A description of how national policies in URR work, and what impact choosing a homeland has on the game.
Posted by UltimaRatioRegum on Jan 18th, 2014
In URR, there are going to be two factors that affect how the game plays from the start, roughly akin to "species" and "religion" in other roguelikes. The species one I'll be talking about much later, but the religion equivalent is what civilization you belong to. When the game starts you are prompted to select a civilization. You can only choose a feudal civilization to begin with, though you will be able to change civilization as much as you please in later versions of the game, including to nomadic or hunter-gatherer civilizations, though there will be penalties associated with this for abandoning your old civ. On this screen you'll see the flag, religious affiliation (if any), capital city, name of ruling individual/family/party, and the national policies that civilization adheres to. Each civilization has eight different policy categories - foreign, military, leadership, trade, intellectual, religious, cultural, and judicial. Each of those eight categories has at least five different policies, all with their own icons like the ones in this screenshot, though some categories have more. I don't currently intend to publish a full list of policies and their effects, though as you can see some of the policies haven't yet had their effects assigned. Some policies have just "abstract" effects - like Str + 4, say - whilst others have direct effects. A civilization with the "theocracy" leadership policy, for example, isn't going to have a separate building for a palace and a religious hub, as the two will be the same. A civilization with the "penitentiary" judicial choice will have prisons, whilst one without that will not, and so forth.
Thus, the "gods" in URR are the civilizations, and each is randomly generated. Although there is a small non-random element - civilizations cannot have conflicting policies such as "Theocracy" and "Religious Freedom", or "Pacifism" and "Imperialism" - there's over a quarter of a million permutations for the policy selections you'll start with. My hope is that as the game progresses, choosing your civilization will actually push the player towards play strategies they might not ordinarily consider. You might be a player who prefers to have few allies and use heavy weapons, but if you saw a civilization which granted significant bonuses to allies and short weapons, you might be more inclined to try that model for once. The random generation of policies means you have to take one of the selection you're given, and some of the combinations may yield interesting gameplay possibilities I haven't yet planned out. As I say, some of the policies are still being worked out, and there may be more in later releases. Until next time you can keep up to date on my devblog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed. The devblog is updated weekly or fortnightly generally on Saturdays, Facebook a few times a week, and the Twitter roughly daily. Any thoughts, please leave them in the comments! Stay tuned...