An Orderly World

Jul 3, 2021
A stray thought of removing war has somehow morphed into a different strategy game altogether. It crystallized around oddly Mohist concepts, where either by ethics of universal affection or a tradition of unassailable defenses, war is precluded for the whole of the game. I am drawing on elements primarily from Civlization, Humankind, and some Paradox titles.

A core issue would be how territory is acquired or changes hands without armed conflict. This could include questions of popular identity, as in cultural and religious ties, or espionage/diplomacy. So as not to subject all territory to these chaotic mechanics, there could be a core system whereby certain territories are more or less inalienable, the number of such territories growing over time.

Take for example an early game where one explores the surrounding area and expands from the get-go or with a push. In practice, perhaps only two territories would constitute core holdings, whereas the rest of the REX would be susceptible to other influences and possibly soon join other powers. Progress towards greater tools of administration or concepts like nationalism would empower the player to hold more and more territory outright.

The core/peripheral territories would seem to provoke a number of interesting questions and mechanics. For instance, a player is intuitively more likely to invest in infrastructure and city-building in a core region that cannot leave their control. But would neglected territories then feel more inclined to join another power? Similarly, one could expand absolutist rule beyond the core to exploit gains from the land or grant greater autonomy to maintain popularity. Because of the uncertainty of holding outlying territory, trade would be absolutely essential to secure resources. What kind of sacrifices would one make to secure a region of strategic importance?

Religion, culture, and urbanization would be among the elements driving the exchange of territory. Conversion of a territory could weaken support for the authorities. State schools with an official language could alienate the local populace or consolidate cultural ties. Burghers could be bribed or tempted to defect based on economic policies. In the mid-to-late game, powers will grow, partners may consolidate, and international institutions may arise to reassign territories (possibly even those previously inalienable). The end game would likely be flourishing global trade or ideologically enforced autarky.

This would probably be oriented toward city-building and statecraft simulation, in terms of both diplomacy and domestic politics, with the challenge of expanding and making the most use of a variable reach of empire as well as changing populations and resources. There would be an added element of not only managing one's own state but also appealing to the held and potential periphery. And of course, because I know how important units are to us here, we could probably animate a civilian/agent class!

Thanks for reading through. Feel free to let me know if any of that resonates with any thoughts percolating in your minds.
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