Tides of Conquest campaign tool - recruiting for ongoing Year 500 campaign

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Nijis
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Tides of Conquest campaign tool - recruiting for ongoing Year 500 campaign

Post by Nijis » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:28 pm

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What's this?
A unofficial stand-alone tool that helps you run multiplayer campaigns in FoG2. It can also be used to play single-player empire-building campaigns.



Download link:

Version 0.401 - the latest
http://www.mediafire.com/file/n3sndbe3a ... 1.rar/file

Try this also if you've had problems with v 0.40 crashing due to older savegames in the savegame file.

Version 0.361, used in the ongoing multiplayer campaign
http://www.mediafire.com/file/bdten0m2c ... 1.rar/file

Here are the instructions (a bit out of date)
http://www.mediafire.com/file/0c1bxdt68 ... 8.rtf/file

In the meantime, an AAR showing an example of play is here:
viewtopic.php?f=493&t=85381


Installation instructions
The game was written and was tested on 64-bit Windows 10. I think it should work on most recent Windows systems, as it's a very simple program, but I can't guarantee that.
The tool comes in a WinRar archive. You'll need some version of WinRar. First you extract the file into a folder, which is a WinRar option if you right-click on the package. You should see three icons - Application Files, FoG Campaigns, and setup.exe.
Hit "setup.exe." Because this is a new program, your antivirus might object, though if you scan the file it will probably declare it harmless. Once the game sets up (hit "install") you should get to the load/start screen. You will see a list of savegame slots then, in the upper-left corner, two "start scenario" links.
If you move your mouse over the "Start 280 BC scenario" link it should turn purple. If you click on that, it should take you to a map. Then you can start clicking on provinces and giving orders. The first province you click on will determine your realm, although you can change that through the "Switch" links. You can use the Do AI Orders for Nonplayer Realms to do a basic solitaire campaign if you want.
If you have already installed the file, you can start the game and go the blue load screen.

NOTE: If you installed an earlier version of Tides of Conquest on your computer, you will need to uninstall it before installing the updated version. With Windows 10, you do this through the Apps panel of your Settings. You can also search for Uninstall, and it will lead you to a list of programs you can uninstall. Find "FoG Campaigns," and remove it. With Windows 8, search for "Add Remove Programs", and that will take you to the same list.


Is it ready to play?
Pretty close. I just wanted some feedback. You can download and play it hotseat if you want, using the randomly resolve battle function. It just needs some playtesting.

How does it work?
It works like an email campaign, but the app draws the map, helps with the orders, and processes orders and battle results via xml text files.
More specifically: the gamemaster starts a game on the app and saves it as an xml text file. You mail the xmls to the players and they load it and can see the map, their resources and legal orders. They enter in orders and send the xml file to the game master. The app loads the orders, hits “process,” and sets up battles. When the players are done with the battle, they communicate the results to the game master and he or she enters them manually. The game then creates a new map/sitrep for the next turn, and mails it out.
Probably there should be 7-10 days between turns so that there's time to finish a battle.
At some point I can try to do it so that information can be exchanged peer-to-peer, but I'd need some help with this. Especially with security. Right now, with only xml documents going back and forth, I don't see any big vulnerabilities, but let me know.
Saved games and orders will go to C:\Users\[your name]\Documents\SavedGames\FoG_Campaigns\Player0

What does it do that can't be done with campaigns run the old-fashioned way, with spreadsheets and a GM?
Some GMs are running campaigns using emailed orders. These can be a lot of fun to play. However, I wanted to try something more complicated that could depict some of the nuances of ancient empire-building, in particular regional powers' tendency to get drawn into wars to expand and/or protect their sphere of influence over smaller powers. I also thought it might add some variety to allow empires to fight wars by proxy, using client states and tribes to harass their rivals.
This kind of game would require a little more complexity and I've noticed that as the complexity of an email-run game increases, the difficulty increases exponentially. Updating the map becomes a chore, players don't understand the rules and need precise explanations, the risk for accounting errors goes up, etc.
Two other small advantages: Because the computer handles processing turns and you don't really need a neutral arbitor, there's probably no reason why the GM can't play as well. Also, because issuing orders and resolving them takes very little time, it would probably be easy for one person to run multiple campaigns at once.
Once I tweak a few things, for example, I don't think it would be that difficult to run a campaign with 20 or more players running from Britain to China, using Jomni's great Silk Road mod, for example. You could have the Warring States vie for power in China while Rome Carthage and friends fight it out for Mediterranean hegemony, with the Persia and the Central Asian trade routes in the middle.

Can it be played solitaire?
Right now, it's easy enough to hotseat. The decisions in the game are simple enough that I hope to write an AI fairly soon. In this case, you would just play out the battles your realm fights, using an appropriate level of difficulty, and randomly generate scores for the rest.

What if I want my own campaign rules?
I'll email you the code and you can amend them. I'm using MS Visual Studio 2015 with Monogame. Full permission to change it as you wish to run FoG campaigns.

Do you need any help with this?
Yes – very much so! Graphics, scenarios, more detailed rules, help automating... I'm hoping this will be a collaborate project. Obviously all contributions will be credited. The only art right now is a world map from http://worldmap.harvard.edu/.

How do you playtest it, quick-start style?
Download and install. Open. You will go to the start screen.
FoG_Startscreen.png
FoG_Startscreen.png (705.51 KiB) Viewed 9060 times
Use the links in the top left part of the screen. Open the 280 BC scenario. At this point you should go to the map, depicted above.
Left-click on a province to choose your first realm, or select from the list at the top right of the page. The solid squares are your provinces. The hollow squares are your allies/client states. The little squares on top of provinces are your armies.
The player interface is quite basic. Mostly you click on text links. You will need to click near the beginning of the link. If a link is ready to be clicked, it will change color to purple.
You can give two types of orders: province orders and army orders.
Army orders are raiding, conquering, moving etc. For army orders, left-click on a province with an army (a little square above the big square) and then right-click on the target province. You will give your army the cheapest legal order. To switch to a more ambitious order, go further down the right side of the page where all legal orders in the province will be listed(ie, "Raid" plus "Conquer for many enemy provinces, "Intervene" plus "Pacify" for a disputed province.)
You can also give province orders, which are listed when you left-click on a province. These include building armies, raising tribal hosts in your allies, and developing your empire.
Provinces will be highlighted when they are the target of an army order or the base for a province order.
If your orders cost too much, they will be listed but the turn will not resolve. You need to cancel some to get the turn to process orders.
For now, switch between realms to give orders to all six (usually one to two orders per realm.) Hit "PROCESS ORDERS."
There will then be a number of battles. Randomly generate the final rout level on both sides or hand-enter the rout levels and then hit "Apply battle results." The game will move to the next turn. You will get income, progress towards expanding your influence or towards a crisis, and get to give orders again.
I will try to add AI shortly so that players can run a relatively interesting solo campaign.


These are the basic principles:
1) All wars are decided by evenly matched player vs player battles. It's my impression that players prefer relatively balanced games. An empire with more resources can launch more ambitious attacks, but you still need to win the battle. I think this is actually realistic. Lop-sided pitched battles were not too common – the logistics of scavenging determine how big an army can march into an area. However, the margin of victory can be important in determining the aftermath of the battle.
2) There's a strong incentive to be aggressive. You can't just re-invest your treasury to grow.
3) The game is not about being blobby, ie, conquering the map. It's focused on indirect warfare – fighting in different places, often with an ally's army list rather than your own. Think the Punic wars, with fighting in Spain and Sicily and elsewhere. Pursue interests or dislodge enemies from areas that are worth something to you. I wanted to reproduce the dynamic that drove Rome's growth - you don't just cold-invade a region, but you get drawn into local conflicts and ultimately end up making a bid to establish imperial hegemony to protect your interests there.
4) The game is not supposed to be balanced on the strategic level. Some powers start much bigger than others. You earn separate “legacy victory points” by maintaining a large empire over time (which is difficult) and “glory victory points” by winning battles. So, if you're a scrappy Skanderbeg or Owen Glendower, you can fight a losing war for independence but still win honor for your name. Also, bigger empires can be more vulnerable.
5) Even if an empire loses all its provinces, it remains a presence on that part of the board. You can set up a successor state, take over a new tribe in the periphery, or just keep leading rebellions in the hope of reclaiming your homeland. It's called "Tides of Conquest" because I expect all empires to be ebb and flow over the course of the game.

Basic rules:
1) For now, up to six players can play. Each controls a realm made up of one or more provinces, plus a sphere of influence. Provinces controlled by the player are indicated with a solid block on the map. Provinces in the sphere of influence are represented with a hollow square. A dot in the middle of a hollow square is a contested province - ie, two or more realms have allies in the area. A dot in the middle of a solid square means that one realm controls it, but there are rebels in the province as well allied with another faction.
2) You do most of your actions with armies. Armies are represented by a small square above the province, or, in the case of an allied army, with a hollow square. There can usually be only one army in a province. (You couldn't really feed more than one.) Two enemy armies will fight. Overstacking will cause one or more armies to disband, returning the resources needed to build it to the player's treasury. Armies will disband a lot. At no point will an army just disappear - you'll probably always get some resources back. If you're wondering what happened to an army, whether it disbanded or failed to move or couldn't be build because of stacking, the turn report should tell you.
3) You need resources to build armies, to move armies, and to do most other things. Resources represent money, manpower, but most of all morale and political determination. Each order you give will have a cost in resources. If the cost of carrying out the orders exceeds the resources in your treasury, you have to cancel orders until it's possible.
4) Your allies in your sphere of influence have their own resources, tracked separately in their province. Orders (see below) carried out by your allies have their cost indicated (thusly), meaning the province pays the cost, not the realm. This is a little complicated but I think should vary the kinds of battles that the game allows.
5) If enemies are in the same province after the orders are processed, there is a battle. The post-battle resolution should let you know the battles that are to be fought in a given turn. NOTE: If one side attacks a province and there is no friendly army there, there is still a battle - the attacking army against local forces. This won't affect the difficulty of the battle, but it may have a big impact on the aftermath.
If a battle ends with the winner at 45 percent rout or more, it is considered a marginal victory. If your opponent is an army, then you have to win a more decisive victory to conquer/raid/intervene in the province. If your opponent is just local forces, then any level of victory is sufficient.

Order types are as follows:
Conquer: Cost of 100 plus movement expenses. The province becomes part of your empire plus you get to loot it, although your opponent still retains control of a rebel faction.
Intervene - Cost of 30 plus movement. You remove enemy influence from a contested province, hopefully returning it to your sphere of influence.
Raid - Cost of 5 plus movement. You loot the province.
Pacify - Cost of 70 plus movement. Basically conquering, but cheaper because you do it in a contested province, not one that's pure enemy. This is how Rome got most of the eastern Mediterranean.
Liberate - Cost of 30 plus movement. Throws off enemy control of a province where you have rebel support, thus placing it in your sphere of influence.
Redeploy - Movement cost only. Moves from one part of your empire/sphere of influence to another.

Build army - 50 points. Creates a new army in the province.
Rebel - 75 points. Creates a rebel army in the province.
Develop - 100 points or more, depending on your imperial level. Raises your imperial development by one. This is the one way you can reinvest money - but it's a risky decision. See crises (to be added shortly).


Trade and the economy
The economy is a little bit complicated. I want to encourage players to expand into different regions and control strategic areas. So, each realm has a finite demand for the products from a certain region -- the wines, the textiles, the rare metals, the specialized slaves, the artisanal goods, the breeds of horses, the rare spices, and controlling an entire region gets you diminishing returns. Control of grain breadbaskets however is always a goal, as is control of particular trade routes - the Silk Road, the Incense Road, the Fur Road, the trans-Saharan trade, the west and east Indian Ocean routes, etc. Also, if a rival has armies near your lines of communication, they will drain income from your trade routes and keep it for themselves.
All of this will be listed in a player's income report.
Also, you don't get money from taxation. I'm assuming that the taxation from most provinces is equal to their upkeep.
You can increase your demand for goods, and thus the revenue from controlling them, by raising the imperial development level. The downside to this is that once your imperial development goes over 1, you need to have a minimum amount of revenue or you'll gain lots and lots of crisis points. I think this should make for interesting asymmetrical scenarios

Events:
You expand your sphere of influence through random events. On average, you'll get one event every two to five turns, depending on how aggressively you play. Events can include a tribal usurper turning to you for support, your colonists making alliances in a new region, or the assimilation of a rebellious tribal province into urbanized imperial life.

Crises:
Crises are a balancing factor in the game, and also encourage players to pursue historical strategies. If you earn too many crisis points, you enter a crisis for a turn - your provinces will no longer defend themselves against attackers unless an army is present, and you lose your influence in all provinces outside your empire. Big empires that can't secure their trade lines will gain crisis points more frequently (ie, late western Rome), as will empires that have not founded a permanent capital (ie, Attila's empire.) A crisis doesn't doom an empire, but it is an opportunity for all of its neighbors - especially rising powers - to grab off bits of it.

Scoring:
You score legacy victory points (one per imperial development per turn) and also glory victory points, based on the number of battles you've won and lost. The rankings are separate, representing two different modes of ranking performance.


Change log:
0.11: Fixes a couple of bugs from 0.10 related to orders costs and conquering provinces
0.12: Makes links easier to click
0.20: A pretty big update, with game modes added to make play easier, migrations, civil wars, east Asia, a singleplayer campaign challenge, and other features.

If there's interest in this, I hope to do the following...

1) Add a Pax Romana scenario and an Age of Migration scenario.
2) Better UI
3) Customizable army lists (ie, a Persian empire that reached to the west would add the option of Spanish mercenaries, or Carthaginians that reached east could have Indians. This would probably require the game to auto-create mods for both players.)
4) More automation in terms of submitting orders and downloading game files. I would very much appreciate technical assistance in this, if it's realistic.
5) Some more chrome for single-player - realm ethoses, government types.
Last edited by Nijis on Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:00 pm, edited 23 times in total.

rbodleyscott
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:18 pm

I tried but was unable to get it to do anything.

All I got was the screen below. Clicking on the two items in the top left did nothing. Clicking on Save crashed it..

Maybe some more detailed instructions would overcome the hurdle. Or maybe some run-time library which I do not have is required.
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Richard Bodley Scott

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Nijis
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Nijis » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:25 pm

My apologies. I suspect it's that you need to click very close to the beginning of the text in the link. If a link is active the text should turn purple. I'll redo with bigger links, and also expand the instructions a bit.

The programming is all very simple stuff and I've tried it on a computer that does not have Monogame installed. so I don't think there would be any runtime library issues. But if clicking close to the beginning of the link doesn't work, I'd welcome any suggestions from anyone on what else could be wrong.
Last edited by Nijis on Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rbodleyscott
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:28 pm

Nijis wrote:I suspect it's that you need to click very close to the beginning of the text in the link.
Knowing that makes all the difference!

Now all I have to figure out is how to enter orders.
Richard Bodley Scott

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Lysimachos
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Lysimachos » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:31 pm

Seems really very, very interesting!!! :mrgreen:
"Audentis fortuna iuvat"
- Virgilius

(Good luck favours the brave)

Nijis
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Nijis » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:50 pm

Thanks!

For most orders, left-click on a province with an army, then right-click on the target. You can also give province orders, listed down on the right. I will make the instructions more detailed and also include them in a separate text document.

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by jomni » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:24 pm

Any plans for a map editor?

Nijis
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Nijis » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:09 am

Any plans for a map editor?
I'm hoping to add one fairly soon. In the meantime, if you have a version of Visual Studio and can download Monogame, I can send you the C# solution and you could do a scenario that way. One could also start a game, save it, and edit the xml files. To start that scenario you'd just load the edited saved game. Did you have a particular scenario in mind? I'm hoping to add your Silk Road powers to a pan-Eurasian mega-scenario, maybe set around 250 BC to catch the end of the Warring States.

jomni
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by jomni » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:53 am

Nijis wrote:
Any plans for a map editor?
I'm hoping to add one fairly soon. In the meantime, if you have a version of Visual Studio and can download Monogame, I can send you the C# solution and you could do a scenario that way. One could also start a game, save it, and edit the xml files. To start that scenario you'd just load the edited saved game. Did you have a particular scenario in mind? I'm hoping to add your Silk Road powers to a pan-Eurasian mega-scenario, maybe set around 250 BC to catch the end of the Warring States.
Not really planning to do one myself at the moment. But the idea of extending to China is cool.

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by pipfromslitherine » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:22 pm

This is very cool :)

Cheers

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Archaeologist1970 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:53 pm

I think on one hand its awesome, on the other hand, I'd be pretty embarrassed as the developer that a lone dude with no resources pretty much made a single player campaign for you. Just saying, maybe offer this guy a job and see what he can do getting paid....

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by mceochaidh » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:47 pm

This is outstanding. It does so much more than I am able to do manually in my Hellenistic Campaign 280 B.C. I will download and try to learn to use it.

Mac

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Ludendorf » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:54 pm

This looks really exciting, Nijis.

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Nijis » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:39 pm

Thanks for the kind words, all! The single player campaign is still very much a work in progress, though, as there's no AI yet, let alone one that has been extensively playtested.

The way I was thinking of going with the single-player: as you gain legacy points, your empire loses its political cohesion, Ibn Khaldoun's asabiya. Your rulers become worse and worse, swayed this way and that by factionalized petty court politics, and consequently the difficulty rating of your battles becomes higher and higher (or at least the suggested difficulty - you start your own battles so players can adjust as they see fit.) You start off as an Alexander or Caesar, sweeping all before you, and end up as Stilicho or Yue Fei, scrambling to hold things together for as long as possible with fewer and fewer resources. Random events could add a bit of narrative drama to the decline.
Last edited by Nijis on Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Ludendorf » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:50 pm

From my limited knowledge of game design, it might be best to playtest something small and basic; just the pieces on the board. I remember this from a free game design course which admittedly I did not complete, and there are way more experienced people here (you know; actual game designers) who can run roughshod over what I'm saying if I'm wrong, but one of the principles of game design is to come up with a core mechanic and then slowly add or subtract rules from it depending on how the mechanic works out.

As empires grow up, I imagine coalitions of players will band together to keep the large empire in check. Just as the Roman empire had threats on every border towards the end, big players are likely going to find their resources stretched thin as everybody tries to take them down. It's only when a player's position becomes truly overwhelming that I see this breaking down, and by that point, that player has probably conclusively won the campaign anyway.

Nijis
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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Nijis » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:23 pm

Thanks for the feedback - the multiplayer basically just is pieces on the board. I was counting on peripheral players to keep the big empires busy.

The imperial decay system described above would be for single-player games, where I can't count on the AI to cooperate against a player. Ancient empires did have a tendency to collapse rather quickly, though, the Byzantines being a relatively rare example of a regional hegemon power being reduced to a regional peer power.

So, given that there already is a variable difficulty system in single-player FoG, I thought I'd take advantage of that. Sometimes when I play single-player it feels that I'm choosing whether I win or lose when I select the difficulty rating. I was thinking I might actually welcome another party telling me when I should play at a hard level, or when I should give myself a break by playing at a lower level.

I want just enough complexity in the multiplayer game to model most of the major map-altering political and military events of the ancient world in some way. One of the best parts of multiplayer campaigns I think are the AARs, and one of the things that make AARs interesting are narrative turning points. So it would be fun, for example, to have a major migration of tribes spark a crisis from time to time. That means I need a few basic mechanisms for migrations, and civil wars, and a couple of other things.

However, sometimes it's fun between turns to look over your position at leisure, to tweak things here and there. So I might add a layer of chrome that has very subtle effects on small things - ie, regional decisions that add extra units to a custom army list, for example, assuming that custom lists can be handled easily.

The one pitfall is that I want battles to always be at least as competitive as a potluck custom battle. Ie, the point of the game is to put competitive FoG battles into an interesting narrative context, not to make people play FoG battles that were decided beforehand on the strategic map, because I don't think players will do that.

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by SteveD64 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:29 pm

Thank you for this. I agree with your design philosophy as well, I hope you stick with this.

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by pipfromslitherine » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:46 pm

It would not be outside the realms of possibility to allow some way to spawn the FoG2 EXE with a command line to start up battles. Obviously we would need to determine what is needed to kick off a game, and the level of customisation required, i.e. specific unit selections vs potluck etc.

Cheers

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Nijis » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:57 pm

That's great to hear!

Right now, the battles are generated when the orders are in and the GM hits the button, "Process orders." The way I envisioned things for the time being would be that the game would tell the players what battlefield type to use and what lists to use. The players would then select their own units, as though playing a custom game.

In the case of a solitaire campaign, the tool (ToC) would also set the difficulty level for battles. (I'm currently envisioning a Stilicho solo scenario, where the more success you have, the fewer resources the emperor will grant you.) This is not essential, though.

Customized lists is set for a bit in the future.

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Re: Tides of Conquest: An FoG Multiplayer Campaign Tool

Post by Lysimachos » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:58 pm

I tried to have a go with this very interesting tool but I have to say I was nearly able to do nothing because it's quite impossible to have the pointer rightly clicking on the province or the orders I wanted to select.

It's a real pity because the idea is great and seems very well developed ...
"Audentis fortuna iuvat"
- Virgilius

(Good luck favours the brave)

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