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Pilot RPG game interest / set up thread

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Demo Game II: Role Play & Games' started by donsig, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Anyone interested in participating in a pilot RPG [civ4] game should post here.

    I suggest we try some thing on settler difficulty with a tiny map.

    Here's the discussion we've had about how to play.

    For example, here's a screenshot of a random start on a tiny pangea map, settler difficulty:



    Alexander came up so this start has a scout and a settler. Anyone wishing to play would have a set amount of time to post whether they wanted to attach to one of these units. (It is not necessary to attach to a unit in order to role play. That only requires some creative posting. :) ) Any players wanting to control or influence what one of these units does would have to attach to the unit. Attaching to a unit does not obligate a player to try to control the unit or even influence the unit. I think the deadline for attaching to a unit should also be the deadline for declaring intent to control the unit or to support another's players bid for control. Remember only one player can contol a unit! Now anyone can post about what they think the unit should do and caninfluence things that way but to influence who controls the unit (in other words to have their *vote* actually count) they have to be attached to the unit.)

    I'm not suggesting we use this start (though we could). I'm trying to get a feel for how we'd play. We might want to use this start to play a few turns and then use a new start to try something different or to go to the next level.

    So, once we reached the deadline we'd have these possibilities for each unit (with the corresponding outcome):
    • No one bid for control (the unit act randomly according to a pre-determined table)
    • Only one player bid for control (the unit is controlled by the sole bidder)
    • More than one player bid for control (we'd have to invoke an RPG mechanism to determine which player took control of the unit)

    Now there is another deadline for posting instructions. If the unit had only one bidder then he or she must post a game play instruction for the unit by the deadline. If there is more than one bidder, then we must decide which bidder gets control. Since we start the game with despotism and barbarism it seems a fight is in order. We can take the strength of each bidder (along with the strength of declared supporters and maybe with some random element) and the highest total gets control. (This is only a suggestion though it does assume that we've make characters prior to this point.)

    Now we must recognize that even if someone gains control that person may (for whatever reason) fail to post intructions! :eek: In that case the unit will act randomly just as if no one bid for control of the unit. We can make up (or change) these random tables as we go along as long as we have some in place for whatever units we have. (So in the example start we'd need random tables for a scout and settler). These tables are something we would create and agree on as a group using the discussion and polling model we are familiar with from the traditonal democracy games. I envisions these to be something similar to old D&D 100d tables. Here's an example of one custom made for the example start:

    Settler:
    1-9: do nothing
    10-34: settle in place
    35-39: move N and settle
    40-44: move NW and settle
    45-49: move SW and settle
    50-54: move E and settle
    55-57: move S
    58-60: move W
    61-63: move SE
    64-66: move E-NE
    67-69: move E-SE
    70-72: move N-NW
    73-75: move N-N
    76-78: move N-NE
    79-81: move NW-NW
    82-84: move NW-W
    85-87: move NW-SW
    88-90: move SW-W
    91-93: move SW-SW
    94-96: move SW-S
    97-99: move SW-SE
    100: disband

    We wouldn't want custom tables all the time but for the initial settler we probly would. Anyway I think this gets the idea across.
     
  2. Joe Harker

    Joe Harker 1st in the Premiership!

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    Declaring my interest!

    Can i make a suggestion, for working out who should get control of the unit, there should be some way of randomising the results, so people don't just put all their stat points on one particular thing so they win all the time.

    In the Lacrosse league that we had a system of randomising who got possession of the ball and then whether they scored or not, we could use a similar thing here to find out who wins control of the unit.

    To work it out you simply take the two strength scores (assuming that is what we use to determine the winner) and add them together. Then randomise a figure between 0 and the added up scores, if it is more/equal than the first strength, then the second player wins, if it is less than , then the first player wins.

    eg Player 1 has 4 strength points, player 2 has 6, a random number is picked between 0-10, say 3, this would mean player 1 would have won the combat, if it had been been 5 or over, then player 2 would have won.
     
  3. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Declaring my intent to participate, and candidacy for GM.

    If we assume at least some degree of intelligence on the part of NPCs (units & cities without a controlling player) then the tables should be slanted towards the intelligent choice. For exploring units, that means a random choice which leans towards going into the unexplored black stuff. It should also mean an attraction towards the blue circles on the map and the blue hilighted icons in the interface, for those units which show the hilights.

    No, I'm not suggesting perfect or good play. Just enough bias that eventually an OK choice will be taken.

    Player stats should have multiple characteristics. Strider had tried to use 10 stats in a previous side-along RPG, and I thought that was too many. There need to be enough dimensions that it's not obvious how to stack the deck and get permanent control of something. I'd suggest either 4 or 5 characteristics, and a rock-paper-scissors kind of relationship between them.

    Some candidate characteristics:
    Strength
    Charisma
    Knowledge
    Wisdom

    Don't be concerned about complexity. It's only a day's programming to write some code to calculate influence. The GM merely needs to plug in players stated characteristics and the type of control being decided, run the program, and post the results. From the ordinary player's point of view, they choose their stats, and the influence tables pop out. If this method is chosen, I'll try to make it an applet that you can point a browser to.

    Settler might be too boring because there might not be enough "events" to base roleplay on. I'd very strongly recommend using at least the next higher choice.

    If the objective is to have [civ4] as a muted background with role play as the foreground, then most players shouldn't need to open the save. In that case, I think :bts: would be the best choice, because it has a lot more interesting stuff to write stories about.
     
  4. dutchfire

    dutchfire Deity Retired Moderator

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    I'm definitely interested in this game. Possibly as an assisting GM, or as an ordinary player.
     
  5. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Wait a minute. Wasn't it you who suggested the GM should be impartial? :mischief:

    Your points are well taken DaveShack. I don't think you'll get arguments against a higher difficulty than settler and random lists skewed towards reasonable [civ4] play. (There will most certainly be disagreements about how much of a skew. ;) ) I'm personally not opposed to :bts: but would hope there'd be enough info put out for those of us without :bts: to play along. (This has rarely been the case in traditional DGs.) I agree we want to go light on the skill stats. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by calculating influence but if we (and here the we does not include me since I cannot write programs) can come up with a tool that makes some of this easy then I'm all for it.

    @ Joe Harker: I'm all for adding a little randomization to spice things up as long as we don't get too carried away with it. Also, I'm envisioning a slightly more complicated system where it's not just a *fight* between individuals. I think others should be able to have their characters help whomever they want. For example if A, B and C are all trying to control Harbor City then it's just not a brawl between A, B and C. D, E and F can also fight. Perhaps D and F want to help C and E wants to help A. Then D, E and F's strength (or a portion of it) should be added to that of the one they are helping, then add a little randomization and figure out who wins control. Heck I guess we could even have another player, G, who doesn't want C to win and decides all his strength will go to defeating C. Our formula would be something like (A+E) vs (B) vs (C+D+F-G).

    @ everyone: So, let's do a little play testing with the save I have. The starting position is in the first post of this thread. The focus of the play testing is to pin down the mechanics of controlling units and cities. We have a scout and a settler. We need players to control these units. It's Monday evening (my time, Eastern USA). Let's say we have three days (72 hours) from the time of this post to get our posts made attaching ourselves to a unit and declaring our intentions to bid for control of a unit (or help / hinder another's attempted control). We also need to do a few other things:

    • determine the formula for determining control
    • determine random tables for the two units
    • determine what stats we need
    • post our own character's stats

    For formulas and random tables I suggest we let anyone submit them and we'll just have regular forum polls to choose the winners. Let's have a rather arbitrary deadline of three days (72 hours form this post) for submitting these as well.

    We should assume that anyone attached to the settler automatically becomes part of the city the settler founds. We should also assume the controller of the settler becomes the controller of the city it founds. So that person must be prepared to post orders for the city.

    What about the despot? We need a despot. Should we assume that whoever controls the capitol city controls the government (sliders, tech choice, etc.)? This makes controlling that first settler very important. He who controls the settler controls the capitol and the government! (Well, at least for the first ten turns.)
     
  6. ice2k4

    ice2k4 Emperor

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    Dont really have time to look everything over yet or reply, but my interest shall be noted. I'll look over everything tomorrow.
     
  7. vra379971

    vra379971 Deity

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    This is all lovely and all, but this is going to meet yet another swift end unless ya'll do some major advertising (and explain things REALLY clearly) all over the forums.
     
  8. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Well, we're not ready to really play yet since we're just expirimenting at this stage. If we can even get past the trial and error stage we'll certainly advertise, post explicit instrucitons and roll out the red carpet.

    In the mean time, are you interested in play testing?
     
  9. Methos

    Methos HoF Quattromaster Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    Sounds interesting, though I'd prefer to see how/where it goes before declaring my intent. Just a thought, but there are quite a bit of D&D programs out there that could be used/modified, or we just create one.
     
  10. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    OK, here's a specific proposal for a control framework.

    A player starts with 20 points to be distributed among 4 characteristics. The minimum amount which must be allocated to each characteristic is 2 points, leaving 12 points to be allocated freely. Thus the minimum value of any characteristic is 2, and the maximum is 14.

    Characteristics:
    • Strength
    • Charisma
    • Knowledge
    • Wisdom
    Points can be earned at a rate of 1 point per turnset with participation, to a maximum of 10 extra points for 10 consecutive participating sessions. Points are lost at a rate of 1 point per session of non-participation, down to the base value of 20. Upon earning a point, a player must allocate it to one of the characteristics, up to a maximum of 14 points. When losing a point for non-participation, the GM deducts it randomly, except that it may not decrease any characteristic below 2 points.

    Points may also be earned or lost, up to 30 or down to 20, for other reasons to be determined at a future time.

    Players can be located with a unit, in a city, or traveling.
    While traveling between locations, a player has diminished (or no) influence.
    Travel takes the amount of time a scout would take to go that distance.

    Control types:
    Unit based (must be located with the unit to influence)
    • Military & scout unit movement
    • Settlement location
    City based (must be located in the city to influence)
    • Production (workforce & queue)
    • Worker actions
    Global (Influence is variable depending on distance from capitol)
    • Research
    • Civics
    • Religion
    For each turnset, a player may declare his/her intent to compete for control of one decision type. (adjust this if too few players?) After the time period for declaring has expired, remaining players with a right to participate in that decision may join with one of the competing players, or abstain from the decision. Once all players have cast their lot with a contender or passed, the right of control is calculated.

    Calculate the influence of each player participating in the "battle" using the formula for characteristics influence on decision type.
    Add the influence of players supporting each contender to that contender's score to get a total.
    Calculate a random element to simulate the presence of non-player citizens.
    Control is given to the "winner" of each battle.

    The winners post instructions for the upcoming session.
    A DP plays the session using the instructions and randomization tables for any undecided elements.

    To Do: Derive and post formulas for (characteristics x decision type) => influence and random element, and default randomization tables.

    Comments? Yes, I know I've tossed in a global element. Just an idea, feel free to call it like you see it. :)
     
  11. dutchfire

    dutchfire Deity Retired Moderator

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    Is this saying the maximal amount of points one can have is 30, or the maximal amount of points one can gain through "events" is 30, or is this saying the maximal amount of points one can gain in a particular event is 30 (which sounds ridiculous).

    If it's the first, how does it combine with the 10 points gained by being active?

    Ooh, I like that! Opportunity cost

    You can't be attached to a worker? (Sounds reasonable) Or a Great Person? (That could be interesting!)

    I take it everyone has global influence? BTW, you might want to include the Forbidden Palace (and Versailles), just like the game does.

    So, say Donsig says "let's move south", DaveShack disagrees (naturally? :p) and says "let's move north", Ice2k4 wants to go north too, and Provolution abstains. A donsig vs. DaveShack+Ice2k3 calculation will be made? By the way, "Once all players have cast their votes" sounds like one absentee could ruin the proces. I assume people not giving their opinion within X amount of time auto-abstain.

    By the way, do people announce what they will do if they gain control when they post they want to compete for control? In that case, the decision proces could be streamlined a bit.
     
  12. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    How about we allow players to add one point every turn set and leave it at that? In order for the point to be added the player will have to make a post (before the deadline) saying where the new point is to go. Those no longer participating won't post and won't get the point. This should be easier on the GM and also means no one has to decide if someone has participated or not.

    Great idea. Only question I have is what happens if a character dies or a player wants to start with a new character? Do we just allow them to begin at square one?

    But we're vying for control of something (a city or a unit) for the next turn set. Traveling part of the turn set means traveling the whole turn set, doesn't it? In other words, if you decide to travel then you can't influence anything for the coming turn set. I'd rather leave traveling out at least for now and keep it simple. Give everyone a chance to control or influence the unit or city of their choice. If you want to put restrictions on what can be controlled next, how about once attached to a unit or city you can only move to another unit or city within X tiles?

    I prefer to let players control workers the same way other units are controlled. If we let the city control workers then whoever controls a city controls the build queue and tile usage and workers. We need to give people a chance to do something. Besides players controlling workers would naturally band together into unions - maybe our first citizen groups! I wouldn't worry about having more units than players to control them. We can always take steps to alleviate that if it happens. (Let one player control a stack, use the family idea where one player controls X units, let cities control units that are within the city radius, etc.) We can invoke and adjust some of these strategies as needed.

    The global idea is intriguing. I agree the people should be able to rise up and force a civics or religion change. But I also think the despot or king or legislature shouldalso be able to force changes. What good it is being a king if you can't choose the state religion? Remember Henry VIII? I'm suggesting multiple triggers.

    For tech choice I think we need a system to allow the cities to decide the tech. The cities make the beakers so let them do a weighted vote.

    What about the sliders? We need to control them somehow.

    So, can someone vote against someone else? In a real fight player A might fight to help player B against everyone else or he may fight solely to ensure player D doesn't win.

    The global element has some promise I think. As for default randomization tables we could just let anyone make submissions by a deadline and then we vote to pick the one we want to use.

    I agree. If we know a GP is going to emerge during a turn set then we should all be able to vie for control of it just like any other unit. An alternative is to let the city producing the GP to control it.

    I think abstain in this game means do nothing. I don't foresee us waiting around for players to decide what to do. We set a deadline for an action and they do something or not. When the deadline arrives we go to the next step. As long as deadlines are regular and not changed it will be fair.

    I think we'll be campaigning for control from the git-go. How else would we attract supporters? Mind you it might be possible for two people to vie for control of the same unit who want to do the same thing anyway. It happens in real life. It can happen here.
     
  13. ice2k4

    ice2k4 Emperor

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    I think were rushing into this a little too fast. We're already drawing up specific rules (not saying that any of this is intended to be used in the real game,) when were not even sure about a general overview, or if we even like this system at all.

    Also a suggestion, instead of this whole notion of attaching one's self to a unit and basing your success upon influence that doesn't really count for anything, what about a system that operates on in-game actions as well as role play writings.

    The game manager could act as the king (or whatever chief in command) and we could set up about 10 or so different career categories. You can join whatever career category you like, and in each category there will be ranks. (you do not have to join a category though to play.) You get influence points based on either how creative you are in your posts (obviously theres no concrete way of rating this, but the gm could use his discretion) and/or influence points based on in-game events.

    Someone who chooses lets say the military category starts out as a private attached to a certain unit. As they move up in the ranks, they start to get benefits, and when they get high enough they may control that unit, and when they get even higher, they may control a whole regiment or army of units (not only in-game, but he may also have subordinates who are RPG players, until they move up of course ;) .) During peace time their promotions may be based more on their writing, while during war their promotions may be based on in-game battles. Then again maybe it's a being in the king's good graces that earn him a promotion. This is just one example of a career category.
     
  14. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I set up this thread hoping we'd do some play testing in a pilot game. I thought we'd try out some specific rules for a couple turn sets and then go back to the drawing board, make changes that we found were needed and then play test some more. I think play testing is better than just trying to hammer out general ideas with nothing to anchor them to.

    Well, the influence does count for something. It counts towards you controlling a unit or a city or helping someone who wants to do what you want done to control something. The control does operate in-game since the controller gets to say what the unit or city does.

    The game manager should not be king. IF we have a king he should emerge through the role playing / stats system coupled with our civ adopting hereditary rule. I'm against a system where we have one person judging someone else's creativity.

    This is good and something I envisioned happening except we need to start controlling units right away. We can't all start a privates with no one controlling the units we start with.
     
  15. grant2004

    grant2004 Citizen

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    Dave, I really like that idea of global influence. The biggest problem I have with the proposed system at the moment is that with players attaching to a city or unit I feel the scope of each player's interaction will be too severely restricted. Either players will find the game not interesting, or they will gravitate with their single characters towards the most interesting positions, which appear to be cities right now.

    I also like the point system for adding to skills over time, I think that's a good balance between allowing growth of characters without starting newbies at too huge of a deficit. Donsig's idea for changing how points are added makes sense too, I don't want to end up posting a 'I'm still alive' post just to maintain points. I don't see a reason why inactive players need to lost stat points.

    On the question of workers I'd like to see those controlled by characters outside of the city, otherwise we'd need someone to control the allocation of workers between cities. I feel worker allocation was something done poorly in the last DG.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I've been thinking a bit more about the family/dynasty system. I really think this is something that we should do in a game where players attach to cities and units. Without it I fear that people won't attach to certain types of units, which might be considered more boring. Personally I'd just stick my character in one of the cities if that gives him influence over build queues, tile allocation and research, that's a lot more game to play with than moving around a warrior.

    I don't believe the dynasty system has to be any more complex than the default system at the start of the game. Each person can control a single character at that point. However it will be important to grow the number of characters in a careful manner so as to avoid over/under populating the game.

    I would suggest that a GM role of 'genealogist' would be useful for coordinating this. It would be the genealogist's job to track the growth of families over the course of the game, but their job would also include orcastrating the system of births and deaths.

    The genealogist's' first job would be to figure out how many characters we want in our cities and in our units. This could be accomplished early game through a series of opinion polls. 'Is City A too crowded?', 'Is there an adequate number of characters in Warrior #2?'.

    When cities became under crowded the genealogist would make a post stating that new characters should be created, and that there was a limited number of slots available for character creation. Players would then post in the thread declaring their intent to seek either a marriage license or a birth licence (I know the civ already sounds like communist china :crazyeye: )

    After a set time the genealogist would then randomize the list of names, with factors present to skew the results in favor of those with smaller dynasties, and present a list of those who had been granted such permits.

    If the population were deemed to be too large, the genealogist would prepare a list of citizens with multiple characters, and would randomize the list, with factors to skew the results against those with larger dynasties. The genealogist would then post the list of players whose characters had died by some event. These events could be anything from disease and old age to being executed for animal cruelty :deadhorse: (I've wanted to use that emote for a while :) ), whatever the player controlling the dead character feels is appropriate.

    Those two systems would hopefully allow us to maintain a reasonable population size with fluctuating participation, and changes in the size of our nation.
     
  16. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Interesting idea grant2004 but I'm not sure I understand what would drive population adjustments. We might have an uncrowded city but also have two or three crowded cities. So are you suggesting some in the crowded cities would die off even while more are being born in the uncrowded city? But then what if the new characters just move to the other cities? I'd like to hear more about your family system because we certainly need such a system.

    I think we should place some limits though. Say a family can have three characters. Do we want the same player controlling three cities? How can we safeguard against that?
     
  17. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    The idea behind the traveling thing was to encourage people to stick with their current location instead of rushing to a new location to jump on the bandwagon for a decision, and then rushing on to the next one. You're right that being out of action too long might be too much a penalty. What about limiting the frequency of location changes instead, like you can't change locations in consecutive turnsets, or for 3 turnsets?

    The idea for the people in the city controlling workers, build queue, and tiles was that from those in the city, each individual could try to control only one of the above. So in a city with 3+ people, up to 3 get to control something. But I don't have a good feeling for how that would affect things, because as we've sometimes pointed out, a reasonable degree of conflict is good. Also we might have more things to control than people, it depends on how many show up, so maybe an artificial limit on how many things a person can control is bad. Perhaps you can be a candidate for many things, and each one is calculated on stats and who the opposition is.

    For global influence, I was kinda thinking that a player could compete for control over something global like research, but would lose their vote for the unit or city where they're located. The advantage would be that they didn't have to travel to the capitol. However the idea of "voting" (via control) on both local and global affairs works good too, if we leave in the distance factor.

    My concept of participation was merely having posted something non-trivial in the forum within that many days. "I'm still alive" would not count. This is no huge loss to someone who can't participate for a week due to RL, and someone who disappears for a month will come back to find their power base eroded. This happens to mimic RL, especially for the period we're playing. The cap is intended to avoid the problem of newcomers having insufficient influence. The "events" thing could be used by a newcomer to overcome the 5 weeks it might take to "catch up" in points. The entire suggestion is to encourage active participation.

    I'm interested in the family thing but haven't had the chance to immerse myself in the idea and really understand it.

    Yes on the deadline means abstain thing. It wasn't really clear but that was the process suggestion.

    The anti-vote thing suggested by donsig is interesting, and the math will work out fine, so I'd say sure, let's do it. If player F opposes player B but doesn't want to choose someone else to support, their points can be deducted from B's support.

    Good question on dead characters. I was wondering how long it would take someone to think that far. It might be fun to introduce a random (very small) chance of death of one of the contestants for control, just to add a little more spice. :evil:
     
  18. grant2004

    grant2004 Citizen

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    I was hoping that we'd be able to establish a standard on how many characters we want in a city, that's probably something we'd have to determine through play testing. Basically it would be a subjective process, if it appears too many units aren't being controlled, or there isn't enough competition in cities then the genealogist would raise the population, if it seemed there were too many people competing for city spots and units then he would lower the population.

    I wasn't intending any mechanism to keep an appropriate number in each city. I was hoping that the game itself would balance that out. If a city is unoccupied it's an attractive one to move into, if it's crowded it's less attractive to move there. With an apropriate population size I'd assume that players would distribute themselves evenly enough for the system to work.

    As for balancing how many things one player can control, I'd also assume that would be regulated by game mechanics, if that player was controlling a lot of cities I'd bet that more people would be willing to compete against them for control or aide those competing with them. I know that's what I'd do if I saw one player controlling 3 cities.
     
  19. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I don't see a need for an upper limit since I imagine the movers and shakers would move on to other places where they could have more control. I had an idea that would help counter not enough players to control units. We can still allow players to vie for control of any unit but any uncontrolled units within a city radius have control revert to the city instead of getting randomized. We could put a stipulation that any units controlled by a city by default cannot leave the city radius.

    We could also put limits on what a family can control. Perhaps one city, two workers and 5 military units (or whatever numbers make sense). The numbers could also be adjusted during th egame if need be.

    Something like that or we put a range on how far away they can transfer. We'd have to be careful with frequency limits. Wouldn't we want to allow players in a city to attach to a new settler?

    It does make sense to allow for different players to control tiles usage and build queue within a city. Could we come up with a system that also allowed one player to control both? Expanding on my idea about default city control, we could let players attach / control a specific worker and have another person vie for control of default units. There are many ways we could split it up. I tlooks like a main duty of the GM would be to try to ensure the players / control entities ratio stays within playable limits (whatever those limits turn out to be).

    I'm thinking voting on both would be better, though each player would still have to choose where to concentrate his or her global efforts each turnset. Global would be civics, religion, tech choice and sliders? How would we handle trades? Oh, and in global influence I don't think we should rely on character stats. After all, the King, President or Ayatollah should have LOTS of influence compared to your average Joe.

    Dying characters will prevent old timers from shutting out newcomers. Perhaps we need a maximum lifespan for a character? I hope the small chance of death would get even smaller as we progress from King of the Hill type tribal battles to representative elections!
     
  20. vra379971

    vra379971 Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    2,010
    I'll be able to do some testing...
     

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