I want STRATEGIC BOMBING from space. Attacking ground installations, with only collateral taxpayer casualties. No "genocide runs," because no genocide (or, at least, extremely slow, tedious genocide that might not exceed the rate of population growth). We could pretty much do this with 20th Century technology... why not in the future?
I have an idea to make this rather easy.
Players, at any time, should have the ability distribute the population of one of their planets around the tiles on that planet. New population gets randomly allotted to random tiles, meaning that it would be useful for the player to do this only when an invasion is inevitable. Distributing population would, however, have no effect on production.
When a planetary invasion is initiated, the invader chooses which tiles to start off from and how many troops to allocate to each one of those tiles, and the invasion then progresses from there outward until all the improvable tiles of the planet have been captured.
Citizens(if any) inhabiting non-improvable tiles(tiles that don't contribute to PQ) would still be alive, and then the player would be faced with 3 options:
Good: Convince them to join your civ and make them equal citizens.(BC lost, population gained)
Neutral: Let them do whatever they want.(No change)
Evil: Enslave them!(Big military & social production bonus)
Now, here's how Orbital Bombardment comes into this picture of an improved Planetary Invasion:
You can attach Bombardment Modules to any ship, but they take up a lot of space and cost a bit. These Bombardment Modules allow for that ship's weaponry to be used for Orbital Bombardment. When one of these 'bomber' ships arrive in orbit around a foreign planet with no defending ships in orbit, a screen comes up with the planet map showing improvements and population allotted to each tile. The player then chooses one tile to attack, and the ship rolls and attacks. The attack strength removes a number of citizens from that tile by either killing them or causing them to flee to a neighboring tile on their own. The formula for damage done is:
ShipAttack * 20000 taxpayers
where ShipAttack is the total number of attack points for any kind of weapon on the ship. For each point of damage, 15000 citizens would flee and 5000 citizens would be killed. However, the ship would:
1. Need at least one Bombardment Module in order to bomb a tile at all.
2. Only be able to bomb as many tiles per turn as it has Bombardment Modules.
3. Lose 10% of total HP for every bombing run due to atmospheric entrance.
4. Have to bomb the planet upon entering an undefended orbit, so that this isn't used as a form of espionage.
Once a tile has no population left on it, any improvement built there gets destroyed and the tile must be terraformed for further use. A bombing raid would also disable the defenders ability to shift it's population for the next turn due to shock.
This way, the population would take a long time and a very powerful ship to totally get destroyed, and thus causing bombardment to be method of merely reducing the difficulty of an invasion and not being a 'genocide run'. Also, if any new defending ship enters orbit while the bomber is still there, the invasion fleet must fight another battle to maintain space superiority.
This would result in some nice strategies, like taking down planetary defense improvements and then going after those chunky Galactic Achievements and Hyperion super-projects to strategically cripple an opponent. If the enemy depends on their 4 Hyperion Shrinkers to make immensely powerful warships while you have only 1 Shrinker, you could bomb those enemy Shrinkers into dust to permanently weaken their military power.