Old World designer notes #8: Soren Johnson on opinions

By | September 16, 2021

Soren Johnson has published a new blog post, this time about “Opinions”, have a read here.

This blog post is mostly about how in the Civ games, you would mainly need to deal with threats from the outside, and the only thing which internally is causing issues is unhappiness and related concepts. This is a very simple mechanic, and he wanted to make this more interesting for Old World, so they have added more mechanics to the game, the opinions of the families living in the cities.

An excerpt

“One of the defining features of 4X games with an Eternal China Syndrome is that the conflict primarily comes from external sources, from barbarians and rival nations. With certain random maps or diplomatic situations, players can often be in a position where they are largely unchallenged, and without any other pressure, the game slowly slides into auto-pilot. Old World addresses this problem by adding internal pressure from families and religions, each of which have their own opinion of you, just like a foreign power.
Making internal opinions matter requires a pair of mechanics – how the opinion is determined and how it affects the game. Designing the latter was the easier task as family opinions could simply affect cities and units if they each had a specific family type. Thus, each new city would be assigned a family, and units produced by that city would also be attached to that family. Then, each city and unit could get various bonuses and penalties depending on the opinion of the family itself. Cites belonging to a friendly family have reduced Maintenance, units of an angry family have a combat penalty, and so on. Perhaps most importantly for family opinions thematically, an unhappy family has a chance of producing rebel units which are capable of capturing cities if not defeated.”

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