Alright. Time to ramble a bit about Countries, Bonuses, and Technology. I see two in-game questions at play here:
- Is there a reason to take a Country?
- Is there a reason to spread a Technology to a Country?
When a Country has an Output or a Lab, you want to do both these things. You absolutely want resource-producing Countries, and you want to spread Technology to them that will give you better output (be it better Units, or faster-spawning Units/Research). Or, conversely, you want to either take them from your opponent, or spread crappy Technology to them to . Because the systems interact, the questions are linked together.
When a Country has a Bonus, there may well be reasons to take that Country. It can affect the landscape in your favor, it can provide a nice perk that is key to your strategy, etc. But once you’ve taken it, is there any reason to spread a Technology there? The best answer I could think of was, “yes, but only defensively.” If there’s a good anti-insurgency Tech, you spread that one. If it’s on a path that you want to keep open, spread a Tech to stop links from being broken. If you don’t own the Country, and have no reason to take it apart from denying your opponent an advantage, then...yeah. Maybe you could use it to give an adjacency bonus to Tech spread, but other than that, I’ve got nothing.
I agree that this feels weak. Everything positive I’ve just said is also true of Output/Lab Countries, which are already more interesting to play with.
So. How to fix it?
I think Anarion is right on the money. A Technology that interacts directly with the passive Bonuses we already have is much better than adding a whole new system. The problem I see with a money system is that it increases the value of all Countries, rather than just the ones we want to buff. And it still doesn’t interact with the Technology system, unless we add a +/- money Tech, which strikes me as an even worse idea.
So. We need some sort of subsystem by which Bonuses can interact with Technology. I like the idea of breaking it apart, rather than just being a straight “+/- to all passive Bonuses.” Maybe we can look at the Bonuses we have, and find a way to categorize them? There’s bonuses that affect the landscape, bonuses that affect units, bonuses that provide cooldown-based abilities, etc. Each Bonus category/type could be independently affected by Technology. Maybe color-and-shape code them, for ease of use.
Furthermore! There’s already a similar hole in our design in Africa. We need a way for Developing Countries there to provide a benefit to Developed Countries. Why not kill all the birds with one stone? Have the Developing Countries in Africa use the same subsystem that the Technology uses to amp up the Bonuses of nearby Developing Countries. This also serves as a way to show the player that Bonuses do not have static values.