Thoughts about military

I’ve been thinking about organizing troops in NextGame. This post is a snapshot of my thoughts, incomplete and fragmented, so please allow enough room for later changes and details to be added.

Firstly we would want to keep the Rock-Paper-Scissors principle, so that each troop type has a weakness and an advantage. Secondly we want to keep tiers – that is different levels of troops.

Classic troop types don’t need much introduction:

  • Melee. Cheap universal warriors with no special traits. Cannon fodder. Medium attack and average defense.
  • Ranged. Powerful distance attack when in numbers, but defenseless in close fight. Need careful management and protection from enemy fighters.
  • Scouts. Fast mounted units, meant for flanking maneuvers. Their strength is in their speed.
  • Pikes. Good anti-horse troops. High attack, but weak defense.

They form a nice RPS rectangle, where each element has strong and weak opponents:

Troop types 1

* red arrows represent advantage with proper management (with defense from hand-to-hand combat)

For completeness sake let’s add additional types of military objects that compliment the RPS described above:

  • Siege equipment. Powerful, but slow and good only against houses.
  • Stationary defenses (towers).

Troop types 2

Ranged and Siege are natural enemies of the towers.

We want to let players have armies early on. They might be weak, but would allow to reduce the “peace time” and make the game more diverse. So for example players need to balance between investing into quick and weak armies, or hold on till strong armies are available.

Three tiers of troops naturally form up:

  • Rebels. Weak defenseless units available early on. Their main use is for scouting and early game harassment.
  • Armored. Average fighters. Well balanced town produces required materials for them as bi-product of kettle and wood production.
  • Steel. Strongest and most expensive units that need dedicated production chains.

Troop types 3

Following military assets are also available to the player:

  • Arrow towers. Unlocked early on. Good against rebels, but less efficient against armored units. Almost no threat to steel troops. Require no supplies. Medium range. Maybe unconnected from roads?
  • Stone towers. Main defense structure later in the game. Require stones for operation and be connected with roads.
  • Siege weapons (catapults). Anti-Tower units.

Now about training. Last time we have reached this diagram:

Tech tree 4

As shown on the tech tree, we can make the military encampment upgradeable. We are not sure that will work out, but we can give it a try I guess )

The plan is to have Rebel Camp as early as possible and maybe allow to hire units directly there, without use of School. Training Grounds provide second tier and should be available once town has Tannery functional. Barracks require steel industry.

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11 Responses to Thoughts about military

  1. The Dark Lord says:

    I hope you succeed in making it so that peace time is not required. 🙂
    Some things that caught my attention:
    – “Ranged and Siege are natural enemies of the towers.” Later on I read about “arrow towers”… It would make sense to me if the range of an arrow tower is larger than the range of a bowman.
    – Stone towers being more advanced than arrow towers seems odd; throwing stones at enemies is kind of barbaric; wouldn’t it be better to swap them? Or replace the stone tower with something new?

    • Krom says:

      Thanks for the comment!
      When you put these parts together, they indeed seem a bit odd 🙂

      The reasoning behind two towers types are:
      – 1st to let player build early defense structures, that will become obsolete later in the game. Something to hold off against a rush of militias, but almost useless against knights. Maybe made purely out of wood. We don’t want to make them “campy”, so giving them a range higher than bowmen is not a good idea. From the top of my head, a group of 3 towers should hold off against 2-3 dozens of militias and hold off a dozen of archers for some minutes.
      – 2nd are heavy defense structures that will buy player more time against late-game assaults and only ultimately overruled by siege machines(?).

      Having that, we can decide which tower uses which tech.
      – Arrows come to mind first. Perhaps their range could be equal or shorter due to men inside being less skillful than specially trained archers, or they can’t effectively draw a longbow in close quarters )
      – Arbaletes might be more deadly
      – Ballistas are superior

      Maybe there can be a generic tower house, that player can decide with what to equip. E.g. to make an arrow tower he needs a bow, same for arbalet and ballista. That way player can’t have a high-tech tower until he produces the required high-tech equipment in his town.

  2. Lewin says:

    In order to remove peacetime we need a LOT more early game defensive elements than KaM has. It needs to be harder to damage a player’s economy than in KaM. However we also want to discourage late game camping. Arrow towers and unlocking cheap military early (without need for production lines) should help with that.

    If testing shows that rushing is still the most viable strategy we might need to consider other ways to defend against early rushes like villagers fighting back, or camps shooting arrows automatically like arrow towers.

    Regarding towers, maybe there’s just one kind of tower which shoots arrows by default, but if connected to a road it can shoot a large balista with ammo made in another house by a carpenter from wood? (instead of rock throwing which seems kind of odd). That means the player doesn’t have to worry about which kind of tower they build (or demolishing and rebuilding better ones), but advanced towers requires an investment/cost in making the ammo.

    We should also consider ways to prevent camping with 100s of towers late-game which some KaM players complain about (minimum distance between towers?).

    Just some ideas 🙂

  3. The Dark Lord says:

    I think massing towers won’t be a big problem if there is no peace time. The player with the army can easily stop the construction of new towers with his ranged units early on. But if it turns out to be a problem it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with solutions.

  4. Oliver says:

    What about separate the tower from the defender? The game can have 2 types of tower. Made from wood and stone(because we have these from the start and we need them to build every building so why stick to only wood?). This type should have only little protection. Maybe if arrows are fired against this type of tower the defeder can be shoted down??
    The second type would require steel or iron or whatever material you guys want to implement. Because you play with the idea of siege weapons, the steel (and more wood and stone) reinforcement should make the tower more hardened against arrows and add some extra protection agains stones and balistas.

    The second part of this will be defender. You will have like 4 types? Firstly it will be our stonethrower. Early rush is without armor so well aimed stone could take the attacker down. He requires only stone amunnation.
    Second will be defender with a bow. It will be for example our bowman from military camp. But here is the question. Would he require ammunation or rather do damage like normal archer but with some additional bonus because he is inside tower.
    The third will be a longbowman with better range and damage. And lastly we will have our arbalest which will be effective against knights and armored units.

    Maybe the special type of defender should be the ballista which will have ultimate range? But it will require more people to manipulate, maybe costly ammunation, can’t shoot on close target, bigger miss chance on moving(running, mounted units) target, deadly to any unit on hit, etc…

    You should be aware of changing that defender because if you do that defender will leaver the tower and new will come to replace him. Or maybe the serfs can brought needed wares to the tower and defender only swith them?

    Or I have some idea with those uprades. Maybe towers can be upgraded to hold more of those defenders? More ammunation? Better protection.

    I don’t know maybe it is usless but maybe you take something from this. If not it was nice practising my bad English. 😀

  5. Tiago says:

    Cheap military seems a great idea! I always thought that villagers should be able to fight if needed because they have their utensils that can be used as a weapon like the shovel, hammer, axe, even the bread roller 🙂
    Just one thought about the coalmaker in your diagram when translating it to real life. Melting ore with charcoal is not efficatious and would require a huge amount of material. That’s why mineral coal is used, its thermal efficiency is far superior and it has been used by mankind since B.C. . I still think that a coalmaker from wood is interesting but I would not exclude the coal mines. This way, charcoal would be a more expensive alternative in terms of raw material, requiring more trunks to make the equivalent of one bucket of mineral coal. But would become handy when there’s no mineral coal available or in cases you need to boost your coal supplies.
    Other suggestion that I’m pretty sure it was thought about. What about being able to steal the (non-destroyed) enemy warehouses if you connect a road to them (after defeating that enemy of course). So even if your village was settled in a resources-less area you could win something after defeating an enemy! I always though it was a waste to destroy a warehouse without being able to get some goods!
    And by the way, I’m super thrilled about KP! You guys are awesome! I’m a KaM player since it’s original release!

  6. Pluiza says:

    *English isn’t my first language, so please excuse any mistakes.*

    What about a castle for a more strategic elements? It don’t need a road to be build, so it can build everywhere on the map. The castle can built close to a strategic points to secure it. The castle its a highly strong building from where the troops can fight(+defend bonus) with the enemy. To make a castle you should need a lot of raw materials, we don’t want hundreds of castles in the game. For the enemy, they have three options, capture, destroy or ignore it the castle.

    I hope that you people can read my text. 😛
    Pluiza.

    • Krom says:

      Sounds like “tough tower” (and fits in into ControlPoints abstract quite well) – I hope to have a chance to test it 🙂

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