21 February 2011

Cows Rule

One of my goals for version 2 was to simplify the game where practical. One of the areas players suggested was livestock. In fact, one suggestion was simply to have “livestock” — no cattle, horses, pigs, or sheep.

That seemed too extreme. Horses are a useful resource in their own right because they’re required to equip weaponthanes. They also help bring out differences in your opponents (the Horse-Spawn will capture horses in preference to other loot). And there are several events that deal with the value of horses.

Pigs and sheep have events too, but they’re a bit less important in the economic model: sheep can produce goods, and pigs exploit wildlands. But there really aren’t many interesting decisions involving them (which is one reason the original game didn’t clutter the interface with an option to trade them).

Cattle is the basic unit of wealth. A King of Dragon Pass game without cattle would be like, well, it wouldn’t be much of a game!

So King of Dragon Pass now presents only two types of livestock: horses and cattle. Cattle are a proxy for sheep and pigs. Nominally you’ll have twice as many sheep and twice as many pigs as you do cows (this is subject to available land). Herd magic will work as always, increasing productivity of the specific animal type.

You’ll note that crop types (barley, wheat, and rye) are also gone. They all had slightly different behaviors (e.g. rye had a more reliable output, so it was worth planting when a bad harvest was expected), but crop decisions weren’t terribly interesting, and probably not very meaningful. So they’re gone too.


  1. "... but crop decisions weren’t terribly interesting, and probably not very meaningful. So they’re gone too."

    Truly brevity is the soul of wit. If only all game designers went to so much trouble!

  2. would it be possible to reveal the exact effects of planting barley vs wheat vs rye because that was something I never understood

  3. Aaron, the specifics were pretty involved, so telling you kRyeFoodYield = 5.6 is probably less useful than pointing you to pp. 28-29 of the manual.

  4. Probably reveals my micro-managing control-freakishness but I actually liked the difference in planting the varying crops. (Though it was a hard sometimes to notice the effects of changing those ratios enough perhaps).

    I do like the idea of getting rid of the pigs and sheep, felt like they mostly just added a few minor headaches.

  5. When I first started, I'd always tweak grain production about 5% once since a different distribution just felt better to me. But there's enough to do in the early game that I stopped touching those slides pretty quickly unless an event told me to.

    Even then, I'd sometimes try to get around the food problems with trading, magic, or raiding instead of messing with the sliders I'd have to change back in a year. The other tools might not fix the problem as directly but they'd have other benefits and not waste two turns on pointless tweaking. So I'm not going to miss those controls at all.

    Pigs and sheep sounds like a good change as well- usually those numbers just tracked how I was doing overall. Rarely did I find myself thinking "I'm screwed, except my awesome pig herds will save me" or "I'm ready to do great things, if only I had more sheep".

    1. Hey maybe some of us wanted to do a no farming build(I would rather they remove cows)