Together with destruction of a colony (no conquest), we would have four ways of stealing enemies' space. And with the technological and diplomatic victory, that makes up for six different victory strategies (from more violent to less, mind the names): destruction, invasion, government subversion, influence conquest, diplomacy and transcendence.
Destruction and invasion would be the ones that cares less about multispecies/diplomacy/opinion/values/relationships/etc. and that can focus more freely on war action, and the influence conquest and diplomacy the ones that should care more on species-empire and empire-empire relationships. But most probably most games will require a bit of most strategies.
This was for a little context. The rest of the post is aimed at developing the core mechanics for colony-empire relationships (allegiance, stability, ...) and its relation to the three forms of foreign colony acquisition.
POPULATION STABILITY & ALLEGIANCE
- Stability (happiness, well-being): a colony meter to capture the disposition of the population to work for the ruler empire.
Stability below a certain threshold (security threshold?) will imply reduction of the pop-based RPI production.
Causes of low (target) stability: bad opinion on the ruler (people can do strikes or rebel out), lack of resources (starving and dead people works less) or recent attacks (devastation has its issues).
Under no other effects, current stability changes 1 point per turn towards target stability. Techs, buildings and policies can affect this as well as the target stability and the security threshold.
- Allegiance: a colony composite meter, composed of the allegiances to each empire and native/independent, summing in total 1 (100%).
Most of the time it will be own empire=1, rest=0. Can be shown as a bar with one coloured segment for each faction (empires' colours, white for native/independent) and length of each segment proportional to the allegiance of each empire. The bar border could change colour to highlight important states, like red for own colonies with own allegiance too low, and blue for foreign colonies with good allegiance to our empire. Examples assuming you are empire 1.
- : 70% empire 1 (current ruler), 30% native.
- : 60% empire 3 (current ruler), 40% empire 1, blue/flashing border to signal the opportunity to subvert/influence this colony.
- : 40% empire 1 (current ruler), 60% empire 2, red/flashing border to signal the dangerous allegiance situation.
The actions of a empire that are know to a given colony will affect their allegiance depending on the species values. Among this actions we could include policies, buildings and techs (as well as actual actions like breaking or signing a peace treaty).
Getting (or losing) allegiance on a colony means stealing (or giving) some from the other allegiances in the colony, proportional to current allegiances. E.g. if initial values are 70% Emp. 1 and 30% Emp. 2, and Emp. 3 gets 10% for itself, new allegiances are 63%, 27% and 10% respectively. If several allegiance effects coincide at the same turn, the increases are calculated all from the initial values. E.g. same initial values, Emp. 3 gets 10% and Emp 2 gets 20%, new allegiances are 43%, 47% and 10%. Arguably, the native/independent faction would have a minimum value (good actions from empires can't steal from native allegiance when its value is at the minimum), so that it can't disapear and hence can grow strong when all influencing empires are doing bad actions.
Depending on policies and techs unlocked and the species traits, an empire could have different social and government structures. This could be represented by the status of the colony:
- Free colony: the colony has the same rights within the empire than the capital.
Local government keeps full power over its internal affairs (military, political and media). The population in the colony is free to do what they want. Free colonies have a pop-based influence bonus tied to high stability and allegiance to the empire.
All free colonies within an empire cooperate among them willingly, and can leave the empire if their allegiance (for whatever reason) drops too much, although their status of free colony gives a boost to allegiance.
Local military and political parties (i.e. the portion of population that exerts the actual power in the colony) will always share the same allegiances than the general population, because there is no clear distinction among ruling class and the rest.
In game mechanics, all this means free colonies' allegiances will be affected by the actions of empires in full extent (so worse to avoid external influence and harder to go against its values), and will themselves affect more the opinions of neighbours (stronger propagation of their opinions, so better to exert influence on others when they like their empire).
Free colonies with mid stability will force its planetary focus to the preferred one (unless recently attacked, which will force defence focus) and will refrain from accepting influence or production projects that go against their values (note: they will accept the imperial will if they have high enough stability). With low stability they will refuse to work. Their security threshold will be relatively high.
In case of allegiance shift the colony will join the new empire without requiring a violent rebellion, unless stability is low and this is a warlike species. In that case a civil war will ensue. Usually, stability will be low only if there are subversion projects active in the colony.
- Vassal colony: the ruling empire treats this colony (its local government, its population) as a vassal.
The local government keeps most power regarding internal affairs, but does not have full access to military, political and media power.
Its population is relatively free, although with limited rights within the empire (second class citizens).
In case of allegiance shift, a civil war will ensue.
Vassal colonies will be less stable than free colonies (they don't like being second class) but will have the chance to suppress any rebellion automatically if there are enough defensive forces loyal to the empire (which potential boosts from policies, buildings, etc.).
- Slave colony: the ruling empire treats this colony as source of resources and its population as right-less assets of the empire.
The rulers provide for the populations basic needs but keep them away from any form of military, political or media power, which have no means to express their discontent or get reliable information. Slave colonies have a pop-based bonus for production and a pop-based malus for influence and research.
Allegiance can't be high except under special policies like keeping population under drugs influence.
Also, the actions of the empire have a lesser impact on the allegiance of the slaves, and slave worlds are harder to subvert or influence due to their lack of access to media and information and their lack of military mediums.
In case of allegiance shift, a rebellion will ensue.
An imperial (unitary autocracy) government would have all colonies as vassal or slave. Feudal (unitary oligarchy) would have some free colonies besides the capital. An egalitarian anarchy would have all free worlds.
But don't get confused, we don't care about actual representation of forms of governments, we just want different gameplay styles in FreeOrion. So this only serves the purpose to bring in some versatility and interest to the influence/opinions/values game. Now we could have a Trith empire that enslaves all species around them (slave colonies would not cause xenophobia on nearby Trith).
TYPES OF REVOLT
- Civil war: two factions of the planetary forces, each backed up by a portion of the population, fight for the control of the planet.
The size of each faction will be proportional to their allegiances in the planet.
Size of each faction might be affected by policies, buildings and techs.
If the foreign (or native) faction prevails, the colony will change its allegiance to the foreign empire (or become native).
The civil war will lower population and infrastructure, more or less depending on policies, buildings and techs and the relative strengths of the faction in the fight.
Civil wars will occur in non-pacifist vassal colonies and sometimes in warlike free colonies.
- Rebellion: the population of the colony fights against the planetary forces.
The relative strength of the revolutionaries will depend on allegiance to the ruling empire, policies, buildings and techs, and maybe the effect from subversion/incite revolt projects.
If the rebellion succeeds, the colony will join the empire with greatest allegiance (or become native).
In non-pacifist colonies, the rebellion will lower population and infrastructure, more or less depending on policies, buildings and techs and the relative strengths of the faction in the fight, but usually less than a civil war.
Rebellions will occur in slave colonies or in vassal colonies with oppression policies in place that restrain local population from military power.
TYPES OF COLONY CONQUEST/ACQUISITION
- An armed force clears out any defensive forces and flatens planetary shields and defenses.
- Ground troops invade the planet and fight deffensive troops. Invasion succeeds if attackers>defenders.
- The colony becomes ruled by the invading empire, which assigns an statute (free, vassal or slave). For standard species, its current opinion of the empire modified by policies and techs active in the invading and invaded empire determines the stability of the colony withing the invading empire. If it is too low after invasion, the colony will stay in rebellion for a while until the citizens are assimilated into their new condition (that can be slave, vassal or free).
- The subverting empire initiates an influence-fueled, hidden project (1 turns to complete, max M IPs per turn, N iterations) targetted at the colony.
Every time an iteration is completed (M IPs invested), allegiance to owner and stability of the target colony decreases by X points, and allegiance to subverting empire increases by Y points (X>Y), both modified by species traits and involved empires' policies and techs.
- The subverted empire will receive a sitrep when allegiance or stability gets close to security thresholds, or sooner depending on certain policies or techs, and a counter-espionage project can be started in the colony (equal to subversion project with opposite effects, up stability and own allegiance).
- If the stability gets below security threshold, a civil war begins, the planetary defenses are divided into two factions depending on allegiance, and the winner gets to rule the colony.
- The influencing empire will spend IPs into advertising their will good towards other colonies, through policies or empire-wide propaganda projects (TBD).
This will enable the empire's actions to cause (or to boost, TBD) possitive effects on foreign colonies' opinon based on the species values. Otherwise the foreign colonies won't know about it and will never grow allegiance to alien empires.
A special species trait (such as telepathy) or certain policies or building effects (e.g. free open communications to boost owns research) will allow the species to be influenced by empires that are not actively influencing them. Other special traits, buildings or policies will make a species immune or very hard to external influence.
- A colony whose allegiance grows bigger (big enough) to a foreign empire than to its own, will desert to that empire.
Depending on special buildings or policies (e.g. enslaved world, totalitarianism, etc.) this will trigger a civil war or a rebellion, or directly become a stable colony of the influencing empire.
Feel free to post anything related to what I'm writing here.
Please, keep your contributions to the subject of developing (or not) the specific mechanics described above:
- Why would it work or not?
- How could it be improved or what could be done instead?
- Assuming it would work out well, do you think the gameplay with this proposal would be simple enough to grasp (KISS)?
- If you are a programmer, do you think implementation is feasible (FreeOrion standards)?