On Wednesdays I write about my strategy game, Strategic Primer.
In running the current campaign of Strategic Primer through its first several turns (though it’s still not too late to join, and we still need players), I’ve decided to implement some changes in the next campaign, if there is one. (These changes will not be implemented in the current campaign.)
First, the way I currently handle farming leaves much to be desired. It’s a model based on what I’ve seen in America today: planting in spring, growing in summer, harvest in autumn, and equipment maintenance, education, and the like in winter. But that doesn’t reflect the historical reality (reflected in, among other places, the Bible: Leviticus 26:5, for instance) of multiple crops with independent growing seasons. (Even in this part of America, crops with short growing seasons like strawberries and tomatoes have their own non-overlapping seasons.) On the other hand, I don’t want to go the route I hear Farmville takes, of crops being planted any time and harvested a fixed time after that. So in future campaigns, each crop will have its own cycle that will only require major work during its times of planting and harvest; it will be easily possible to align multiple crops to have the growing season of one coincide with the harvest of another.
Second, each player started with vastly too large a collection of resources, particularly wood. (Though one player’s fortress initial plan was still larger than he had wood to build.) In future campaigns they will start with a much smaller allotment, enough to build housing for workers, some resource and food storage space, and simple defenses, but not enough to do so twice or three times over or to build for the fortress’s needs two game-years hence. In fact, I expect that woodcutting (or mining for some other building material) will become a top priority for the players, second only to food production.
Third, as another check on population growth, I will do what some players in this campaign expected me to do: several of the “details” the current campaign ignores will become important, such as making clothing and tools for the various workers. I also intend to keep better track of space and pasturage usage.