Translinguistics is a placeholder right now, I thought of three ways to use it, which can either work together or separately.
All of them would require modifications to other parts of the game, either small (for the two firsts) or quite larger (for the last).
1 - Xenophobia
Instead of having Xenophobic species, we could have all species xenophobic, with some more extremes than the other (there could be a small minority not xenophobic at all). Telepathic species would suffer even more from xenophobia and would make other species suffer more from their own xenophobia.
Then translinguistics would reduce xenophobic detrimancy to zero for most species, leaving only extreme xenophobic species still detrimental to others.
That would mainly change starting strategies based on the abundance of indigens in the vicinity of the starting planet, as one would have either to research Translinguistics early or to carefully pick which specie they'll add to their empire.
2 - Happiness
In addition to temporarily reducing happiness to zero, an invasion that would force integration of a new specie into the empire would bring a penalty of 10 that would heal much more slowly, like 0.1 point per turn. Translinguistics could then either:
- give an immediate bonus
- allow the happiness meter to heal at a better rate
- allow a building ("Imperial academy of cultural development" or something like that) that would give the bonus (or the quicker healing rate for the happiness malus) to all planets in the supply zone occupied by the same specie (so we'd have one buildable Imperial academy for each specie of the Empire, which would be destroyed if population reaches zero).
- any combination of the above
That too would change strategies based on quick assimilation of new species at start, making conquest of non-colonizing species not that much worse than conquest of colonizing species.
3 - Protectorates
In addition to planet added to the Empire by conquest and colonization, a new category could emerge, planets that have protectorate status; they keep some independance (like they stay on their preferred focus without the player being able to change it) but still provide the player with some advantages (supply, science research, part of their production, maybe the ability to build some buildings on them like space elevators and solar generator).
Translinguistics will allow to build specific "translators" pods in ships that would allow to negociate Protection to indigenous species, depending on the general Happiness of the Empire, Happiness in the closest planets, Happiness of planets with similar species, things like that.
For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.
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