Policy Cards Jumble

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

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The Silent One
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#31 Post by The Silent One » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:08 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:34 am
I haven't done any numbers yet (and I certainly haven't read them all, just a few), but my first impression is that so many policies is overwhelming. It's like 10 policies per slot. 5 policies per slots already seem too much.
Skimming over the suggested policies, I wholeheartedly agree.

Other than that, while sometimes advantages and disadvantages even each other out decently well (say +0.1 research per pop at a price of -0.1 production per pop), other times there is just some stealth malus which seems unbalanced. My general feeling here is to:

1) reduce the number of policies significantly

2) give the remaining policies a strong positive against a strong negative effect E. g.: colonisation speed halfed, growth bonus at the cost of reduced max population.

3) keep the involved mechanics simple. "x jumps from the next industrial center/capital/whatever" is neither supported by the UI, nor KISS. No area effects. Defense policies should probably look like "shields +100% vs. defense -50%" or similar.

Also to consider: refinements that slighty shift the policy effects towards the positive effect, or just increase the effect's strength.
labgnome wrote:There are 117 total Policies in the proposal across all 12 ideals.
To group policies into ideals sounds like a fair idea to me. But 12 is too much for sure, I'd say maybe 6 at maximum.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#32 Post by labgnome » Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:35 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:08 pm
Other than that, while sometimes advantages and disadvantages even each other out decently well (say +0.1 research per pop at a price of -0.1 production per pop), other times there is just some stealth malus which seems unbalanced. My general feeling here is to:
The bonuses/maluses are supposed to be geared towards the strategies associated with the ideal they belong to and against opposing ideals. IE: why Centralization policies get a supply and stealth malus. However this is really a first draft so I am open to suggestions.
1) reduce the number of policies significantly
That seems to be a general agreement, the question is where and how?
2) give the remaining policies a strong positive against a strong negative effect E. g.: colonisation speed halfed, growth bonus at the cost of reduced max population.
I agree that if we do have fewer policies the effects should be stronger. However I don't know that we can do the specific example you give here.
3) keep the involved mechanics simple. "x jumps from the next industrial center/capital/whatever" is neither supported by the UI, nor KISS. No area effects. Defense policies should probably look like "shields +100% vs. defense -50%" or similar.
I was thinking about ways to make the buildings more strategic. However I can see how this could be overly complicated. I may try to re-work some of them to be empire-wide, but they are good candidates for elimination.
Also to consider: refinements that slighty shift the policy effects towards the positive effect, or just increase the effect's strength.
This is an idea I like, and have thought about on my own. I like the idea of technologies that improve policies, as it would allow for more flexibility with fewer policies.
To group policies into ideals sounds like a fair idea to me. But 12 is too much for sure, I'd say maybe 6 at maximum.
Thought I think I am reiterating myself, I will explain my thoughts on the 12 ideals in more detail here:

The ideals are groups into two triads and three pairs of opposing ideals. Each ideal has a corresponding policy slot. Each ideal of a triad gives a different slot, and each ideal of a pair gives the same policy slot. They give a policy slot by having 4 (up for debate) policies of the ideal active for 50 (up for debate) turns. The slots given by opposing ideals do not stack, limiting the number of slots given this way. One thought I have is that each triad or pair of ideals will be at least loosely tied to a tech-tree theme. That way you aren't locked into just one ideal with a technology theme if we go with big themes.

The fist triad is Centralization witch gives an economic slot, Decentralization which gives a social slot, and Secrecy which gives a military slot, and they are also supposed to correspond to tall, wide and stealthy strategies. The second triad is Authoritarian which gives a military slot, Egalitarian which gives a social policy slot, and Meritocratic which gives an economic policy slot, and they are supposed to also correspond to the conquest, diplomacy and technology victory strategies respectively. The first pair are Capitalist and Socialist which both give economic slots and correspond to fast-growth supply-connected strategy and a slow-growth disconnected stockpiling strategy respectively. The second pair are Federated and Imperialist which both give military slots and correspond to a peaceful and defensive strategy vs. an aggressive and offensive strategy respectively. The last pair are Gestalt and Individualist and is supposed to correspond to generalist vs. specialist strategies respectively, but is honestly mostly telepathic vs. non-telepathic.

Now if we really want to reduce the number of ideals I'd ask which ones you would get rid of?
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#33 Post by The Silent One » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:43 pm

labgnome wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:35 pm
They give a policy slot by having 4 (up for debate) policies of the ideal active for 50 (up for debate) turns.
This seems arbitrary and non-KISS.
The ideals are groups into two triads and three pairs of opposing ideals. Each ideal has a corresponding policy slot. Each ideal of a triad gives a different slot, and each ideal of a pair gives the same policy slot. [...]
Maybe go for a different structure altogether, like a circle with 6-8 government types as sketched up below. Opposing pairs would be production vs. research, influence as "peaceful" means of expansion vs. military expansion, speed vs. stealth, max population boost vs. supply boost.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#34 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:51 pm

labgnome wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:35 pm
Now if we really want to reduce the number of ideals I'd ask which ones you would get rid of?
I don't think the "number of ideals" isn't the issue. Rather, it is the system that expects or encourages there to be 7-12 policies grouped into "ideals" in a similar manner to the others. I think lists of tables and filling them with somewhat generic content isn't a good way to design policies. Rather, I / we want / need a variety of interesting and unique policies. I would probably err on the side of having more oddball policies that aren't symmetric with any (let alone 11) other policies or fit into any categorization. I would suggest there don't need to be "ideals" with 10 or 12 policies; rather something like an "ideal" can be a single policy...

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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#35 Post by labgnome » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:27 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:43 pm
labgnome wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:35 pm
They give a policy slot by having 4 (up for debate) policies of the ideal active for 50 (up for debate) turns.
This seems arbitrary and non-KISS.

I was trying to follow Geoffs idea of having a policy for a certain amount active for a certain number of turns. I was trying to think of a way to have that thematically work.
The ideals are groups into two triads and three pairs of opposing ideals. Each ideal has a corresponding policy slot. Each ideal of a triad gives a different slot, and each ideal of a pair gives the same policy slot. [...]
Maybe go for a different structure altogether, like a circle with 6-8 government types as sketched up below. Opposing pairs would be production vs. research, influence as "peaceful" means of expansion vs. military expansion, speed vs. stealth, max population boost vs. supply boost.

I like where your idea is going. Maybe work out exactly what dichotomies you want to have ideals for. The only thing I would say is that ideals are supposed to be groups of policies that follow a theme and not a government per-say.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#36 Post by labgnome » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:15 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:51 pm
I don't think the "number of ideals" isn't the issue. Rather, it is the system that expects or encourages there to be 7-12 policies grouped into "ideals" in a similar manner to the others. I think lists of tables and filling them with somewhat generic content isn't a good way to design policies.

I will strongly disagree wit you here are several levels. I know I went a bit overboard, but I will say that I don't believe that all I did was fill tables with generic content. I think that grouping and having an interesting organizational system to policies can only help with the design process. I know that I work better with organization and structure than just random shots in the dark.
Rather, I / we want / need a variety of interesting and unique policies. I would probably err on the side of having more oddball policies that aren't symmetric with any (let alone 11) other policies or fit into any categorization. I would suggest there don't need to be "ideals" with 10 or 12 policies; rather something like an "ideal" can be a single policy...

There is nothing that says that all policies need to correspond to an ideal. I wouldn't say that ideals need to be symmetric with every other ideal; that's why I set up opposing ideals, so that they only need to be symmetric with one or at most two other policies. I also wouldn't say that ideals need 10 or 12 policies per ideal, I would say that a minimum would be 4, to have 1 from each slot and 1 extra.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#37 Post by labgnome » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:17 am

The Silent One wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:43 pm
]Maybe go for a different structure altogether, like a circle with 6-8 government types as sketched up below. Opposing pairs would be production vs. research, influence as "peaceful" means of expansion vs. military expansion, speed vs. stealth, max population boost vs. supply boost.
Having had some time to think about this, I have broken up the ideals into Economies, Authorities and Societies in favor of a more modular approach and to avoid potentially counter-intuitive associations. Economies cover economic policies. Authorities cover military polices. Societies cover social policies.

Free Orion Econonomies.png
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The four economies come from speculative ideas about post-monetary future economies. The Resource Economy idea comes from the Venus Project and would be a non-monetary system of resource allocation. For Free Orion purposes policies under this economy would provide bonuses to the production focus at the expense of the research and/or influence focus. The Energy Economy comes from the North American Technocrats, and is also known as "Energy Accounting" or "Energy Credits" and would be a replacement for the price system for commodities, based on the values of energy necessary to produce them. For Free Orion purposes this would provide bonuses to the research focus at the expense of the production and/or influence focus. The Reputation Economy is based on the idea of the "Whuffie" as well as IRL examples like the Social Credit system, it is a system wherein personal reputation or social credit replaces money as the primary means of transaction. For Free Orion purposes this would provide bonuses to the influence focus at the expense of the production and/or research focus. Lastly there is the Abundance Economy, which represents a generalized post-scarcity system, managed through telepathy. For Free Orion possesses it provides focus-independent bonuses to production, research and influence, these bonuses would be applied to Telepathic species.

Free Orion Authorities.png
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The five Authorities are pretty self-explanatory but I'll go over them here. The Democratic Authority represents systems where power is held by elected officials. For Free Orion purposes this would provide bonuses to planetary defenses, shields, troops and to flack, armor and shield parts, but would have maluses for weapon, fighter and troop parts. The Hereditary Authority represents systems where power is passed down through family relations. For Free Orion purposes this gives bonuses to weapon, fighter and troop parts but would have maluses to planetary defense, shields and troops, and to flack, armor and shield parts. The Conspiracy Authority represents a system wherein real power is held by a secretive group that the general public is unaware of. For Free Orion purposes this gives bonuses to stealth and maluses to sensors and detection. The Meritocracy Authority represents a system wherein power is vested in the most skilled individuals. For Free Orion purposes this gives bonuses to sensors and detection and maluses to stealth. The Gestalt authority represents a telepathic shared-intelligence. For Free Orion purposes it would provides reductions to ship upkeep at the expense of hull-cost, and telepathic-specific bonuses.

Free Orion Societies.png
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The five societies are probably more game-play oriented than anything, but represent generalized societal approaches. The Collectivized Society represents a society where everything is owned by the group, rather than by the individual. For Free Orion purposes this represents bonuses to stockpiling and colony parts and maluses to supply and colonizing outposts. Privatized Society represents a society where everything has been privatized and is owned by individuals or businesses. For Free Orion purposes this would give bonuses to supply and colonizing outposts and maluses to stockpiling and colony parts. The Engineered Society represents a society that focuses on engineering their environment to suit their own needs. For Free Orion purposes this would give bonuses to maximum population and terraforming but maluses to habitability. Adaptive Societies represent societies that choose to adapt to their environments. For Free Orion purposes this gives bonuses to habitability and maluses to maximum population and terraforming.

Now of course not everything has to fit into this system, and there could easily be policies that are not covered by any of these ideals, however I think this is a good starting point for inspiration for policies.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#38 Post by Oberlus » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:21 am

Most of the policies in your table are "boring" in that they are just some "20% bonus to X, 20% malus to Y". And from those, since most are small variations of the others, "20% bonus to X and Y, 10% malus to Z", "20% bonus to X and Z, 10% malus to Y", they are both boring and redundant.

I think you should focus on getting some (few) interesting policies, interesting by themselves, because they are unique, have a compelling fluff description and introduce new and interesting changes in gameplay.

After you get some of these, you can start metathinking on fancy taxonomies, parings, tryads, ideals and the such.
In fact, I think those aspects are hindering you.

Also, many of the associations you make in the fancy triangles seem quite arbitrary, counterintuitive and forced: e.g. Democratics <-> Defence&Shields (WAT?).
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#39 Post by The Silent One » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:45 am

labgnome wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:17 am
The four economies come from speculative ideas about post-monetary future economies. [...]
To start with, I like the triangle structure for the resources. It is intuitive to have a connection between the three main resources of FreeOrion, and it makes sense to create a mechanism to shift resource output as suitable for someone's individual play style. However, "Abundance" seems like a way to avoid making this kind of decision and should be dismissed.

As for the other models: the pairs (max. pop vs. adaptability (or maybe lower colony upkeep), stockpiling vs. supply, offense vs. defense, detection vs. stealth (or maybe speed)) seem good in general, but the grouping doesn't really strike me as intuitive. I think we should stick with the dichotomies, and simply group them in: military, colonisation, resources/economy.

Military
offense vs. defense
+: weapon damage, fighters, fighter damage, ship shields, ship speed
-: planetary shields, planetary defense, planetary troops

e. g. "Space Superiority": beam weapon damage +1, fighter damage +1, planetary shields -50%, planetary troops -0.2/pop
e. g. "Reinforced Defenses": planetary troop +0.2/pop, planetary defense + 20%, weapon damage * 0,75

stealth vs. detection vs. speed (?)

ship upkeep vs. ?

Colonisation
environment adaption vs. max pop
pop growth vs. colony construction speed?
supply vs. stockpile
colony upkeep vs.?

Economy/Resources
research vs. production vs. influence
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#40 Post by labgnome » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:32 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:45 am
labgnome wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:17 am
The four economies come from speculative ideas about post-monetary future economies. [...]
To start with, I like the triangle structure for the resources. It is intuitive to have a connection between the three main resources of FreeOrion, and it makes sense to create a mechanism to shift resource output as suitable for someone's individual play style. However, "Abundance" seems like a way to avoid making this kind of decision and should be dismissed.
I could see that. Keep in mind abundance is abundance is for effects on telepathic species only.

As for the other models: the pairs (max. pop vs. adaptability (or maybe lower colony upkeep), stockpiling vs. supply, offense vs. defense, detection vs. stealth (or maybe speed)) seem good in general, but the grouping doesn't really strike me as intuitive. I think we should stick with the dichotomies, and simply group them in: military, colonisation, resources/economy.
I mean I am going off of the Economic, Military and Social policy cards.

offense vs. defense
+: weapon damage, fighters, fighter damage, ship shields, ship speed
-: planetary shields, planetary defense, planetary troops
I presume the "+" is for offense and the "-" is for defense. I'd also go for flack, ship shields and hull points in defenses.

stealth vs. detection vs. speed (?)
I'd do just stealth vs. detection.

ship upkeep vs. ?
I'd go for ship cost and ship part cost.

pop growth vs. colony construction speed?
supply vs. stockpile
I'd go for colony construction speed vs. effects to the colony pod part. I'd also keep them tied to supply and stockpile for a connected vs. disconnected strategy.

colony upkeep vs.?
Maybe colony upkeep vs. stability/happiness.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#41 Post by The Silent One » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:57 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:32 pm
I mean I am going off of the Economic, Military and Social policy cards.
I'd say just stick with them, or maybe one more category. Doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#42 Post by labgnome » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:08 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:57 pm
labgnome wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:32 pm
I mean I am going off of the Economic, Military and Social policy cards.
I'd say just stick with them, or maybe one more category. Doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
I think the dichotomies we have been working on are still useful for organizing ideas about policy cards. If we want to do this really by the numbers then if we want to just stick with a very KISS policy slot system with just the technologies and buildings, assuming we get 1 policy slot each from buildings and 3 policy slots each form technologies, that gives 4 policy card slots of each type by the end-game. If we want to say 5:1 is the maximum ratio of policies to slots that gives us a target of no more than 20 policy cards of each type, and a grand total of 60 or fewer. For a minimum I would say a ration of 3:1 is good, as it gives 2 inactive policies for every active policy. This gives 12 policy cards of each type and minimum total of at least 36 or more. I think that is a number-range of policies that is both manageable and allows for modular fine-tuned approach to policies.

Edit:
I would keep the categories as tags, for later use with the species values system. IE: certain values will have certain policy ideals they like or dislike.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#43 Post by labgnome » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:01 pm

So after taking a number of different ideas into account I have completely re-worked my policy proposal. So here is a new collection of 58 policies. This gives just less than 5 policies per available policy slot. They are grouped into Economic, Military and Social policies and the ideals are meant to serve as tags for species values, to be discussed in further detail in this topic over here. The general gist being that the ideals will serve as tags for the species values, to determine how an empire's active policies effect species opinion of that empire.

I do think there are gaps, but I tried to limit myself to the policies I found most interesting and the effects I thought were the most important without going over 60 policies. My intention is for policies to be interesting, have logical relationships and allow for modular control. My hope is that this gives us a concrete foundation for a system of policies in Free Orion.

For economic policies I largely kept the "triangular" relationship between production, research and influence, but did not assign ideals to these. I wanted to have policies that both gave flat and population-based boosts, as well as telepathic-specific boosts, and some "reverse triangular" policies that give weak bonuses in two areas while give a strong malus in one area. I also included centralization vs. decentralization ideals, which give bonuses/maluses based around the capitol.

To begin with for military policies I gave an offensive vs. defensive ideals, for combat oriented bonuses and maluses. I also included exploratory vs. covert ideals for detection and stealth oriented policies respectively. Lastly there are ship upkeep vs. ship-part cost policies, but I did not assign ideals to them. I also based the ship upkeep around the different hull-lines.

To start with for the social policies collectivized vs. privatized ideals for both stockpiling vs. supply and colony ships vs. colonizing outposts. Furthermore there are engineered vs. adapted ideals for max population vs. habitability. Instead of maluses I went for a strategy of conditional bonuses and My intention for the policies in both ideals is to have increasing bonuses unlocked by technologies at higher tiers. So for example the Organic Environmental Adaptation policy will initially unlock colonization of adequate environment planets for organic species, but will also unlock colonization of poor and later hostile environment planets after researching the proper technologies. Lastly, there are the supremacy vs. equality ideals that focus on colony upkeep vs. stability/happiness. I also rolled number and variety of species in your empire into these in order to better tie it into the proposed species opinion and values systems.

Of course I am open to feed back and all the names of policies and the numbers associated with them are meant as suggestions. I also haven't covered adoption costs, which we should probably talk about.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#44 Post by Oberlus » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:37 pm

Check this out:
Economic Central Planning (ECP)Interstellar Economic Union (IEU)
+0.2 Production per Population at Capitol
-0.1 Production Focus per Population away from Capitol
+0.1 Production Focus per Population away from Capitol
-0.2 Production Focus per Population at Capitol
This seems like a nobrainer. You absolutely want ECP at game start, since you only have population there (you get +20% pop-based bonus), and hence you want no IEU (-20%), better no policy (+0%). Once you have 1/3 of your population on colonies, IEU equals no-policy (both +0%), but you still prefer ECP (+10%). Once you get 1/2 of your population on colonies, both policies yield the same (+5%) and from there on you want IEI.
So this brings in no fun at all, just another tick box: monitor total population and population of capital, once capital is 50% or less switch ECP to IEI.
My point is there is no real situational choice between those two policies: you can't choose which one to start with or when to switch them, and you can't choose to not choose any of them.

The same applies for all the Centralisation-Decentralisation pairs. I would remove all of them, or rework them (their bonuses and maluses) in a way that does not make them nobrainers. No ideas from my part yet.

I'll look into others another time.
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Re: Policy Cards Jumble

#45 Post by labgnome » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:27 am

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:37 pm
Check this out:
Economic Central Planning (ECP)Interstellar Economic Union (IEU)
+0.2 Production per Population at Capitol
-0.1 Production Focus per Population away from Capitol
+0.1 Production Focus per Population away from Capitol
-0.2 Production Focus per Population at Capitol
This seems like a nobrainer. You absolutely want ECP at game start, since you only have population there (you get +20% pop-based bonus), and hence you want no IEU (-20%), better no policy (+0%). Once you have 1/3 of your population on colonies, IEU equals no-policy (both +0%), but you still prefer ECP (+10%). Once you get 1/2 of your population on colonies, both policies yield the same (+5%) and from there on you want IEI.
So this brings in no fun at all, just another tick box: monitor total population and population of capital, once capital is 50% or less switch ECP to IEI.
My point is there is no real situational choice between those two policies: you can't choose which one to start with or when to switch them, and you can't choose to not choose any of them.

The same applies for all the Centralisation-Decentralisation pairs. I would remove all of them, or rework them (their bonuses and maluses) in a way that does not make them nobrainers. No ideas from my part yet.

I'll look into others another time.
Firstly, keep in mind that Hierarchical species will always like ECP and dislike IEU, while Horizontal species will always like IEU and dislike ECP. So if you follow this rout you will piss-off any Horizontal species early in the game and then piss-off any Hierarchical species late in the game. So one question will be weather or not you can afford to do that at the time. Also ECP and the other Centralization policies are focus-independent, allowing you to take all at once to get research and influence out of your capitol as well.

Something we could do is take the idea of techs that boost policies and apply it to Centralization Policies, maybe boosting them to 0.4 per pop in the mid game and 0.8 per pop in the late game. Maybe even bigger boosts? I don't think that Decentralization policies need tech boosts, as you can always get more out of them by colonizing more planets.
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