Damian Walker

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Brought to you by the numbers 3 and 7...

Tuesday, 14th November 2017

In my last half dozen games or so, I've developed a habit for conforming my games to certain numbers. Somehow it just feels neater to me. Barbarians has twelve cities and twelve armies, with a lot of other numbers in the game being multiples of twelve. Intergalactic Space Rescue has a lot of tens in the game, while Ossuary features multiples of eight.

When I started sketching out Star Governor, I began with a 2-dimensional map display 21 squares tall and wide. This quickly suggested its factors three and seven. Since then, three and seven have determined a lot design choices in the game.  Here are a few.

The map is 21x21x7. The shallow depth is because map representation is 2-dimensional, the third dimension being represented by larger or smaller star icons. Seven seemed a good number to be able to distinguish.

There are 147 stars on the map. This is 3x3x7.

There are three different resources, with planets having three statistics that determine how plentiful each resource is. Given a simple good or bad distinction, this produces eight combinations of resource-based planet type. I excluded the combination of all bad from the mix, giving seven planet types.

There are seven different types of economic activity among which a planet's population can be divided.

There are between three and seven empires playing a game (each of which can be human or computer controlled).

There are three different shapes of map that can be generated: a uniform star field, a globular cluster or a spiral galaxy.

There will hopefully be seven different mission types or roles that a character can be given. The ones I've thought of so far are explorer, conqueror, trader, governor and envoy.

I'm not sticking rigidly to these numbers where gameplay would be adversely affected. But it gives the game design a neat feel to me, so I'm going to conform to them as much as I can.