Thursday, May 03, 2007

Invasions and Migrations

Britannia is a game of migrations; Hispania is said to be a game of invasions . Rus, I once read, not only involves many invasions, but of such enormous strength that no one tries to fight them, but only tries to get out of the way. In Britannia the defenders try to get out of the way of the Roman invasion, the R-Bs may try to get out of the way of the Anglo-Saxon migrations, and the Anglo-Saxons may try to get out of the way of the Danish invasions. But most invasions and migrations are resisted strongly. (I have both of these games, but have not played them.)

Migrations are movements of entire peoples, usually over very long periods. They are slow, not cohesive, involving no single state and usually no single leader. Many of the "barbarian invasions" of the ancient Near East were migrations. So were most of the barbarian incursions into the Roman Republic and Empire until the third century, when we begin to learn the names of a few leaders and begin to have large confederations. It's really the fifth century when the leaders and confederations dominate, and we have invasions

Invasions are much quicker, sometimes with a single leader or coming from a single state (as when the Visigoths invaded the Roman Empire).

Ghengis Khan invaded; the Romans invaded Britain; the Anglo-Saxons migrated; the Vikings migrated at first, then later became invaders.

There are few of either type of incursion in Hellenia (which also has relatively short turns, something like 11 years each). Hence a game like Hellenia, though Brit-like, poses different challenges both to designers and players. Most of the major nations at the start of the game will be there at the end. How many nations present at the start of Brit are there at the end? Force preservation becomes more important in this type of game, than it is in Britannia (and it's important there at times).

I'm not sure where this all gets me, just ruminations.

No comments: