On Victory Conditions: Old and New

By on August 20, 2009 4:06:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

onomastikon

Join Date 02/2006
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The idea of multiple discrete victory conditions is excellent.

In the following, I would like to introduce an idea about an additional one as well as furnish some suggestions regarding some of the existing ones. First, regarding two of the existing ones.

 

I. Quest Victory: By no means do I think the Master Quest victory should be the accumulation of many smaller quests, as we have often heard, nor should it be completed by the completion of one single large difficult act, such as slaying a dragon. Rather, I think it should have a dynamically generated narrative element, along the following lines, whereas the single elements of the following “story arc” should be able to be interchanged from a central pool governed in part by feedback from the current game world. The following is an example for a Master Quest Arc available to a member of either the Human faction or the Fallen faction. Other Quest Arcs could involve faction-specific stories (see below).

1. Sovereign hears a rumor from NPC Q regarding an ancient tower in land L, believed by the populace to have existed since before the Refounding of the world and believed to hold secrets regarding a dangerous plague.

2. Sovereign investigates, finds tower locked. He must either find key or otherwise gain access.

3. In tower, sovereign finds scroll regarding plague. Scroll indicates that magician M in land L has hidden a magic urn which will release the spirit of a demon who will grant its releaser any wish in the world. There is supposed to be a map where the general location of the urn is indicated hidden in a cave in L2. L2 should be a place far away from L, to be determined dynamically by the computer.

4. Cave in L2 is guarded by Protector P. Sovereign must somehow gain access, either by stealth, wits, guile or strength.

5. Map is found in L2, indicates location L3, which might even be required to be behind enemy lines. L3 should, when investigated, uncover a small neutral settlement where the location of the urn will soon be stumbled upon and uncovered by prospectors if the sovereign isn’t fast enough.

6. Sovereign should find urn guarded by a magical ward, requiring for its penetration 3 relatively rare items. Sovereign must find out where to obtain these items, then obtain them, then mix them together in a magical way so as to obtain the “key” in unlocking the urn.

7. Sovereign releases demon, who will grant sovereign victory – IF he is able to fetch the demon’s heart, which is buried in the guarded chamber C in location L4.

 

Not only should there be a large pool of different Story Types which can be told (e.g., Wish Urn, sketched above, or Plague, Rescue the Personage, Find the Needle in the Haystack, etc.), so that many games might transpire before a similar Story Type is unearthed, but each different Story Type should have a pool of Quest Elements that differ from game to game in those games in which they do take place.

 

For short games / very small maps, some of these steps can and should be removed, e.g. Quest 7 is easily removed by merely having the demon grant the wish after completion of 6. Quest 6 is also easily removed by having sovereign gain her wish at the end of Quest 5. Etc.

Each game should select each step from a large pool of possible choices, so that a narrative story in each game is recognizable but different.

 

Additionally, there should be substantial rewards for the completion of each Arc section, for balance reasons, namely: In amassing a large military force, for example, a player reaps immediate rewards for many aspects of her realm, but thereby also directly helps in obtaining a Conquest or Military victory; building up your armies is something a player will be wanting to do and doing anyway, even if the player is not consciously attempting a Conquest victory – building units and researching war tech is a “reward in itself”. Something similar can be said for research of the arcane arts – this is something probably every player will be doing to at least some degree, because it is a “reward in itself”, it helps on many levels – but is also the prerequisite of achieving a victory condition (whose current designation is not clear to me presently). I believe the same thing can be said about getting along well with neighbors and its relation to the Diplomatic Victory condition. The Master Quest victory condition may deviate from this pattern slightly, and hence it appears wise to me to have smaller rewards for completion of its components.

 

 

II. Diplomatic Victory: I think a diplomatic victory should be more than merely forging alliances with all those possible; it should also involve a mechanic by which all of those with whom an alliance can be formed need form a group, and all members of this group need to perform one act together – be this a Quest or be it merely the agreement upon an Ultimate Sovereign to whom they pledge their oaths (much like being elected Chairperson of the UN in CivIV).

 

III. New Victory Condition: Cultural / Artefactual. Unlike CivIV, I would certainly NOT like to see culture being a part of Elemental which governs how a player’s borders expand. Rather, I would consider “culture” a quantifiable representation of arcane or theological or otherwise supernatural interest and power. Consider this concept – whose designation I find suboptimal; I am merely calling it “culture” for lack of a better term at the moment – akin to the concept which, if made into a quantified game mechanic, say, makes the Golden Wood of Lothlorien into more than just a bunch of trees, or, say, the region of the Ephel Duath in Mordor more than just a bunch of rocks. These areas possess a special transcendent quality; their very being exudes a tangible atmosphere of imbued power – for some, an enchantment, for others, a mere feeling. Ephel Duath is creepy to humans and (possibly) reassuring for Fallen – for a reason.  Since Elemental is about rebuilding and repopulating a wasted world, but also about re-enchanting a disenchanted one, I feel that a player should be able to have an alternative way of showing her power of domination – one which involves her ability to have the land itself imbued with a transcendent arcane quality.

This victory condition would be special in one sense: it would be relative. When a particular sovereign’s realm has produced a certain quantum of culture MORE THAN another sovereign’s realm, that sovereign has demonstrated that her realm is the most dominant and hence wins. This is to say: no realm can win by producing an absolute value of culture; it must always be relative to other realms. Before I say how I think culture can be represented in-game, let me sketch two options:

Option 1: Each time any nation falls behind any one other single realm’s culture by the Value of Q or more, that realm loses and is eliminated from the game. (Option 1a: their cities and units become “neutral”, much like the independents of GalCivII. Option 1b: their cities and units disappear from the map, as their sovereign has become meaningless.) In single player, if you fall behind any AI’s culture value by the value of Q or more, you lose. You win if your culture value is Q+30 more than any other realm’s culture value.

Option 2: No realm can be eliminated via culture. Any realm wins if their culture value is Q+30 more than every other realm’s culture value. This option might be considered to be “easier”, since you would only need 1 additional nation N to “block” another nation from winning a cultural victory; one need only ensure that there is at least one other realm whose cultural value is within Q+29 culture from the leading nation’s cultural value. In Option 1, everyone must ensure that they not fall behind; in Option 2, one need ensure that there is competition. Note that this method would increase the number of options a player had at her disposal by increasing the advantage of well-balanced strategic choices. Consider: You might have a strong Culture Value, and AIs A B C D and E are far behind, but you do not have enough to win because AI Nation F is obviously within 10 culture points of you. You might win culturally by merely keeping enough culture to be ahead of ABCD and E by 30+ and then eliminating Nation N *militarily*, granting you the immediate cultural victory.

Some ways I see quanta of Culture produced:

- Spending an amount of Essence to imbue something I am now calling a Rare Natural Artefact, such as a Great Waterfall, with transcendent attraction. This would generate culture per turn. I would consider a Rare Natural Artefact some inherent feature of terrain on the world map which differs from a resource in that it requires no tech to be viewed or “discovered” and would otherwise yield no particularly tangible benefits to the player in whose realm it might happen to be. Note that powerful late-game spells which greatly alter the global map should be able to alter or destroy such Artefacts, thus also denying a realm cultural income.

- Obtaining control of a certain type of “resource”, let’s call them: Ancient Ruins. Unlike the Rare Natural Artefact example above, a player need not spend any of her Essence to glean culture per turn for obtaining control of these resources. Rather, like any other resource, you need to have researched an appropriate tech to see these Ancient Ruins on the map; unlike other resources, you do not need to build an improvement on it in order to “harvest” it, but rather you need to cast a particular spell on it to make it accessible, and it must be within your domain of control. If these resources are captured or somehow fall within the domain of an opponent, he or she should have to put their own spell on it to be able to reap its culture, which is generated per turn. (One can imagine that these Ancient Ruins are then, for all intents and purposes, visited by arcane priests or what have you.)

- The building of certain buildings in a player’s city, let’s call them Temples, might generate a small amount of culture per turn if the cities in which the Temples are built fulfil certain requirements P, Q and R (such as: have a certain population, have a certain magic affinity, and have access to a particular resource).

- Some events may be able to trigger a one-time culture accumulation (not a per-turn culture income). 

- Some rare entities (let’s call them: Genies, or Faeries (human only), or Demons (fallen only)) might be able to bestow your realm with a quantum of culture (one-time event only) if you can convince them to do so.

 

I think this victory condition might fit in well with the game’s background and story. I also readily admit that the designation of this victory condition is suboptimal; I don’t quite like the sound of “Culture” or “cultural”, it smells too much of Civilization, and “Artefactual” sounds too extravagant.

 

Thank you in advance for your constructive replies.

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August 20, 2009 7:08:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Erasing towns of the fallen empire is not quite logical. At least the bigger ones (it is OK for small villages).

 

Cultural victory is OK as it is in Civ IV.  It is OK if there is a limited number of turns in the game. I hope there will be no limit. If cultural points are in Elemental too, it may be OK, if you generate much more culture points and winn.

However "Q+30" expression you use - plus is not the right operand. Consider different map sizes. If Q+30 is a vast majority on a small map, it may be the very small difference on a large map. Consider % . 

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August 20, 2009 10:37:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hmmm.... this is interesting..... I wonder how you would feel about an espionage victory: the player gains complete "shadow" control over all other powers via aggressive espionage.

Also, while I like the idea of a "divinity" victory, I fedel that your culture score should confer some sort of advatage to your empire (aside from the victory conditiion), so that you can still "flip" people.

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August 20, 2009 11:00:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In terms of victory conditions, I'm hoping for something similar to the Titan in Age of Mythology. The ability of your sovieregn to unlock an ultimate spell that would summon/transform him into a creature of godlike power able to wipe out entire armies single handedly. It's not an instant-win, as he technically can be killed... it's just not likely to happen unless your enemy has massive armies and many powerful heroes, or a "titan" of his own.

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August 20, 2009 11:17:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I see you are drawing some of your ideas for victory conditions from Star Chamber that culture victory sound familiar...

 

I would suggest further pilfering of the Star Chamber ideas:

In order to win a diplomatic victory, players need to be elected ruler of the coalition (as you suggested), but votes happen more than once, say every 10 turns. There is always a winner of the vote (tie beaker could be the relative population / territory size of the competitors), and it is only the CURRENT president of the alliance that gets the big prize when all of the win conditions are met.

This could lead to bribes and favors from the leading contenders, trying to secure the vote.

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August 20, 2009 12:28:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

not a fan of the "un-victory" conditions where everybody is losses?   Examples might include summoning cthulhu or similar creatures.

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August 22, 2009 3:24:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you.

From what I gather, Kefka, there is already supposed to be something like a Spell/Magic victory condition in (which I mentioned in my OP). I think it would be a good idea to make it work as you suggest.

Scoutdog: I wouldn't want the essence of divinity / arcane power / culture to cause any "flips" in Civilization style, but I could imagine that having a particular Culture value should offer your realm some bonuses besides just counting towards a victory condition.

Blackdawn: I like that. One could imagine that all of the starting sovereigns are by default the (only?) members of a Group of Valar or Maia or something like that, much like the gods of Olymp, and one would require to be elected chief AND pass a particular vote, for which regular sessions are held...

Just wanted to make it clear that I DONT think that "culture" should be some kind of realm-deciding border-enhancing flipper, but rather a special indication of what makes (parts of) your realm special in a supernatural, divine, or arcane way -- without this, the Forest of Lothlorien is merely a conglomeration of trees (for the philosophically minded, consider the section in Hegel's Logik: "Und dann ist der Heilige Hain nur noch Holz.")

 

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August 24, 2009 11:57:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So far, the diplomatic victory condition doesn't fit the fantastic setting. From the discussion, it seems that most people want to shoehorn in some sort of Secretary-General of the United Nations/Orion Senate, but this seems more appropriate for a Civilization/Master of Orion setting.

The cultural victory condition is interesting. It seems like a combination of Civilization's build the Spaceship/Magical Contraption condition and its cultural condition. I think the problem with it in its current state is that it's laregly a measure of a player's magical power, and there's (probably) already a condition for that. I would rather see the return of the Spaceship condition as purely measure of technology and production.

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August 24, 2009 12:18:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree, zigzag, in most respects. I think I did a suboptimal job in suggesting the mechanisms behind the way that units of culture be obtained; it was supposed to be a combination of: Resource control (where only the prerequisite of mining the resource requires a spell), adventuring (convincing entities to bestow you with culture), and building (building "temple"-like structures and making these attractive for "priests".). It should definately be very distinct from magic research and mana bunkering (which I take to be the road to a "magic" Victory).

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August 25, 2009 1:30:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think a cultural victory condition should exsist. While GC and Civ had the cultural victory option, they also took place in the "future" as compared to this world, which will be stuck in a single era.

Cultural Victory is plausable in a society/world/universe which has extensive access to a competeing society's goods/lifestyle. However, with EWoM being set in an era without alot of commuincation, marketing, and shopping available to the general populus, i don't see how one culture could dominate another in the same fashion.

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August 25, 2009 1:54:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cultural Victory is plausable in a society/world/universe which has extensive access to a competeing society's goods/lifestyle. However, with EWoM being set in an era without alot of commuincation, marketing, and shopping available to the general populus, i don't see how one culture could dominate another in the same fashion.
Well, the process would be much slower, but I don't see why people wouldn't expariment with doing things differently......

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August 25, 2009 4:06:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think Stardock has already covered the "people are more attached to your kingdom" aspect within city building mechanics. From what i understand, you will need to add certain features to your city in order to attract people from the county side. This gives your city a kind of "cultural" influence, but it would not be a victory condition.

 

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August 26, 2009 11:26:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think a cultural victory may not fit nicely into the overall gameply.
It works for Civ cause culture was actually part of the overall gameplay were you could flip cities to your side using culture. In TW, having opposing religions compared to your state religion meant that your people were more likely to revolt.
Without these aspect, a cultural victory would be nothing more than a boring chase to accumulate points. In other words. If culture doesn't play a decent role in the gameplay, then a cultural victory doesn't seem suitable.

Maybe it 'cultural' could be more like an ascendancy victory where your people achieve some incredible level of spiritual/Gaia existance (just like in Alpha Centauri).

For the diplomatic victory, i think that it doesn't neccessarily have to be like the Galactic Senate/UN type victory, unless the concept of a Senate fits nicely into the mythos of the game. It could be more of an alliance type victory. For example, you could choose to declare yourself High King or Emperor or something. Your allies would then have to choose to either submit to your claim or oppose it. All who oppose would immediately be flipped to be at war with you. And you will have to crush all opposition in order to secure yourself as Emperor of the World. Bwa ha ha!!! But maybe this comes off more as a military path rather than a diplomatic one.

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August 27, 2009 6:09:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds like a pretty good idea and not all that hard to implament honestly. Randomized Quests with lots of variables only requires the time to come up with and write all the dialog and program in the event triggers.

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August 27, 2009 6:49:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Randomized quests may not be difficult to implement (it depends), however what is difficult is to achieve the balance - monsters, spoils of victory and the quest failure consequences.

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August 27, 2009 1:29:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

I think we should add the victory points system as well... this is quite popular for Dominions_3 by allowing very large maps to have a faster game ending.  

The victory points are special map locations, each providing anywhere from 1 to 5 victory points.  It should be possible to place victory points in the map editor OR allow them to be randomly placed on the map. 

Example: An optional game setting allows to randomly place 20 locations on the map and each location ranges from 1 to 5 points.  Players also choose how many of the possible points allows victory... such as the first player controlling these special map locations which total 30 victory points wins the game.


Benefits: This allows very large maps with multiple wars to provide a faster conquest victory.  This also allows map makers more options for providing challenging maps.

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August 31, 2009 9:13:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Goodmorning all

I would like to add that one magical victory has already been talked about,  the spell of making.


somewhere, but i can't find it, i suggested there be 2 mutually exclusive ways to win the game by magic. (if somebody can find the link, i would be much appreceative, i didn't see it in my posts, or my replies of my profile)

The first being the spell of making, you research a big big big spell,  then focus all your attention for several turns to cast it before your enemies destroy you and or your towns.

The second the proccesses of transendence,  Frogboy has already said that magic power in the game will increase exponentially the late game you get stronger each turn faster and faster, so each turn you gain more strenth then you did the turn before, till living gods are throwing full contients at each other, and the like. So my second Victory condition simply states if you are if your 'measure of magical strenght' exceeds your two strongest rivals by X% ( map size dependent and # of opponents alive dependent), and your 'measure of magical strenght' is increaseing at a rate Y% faster then that of the two next fastest growers (independent of stregths) then you win by power of trancendence.  at which point you can end the game and take your score, or contine to trancend untill you can blink your opposition to death.


Also a victory condition by control of information and espionage would be nice, as dicsussed at http://forums.elementalgame.com/354543


Take care all

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August 31, 2009 9:15:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Goodmorning all

I would like to add that one magical victory has already been talked about,  the spell of making.


somewhere, but i can't find it, i suggested there be 2 mutually exclusive ways to win the game by magic. (if somebody can find the link, i would be much appreceative, i didn't see it in my posts, or my replies of my profile)

The first being the spell of making, you research a big big big spell,  then focus all your attention for several turns to cast it before your enemies destroy you and or your towns.

The second the proccesses of transendence,  Frogboy has already said that magic power in the game will increase exponentially the late game you get stronger each turn faster and faster, so each turn you gain more strenth then you did the turn before, till living gods are throwing full contients at each other, and the like. So my second Victory condition simply states if you are if your 'measure of magical strenght' exceeds your two strongest rivals by X% ( map size dependent and # of opponents alive dependent), and your 'measure of magical strenght' is increaseing at a rate Y% faster then that of the two next fastest growers (independent of stregths) then you win by power of trancendence.  at which point you can end the game and take your score, or contine to trancend untill you can blink your opposition to death.


Also a victory condition by control of information and espionage would be nice, as dicsussed at http://forums.elementalgame.com/354543


Take care all

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August 31, 2009 9:19:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Goodmorning all

I would like to add that one magical victory has already been talked about,  the spell of making.


somewhere, but i can't find it, i suggested there be 2 mutually exclusive ways to win the game by magic. (if somebody can find the link, i would be much appreceative, i didn't see it in my posts, or my replies of my profile)

The first being the spell of making, you research a big big big spell,  then focus all your attention for several turns to cast it before your enemies destroy you and or your towns.

The second the proccesses of transendence,  Frogboy has already said that magic power in the game will increase exponentially the late game you get stronger each turn faster and faster, so each turn you gain more strenth then you did the turn before, till living gods are throwing full contients at each other, and the like. So my second Victory condition simply states if you are if your 'measure of magical strenght' exceeds your two strongest rivals by X% ( map size dependent and # of opponents alive dependent), and your 'measure of magical strenght' is increaseing at a rate Y% faster then that of the two next fastest growers (independent of stregths) then you win by power of trancendence.  at which point you can end the game and take your score, or contine to trancend untill you can blink your opposition to death.


Also a victory condition by control of information and espionage would be nice, as dicsussed at http://forums.elementalgame.com/354543


Take care all

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January 9, 2010 2:02:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think a cool idea for a victory condition would be to complete a luxurious palace.  Pieces and artifacts can be spread throughout the map that can be used to complete the palace.  Just a thought.

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January 11, 2010 2:11:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting VivaGabe,
I think a cool idea for a victory condition would be to complete a luxurious palace.  Pieces and artifacts can be spread throughout the map that can be used to complete the palace.  Just a thought.

This would not work. If all factions would try this quest, you will not be able to achieve it, unless you conquer them all. And this type of victory is already in the game.

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January 11, 2010 3:12:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Those pieces and artifacts don't need to be unique and would allow the construction of such temples without the need to "Conquer them All". It would be a "Wonder Victory" with the added part of artifacts collecting.

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January 11, 2010 5:42:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the suggestion of "complete the palace" and see it as a single example of a typical type of quest completion, but with the added flavor of requiring a certain technology (say, Archeticture II (just making it up) in the Civilization path): find and gather items in the world, which might require a certain breakthrough in Adventuring, but you can only complete the quest if you have a breakthrough in a different field. Having quest "bricks" requiring certain technological breakthroughs to fulfill would also add a certain spice and excitement to the game, and might reward people for diversifying their research instead of only beelining a single path.

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January 11, 2010 6:10:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What I would really like to see is a special unique victory condition for each kingdom in addition to the generic victory conditions.  Each kingdom has it's own motivations and what it considers important so I think these should come into play for victory.  A kingdom that is econically oriented would need accumlate gold or have a high production for instance.  A militarily oriented kingdom would need to have a large army, etc.  Not saying that is the only requirement though.  Each one would be made up of 3-5 conditions that have to be met.  I played a PBM games with victory conditions like this and it makes things more interesting.  That game kept the conditions secret though which I'm not sure is a good idea (you could find out what the conditions were but it was costly).  An example for a kingdom who is highly motived by money might be:

1) Control at least 10 cities with one being <largest type> each producing at least <whatever> gold per turn.

2) Have 100,000 gold in your stockpiles

3) Have higher gold production than any other player

This is just an example, these condition probably wouldn't work for Elemental but it gives an idea of what I'm talking about.  In general they are a little easier for that kingdom to complete than the generic ones but because of the multiple requirements there will be some games where they become harder then the default ones.  It is just another way to make each kingdom more unique and special and it wouldn't be very costly in development time (I would think).  Balancing them would probably be the more challenging part.

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January 11, 2010 7:50:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What I would really like to see is a special unique victory condition for each kingdom in addition to the generic victory conditions.

The base game will have 12 factions, which seems like a tall order for unique game-ending conditions, but I like the idea very much regardless. After all, Elemental aims to be a TBS-RPG fusion, and to this old-school (dice-and-figs) RPG player, nothing could advance the TBS genre more than including non-zero-sum thinking in the parameters for calling a game 'finished.'

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January 12, 2010 3:48:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree. (Except that the really old school RPG gamers, such as myself, were dice only -- don't need no stinkin figures!)

If possible, it would be nice if the faction-only victory conditions could be both personalized or personalizable upon game setup -- perhaps at a cost, even: by that I mean that you might be able to spend one or two "points" you would have otherwise spent on your sovereign or whatnot to tweak your victory condition a certain way -- and/or random or randomizable.

One slight caveat: If implemented, I think these faction-only VCs should not be too unilinear -- that is, not only amass X gold or gold-producing ability -- but rather always at least two-fold, such as must amass at least X gold *and* Y prestige, or control at least 10 cities with Y prestige *and* have the X breakthrough in the Diplomacy path. I think otherwise things might get too easy, especially if other players do not or cannot know which VCs are valid for your faction. Investing points in Diplomacy and Adventure (or however espionage is worked here -- I suggested elsewhere that good espionage should combine at least some Adventure and some Diplomacy) should reveal that, however.

I also see no reason why this feature could not be toggled on or off; unless I am greatly mistaken, that seems to be relatively "simple", and tools such as this have been stock features in games such as GalCivII.

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