Episode #14: 4X Games & Civilization. With Soren Johnson


Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign, www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.CQGames.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

Soren Johnson – @SorenJohnson, www.Designer-Notes.com

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:05 – Housekeeping
  • 0:02:00 – How We Got Into 4X Games
  • 0:08:15 – What Makes 4X Games Special
  • 0:16:40 – Are 4X RTS Games Really 4X?
  • 0:21:05 – Cutting out the Boring Bits in a 4X
  • 0:29:10 – Problems With the 4X Genre
  • 0:51:20 – Can Multiplayer Work in a 4X Game?
  • 1:02:45 – Challenges & Opportunities With Mobile Platforms


Episode Outline (Detailed)

  • 0:01:05 – Housekeeping
  • 0:02:00 – How We Got Into 4X Games
  • 0:08:15 – What Makes 4X Games Special
  • 0:16:40 – Are 4X RTS Games Really 4X?
  • 0:17:40 – Civ’s Forgotten Origins as an RTS
  • 0:21:05 – Cutting out the Boring Bits in a 4X
  • 0:24:05 – Do You Need Buckets That Fill Up?
  • 0:25:10 – Having Everything on a Single Map is Kind of Crazy
  • 0:29:10 – Problems With the 4X Genre
  • 0:32:15 – Should Civ be Chopped in Half?
  • 0:36:35 – Fixing the Boring Late-Game
  • 0:43:50 – What Would Soren Do With Civ 6?
  • 0:51:20 – Can Multiplayer Work in a 4X Game?
  • 1:02:45 – Challenges & Opportunities With Mobile Platforms


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5 Responses to “Episode #14: 4X Games & Civilization. With Soren Johnson”

  1. [...] Episode #14 is now up! This week Jon and Dirk are joined by Soren Johnson, best known as the designer of Civilization IV. The gang discusses the 4X genre with a particular focus on the Civilization series. They dig into what makes this category of games special, what problems they have yet to solve and what opportunities exist with multiplayer and on mobile platforms. [...]

  2. The part about civ 6 was brilliant! Once again, thanks for the informative game design talk. :)

  3. scalpels says:

    There are two 4x games for the iOS besides Civ Rev that stand out in my mind. The first is Sidius Nova, which is free and worth checking out. That has a concept of a mobile home base that you move around the world, although I didn’t stick with the game because it sometimes felt a little too random and I didn’t really care for the combat system either.

    There is also going to be a port to iOS of the board game Eclipse, which is a board game I really love and think has a lot of potential as a design for multiplayer 4x games. In Eclipse there are only nine turns available, although you get to take a lot of actions each turn doing all the sorts of things you would experience in a traditional 4x space strategy game. The downside to the 9 turn limit is some players will feel this is too arbitrary and the game isn’t “epic” enough as a result. There is one person in my gaming group who is like this and always wants the longest experience possible so we tried playing a longer game with him and I think it sort of fell apart when it went on longer. So I think the condensed turn limit is a good idea, but sometimes it can be difficult to convince other people that it is a good thing! The other thing the game does is it assigns VP to all sorts of conditions like diplomacy, combat, research, miscellaneous buildings, etc. which isn’t the most elegant system, but something more fleshed out could be interesting I think. So I am interested in seeing how Eclipse translates into the iOS space, but I rather enjoy the board game for being a condensed 4x experience.

  4. phunkee says:

    On end game, victory conditions and small vs big: Colonization is an interesting example game. It features a very clear and short endgame after the buildup. Since each faction will ultimately face its own homeland and the homelands strength is dependent on your own strength it also allows for an alternative way to balance small vs large empires. Stay small and face a small army or grow and face a bigger one. Colonization could of course have done many things better, but the end game and victory conditions are at least interesting.

  5. BRR Games says:

    [...] the chatter that has occurred at Jon’s own blog and the recent Game Design Round Table (GDRT) podcast. A lot of discussion has happened on the topic of the faults of 4X games, primarily with the [...]

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