Uncle_Joe wrote:But Food cuts across all empires, not just large ones. The same rough percentage of slots allocated to food will be the same whether you have 28 planets or 56 planets. And in fact, the more planets you have, the more likely you are to have specialized food planets (high fertility and/or supergrain).
Yes that would be my first assumption as well but somehow I always ended up with food shortage while "winning" the game. So I was thinking why that was and think it might be due to the following:
1. During colonization phase, I avoid low-quality planets for the sake of grabbing the valuable real-estate with at least medium fertility, medium material, some specific bonus or strategic location. Now logically this means, that food production will be much more efficient during early phase, then later meaning: I will need to build more farms to keep the same level of production proportional to my growing population
2. I will not do the later though as I will be busy gearing up for war meaning: Building laboratories, factories and markets is much more important in mid-game, so production can be ranked up
3. When war finally hits, its production time, and if you are doing well in research you will be cranking out ships in all sizes with production planets of two shipyards meaning: late-mid game is all about mines. I will build mines everywhere
unless the mineral yield is low. No place for farms unless the planet has high fertility where I have already built farms in the early game so no more food resource to exploit there either
4. Lastly (if the player is not beaten), you will grab enemy planets. Now this should give some food boost right, well not necessarily:
- Enemy planets will be converted over to mineral production due to point 3 if at all possible
- Markets are on second priority if you do not have slavery and wish to avoid rebellions
- Planetary defenses are another priority as well as shipyards to support the moving front delaying construction time
- I will also not build too many farm intentionally on newly conquered planets, else if you are dependent on them and they are taken back, your pop will begin to starve
5. To add insult to injury: the planets taken at this point will have a much lover efficiency as your core planets, as the AI will colonize poor yield planets that the player then needs to conquer for purely strategic reasons, and will inherit rebellious population on top of this that need markets to fill their mouths and not use it to shout at my troops
All of the above means, that a fresh, new enthusiastic empire has much more food then an wide spread one in my opinion. Maybe it takes a lot of time (I do tend to play way beyond turn 200) and you need to max out population on your core planets to get to this point but seems logical to me.
If this is an intentional mechanic I can only applaud the DEVs. This is one non-intrusive-you-can-hardly-notice-is-there system that punishes building wide just perfectly, and sure you can go around this by bombing for example all the enemy pop out of their low-yield planets, and not colonizing those and similar workarounds, but I suggest we all enjoy the beauty of it + it reminds me of ancient Roman expansionism and why they needed to go int o Egypt and I do enjoy historical references
Uncle_Joe wrote:The 'ganging up' is something that also tends to ruffle feathers of gamers ("why should my life-long pacifist Ally suddenly turn on me?!?"). It's the age old debate between whether AIs should always play to win regardless of 'roleplaying' circumstances or if they should behave as 'nations' and follow their traits and personalities regardless of their chance their win.
Fair enough, lets add another criteria:
- If AI is pacifist, it needs to have a relationship lower then 40 to join another Alliance instead of offering it to the Wide empire
As I think a pacifist empire should also play to win, and being pacifist is just a modifier to its generic behaviour. In this: preferring peace, but not at all costs. It is just more easy to stay in peace with them
Uncle_Joe wrote:There is never an 'easy' solution to a runaway leader issue. Usually one of the less intrusive one is some sort of increased upkeep, administration cost, or diminishing returns on things like income/research. Again, most aren't popular, but the result is usually better than runaway leader.
I assume you mean the "large empire" relationship penalty like in RTW Attila under runaway leader. I can be counted towards those who do not like artificial (meaning: non-organically stemming from game mechanics) dampers to wide empires. this includes Stellaris ranking up research costs, ES2 penalizing over-colonization directly but also Attila for giving a flat-out negative relationship though I find the later to be less intrusive.
Hence my suggestions:
1. Lets have the damper spam organically from existing game-mechanics (food prod). Not even noticeable at first and can be addressed by reducing metal prod, general moral and production. If this is not an intended mechanic it needs to be one
2. From a certain point on lets acknowledge that an empire has become so big that it cannot fail and can snowball everyone and lets make the game interesting for both the Wide-empire as well as for the small ones (if the player happens to be one of those). This should be done in diplomacy, as it is the logical place to band together the survivors and is a logical move from them. If humans would play against us they would usually take the same approach. It should still be possible to make allies as a wide empire but needs dedication from the start by investing in relationships and helping out your neighbors with resources and even when they ask you to go to war against their enemies
Here is an example to demonstrate the food mechanic from my current game as Gremak:
Map Size: 170 Stars
Income: +906 (with a trading fleet of 808 capacity, from which 200 is used for transporting food!)
Metal: 0 (+228) - this is a bug- it is actually negative Food: +37
Political status: Waging war on both sides of the empire (hence the depleted metal). Barely won on one side, and on the other it has been a tick-tack toe with planets. The most powerful empire is my ally on the south - though I did not have to invest heavy in our relationship.
Point: I cannot steamroll the second empire on my left as I am busy on the right hand side and do not have the spare resources even though I control 30% of the galaxy (my ally controls around the same)