I'm working on a board game called Farlanthia: Lords of War. And I need some help with resolving diplomacy during play.

My original idea was to have Diplomacy be a form of "attack" like in RISK. This would force another player to perform an action (like a trade, or peace treaty, etc.) The idea is that each "season" you would send a diplomat to court, and politics would play out. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't. This would allow me to use modifier cards (say, you have as prisoner a general from the other player, this would give you +2 in diplomacy with them).

However, as was pointed out on BoardGameGeek this isn't optimal for everyone. So I'm considering adding in a voluntary portion where if both parties agree to the treaty at hand, it goes into place without die rolling.

Thoughts? I'm just not sure how to arbitrate the rules of diplomacy during an otherwise concrete game if the diplomatic actions aren't just as concrete.


(Cross-posted to Board and Card Games)

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because the help center defines Game Development Stack Exchange as an exchange site "for professional and amateur video/computer game developers". \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Feb 23 '14 at 12:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp then flag it as off-topic instead of posting a useless comment. that's what the flag link is there for. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen Furlani Feb 24 '14 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is what I did. Comment like the one I wrote are created automatically when you vote for closing a question for a non-default reason. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Feb 24 '14 at 15:25

new to the site, so don't know how to "comment" as I've seen done on other questions. Do you have to worry about populace? i.e. How much micro-management does the player engage in during gameplay? In large part, the complexity of the game can influence the amount of control you (as game designer) have over individual aspects of gameplay and consequently, the more strange player-generated outcomes are possible.

My thoughts so far based on what I'm hearing:

  • The card idea is good.
  • Diplomacy is by nature based on human interaction, so the only random element (in the form of dice, RISK-attack style) would be the populace's reaction to whatever policy was being decided on. As a result, it is not necessary to "force" the other player to react. Instead, you could have a heavy incentive (for instance, the negative effects on public opinion are doubled if the player does nothing). In some situations, this negative penalty could be waived, leading to diplomatic situations which are ignored because the penalty for not acting would be less than the potential trouble involved in acting.
  • If you are going for realism in all its complexity, you'll have to post some more info on how gameplay works.

A rule of thumb is: If you are intentionally simplifying things (e.g. soldiers "cancel out", populace mindlessly works) simply take into account how much you are simplifying and try to modify the game mechanics to reflect that simplification. (A good example would be Sid Meier's Civilization games. Very simplified representation, but very interdependent as far as game balance, resulting in highly complex gameplay.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Lots of good comments, thanks. There's actually diplomatic actions you can take against your own people - such as forced labor, or raise taxes. In that case, an opponent rolls the dice for your people. Otherwise, the populace is left pretty much to their own devices. You build & raise towns and muster troops, but that's pretty much it. I want the game to be more about the heroes running the civs, instead of the populace. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen Furlani Nov 2 '10 at 16:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you are new to the site you have to build a small amount of reputation by asking or answering questions before you gain access to other features. You gain rep when someone upvotes you, like I have done because your answer was well thought out and relevant. \$\endgroup\$ – AttackingHobo Nov 2 '10 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ It seems like an army-based game approach, with politics to enrich gameplay. So, the final result depends on how politics are to affect player actions. Since "heroes" are "running the civs," politics are probably mostly P2P, with other effects being marginal. Again, balance: under high taxes, does a city revolt or refuse to work? But with PVP politics/diplomacy, you can list all diplomatic actions in a table and assign the result. If you don't like tables, I understand: just assign each action a value and allow modifications (e.g. peace-treaty(-1) prisoner general(+2)), and roll the dice. \$\endgroup\$ – Humble Penguin Nov 2 '10 at 16:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ On further thought, the assigning values method could support negative mods which the opponent could play against you, like: Blackmail, -1. And you could then have "Espionage missions" which could destroy the blackmail card. But all that is up to you. \$\endgroup\$ – Humble Penguin Nov 2 '10 at 16:57

Interesting game. The one thing I would change is the way leadership works. Instead of lowest to highest why not make it the other way around (highest to lowest). The you can use the sum as a sort of currency to do actions. ie. action points. This allows more flexibility than just spending die.

For instance, you roll the 3D6 and get the sum. That represents how many action points (AP) you have that turn. Certain actions then cost AP to perform. For instance, scouting a tile might cost 4AP. The player then removes that from his sum represented by the dice in front of him.

This allows for more actions per turn. Cards to modify this sum (negatively or positively) to provide some added strategy and to supplement the diplomacy.

Personally, I would not want to resolve diplomacy directly with the roll of a die. Free-form diplomacy always works the best (and is the most fun). You could allow people a number of diplomacy options then set the number of AP it costs to propose the action and offer player a chance to "sweeten" the deal. The player being propositioned can then propose a counter-offer which is then accepted or not.

For example, if I roll a 2, 4, 6 on my turn I would have 12 AP to spend. Imagine I really want a 2 season truce with my neighbour (Tommy). So I consult the chart and see that it costs 4 AP to make the proposal. So I remove this from my dice total immediately (2,6 = 8) that is my risk since I dont know if Tommy will agree. I look through the chart to see what I can offer, ie. troops, AP, die, territory, etc. So I make an offer for 6 AP this turn for 2 season truce. He makes a counter offer, which cannot change the term (2 season truce) but can change the incentives. So Tommy offers the 2 turn truce for 6 AP now and 1 die next turn. If I refuse the initial AP is lost. If I accept the agreement goes into effect immediately.

Diplomacy would have to occur earlier in the action list (likely first).

Hope I explained that properly :S Once you get the game finished let me know I can help produce it for you :)

Aaron Field Marshal Games

  • \$\begingroup\$ The leadership Dice mechanic is borrowed from Kingsburg (FFG). I want to minimize the amount of math involved - the die is the number rolled, or it's spent. The card provides a number, and then discarded. You have n troops on the field, you pay x pieces of gold for y more troops - and the gold goes back into the stock. I think there's a definite time and place for beancounting mechanics, but I want to make the game a bit more pick-up-and-play than that. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephen Furlani Nov 3 '10 at 12:38

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