from the result of conquest) that is quite well modeled.  It has drastically increased the amount of gameplay I have gotten from Civ 4 and would strongly recommend it to any and all who play Civ4: Beyond the Sword.

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December 14, 2008 7:07:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,

Me too, as long as you can turn it off if the final implementation is no fun for you.

I'd prefer if it was a simple system of maintaining levels of health/taxation/population via taxes and buildings. Anything more complicated would annoy me. If it is to be complicated than give the option to turn it off. This is Elemental: war of magic and not elemental: sim fantasy kingdom

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December 14, 2008 9:22:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting lwarmonger,
Perhaps including Civil War or revolutions as a "Mega-Event" that can be switched off at the startup screen (the only reason I am for it being an option in this case is because Stardock has handled such things that way with Galciv 2).  However such a mechanic would greatly increase gameplaye and replayability if done correctly.

As for StowMobile's original post, I would recommend that you download the Revolutions Mod from Civfanatic.com for Civ 4: Beyond the Sword.  That mod includes revolutions, civil wars, and civil unrest (from the result of conquest) that is quite well modeled.  It has drastically increased the amount of gameplay I have gotten from Civ 4 and would strongly recommend it to any and all who play Civ4: Beyond the Sword.

Cool, I'll have to check that out soon.

- Yes I agree that rebellions, if not done correctly, could be a big drag on the game. I think if anyone can do it right though, startdock can! I just really think there should be consequences for how you treat your populace. Just because your powerful doesn't necessarily mean your people will take everything lying down. To the person who said most rebellion in human history have been unsuccessful - I say, is that not a perfect set up for a rebellion mechanic that adds depth to the game, but isn't game breaking?...and even though most have been unsuccessful doesn't mean they didn't impact the world, positively or negatively.

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December 15, 2008 1:18:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,

Quoting Spartan, reply 7I'm all for a dynamic and complex revolution system.
Me too, as long as you can turn it off if the final implementation is no fun for you.

Agreed 

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December 15, 2008 2:29:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

i

Quoting StoweMobile,

To the person who said most rebellion in human history have been unsuccessful - I say, is that not a perfect set up for a rebellion mechanic that adds depth to the game, but isn't game breaking?...and even though most have been unsuccessful doesn't mean they didn't impact the world, positively or negatively.

Now you're talking. Rebellion is, for me, a pain and i hate having to deal with it when it shuts a city down and you're not quite sure why it happened (which is why i loved SMAC's 'nerve staple'). Hadn't even crossed my mind but you could be on to something here. How would you implement it? Reduced production/research/whatever levels? Shutting down specific industries? negative growth? Inaccessable city tiles (ie last tile built becomes inoperable)? This would be more interesting to deal with then a city completely shutting down until you changed civic/brought in military/built specific building/whatever although i'm thinking that you might have to deal with it in a similar fashion. I also thought SMAC's option to build specifically 'police' squads was a great idea to help reduce unrest.

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December 15, 2008 12:34:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting delad,
...This is Elemental: war of magic and not elemental: sim fantasy kingdom

Woa. You're making me understand my irrational pre-alpha obssession better. It started because of the TBS-RPG 'fusion' thing. But I have to admit that I've so far had an unconscious desire to see Stardock produce a 4/5X 'thing' that builds a bridge between the Civ/game and Sim/toy modes. I'm a little afraid that such an idea might actively offend the devs, but there it is.

I've griped often already about not wanting Elemental to expect me to watch live animation and respond with strong mouse skills. But I haven't admitted that SimEarth and SimCity were great loves of mine before I ever saw Civ 1. I still wish that (an independent) Will Wright had built new SimEarth versions, and I've played lots with SimCity over a few versions (3000 is the last one I have a disc for).

What has made me lean more to the Civ/game side all along is that those games, no matter how bad I thought a particular one might be, all did a much better job of providing or helping me make up a story to go along with all my clicking than any Sim/toy ever has. It's almost like comparing a big box of basic Legos to a specific Lego model kit, except that's a bit backwards for me because I never built a model more than once and constantly used my entire collection to build parts an ongoing game of make-believe. But I digress...

Quoting delad,
I'd prefer if it was a simple system of maintaining levels of health/taxation/population via taxes and buildings. Anything more complicated would annoy me. If it is to be complicated than give the option to turn it off.

Options are a burden for devs and a delight for many (most?) players. I want the core mechanics to enable what amounts to a full minigame for rebellions and a UI that can let players choose at least 3 levels of complexity for interacting with those mechanics. The simplest should resemble what delad asks, which is roughly how GC2 works today.

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December 15, 2008 1:10:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,
 It's almost like comparing a big box of basic Legos to a specific Lego model kit, except that's a bit backwards for me because I never built a model more than once and constantly used my entire collection to build parts an ongoing game of make-believe. But I digress...

LEGOS!! Man, if SD can make a game that provides me with as much entertainment value as legos have over the years (and... still do on occasion ) - that would be the jackpot. Am I the only one who gets excited when kids ask to me help them with their legos? Whenever that happens I think I tend to ignore the kid and get lost in my own little lego world .

Quoting GW Swicord,
Options are a burden for devs and a delight for many (most?) players. I want the core mechanics to enable what amounts to a full minigame for rebellions and a UI that can let players choose at least 3 levels of complexity for interacting with those mechanics. The simplest should resemble what delad asks, which is roughly how GC2 works today.

You know if the devs give us even 5% of the options we've asked for so far on these boards, the process of choosing my game options alone is going to exhaust me  

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December 15, 2008 3:02:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,
You know if the devs give us even 5% of the options we've asked for so far on these boards, the process of choosing my game options alone is going to exhaust me  

Well, for a while now I've kind of thought that a good 4/5X game maybe should be able to start with a 'minigame' that sets options for full game, at least when players are new to the game. Even using something as simple as a Windows wizard-like thing to step through a combo of backstory and map options could be a useful alternative to the traditional game settings topic in manuals and tutorials.

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December 17, 2008 3:30:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Has anyone else here player Europa Universalis: Rome? I really thought that game a pretty intuitive Civil War system. I think something like that could definently work here. Were individual unit can become loyal to a specific general if they fight along side him long enough... And then if that general become too disloyal he will try and usurp you. It was pretty cool and added alot of depth to the game without being annoying.

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December 18, 2008 12:28:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@GW Swicord - We are of similar mind in regards to the issues and desires you addressed in your last post.

@Stowe - yes several of us and I like the EU:R system very much despite it short comings. There is a thread about EU on the forums. You should check it out.

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December 18, 2008 4:04:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It would be nice if loyalty could be based on at least two criteria. Love and Fear. (+ others?)

Machiavelli said that as a prince, it was better to be feared than loved. A town that is in utter terror of their "master" is very unlikely to revolt due to knowing that they are going to get destroyed for doing so. Being feared by your subjects might have some negative consequences such as lower production or higher costs to produce units. Towns that were loyal because they love you soooo much are obviously going to be more productive, quicker population growth etc etc.

Nore do I think that it should be kingdom wide - it should not be a choice to be universally feared vs loved. Maybe you treat your citizens in the Capitol city great and they think you are all that and a bag of chips, but one of your recently conquered acquisition cities that is off in the hinterlands you decide that ruling thru fear is the way. Or vice versa. Or you might decide you have oppressed them enough after a time and start showering them with gifts to buy them off.

Your actions would however have ripple effects throughout your kingdom. Take the above example: Some of your Capitol city citizens may think a bit less of you due to hearing of your ill treatment of another city. Or maybe if they were longtime enemies of the inhabitants of the conquered city they would love you even MORE for being a tyrant to them!

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December 21, 2008 4:00:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, I guess when talking about revolutions and rebellions it is first important to distinguish between the different types, then how to implement them.

First (and most common) is peasant rebellions.  A group of poor people who just can't take any more oppression/taxation decide to rise up and kill the local authority figures.  These generally don't have much of a goal or organization, and historically were almost always stamped out.  These should probably be represented by small armies of poorly equipped and untrained peasants popping up in the area experiencing the revolt, with a major focus on plundering the area rather than engaging in combat.

Second would be "nationalist" rebellions.  A rebellion of this nature in this time period would look kind of like the revolt of the flemish towns against their French speaking nobility, or the revolt of the Swiss Cantons against their Austrian overlords.  These rebellions tended to have greater focus and better organization, with correspondingly greater success (the Flemish revolt ultimately ended in defeat, however not before they crushed a French army sent to subdue them, and maintained their de facto independence for a number of years).  Cities of a different nationality/language/ethnicity than that of their overlords should occasionally experience this if they are not kept happy or heavily garrisoned (or both).  Probably the best representation of this would be with a new minor faction forming around the extent of the rebellion and the existing (too small) garrison massacred or run out of the town or towns in rebellion.

Third would be inter-vassal civil war.  As sometimes happened in a system where loyalties were from overlord to vassal rather than to nation-state, occasional vassals would seek some excuse to shift their allegiance.  Such examples of this include the the constantly changing set of allegiances in the Holy Roman Empire or the shifting back and forth of major French nobility during the Hundred Years War in France (Burgundy, Navarresse lands in Normandy, Brittany, ect).  This would probably be best represented by certain espionage and diplomatic options that would link two kingdoms dynastically, and then create events where they would try to shift the loyalties of certain "governors" or "lords" in charge of cities in that kingdom to their own.

Next would be partly linked to #3 above, and that would be the event of a pretender to the throne.  Such conflicts were actually fairly common in many nations, however full blown civil war resulted in Rome and Byzantium on a regular basis because of this problem.  In this case the loyalty of the characters in charge of your nation would have to be taken into account as well as their potential for taking power (the strength of their city, the size of their army, the amount of money that they have personally ect), and then a minor (or several minor) nations would form out of your nation, with only one able to survive from the resulting chaos.

After pretenders to the throne I would put religious turmoil.  This could range from minor heresies like those that sprouted up in Southern France and England and would require troops to suppress (easily represented by some minor unrest that is suppressable by troops), to major uprisings like the Hussites in Bohemia or the Civil Wars in France.  These would be full fledged minor nations created driven by religious zeal and capable of massing large numbers of troops quickly (they should have a lot of free spawn troops... perhaps not very trained or equipped but extremely motivated) and aggressively in order to spread the new word.

And finally there would be class warfare.  This would be insurrection in order to secure the rights of a certain economically advantaged but politically muted class, such as happened with the communes of Paris (where the merchant class attempted to use the artisans against the nobility) or in Italy against the despots.  This would take the form of an insurrection within a city with the potential for pitched battle in the streets and perhaps even a seizing of power temporarily, however no minor nation should form unless the rebels are very successful.

 

Honestly, I doubt any of this will happen... however the key to implementing a good revolution/civil war system is to have things make sense.  If you are in a large war that is causing a massive amount of devastation for 30 years your peasants aren't going to be too happy and you should have to deal with peasant rebellions while you fight (as should your opponent... if most of the devastation is on his soil he should deal with more).  If your land is happy and prosperous, then your larger concern is probably the loyalty of the lords and governors who might be looking towards your throne.  If you are massively taxing your merchants in order to increase your military to prepare for war you should face unrest if you do things unwisely.  As long as the effects of your actions are predictable and the causes of civil war are both readily apparent and (under most circumstances) avoidable it should be fairly easy to make implementing such a feature add a great deal to the game.

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December 21, 2008 12:57:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Denryu,
It would be nice if loyalty could be based on at least two criteria. Love and Fear. (+ others?) ...

Your actions would however have ripple effects throughout your kingdom. ...

I'd love to see a 'Machiavellian' game mechanic like this, *especially* if the decisions were by town/city and towns/cities responded to each others' situations. I also think an alignment system for towns/cities might work well with this kind of dynamic.

lwarmonger's post also raised many interesting ideas, but mostly brings me back to thinking about what I don't know yet about the Elemental plan. Will there be multiple languages? Will there be religions in the building/clergy-based sense that most moderns use the word? And will there be a possibility for channelers to be usurped, e.g. by a unit that holds a share of their essence or a spontaneously generated new channeler?

When I think about replies 20 and 21 together, I really want to know more about alignment in Elemental. Will a channeler's element-based traits be linked to values/politics, or will alignment be a simple binary or trinary? Will mixed-alignment population centers be possible, or will everyone in a channeler's realm always share the channeler's alignment?

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