Let’s say you’re playing a sim/strategy game like Civilization. You and a mother city are maintaining two little cities. That don’t build anything for themselves. You gather all the materials and all the resources, even the ones that your city uses, and some a mother city use, but these little cities just take and take and take resources. (They look remarkably like a mix between your city and their mother city). You’ve managed a balance of resources up to this point, and the little cities have been a wonderful addition to your state, so you’re ready to level up. A cute little third city appears.
Normally in a game the third city would be a strain on resources – time, attention, energy would be the key investments here – and as long as the resources were allocated correctly the cities would maintain a balance. But in a realistic game, the following would happen.
1. The other two cities get fewer resources than they did before. As it turns out, there is a fixed rate at which you can gather gold from the mines, or cut down trees. You sensed this with the second city, but suddenly with the third city your Time Forest and Attention Mine cap off, when they are in more demand than ever.
2. The new little city has strict resource allocation schedules, roughly every two hours, but requires that the resource routes to other cities be temporarily shut down while the resources are allocated. Used to more constant allocation, the other cities begin to suspect they’re being cut off from resource allocation altogether and increase demands for resources in advance, with including special, unhealthy resource allocations regarding entertainment and sweet goods.
3. As a result of lowered resource level (still ENOUGH to survive and even thrive, just lower than their earlier levels) the first two little cities round up the citizens and decide to build in-town circuses. Which seem to have shows randomly, but especially at sundown, preventing any useful commnication or resources allocation. Many evenings it requires you to send in police to quiet the citizens, and some nights this doesn’t work out and the little cities’ citizens riot, which results in wide-spread jailing and removal of incentives like tax cuts or special resource allocations.
4. Your own city, which you thought was independent of the other cities, also takes a hit on resource allocation. The citizens complain, but don’t seem to complain as loudly as the the little cities, so it takes you by surprise when returning back home many citizens have passed out in the street. As it turns out guards at your gates who prevent invasions from zombies with the plague get resources at the same rate as other citizens, and every lunar cycle or two the city is overrun, which shuts the city down, sometimes for a day, sometimes for several days. Often these invasions began and were strengthened by attacks on your little cities.
5. As a stategy to get back to status quo, you instigate a strict day/night cycle for your citizens, the little cities don’t seem to understand it’s function or process. They fight the regiment by building more circuses and having more shows, particularly sundown shows. Then a new pattern emerges. The citizens begin to demand resources of seemingly little value at random times, interrupting the workers in the Energy Generating plant (particularly the REM and Dream divisions), which, as it turns out, directly feeds the logic paths of your citizens and workers. So your workers begin to forget to gather certain resources, and workers gathering energy or trading with other towns start getting distracted from their paths. So fewer resources are collected altogether.
6. Summits with the mother city increase in number and intensity, particularly regarding their relationship to the smaller cities. Consultants are brought in, who suggest that all of this behavior is completely normal and as the little cities grow the interactions between them, your city, and the mother city will all stabilize and everyone will soon grow used to the new resource allocation scheme. You find that many neighboring states experienced the same patterns when they added their third city. Some add that after adding a third city, it doesn’t matter how many more cities you add, the resource allocation appears to be the same.
Someone build this game. No one will play it. People want to play realisitic games, but not this realistic.
If you like this post, give a “Like” to the right on Facebook, so I can settle a bet between my various alter egos as to which is the most popular.