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Shadowstrike

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There was a thread a few weeks ago about ground combat which inspired me to think about how invading planets could be made more interesting. The gist of this idea is that there should be multiple stages in trying to take a planet, depending on how many resources you want to commit to the occupation, and what your goals are in doing so. Under this model, there would be 4 different levels for occupying each planet, and defensive armies can be allocated to three different "levels" planetside, depending on what you want to defend.

1) Blockade: Once you occupy the starbase, and have enough ships in orbit (some function of fleet power vs planet population), a planet is under blockade. The planet's owner stops gaining energy, food, minerals, alloys, consumer goods and strategic resources from that planet, but continues to gain research and unity. Instead, the planet's production is shifted to a "local reserve". If the planet doesn't produce enough food or consumer goods, populations will begin to decline/become unhappy. The blockader has the option to "allow humanitarian shipments", which will stop pop loss due to lack of food, or "negotiate with local authorities to allow food shipments" in exchange for some proportion of the planet's other production. Planets can continue to build structures, but this will come out of the local reserve (i.e. if you want to start cranking out fortresses, it will have to be with local resources)

2) Military Strongpoints: These represent the planetside FTL inhibitors. Defenders can allocate units to defend here, and attackers will want to take these, so that their fleets can move forward.

3) Urban areas: If taken, the invaders will gain the alloys, consumer goods, and strategic resource production from the planet, as well as have the option of abducting/devouring pops. Planet owner will stop being able to build buildings once the urban areas are taken. Defenders will gain an advantage in defending here vs the strongpoints.

4) Rural areas: If taken, the invaders will fully occupy the planet and gain all of its resources. Defenders will gain a further advantage in defending here, representing the difficulty of rooting out troops hiding on every nook and cranny of a planet.

The defenders won't simply be progressively pushed back, however. They will retain the option of building strongholds/fortresses as long as they control the urban areas, and can counterattack, if the invaders do not maintain enough occupation forces on the planet. If the urban areas are taken, the defenders have the option to raise "resistance units", based on the number of civilian pops, to try to throw the invaders back into space.

In terms of strategy, defensive armies can be allocated to any of the three levels. There is the choice to defend forward (i.e. put as many troops on the strongpoints as possible) to block enemy fleets from moving forward, but that will mean that they are less effective at defending, and if the enemy breaks through, they will have an easier time enforcing a fuller occupation. Alternatively, you can have your troops scatter into the rural areas or the urban areas, which makes it much more difficult to root them out, at the cost of letting the invader occupy parts of the planet (though you can retake it if they pull out their invasion forces).
 
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Methone

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I mean... keep in mind. WW2 Earth has the entirety of Nazi Germany, Britain, USSR etc's armies represented by a single Primitive Army each. All their air forces, naval forces, everything, 1 primitive army. That's the sort of scale our army units are in the game.

So this kinda feels like it's overly-granular.
 

Spaceception

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I like this. It makes warfare more involved, and could allow for new events during one. If it's found to be too complext it could be reduced to 2 or 3 levels instead. But I think this could also help the problem of snowballing a war, where you just take planet after planet easily, and would require more planning before a war based on your goals. If you want to actually conquer them, you'll need to take your time or risk being kicked off. Which also gives the defenders more of a fighting chance since you may not want to overextend yourself. Much later in the game, this probably won't be much of an issue due to most people's industrial output at that point, but it definitely adds another level to early and mid-game warfare.

I think this should be strongly considered for the future. Could also add gameplay flavor to a future political expansion if rebellions are expanded on.

That's the sort of scale our army units are in the game.
Scale should not be too much of a factor in the game though. Medieval civilizations have, what, a third the pops of a starting planet? We also assume that we'll have far more people by the interstellar age than today. It's down to balance, not scale. So assuming complexity is dealt with, I think something like this could work.


How I might do this, is start it at 2 of your basic levels. Blockade, and Urban/regular conquest. Blockade would make planetary stockpiles a thing that makes sense (and make silos important for fortress worlds). This could affect war exhaustion and stack up, letting you force a static quo, or take a few claimed systems without having to land anything. Regular conquest could work similar to now, but I imagine you'd want to keep your armies on the planet for a certain amount of time to quell any disobedience, especially if you force martial law.

After that, you could have up to 2 other levels. If there are military strongpoints, you would have to deal with those, and if there's a significant population, they could muster up a sufficient militia force that could take back the planet if you don't keep your armies to take them down.
 
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Shadowstrike

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The logic of the strongpoints going first is that they are limited in number and location (and that it gives you some way to just take out the FTL inhibitors if you are trying to rush forward instead of fully occupying planets). It's not that the strongpoints themselves are easier to take, but rather that there are fewer of them compared to urban areas and thus require less protracted fighting.
 

Emperor_Vindicare

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I like this. Planetary invasions feel so boring compared to the rest of the game, theres no strategy involved. Imagine the nightmare of invading an ecuminopolis, fighting in '3D' as you extend into the lower levels.

Pre-setting how you want your armies to behave would also reduce the micromanagement once you landed forces. I've seen too many crazy suggestions that want land combat to be almost a hex-based combat system, but thats just too much. This way we have more depth/strategy for planets without too much micro.
 

Cerl

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The basic idea is OK, though it does seem odd that the strongpoints are the easiest part of the planet to conquer.

Strongpoints are only the 'easiest' to conquer due to the fact that defenders are going to be piled together into a few, easily located, easily sieged, locations. Urban and rural areas the defenders would be fighting more as guerrilla force...attackers might be able to nominally take the area, but have a very hard time holding it while taking potentially heavy losses due to the guerrilla strikes. If you want to compare how strongholds would fare vs the other levels, just think about the Vietnam war, Afghanistan (both Russia's war and the US's war there), etc.