A big part of the original game was the ability to spend gold to buy improvements in each of your settlements. For example, you could spend 15 Gold on a farm, which would give you +1 Food every turn.
But then I thought about sieges, and how cool they could be. A player might not have enough firepower to attack an enemy city outright, but they might be able to camp outside and stop the people inside the town walls from getting out to their farms.
And that in turn got me thinking. Towns don’t have farms! The farms are in the land around them, not in the town itself. So I had the idea to let the players build improvements on any suitable tile, instead of in towns.
That would give the players an incentive to stick around in an area, because they have it built-up with amenities, instead of moving on. It would also allow for sieges as I mentioned before.
So here is how I picture it.
Each map tile is a, say, 2″ square. Improvements are 1″ square tiles with a little picture of the improvement on them, and whatever their effect is. Therefore, each improvement is 1/4 the size of the gridsquares. The players are allowed up to two improvements on a tile.
You need to have at least one unit per improvement in a tile to get the bonus. So if you had two farms, you would need two people in that tile to work them. Only one persons’ units can be in the same tile, but an improvement can be worked by any players’ units.
Each turn, if the above condition is met, the tile’s bonus is carried out. For example, if it was a farm tile, then 3 food would be placed on that square.
Here are the improvement ideas I’ve come up with so far.
- Cows: plains, hills: +3 Food
- Sheep: plains, hills, mountains: +2 Food, +1 Gold
- Fish: coastal tiles, rivers: +3 Food
- Road: all non-water tiles: units can move unlimited distance along roads.
- Wall: all non-water tiles: +2 Defence
- Gems: mountains: +2 Gold
- Canal: all non-water tiles: Makes deserts equivalent to plains (ie. you can have Cows + Sheep there) and boats can move in that tile.
- Tea: hills, only when the weather value is greater than or equal to 2: +2 Food +2 Gold
- Tower: all non-water tiles: can roll a d6 to kill that many units in an adjacent square.
I want to figure out a way to shoehorn in potatoes, because potatoes are cool, and maybe a “village” or something that creates a unit every turn, or when you roll a die or something. Maybe Iron, Silver, or Gold mines, to offer more options in mountains (beyond Sheep, Gems and sometimes Fish).
One thing to keep in mind is that the people working the tiles need to be fed each turn! And any spare resources they might have must be moved back to towns, or anyone could come along, kill the units, and steal the resources. They might even stay in the tile
One thing I’m considering is “technology”. The players have a number of technology cards, on show to everyone else, and they can only build a certain improvement if they have the right tech/s. They can choose any 5 or so at the beginning of the game, and either buy more or get them when they defeat other players. That would add an extra layer of strategy, as you need to figure out what you might need later in the game, and analyse your starting position and try and choose the optimal technologies.
But the game is already too similar to Sid Meier’s Civilization series than I’d like, and this would only make it even more similar. I’m wondering right now am I heading in the right direction, or am I making everything too complex? Is there another way I could do what I want to do, that’s a little bit less similar to Civ? Maybe it’s even a better option for me?