This is my first post on the Matrix Games forum, so I'm sorry if my entire post replicates something posted deep within this gargantuan thread. I'd first like to see that I am extremely impressed with Distant Worlds, and I expect it to steal away my long summer holidays for at least this year, and hopefully, for many years to come. However, there is one area in particular where I feel the game lacks depth.
I think there would be unanimous agreement that anything on a scale of the Clone Wars (Or even just any sci-fi civil war, if you're not a Star Wars fan ) in the game would be fantastic, partly because it would be cool, and partly because it would be a special kind of challenge for the player. However, Distant World's model of rebellion does not allow for anything of this scope. Colonies can declare independence, yes, and form their own empires, but these new Empires are not as hostile to your regime as might be expected of a bunch of revolutionaries. They covert my stuff, sure, but they don't want to completely topple my despot-ocracy. If Civil Wars are to be modelled correctly, not just that they're realistic, but so that they present enough of a challenge to be fun to the player without being annoying, this would have to be changed.
To be able to model a Civil War properly, the term must be first completely understood. The Wikipedia article is very good for this, and some of the requirements are thus:
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation-state. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change government policies. It is high-intensity conflict, often involving regular armed forces, that is sustained, organized and large-scale.
The Geneva Conventions do not specifically define the term "civil war". They do, however, describe the criteria for acts qualifying as "armed conflict not of an international character", which includes civil wars. Among the conditions listed are four requirements:
* The party in revolt must be in possession of a part of the national territory.
* The insurgent civil authority must exercise de facto authority over the population within the determinate portion of the national territory.
* The insurgents must have some amount of recognition as a belligerent.
* The legal Government is "obliged to have recourse to the regular military forces against insurgents organized as military."
From this, we can see that the small-scale rebellions that occur within DW do not fit either of these definitions. The little rebellions lack an ability to take the fight beyond the planet they're fighting on, due to a lack of ships. Fleets defecting to the opponent in the Civil War would help equalise the situation, with maybe a 1/4 or a 1/3 of the original Empire's fleet defecting to the enemy in the bigger Civil Wars.
Historically, there are all kinds of reasons and causes for Civil Wars, of varying intensities, but I have grouped the different kinds of wars into four general categories, with some historical examples for comparison:
Constitutional - English, American, Spanish, Boshin War
Popular/Revolutionary - Chinese, Russian
Ethnic - Yugoslav Wars, Eritrean-Ethiopian, Sri Lankan
Vacuum- Somalia, Warlord Era in China
Of course, most of the above wars would have elements from all of the categories, but it is the kind of broad generalization necessary for it to be represented in the game.
A Constitutional Civil War would be one where there is an political crisis within the government that has led to institutional polarisation and armed conflict, i.e. Clausewitz's maxim in it's rawest form. Since you are the government in DW, such conflict is impossible to achieve. It could probably be best represented with some form of conflict in a legislature similar to that in GalCiv2. But even so, high levels of corruption, low/declining levels of economic growth and a proportionally large military (Oh which parts and fleets would defect to the rebels) could cause large numbers of colonies to rise up against a government that doesn't have all it's power invested in one individual (I.e. anything other than a despotism). Foreign intervention would probably be possible in such a war.
A Revolutionary Civil War would probably be the easiest to model in-game, as there is already a mechanism for it. But it can be achieved with just a press of a button, whereas in real life, a switch in government from, say, a military junta to a democracy or vice-versa would usually involve huge conflict that never really happens in DW. However, IRL, there are examples of where changes of government have occurred with little comment from the people. This usually occurs when the state of the economy and the governance is so bad, that the population are willing to take any alternative. Thus, if your democratic galactic Empire is going down the drain, Star Wars Old Republic style, then maybe a change of government to, say, a Dictatorship might be more welcomed than if your democracy was popular and well liked.
The above two would be the most essential to include if civil wars were included into DW. Both would be total conflicts, a fight to the death for both factions with no chance of a peace settlement where both sides survived. Colonies and fleets would both defect in large numbers, and foreign intervention (divided along ideological lines) would be crucial.
Ethnic civil wars would be just that, when a species of alien within your empires decides it has had another living under your cruel dominion, and rises up in revolt. Planets with majority populations of the species in question would "flip", and fleets that are based on colonies which defect would also defect. A domino effect could cause other alien species within your empire to rise up, and possibly form a confederation against you, or alternatively, if an empire of the species revolting exists, then they could be pulled into the war to fight against you. Ethnic civil wars might be easier to model with just flat out defections to enemy empires though, ideally ones with a more liberal government type than yours.
Vacuums would represent a collapse of the state, and the decent of your empire into pure anarchy. This could perhaps be due to a sudden "shock" to the government, such as losing a war, in conjunction with extremely high levels of corruption, unrest and economic decline. Colonies would be declaring themselves independent left, right and centre. Most of the military would defect, probably into pirates. A sliver of government authority centred around the capital could provide a fun challenge for veteran players.Foreign intervention would be unlikely though, as countries such as Somalia and China have shown to unite against foreign invaders, rather than get picked of one by one.
Common traits within all of the civil wars would be an upsurge in piracy, higher than normal war weariness, due to the fighting of members of the same species, and crucially, no loss of reputation for reconquering colonies (Provided you don't slaughter everyone who rebelled and turn them into Atuuk food or something). Intergalatic recognition to rebels could be implemented through trade sanctions being the default response of the intergalactic community, with a lifting of a trade sanctions counting as recognition, and greatly aggravating the original government. If a majority of empires lift trade sanctions for ethnic rebels, this could force the two opponents to make peace with each other, and grant the minority people independence.
I'm aware that this a long list of suggestions, and I don't expect to be implemented in it's entirety, or even at all if they're not popular/possible. They're just some options which I feel would add to the game, with the detail I think necessary to make them workable, and which I hope other fans of the game would agree with. I'm also aware that at times, my phrasing in the post may have sounded more like demands than the requests they are, and if so, I apologise for being rude.
tl;dr is civil wars are neat, they should be in Distant Worlds.
< Message edited by Subotan -- 7/7/2010 7:34:22 PM >