Few thoughts before I run off for the night myself:
Misery: Thanks for the clarification on VPs. That's actually really interesting, although I think that possibly having the players look through a list of 20 possible VPs to be working on at any given time would be a bit overwhelming, don't you? I can't think of an interface there that wouldn't freak a midcore gamer out.
Regarding quests: It's kind of interesting, but the AI would generally go for them, and I don't really know what you mean by quest TBH. I mean, if these are powerups or whatever, we basically already have that in the ruins and the mythological tokens, mixed between stuff you place and stuff you don't place.
Pepisolo: Agreed in spirit, but it comes down to execution.
Hearteater: I'm really looking for One System To Rule Them All. Not just because I'm super limited on time (which I am), but also because I think that's key to being able to understand what is going on. If I have three categories of objectives, how do we show that on the screen? How do I, as the player, begin to fathom what to do first? Etc. I like the idea of players being able to focus on 1-3 things at a time, but having some insight into what they will need to be keeping an eye on in the future.
Possible simple model. We take Misery's idea of VPs and combine that with some of the other thoughts here:
1. We have 40ish VPs possible.
2. You are presented with 3 that you can work on at the start, and then 3 more that are grayed out that will come in after you complete the first 3 (each one that you complete brings in another one from the gray list, and then another one gets added to the gray list. So it's incremental, not all-at-once).
3. You have VP goals per round, as Hearteater notes. This would be set by the difficulty you choose, not really the map size. Probably. It's not granular enough to really do that unless we make VPs into 100 equals what people have been talking about 1.
4. In terms of co-op this will be extra tricky, but it can be balanced. This also argues for more granularity, or even a floating-point number system so that the numbers don't get strangely large. So you could earn, say, 0.33 VP from some action.
And that's basically it. If the VPs are designed interestingly and well, these would provide all the randomization we need. We could also add in more "calamity" type things like yellow towns spawning or yellow hordes on rare occasion or whatnot, but those would be just more sources of things to deal with, and difficulty-dependent as well.
That's a pretty straightforward model, and seems to take the best of what people like. If people like this, we'd have to do another thread with VP ideas -- Josh and I already have dozens, but many of them are a bit inane and/or cross-game. More heads are better than one.
About quests: I posted that before I'd had food/caffiene; it made sense at the time... sorta.
Anyway, that setup for the VP thing sounds pretty great to me.
Just a matter of people coming up with ones that are interesting/challenging/whatever.
Exhausted, but the key is organic randomness, not forced randomness.
Players need to react to randomness. If it is not random but constant across games, it is not random at all.
So tired, hard to clarify.
Having a player react to a needed random short term objective on the fly is reacting to randomness. Having a constant list of objectives to do is not random at all.
The VP system though is not meant to be a random pops-up-at-any-time sort of system. It's meant from the start to be a throughout-the-game thing, which involves the conditions for victory. Having these just pop into existence at any given time would be bad. Random events and such are great, but that's just not what these are. These need to be things that the player can apply strategy and planning to.
The randomness of them is in the selection; you never know which are going to be on that list of 6 (3 available to start, 3 grayed out) until the game has begun. Different combinations of VP conditions could affect your strategy in all sorts of ways.... but that's part of the point, is it's meant to be strategic, not based on mere reaction. You wont know WHICH you'll get.... but you'll know WHEN you get them, and how long you'll have to complete them, which are the important parts. When it comes to stuff like victory conditions, it is best if the player can plan an overall strategy to get at them. If the game suddenly jumps at you with "GUESS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO THIS THING NOW", it'd lead to nothing but trouble.
Not to mention that by the game's very nature, more randomness will occur as you begin to implement your strategies towards each one; you may choose one of them to go after to start with, but your plans could be thrown off by your AI troops, or sudden bandits, or unexpected effects from large-scale powers you activate, or whatever, which could change your planning overall; it may suddenly become more viable at that time to do one of the other 2 currently available ones instead. Which IS a case of the player reacting. Really, I honestly dont think there's any lack at all of having to react to things in this game; heck, there's ALOT of it already. If the balance is holding perfectly, it's a bit stale, but the moment you start applying big powers or tactics or whatever that knocks the balance out of place (which you'd need to do to accomplish VPs), well.... yeah. You're going to have PLENTY you'll need to react to. That's been the case when I've been playing it anyway, if I throw out even a not-quite-as-crazy thing into the mix, like one of those "5 guys can use this" effects, I'm GOING to have stuff that I'll need to react to afterwards, which may cause me to have to use another major effect, which leads to MORE of that, which.... yeah. You get the idea.
If there are random event sorts of things as you suggest, it'd be a seperate thing from the VPs, more along the lines of bandits and such (and I do indeed think it'd be nice to have more such things).