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  • Fixing Endgame Design In Grand Strategy Games

    [09.21.21]
    - Anton Petrushenkov

  • Apples to Oranges?

    Sure, it's not fair to directly compare chess and a Grand Strategy game. Players are looking for different qualities in these games. It is also clear you can't just slap your favorite mechanics from chess on one of the existing games and expect the combo to be consistent and fair or even playable.

    However, the current endgame approach is in such rough contrast to what it could be that it makes me wonder - what will happen if a strategy game was developed from scratch with such an elegant endgame in mind?

    Possible Solution

    One of the many solution examples could be a "Scale Shift" approach. Asking the player to build/trade/recruit resources for a "greater battle" over the whole course of the game. The greater battle itself is happening on the higher scale level. E.g. Solar Systems instead of planets that you manage regularly.

    In a way, you can put it as a grand-strategy-deck-builder where you slowly build up a "deck" to clash against your opponents in the end. All the aspects where Grand Strategies really shine could easily be applied to such an approach. Spying on your opponent's deck, trading/racing for rare resources, building alliances, and finding synergies. The final grind gets replaced by a dynamic finale where players are properly rewarded or punished for their choices over the whole game course.

    Summary

    By heavily relying on expansion mechanics Grand Strategies are painting themselves in a corner, turning the endgame into a slog. The solution could be to look at the way other games are solving these problems.

    Game design experiments are always risky. That's why we rarely see some real innovation in the settled genres. But with great risk often comes a great reward. Let's keep our hopes up.

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