The Reason the player doesn’t know where his fleets are going to be, is because of enemy action.
I don't care whether it's because of enemy action, magic or an act of God. The point is that the player should know where objects belonging to his own empire are at all times. Your other examples aren't relevant to this at all, and in fact illustrate good aspects of the strategic game which I would expect to occur.
“The Problem” isn’t just because ships can move more than 1 starlane per turn, its because ships can’t turn around in a starlane
ie Turn 100: I issue movement orders to several of my fleets to what I Believe is a Safe system (they will arrive on turns 104, 105, and 106)
on Turn 104, I realize the enemy has his hidden death fleet there..., but my other ships are 1+2 turns away, they don’t travel that fast, so they are in their final approach....
So unfair... my decision was already made not knowing my ships would be challenged
I gave those movement orders believing my fleets would be all together to defeat his hidden death fleet, now they will get destroyed piecemeal
The player made the decision knowing where his own ships were.
Obviously there are going to be strategies involving hiding one's own fleets from the enemy and intercepting them. You know the risk when you commit your fleets separately like that. That's a good thing to happen. The enemy did something unexpected and gained an advantage but not
by making the player not know where his own fleets were when he made his decision.
It's also not a problem when you don't know if your ships will be intercepted in the future. The Problem isn't that the player can't see into the future, it's that he doesn't know where his fleets are now. The player should know what combat assets he has in a system before committing to a combat in that system.
In other words, the component of the initial conditions of the battle which consists of objects owned by the player should be known to the player before he commits to combat with those forces. Any attempt to say that things are fine without Battle Quanta must address this issue directly
rather than simply giving a number of only-vaguely-related examples.
Or.. if “that’s a death fleet, not a simple scout”
I give orders to fly 2 starlanes away (the second starlane is really long, but I have 2 starlane supply reach... I pass through the first, and then right behind me, an enemy scout moves in.... I can’t turn around, I can’t even refuel once I Get to the system... at the very least I’ve been slowed down tremendously by a scout.
That's an unrelated problem. It is solved by making blockades more difficult in the later game, so that a single scout isn't good enough to cut off supply. Supply lines will presumably have some sort of rating which defines its ability to get through blockades, and a fleet will have some sort of rating that defines its ability to cut off supply lines, and supply will be either stopped or not, depending on the relation between these two values. Pointing out that other problems exist is not a valid argument for letting the problem in question continue to exist.
Here’s what I suggest
1. Political/Economic orders, Movement* orders given
2. Political/Economic orders resolved
3. Movement Orders resolved
4. Combat orders given
5. Combats resolved
* Movement orders includes “Intercept”
Detail on the “Intercept” command
Starlane Entry/Exits are like Planets, they are Controlled by a certain player (or no player)
If during 'combat' on the Previous turn, you were able to seize control of the Starlanes, then you may choose to Intercept on this turn.
So wouldn't choosing to intercept essentially be committing to combat before you know which of your own
forces are present for the beginning of the combat?
Fleets that are ‘Hidden’ cannot Intercept, because they don’t control the starlane. Fleets that did not defend their control of the starlane in combat (they fled and ran around)
That's lame... cloaked or camouflaged ships engaging an enemy fleet is really cool (and of strategic significance).
Basically the idea is you have to remember to
ONLY count on being able to intercept with fleets that are there or less than one starlane (and less than 1 turn) away....,
just like you have to remember that you can’t turn a fleet around inside a starlane (it has to come out, possibly get shot at, and have enough fuel to go back)
That's true even if Battle Quanta are implemented. The difference is that here, if your reinforcements don't show up, you're committed to combat anyway. Presumably, the fleet in the system would notice if the other fleet didn't show up. Obviously, the player knows that the other fleet didn't show up before the battle began, and if the battle hasn't started, why does he still have to be committed to fighting the enemy fleet? Your system is just taking away choices from the player and replacing them with an unnatural and unintuitive "Intercept" command. By limiting and defining the options that way, you're taking away strategic choice for the player, yet simultaneously adding another different command for the player to have to make. You're increasing complexity while restricting strategic choice.
If the player wants to intercept a fleet, he should be able to use the simple command "engage enemy forces" while a fleet is trying to pass through the system. It's the situation that determines whether or not it's actually "Intercepting", and the player doesn't need us to make a distinction within the game mechanics between "Interception" and regular combat, which the player chooses normally. The different situations in which the basic set of simple commands can be used is what provides the wealth of strategic options that should be available. Specialized commands for specialized situations increases complexity by increasing the total number of commands which are possible and by assuming that we, the designers were able to think of specialized commands for every situation. The most important thing is to allow the player freedom to do all sorts of things without bogging him down with all sorts of different buttons.
As for having to put a scout in every system, being a strategic advantage, and therefore micromanagy
1. This exists without having anything to do with “the problem” or interception of fleet movement
It is useful to have a scout in every system to cut off supply to enemy ships... a scout is all you need....(that is far better at slowing them anyways... they can’t move at all without fuel)
2. A scout Isn’t all you need in every system for slowing/cutting off supply, you need to have a bigger fleet than your enemies in every system.... This involves potentially significant Cost.
Which makes the choice to blockade a specific system significant, because you need to have a significant fleet. But the enemy fleet shouldn't be the factor that increases cost. Instead, even a completely undefended system shouldn't be able to have resources stopped at it by a mere scout in the later game. Instead, blockades should always require a somewhat significant fleet. If a scout is significant in the early game, it should be able to cause a blockade. If 5 warships is fairly significant in the mid-game, then those 5 warships should be able to blockade the average supply route in the mid-game. Enemy fleets can stop this by blowing up some of your warships. This is what should happen.
and for comparison
3. It is a strategic advantage (significantly) to put a colony on every world that you can support.... (due to the fact that worlds have max population)... but there is a cost (food, building the colony ship, defending the colony).... same with a scout (any ship maintenance, building the scout, defending the scout.
At the end of the game, the cost of a scout is significantly less, but it's value for slowing enemy fleets is not decreased. This does not conform to a desirable design in which the usefulness of things is proportional to their relative cost (relative, that is, to overall production at that point in the game).
The usefulness of a colony (the production it will add to your empire relative to the overall production of your empire) decreases as you get more colonies. Likewise, the cost of a colony (how much it costs to build relative to the overall production of your empire) decreases as you get more colonies. This is a good relationship. Slowing down enemy fleets, on the other hand, never becomes less important. As such, it should cost approximately the same proportion of an empires resources to slow down approximately the same proportion of the enemies fleets in the late game as it did in the early game. If a scout can slow down fleets just as well in the early game as in the late game, but costs much less as a proportion of the empire's total production in the late game, that is a bad relationship between the change in cost and the change in value.
If “intercept” is handled through “conquest of Starlanes”, then Its not micromanaging at all... It is expanding your empire.... By placing a scout in the system, you control the system, just like placing a colony on the world gives you control of the world.
As I've mentioned, the value of a colony ship decreases proportionally with it's cost (both relative to the overall production of the empire). This makes the cost/value relationship of colonies a good one, where as the cost/value relationship of scouts is a bad one, because scouts are so incredibly cheap in the late game, but don't lose much value.