Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Some thoughts from Joe

These were too long to post as a comment so I posted them here;


  1. To address a few of Joe's points here....

    I think it shouldn't be a maximum-LD person, but rather a modifier to one unit/leader in range. That way you still have to use a bad leader, but you have your own skills to augment him at least a bit. It doesn't just replace him and allows you to use him with other units that might need you. Or perhaps a Once-Per-Turn reroll that can be used with a unit in range might be better. But really, I'd rather just get away from him being like a regular leader who is just maxed out.

    Size of Force
    It's not that I think the rules can't handle such forces. Personally, I just think that having such a huge starting force diminshes the idea of building a colony, and makes it difficult to build things up over time. I mean, the game we played in was pretty damn large to begin with and while it was fun I don't want that to be the small version of things. I'd rather see the average battle start at 24 and grow out from there.

    But that's really a taste problem. The bigger problem here is that establishing the point value for your army before establishing things like how infrastructure works, economics work, and how campaign seasons work is putting the cart before the horse, or probably closer to putting an unbuilt cart before you've successfully domesticated a draft animal. All these things really need to be established beforehand because they are all integral in how an army is built and sustains itself.

    I mean, how are we making cash? Can we expand our armies with our holdings, and how much or how little? The biggest problem we ran into in the previous campaign was the explosion of budgets, which lead to huge forces and really changed the feel of the game. We never really solved it, either, beyond floating a few vague ideas. That needs to be hashed out so we don't run into the same problems.

    *Continued in next comment*

    1. Same with infrastructure. I'm personally against having to assign garrisoning forces from the regular army. I'd just rather have a fort come with a set force or something similar. But given that we haven't established how anything really works, how can you really build an army? How many cannons can a fort hold? How do roads work, or trains for campaign moves? Can they hold a certain amount of forces? That goes into how I buy my force.

      And lastly, yeah, we need to figure out how the campaign season works and how battles are structured. Are we going to put a hard cap on how much you can bring to battle? One of the problems I had with the previous campaign was that most battles felt perfunctory after a while because we were all bringing these tricked out huge forces and crushing local resistance. Pat's blasting of the Slaver Capital notwithstanding, that got kind of dull. How are casualties being regained? In the previous game, winning meant you got a whole bunch of your force back automatically. I don't think that ever interacted well with huge armies that could basically outlast the other side and grind it down to nothing (while getting most of its force back). Again, something we need to think about before we start building lists.

      Really, I think a lot of the work needs to be what we add to the game, the campaign mechanisms before we look at building this stuff out. I remember problems with the fun but perhaps too open-ended nature of researching tech, and while I think we had a bunch of good ideas and had a solid framework (tech trees and such), we need to get some of that stuff down first.

      Like, I'm not trying to be a big downer here. I just think we need to look at that shit first before we go all in. I'd love to do some test games and perhaps do a few short campaign years to test it out. Like a sort of prologue to all the Daftrica shit that we can include in the story, but allowing us to stress test the campaign stuff collectively. I think by Year 3 in the original campaign we had figured out a lot of the problems, so maybe three campaign years where we plan out two nations as a group? Just trying to live up to the "rigorously playtested" motto and all. :-P

      I'll put my other comments in the other thread.

  2. Here is an idea on the economics. Remove them from the game entirely. Imperial activities in this era were undertaken without profitability in mind ("Our rightful place in the sun"; the entire French Empire!). We are the "Chinese" Gordon's, Rhodes', Schweitzers', and Burton's (not the actor). We do, we discover, we search and do not always find (perhaps because we drink too many iced Gin and Tonics?)! Let the Bureaucrats back in London, Berlin, Paris, and Mexico City deal with paying the bills. In almost all cases, having colonies be "profitable" was never important and they can always serve as 'coaling stations to someplace better' if no other purpose can be found. Euro trash colonized: Namibia, Nepal, South Africa, and Eritrea long before they learned of elephant graveyards, knife wielding loonies who confuse Victoria with Kali, Limitless piles of Gold and Diamonds, and whatever the Hell the Italians found of interest to justify Eritrea.

    I propose that our home countries have decided to build these colonies. They have written us in as line items in the national (or joint stock company depending on your colony history) budget. We are allowed the points for our 60 point army, perhaps a couple of basic fortresses including a basic garrison (12 points? f lower quality troops) can be included to guard things of significance. Each year we get reloaded and can renew our armies, changing them if/as desired.

    Such a proposal would: free us from the mundane, prevent the gigantopithicus armies (as the home country takes all the profits), allow a learning curve in army structures, and 'focus the mind' as losses in troops would prove VERY devastating and could make holding on for the year an interesting proposition. It would also allow the GM the chance to send "orders" from the home country as an added campaign flavor.

    1. I'm not as keen on eliminating it all together, but that's certainly something to keep in mind.

      I remember discussing having a bunch of different random objectives as "Colonial missions" that reaped rewards. It was partly in service of getting Europeans to interact more directly then they had previously done in our games. Very much like the "orders" you are talking about.

      I'm also in favor of emplacements just coming with a stock of troops as a part of their cost. This could also come into play as a sort of "Home guard" thing as well ("raise 10 points worth of irregulars, nothing better than old rifles") when the old capital gets attacked.

  3. I'm kinda liking mike's idea, something we could elaborate