Devlog #17 - Politicians & Cabinet

Hello Everybody! Unlike our last Devlogs, which were mainly dedicated to the Navy, this time we're going to explain and talk about how we integrated the Politicians and Ministries into Fields of History: The Great War.

In most Strategy Games, Politicians are rarely represented. Yet most of the decisions that changed the world were made in the cabinets and the hemicycles of the assemblies and senates. What would have happened if the Tsar Nicholas II had listened to the Duma and returned from the front to establish a new government? Or if Franz Ferdinand had found himself having to support his Emperor directly? His tendency to want a strong central power could have both strengthened the authority of the crown and sparked the ire of the supporters of Hungarian autonomy.

Aware that Fields of History is mainly a Military Strategy Game and not a Geopolitical Simulator, we had to find a compromise and a right balance to implement a Political System that doesn't take over the rest and that offers players several possibilities. We came to the conclusion that we needed to give Traits to Politicians so that players will have more alternatives during their games.

As you can see above, your Cabinet is composed of several positions. After studying the Ministries in many countries we found that there was no real uniformity in this area. For example, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the British is like a combined Ministry of Finance, Economy and Treasury. Similarly, it's not uncommon to have a Minister of Transport and another one dedicated to the Industry. 

Nevertheless, it's important to have a vision from a Game Design point of view, even though some players might find it interesting to have dozens of different Ministries to manage, we chose to define a Cabinet Positions homogenization, firstly because in term of balance and secondly because it will allow players to switch from one country to another without having to learn everything from scratch again.

In the end, we decided that a country could have up to twelve Ministries:

  • Head of Government: This is the central position in your Cabinet, with a competent Minister, it could have a great influence on your Population and may promote a good governance (reduce the time to pass new Laws, limit Dissension, reduce Decrees costs, etc.)
  • War Minister: In charge of coordinating the different branches of your militaries, he's an essential link between your Headquarters and Ministers and could impact the Recruitment, the Wages, enact Emergency Conscription Laws, etc
  • Foreign Affairs: A key position for Diplomatic Relations with your neighbors, he can promote the signing of Alliances and Trade Agreements
  • Interior & Justice: Head of the Police and chief of Intelligence, the Interior Minister will not back up when facing protesters and insurgents during the war. A strong character will often be welcome
  • Economy & Finance: In charge of the Economy and the Finance, you will need a rigorous and methodical man to avoid corruption and unnecessary expenses. In addition, if you have contracted Debts, he may be able to renegotiate them in more favorable terms
  • Industry & Agriculture: This position will not be limited to the management of your Factories, indeed, he will also oversee the Resources Gathering and take charge of the Infrastructure Development
  • Research & Education: This Ministry will have to promote new research branches to favorise  the discovery of new Technologies while taking into account the costs
  • Health & Family Welfare: If the health and well-being of your Populations is a priority for you, you should not underestimate it. Although health can be expensive at first, a healthy population means people who are ready to fight for you. It's also a good way to stay popular despite the weariness of war
  • Overseas & Colonies: Very useful if you own Colonies or Subordinates, he will have to avoid any uprising within your sphere of influence and promote good relations with the local Leaders
  • Army Command/Naval Command/Air Command: These positions are both Military and Civilian, depending on the situation it might be more interesting to put a Politician than a senior Military Officer. It will be up to you to study the best approach

A country does not necessarily have to start with twelve Ministries, for example, a country like Switzerland will not start with an Overseas & Colonies Ministry (for obvious reasons).

We don't know yet whether or not the United Kingdom will start with a Health & Family Welfare Ministry (historically, the Ministry of Health Act established the Ministry of Health throughout England and Wales in 1919). Prior to that, public health was an indirect task of the Local Government Board in addition to other tasks. Don't hesitate to tell us your thoughts on this matter in the comments.

Therefore, you will be able, for certain positions and depending on the situation and Laws of the country you start with, to establish new Ministries by using some Political Points.

The skills of your Ministers will depend on their Traits. We have implemented several dozen of them, each with different effects. Unlike many Strategy Games, in Fields of History, each Trait may have different effects depending on the position.

For example, if a Minister has the Trait Polyglot, he will be more comfortable at the Foreign Affairs, whereas a Minister in charge of the Industry & Agriculture will not be affected by it. 

Even if the Minister assigned to a Ministry is far from being the best, it's better to have the position filled rather than having an unfilled position because with no one in charge, you will suffer harsh maluses.

The Menu above is the one that will allow you to assign a Politician or a Military member (if he owns the Trait Politically Connected) in a Ministry.

You will be able to see for each one, whether he already holds a position or not (this can be seen in the upper right-hand corner, for example, as it was the case historically, Gaston Doumergue will be at the beginning of 1914 at the Head of the French Government as well as being at the Foreign Affairs).

In this case, it gives 2/2 but if a Minister has the Trait Organized, he will be able to occupy up to three positions at the same time without any problem. On the other hand, a Minister with the Disorganized Trait will be limited to one position. You will therefore need to ensure that you assign your Ministries to several Ministers rather than one Minister to avoid that kind of situation.

Military positions considered as particular or special, such as those of Headquarters Commands, don't necessarily need a Military (General, Admiral or Air Chief). For example, Winston Churchill was at the head of the Royal Navy after being appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911 until 1915.

It will be up to you to decide whether you prefer a Politician (more often resource-saving) rather than a Military, giving more strategic advantages on the battlefield.

To help you determine the most interesting Traits for each of the Ministries, we have established a color code that will allow you to identify in an instant the most suitable Ministers for a position.

  • Green: for this position, the Minister will only give Bonuses
  • Orange: for this position, the Minister will have both Bonuses and Maluses, it's up to you to see if it's really worth it
  • Red: for this position, the Minister will only give Maluses, so it will be strongly discouraged to put this character at this Ministry
  • Cyan: A Trait in this color is purely indicative
  • Dark Grey: for this position, the Traits of the Minister have no effects

If you can think of any particular Traits, or prominent Politicians you would like to have in the game, feel free to let us know in the comments so that we can add them.

This Devlog is coming to an end, we hope you'll enjoy being able to choose your Cabinet and rule your country as you would like in your quest for victory! We'll see you for the next Devlog and in the meantime, have a great weekend!

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