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Nerdfish

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Strategy games with infinite economy has a snowballing problem. Whenever one side gets ahead, it could eventually crush all others with its economic might alone. Unit losses do not really matter in the long run.
The situation would be very different if the total amount of resource on the map is finite. Suddenly units matters a lot more and continuously throwing away units is no longer a great strategy by an empire with good economy.
In addition, a well defended empire may be able to force a more powerful empire into diplomacy and stop their expansion by winning defensive battles. Eventually the other guys will have to either buy minerals from others, or stop attacking, regardless how much money they are making.
IMHO this is a more natural way to stop snowballing than End-Game crisis. I would like to propose this as an advanced game rule option. Under this rule, once captured, Cosmite sources will undergo exponential decay, and will provide a finite amount of it over its life time. I also posted this on the resource thread, however this topic is important and deserves its own thread.
 

Quark02

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Immediately begs the question if the Cosmite sources can be purged - hit an enemy supply without directly capturing it to cripple their T3/T4 push.
 

LennartGS

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Greetings Nerdfish, fellow extravagant sorcerer. The endgame flow with its risks for snow balling, slog, rules for diminishing returns and hard caps are big on our mind. The endgame is honestly the hardest thing to get right in any strategy game. We've made it a mission statement to have a game that's fun for as many players as possible towards the finish line; increasing player survival rate and be more rewarding for turtlers. Victory conditions are a big part of this, as well as rules like wars affecting Global Morale. We don't want to take it too far though as AoW has always been a game that rewards pro-active play styles (i.e. brutal aggression :rolleyes:)

On the plus side, finite resources fit the careful tactical gameplay of AoW, making battle results more meaningful and permanent. There are some issues with finite resources though, like players becoming overly careful and there's a scenario where you'll be left with an anti-climatic end games fighting with "sticks and stones" when the special resource runs out.

Cosmite should already make Tier 4 (and 3) a lot more special. So we'll have a look if snow-balling / attrition calls for further limitations. Thanks!
 

Jolly Joker

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I'm offering my 2 cents here, although I feel this is based on very sparse information.

First of all I think there is nothing wrong with AoW3 - players just don't seem to adjust game speed to whatever else setting they are playing, simply spoken.

But the thing is, that if a road is too stony you won't chose it and try to optimize the roads that aren't.

So you need Cos for T3, but a lot more for T4. Great - but that defines a relation between T3 and T4 that must be reflected in strength. If you need 1 Cos to produce a T3 and 4 Cos to produce a T4, then the T4 must be AT LEAST 4 times as strong as a T3 and probably more so, because otherwise there si no need to research the T4 OR build the prerequisites for building them if any. A special resource will just make sure that you optimize strategies not involving them, because above everything else, getting a resource is usually not a thing of decsion but of randomness.

I think that resource will either influence the game in a massive way that isn't wanted or make no difference at all.
 

Nerdfish

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Greetings Nerdfish, fellow extravagant sorcerer. The endgame flow with its risks for snow balling, slog, rules for diminishing returns and hard caps are big on our mind. The endgame is honestly the hardest thing to get right in any strategy game. We've made it a mission statement to have a game that's fun for as many players as possible towards the finish line; increasing player survival rate and be more rewarding for turtlers. Victory conditions are a big part of this, as well as rules like wars affecting Global Morale. We don't want to take it too far though as AoW has always been a game that rewards pro-active play styles (i.e. brutal aggression :rolleyes:)

On the plus side, finite resources fit the careful tactical gameplay of AoW, making battle results more meaningful and permanent. There are some issues with finite resources though, like players becoming overly careful and there's a scenario where you'll be left with an anti-climatic end games fighting with "sticks and stones" when the special resource runs out.

Cosmite should already make Tier 4 (and 3) a lot more special. So we'll have a look if snow-balling / attrition calls for further limitations. Thanks!
Thank you, I agree and this is the reason I wanted to explore this as an option, so everyone can configure the game to play in a way they like.
City founding was an important rule in AOW3. The game with or without city founding plays like different games. However we'd never find out without introducing it as an option.
It's possible that players will not fight stick and stones when resources run out because they will hold their expensive units in reserve and attack with expendable t1 and t2. This is seen often in steel division.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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If you need 1 Cos to produce a T3 and 4 Cos to produce a T4, then the T4 must be AT LEAST 4 times as strong as a T3 and probably more so, because otherwise there si no need to research the T4 OR build the prerequisites for building them if any./QUOTE]

How does one measure strength here?

Could be raw stats, could be immunities, could be manouvrability, invisibility, special skills.

For example, if a T4 were the same as a T3 but had the disintegrate ability on cooldown, that'd justify a huge cost increase imho. 6 of those could be a very good alpha strike.

Ditto for something like a Shrine of Smiting - on it's own, not very good. Surround it with devout units and it scales to the size of the battle. Like seriously, can output the highest damage reliably (1 shrine with 3 stacks of devout, i.e. 17 devout units) is reliably doable and something you can count on for end game battles.

We know that currently healing only occurs in friendly territory - therefore a T4 unit that healed friendly units in enemy territory could be very useful, even with weak stats.

A t4 could be a hard counter for other units. I could see there being a T4 Tank that basically shrugs off normal bullets, and would destroy Bulwarks en masse.

Or, again special ability, a Tank or artillery unit that can fire 2 or 3 hexes on the strategic map...Make it slow as hell (20 mp?) and it'd STILL be useful.

Think assymetrical bro, not direct cost comparison.

It's possible that players will not fight stick and stones when resources run out because they will hold their expensive units in reserve and attack with expendable t1 and t2. This is seen often in steel division.
Do you have any other examples?
 

Jolly Joker

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City founding was an important rule in AOW3. The game with or without city founding plays like different games.
It's not city-founding or no city-founding. It's about how city-founding works technically and what it costs. In AoW3 - just as an example - if you would make settling cost MILITARY UNITS (you need to assign units to them for defense/garrison that you lose in an offensive sense), things were a lot less clear-cut than when you give something that is entirely economical in nature a purely economical cost. Invest X, get Y is easy, when X and Y have the same dimensions.

Likewise - sadly only via modding - you can determine how far cities have to be away from each other. the bigger the distance, the less clear-cut things get.
 

Rhaeg

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Greetings Nerdfish, fellow extravagant sorcerer. The endgame flow with its risks for snow balling, slog, rules for diminishing returns and hard caps are big on our mind.
Huzzah!

The endgame is honestly the hardest thing to get right in any strategy game.
Very much that. I don't know if you have any statistics on when AOW3 players tend to abort their games, how many of them see some victory screen etc., but it's probably lower than we all think (my (very) wild guess: less than 10% of random map games are played until a victory condition is met).

We've made it a mission statement to have a game that's fun for as many players as possible towards the finish line; increasing player survival rate and be more rewarding for turtlers.
Huzzah!

Victory conditions are a big part of this, as well as rules like wars affecting Global Morale. We don't want to take it too far though as AoW has always been a game that rewards pro-active play styles (i.e. brutal aggression :rolleyes:)
Meh about the brutal aggression, but I get it. Totally agree with thinking in terms of victory and conditions and global morale when seeking to solve the issues being discussed here. Messing with the economy, like some people are suggesting, is way way way waaayyyyy more complicated. If I were a dev I wouldn't dare to go there.

On the plus side, finite resources fit the careful tactical gameplay of AoW, making battle results more meaningful and permanent. There are some issues with finite resources though, like players becoming overly careful and there's a scenario where you'll be left with an anti-climatic end games fighting with "sticks and stones" when the special resource runs out.
As a player who loves turtling I gladly accept a sticks and stones battle. At least all my settlements will be well developed, my unit stacks will be lore friendly and everything looks as symmetrical as possible. I'm like Marinus in AOW2/SM: my garden must be pretty before I go to war.

Cosmite should already make Tier 4 (and 3) a lot more special. So we'll have a look if snow-balling / attrition calls for further limitations. Thanks!
Huzzah! (because I like saying "Huzzah!")

I'm offering my 2 cents here, although I feel this is based on very sparse information.

First of all I think there is nothing wrong with AoW3 - players just don't seem to adjust game speed to whatever else setting they are playing, simply spoken.
Eh??

If you need 1 Cos to produce a T3 and 4 Cos to produce a T4, then the T4 must be AT LEAST 4 times as strong as a T3 and probably more so, because otherwise there si no need to research the T4 OR build the prerequisites for building them if any.
Must it be? I don't play MP so I'm not really a min-maxer, but isn't an advantage of T4 that you have concentrated power in a stack with limited size (size 6)? That would seem like enough reason for me to go for T4, but again, these things are very different when you dont play against human opponents.

A special resource will just make sure that you optimize strategies not involving them, because above everything else, getting a resource is usually not a thing of decsion but of randomness.
That seems a bit too simple to me. It totally depends on the way maps are generated for instance. Sure, if player A spawns right next to a special resource and player B does not, there is something wrong. But if there is some fairness to the starting positions, a special resource will be something worth fighting over and it'll be something that will make the overall game more interesting. I have some faith in Triumph making sure this will work out well: their random map generator for AOW3 was already incredibly awesome. They have experience with the randomness you mention and limiting its influence, at least.

Anyway, nice discussion, but I won't be able to respond much to it after this (Thursday is my AOW day, with the dev blog coming out and all :p )!
 

mr_stibbons

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So you need Cos for T3, but a lot more for T4. Great - but that defines a relation between T3 and T4 that must be reflected in strength. If you need 1 Cos to produce a T3 and 4 Cos to produce a T4, then the T4 must be AT LEAST 4 times as strong as a T3 and probably more so, because otherwise there si no need to research the T4 OR build the prerequisites for building them if any. A special resource will just make sure that you optimize strategies not involving them, because above everything else, getting a resource is usually not a thing of decsion but of randomness.


A way for Cos to matter without throwing the game to whoever starts with the Cos most around this would be for Cos to be relatively widely dispersed, lightly defended, and offers low income rates. So early game Cos deposits are secured, but you have nothing to spend it on, and accumulate a stockpile. As T3 and T4 become available, Cos efficiency is less important that energy efficiency and space efficiency offered by t4s, until the Cos stockpile runs out. That gives a lot of game to address Cos imbalance before it becomes game deciding.
 

Vjeldan

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I think we must seperate two issues. One beeing "A: viability of turtling strategies", the other "B: endgame T4 spam".

The proposed solution of ressource depletion is, as far as i understand, aimed at A, while the introduction of Cosmite generally is aimed at B.
I think Cosmite is sufficient to solve issue B, but will actually make A a bit worse.
Introducing ressource depletion to my opinion would not solve A, but might take a part in a bigger approach. It might help to solve B.
I am not sure if A should be solved, as a solution might impact other game elements in a negative way. So any possible solution should be handled with care.
Yet, i am very hopeful Triumph once more will craft an outstanding masterpiece. No pressure! :p

If there is a finite ressource (Cosmite) that is necessary to build T3 and T4 in an AoW3-like game, what i would do as a player is rushing to get as soon as much of this ressource as possible, while i use expendable T1 und T2 units to achieve this goal. After a phase of extreme expansionism, when every source of this ressource is claimed, i'd change my strategy to some mixture of protecting my own Cosmitegenerators and trying to steal the enemies Cosmitegenerators. One might call a focus on the first "turtling" and a focus on the latter "aggressive", but to me this is more of a matter of situation and opportunity. In this phase i would expect my T3 and T4 units rolling out, playing an essential part in protecting and gaining Cosmite. I also would try to use as much T1 and T2 as viable, to save my precious cosmite-units. As long as this doesn't get to the extreme, i think that's a good thing. T1 and T2 spam should be viable to my mind. It also looks and feels far better if there is an army of cheap units, with a few elite units amongs them and maybe one or two T4 Units towering over them.
I would expect that the player who manages to get and hold the most ressources ultimately will be the victor, unless someone does something terribly wrong or catches his enemy on the wrong foot (strategic spells could and should play a major role in this, if you ask me!). Either the one with the most Cosmite Units will get the advantage, or the player who gets the most out of its T1 and T2, or the one who doesn't do something terrible, or the one who employs an unexpected and successful strategy (defensive structures on choke points, strategic spells, rogues in the hinterlands plundering and stealing undefended cities, usw.). I guess that's fine gameplay with temporary "turtling strategies" on the run, yet ultimately extreme, aggressive expansionism isn't optional but a neccessity.
For this to change, it would be necessary to make investing in what one owns already be more lucrative then expanding ones borders. When improving infrastructure can outpace the gain from expansionists, then playing tall or turtling would become viable. While i think this to be more realistic, im not sure if this would be a good thing for AoW. Maybe. It has similarities to the option of founding new cities in AoW3.
 

HousePet

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I haven't read everything new in detail cos I'm a bit in a rush at the moment, but I'd like to suggest a mechanic for consideration.
A game a while ago in a rather different genre, called Battleforge, had a system where the energy used to create creatures and structures was returned to the player over time after those creatures/structures were destroyed. This had the effect of lessening the impact of heavy losses in an early skirmish, as it boosted income for a while afterwards. So it was a bit of a negative feedback mechanism to prevent players being steamrolled too fast for them to do anything about it.
Perhaps some sort of salvage system could be used in PF to balance players expanding at different speeds?
 

Jolly Joker

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For the record, a finite resource game has been Spaceward Ho! (very simple); you need metal to build ships. when ships are destroyed, some of the metal involved falls down on the planet over which the battle was fought. Also, the better a ship is in terms of technology, the more metal it costs. The main thing, however is, that there is a minaturization tech as well that reduces the amount of metal needed. However, MINING the metal costs money as well (as costs techs and building ships and colonize and terraform planets to give an income).
So while there is a finite resource, you need to invest money to get it - money you could use otherwise, for example for a tech which reduces metal costs or for terraforming planets in order to increase the money income. Which means, it's not just "grab as much metal as you can" and you can also win when you do not have the most metal.

That will - or would - be quite different in the PF scenaro, where the relation between military power and amount of cosmite you have would be a stable and a determining one.

Also for the record - a game that allows or even rewards turtling as a valid strategy will just bog down. Just look at the rule changes the board game Risk has gone through. In Risk you build ever growing armies, and when it's your turn and you get a large number of armies you can try to conquer countries and fulfill your goal, but you don't have to. Battles are fought by rolling dice, as many as attacker and defender have armies, but at most 3 (so with larger armies you have longer battles throwing 3 dice). Now, the rule is, you compare highest with highest and so on, and in case of equal throw, defender wins. So if attacker rolls 6 5 4 and defender roll 5 4 3 then defender loses 3 armies and attacker none, but if defender rolls 6 5 4 as well, attacker loses 3. The math here is that if you roll 10 times, chances are defender will have lost 11 armies, but attacker 19. So that was a typical turtling scenario; players wouldn't try and win, but turtle. Take their armies and hoard them, making it that much more difficult for the next one to win, games taking ages to complete. That's why rules were changed to allow defender only 2 dice max, which made turtling still not impossible, but a lot less attractive which accelerated the game a lot.

There are other board games with other mechanisms; some board games "reward" players that end a round being "last". The idea as such isn't that bad in order to avoid having games you play for 3 hours, but were actually decided after playing 3 quarters of an hour. But of course it's all about HOW you do it. If you play 10 turns, and no matter what you do until turn 10, it's more or less only the last turn that is decisive because the game makes sure you cannot fall behind, then the first 9 turns are simply redundant.

Then there is the AI to consider. As a rule, turtling is always easier to manage than aggressive expansion, so the turtle AI will be comparatively good and probably competitive. But a game against 7 turtling AIs will be pretty boring, especially when the human likes to turtle as well - so there will have to be some aggressive AIs, that will doubtlessly blunder in that situation. Not ideal.

So it is, as it is always: it depends on the HOW, not on the WHAT, and it remains to be seen how things will come together, but at this stage my enthusiasm for the game has been dampened a little bit by the latest news.
 

AwesomeLion

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Greetings Nerdfish, fellow extravagant sorcerer. The endgame flow with its risks for snow balling, slog, rules for diminishing returns and hard caps are big on our mind. The endgame is honestly the hardest thing to get right in any strategy game. We've made it a mission statement to have a game that's fun for as many players as possible towards the finish line; increasing player survival rate and be more rewarding for turtlers. Victory conditions are a big part of this, as well as rules like wars affecting Global Morale. We don't want to take it too far though as AoW has always been a game that rewards pro-active play styles (i.e. brutal aggression :rolleyes:)

On the plus side, finite resources fit the careful tactical gameplay of AoW, making battle results more meaningful and permanent. There are some issues with finite resources though, like players becoming overly careful and there's a scenario where you'll be left with an anti-climatic end games fighting with "sticks and stones" when the special resource runs out.

Cosmite should already make Tier 4 (and 3) a lot more special. So we'll have a look if snow-balling / attrition calls for further limitations. Thanks!
Sound assesment I think. You really touch on the most of the weak points of AoW3 with this - finite resource could be a solution, or it could make it worse however. I guess it might be something worth testing, but making tier 3 and 4 feel more special I think is a step in the right direction for sure.

As for the remark about endgame with finite resources - I would say Einstein already called it:

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones"
-Albert Einstein
 

The Mentat

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Sure, if player A spawns right next to a special resource and player B does not, there is something wrong.
I think the new resource would loose a lot of potential if every player had access to the same amount in the beginning.

One thing in AoW 3 that prevents optimized build orders (that always proceed in the same way and have nothing to do with strategy) are random elements in the starting position. An Arch Druid that has access to lots of mana nodes can for example try a very aggressive strategy by using summons whereas in a starting city with a farm and a magma forge the better idea might be to focus on expansion first.

In a similar way cosmite could be a factor when evaluating the viability of different strategies: If you don’t have access to cosmite at all rushing to tier III and tier IV units is probably a bad idea. On the other hand that means you have plenty of other resources in your starting area and thus plenty of other strategic possibilities.


So you need Cos for T3, but a lot more for T4. Great - but that defines a relation between T3 and T4 that must be reflected in strength. If you need 1 Cos to produce a T3 and 4 Cos to produce a T4, then the T4 must be AT LEAST 4 times as strong as a T3
Imho there are a lot more dimensions in the decision which unit is better. In terms of AoW 3: When a player expects mostly cavalry from an opponent pikemen will gain priority no matter if they are T4 or only T2. When a player has access to a very strong MCU that boosts infantry he probably tries to get some infantry units even if this means that he has to research a technology first or build a new structure. A third point is flexibility and synergy: Dispite one unit is in the current situation more cost effective the the other, it can be even more efficient to mix both units.

Among these aspects special resources are only one factor to consider - and due to all these interactions the resources lead to additional depth: If you need pikemen and pikemen require cosmite, this is a good reason to expand in appropriate areas and fight over them. On the other hand if you have a lot of cosmite consider to prioritize the research of T3 and T4 units.
 

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There might be a better way to handle Cosmite than simple depletion/no depletion. Generally spoken, Cosmite fulfills one of the roles that Mana had to fulfill in AoW 3 (other being transferred to the ops resources, for example). Let's say we have
Raw Cosmite "Nodes" here and there. Then there might be:
a) Mining technologies; these would have to be researched; each technology level would allow mining up to a certain depth, and once that depth was reached, the Cosmite wouldn't be depleted completely, but only up to that depth. There are easy mechanisms existing to determine a chance each turn, that the mine will be depleted in X turns up to that depth.
b) Mining Energy cost; this would basically be the same thing than upkeep; each mining technology would also involve the energy price to pay for mining. I could imagine something like mining options as well; you might go for normal (X), increased (1.5X) or max (2X) cosmite mining costing Y, 2Y and 4Y, respectively, for example. The Mining Cost would of course become higher, the deeper the mining would go...
c) Refining technologies; these would have to be researched as well and each level would better the ratio of actually USABLE Cosmite you get out of the mined raw Cosmite. With the first tech you might get 3 Cosmite out of every 10 mined, with the next 5 out of 10 and so on. Of course, Refining woul cost Energy, too, of course.

Something like that would leave players a lot of options how to handle the Cosmite situation. Early high production (and corresponsing military power) would be bought with faster depletion later and less overall Cosmite. It would discourage from hoarding early (because later techs would give you more Cosmite out of a mine), and random local differences in cosmite availability would not be that important. Also it would cost Energy - Energy you might use better for other purposes.
 

Jolly Joker

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Imho there are a lot more dimensions in the decision which unit is better. In terms of AoW 3: When a player expects mostly cavalry from an opponent pikemen will gain priority no matter if they are T4 or only T2. When a player has access to a very strong MCU that boosts infantry he probably tries to get some infantry units even if this means that he has to research a technology first or build a new structure. A third point is flexibility and synergy: Dispite one unit is in the current situation more cost effective the the other, it can be even more efficient to mix both units.

Among these aspects special resources are only one factor to consider - and due to all these interactions the resources lead to additional depth: If you need pikemen and pikemen require cosmite, this is a good reason to expand in appropriate areas and fight over them. On the other hand if you have a lot of cosmite consider to prioritize the research of T3 and T4 units.
I don't agree fully, but I wasn't making a point based on a comparison of T3 vs. T4 only. There is no question, you'll go for at least ONE T3; the resource is existing, you have to research something, and you have to produce something as well. When you do that, you'll doubtlessly produce a mix of units, involving at least one T3, but also T2s and maybe even T1s, depending on your needs and goals. But from then on, going for a T4 will need an investment: a) research the tech (you could research something else instead, helping units you have already or can build already. b) Invest into the production facility in order to be able to produce the T4 (you could produce something else instead, especially a T3, since you can expect being able to build a T3 might be aprerequisite of building a T4 later); and c) once you did that, instead of producing a T4 now you could instead produce something else, (and I seem to remember that there will be production overflow in PF).
So if a T3 costs 1 Cosmite and a T4 costs 4, that T4 has to be really, really worth it, which means, you must be better off after having built a certain, not too high number of T4s, then you'd be at the time if you hadn't been going for them, and that means, they must be so good, a few of them really can make a difference.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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You know, this makes me recall AoW1, with it's fixed size cities.

edit - fopr those who never played AoW1, city sizes were fixed, and most cities were 1 or 2 hexes only. Your tier of units corresponded to the size of the city. 2 hex city = tier 2 units (which ha to be installed iirc) So a city of 3 hexes, unlocking your 3 (!) tier 3 units was rare, and very desirable.

4 hex cities, unlocking your racial T4...well those were super rare.

I can't remember the name of the map, butt here was one with a river running through the middle, and a 4hex city in the middle.

One 4 hex city in the whole map, made for a very natural flashpoint.

Now the downside was that AoW1 t4 units were ludicrously OP (exception First Born) and there was no flanking or limited retaliation, and lots of misses in combat, and no move and shoot...

It was a system with pros (natural limitation of t3 and t4, made every city very valuable, created natural tension) and cons (OP T3 and T4 units - if you think Manticore Riders are OP...you know nothing!)

I think this cosmite idea is intended to create areas of natural tension, in which case I fully support it.

Getting people out onto the map and exploring it, making those decision over when/how/if to go to here/there/otherplace, all good stuff.

It encourages conflict, but also allows some turtling imho, especially if you control a cosmite sector and your enemy is obliged to come to you.


I know it won't happen anytime soon, but unpacking the cities, to occupy multiple hexes, and using the literal terrain as your growth limiter, and having x construction slots per hex, so you need to plan your city, and plan where that barracks goes etc, meaning parts of the city can be occupied...it's not a radical or new idea. Gladius does it, and it works there, and that's a simple enough game.
 
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