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Do this: Never send it to Spam, Mark it as important, Categorize as Primary
History And Background
In my original plan for Axioms way back in 2014 I envisoned a system of turn times to create a sense of having to make choices and that your choices were important. You’d have some fixed amount of base time per turn to do things although extra time would roll over. This also served the purpose of leveling the playing field or AI.
In a rather infamous blog post on my old blog about snowballing and blobbing I discussed how the player was effectively a god. This idea was actually incorporate into the lore of Eador series of games. The AI “Masters” had special abilities to differentiate them. Your special ability was chronomancy. You could reset time to another point and you had infinite time to make choices for each turn. Imagine if an AI savescummed you. What a bummer.
I eventually determined that such a system was not workable. Players would try to get around it in various ways, you’d have to account for people having to pause and go do stuff, probably by allowing a pause that blanked out the screen, and there were other issues.
I settled on an Attention Point system. Basically Action Points but for strategy game rulers not rpg protagonists. When I gave up serious development for life related reasons around 2015 I hadn’t settled on exactly how it would work. During 2021 I played a pile of Star Dynasties. That game has an action point system. It is a less complex game and is functionally early access. Needs a few expansions to flesh out mechanics. You can win on easy in 3 turns.
In Star Dynasties you have like 12 action points plus modifiers. A trait can give +2 or -2. You lose 1 for each vassal over your cap you have. There is a happines bonus penalty accounting for +4 to -4. There is a rare character interaction event called Rivalry that can trigger a +2 bonues. So you can get anywhere from 6 to 20. I typically averaged around 17 since you can’t max happiness in the first 2 turns. Actions ranged from 8(for divorce) to 5 for Marriage and Request Vassalage and Declare War down to 2 for most actions and 1 for attempt or stop attempting to have a child. This system was too rigid for me and too limited. Although SD has few actions of value currently so it wasn’t horrible.
Attention Points, How Do They Work?
You recieve, currently, 1000 AP per turn. Actions should range anywhere from 10 to 1. You have a very wide array of actions to pick from even as a minor landholder or a landless character.
AP rolls over turns. This has two practical effects. One is that it is never wasted which feels bad and also is a bit of a limitation on characters without large land holdings and complex diplomatic relationships. The second is that it provides a sort of “new empire energy” whereby characters who come into empire have a, probably, large pool of extra action points to deplete. This is probably debatable historically but this is a fantasy game.
Attention points also benefit tall players and limit micromanagement, well beyond the relatively high base micromanagement level. You can invest your attention points into personal growth like magical training or education on a variety of subjects. You can spend them on exploring your provinces. There is an Eador-esque exploration system, minus the tactical battles, where you can discover various things in your lands.
You can focus attention into magical research as well. Or you can personally engage in professions like crafting. Often a leader will have crafting capabilities that outstrip dedicated crafters due to resources and/or knowledge security but they also have far more things vying for their attention.
A character with more attention per holding/relationship can also focus more into espionage or even diplomacy. Similarly the spent on travel and personal meetings is more available to those who lack vast territories.
I am also considering a system of specialization. Characters who personally do a lot of administration or intrigue could gain a discount on those actions as their capability builds. There also could be impacts from education and from the environment around you. So your society could have a tradition, forged in practice, not given by a random trait, in a specific area.
Discounts would probably cap at like 20% personal experience and 20% social milieu, so 40 over all. And of course lower cost actions wouldn’t benefit. You’d only be able to impact 3 point abilities at a minimum. This makes some sense since some things have a low skill ceiling. There could potentially be a batch impact, say in conspiracies but probably not. Whether this system is in the base game at all depends on interest and possibly early access play testing.
Feel free to leave a comment about how I am destroying strategy games, as well as all things composed of goodness and light.