Well Ethos is a racial pics based strategy option(may be minimized throughout the game based on altering the population of your empire..possibly genetic engineering techs)
"Civics" are strategy options that can be changed throughout the game. Not as easily as changing production/research queues, and not on a world by world basis like economic focus.
Best comparison is diplomatic relationships
Civics are both superfluous and inferior to the ethos system we've just spent 20 pages developing.
Consider a situation in which a player really needs to just change his overall strategy. I'm not saying that this should be a common occurrence, or that the player will ever make this decision lightly, but it's certainly possible, for example, for a player to want to switch from a diplomatic strategy to a reclusive or warlike strategy in mid-game, if his diplomatic strategy just isn't working.
There are a lot of interesting factors that make this difficult and engaging for the player, but not very many things that will actually have to really change
in his empire. There's no real sense that his empire is transforming into something significantly different, and that's the sense I want to achieve when the player switches from one strategy to another.
So let's suppose we throw civics into the mix to give the player this feeling. What does the player do to switch civics? He hits a button, and waits an arbitrary number of turns before the resource production or happiness penalty or whatever wears off, and then he's successfully transformed into a whole new empire with a completely different government. That's really not a significant, rewarding or strategically interesting transformation sequence at all.
Now let's suppose we use ethos instead. Not a tacked-on government click-switch, but a cohesive and interesting system which is strongly and effectively integrated into the game itself. What does the player need to do to completely switch from one strategy to another? He needs to
- acquire a species that will produce the resources he needs to follow his new strategy
- please that species by acting according to its ethos (which will need to be compatible with his new strategy)
- fill his empire with that species
- dispose of his old species somehow (or enslave them, if he needs their resource bonus for some reason, or is otherwise strategically compelled to keep them, perhaps because replacing them would be too difficult)
is a significant, rewarding and strategically interesting transformation sequence: completely switching out your old species for one that will support your new strategy. It's a difficult, but potentially rewarding process. The player will have to use all his ingenuity to figure out how to make this switch, but if he ends up succeeding, his new strategy will be far more effective than his old one was (that's why he's switching, right?), and he could potentially come back and win the game.
Suppose a Tolerant empire’s strategy isn’t working out, and he really needs to switch to Reclusive.
There are a lot of interesting possibilities for how he could achieve this goal. He could, for example sell his planets into slavery to a Conquerer empire, in exchange for some planets or colony ships containing Reclusive species, and some Trade-boosting or espionage related techs. He could then use that species to colonize some planets way out on the galactic rim where nobody has yet expanded (using colony ships enhanced with extra fuel tanks). They'd be way, way out of resource supply range, but that also means that they're out of range to be infiltrated by spies (they have really low allegiance to him, and therefore really low happiness, but because he was a diplomatic empire, the species-empire alignment keeps him above the riot threshold), and way out of anyone's detection range. While he's setting up out in no-man's land, he's also busily making his preparations in the galactic core. His empire appears to be weakening very quickly, and that's because it is. He's trading most of his planets and ships for resources, and it doesn't look like he's colonizing or building any more. Some empires have their eye on his capitol so that they can capture his stockpile. Little do they know that he has moved his stockpile to a massive worldship on the outer edges of his empire's resource supply range. Eventually, his homeworld is the only planet remaining, and several empires are converging on it to capture it, and take over the imperial stockpile (which they still assume is on the homeworld, and burgeoning with all the resources they traded him for his planets). Just as they are about to do so however, some mysterious ships of unknown origin appear and completely destroy the colony, subsequently self-destructing (ostensibly so that the empires who were about to capture the stockpile wouldn't discover their identity and take vengeance). In fact, he player has destroyed his own homeworld to protect the fact that his stockpile was no longer present and that his empire is still in existence.
Now, the player is presumed eliminated, and his stockpile is en route to his new little batch of colonies out in no-man's land. How will he survive? Eventually, the other players are bound to expand out that far, and find his little empire, and learn of his deception, or one player will destroy all the other empires, to find that he hasn't achieved a sole-survivor victory. How will the player manage? How will he even know what's going on in the galactic core? Before he retreated into seclusion, the player traded away several colonies to other empires. Little did those empires know that he had actually infiltrated
those worlds with his spies before trading them away, and now he himself is sitting on the outer rim of the galaxy, building up his own power, and watching.
That is a real transformation. If all the player had to do was create some colonies really far away, then feign his own defeat, that would still be interesting, but not nearly as interesting as when the player has to find an interesting way to acquire a new species, colonize the area exclusively with them, and then find a way to get rid of all of his old species. That factor makes it a much more epic transformation.
However, this example still derives interest only secondarily from the species-swap, so I’ll give you another:
A Reclusive empire is not having an easy time of it, since the galaxy is full of Warlords who are constantly expanding outwards, and have really happy planets. There is only a single Conquerer empire in the game, and he’s having a rough time of it too, mostly because he’s the Reclusive empire’s only espionage target. The Reclusive empire decides that switching to Conquerer is the best option, since there will be no other Reclusive empires to pick on his slave worlds with their spies, and Warlords don’t really make significant use of spies either.
One possible path for this player is to abduct some of the Conquerer species and start to colonize various planets in his area with them. If the Conquerer race has a significantly different EP, this will be easier, obviously, because he will be able to use the empty planets in his controlled systems. Once he has done that, he will raise the Conquerer’s status and turn his original race into slaves. This will increase the Conquerer race’s allegiance sufficiently to tide them over until the player actually starts conquering. And he will start conquering. He’ll start by sneaking in and finishing off the rest of the old Conquerer’s empire, snatching it out from the jaws of the Warlords due to his great espionage advantages within that empire. Now, the Conquerers are starting to really like him, and he has a variety of slave races from the old Conquerer’s empire that he can use for resource production, as well as his entire old empire as a slave race.
This example combines brilliant opportunism with a bold strategic shift to complete the transformation from Reclusive to Conquerer. In this case, the necessity to switch races is of primary significance, and creates a lot of interest for this strategic switch.
Compare this to civics:
Essentially the same bonus (increased production of a specific resource, maybe espionage bonuses), essentially the same penalties (a period of decreased production and allegiance/happiness), but how the change is implemented
is incredibly different: a change of civics is the press of a button. Changing out an entire species
is a myriad of interesting decisions that force the player to think of interesting and creative ways to make the transformation. There's no need to have two separate gameplay elements that have the same effect (changing species vs. changing civics), and since the act change of species, as well as its consequences and advantages, and the numerous interesting ways it can take effect, serve to create incredible strategic interest and are fully integrated into the game
, it's a no-brainer which one is superior.
This is what I mean when I say that civics choices are superfluous to ethos. The fact that we have designed this ethos system, and have allowed for all the interesting strategies that come with it, means that our game is too good for some tack-on government-change options.
When you change from democracy to dictatorship, do you feel
that an incredible change has taken place in your empire? I know that if I got rid of my entire starting species and replaced it with a completely different species, I'd feel like there was significant change in my empire. I felt that way to a certain extent in MoO2, even when all my new colonies and ships and troops were still of my original race, and there was no ethos to distinguish species from one another. How much more will the player feel it in FO, where you can really make a different race your own, and build new colony ships, and even military ships with them on board, and where the shift in race is supported by a whole shift in strategy
So what I'm saying is, switching species does the same thing as switching civics, only better, so we don't need civics.
How Happy your people are with a certain circumstance does not affect the circumstance (unless the circumstance is happiness)
There are no wierd feedback loops
That wasn’t what I meant. Take diversity, as an example. You want to raise the allegiance of your species by incorporating more species into your empire. But the new species prefer Unity, so they don’t like you for that. Basically, diversity vs. unity should be a part of the player’s strategy that’s already
balanced against species having different ethoi, so there is no need for it to ever actually be part of a species’ ethos. Also, multi-species empires and diplomacy are two very
different aspects of the game, even if they are conceptually similar, so mixing them into a single alignment scale is a bad idea.
Failing at something should never alter a current alignment value. As eleazar said, all the actions which affect alignment should potentially bring the empire closer to winning the game.
Well... for the 'bipolar' Alignments I can agree on that
For the Species Alignments I disagree (that is probably what is meant)
Perhaps "Building spies" or "Spending on spies" would be a 'Security booster'
Or Discovering Enemy Spies
So I advertise to everyone how good my spies are? No thanks.
PS one serious problem with the Expansion v. Acquisition... Expansion encourages you to
1. Capture One planet of a non-starting species
2. nuke all other planets of that species
3. recolonize them..potentially with the exact same species
I don’t see a problem with this, and this is a predicted effect of that alignment scale.
Consider that when coming across a new species in an empire with which you’re at war, you always need to decide whether or not you want that species in your empire at all. If you do, you capture it and can start making colony ships with that species. If you don’t, you can just bomb all their planets.
Remember that for the Warlord, it’s easier
to bomb and start from scratch, since he has good bombing technology/space combat bonuses, and poor ground combat tech/picks. This means capturing that one planet is an important decision for him, and it becomes a strategic project - figuring out how to capture that planet, even though bombing and moving on would be a whole lot easier for him.
That seems like a Bad idea, hence Unity v. Diversity being a better mechanic for limiting 'foreign species'... so that you only nuke a planet when you don't want that species in your empire... at all.
It seems to me that the player will nuke a planet and recolonize when it’s more efficient, and will capture the planet when it’s more efficient, and that different empires with different techs and picks are likely to find different paths more efficient. Expansionism vs. Appropriation isn’t about limiting foreign species at all - it’s about creating variety in the types of decisions that will have to be made when the player is acquiring
a new species.
Also, a possible idea for Equality v. Elite
% of population at "Citizen" level
# of species at "Citizen" level
% of population below "Citizen" level
# of species below "Citizen" level
The key difference is allowing your starting species to be set at something other than "Citizen" level.
So As the Blue Empire with Humans on Turn 1, you can set the Humans to "Slaves"... implying that your entire population (except the infinitesimally small upper class) is slaves.
[You wouldn't be able to set anyone to anything Above citizen until there was a sufficient amount of population below Citizen]
Yeah, that's a good idea, actually. Although an elitism bonus for having species above
citizen should exist as well, since there's no guarantee that the player will have higher ranked species just because he can.
Factors which Increase Current Elitism
* Moving a species further away on the status scale from the highest ranking species in the empire. This includes raising the status of the highest ranking species
Factors which Increase Current Egalitarianism
* Moving a species closer on the status scale to the highest ranking species. This includes lowering the status of the highest ranking species
Factors which Increase Elitism Growth
* Having species in the empire which are more than one level lower on the status scale than the highest ranking species
Factors which Increase Egalitarianism Growth
* Having multiple species sharing the highest which has been bestowed by the empire
Alternatively, these rules could just work as-is, and the player doesn’t get an elitism bonus for having slaves if there are no aristocrats, which also seems fairly reasonable. It's hard to say right now which is better.