--Imperator-- wrote: ↑
Wed May 23, 2018 3:08 am
What about a button below "Send Msg" in the Capital -> Empire tab titled "Declare War"? This will set the empire's state and color to hostile correspondingly, and possibly also notify the target player than Empire X has declared war on them. For empires in a "war" state, replace that button with one titled "Negotiate Peace", which sets the state back to neutral. Of course, both of these would have reasonable cooldowns - 72 hours seems fair.
Formal declarations of war sound very simple to implement. Even better, it would allow the game to notify the player that their citizens will not accept the aggression (due to imperial might differences) at the time of declaration, NOT when their invasion fleet is in orbit and poised to attack. It is important to communicate this mechanic to new players better.
Problems with the Proposed System of Protracted Combat
Also, there is a post on Ministry indicating that planetary invasions could possibly take a full cycle to complete
and transfer control of the world to the attacker, similar to how civil wars are conducted. Which is actually an excellent idea - it prevents the infamous blitz wars still common in Era 3 if an attacker has jumpbeacon access. So presumably ground units are intended to be preserved and will potentially play a greater role in the future (different infantry types speeding up the invasion process?)
As proposed, empire-empire combat is a new combat system
where the actual ground combat phase takes at least a cycle (24 hours) whenever a player lands ground units on another player's worlds. It is a great idea, but needs some refinement.
One issue is that players could use it to lock up a planet without actually being able to capture it, by just landing a couple troops even when it's not enough to win.
It also makes multi-way combat complicated. A long ground combat phase will result in all kinds of weird permutations of players fighting each other and the game has to be able to handle it.
Finally, having THREE different forms of ground combat- fast combat against independent planets, slow combat against other empires, and virtual civil war combat - is pretty complicated, and not very intuitive.
Here's What I Think
I think it makes sense to have ALL ground combat take a single consistent form, with two phases: assault and insurgency.
Assault is fast and determines who occupies a planet. Insurgency is slow and determines who ultimately owns the planet. My proposed solution also addresses planetary combat involving multiple empires (read on!)
The TL;DR version (which is still kind of long)
The long and thoughtful version
- Combat should have two phases, assault (like normal combat right now) and insurgency (civil war mechanics, but either rebels or the planet's original owner can be the insurgents).
- Planets can be associated with two sovereigns, an occupier and a nominal owner. For normal planets not involved in a war, the occupier is the nominal owner.
- Assault combat quickly determines who occupies a planet. Insurgency combat slowly determines who will own a planet.
- When an invasion is performed, ground units engage in assault combat until one force has mostly overpowered the other. If the invader wins, the ground units occupy the planet. Surviving ground units from the defending sovereign become insurgents, who use civil war mechanics to fight the occupier's ground units. Units that are insurgents cannot be directly assaulted. During occupation, all of a planet's trade routes halt and nonessential structures stop functioning (both resume automatically if the occupation ends).
- When independent worlds are invaded, the defenders become rebel insurgents but the occupier gets ownership of the planet immediately. There is no "occupation". Otherwise, early game expansion will be very slow and frustrating. Players MUST be able to capture and designate independent planets during their first game session.
- If an occupier defeats player-owned insurgents according to civil war mechanics (which usually takes at least 1 cycle), the occupier becomes the owner and the planet becomes a normal world in the occupier's empire.
- If there are no occupier units on a planet, the occupation ends immediately unless the insurgents are rebels. During rebel insurgencies, planets go independent according to existing civil war mechanics (this typically takes about a cycle).
- Insurgents that are loyal to an empire convert into normal units the instant that their empire lands ground units on their planet. (This means if you land units on a planet that an enemy occupies, your insurgents stop being insurgents and join the assault combat. However, if you lose the assault, the surviving units go back to being insurgents and the timer for when the planet will get fully captured does NOT reset.)
- Insurgents will also convert into normal units a few periods after an occupation ends via unit withdrawal or insurgency victory. There are good but complicated reasons that insurgents shouldn't convert instantly if an occupation is ended by means other than direct assault.
- When a civil war starts, a rebel insurgency begins. Rebel units never engage in assault combat. Civil wars and independent planet conquests are the only cases where forces can become insurgents without nominally owning a planet.
- Ground units of an occupier sovereign cannot become insurgents if other insurgents (either rebels or the loyalist forces of a planet's nominal owner) are already present. An occupier's units have to fight to the death when the planet they are occupying gets assaulted.
- If a planet goes into civil war while being occupied, disaffected citizens join the loyalist insurgents instead of a rebel faction appearing.
- The "Destroy Ships and Defenses" combat mission should be replaced with a "Destroy Units" mission when it is used against planets. "Destroy Units" allows a fleet to land units on a planet and engage in assault combat, but NOT to occupy the planet. "Destroy Units" is a hostile act against a planet's occupier. "Invade" is a hostile act against both the occupier and the nominal owner. "Desroy Units" could be logically further divided into "Raid" (destroy units on unoccupied planet) and "Liberate" (destroy units on occupied planet).
- Under this system it is rare or impossible to conquer and retain a world without stationing troops on it for at least one cycle in order to defeat insurgents.
- Under this system it is rare or impossible for a player to gain ground units through enemy surrenders. This is because defeated units either become insurgents or fight to the death, depending on the pre-existing conditions on the planet. The only possible way for ground units to surrended would be insurgents possibly surrendering after insurgency ends.
Assault is standard, fast ground combat, like what happens in an invasion. If an empire that is invading a planet loses during the assault phase their units are repulsed; they are killed or flee to transports. Combat does not enter the insurgency phase if invaders are successfully fought off.
If the invader wins, surviving ground units from the planet's defenders go underground, becoming insurgents. No units are captured. Combat now moves to the occupation/insurgency phase which is very similar to the current civil war combat mechanics; the insurgency is won or lost according to existing civil war mechanics. During an occupation, all structures except habitats and consumer goods autofacs stop operating and trade routes stop working. The big distinction is that during occupation, the planet is still owned by the defending empire. The occupying empire is allowed to move resources onto or off of the planet. If at any point an occupier does not have any ground units on the planet due to units either being removed or being defeated through civil war type combat, the occupation ends and the insurgents come out of hiding after one or two periods, converting back into normal units. Insurgents shouldn't convert back into normal units immediately or it will lead to some not-very-interesting but mechanically problematic exploits. If at any point all insurgents are dead (or surrender due to changes in public sentiment, I suppose), the insurgency ends and the occupier gets full ownership of the planet.
The rules are very slightly different for invading independent planets. If an independent planet is invaded, it joins the player empire immediately but with a rebel insurgency going on against the player. (There is no occupation, just an insurgency. This means trade routes and structures work as normal and can be established right away.)
Under this system, the existing "invade" and "destroy units" missions can BOTH involve landing ground units if ground unit and transports are present in the fleet. The distinction is now that the "destroy ships and defenses" mission can now also be used to destroy ground units without capturing a planet, while the "invade" mission attempts take over the planet and is a hostile act against all parties present on the planet.
Expanding the "destroy units" mission to encompass ground combat is an important part of the system
; read on to understand why.
Civil wars under the new system
Civil war only has an insurgency phase. The player must occupy their own planet and has to put down a rebel insurgency. Civil wars do not break affect trade routes or shut down structures
My examples involve 4 players. Alice, Bob, and David are fighting one another, while Charlie wants to help Bob.
Example 1: Invasion by a second party.
Alice attacks Bob's BobWorld using the invade mission. She lands ground units in transports which initiates an assault. If Alice wins, her troops occupy the planet. Bob's survivors become insurgents. Bob will retain nominal ownership until his insurgent forces are eventually defeated in one cycle (or longer).
Example 2: Invasion of an occupied planet by a third party.
Alice is already occupying BobWorld; Bob has nominal ownership and there is an ongoing insurgency. David attacks BobWorld using the invasion mission. David is committing a hostile act against both Alice and Bob in this scenario. If David wins the invasion, Alice's units fight to the death (there can only be one set of insurgents and they are not interested in allowing Alice's thugs to join them). Now David is occupying the planet and has to deal with the ongoing Bob insurgency. Bob is still the planet's nominal owner until his insurgents are defeated.
Destroy Units mission
Example 3: Raid by a second party.
Alice attacks Bob's BobWorld using the destroy units mission. Ground units land in transports and engage in an assault. If Alice wins, her units still retreat to their transports and Bob retains BobWorld. His surviving forces became insurgents after Alice won and they come out of hiding after a couple periods.This is kind of a boring example (but see my Optional section at the bottom!). For clarity, the "destroy units" mission could be renamed "Raid" when it is used against another empire's planet that is not occupied by a third party.
Example 4: Raid of an occupied planet by a third party.
Alice is again occupying BobWorld; Bob has nominal ownership and there is an ongoing Bob loyalist insurgency. Bob's pal Charlie attacks BobWorld using the destroy units mission. This is a hostile act against Alice, the occupier, but NOT against Bob, the owner. Charlie lands transports and engages in assault combat against Alice. If Charlie wins, the insurgency ends and the planet returns to Bob's full control. Charlie's ground units return to their transports and take off back into orbit. In short, the "Destroy Units" mission here allows a player to help another player whose planet is occupied, by attacking the occupier and returning it to the owner's full control.
For clarity, the "destroy units" mission could be renamed "Liberate" when it is used against another empire's planet that is occupied by a third party. If Charlie is much stronger than Alice he should get a social order penalty for attacking her occupied world, but potentially one that is much reduced compared to if he had attacked a world that she fully owns.
If more than two players' ground units are present on a planet during assault combat, "who fights who" will depend on which combat missions are being performed. Players performing a "destroy" mission are always hostile to the occupying empire and to any empire performing an "invasion" mission. Players performing an "invasion" mission are hostile to everybody. Under this system there will only be one force of ground units left alive to occupy the planet at the end of any assault phase (since units will retreat to transports at the end of a "Destroy" mission no matter the outcome, and only one invader can succeed.) There will also only ever be one set of insurgents. Since the assault phase remains short in this system, multi-way assault combat will be rare in practice, but there are still logical rules for resolving it.
Example 5: Four-party combat at an occupied planet.
Alice is still occupying BobWorld but things are looking bad. Alice, Bob, Charlie and David have ALL sent transport fleets and they are all trying to put boots on the ground. Alice is sending reinforcements, Bob is trying to take the planet back, Charlie is performing a liberation (destroy units mission), and David is invading. Everybody's transports have to land normally - even though Bob owns the planet and Alice occupies it, they don't get instant unit transfer to or from the surface. Bob and Charlie's units are not hostile to one another because Charlie is not attempting to occupy the planet AND Bob is not the current occupier. Everyone else is mutually hostile to one another and their units alternate firing at one another during combat cycles until only one party (or Bob and Charlie collectively) has surviving units. If it's Alice, the occupation continues. If it's Bob and Charlie, Bob gets control of the planet and Charlie's units return to their transports and leave. If it's David, David is now the new occupier.
Example 6: Three-party combat.
Bob has full control of BobWorld, Alice is not occupying it. Alice sends transports to invade at the same time David sends transports to raid (destroy units mission). Charlie is AWOL (there is no provision in this system for sending units to a non-occupied planet to help the owner- he could still attack the fleets in orbit, though). Everybody is mutually hostile in the assault. If Bob's units are intelligently programmed, they will focus their attacks on Alice's units exclusively. This is because the consequences are worse if Alice wins an invasion than if David wins a raid.
What insurgents do during assaults
Under the proposed system, it will sometimes be desirable for insurgents to rejoin assault combat.
Right now rebels appear to turn back into normal ground units when they win a civil war, so the bones for this system are already in place. Sometimes we will want this to happen while assault combat is taking place, but not always.
Example 7: First party lifts an occupation by invading.
BobWorld is yet again occupied by Alice. Bob lost the ground combat and his surviving units are now insurgents. When Bob sends troops to invade his own world, the insurgents return to being normal units and participate in the assault alongside the newly-landed units. If Bob wins, all the surviving insurgents permanently return to being normal units. If Bob loses, any surviving units resume the insurgency.
Example 8: A third party lifts an occupation by raiding.
BobWorld is still occupied by Alice- some things never change. As in example 4, Charlie performs a liberation (destroy units) attack. Bob's insurgents do NOT join the assault. This is because Alice and Charlie could hypothetically be colluding- Alice could have invited Charlie to raid BobWorld with a token force to entice Bob's insurgents out of hiding so they can be destroyed. However, if Charlie ends up winning the raid, the planet goes back to Bob's control and all the surviving insurgents permanently return to being normal units after 1 period. If Charlie loses, the insurgency continues completely unchanged.
Example 9: A second party invades a world experiencing rebel insurgency.
BobWorld is undergoing rebel insurgency. Smelling weakness, Alice returns and invades for the millionth time. Alice and Bob's units engage in assault combat while the rebel units remain as insurgents (they do not join the assault). Bob's forces have to fight Alice to the death - they cannot go underground and become insurgents if they lose, since a hostile insurgency already exists. If Alice wins, she occupies the planet and rebels are still the insurgents - NOT Bob. Bob still has nominal ownership of the planet but will eventually lose it if he can't take it back. Potentially, the timeline for Alice getting nominal control is accelerated since Bob has no presence on the world. Alice still has to deal with the civil war and rebel insurgency, however.
Example 10: Conditions that would normally result in civil war occur on a planet undergoing occupation by a second party.
For possibly the last time, Alice is occupying BobWorld. BobWorld was not in civil war when she invaded, but now it is undergoing massive shortages and reaches the revIndex threshold that would normally induce civil war. Instead of a normal civil war occurring, disaffected citizens and some of Alice's soldiers defect to the loyalist insurgents and the revIndex is reset. In this scenario, Bob's loyalists are likely to win without Bob ever sending reinforcements, as long as Alice does not reinforce too. To prevent something like this from happening, Alice should either be in the L&O doctrine (with scrupulously loyal Imperial Guards) or bring a bunch of trillum and consumer goods along with her invaders when she invades Bob's high-tech planets.
Incidentally, this new system will make ground units more important for conventional rapid expansion. Right now players can keep using the same units to blitzkrieg against independent planets. This is because once a player has assembled a critical mass of ground units, they actually gain ground forces via surrender in every invasion that they perform ("snowballing"). Under the new system players will need to commit infantry to deal with insurgencies on every single planet they capture, and will not gain infantry from surrenders
(except possibly once insurgencies are quashed).
After a successful "destroy units" mission against a planet that is not being occupied, the attacker is allowed to transfer resources from the planet into transports for up to 10 watches. This allows pirate raids, where a player's goal is to disrupt economic function or enhance their own economy/Mesophon balance without increasing their empire size (better to shear than slaughter). You could even have a pirate doctrine that builds special jumptransports with high capacity but which cannot land units (allowed under current mechanics!) These would be used for hauling off the booty in conjunction with normal jumptransports that carry the ground troops.
Bring back planetary type defense bonuses.
Different worlds could grant different bonuses to invader, defender, insurgency, and/or counterinsurgency. For example, an underground world could have a bonus to the defender in the assault phase (lots of fortifications) and to insurgents in the insurgency phase (lots of caves to hide in).
New Doctrine: Will and Control. Specializes in planetary occupation. Capitals' primary structures build transports and armored infantry. Ground units take reduced damage from insurgents. It is able to control planetary labor during occupations, building and operating defense structures like HELs and hypersonics for its own benefit (normally defenses will not get built by either party during an occupation).
New doctrine: Struggle and Liberation. Mostly for empires who are losing wars; specializes in insurgency. Capitals' primary structures build infantry and special inexpensive planetary defense units (there is precedent for this: the citadel complex builds jumpmissiles, which are technically a defense unit). Capitals have an increased control radius, 300 LY. Ground units deal increased damage when they are insurgents. Rebel insurgents always join forces with an empire of this doctrine if it is invading a planet that is undergoing civil war. Basic infantry change unit type to a stronger "guerilla infantry" when they win insurgent combat, with guerilla infantry getting anti-secession and anti-revolt bonuses similar to imperial guards.