URL:
  <http://gna.org/patch/?4758>

                 Summary: Hard limit on alliance size
                 Project: Freeciv
            Submitted by: jtn
            Submitted on: Sat 31 May 2014 23:48:48 BST
                Category: None
                Priority: 5 - Normal
                  Status: None
                 Privacy: Public
             Assigned to: None
        Originator Email: 
             Open/Closed: Open
         Discussion Lock: Any
         Planned Release: 

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Details:

(From IRC conversation with morphles)

Have some way to put a hard limit on alliance size (same size definition as in
patch #4757).
If you reach the cap and want to ally with someone else, it's prevented; you
have to break off an existing alliance first.

Main motivation is to enable discouragement of large alliances in multiplayer,
as in patch #4757.
morphles reports at least one game where there was a verbal agreement on
alliance size.

This could be a numeric effect "Max_Alliance_Size".
* It can only have global requirements as it's meaningless per-player.
* Probably also want boolean "Alliance_Size_Unlimit".

Same thought as patch #4757 about relative vs absolute alliance size. If we
support relative size, it'll be a distinct effect "Max_Alliance_Size_Pct" or
something.

If it's an effect, big question is what to do if it ever reduces.
* Could say "don't do that then": ruleset authors encouraged to use a fixed
value, or surviving/monotonic requirements, as for Apollo Program.
* But having it reduce as the game progresses could be just what we need.
* If it ever reduces, I think we can't automatically split alliances in the
game engine (how to choose where to split it?), so if an alliance ever becomes
untenable then it stays in a metastable state.
** This could have the opposite effect to what I intend: alliances staying
together, because breakup is irreversible. Need a counter to that.
** One possible counter would be to pair this effect with another preventing
victory while in an oversized alliance (using patch #4756).

With both this and patch #4757, what stops groups of players acting like
alliances informally? The only current benefit of alliance that can't be
worked around is open borders (all else is information sharing).
* Probably this is best solved by providing incentives to work against the
alliance, such as custom victory conditions. Those would be the carrot; these
alliance size limits the stick.
* Adding more ruleset flexibility may help, e.g. restriction that only allies
can trade (patch #4499), swap techs, etc will prevent informal allies doing
so.




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