No brainer features

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Mod Workshop, Rus Mod, Wargaming

No brainer features are the most insidious trap for a strategy game. Let’s take the Rise Of Prussia options example: Prussia may buy the intervention of England. Who will play Prussia without buying this option? Each side may buy replacements by options…Who will not buy these replacements?
A no brainer features is boring. So much boring you may forget to play it in time.Boring when playing,annoying when you forgot to play them.

In the end, gameplay is affected by the feeling something is wrong: not only activating England entry into war by option is boring no resemblance to the real process of diplomacy, but you wonder why this entry hasn’t been automated. At least, you wouldn’t be at risk to forget to activate it…

A no brainer option will kill the role playing aspect any wargame needs to be enjoying. You have to believe you’re Frederick II. Frederick II didn’t think he should have to wait yet 3 months before having sufficient EPs to buy British intervention.


However, ROP hasn’t diplomatic rules. How to model the diplomacy with options without creating a no brainer one?


FY has some options dealing with diplomacy. As much as possible, the option generates negative consequences too you must ponder when you’re thinking about buying the option. Some has unknown consequences, positive or negative in the future, changing them to a bet. Others are modelled to be partially beyond your control ( The Allied Intervention Level by example).


Never an option, if the system is balanced( and it’s not yet the case) should be unavoidable. Never  a choice evident. Never without risk or penalties. Strategy is based not on choices ( that’s why adding endlessly details doesn’t create great strategy games), but on unforgiving choices. Yes, unforgiving and punishing errors or bad luck…

  1. MikeKO says:

    You have an important point but I think the idea is carried too far if elevated into a principle. There are a lot of forgiving choices in war where the bad result is recoverable, and some that are clearly favorable but take time, resources, or position to implement. In historical games, it is with enabling historical mistakes that your principle becomes most relevant because players can see why historical characters were led to take certain courses of action that now appear mistaken. Sidelining Lebedev is a nice hypothetical.

    Having mutually exclusive favorable options, or ones that are just expensive (in EPs for example) so you must patiently strive for them, will be more fun for most game players that ones that all have a careful balance of good and bad so can just be left alone with little effect in average result.

    I think you intend your concept to include having good options that restrict the player to certain strategies, but these may be no brainers for some players who like that approach and obviously not for others with different preferences. The role playing aspect is also relevant to some actual players – ideological compromises in RUS, for example.

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