Lose to win?

By on February 2, 2010 7:05:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

MichaelCook

Join Date 03/2009
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I had a waking thought about Elemental this morning. I don't know if that is good or not.

 

Talk of the end game being cool because the possibility for any player (Human or AI) to make a comeback will be included. I'm thinking then will I be able to take on the hardest AI, make no headway in the early-mid game and then WHAM!, kick ass for an endgame victory? (yes, I know that a victory will always occur at the end of the game )

 

If the endgame will still be interesting, then what is the point of the early and mid game? To set up the board for the important endgame, but the board setup doesn't really matter?

 

Its an interesting game design, I think it has alot of merit and I'd love to hear more about it.

 

*edit* Thinking about it, Settlers of Catan is a game where everything can change and the potential winner can stumble and be overtaken by others, but that has random elements in it to facilitate it. Any standard 4X game I've played is less like SoC and more like chess, and so a strong early-mid game makes the end game all but over. Maybe the lower your score the more likely your character could find an item, discover lost spells of destruction ect., I think i read that techs will not be fixed but random each game, perhaps a lower score increases the chance of getting the good stuff (spells or tech or items)? In this way you still want to be no. 1 because statistically its the position that the win will most likely come from, but if your not no. 1 then you have a greater chance of getting the ultimate spell, but its not at all definite.

 

The other route to take is the random bad thing that happens to the no.1 empire, but nobody likes losing a game because of a random bad event.

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February 2, 2010 8:12:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My mom always says that you only really need to play the last two minutes of a basketball game.

I agree with you - we don't want to have a meaningless early-mid game, all because the end of the game is so chaotic that it doesn't matter who was in the lead up until that point.  We also don't want to make it so that you mop up early on, and the mid-end game is just pulling those last stragglers out into the open.  You suggest adding a random element so that anyone can come back.  While I agree that adding a little bit of randomness is a good thing and keeps games interesting and unique - Settler of Catan is a strong example of that - it is a bad idea to use it to tackle the issue of creating interesting end games.  Randomness makes for frustration.  It is never fun to be well in the lead and them catch a lucky break and lose the match.  Instead, I suggest another solution.

One of the signature ingredients of European board game design is hidden scoring, so that no one knows who is winning until the game is over.  Sure, you may think that John has sure picked up a lot of victory points, but you're not sure until the final count-up.  This adds drama and keeps the game interesting for everyone.

On the flip side, take a game like chess or backgammon.  You know who's in the lead and by exactly how much, and unless it is a very close game, it is easy for the loser to become disheartened, and the winner to get bored. 

So what does this mean?

We should allow enough hidden variables so that it is hard to tell which nation is the strongest.  In civilization, once you had your ten mechanical infantry, you know you could roll that civilization that still has spearmen playing defense.  In Elemental, once you start your assault, you might realize that they have a necromancer ready to summon forth a massive undead army.  Or maybe their Sovereign comes back with his pet dragon.

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February 2, 2010 8:38:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea (who doesn't), but there are a few problems with the implimentation: the "going Gandalf" idea tossed about in the earlier posts certainly helps, but we're going up against a fundamental fact of society. Namely, that power is autocatalyitc. This means that soverigns with more....... well...... "stuff" can use it to get even MORE "stuff" and keep that "stuff" away from soverigns with less to begin with. Geographic luck has been a pretty big driving force throughout history, and not making it appear in a game is tough. One idea of mine is that a good Gandalf system (requiring a channeler-centric magic system and powerful recruitable heroes that dislike big civilizations) could be coupled with a random map generator that actually "weights" resources and terrein so that while people can get radically different types of "stuff", they all get approximately the same amount... it's just a matter of making use of it.

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February 2, 2010 8:59:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I believe the idea of an interesting endgame wasn't that randomness would make the weak strong, but people would be amassing different types of power (Adventure/Magic/Diplomacy/Military divisions being the most obvious) that would clash in interesting ways instead of a "battle of the biggest".  No randomness at all was mentioned in Frogboy's examples of endgame turnarounds; unexpectedness, yes, but the person planning it still worked for it and intended the outcome.

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February 2, 2010 9:28:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I believe the idea of an interesting endgame wasn't that randomness would make the weak strong, but people would be amassing different types of power (Adventure/Magic/Diplomacy/Military divisions being the most obvious) that would clash in interesting ways instead of a "battle of the biggest".
Exactly. "Predictable unpradictability" is where it's at in my book.

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February 2, 2010 10:27:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

people would be amassing different types of power (Adventure/Magic/Diplomacy/Military divisions being the most obvious) that would clash in interesting ways

Absolutely...but don't forget "combine" in interesting ways too interesting ally arrangements will only enhance this!

Great OP btw

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February 2, 2010 11:52:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ubernaught,



Great OP btw

 

Cheers, its really nice to get positive feedback on a forum once in a while 

 

Ultimately power in all 4X games I've played come from military might. In Elemental it will be a combo of military might and magic. Military might depends upon production output (speed of making armies), upkeep (how many armies there can be) and equipment (presumably increased equpment options with either tech or resources, and also magic enhancements influence this too).

 

Magic needs to be researched, thus magic is influenced by a production base. Magic is different, it can directly kill enemies, it can increase your production base (ie increase pop growth, decrease building times, give bonuses to research) or it can decrease your oponents production base.

 

So both are influenced by a production base, which traditionally is based losely on civilization size (ie more cities = more production). The smaller the map the more effect terrain has, the larger the map the less effect terrain has.

 

Unless there is a strong military or magic decision (ie invest my limited resources in military or magic) then I would expect to see something like Master of Magic, the biggest civ has both the best magic and the best military production (Fantastic Stables! Woo!). But if both military and magic are roughly equal, then the biggest civ will have the best overall anyway.

 

Ultimately, its hard to bluff in a 4X game, either you have a military to fend off your opponents or you don't and you crumble. No matter what Victory you hope to achieve, you need to be able to protect yourself because AI's love war. So then, how if you have been a low ranking civ all the game do you recover to win?

Quoting FutileEmotion,


We should allow enough hidden variables so that it is hard to tell which nation is the strongest.  In civilization, once you had your ten mechanical infantry, you know you could roll that civilization that still has spearmen playing defense.  In Elemental, once you start your assault, you might realize that they have a necromancer ready to summon forth a massive undead army.  Or maybe their Sovereign comes back with his pet dragon.

This is kinda tricky as traditionally pieces are in play and thus can be seen by spies. Items can be hidden until in battle or spied via special means. Unless a spell could make a "army in a can" item (think totems in Tales of Middle Earth).

 

I have more idea's but this post is getting too long....

 

 

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February 3, 2010 1:41:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting MichaelCook,

Unless there is a strong military or magic decision (ie invest my limited resources in military or magic) then I would expect to see something like Master of Magic, the biggest civ has both the best magic and the best military production (Fantastic Stables! Woo!). But if both military and magic are roughly equal, then the biggest civ will have the best overall anyway.
We already know Essence is an extremely limited resource that can be invested in creating new cities or various magic pursuits.

 

Quoting MichaelCook,
Ultimately, its hard to bluff in a 4X game, either you have a military to fend off your opponents or you don't and you crumble. No matter what Victory you hope to achieve, you need to be able to protect yourself because AI's love war. So then, how if you have been a low ranking civ all the game do you recover to win?
What does "low-ranking" mean?  Of course if you don't have uber-powerful artifacts/champions, magical force, a mighty civilization or diplomatic capital (which would earn you a mighty civilization once friends start surrendering) you can bet you're screwed.  However, if all goes well, the obscurer forms of strength should be significant enough to stand on even footing with straight military might.  Adventurer/Frontier civilizations should be much more likely to get on a dragon's good side via quests than a generally mighty nation, and that would go a long way against any predominantly mundane force.

I expect it will all come down to the tech/magic systems.  If big civilizations can easily pull ahead in all categories against those who use their Essence for other things, you would indeed need random end-game events to balance things.  I hope that won't be the case.

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February 3, 2010 1:46:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've been thinking of two extremes, military vs magic, and how to utilise their respective production bases (troops for military and research for magic).

 

Military production seems simple, get some people and give them sticks to poke with. It seems similar to Master of Magic, the town has a base production and it determines the speed of creation, buildings speed it up or allow better arms or mythical steeds, or whatever.

 

Magic in Master of Magic is very similar. More libraries equals more research. This seems too much like being the biggest equals being the best. Instead how about something like how research works in Europa Universalis III. Research in EUIII is a function of the average province income, thus having more provinces actually makes research slower if they are poor provinces. The real effect is not significant in the game, except if you have very few provinces and they are all mega rich, in which case research is better (but balanced by the "before its time" penalty). I could picture magic research in Elemental being somewhat similar. I'm picturing a trade off, the wizard with one town can increase magic research significantly by only having to construct research buildings in one town, and thus the average is high. The player who seeks a more traditionally military route sacrifices magic research for pure military production, many towns equals a bigger army but harder to achieve a high average magic research level.

 

Story arc. Magic research is a not a matter of people thinking about spells, its more about the population as a whole believing in it. Better research buildings increase belief locally. The more the belief in a wizards realm, the greater the speed of new discoveries.

 

I would picture gameplay-wise this would create two extreme playstyles, one focused on gaining more land and thus creation of more standard armies, and the second extreme being towards less towns, less standard armies and but greater magic. I kinda like the idea of one champion being a pure warlord while another being a wizard with a huge tower and not much else, but if you piss him off...... BOOM!

 

I remember reading how originally the idea was to have the avatar being able to choose how to use their magic, either by infusing many units/characters with some or keeping it for themselves and being a lone kickass unit. This could work with the above idea.

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February 3, 2010 5:23:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Comebacks should be only possible for players still in the game (aka with real chances of victory). One hopeless player shouldn't get by chance or miracle they ways to come back and win the game. If the player didn't play well and/or was soundly beaten by other, "magical" victories no thanks. (Mega Events are exceptions due to their own nature)

But if that player still has actual "resources" and is only in need of a good tactical/estrategical event/moment/option/chance to get the upper hand (or at least challenge the opposition) if he actually knows how to use it by intelligent play, I can accept that.

End game according to Stadock is going to be Populus. I don't like the idea per se. If the end game must be about spell slinging channelers with no hope for martial oriented factions... bah. And I say it because I spent more time in MoM focusing in my troops/heroes and magic items than using the rest of the spells. End game should be open to any strategy used by the player. Yeah, a magic focused Sovereign should own armies but if he owns all the enemy armies, then why bother with that of the game at all? Let's focus everybody in magic and let's be happy not wasting time with a strategy that doesn't work as soon as someone gets in Populus Mode.

Much talk about "going Gandalf" but no indications that it will work at all in the official game (not as some hope/expect). That people doesn't belive in magic won't protect them from being roasted by fireballs, so not sure why it should affect magical researchas it only needs wizards (who they better believe in magic or else...). And end game backstabbers diplomats should be behind the courtains to steal your militar/magical victory with an underhanded alliance of doom, while Adventurer Companies ride to complete the master quest that will own anyone and their mother (while they dodge the enemy armies and pray that the Temple of Boom isn't target of a lower earth or raise sea spell).

What was this thread about anyway?

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February 3, 2010 9:13:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
Comebacks should be only possible for players still in the game (aka with real chances of victory). One hopeless player shouldn't get by chance or miracle they ways to come back and win the game. If the player didn't play well and/or was soundly beaten by other, "magical" victories no thanks. (Mega Events are exceptions due to their own nature) 

Agree. And if the one who comes back gains some "bonus" in order to help him, this "bonus" must be just a bonus, not something that flip completely the balance of power (magical and/or military) . Something like an hero, but not a powerful champion.

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February 3, 2010 10:23:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm also very interested to see how 'the end game' thing shakes out by RTM. As a longtime GalCiv2 player who loves large maps and has never managed to make myself click through a conquest win, I'll be impressed if Elemental entices me into actually finishing conquests.

But this thread and some related discussions seem to almost forget that we will have multiple choices for how to call a game finished. The classic way a 'low ranked' civ in GC2 can come from behind and win is via one of the non-conquest victories. I ended many, many games with a comparatively small, 'weak' empire by researching Ascension tech and a fair number of my alliance wins were basically 'leading from behind' situations where I was at best one of 3-4 solid mid-ranked powers and the alliance actually needed to beat down a strong aggressor.

Much talk about "going Gandalf" but no indications that it will work at all in the official game (not as some hope/expect).

I coined the phrase, but I'm not very hopeful about seeing such a fundamental strategy branch make it into the finished game. I can easily imagine it generating lots of player complaints because it would be 'too important to make so early in a game,' and it might also be awkward for folks typing the marketing content. "Forge a mighty magical realm of your own, or build an out-of-the-way manorial estate and become a power behind the thrones around you."

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February 3, 2010 10:59:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,
I coined the phrase, but I'm not very hopeful about seeing such a fundamental strategy branch make it into the finished game.

I don't think it'll see Gold if it ever sees light at all. It's an idea that seems just too different. And Stardock already has lots of works with many features and 12 different factions. I'd see it more as an expansion pack topic. I do like the idea of going Gandalf but such event would require:

  • mechanics that allow my channeler to improve magic without research structures in my cities (as I wouldn't have any!!). Still being able to learn new stuff in friendly cities he visits.
  • neutral kingdoms/empires that can be influenced by him. He would not control them but with some diplomacy (and maybe some quests and helping in battles), he should be able to influence them to fight for him some times (like mercenaries but "for free"). He couldn't have a similar strategy with player controled Kingdoms/Empires or those players would cry wolf about losing control of their lands (Not so bad, the Gandalf would be like a walking Mega Event... so other players would have reasons to kill him, or enjoy possible benefits if they don't).
  • In addition to be visited sometimes by possible heroes/mercenaris to join him (to go with him or split and go somewhere else), he should be able to recruit in friendly cities (mercenaries, no population taken from city). And be limited about the number of heroes/mercenaries he can control (increased by level/fame/prestige).
  • Adjustments in victory conditions?
  • Dinasty system wouldn't make much sense? If he really goes Gandalf, he doesn't hold lands of any type any time. He is not Saruman.

Maybe it's not so difficult to implement but seems quite a lot of work for Gold?

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February 3, 2010 2:39:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It does not look like Going Gandalf will be hard to impliment, but it most likely will be hard to balance.  Either way I expect we could mod it in.

BACK ON TOPIC, we've discussed the magic vs. might option for keeping end games interesting.  What other ideas and options do we have?  What wars, historically, have had a suprising ending, where the "winner" was not who you might have thought?

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February 3, 2010 3:06:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What wars, historically, have had a suprising ending, where the "winner" was not who you might have thought?

That's a great classroom question, but seems too rich with complexity for the current generation of TBS games. It makes me think of the long-term consequences of imperial-style colonization (vs. the classical Greek start-a-new-city colonization), e.g. how Vietnam ended up in Vietnamese hands despite extensive efforts by France and the US to take control of the region. North Korea also comes to mind, thorn in the side of the PRC that they are.

I'd truly love to play a TBS that had some fun mechanics for that sort of situation, but it seems like a daunting challenge for both a coding and marketing at the moment.

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February 3, 2010 4:51:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think ONE very viable way that this could happen is through the marriage/dynasty system. You could have a very weak kingdom, but you could marry offspring into many other kingdoms to your advantage. Then, as the "powerful" kingdom starts to knock off kingdoms, they all come under your reign due to the marriages, thus in aggregate suddenly catapulting you from a nobody to a dominant power!

One question is, how much would other factions be aware of these strategic marriages? For instance, If I see that player A has a bunch of such arrangements, it would be smarter to knock player A off while he was still weak and then go after his "kinfolk". So I hope that kind of information is not too easily available (certainly it should be with a decent amount of espionage work, I mean how hard is it to find out who the troglodyte that is married to the princess was sired by?

Back on point, this would be one very plausible way to pull a come from behind victory. I think also going the quest route is going to provide a lot of surprises from someone who things they are winning.

A third way is by having a small army of powerful units. They won't look like much but could either wreak a lot of havoc on the unsuspecting, or even worse, wake that tiny little kingdom that everyone is ignoring an INCREDIBLY tough nut to crack if they have been focusing on defensive techs and powerful champions to man the castle walls.

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February 3, 2010 7:04:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think one of the problems behind the game getting predictably boring because you know you'll lose or win is how the AIs are handled. This was the case in GC2. In short: as long as you are part of the middle-class potential winners, the AI would seldom attack early in the game. But if you became military weak then your civ was immediately up for grabs.

Natural? Yes, but not unavoidable.

What could be done is make sure that other factors than military (and econmomy) actually count in a critical situation. Such as:

Diplomatic ties: if important, it could keep you from harm even if weak.

Dynasty: same thing, and could make you powerful through inheritance without military and economic conquest.

Cultural/religious: maybe even the strongest kingdom would never attack their brothers of the faith ...

Non military magic: with spells included e.g. to take control of someones mind, manipulate them etc it could help you through a bad time and avoid wars.

Spies: you might seem weak but if you could attack in the dark you could quickly turn the tables ...

NB note that nothing of the above is based on chance, like random events.

I think the point is that the game has to be versatile, with many ways of surviving, attacking, getting advantages. Also, information should be hard bought through spies and not just available on the screen for everyone, to keep suspense and give you the chance to hide both strengths and weaknesses.

In conclusion, you should have the chance to DO something against you opponents (like attacking with spies) even if you are military and economically weak for the moment.  

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February 3, 2010 8:39:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes... alternitive methods of victory are the keystone of any "sneaky" empire..... I was particularly fond of the spy condition (in which you become a sort of "shadow government" with no above-board power but irremovable and controlling tentacles in everybody's pie), but alas the espionage system in Elemental is likely going to be rather stunted and not fit for victory status......

The problem with this system is that size really does matter, so you need some effective and robust way of gaining territory through non-military means: better means of annexation, magical flipping, and/or spy-based subversion.

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February 3, 2010 8:44:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Any kind of endgame saves should be player based. Things like convincing another player to come save you. Random events or getting bonuses will be either too weak to matter at which point they are not a reversal at all OR too strong which would make building up your forces pointless. Having a game where everyone races to get beat up the most for the bounceback bounses would be absurd.

Pulling a metor shower spell out of your pocket that you have been saving all game would be great. Having a metor shower spell given to you would be horrible.

The problem with having some other civ come in and save you though, is whats to stop them from beating your attackers off, then taking your civ themselves? They have to get more from helping you then killing you themselves. And having fixed teams dosen't really work. With fixed teams it wasn't really a turn around since anyone could of seen that your teammate was going to save you anyway.

TBH, power in 4x games tends to be visible and isn't really suprising. Why hide a troop of elite knights in the back lines when they could of been upfront keeping you from getting into a losing postion in the first place?

The only examples i can really think of are master of magic and civilzation, if another civ is ripping into you, and you finish a major summons early on. A fire gaint can smash a LOT of spearmen. But later on a couple summons just won't cut it. And pulling off the mastery spell isn't that much a suprise for anyone. You were probably being attacked because you started teching it. In civilzation going straight to modern armor or nukes could let you turn a losing situation around pretty fast if the other team is still using muskets. In both those situations though, you had to be preparing for the turn around pretty much from the start. You sacrificed your early/middle game to be able to dominate late game.

This sort of thing happens a lot in RTS games. EX. your 2 teammates act very aggresive and hold the other team off for the early game, but lose a ton of troops doing it. The other team pushes in, but before they can kill your teammates, you finish making a tank thanks to your teammates covering for you. Your tank rolls out and smashes the other team because you got it so easrly. That kind of thing would be the kind of comeback that works well.

Don't want come-backs artifically inflicted on games.

 

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February 3, 2010 9:28:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here's a thought: what if it is possible for the sovereign to feign death? That way, your sovereign could pretend die, but in reality retreat to a hidden city and regroup. This gives some potential for epic comebacks.

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February 4, 2010 2:49:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
but alas the espionage system in Elemental is likely going to be rather stunted and not fit for victory status......

The problem with this system is that size really does matter, so you need some effective and robust way of gaining territory through non-military means: better means of annexation, magical flipping, and/or spy-based subversion.

A "sneaky" Empire would be a guerrilla Empire. It would not have the forces for frontal assaults but it could face on equal foot pure militar Empires as long as it can amploy properly its spies to sabotage the enemy supply lines, poison the wells, perform selective assasinations... and obviously, fight dirty. It would require more skill for the "sneaky" player but I don't think that is something bad except for those without skill that insist in playing something they have no skill on.

At the same time, those spies (or a part, branches are nice) can be used for information gathering (which in itself is good not just for military) and other tasks (kill the adventurer party, sabotage enemy resources, steal defense plans, assasin the daughter of X before she marries Y...).

I want a good and solid espionage system, dammed be those who oppose the idea. I don't mind waiting for an expansion pack to happen (be it in the first or the second), but I want it.

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February 4, 2010 3:31:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ratya48,
Here's a thought: what if it is possible for the sovereign to feign death? That way, your sovereign could pretend die, but in reality retreat to a hidden city and regroup. This gives some potential for epic comebacks.

 

Also, how about decoys?

 

So when the assassin strikes he says "Duped!, by a magically animated store mannequin!"

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February 4, 2010 5:39:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting FutileEmotion,

BACK ON TOPIC, we've discussed the magic vs. might option for keeping end games interesting.  What other ideas and options do we have?  What wars, historically, have had a suprising ending, where the "winner" was not who you might have thought?

Underdogs win 63.6% of the time if they use unconventional strategy. However, i think chances are so high because enemy isn't prepared to counter that unconventional strategy. In any case, a direct military confrontation seems to be a bad idea. Games don't simulate a significant number of factors that allows underdogs to win in real life. I think history teachs us that game must include some non-combat solutions that allow underdogs to win the game.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time. The political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5 per cent of the cases. That is a remarkable fact. Arreguín-Toft was analyzing conflicts in which one side was at least ten times as powerful—in terms of armed might and population—as its opponent, and even in those lopsided contests the underdog won almost a third of the time.

In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, David initially put on a coat of mail and a brass helmet and girded himself with a sword: he prepared to wage a conventional battle of swords against Goliath. But then he stopped. “I cannot walk in these, for I am unused to it,” he said (in Robert Alter’s translation), and picked up those five smooth stones. What happened, Arreguín-Toft wondered, when the underdogs likewise acknowledged their weakness and chose an unconventional strategy? He went back and re-analyzed his data. In those cases, David’s winning percentage went from 28.5 to 63.6. When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win, Arreguín-Toft concluded, “even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.”

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February 4, 2010 6:54:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Doopliss,
I believe the idea of an interesting endgame wasn't that randomness would make the weak strong, but people would be amassing different types of power (Adventure/Magic/Diplomacy/Military divisions being the most obvious) that would clash in interesting ways instead of a "battle of the biggest".  No randomness at all was mentioned in Frogboy's examples of endgame turnarounds; unexpectedness, yes, but the person planning it still worked for it and intended the outcome.

Yeah, i think the only working solution is to have different kinds of power that allow a player to win in different ways.

Like, say, in Star Chamber (i wish it wasn't a CCG, i really like game mechanics, and it's an online game, but i don't want to waste money on a CCG) there are 3 different victory conditions - Military Victory (conquering the opponent’s homeworld), Cultural Victory (having a “destiny point” advantage of 30 or more points; destiny points are generally gained by controlling “artifact planets”), and Political Victory (winning three Power Play votes). So, even if you're close to a win, your opponent may be close too, but in another category. Also, you know about how close your opponent is to a win (you have a 100% scouting of the map but you don't know enemy hand). You must chose what will be the most efficient - to use your assets to slow down your opponent's victory, to fasten yours, or both.

I played only a free tutorial, but it seems that endgame in Star Chamber is potentially the most interesting one of all turn-based TBS i played in 18 years. The essential features to such success seems to be

(1) several winning conditions and different "power" levels required to reach the winning conditions

(2) an ability to counter the opponent moves so to delay them

(3) vast knowledge about the current situation in the game, even if not 100% complete

So, (2) gives you an option to either speed up your own victory or slow down the enemy victory, whatever is more efficient. That alone makes an endgame more intelligent and less boring and straightforward. It's not just "make a 10000 clicks to stearoll everyone with your army" or "press end turn 200 times for a technological victory".

(3) is essential because it effectively enables (2). If you have no information, you can't make a strategic/tactical decision about what move will probably be the most efficient one. If you don't know your enemy, you can't counter him and you can't counter his counters.

(1) means that the game is not just a one-dimensional game of one big number (say, a number of cities you have). You can have different goals and different objectives, and you don't just play a game of "who has the most of X".

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February 4, 2010 7:46:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A "sneaky" Empire would be a guerrilla Empire. It would not have the forces for frontal assaults but it could face on equal foot pure militar Empires as long as it can amploy properly its spies to sabotage the enemy supply lines, poison the wells, perform selective assasinations... and obviously, fight dirty. It would require more skill for the "sneaky" player but I don't think that is something bad except for those without skill that insist in playing something they have no skill on.

Natural land barriers come to mind, a faction that has deliberately gone small and spent spellpower on morphing the land around ther cities to become unreachable, so that they may completely ignore military power in favour of another form of victory. Perhaps they could still dimension door their channeller over to quest or consider themselves a good shot for a research victory. This way it doesn't invalidate the pre/mid game, as it is a gameplay choice from go, yet one that makes them appear weak.

And although they may seem meek/easy meat to powerful military enemies, such enemies would also be annoyed at the prospect of shaping the land just get to these "all-too-quiet" Rivans.

"Duped!, by a magically animated store mannequin!"

lol...watched that last year for a laugh...totally worth it

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February 5, 2010 3:52:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ubernaught,

lol...watched that last year for a laugh...totally worth it

 

We have the mannequin 2 on video, check out its glorious 3/10 IMDb score.....

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102395/

 

Its not really that bad. It is, but it isn't.

 

Reading the opinions posted it seems clear that there need to be different ways of winning and that to a point how close to winning a player is needs to be hidden. I agree from what is presented that these can provide unexpected wins, but would they also be come back wins? For example would a player seeking military dominance, once they truely have dominance and are just going through the motions to end the game feel extra pressure and determination because they simply don't know exactly what stage the other players are at? Or would it still be a chore to finish up?

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