I had one more suggestion for a possible future expansion.
Gal Civ 4 is a great storytelling engine. The leaders were a great addition and they help flesh out the world in use as governors, diplomats, ministers, and ship commanders.
Command ships are a fun addition to Gal Civ, and I think they should stay, but to me they are somewhat limiting. Basically it boils down to if one gets destroyed, it's gone so I am more protective of these ships, and they don't necessarily feel like a ship I built to be in charge of a fleet. They all have different roles and play styles which is great, but they don't function like the captain ships in GC3 which I made extensive use of. Basically I think something like being able to assign a captain to a player built ship would be a fun addition to GC4.
One way to go about this would be to have a couple of roles leaders could be assigned to. These roles could then be assigned to a ship that is already built. When a ship with an assigned role is destroyed, the leader is killed as well and the player must wait X turns before it can be reassigned. Leader roles could be:
- Squadron Leader: Can only be assigned to smaller class ships, and gives a buff to smaller class ships like fighters based on the leaders traits.
- Captain: Can only be assigned to larger class ships and gives that specific ship a large bonus to survivability and weapon power based on the leaders traits.
- Admiral: Can only be assigned to the largest class ships available. Give a fleetwide bonus to ship moves, defenses, and weapon strength based on the leaders traits.
- Explorer: Can only be assigned to surveyor ships. Gives a bonus to ship movement, and radar based on the leaders traits.
There is a lot of design space here and I think it could be used to give a real boost the to explore and exterminate aspects of the game.
It also creates an opening for what I am actually asking for, A.I. nemesis's. If a system like this were in place, I really want the A.I. to take full advantage of it.
In storytelling, the villain is just as, if not more important the hero. They are the backdrop providing the challenges that produce the tension for the story. Currently enemy Civs represent this backdrop and they work well in that role, but there could be some incredible additions to that roster. Namely in the form of these leader roles.
I would set it up so the A.I. would actively use these roles assigning leaders to ships and would actively seek to maintain fleets around these ships so that they present the biggest challenge that civ has to offer. In addition you could randomly generate a name for said ship and fleet that it is assigned to. If this were included players are no longer just fighting a random enemy civ fleet XVI.
Instead they are hunting the battleship Enslaver of the Black Eclipse fleet commanded by the Dregin Drathnik who has laid waste to several of the outer colonies of the Terran Alliance. These leaders could even send taunts to the player when they destroy a fleet, or capture a core world.
We have seen systems like this drastically improve other games like the nemesis system from Shadow of Mordor. Part of the reason that game was so engaging was in large part because when an orc killed you he was promoted and now became an enemy you wanted to destroy. That system is heavily patented and protected so you couldn't copy what they did, but something as simple as what I described above would provide some intense engagements and open up more storytelling options as well as provide the player with more tangible enemies that they could find and eliminate.