The point I am going to talk about in this thread has been slightly discussed in other thread. Now that the new economy system has been designed, it seems to have fallen right into the trap that we talked to avoid.
All 4x strategy games have the same bug, From my experience I played MOM, CIv, civ rev and MOO and they all have it.
Probably that most of the games you have played could be summarised by the algorithm below.
- First you explore and expand.
- second, you meet your opponnents. Either you are ahead, tied, or behind them in technological advancement
- third, one player start getting ahead of others by chewing a bit of territory.
- and then VLAM!, that player has an invincible empire that punch through other players like butter since their technology level is twice higher than everybody else.
All the games I have played had the following outcome. This is due to the fact that technological level is proportional to empire size. So if my empire is slightly bigger, it will increase my reasearch making me stronger which allows me to chew more territory to get more research. etc. And then you are unstopable.
It also means that the game is decided after half of the game has been played. Considering that the game will be played as multiplayer, the people will not wait for the winner to kill everybody before ending the game, they will just abandon the game after 66% of the game has been completed. There is a design rule that says " if at some point of the game, you know who is going to win, then the game should stop".
The solution is to make sure that technological growth is not proportional to empire size so that the smaller empires still have a chance to compete against the larger empires. So the idea is that you want to keep the player in the game until the end.
There are 2 ways you can do this according to your current design:
Magic vs Non Magic: Make sure that your magic system is not proportional to empire size. Which mean that your player's sovereign must have the same power level even if they had 1 city for the whole game. This could be explained by the fact that magic is centralized around the sovereign, so he does not need a large empire to do research or improve his skill. He can do that by himself. This implies that there must be no building or resources that will be necessary to have magic power.
Research vs Power: Larger empires has more territory to defend so it's normal that they need more power to defend it. So in this case, the maintenance of stuff and magic power is determined by the empire size. So smaller empire will be able to cast less spells. But the technology and spell research will stay the same for everybody. Which mean that a small empire wizard will be able to cast few spells and will have a small army but he will still have access to the latest spells and technologies. So the smaller empires will still be able to compete with the larger empires.
Give it some thoughts, but I think this is very important.