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Suggestions for more strategy for a strategy game

QueglarQueglar Member Posts: 6 ✭✭

Strategy players attracted to this game based on the Catan brand name are all going to be disappointed - which is not a great start to establish a new game community. The problem is there is a lot of grind and games of chance, but not a great deal of actual strategic gameplay to keep coming back.

  1. Season wipes: I understand it's to ensure new players can start playing, but it's at the expense of retaining old players. When everything resets regardless of what you do, there's no motivation to do anything. At least in Ingress, the other faction can destroy your portals so there are actual gameplay involved - auto wipe removes agency from the player = no motivation to play.
  2. Better settlement interface and customisation: The isometric style maps are really frustrating use - at least provide a simple interface for when you just want to select a tile to see what's on it, make it more user friendly to plop buildings etc. Costing resources just to view a settlement's map when out of range just discourages strategic play about those settlements. Being able to rename a settlement if you are the mayor would be nice - with the usual controls over offensive language etc. Either way, you want to encourage players to "invest" in a settlement - it's currently a combination of grind and wipe, there's no real attachment to settlements.
  3. Smaller Regions with more customisation: Much smaller, maybe 5 settlements max per region. Individual players have more opportunity to win a region and build a bit more of attachment to it. Build user attachments to more regions people are more like to want to claim/reclaim them. If you control a region you become a Governor (or something), and have the ability to give it a better name than one randomly chosen portal which results in really bizarre region names.
  4. Maps and stats: For a game based on a strategy board game, the maps in it are terrible - there's nothing like the Ingress intel map as far as I can find, there's no real ability to look at the game from a strategic level. There's nothing really to look at, plot and scheme over, there's little replayability as a result.
  5. There's no Trade routes....?: Connecting portals in Ingress is a really simple way to make it much more strategic. In Catan you build roads, in this game you build... nothing... connecting settlements with roads and creating trade within and between regions - and the ability for factions to break them - would make this game much more interesting.
  6. Factions with more purpose: So I pick a colour and... that's it... no lore, no differentiation, no personality = no loyalty. Give each faction something different other than a colour scheme, maybe even a resource-specific perk. Provide a reason for people to identify with them, provide a mechanism for the factions to compete and cooperate - e.g. trade routes. Adds a whole dynamic to the game that will make it replayable.

Overall I think there is potential with this game - but it's just waaaaaaay too shallow to be considered a strategy game and that is really undermining the entire experience. It's just grind grind grind, start all over again every month. People don't persist with a game to roll die and collect loot boxes, they persist with a game because of the interaction with other players.

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  • QueglarQueglar Member Posts: 6 ✭✭

    And just an extra plug for a simple map interface version - it is really annoying to try and select resources or settlements when the portals are located close to each other. It really destroys a game when you just want to select a **** resource and it keeps selecting the wrong one for no other reason than it's located too close to a settlement or other resource and the hit boxes on the interface overlap.

  • AjanHukkaAjanHukka Member Posts: 317 ✭✭✭

    You have some good point. Routes especially would bring much more depth. Official guide says that they may be coming in the future.

    But then, it’s a game that tries to get you to exercise. Then it just must be about repetition and grind. That’s what makes that effect to happen. You go to different places and you may do things differently depending on the place but grind is always there. That’s the strength of these games.

    5 settlement region would be too small. Most regions would just be empty. That small would work in games like PoGo on some degree that have massive amount of players but this will probably be more comparable to Ingress. City centers already have rather small regions as it’s probably based on population density.

  • GrogyanGrogyan Member Posts: 259 ✭✭✭

    I has suggested trade routes and roads for a couple of months now, no sign of them

  • QueglarQueglar Member Posts: 6 ✭✭

    Replace the no roads leading to nowhere with some roads leading to somewhere

    @Grogyan Yeah I think roads/trade routes is a crazy-lame omission - building roads strategically is a significant element of the Catan game, yet the Niantic version has... nothing...

    Linking portals in Ingress (even without creating fields) makes that game the most strategic game of all Niantic's offerings, it's a simple game mechanic that adds a whole heap of player value.

    If they used the same mechanic as Ingress to link resource centers and settlements, one way to make it more of a challenge/more like the actual Catan game is to limit the number of roads you can connect to a single settlement and have it based on the settlement size, but have a flat cap on the number of roads you can connect to a single resource. Also add a distance cap on how far away a settlement can connect to other resources. Every resource connected to a settlement adds that resource to the core plots that you get to each roll at a settlement, so the more resources connected, the better the roll for that settlement.

    There's enough game in that to just strategise road placement.

    Unclaimed areas in a strategy game are a feature, not a bug

    @AjanHukka Having much smaller regions resulting in many of them being empty is part of making the game more strategic. There is repetition and grind in a strategy game, but it has a strategic purpose behind it.

    Pick any strategy game, empty spaces are just opportunities for a player to do something. If you want a game to be replayable, you build game mechanics to make empty spaces for players to expand into. e.g. give other players the ability to destroy/counter what you have done, and/or create game events that do the same thing.

    In any case, the current region setup is broken from a gameplay and a technical perspective - the region to the north of me covers the CBD of the nearest city to where I live which has a massive concentration of resources centers in it. The end result is the factions have all quickly created enough VP for themselves that the region stats is broken because the numbers don't have enough digits. So the end result of everyone being active in that region is it has become irrelevant - no one knows who is in front, and when the VP numbers are in the 10s of thousands, no single player can have any impact on the outcome now anyway.

    Which is also the problem for the other regions - all you need is a lead of a few 100 VP and it snowballs from there, there's nothing you can really do to prevent that faction from winning.

    A larger number of smaller regions with smaller VP numbers means all those regions can be influenced by a single player.

    There is a built-in cost for strategic planning

    The map is terrible because it says nothing, and if you want to actually use it to look at a settlement, it costs you a totem point. This is a disincentive to actually use the map, and/or strategically plan anything since you don't know what the settlement looks like before you get there.

    Ingress has an ok intel map, the community made a much better one for strategic play in Ingress, long-term Ingress players use it extensively the plan how to play the game, and continue to plan how to play the game. PoGo had a terrible map, the community made a much better one and Niantic killed it, people stopped playing PoGo as the novelty wore off. A strategic map is a tool for any strategy game, the more Niantic undermines the strategic map as a tool, the more they undermine any ability for anyone to play that game strategically.

    Catan is NOT a walking game - it's currently a virtual dice-rolling game

    You have a daily roll, you roll at settlements, you roll in mini games. You try to get the die to land on a x2 or x3 target, you try to not roll a 7 at a settlement, you try to get the dice to land on a golden coin, you try to make sure the dice land on the game board (which is hard to do when some of the dice physics sends things flying off into space sometimes). It's all about rolling dice - walking isn't really that important.

    Even if it WAS a walking game, then the Catan IP is the worst franchise to tie a walking game in with. The whole point of tie-ins with other IP like Pokemon, Harry Potter, Catan etc is to try and grab people who are fans of the original to play the Niantic version. Catan is a popular strategy game, any fan of Catan is going to be disappointed with this version because it's not a Strategy game - if you can't get Catan players to play a Catan spinoff, you might as well not have done an IP deal to use the Catan IP.

    Trying to attract Catan strategy players to a game without any strategy is a bit like having Hogwarts houses from Harry Potter and making them completely irrelevant...

    Factions are Meaningless

    Reiterating this one because it feels like Niantic is getting worse with this mechanic with each new game rather than better. Ingress has factions, with lore, there are also communities that have formed around them because Niantic invested time in making it a thing.

    Not only is there no backstory to the Catan factions, there is no purpose to them either - you don't really interact with them at a game level, it's purely who can grind the most, and there is very little you can do to actually help or hinder another faction. There are no characteristics or game play mechanics specific to a faction, you don't need to earn your way into one, nor is there any real immediate benefit to being in one.

    A vital ingredient to any strategy game is competition with other players/groups/factions. If the gameplay of other players or factions in Catan has no impact on me as a player, then what exactly is the motivation to continue to play the game...?

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