There was a weather mechanic in the original game that I was really proud of. It looked like this:
2 - Scorching
3 - Hot
3 - Temperate <<<
2 - Cold
1 - Freezing
Look complicated? Don’t worry, it’s not.
I mentioned that you could tell your population to make food each turn. Well, the arrows there mean that the temperature is now Temperate. So for each unit in Food, that turn you’ll get 3 Food. If the weather was Freezing, then you would get 1 Food for each farming population unit.
If the event die was a 6, then the weather would change. It was rolled again. If the roll was 3 or less, the weather got colder, if it was 4 or higher, the weather got hotter.
This was really cool. You noticed that the weather was good right now, and you should probably make the most of it. But it wasn’t an urgent situation, so you put it off and got Gold instead, because you needed that right now. But then, your population worked their way through your food store, you were running on empty, and the weather was Freezing. That means at best, you could only maintain your food stocks, and not increase them at all.
My friend gained an early advantage by breeding like mad, having a much larger population than everyone else. We thought we were screwed. Then suddenly, the weather disimproved, and he was left in a really tough place trying to get enough food so that nobody starved, while the rest of us with our small populations were safe with large food stores.
So I’m extending this mechanic a little bit, into seasons. The weather board will now look like this:
    |     |  [#]   |    
2 - Showery 3 - Hot 4 - Sunny 2 - Cold
2 - Breezy 4 - Temperate 3 - Warm <<< 1 - Icy
1 - Frosty 3 - Mild 3 - Chilly 0 - Freezing
This looks a bit more complex, but it combines two things I wanted – more strategy, and a turn counter.
The 12 spots represent the twelve months, split into seasons of four months, as you would expect. Each turn, you move the counter one spot, so every four turns it’s a new season (although I think it might work better with longer seasons, maybe 8 turns instead of 4).
Each season has its own weather chart. You just use the one for whatever season you’re currently in. But you notice that each season has different values on its weather chart. Winter has much lower values than summer. What I’m going for here is making the player think ahead.
It’s autumn. The player has loads of food, and is at war with someone. That’s what they’re focusing on. But their opponent isn’t investing in Population and Defence, but in Food instead. Why? They have even more than you!
Because three turns later, it’s suddenly winter, and food is much harder to come by. Now you’re going to starve to death, while your opponent still has plenty of food to last them through.
Of course, that tactic wouldn’t have worked if it had been a mild summer. You wouldn’t have had much of a problem with food. They would have lost the war, because while they had loads of food, they didn’t have much in the way of troops.
The game could also come with a couple of different climate mats. They could be for different places. For example, a Desert scenario, where food is hard to come by at all times of year, or a Snowy setting, where the summer is the *only* time you can grow anything. Or maybe the game is set somewhere where they only have two or three seasons. Maybe there is a Hurricane Season, or Monsoon Season? Could be cool.
I like this idea. I think it’ll probably need some polishing and balancing, but it could work pretty well imho. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.