So I’ve been thinking about territory, sieges, and adventuring recently while playing the latest beta, and I’ve run into some new, and old problems, and come up with some solutions, partly drawn from new games and partly of my own. The problems:
1 – It’s far too easy to move from one town to another in a couple of turns with three or four units and quickly conquer an enemy settlement before the enemy can see you coming or prepare. If the town is an important one, this can decide a war almost as soon as it begins, especially once you add the garrison and defence bonuses to your invading ones.
2 – Adventuring still gets hemmed in by enemy territory. For all the increased emphasis on exploration, you usually do not see the shape of the map until you have conquered it.
3 – Both the player and AI are massively vulnerable to attack in the early game. A few lucky champions and items in the early game can win you the whole thing if you really want to cheese it, and unlucky monster generation can make some starting positions impossible.
So my solutions are broadly as follows:
You should not be able to occupy an enemy town without troops to police the streets. Champions alone should not be able to do this.
Removing this ability from champions would improve the usefulness of infantry, but, since it would reduce the danger posed to cities by champions, we could therefore give champions the ability to enter other faction’s territory when unaccompanied by troops. This would allow champions to keep adventuring later on in the game, and prevent the potential problems of quest objectives spawning in inaccessible locations.
You should not be able to attack a walled settlement without either A a siege weapon (either a catapult, or troops with ladders and grappling hooks) B an equally powerful monster or C some serious magic or magic item. Enforcing this rule would, providing the player remembered to build a wall, fulfil the same purpose as the Planetary Invasion tech in GalCiv2: giving the player and AI a brief kindergarten period in which to establish a functioning empire before the real wars started, but would also have a believable justification.
Essentially, these kind of mechanics could be easily enabled by giving all troops (and humanoid monsters, like darklings) a “garrison” trait, and all siege weapons a “wall-breaker” trait. A unit with “wall-breaker” would be required to attack a city, and a unit with “garrison” would be required to hold it. Only units with these traits would trigger a territory violation.
I would also impose a minimum time period before the invading army was able to benefit from the city militia. This could be enabled by requiring players to build a cheap, early game building with no maintenance in order to benefit from militia, which would be automatically destroyed on any invasion.
So these measures would more or less fix the problems I mentioned earlier. But it still allows players to take enemy settlements very quickly if they have everything in place and makes blitzkrieg still the best tactic. What is needed for this is a proper, total war style siege system. When I say this I am NOT talking about big, impressive siege battles. Please don’t start debating which game had the best siege battles because we’ve had that thread before.
What I am talking about is simply a system that forces the besieging army to wait a few turn on the world map, between attacking a city and fighting the actual battle. The time involved would depend on the quality of the defences and the number and quality of catapults and other siege equipment. Enforcing this waiting time would give the defending player time to prepare his forces, and maybe bring in a relief force from another city, which is an essential component of any fun siege.
So what do you think?