Limited Actions in an (near?) Infinite Universe

Limited actions is an important part of the Armageddon Empires design and it’s fundamental to Solium Infernum as well. The basic idea is that it forces you to prioritize your strategy goals and that mental process is supposed to be both challenging and fun. As a design choice it has some nice side benefits as well. It’s a great way to speed up gameplay. It also minimizes micromanagement in that you don’t have to adjust the position/state of 100 agents on the game board. The game simply won’t let you micromanage. From an AI standpoint it helps to focus the decision space within which the AI must operate and that’s a big plus.

The limited actions mechanic is a common feature of Eurostyle games. On any given turn you can pick from some finite action menu a limited number of times. Or you can claim a “role” card for a given turn and get its benefits. This is opposed to a classic hex based wargame where you can move almost any counter on the board unless it lacks supply or some such other action limiting state is involved. AE was a nice mix of both of these styles. For Solium Infernum I wanted first and foremost a Grand Strategy type feeling and I felt the limited actions mechanic fit perfectly with this.

All players start the game with 2 Order Slots. The maximum number of order slots available is 6. You can gain additional slots by powering up your avatar attributes. You can also claim places of power that might occasionally give you +1 Order Slot. Some rare events can give you more (or less) order slots as well. In general an additional order slot is a precious commodity. +1 is a big deal and players running around with all 6 slots available is designed to be a rare thing. The advantage of having 4 slots versus 2 is also huge. Since ordering your minions to bring you “tribute” requires an order slot you will have to plan carefully. You can try the feast or famine approach or some type of hybrid but you will need to balance your need for gathering resources with your need for more direct actions that earn you prestige and interfere with your opponents’ prestige activities.

Here is a screenshot of what the Orders Tab looks like on the Main Interface Viewer. The orders tab shows you what orders you have queued up. When each turn is processed all orders are processed in sequence of their phase number starting with the player who is currently Regent and proceeding clockwise. This can have a big impact on whether your orders are successful. If your opponent moves a legion first that blocks the path that you had plotted out for one of your own legions then a collision will take place that you had not forseen. The results could be combat if you are in Vendetta or Blood Feud or it could mean that your legion must halt its movement unexpectedly. Early in the game when the great land grab phase is in full swing this can be a big deal and you can be faced with a lot of “game theory” type mutual interaction situations when deciding where to move your legions and which territory you should try and grab first.

OrdersTab

Each order is represented by an icon specific to the order. In this case you see that phase I has a specific ritual called “Lies and Rumors” being performed. This will create decoy icons of a designated legion in a series of hexes chosen by the player performing the ritual. How long the decoys stay on the board and how many are placed depends on what level the player has achieved in the “Deceit” power. The second phase slot has a diplomatic order as you can see the two demons arguing across the table. You can also click on the “eye” buttons next to each icon and get an exact text description of what the order entails.

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