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4X 4X or grand strategies that aren't combat/conquest oriented

Discussion in 'Strategy and Simulation' started by Humanophage, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. Humanophage Arcane

    Humanophage
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    Generally, most elements in 4X strategies take a backseat to combat. For example, Dominions is really about the combat programming. AoW is chiefly about combat on the tactical map and producing units. And so on. If you compare them to grand strategies, they are the equivalent of Hearts of Iron.

    What are some 4X strategies that de-prioritise combat, especially against other 'symmetrical' players? That is, if the regular 4X is HoI, what are the more holistic Victorias?

    It seems that Civ and its mods are one of the few options where development and exploration are equally important. For example, Fall from Heaven 2 is truly majestic because it is a fantasy 4X that isn't just about conquest but also has good development. SMAC is more combat-oriented than Civ, but sort of fits the bill. Haven't played Imperialism II in a while, but I had the impression that it was pretty diverse in this respect. Another exception is Thea, which does have massive amounts of combat, but it is a part of exploration rather than conquest - Eador is also a bit like that, where some of the tougher fights are against NPCs.

    (Bonus if it's not in space, half a bonus if it's not fantasy)
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
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  2. thesecret1 Arcane

    thesecret1
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    Pride of Nations boasted it wasn't about map painting, but I never could get into it, so no guarantees.
     
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  3. Latro Arcane

    Latro
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    de-emphasis on combat? sure. de-emphasis on conquest? that's the hard part, I guess maybe distant worlds? seems more about managing your space empire than necessarily conquering with it.
     
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  4. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    Combat and conquest are two different things. There never were many 4X genuinely focused on combat, AOW series you mentioned and, apart from that, I can only think of the nu-civ warfare knock-offs like Warlock or Gladius (which for reasons I cannot understand seem to be quite popular, also on codex).

    Regarding conquest - just look for games that make going tall viable and have different victory conditions. Endless games are very decent with that and with asymmetrical factions you get stuff like folk that can only build one megacity, force diplomatic treaties, construct secret societies in other people's colonies, conduct privateer raids etc. Nu-civ is a super popular game that makes going tall very viable as well, plus it's turboshit, but people love is so ymmv. There are also games that make this possible "by accident" (which usually means poor ai and design flaws) - for example Planetfall is a combat focused game, but outside of rushing on small maps, the best way to win is almost always "tech" victory of researching and firing a doomsday device weapon. Enemies will declare war on you and proceed to do what they do (ie nothing) while the counter ticks down and you win.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  5. Humanophage Arcane

    Humanophage
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    I should give Distant Worlds a run, especially since I have it. The generic theme is a bit off-putting.

    Pride of Nations looks intriguing if super-janky, but they're saying that enemy turns take forever, which is a pet peeve for me. I wonder if something like cheatengine can help with this. Probably not.

    By combat, I mean a focus on warfare and combat in general, not specifically good tactical combat. For example, HoI has pretty primitive and weird combat per se, but the whole game is concentrated on it while the rest is pretty bare-bones.

    I played Endless Legend, and it seemed pretty focused on fighting. Another problem was that it was too easy on the hardest difficulty. Maybe I should try Endless Space. Haven't tried nu-Civ or Planetfall yet because I have heard a lot of bad things about the former, and Planetfall seemed like AoW3 in space.
     
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  6. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    Endless Legend can be focused on fighting as pretty much any 4X can, but it definitely gives more non-combat options than your average title. ES2 is extremely similar. You're right that AI and the lack of challenge is a big problem in theses games though.

    Planetfall is AoW3 in space, but worse. It was a bit of a joke mention tbh, it is actually true that you can easily win the tech victory due to AI being hilariously bad, but the game is extremely poor as 4X.
     
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  7. Beowulf Arcane

    Beowulf
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    I wouldn't call Rise to Ruins a 4x game. Besides, there is combat, and the preparation for combat is the meat of the game - but I haven't played any newer releases and the dev might have changed some things in the meantime
     
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  8. ValeVelKal Arcane

    ValeVelKal
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    I played a super early release, where there was basically NO combat :) Hence my question-mark.

    So I don't know, but it is in my "to retest" list
     
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  9. Wyatt_Derp Cipher

    Wyatt_Derp
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    Same here. I love grand strategy games, especially TBS board-style like AGEOD titles. But PON was a bore-fest. In order to build up your economy you literally had to control and build things in every single province. The micromanagement in that game was off the charts. And boring as hell. I love slower paced games that make you think out decisions, but even I found myself drooling on my keyboard.

    If I remember right, the Imperialism series was as much about building up trade and economics as warfare. And the Port Royale series also focuses more on exploration and trade.
     
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  10. dehimos Augur

    dehimos
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    OpenTTD.

    4X:
    Explore: yes, you must discover the best routes.
    Expand: yes, roads and rails.
    Exploit: of course, take advantage of public subsidies and unused resources.
    Exterminate: you kill with money, Ayn Rand's style.
     
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  11. what am i doing Prophet

    what am i doing
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    I don't play 4X often because I don't like randomized worlds, but when I do play Endless Legend I generally avoid combat as much as possible and focus on development. Although sometimes combat is forced on you due to the AI's extreme aggression, it is fairly easy to achieve a scientific or economic victory (against AI, anyways) without ever conquering an enemy city.
     
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  12. Lone Wolf Arcane

    Lone Wolf
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    Hey, does anyone know any first person shooters that aren't shooting oriented?

    :lol:

    But, seriously, CK2.
     
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  13. Arrowgrab Savant

    Arrowgrab
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    Thief
     
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  14. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    What is it that makes the concept of a 4X game so difficult to grasp?
     
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  15. Chaosdwarft Learned Patron

    Chaosdwarft
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    Well I would say that Imperialism (I&II) fit the bill. Those games are all about building your economy so you can actually support an army and a navy to project your power. Do you use your fleets to explore and prepare invasions? Or do you keep them in port to serve as your merchant marine to trade and transport the goods back to your capital? Sure you just conquered some juicy province with GEMS now you need to build the infrastructure to ship it back. To be honest it is like Anno series where you need more exotic and manufactured goods to get more productive citizens.

    Pride of Nations is a more complex version of Imperialism (in my opinion) but equally awesome. Yeah, the turn-times are long...

    Shadow Empire. It might look like a wargame but it has a lot of features under the hood!
    • There is a very detailed Planet Generator.
    • You got character interactions like in CK2 (almost every character belongs to a faction),
    • You have to take care of your population (they can experience fear!) so building "tall" is recommended so your industrial capacity can actually outfit and support your units. Each City (or Zone as they are called) can spawn militias if their militancy is high enough, giving you free units that suck on the offensive but are decent defenders.
    • Major/Minor faction dynamic. Minor factions can be anything from Mutants to Raiders or simple farming communities. You compete with Major factions to take over the planet. You can win by making an alliance with the remaining major factions but it mainly depends on their AI.
    • LOGISTICS ARE KING in this game. Can't supply your troops across that mountain range? Watch them melt in a few turns.
    • A Dynamic private economy. Those roaming traders your government trade with have their own money pool, so does each zone and they use it to build stuff they actually need.
    • Policies and most special actions are cards that you play: adding a posture to your army, sending spies, diplomacy...
    And many many other features that all work together very well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
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  16. rvm1975 Educated

    rvm1975
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    anno series
     
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  17. oscar Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    oscar
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    Shadow Empire is truly excellent but ultimately at the end of the game the game is about (and can only be won through) warfare and the goal of the in-depth logistics, political and economic mechanics are ultimately to ensure supply, staffing and equipping of a military powerful enough to win the game. Though technically speaking you could play a defensive/isolationist game and then just nuke the shit out of every other major powers cities once you get 100MT ICBMs and win on population control % (though this would likely take far more turns than kicking their ass the old fashioned way) as you watch their population wither away from 8,000 radiation points in a few years.

    Still a very awesome game and I'd have to say that a peaceful 4X is an oxymoron. For grand strategies some Paradox games you can play pretty peacefully and still win. Victoria II will give you plenty to do without ever firing a shot at a neighbour and coming out on top from economic dominance and cultural prestige.
     
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