Game Playability

Field of Glory: Empires is a grand strategy game in which you will have to move in an intricate and living tapestry of nations and tribes, each one with their distinctive culture.
Set in Europe and in the Mediterranean Area during the Classical Age, experience what truly means to manage an Empire.

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Morbio
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Game Playability

Post by Morbio » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:55 am

I've been playing various games now since day one and want to share my thoughts and hear your comments in return.

I think this is a really good game concept, the recent patch has improved the game, although there are still more improvements that could, and some certainly should, be made. The key issues I see with the game now are;

Certainly in MP games, and probably in SP games too, the only way to win the game is to play a tier 1 country. These start with such an advantage in terms of; army size, culture production and culture producing potential, slave ethnicity, money, etc. that realistically no small country will ever catch them.

Northern nations are handicapped by being away from all the key markets and have slaves who are rebellious by nature. I find that my time here is spent trying to raise money to build an army and then when I capture a few regions my focus then is trying to keep the slaves in check, which either builds decadence (due to partial provinces and slave markets) or severely limits culture production.

Tier 3 countries seem to have no real progression path. They take ages to build anything (armies, population or resources) and when they conquer a region they get a 1 population region with 1 or 2 buildings... or sometimes 0! This then does effectively nothing for 10s of turns as it tries to build a population or build a resoource. If you lose your 1st battle as a Tier 3 country, the dice and the general (for or against) can play a big factor here, and lose your half-decent starting army then it's almost impossible to progress as the heavy warriors (or whatever you were gifted at the start) can't be replaced for decades because you need to build barracks and this can take a long time to get the option and then to build even if you have a spare slot.

I realise this is by design as it's meant to be a historically-based game, but it is very frustrating a limiting. I think something should be done to enable northern and other tier 3 countries to have more of a boost at the start and a means to control slaves. I'd like the option to crucify all or some slaves after a rebellion to reset meter and maybe make those that survive the purge less rebellious. I'd also suggest that giving tier 3 player countries better generals and less adverse events for the first 50 years. As an example: I'm playing Iberia, I get a 0-0 general at the start, I have a bad administrator and diplomat leader, my neighbour declares war on me in the first few years. I go to war and lose the first battle and all my Heavy Infantry die and I can't replace these. I then get the plague on my main region and my enemy conquers my other regions. I'm waiting for the earthquake....

What do you think should be done, if anything, to give the non-tier 1 countries a boost if they are non-AI?

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Re: Game Playability

Post by 13obo » Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:09 pm

You've been quite unlucky! I'd probably have given up...

As I have previously said in other discussions, this game is not (and does not aim to be) Civilization where people start with a settler and a warrior and thus have an equal start. Multiplayer in FOGE plays similarly to EU IV one in that if you want a good game you either need to have players start with similar nations (preferably small), or you need to have an unwritten understanding that the players with strong nations will leave the small ones alone at least for a while so they can catch up.

There is simply no way to balance FOGE so that tier 3 nations will have similar starting opportunities to the tier 1s without creating a completely ahistorical game. Perhaps a mod could be created to do this but I would not play it - I would rather play Civilization if that was the case as that game is much more focused on balancing rather than aiming to be historical like FOGE.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by Dricky » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:14 pm

Tiered victory conditions? Or a higher rate of Legacy gain for based on nation start.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by Pocus » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:13 pm

13obo wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:09 pm

There is simply no way to balance FOGE so that tier 3 nations will have similar starting opportunities to the tier 1s without creating a completely ahistorical game.
I think that's a good summary of the situation...

But I'm not closing door here to another aspect mentioned. Even if third rate nations can't be compensated somehow by being provided with extra leaders, lucky events and I don't know why, if there is a popular support for it, we can make it so that they can win more easily. So they would still have a hard time practically on map, but the victory condition can be made asymmetric.
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13obo
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Re: Game Playability

Post by 13obo » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:20 pm

Different victory conditions is one solution indeed though what I think would probably happen in practical terms in a multiplayer game is that the stronger nation, upon seeing the legacy advantage of the smaller nation, would simply invade and destroy its challenger. Brute power trumps culture.

I'm not averse to adding more options to the game though! So if people really think that would be fun, then by all means I'll support it.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by loki100 » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:11 pm

in MP, if you take one of the remote tier III nations (such as the Picts) then you are never going to win by any measure. So you are playing for fun and to be irritating to the real powers in the game.

In SP, it is possible but takes a lot of care and, I'd agree, some luck. With earlier patches I managed to get both the Belgae and the Sarmatians to #1 on legacy and had a Pictish Empire stretching over most of Gaul. Equally with the Picts I've had suddent T10-12 terminal events.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by Will_L » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:47 pm

There is something to be said for leading a tier 3 nation to glory and then having it all swirling down the crapper over the course of a few turns when the ruler dies and is replaced by a drooling idiot, seems very much like history LOL

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Re: Game Playability

Post by Jagger2002 » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:17 pm

In MP, if you take one of the remote tier III nations (such as the Picts) then you are never going to win by any measure. So you are playing for fun and to be irritating to the real powers in the game.
I am playing 2 small nations, Dacia and Cheruscii. And yes, I really don't expect to win. I am just having fun. Build up, make alliances with the nearest human player, divide up spheres of influence, cooperate on joint operations... It is a lot of fun. Much more fun than playing the AI and trying to win the Legacy trophy. Fun is what it is all about unless you are one of the big guys that has a realistic chance of winning the trophy. Then winning becomes an objective as well.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by sage3 » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:29 pm

Pocus wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:13 pm
13obo wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:09 pm

There is simply no way to balance FOGE so that tier 3 nations will have similar starting opportunities to the tier 1s without creating a completely ahistorical game.
I think that's a good summary of the situation...

But I'm not closing door here to another aspect mentioned. Even if third rate nations can't be compensated somehow by being provided with extra leaders, lucky events and I don't know why, if there is a popular support for it, we can make it so that they can win more easily. So they would still have a hard time practically on map, but the victory condition can be made asymmetric.
I'm really intrigued by the idea of asymetric victory conditions. They work really well in a lot of historical board games, and can create really interesting game play dynamics.

For example, you could see conditional victory objectives:
For Rome to win, Carthage must not exist on the map (& Rome has the most Legacy).
For a successor to Win, no other successor may have greater than half as much Legacy (& has the most Legacy)
For (minor) to Win, has occupied N objectives; receives a legacy bonus multiplier (& has the most legacy).

I think it should also be possible for minors to gain legacy by beating the armies of high legacy opponents, with the bonus being proportional to size of the victory and the legacy differential. High legacy opponents, in turn, can only lose legacy from fighting. This might also provide a rubber band mechanism to pull the rear of the legacy pack towards the front.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by MARVIN_THE_ARVN » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:39 pm

Personally, I don't mind knowing that as a tier 3 nation I am probably not going to win or it's going to be an uphill struggle.

If people want a more balanced mode and the devs want to do it then fair play, personally I probably wouldn't bother playing it as a lot of the flavour of the game for me is the difference in nations.
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ledo
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Re: Game Playability

Post by ledo » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:31 pm

MARVIN_THE_ARVN wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:39 pm
Personally, I don't mind knowing that as a tier 3 nation I am probably not going to win or it's going to be an uphill struggle.

If people want a more balanced mode and the devs want to do it then fair play, personally I probably wouldn't bother playing it as a lot of the flavour of the game for me is the difference in nations.
Yeah personally I'm not too concerned with a victory screen. When you've 'won' a game you know it. Not to say you're not trying to do as well as possible but the victory screen can be somewhat irrelevant to me if I think I've pulled off something great.

If I saw an end of game screenshot with an Antigonid/Seleucid/Rome/Carthage victory but Athens controlled the entirety of Greece and half the Balkans, the real winner for me would be Greece. There's no prize at the end of the day so all you get is a pat on the back, and frankly what gets a pat on the back isn't always a victory screen.

If anything I would say that tier 1 nations are also disadvantaged by the current system, in that there's far more pressure to win and far less kudos for pulling it off. i.e. If you start a rook ahead in a chess game no ones going to go crazy with the plaudits if you win, if you start a rook and a queen down and even managed to slightly even the odds, people will say what a great game you played.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by Hurz_slith » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:04 am

After playing two games as tier 1 nations I started now a game as Tier 3 Gothones. Although after ~130turns I do not really see that I will have a chance to be on top of the Legacy table in the end, it is still fun to play. There is more to think about what to build when, when to conquer or when to target development steps than with the Tier 1 nations. I am also curious if I will be strong enough to fight one of the big blobs later and destroy roman legions in German forests. So, I agree to most comments here that winning is not the only target in the end - but I also saw in my first game that AI controlled Britons could climb up to rank 3 in the legacy table, so let´s see what will be possible :)

One idea to increase the chances of Tier 3s: What about a mechanism in that a low ranked nation/tribe that is beating a top tier nation will take over legacy points from them? In the end, the Huns are today not renowned for their impressive buildings and fine art theater play, but because they managed to break into the big roman empire.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by Morbio » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:42 am

Regarding the comment that 'brute power trumps culture' then that is true whether there are assymetric victory conditions or not. At present many of the tier 3 countries can only exist after the initial moves at the sufferance of a major power.

I agree that winning isn't everything and there is some reward in playing for its own sake and there is reward in simply surviving to the end. However, not everyone wants a SIMS like experience, there needs to be a realistic way for all players to win. I'd go so far as to say that for some nations there needs to be a way to progress... in a number of games my countries are surrounded by 1 population, no resoruce provinces and so achieving anything is a struggle, it's not hard per se, just slow and a little tedious, this often involves moving the 1 population between food and infrastructure to avoid starving and trying not to go negative on infrastructure and risk losing any existing resources.

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Re: Game Playability

Post by MARVIN_THE_ARVN » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:32 pm

I guess a lot comes down to personal preference and the devs vision. Are they trying to create a generic balanced experience or do they want to create a historical but unbalanced experience.

Personally, I find the Civilization line of games very immersion breaking as they makes no sense with regards to the nationalities (For example starting with the USA in the stone age) and to have immortal leaders. Its not a bad game and I play it with friends and have fun, I just wish they didn't bother with trying to make the nationalities fit our history and use its own background.

Now, lets be honest, FOGE has a fair number of issues but the one thing is does for me, is that the immersion is there. I can play a tier 3 civilization but it's going to be a tough ride but I can make my mark on the world or I can play one of the world powers and I do have the power to shatter other nations or empires but that comes with its own issues.

I think Tier 3 play is best done in SP or with people in MP who want to keep people in the game and enjoy the politics side of things, it's just s shame that side of the game is so underdeveloped.

Anyway, just some mad ramblings and thoughts for a Tier 2/3 MP player :D
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Re: Game Playability

Post by loki100 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:19 pm

From Pocus' designers notes, there is no real interest in evening out the factions, the tiers should give you a rough and ready comparison but beyond that they are unequal. I think the Getae are described as the hardest starting faction.

so fully agree, don't ignore legacy etc as that is the game's key currency, but play to have fun with your particular starting point.

13obo
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Re: Game Playability

Post by 13obo » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:37 pm

I think the hardest nation is that German tribe that starts on Gotland island? Forgot their name, but basically they are in the middle of nowhere with no ability to trade with others. Though Gatae must be tough too.

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