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Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot.

Roman Catholic, student of tabletop gaming, and someday soon I'll have my own designs in the field!

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Paper Empires: Actions

There's one last little detail before the basic framework of Paper Empires is complete, and that's Actions. After that, I'm going to start delving into the nuances of the game, fleshing out details and explaining how things work. Theoretically, with the details you have here, you could almost hack together a very basic game. I'm about to add more game elements, though, including an explanation of how the tech tree actually works. Oh, and a concept of a world map.

Doing Things
Actions are how you actually do things in the game, and these are the things that you're rolling dice for. An action is taken by a province, and so you'll be rolling dice from that province. In the turn sequence of the game, you get to pick one of the actions that everyone will have a chance to take during the turn. The first player starts, picking an action (such as Build, Move, Research) and choosing whether or not to take it with one of their provinces. (If they take the action, the player then places an Action marker on the province, or uses some other indicator. Each province may only take one action per turn, so this tells you that the province is no longer usable.)

Each player follows suit, choosing whether or not to follow by taking that same action in one of their provinces. This continues until all players pass (or run out of provinces in which to take actions). Then, the next player in line chooses an action to take, and play continues. So, earlier players get to pick the first actions and act first, but later players have gotten the chance to use other players' action choices. If, for instance, you were torn between Building and Researching, another player could ease your decision by picking one of those actions. It's a nifty mechanic that I've lifted from a board game or two.

What Actions?
There are a few different actions that players can take in a turn. Remember that each action is centralized in a province, and so you'll only be pulling trait dice from that province.

  • Research: Roll all appropriate traits from one Art, along with the province's Culture, up to one appropriate Industry trait, and up to one Distinction. The goal is to either research a new Art trait or develop a new Craft. People who forge ahead and discover new things will be able to define them for others.
  • Production: Roll a Distinction, the province's Culture, up to one appropriate Industry trait, an appropriate trait from each applicable Art, and any Trade assets in the province. The goal is to make a temporary Benefit, or to create a new Military or Trade asset.
  • Building: Roll a Distinction, the province's Culture, up to one appropriate Industry trait, an appropriate trait from each applicable Art, and any Military assets in the province. The goal is to make a new Capability or Industry trait.
  • Movement: Move one or more Assets from this province to an adjacent province. If you move Military Assets into a province, and that province's owner resists, you begin combat. Also, you may use a Movement action to allow a Military Asset to take action against Assets in the province it occupies, such as allied armies (backstabber!) or enemy trade assets.
  • Diplomacy: Unlike the other actions, Diplomacy rolls dice for its target province. You roll a die for each of your Diplomatic assets in the province, add in all Unrest dice in the province, and add any Culture die that you have in the province. You may also add up to one appropriate Art die. The goal is to tear down an opponent's Culture in a province, increase the Unrest in the province, or make a new Diplomatic or Cultural Asset.
  • Expansion: Roll the Culture dice from all of your provinces, plus up to one Distinction, targeting a province adjacent to the action-taking province. You also get to add your Culture die from the targeted province, if there is one, and any Cultural Assets in the target province. Note that you may target your own province. The goal is to expand your cultural reach or to bolster the Culture of one of your own provinces. On an extraordinary success, you can create a Cultural Asset.

One thing which I've just decided is that Dynasty Distinctions will key into one of these six actions. For instance, Aggressive is for Movement, and Industrial is for Building. You may only leverage the Distinction for that action. I've also made mention of a temporary "Benefit". When you make a roll from Production (and probably other things do this as well...), you can create a Benefit. It lasts for a single turn, is rated with a die, and it can represent whatever you want it to. Benefits can be added to any appropriate roll, like Assets.

Next time:
How stable is your empire? Meet Unrest.

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