I'm not a wargamer. I love the military part of Shadow Empire, but only because it's mixed with economics, research, and politics. It's a great combination.
But although I'm eager to wage war when I can justify it (very much like RL, huh?), I'd like to have real options for peaceful diplomacy as a way to... have my way with the world.
This is just my first game, but I'm finding a couple of potential problems with that. I'm not sure if this is working as intended - perhaps I've just missed something? - or not.
1) One neighbor is a Republican major regime, firmly under Realpolitiker control. We've had a relationship of 100 with these guys for a long time. We have level 3 deals (the top level, I believe) in communication, research, and trade.
But we have level 0 in military. And I can't even try to change that, because when I attempt to use the non-aggression pact stratagem, the game says, "Regime does not have a faction in power that supports such a pact." That seems odd.
This has been going on for a long time. Is it a bug? The only other explanation is that maybe the target regime needs to be at peace? I'm not sure why that would be necessary for a non-aggression pact. And every major regime I've encountered on this planet has been at war - permanently, as far as I can tell.
2) When I started the game, I was surrounded by minor regimes. Not all of them were hostile, but... things happen. At one point, I was at war against three of them at once. However, I do like to make friends, where that's not going to inconvenience me. Heh, heh.
At any rate, very early in the game, I set borders with a minor regime to our north - in the arctic, basically. We quickly got to a relationship level of 50. But I seem to be stuck there (and now, we border them on all three sides).
I can't offer protection, let alone ask them to be a client state, because I have no possibility of that stratagem succeeding. It's a guaranteed fail. So,... we just continue with no change.
Shouldn't our relations increase the longer we're peaceful neighbors? Shouldn't it become easier to play peaceful stratagem cards the longer we stay friends? Heck, for that matter, shouldn't it become easier just because we've become so powerful over time, compared to them?
Early in the game, this regime could have given us a tough fight. Now, they'd barely be a bump in the road. Shouldn't that influence them? (Maybe it should make them more fearful than friendly, I don't know. But it doesn't seem to have had any effect at all.)
I really wish there were more stratagems for minor regimes. Certainly, I've had a lot more interaction with minor regimes than with major regimes on this planet. (Again, this is just my first game, though.)
I deliberately made friends with this minor regime, but not with two others which had roads leading in directions I needed to go. I'm really glad I made that decision, because I can't find any way of absorbing a minor regime in any other manner but violent conquest.
I just wish there were more options. Or maybe there are options, and my experience with this minor regime is just a bug?
3) This one isn't a problem, but I thought I'd mention my plans for another major regime. These guys are Theocratic, controlled by a Crusader faction. (They've been at war with that other major regime for a long time.)
They started out friendly, but quickly turned cold. I suspect that's when the Crusader faction took power, but I didn't know enough about them then. Their desired relationship is zero. But we've actually got a relationship of 80. Heh, heh. Apparently, that's because they keep discovering our spies, and I just apologize to make things better?
At least, I think that's all I'm doing. The message seems to indicate that they're getting something else from us, but it doesn't specify what. Likewise, we regularly give our neighbors... something they want, which makes them happy, but I'm never sure what that something is. It's all quite vague.
However, I'm trying to use our spies to help the Humanist faction gain power. At the start, they were far the least powerful faction in the regime, but now they're neck and neck with the leader. So,... we'll see.
My goal is to turn them secular. Heh, heh. Well, to turn them friendly, at least (and that requires Humanism, clearly). I don't know if that will work. And if it does, I don't know if they'll make peace with that Republican regime I'm friendly with.
But I like the idea of this, the idea of using our influence to change the culture of a neighbor, with the goal of having a reliable ally. It's basically diplomacy as war by peaceful means, I suppose. But isn't encouraging better behavior what I'm trying to do in the first place?
Well, that's what I'm trying to do. (I like strategy games I can role-play. I get bored without imagining a reason I'm doing this stuff.)
So far, this regime seems to be moving my way. I'll be interested to see if I can get them where I want them. (And to see if I'll be able to make a non-aggression pact with them, eventually. I'm still wondering why that won't work with that other major regime.)