Allow other council positions to replace the default ones for penalty mitigation

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Critical Ethics

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Jun 3, 2017
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There are six council slots. One is taken up by the ruler, leaving only five for free placement. However three of these are "semi-fixed": Minister of Defense, Head of Research, and Minister of State, leaving only two to play around with. Civics alone grant you three, and events, traits etc can easily pick up many more. Having only two "real" slots to play around with kinda sucks.

On the other hand the penalties are there for a reason; stacking all the science or military bonuses could get broken pretty quick.

Suggestion:

Instead of requiring those specific positions to be filled to avoid penalties, instead just require that there be at least one filled position of the appropriate category. Rather than being "required" slots the base civics would be "fallback" slots for empires with no alternatives. For example, Technocracy empires could choose to either keep the "Head of Research" position as the Science slot, replace it with the civic's "Senior Science Director" position without penalty, or use one of the spare slots to run both. If the same empire has no special Military positions they still have the Minister of Defense options to fall back on, or they can decide to eat the penalty and stack even more science boosters (like they can now).

There's a few ways this could be done:
  1. Instead of checking for a specific slot, the game instead checks if a specific class is present in a modular council position. As long as you have at least one (non-ruler) Scientist you count as meeting the requirements for not receiving Science penalties (or Miltiary for military, or Governor for economic).
    • Pro: Easy and straightforward to understand - no government scientist (who's not busy leading the entire empire)? Science penalties.
    • Con: Possibly confusing or awkward when you have slots that can be filled by multiple different kinds of leader
    • Pro/Con: Weird flavour from edge cases like Shadow Councilors as head scientists.
    • Pro/Con: Certain powerful positions such as Enclave Pact positions made even more powerful by being a flat out upgrade.
  2. Certain (most?) council positions are explicitly designated as being available for certain roles. These would be clearly indicated as possible options in the UI when choosing council positions.
    • Pro: Easy and straightforward to understand - no slot labelled "Can serve as Research Councilor"? Science penalties.
    • Pro: Can be used as a balancing factor for some of the more powerful positions - Enclave positions can be kept way better than any civic position if it comes with the side cost of still requiring you to take a separate Research Councilor position. More design space is good.
    • Pro/Con: The additional thought track of needing to juggle filling the soft-mandatory positions from their specific subsets further adds to (what I consider) the fun kind of complexity to putting your council together. Others may not like the increased complexity.
    • Con: Somebody needs to decide what positions should or should not count and there'll always be arguments over it.
 
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As an aside, there's this code in the defines:
Code:
        COUNCIL_RESEARCH_POSITIONS = { "councilor_gestalt_cognitive" "councilor_research" }
        COUNCIL_NAVAL_POSITIONS = { "councilor_gestalt_legion" "councilor_defense" }
        COUNCIL_DIPLOMACY_POSITIONS = { "councilor_gestalt_regulatory" "councilor_state" }
so it looks like the flexibility for the basic functionality is already somewhat in the game. There'd still need to be UI work to explicitly state if a position counts and if so what for, and there should be a big alert on the government screen if you don't have anything to count toward the key positions, and from a maintainability and modding side "is_council_research_position=true" should probably be part of the position code block rather than part of the defines... but the basic functionality!
 
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This seems sensible. Assuming we go with solution 2, I don't know how far this is buff to those positions that can substitute for the core Council posts?

On a first past, I came up with the following list of possible substitution posts. It isn't so big!

For Minister of Defense:
Chief of Service
Lord Commander
Lord High Admiral
Secretary of Defense

For Minister of State:
Grand Marshal
High Ambassador
Exopublic Relations Officer

For Head of Research:
Minister of Exploration
Senior Science Director
Dealer of Knowledge
Curator Archivist
 
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How could mods which add Council positions add to this list without stepping on each other?

I think it'd be simpler and more robust to tie the penalties to leader types (so -25% science for not having any Scientist councilor, etc.) and that would function with any new DLC or mod added Councilor positions.

However, I see no reason to exclude the Ruler. If you have a Commander Monarch, that's your required Commander. You can build your Council around not needing a Commander (... for a while). That also solves the annoyance of having your one good Scientist get elected President.
 
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How could mods which add Council positions add to this list without stepping on each other?
Hence:
and from a maintainability and modding side "is_council_research_position=true" should probably be part of the position code block rather than part of the defines
I think it'd be simpler and more robust to tie the penalties to leader types (so -25% science for not having any Scientist councilor, etc.) and that would function with any new DLC or mod added Councilor positions.

However, I see no reason to exclude the Ruler. If you have a Commander Monarch, that's your required Commander. You can build your Council around not needing a Commander (... for a while). That also solves the annoyance of having your one good Scientist get elected President.
It's simpler yeah but *waves at the option 2 pros and cons*

The reasons for excluding the ruler are:
1) having a bunch of possible flavours of "head scientist" feels more intuitive to me than your ruler also having the free time to effectively juggle science grant proposals. Their job has a much wider scope than the first warden or minister of exploration.
2) think having your best Scientist become ruler is annoying? What if your ruler slot is your only scientist-slottable position and you don't even get any scientists offered in the election? Well, obviously you should keep a second scientist-slottable position on your council to avoid this. Outside of a few very narrow edge cases its only real use is to create a newbie trap. Given this massive con, the already shakey pro of "not needing to buy a second scientist" seems kinda weak.
 
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Hence:


It's simpler yeah but *waves at the option 2 pros and cons*

The reasons for excluding the ruler are:
1) having a bunch of possible flavours of "head scientist" feels more intuitive to me than your ruler also having the free time to effectively juggle science grant proposals. Their job has a much wider scope than the first warden or minister of exploration.
2) think having your best Scientist become ruler is annoying? What if your ruler slot is your only scientist-slottable position and you don't even get any scientists offered in the election? Well, obviously you should keep a second scientist-slottable position on your council to avoid this. Outside of a few very narrow edge cases its only real use is to create a newbie trap. Given this massive con, the already shakey pro of "not needing to buy a second scientist" seems kinda weak.

Some of the reason to NOT exclude the ruler might be:

- Mirror the Faction demands where having a Ruler of their type is not excluded -- in fact it's a secondary boost.

- Reward some of the weaker Council positions which allow multiple different leader types, to compensate for changes in Ruler (e.g. in a Democracy). Excluded Ruler means a less dynamic Council because the other positions won't need to respond to the Ruler's leader type.

- Reward a Technocracy for always having a Scientist in charge instead of punishing them by taking away one of their few Scientists for a "doesn't count" position.
 
Some of the reason to NOT exclude the ruler might be:

- Mirror the Faction demands where having a Ruler of their type is not excluded -- in fact it's a secondary boost.
There are far too many gameplay differences to the opportunity costs involved for this to count as mirroring. They're also diametrically opposed in an "in-universe logic" sense.
- Reward some of the weaker Council positions which allow multiple different leader types, to compensate for changes in Ruler (e.g. in a Democracy). Excluded Ruler means a less dynamic Council because the other positions won't need to respond to the Ruler's leader type.
While also buffing some of the already strong council positions that allow multiple different leader types. This is why I prefer option 2 over any kind of blanket permit/deny rule.
- Reward a Technocracy for always having a Scientist in charge instead of punishing them by taking away one of their few Scientists for a "doesn't count" position.
It would do the exact opposite! What you're missing is that you'd only need one scientist to ditch the penalty, and if you're running a science themed empire you're going to have a few different scientisty council positions. No Technocracy would need their ruler to remove the penalty unless their entire council is otherwise made up of official or admiral positions, which is not exactly technocratic! What it would do is buff putting an /official/ in as your ruler, thereby meeting the "at least one official" requirement and freeing up a slot. A government consisting of one military guy + four accomplished scientists all subserviant to some stuffy suit doesn't sound too Technocratic either!

If the ruler doesn't satisfy the prereq then you'll have the default official and admiral positions, and three scientist positions all freely chosen from the half dozen available to a tech-focussed empire. If you choose to shove a military or official in the ruler slot to keep your scientist free for exploring then that's your call, but you're not extra incentivised to do so.

This is, incidentally, very close to the reason I made this suggestion in the first place. I was reorganising my technocratic council and realised I had four or five situationally available scientist positions but I was going to have to waste a whole slot on the much more boring base scientist position, so of course I should be able to use my Senior Science Director instead of that if I want to!
 
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There are far too many gameplay differences to the opportunity costs involved for this to count as mirroring. They're also diametrically opposed in an "in-universe logic" sense.

List five of the differences, and explain in what way faction demand for representation is "diametrically opposed" to leader class representation.


While also buffing some of the already strong council positions that allow multiple different leader types. This is why I prefer option 2 over any kind of blanket permit/deny rule.

Sure, it buffs multi-type positions which includes both weak and strong ones. But it doesn't buff them additively, it buffs them in terms of replacement options.

It's the kind of buff which rewards dynamic play, rather than just stacking stuff up for bigger numbers.

It would do the exact opposite! What you're missing is that you'd only need one scientist to ditch the penalty, and if you're running a science themed empire you're going to have a few different scientisty council positions.

Absolutely wrong. Having a Scientists as Ruler and several more as Governors is what defines my Technocracy.

Technocracy means putting a scientist in the top slot, not putting a scientist in every slot.
 
List five of the differences, and explain in what way faction demand for representation is "diametrically opposed" to leader class representation.
Are you seriously trying to assign me homework. With a /quota/.

Before you answer look up "gish gallop". Reference it in your response, specifically how it relates to your second and third posts in this thread.
Sure, it buffs multi-type positions which includes both weak and strong ones. But it doesn't buff them additively, it buffs them in terms of replacement options.

It's the kind of buff which rewards dynamic play, rather than just stacking stuff up for bigger numbers.
If buffing "weaker" civics in one category is a pro then buffing stronger ones in the same category is a con, as is not buffing weaker out-of-category civics. This is more and more convincing me that option 2 is the way to go. Option 1 has more edge cases than, uh, surface cases.
Absolutely wrong.
My dude, the technocracy civic literally gives you a second scientist government position. You're arguing with the game, not with me.
Having a Scientists as Ruler and several more as Governors is what defines my Technocracy.

Technocracy means putting a scientist in the top slot, not putting a scientist in every slot.
My brother in Zarquon, Scientists on your Council (other than the ruler) can also be assigned as Governors (and non-astral Explorers). Since being on the council grants you passive experience, as does being a Governor, council members get to double-dip on experience sources. Loading your Council up with science positions gives you better science and better scientists.

Like, yeah, your own headcanon is your own headcanon, but the setup you described requires you to deliberately avoid using parts of the science and scientist civic because you want to skip out on a bunch of science bonuses while funneling a bunch of potential scientist XP to your non-scientists. Which you're obviously absolutely free to do but it seems like a bit of a niche use case.
 
There are far too many gameplay differences to the opportunity costs involved
Are you seriously trying to assign me homework

I'm asking you to back up your claim.

If there are "far too many" of something, and you know those "far too many" things, it should be pretty easy for you to name five.

If you're just blowing smoke, there's a chance you'll act offended in an attempt to avoid backing up your claim.

You've provided zero evidence as of right now, so hiding behind "gish gallop" seems a bit premature. You're protesting that someone asked you to do anything, not that someone asked you to do too much.

If buffing "weaker" civics in one category is a pro then buffing stronger ones in the same category is a con, as is not buffing weaker out-of-category civics. This is more and more convincing me that option 2 is the way to go. Option 1 has more edge cases than, uh, surface cases.
If evidence provokes you into supporting the opposite, there's not much I can do to convince you.

So I guess I'm arguing for the audience, not you.

My dude, the technocracy civic literally gives you a second scientist government position. You're arguing with the game, not with me.

My dear anemic-argument amigo, you get exactly one choice in Council positions from your Civics. You get at least three Civics in vanilla. The game does not force a Technocracy to employ its Scientist position.

Like, yeah, your own headcanon is your own headcanon, but the setup you described requires you to deliberately avoid using parts of the science and scientist civic

That is not what I said.

My fast-talking friend, you must slow down at times.

The game has basically one slot open for a Councilor from your Civics. If I don't use that one slot for another Technocracy scientist that's absolutely not the same as "deliberately avoid[ing] using parts of the science and scientist civic" -- it's just rational resource allocation.
 
I'm asking you to back up your claim.

If there are "far too many" of something, and you know those "far too many" things, it should be pretty easy for you to name five.

If you're just blowing smoke, there's a chance you'll act offended in an attempt to avoid backing up your claim.

You've provided zero evidence as of right now, so hiding behind "gish gallop" seems a bit premature. You're protesting that someone asked you to do anything, not that someone asked you to do too much.


If evidence provokes you into supporting the opposite, there's not much I can do to convince you.

So I guess I'm arguing for the audience, not you.



My dear anemic-argument amigo, you get exactly one choice in Council positions from your Civics. You get at least three Civics in vanilla. The game does not force a Technocracy to employ its Scientist position.



That is not what I said.

My fast-talking friend, you must slow down at times.

The game has basically one slot open for a Councilor from your Civics. If I don't use that one slot for another Technocracy scientist that's absolutely not the same as "deliberately avoid[ing] using parts of the science and scientist civic" -- it's just rational resource allocation.
...no? You have a minimum of two. There are six council slots. One is your ruler, three are required to avoid penalties, leaving two spare. You start with two council positions from civics, so if you expand the council twice you can start with all your available Council positions in place. It's only once you start contacting enclaves or picking up certain paragons or reforming your government after unlocking your third civic that you start hitting issues, and two of the enclave positions take scientists anyway!

This is why I'm getting shirty with you. You're making low effort arguments that rely on things that aren't true, and then insisting I put a lot of effort into proving them wrong. That's the essence of a gish gallop. If you'd said "name one" I'd have given you two or three to prove the point but "five examples" is silly ask and there's no good faith interpretation I can see for you saying that.

"Everything you've said is wrong, prove otherwise" is the level of effort you're putting in here and you're mad you're not getting sufficiently large essays back. Given that, for the answers I did put a lot of effort into, you responded without even double checking the basic facts your arguments depended on, you're acting like you're more concerned about "winning" this argument than having an actual discussion. If there is an audience reading this they can hopefully see the same.
 
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The Minister of State should've never been added, the ruler should just be able to also do other jobs like other members of the council.
 
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The Minister of State should've never been added honestly, the ruler should just be able to also do other jobs like other members of the council.

I'm on the opposite end, where I think Minister of Science having a -25% penalty to research is absolutely ridiculous where the choice to really screw research focus and have fun with your whizbang civic council members is so profoundly penalized. I did it anyway (because I have other angles others lack inherently) and look to come out on top despite that but, that seems like an obligatory post for 95% of players based on effect, to the extent that they'd eliminate the Minister of State 100% of the time. Where's the interesting choice if it's always going to be the Minister of State that goes based on effect? If anything, it should be a reduction in researcher output because of rudderless demoralized Big Brains not getting the one thing they crave more than knowledge - validation of their Big Brains with societal importance.

Secondarily, just the tethering of Council position to specific types of leader is way too limited, where doing my pirate haven thing with refurbishment division, I get exactly 2 Officials, 1 being Minister of State, 1 being Oligarch, and 3 Commanders with 1 Scientist/Commander Option. You tell me how cost reduction for Espionage goes with that? Nobody is taking Civics primarily based on their council effect and limits upon it, but they certainly are grousing about incongruencies with them.

A Syndication Agency Officir has to be a commander? BY WHAT FREAKING RECKONING WHERE THEYRE AFFECTING CRIMINAL POPS ECONOMICALLY?

To the OP's point and within my own context, Refurbishment Division's Master Scrapper would allow me to have my cake and eat it too, and that's fiiiiiiiiine, but I am still going to be pissed about the Syndication Agency Officer being such a ridiculous mismatch to the function.
 
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This is why I'm getting shirty with you. You're making low effort arguments that rely on things that aren't true, and then insisting I put a lot of effort into proving them wrong.

So, I posted this thread about a week before yours:


... and I've discussed the Leader-type-instead thing in a few other places.

Your idea about the Ruler not being counted as a Leader is the only difference. I'm asking you why, and you say things like "There are far too many gameplay differences to the opportunity costs involved" but you can't even name a handful of those differences.

This is your thread so I'm not going to keep asking you to justify your apparently unsupportable opinion, but the reason I was asking you at all was because you went kinda big with your claims.

If you have an opinion but there are no gameplay differences, just say that. I'd respect an open preference. If there are "far too many" of a thing, be ready with a few examples of that thing. If you have no examples, people will doubt that you ever had "far too many" of them.

Anyway, I'm not here to spritz your face too much, and you're really close to a good idea, so I'mma bow out and let you "win" if you want.
 
So, I posted this thread about a week before yours:


... and I've discussed the Leader-type-instead thing in a few other places.

Your idea about the Ruler not being counted as a Leader is the only difference.
Well that explains why you were being so weird about this! If I'd seen that I wouldn't have bothered listing option 1 at all and just posted option 2, which is the, you know, good one. I only listed the other option as the "Quick and dirty but flawed" option, which is why I was really confused about you getting so het up about it not being even worse.
I'm asking you why, and you say things like "There are far too many gameplay differences to the opportunity costs involved" but you can't even name a handful of those differences.

This is your thread so I'm not going to keep asking you to justify your apparently unsupportable opinion
Come on, seriously. Take a step back and stop trying to rewrite history when the thread is less than a page long.

Some of the reason to NOT exclude the ruler might be:

- Mirror the Faction demands where having a Ruler of their type is not excluded -- in fact it's a secondary boost.

(+2 more reasons)
There are far too many gameplay differences to the opportunity costs involved for this to count as mirroring. They're also diametrically opposed in an "in-universe logic" sense.

(+responses to your other reasons)
List five of the differences, and explain in what way faction demand for representation is "diametrically opposed" to leader class representation.

(+ a reasonable response to one of my responses)
(+ a very silly response to my other response)
Five is not a "handful" when talking about something that specific. I've answered every other question you've asked about my reasoning, I skipped that one because it was a ludicrous ask and I'd more than adequately answered your other two points. And I only got snippy with you because your response to my, pretty decent, explanation of why this would only apply in niche situations and result in weird incentives was to say "Absolutely wrong!" because you run technocracies weird.

But if we pretend that instead of being a giant weirdo about it you'd just asked for more info like a normal person:

Factions are complex. Appeasing or failing to appease factions impacts not just passive unity gain, but also happiness and therefor crime, stability, resource production, and so on. They have multiple breakpoints with multiple ways to boost them, so deciding whether you want to ignore a minor faction because there's minimal pops involved vs throwing them a few token bonuses to keep them minimally satisfied vs hard-boosting them for a government change, they're all choices. They're then further affected by how happy your general setup is making them already: If you have a faction sitting at 75% then popping one on the council will get you that sweet, sweet 80, but making them ruler would be a waste. If you had a faction at >80 but then you get a ruler change you need to decide if scrounging back up to the breakpoiint is worth it. None of these apply to the -25% council penalty. It's on or it's off, there's only one way to get or lose it, and while other stacking bonuses and penalties exist theres no breakpoints where the -25% overflows into not existing.

Factions are not static. You start with none, gain two or three depending on ethic setup, and then gain or lose ones throughout the game based on a whole bunch of stuff, further causing the requirements for your council's faction makeup change throughout the game. This is not true of leaders. There's only three and always only three classes of leader. You start needing a scientist and you end needing a scientist. You can't capture a planet or lose a war and suddenly have a bunch of pops mad that you have no scientist on your council despite not caring about that for the entire game.

Ethics are not garaunteed. If you need a scentist you'll be able to get a scientist. There's a "scientist" section full of scientists unless you already bought all the scientists. But if you lose a scientist that was your only Authoritation presence on the council then you either need to replace them with another authoritarian scientist or, if you have none in your empire and none to buy, decide if it's worth swapping out a different slot for your council member. Or decide to do that anyway so you can use a better scientist instead of buying a level 1 authoritarion. The only way to lose a scientist from the council In your setup is if you have one and only one scientist on the council and they are your ruler and they either die/retire/leave or fail to get re-elected. Which is either not going to happen (because you have other council positions with the same leader type) or is going to require fully restructuring your council. That's real bad gameplay! On the other hand, if the ruler is excluded then the only way to lose your -25% is if you have only one non-leader scientist and they die or get elected leader, which is basically how it works now but with a bit more flexibility. Which is kind of a non-mechanic but that's better than your option's thing of only happening under very, very niche council setups and when it does happen it becomes fun poison.

So yeah, not really "mirroring". But that's only three reasons so I guess I must be completely wrong, and it only took over 500 words to properly explain so I guess I was completely unreasonable for not wanting to write you an entire essay in response to... oh, what was your incredibly insightful, effort-filled post again? Oh yes:
- Mirror the Faction demands where having a Ruler of their type is not excluded -- in fact it's a secondary boost.
Real good division of labour here.

I also eagerly await you ignoring everything else I typed to demand I expand "That's real bad gameplay!" into a multi-paragraph post while declaring everything else I said invalid if I don't because a) that's the textbook gish gallop and just general bad faith discussion playsheet and b) it's what you've been doing this whole time.
Anyway, I'm not here to spritz your face too much, and you're really close to a good idea, so I'mma bow out and let you "win" if you want.
Yeah, the good idea is option 2. I'm sorry it hurt your ego that I posted a more well-thought-out version of your idea as throwaway filler to make the good option look even better.

And it's really more of a seltzer bottle.
 
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Oh I forgot this bit:
explain in what way faction demand for representation is "diametrically opposed" to leader class representation.
The duties of a leader facilitate influencing the state toward their ethics - if (in-universe) you're the one overseeing a part of the government that gives you a lot of influence over the shape of the nation. There's obvious influence - deciding when to sign, veto, or return bills, laws, guideline and budgets as well as just handing down declarations from on high - and less concrete influence, like deciding who gets promoted to other areas of influence, who gets heard by the right people, and so on. That's why people want people who think like them in power - so they'll run things like they would, in line with their values.

The 25% penalty isn't a "values" issue though - it's about management. If you don't have anyone doing a good job of actually managing (and delegating and so on and so forth) all the work required to keep a section of your government actually running correctly then yeah, it's not going to run very well. 25% less to be exact. It's an important job - and a full time job. The Head of Research spends all day being Head of Research, doing the things that need to be done to stop that from happening, and the better he is at his job the better he does it - hence the bonus research output from level. No-one running research means you only get 75 cents on the dollar, but a maxed Head of Research gets you a buck 20, plus traits.

The argument could be made (and has been, by me, and you) that it's internally consistent and intuitive (not "realistic" - never use that word for gameplay decisions) that The Senior Science Director could do just as good a job at that, just with her own flavour. The Head of Research cares about raw output, so his experience bonuses allow him to do more with the resources he's given. The Senior Science Director cares more about efficiency, so outside of the day-to-day of preventing the penalty she instead focused on achieving current standards by spending less - instead of a buck 20 on the dollar she gets you a buck per 80 cents.

(And if you're looking for a reason why two scientists don't give a baseline 125% science - it's because you now have two cooks running the kitchen. Things do run better - you get a buck 20 per 80 cent as they both bring their best skills to the table - but you don't get the 25% double-cancelled because now they have someone they need to co-ordinate with, double sign off on items, argue with when they disagree - you get the idea)

But whether you have one or the other or both, their day job is keeping the research running. They spend their administrative time on doing the stuff needed to keep things running baseline smoothly. Their job is keeping the science running good.

What's the ruler's job?

Running the entire empire.

How are they supposed to do that AND do someone else's full time job? Head of Research does enough in his day to prevent a 25% science penalty and add up to 20% more from experience level. Senior Science Director does enough in his day to prevent a 25% science penalty and reduce resource use by 20%. A Democratic ruler does enough in their day to add up to +50 edict fund, +20% faction unity, and, oh yeah, a bunch of functions so vital to the running of the empire that there's no option to take a penalty, they just shove someone in there immediately to prevent your empire descending into anarchy. That's why you have someone else to do the day-to-day of keeping your empire's research and economy and military running and only coming to you for the big decisions - It's called delegation. That's why you have a council.

The duties and responsibilities of being the absolute top head honcho gives you a lot of influence to shape the empire to your will, but those duties and responsibilities are also what preclude you from doing an entire other person's job. That’s what I meant by diametrically opposed.

Oh wait hang on, what's this I see in the OP:
Pro: Easy and straightforward to understand - no government scientist (who's not busy leading the entire empire)? Science penalties.
Huh.
 
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I would like to second this suggestion. I see the need to create an incentive not to leave certain positions completely empty, but I think, like the thread opener, that this should be done by category (see my suggestion already in the Dev Diary). A “milder punishment” would also be conceivable to halve the penalty if the starting positions were replaced by similar positions.