Well, for one thing, it's a LOT easier to balance. We don't have to try to figure out things like "well, is this unit worth more than that other unit?" Since individual units won't be directly scoring.
So the core was that scoring was not as implied not fun and opaque in the notes, but rather hard to balance?
Because somehow these VP's sound even less fun and opaque. There are both less ways to get them and they are now necessary.
For example god tokens- The goal may be that they are meant to cause chaos. In practice? I'll be hunting ways to isolate them so they do not cause chaos. See the disconnect? Not fun.
I am not a part of the alpha, so perhaps my opinion does not reflect the state of the game. HOWEVER, i do think that any and all of us on the forum have a voice in 'if' and 'how' this is approached. Granted Arcen has the right to build the game they choose. But the players have a right to let Arcen know if they feel it is what the players 'want'.
I Like the idea of VP's in the same manner as the previous point system, in that it lets me see how i did this time versus the last game i played... did i do better or worse?
But i disagree 'STRONGLY' with the 'they are not optional' thing. If you want to make it interesting, or side-step points for whatever reason, then fine, but don't make me 'have' to use the VP's if i don't want to.
In AI War the optional expansions allow me, if i choose as a player to add complexity, or diversity, or more or this or that if i want. In none of the games do i have to have each and every DLC turned on or I can't play. Forcing players to do so, i think will only antagonize them. That is only my opinion.
Anyway, that is my two cents, the other forumers and Arcen are free to think and do as you see fit and i really think the game looks interesting, so i won't hold my breath and turn blue and tell you its points or nothing! But I will say that i probably will get the game regardless. I just wish i had a 'choice' rather than a requirement in how to play the game. Thats all.
The reason, as I understand it, that the VP thing WONT be optional is simple: It will be THE cause of the central challenge of the game. Obvoiusly the bandits and RNG and wacky AI of your guys is part of the challenge, but it's not the MAIN part. It's more meant to go alongside other mechanics. It's like in Dwarf Fortress: Part of the challenge of the game is that you cant directly control anyone, and have to rely on the AI of each dwarf, and their various whims and interests and emotions and yada yada yada. BUT. This, in and of itself, is actually NOT enough to provide the player with difficulty/challenge/tough situations. It HAS to go alongside other things. If you just sit there and dont actually do much, sure, the AI will do SOME things that are a bit loopy and require your attention, but not that many. Instead how it works is, the player decides "Ok, I'm going to work on THIS project/goal right now", and in the process of taking tons of actions to accomplish this, the player is engaging the AI to do stuff more and more; and the more this happens, the more risk there is of something really damn loopy happening. The key there though is that the AI's goofiness *and* the player's own actions and choices have to both work TOGETHER to create the situations that make the game what it is.
If the VPs were not there, and the game was just "A: survive. B: follow current edict rule", what would happen is this: The player starts, right, and starts out building up each side. Mostly, almost entirely, this would be done by structure placement. The red and blue guys would get almost the exact same structures in the exact same numbers. Basically, one mimicking the other. Players would do this because it is "balanced". Oh, there'd be bandits and some RNG wackiness and AI goofiness, but that's not too difficult to deal with on it's own. So, one side mimicking the other.... with a little bit of constant tweaking (rather minor tweaking) as you continue to build up both sides mostly via structures and placement. Using things like mythical creatures, or god tokens, or taking actions that ARE NOT balanced? Wont happen. Not without encouragement. A huge amount of the game's content will go untouched without encouragement/reason, and this also means that a huge amount of the game's STRATEGY will go unseen by the player.
I'll give an example here:
In my last game session, I was testing things, right, and I figured, ok, let's test out this Singasteinn gizmo that the red guys have. The Singasteinn takes a big blob of bacon to create (
), and it's effect reads: "Grants the first five humans to claim it the ability to attack multiple times per turn, as well as keeping them from taking damage in return when they are the one striking an opponent. Can be used 5 times total." It's a bloody powerful, unpredictable item (as most such things in this game are). In my test, what I did was, I figured, OK, the red guys are the ones using this, and they'll be the ones recieving it's effects. So I'm going to build the blue guys up for a few turns, give them an advantage, so that things will balance out when I actually use the item on the red guy, and I dont risk everything going horribly, horribly wrong.
So, I did this. I built up the blue guys for awhile, and forced the red guys to stagnate a bit. When things were where I wanted them.... I dropped the Singasteinn. I dropped this in such a place where I was sure that 5 red guys would grab it and gain it's power, and then they'd go up against the now-more-powerful blue guys, and I'd get to see exactly what happens and watch for bugs and so on.
Yeah, well, that's not how it went.
What ACTUALLY happened: 1 red guy grabs it. Being dumber than a sack of hammers, he DOES NOT proceed to use it's effects on various blue guys that were within his rather long reach. He instead.... attacks some pigs. Next, a couple of other red guys that were in the area, well.... they decide that wandering off like morons is the best damn idea EVER, so they do this. THREE blue guys, instead, manage to grab the thing. Hoboy. 2 normal human units, and 1 nasty already-increased-in-level siege unit. In other words, the already much stronger team just got a BIG boost..... the OPPOSITE of what I planned for. Got worse than that though: The 5th and final unit to grab this was a damn bandit that came out of bloody nowhere, a powerful siege unit. It grabbed the thing and almost instantly annihilated/captured 2 or 3 red buildings nearby, before I had the chance to do anything.
So, suddenly.... my plans had gone wrong. I had taken a risk, by placing/using the Singasteinn, and despite that I'd PLANNED for it, the AI and RNG thwarted my plan. And because it's such a powerful, risky item, it had a powerful UNbalancing effect.... now, I was in a situation where I needed to use strategy to get OUT of that situation.... or the blue guys were going to hit a point at which they would begin to snowball, getting enough advantage over the reds that it makes it super easy for them to get EVEN MORE advantage, and so on.
This all.... was very interesting, challenging, and fun to deal with. The game really shows it's potential when stuff like this is going on. And it didnt happen because the RNG decided "Here now this big horrible event is going to happen" like in some Roguelike. No.... it happened because *I* chose to do something risky and balance-warping. Just like how the game is designed to work.
But.... this was in a testing situation. That was the logic for using the Singasteinn. In a totally normal, non testing game, with the basic rules of "A: survive, B: follow basic edict".... WHY, exactly, would the player ever use the Singasteinn? What is it's use there? The answer is simple: They WOULDNT. It's too strong, too balance-shifting, too risky. Even when you THINK you prepare for it, stuff CAN go wrong, and since it's so powerful, when stuff goes wrong in relation to it, it goes wrong HARD. Players, as a rule, wont do things like this on purpose without a bloody good reason. This behavior can be seen in pretty much any game. There needs to be constant encouragement and reason to take the big risks, use the big powers that screw things up, do things outside of the norm of "maintain balance". The VP system is meant to provide these reasons, to get the player to do things that bring out the intended game mechanics/effects to their full potential. Without such a system in place.... things get dull fast. Really fast. THAT is why it needs to be there, and is why it's not totally optional.
That being said though, it's STILL a very open-ended system. By it's design, you have TONS of routes you can take to get those VPs. They're all risky, sure, but you can decide on which ones you want to go after based on the current situation and your current plans.... which is exactly how a strategy game should work. And when things get loopy (and they will) as a result of going after them, you use more strategy and more tactics to get out of it.
You might even get a situation where it's like, OK, I did this risky thing to get some VPs, and it's screwed stuff up pretty badly. But wait! Maybe if I use this powerful god token on the now-weak guys.... and then do THIS and THIS over here, it just might get the balance back up, AND I might get even more VPs from using the token. It's risky as well and could push things even further down the drain, but if it works, it's worth lots of VP and will be awesome!
And that type of situation sounds just excellent to me. I'd love to see that sort of thing pop up.
I forgot what else I was going to say. I wonder if I'm making any sense here.