After 24 hours of 'Brain-testing', I Feel a Reasonable Solution is at Hand
Of all the aspects of Elemental, none seem to strike a nerve quite like the handling of cities. Automation, size, uniqueness, too many in the world or too few...everyone has their take on how cities should feel. I believe, above all else, the worlds and nations of Elemental need to grow in a manner parallel to how RPS maps feel...in other words, elimination city spam without eliminating the joys of city building.
To that end, we're doing something that (I believe) hasn't been done before, and that is putting City Creation right on the main map. You're placing buildings and slowly taking up precious land in the world around you. Pinch points can be established and cities can grow WELL beyond the single tile that most 4x games limit you to. I personally love it, and want to make sure the system continues to improve and refine as we inch towards gold.
Several concerns have arisen, however, and I've been mulling over these issues, mentioned by beta testers, that makes the current system lame.
1. Building a city, and suddenly running out of tiles with no way to get more.
2. Plopping down an outpost to harvest a resource 4 tiles from another city.
3. Forcing the player Snaking a trail of small improvements over to
4. Easily growing and reaching new city levels, where all outposts will eventually become huge cities.
5. Even though it costs Essence to make land livable, city spam is still completely viable in Elemental.
These make us sad, and while there have been many solutions presented to improve the system, I wanted to throw my own into the mix as a way to fix these problems AND tie into the other game mechanics (remember Sid's rule "Complex system's aren't fun - instead, make simple systems that intertwine in interesting ways."*).
* - I really shouldn't put that in quotes since that was the gist of what he said...but it was something like that.
So I present to you...
My proposed 'Heroes as Governors' system!!!
Basically, we'd add a stat to Champions: Governing. This would be a value (0 - 5), that determines two things...
1. How high of a city that hero can govern, and...
2. How many tiles their cities can grow to.
The system would work as such...you lay down a city, and in the naming of your new outpost you'd get to assign an available unit as that cities 'governor'. This unit wouldn't have to be stationed there permanent, but for every city placed you'd need a Hero or Family Member to lead it (with most units giving some bonus when they WERE stationed in a city).
Need a resource tapped? Just start an outpost and have Ranger Billy govern it. It'll never go above a level 1, unless you determine it's a crucial location, at which point you re-assign a better governor and build the city up.
Governor dies in battle? Several things could happen...
- If you have an unassigned hero with a governing level >= the fallen unit, then you could assign them to the orphaned settlement.
- Have enough essence and you can spend that to bring the Governor unit back to life (with the obvious magical consequences that spending essence results in)
- or, if these aren't available, the Succession system kicks in and the city is given to the a neighbor capable of handling the settlement
So, a straightforward system that ties the major game component into the hero, magic, diplomacy, and dynasty system.
Pushing my luck, I also propose the following...
Allowing resource tapping improvements, and them only
, to be built away from the main city hub. The obvious benefits that you wouldn
't have to build another city to tap it, AND you wouldn
't have to 'snake' your improvements to get there, but the improvement WOULD NOT be defended by whatever walls and stationed units the city had available, so there's a major risk in doing so.s
While I like some of the ideas of treating resource taping like the starbases in GC2, I really don't want to start 'mixing systems' where city's are handled like X and colonies are handled like Y.
Anyways, that's just MY personal idea on the whole matter. Does it solve all issues current and future? Certainly not, but hopefully it'd put us one step closer to a truly unique and engaging system for building both your cities and your nation.