Browser-based strategy game where you play an empire vs other player empires. The main PvP element is battles between empires where outcome results in gaining or losing rank. Troops are also damaged/lost in battles.
You can only declare war (enables battles) against empires of a similar rank. War then remains active until one side surrenders, lost too many battles or there was no battles for x amount of time. This works fine as far as making any single war reasonably balanced at the time it starts. Wars are 1 on 1 but you can be involved in several simultaneously effectively making 1 vs many possible.
I would like diplomacy and alliances to be a part of the game, but I also want to prevent excessive dogpiling. The difficulty here is finding a working middle road between:
A. No simultaneous wars (if someone is already at war you cannot attack). This results in "phony wars" as players go to war just to prevent anyone else from attacking them while building up for a real one.
B. No attack restrictions which easily results in everyone within rank range jumping some poor guy and wrecking him.
Some mechanics I already have related to this are:
- For each war you have a stance for your troops ranging between Defensive-Offensive. Offensives will tax your economy more but is needed to push for a conclusive victory.
- Defenders advantage applies when fighting defensively inside your own territory.
- Less gains from winning against lower ranks which comes into play for many vs 1 wars when the 1 starts losing rank from surrenders/lost battles.
This makes dogpiling less profitable, could even be a net economic loss for most winners. Doesn't matter though, players still do it.
I'm fine with many vs 1 wars sometimes happening, the challenge is to have it be the exception rather than the norm. My current line of thought is to not limit the option of doing it but to keep tacking on more penalties until it gets to an acceptable level. What I'm looking for with this question is examples of rank-based systems which achieved this already and/or suggestions of new mechanics that would take my game in this direction.