The Enemy in the Mirror

If you haven’t done so already, I ask that you check out the At the Gates Kickstarter page. Our goal is to innovate and take strategy gaming to the next level, but this campaign will be our sole source of funding for development. And hint, hint: the more successful ATG is the more articles you’ll have to read in the future!

To those of you who have already contributed and helped us reach our funding goal, I offer my most sincere thanks!

One of the reasons we play games is that they allow us to achieve great things which, quite honestly, we’re probably not capable of in real life. While designing ATG I toyed with several ideas for how to provide that sense of accomplishment and progress. What I settled on is the “Romanization” system.

Romanization is actually a fairly recent addition to the game. For a while there was no progression mechanic at all, but I realized we needed more structure and rewards. One of my original ideas was to have two systems. The first was technology as traditionally represented in 4X games. The other was a system that incentivized working with the Romans, as typically there are plenty of reasons to fight your neighbors, but basically zero which suggest cooperating with them.

I eventually came to the conclusion that combining these two was the right way to go. Barbarians doing research doesn’t really make sense, and why add a second system that has essentially the same function? At first I was hesitant to merge the two (even for designers your natural inclination is more is better and different is bad), but after stepping back and performing a cold, objective analysis it became obvious this was the best approach.