How did those work, generally speaking?
For AoE1/2, I’ve long wished for having a SP mode where once your match concludes on your square map, you could click one of the four edges of the map to go to a new map and fight the current Lord, King, or whoever owns or won that area. (Maybe moving your mouse over the edge shows you who owns that area, what their power/difficulty is (in a creative, immersive way… i.e., not just say “Expert”), and maybe see their Win/Loss record that is randomly generated at first and updates as time goes on. The map you go onto would still start from scratch for both players. (In other words, the enemy wouldn’t already have an established base and economy that you have to take over. You’re both starting from square one.)
- If you win that next map, you now own two connected territories/areas of a bigger global map, where you can pick one of the edges to go attack another adjacent region.
- If you lose, though, you can try again, but have to start from scratch on that map again. Or you can instead go try to take over a different map edge from the preceding map and hope that different enemy will be easier.
In the end, you’re trying to conquer all areas of a much larger global map; whether it be a random fictitious map, or one mimicking a region or area of the real world. Each match you go to could have different biomes, etc. kind of linked to the global map. (A deserty area would have a deserty biome, etc.)
I see this as a way to build an ‘empire,’ and is a SP competition/tournament of sorts where there is an end game: be the owner of all tiles/areas of the global map. (Visually, it is, obviously, tiles in AoE2 when playing matches… but the over-arching global map you can view is actually a nicer looking normal map (not a bunch of squares); I’m sure AoE3 could have something similar.) While you play matches, maybe the AIs are battling it out in those other regions, and scouts are reporting back to you on how the land ownerships are changing over time (e.g., who owns most/least land, who is most/least powerful or difficult, who got wiped out, etc.). Maybe some matches end up being randomly 1v1, 2v2, 1v3, etc., or maybe you should be able to just specify the # of players for each time.
Either way, it’s really hard to succinctly summarize all that’s in my mind and capture it all without writhing an entire design doc with visuals and examples, so I’ll just wrap it up. I don’t know if it communicates well over the Interwebz, but I think there’s something along these lines that would work well, make sense, and make SP more engaging.
‘Risk’ and ‘Defender of the Crown’ are inspirations, of course