Spitballing Ideas for a Hypothetical 4X Game of My Own Design


Dec 26, 2020
As a player of multiple 4X/HGS (historical grand strategy games), I often find myself brainstorming/daydreaming about the features and/or mechanics I'd put into a game if I were in charge of developing one. I call it "Rise to Power." Some of it involves mixing and matching aspects of multiple games into a single product, while other ideas are, at least to my knowledge, much more novel. My musings have gotten to the point that I'm starting to write down and tabulate them, and I finally decided they might be worth sharing here to see what discussion may be had along these lines. I'm basically just throwing things at the wall and wondering what my fellow Civ players think. It will all be subject to change as I continue to ponder things and perhaps take any insightful feedback into account. Of course, this is all imagination just for fun. I am nowhere near being able to implement any of this in an actual game, but I still can't help indulging in the thought experiment. So for whatever it's worth, let's start with basic resources and settlement outputs.

There would be no distinct Production or Industry resource. There would instead be whatever inputs are relevant to the particular project in question (typically Labor and Wealth). Building speed would be determined by various numerical modifiers on the value of those inputs. For instance, a single Laborer can work more efficiently in a city with a Workshop than in one without, for instances.

There would be two broad resource categories: Raw and Developed. Raw Resources are found directly on the map and are extracted by tile improvements. Developed Resources are those that are generated by a Settlement as a whole.


Draft (e.g. horses, oxen, etc)
Ore (e.g. iron, copper, gold, silver, etc)

Fuel is defined a bit more loosely than one might expect, and I'm not very settled on the label. It includes not just fossil fuels but also anything whose utility comes from some sort of chemical process. So the main pre-industrial example would be Saltpeter/Niter.

Although the game would have various specific kinds of wood and stone, building requirements would not specify beyond just X amount of Wood and/or Y amount of Stone. The point here is to provide some immersive regional variation in appearance. The same stone-based building might be beige in an area where the local variety is Sandstone but grey where the local variety is Granite.



"Administration" is another label I'm not very settled on. It's a bit unwieldy, but I'm having a hard time thinking of a shorter word that really nails the concept. Basically, it's like "Civics" and "Orders" from Old World both rolled into one. It's a civ's bureaucratic capacity, its ability to manage various polities and communicate commands effectively. Militia is inspired by the Levees/Manpower resource from Knights of Honor 2. It's basically a pool of citizens eligible and trained for military service, just like Labor is a pool of citizens available to build stuff. The rest should be easily understandable as what Civ itself calls Gold, Culture, and Science.

The first three DR's are Rivalrous, which means that they're zero-sum. If one civ takes some, another loses the same amount. The last three are DR's are Non-Rivalrous, which basically means that, depending on certain diplomatic agreements, they can be shared between two independent or semi-independent entities without any party losing anything. This brings me to tributes in various levels of local control.

A Protectorate cedes a certain percentage (set by the player) of their output of at least one RR to the overlord's national stockpile in exchange for military protection.

In a vassalage, all Non-Rivalrous DR's as well as diplomatic stances are shared between vassal and overlord, and the Rivalrous DR's become eligible as tributes in addition to the RRs. The overlord has the right to assign a Governor.

All RRs and DRs go into the national stockpiles, and the player has direct control of the construction queue.

Each level costs progressively more Administration to maintain per polity.

That's probably enough for an initial post. Next up, I'll get into culture and how I propose to split it into three separate things: Folklore, Aesthetics, and Ideology.
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