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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Ussnorway

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Jan 26, 2019
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Can we please blow some shit up and blame it on that other empire sitting over there?

Of course we'll be happy to help them get revenge
 
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Praetori

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And that’s why sabotage systems generally suck. They’re only fun when you’re doing it, not receiving.
That entirely depends on how they work though. If there are counters or interactions where you can protect yourself. Capture enemy agents or even lure them into thinking they succeeded (that shield generator isn't down at all) then it becomes a give-and-take kind of game.
If it's simply a matter of "invest amount X of currency Y and wait time T for enemy resource Z to blow up" then not so much.
 
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methegrate

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That entirely depends on how they work though. If there are counters or interactions where you can protect yourself. Capture enemy agents or even lure them into thinking they succeeded (that shield generator isn't down at all) then it becomes a give-and-take kind of game.
If it's simply a matter of "invest amount X of currency Y and wait time T for enemy resource Z to blow up" then not so much.
That's fair, but I think I would have two concerns.

First, I think one of the core problems is that it's far easier to make espionage systems sound fun in our heads than to actually play that way. For example that description sounds like a great movie, but how would it work in gameplay without RNG? Or without the "spend X, wait Y, get Z" mechanic? If they launch a mission to disable a starbase, do I have a counter-mission that always makes theirs fail? If so, why would anyone bother at all? Or if my mission has a %-chance of making theirs fail, we're right back to trolling territory.

Second, while espionage games can be fun (see Invisible, Inc.), they're simply a different type of game. Even if we could build a system like you're describing, or the micro-intensive spy ship system described in another post, it would feel like adding dice to chess or deckbuilding to Starcraft. Not bad mechanics in and of themselves, but they can be disruptive if they don't fit the existing gameplay.

I feel like Stellaris sometimes has that "last game you'll ever play" vibe among its audience, that it's supposed to be all-things to all-people. In my opinion one of the biggest reasons why its design continues to struggle so much is that the devs embrace that to an unhealthy degree. I would argue that a detailed, spy-vs.-spy system falls into that category.

Carefully navigating agents through a space opera does sound like a great game. I hope someone makes it. But it sounds like an entirely different game, and personally I think it would be frustrating to basically have to play two games at once. That's doubly true since espionage systems tend to be either over-powered or under-powered. If you can cripple someone's starbases or entire fleets, then it would be incredibly frustrating to have someone win just because they were better at the espionage minigame. If you can disable a single ship or blow up a building, then it's another ignorable mechanic.
 
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SteelCrow

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I find the implementation of sabotage in a game like this problematic. The success or failure of such missions hinge upon a small number of well-trained individuals. I believe the true allure of covert action is the adventures of the agents as they fulfill their objective, but that is impossible to properly emulate in Stellaris. The most we could have is a new kind of leader, Spy or Agent, that has traits and experience levels that add weight to dice rolls. Random chance. To be fair, our lives are full of unplanned, random, happenstance, and unfair events, but that is why we have intelligence and information handling technology in the first place. To take control of the tides of fortune so nothing happens without our expecting it.

All of those details are beyond the scope of the game Stellaris. We are all just individual players ruling entire empires. Things must be simplified. We can only know the effects of our agents' actions, not what made that happen. An effect all rulers can love, appreciate and make use of, though, is information. My agents provide me information, and I make better decisions with that information. I am still in charge. The player is still in charge.

Edit:
(see Invisible, Inc.)
A man of culture, I see.
 
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