Age of Wonders: Planetfall by Triumph Studios


I’m glad you did! It’s such a bugbear for me in 99% of strategy games. :) You can have the most intricate and amazing diplomacy system in the game but it doesn’t matter if the AI just behaves like a (random) raving lunatic.

EDIT: Had a chance to quickly read through the diary now. Definitely like what I see, and definitely feel a PDX/“Grand Strategy” kind of influence (not saying it came from PDX, but might be Triumph liking some of the diplo model they see in games like EU4). This all looks very very good to me.

I’m more fond of strategy and empire building games than pure wargames, and the fact that AOW3 is more of the latter is what held it back to some degree for me. It’s an excellent game that I really enjoy, but it’s just not perfectly aligned with my tastes. This one sounds like it is a little more targeted to what I like. I’m excited!


Seems like a reasonable approach for Planetfall. And hey, if it sucks I’ll just lock teams! ;)


This would be… interesting.

  • Increase Player Survivability : Keep the game fun through diplomacy even though the player might not be the ultimate victor.

I read that as not that you can, because I mean you can do this in a lot of games like Civ, but that it would be worthwhile for most to keep going.


Yeah I understand it as basically a way to win but not on your own, so you don’t have to leave the game too early.

It could be interesting indeed.

However it’s quite the departure from previous games.

So far this is, for me, the least interesting or exciting of the new systems.

That said a robust, useful and fun diplomacy could open up a game within a game, and if there are faction or secret tech specific mechanics to tie into it, it could be good, e.g. sneak attacks but making the affected player think it was independents or another player attacking them.


I hear yah. I am going in assuming all the other good stuff is there and this will be in addition to what they usually do, like an extra element. It’s not going to make me buy or not buy the game but it piques my interest because I am already interested in what I assume they are doing, and kind of have said already.


I have to disagree here, because all my favorite 4x games, including AoW3, are missing that one aspect of the 4X genre I’ve always wanted to get into - diplomacy with an AI player that makes sense. Sure, like @Adam_B I can (and usually do) just throw in the diplomacy towel and set up teams and make it a pure war game, and I’m 100% fine with that, but to me a game that does diplomacy well will give you much more interesting stories (and after action reports) to regale others with later. Something you can look back and think, “Man, this game was crazy, I’m so glad I allied early with X because we really needed each other by the end of the game” for example. No 4X game has really captured anything like that, it’s the one element to these games I always feels is very lacking.

I really thought Civ VI would do something here I’d like, but it’s actually just about the worst possible outcome it turns out, and Stellaris is closest so far, but with it’s dozens of randomly generated species I never feel like I get to “know” my neighbors really. Hopefully AoW:P is the one that gets closet yet, eh?


It’s too bad you can’t get into EU4, because it’s the one strategy game that nails diplomacy.


Oh yeah, that’s a good call - I had heard that about EU4, and in fact I own … some sort of SKU of it. Maybe just the base game. But yeah, I just can’t get into it for some dumb reason. I love it on paper though.


It really does. I don’t recall too often when someone just up and declares war on me for no reason. I know why they are, heck most the time I can see it coming. I often know how to end the war too, and due to diplomacy type things you can lose, stick around, free yourself, win again… lots of fun. I should play again.


Yeah, and the game models long-standing alliances by building Trust between nations. The AI will remember if you renege on alliances or pull other shady things, like exiting out of wars independently before they sign the peace treaty.

Here’s a simple example of their diplomacy systems at work: You can designate provinces around you as being of “strategic interest” (a Claim on a province automatically makes it so). The cool thing is, this means that if the AI is the war leader and is negotiating peace, they will know to carve off a slice of the pie for you, because you desire those provinces. However, it will only do so if they also don’t consider those provinces to be of strategic interest. In fact, the AI will do it’s best to not call you into their wars of aggression if you’re competing over the same territory. They know that if they call you in, you will want territory and try to grab some for yourself.

In a game as the Netherlands, I had a long-standing alliance with France that lasted a couple centuries. Spain had inherited the Lowlands, and France and I had spent a couple generations beating them up and carving up the spoils between us. However, once they were driven back to Iberia I got a popup warning that I had an Alliance that was about to break. Hovering over the tooltip, I could see that France valued our alliance strongly due to how long it lasted and how much Trust I had built over the years. However, that was being outweighed because we both had 6-8 highly valuable provinces listed as being strategically important to us. France AI was making a calculation that, with Spain subdued and both of us wanting the same land, I was looking more like a competitor than an ally.

So, I went into the diplomacy screen and reduced the strategically important provinces to those that I really cared about, rather than just carpeting the whole region as important. The alliance was saved and France and I continued to be best buds for another good 60-70 years, before we started getting into tangles over colonial territory and we mutually parted ways.

When I see Triumph talking about these diplo systems in Planetfall, that’s what makes me hopeful. They have working models of diplomacy that they can go off of. Now, I don’t expect Planetfall to be EU4-level of diplomacy, but if they can get some of those basic mechanics down (which it sounds like they are with cassus bellis and things like that), that would be a huge step up in the 4X space.


That’s awesome. France is usually an almost enemy with me the entire time because I play Portugal and often dominate the sea and let Spain guard my back. When England and I go to war, usually due to tensions with me in the colonies, or you know, Spain, Naval is where it is at.

As for AoW diplomacy, even a minor attempt and as long as they avoid the deep crevices that is Civ’s diplomacy system, I think I would be generally happy. They can just spice it up this round, not do a full serving.


This is perfect - exactly the kind of story I was referring to above, actually. I want this in a 4X game that also features dragons (or, if not fantasy, I’ll take lasers and combat armor, I suppose). I’ve wanted this type of diplomatic weight in something like a Civ game for years in fact.

My favorite thing about this latest dev diary is actually them owning up right away to how weak the diplomacy was in AoW3 - I’m glad they are heading into this with their eyes wide open and trying to really make this into a strong aspect of the game. Fingers crossed.


Yes, let me tell you the story of how I broke the Holy Roman Empire.

Austria is always strong, because the HRE emperor bonuses are quite nice. However they have an electoral system that makes it possible to change who gets that bonus. An Austria without emperor, and HRE without Prussia or Austria at lead, is a much less threatening one.

League wars model the 40 years war, basically a war for religious control of the empire. Well it went active. Savoy takes the Protestant side lead, a middling HRE power at best, Austria the Catholic. I allied Savoy and joined the Protestant side. I did a series of wars with Austria, usually proxy wars careful not to drag in their whole net of alliances. I managed to destroy their army and reduce their manpower to near zero. I declared peace, taking only money, trade, and forcing them to break all alliances.

Within a month Sweden and Savoy start the league war. They win it easily against the temporarially weak emperor. Protestant HRE and Savoy as Emperor.

Within 40 years I had forced the electors to capitulate and declare the end of the HRE. I gave Savoy Milan as a token of gratitude. By selling it back to them after I took it from them in the final peace.

That’s the magic, and that’s why, like @KevinC and @Nesrie, the diplomacy seeming to crib from the best by a wide margin diplomatic system in gaming makes me happy.

Seriously there isn’t another strategy game with diplomacy 1/3 as good as what mainline Paradox games have.


Now only their GUI and the way Paradox presents information wasn’t like a clown swallowed an Excel workbook and hurled it out for a week in different places each time…

So hopefully what they add keeps the relatively clean experience that is AOW. It is also prettier to look at.


Your story is awesome and if that were in Planetfall i would be very interested.

As it is, it sounds like, sorry to say, they added in extra diplomacy just because

However, all the other systems announced have been amazing, and triumph has past history of ditching stuff that just doesn’t work.

So I still have faith.


I’m not following this at all. The way they present the new diplomacy system (as written) sounds very interesting and not just some throwaway system to appease anyone. Could you expand on this? I’m honestly curious what I might be missing that leads you to think they are just putting it in “just because”?


I’ve warmed up to the idea a bit more.

My just because fear was thinking that they were adding it in just because it seems mandatory for a 4x game to have it now, along with “proper” city management etc.

And I know TS were (justifiably imho) a bit irritated that people insisted on calling aow3 a 4x lite but Endless Legend (an overrated game to put it mildly) a proper 4x.

Basically I wasn’t convinced it would really add to the game, whereas I could see the immediate benefits of having a sector system, of managing colonists, of over watch in battles, terrain you can blow up in battle etc.

Also, diplomacy in most games is utterly crap.

My concern is that these changes need to be amazing otherwise people will just shrug and say stuff like : oh it’s beyond earth wih nice battles.

When it is so much more imho.


Exactly! If they can pull off what they are proposing, maybe (finally) that won’t be the case in a 4X game I otherwise love.

To me not having diplomacy makes it a war game. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not really going to be a 4X without that aspect of the gameplay, so I thought your stance was a little odd in that regard. I’m glad to hear you are warming up to the idea. There is no way a good diplomacy system wouldn’t add to the game.


Yes, for me the crap diplomacy systems are what has permanently ruined most 4x games for me. I used to love Cub, but in a post Paradox world I find them highly unsatisfying to the point I can no longer enjoy playing them.

So it needs to go one of two ways for me. Either cut the pretense entirely, which is wargame territory. Even the Total War games mostly go this way, diplomacy is intentionally very thin and mostly just manages who you are at war with right this minute. You won’t win through alliances and diplomacy, just by using those systems enough to not get dogpiled too badly. And the best ones hard code in an event, like in Rome.

Or go full Paradox. Their systems are amazing and engaging, and diplomacy is one of the most satisfying systems in the game. Lots of options and paths available. You’ll spend as much of not more time figuring who to cozy up to, potentially arrange marriages with to try and merge crowns, cause internal strife in enemies, threaten, pay tribute to, form coalitions with to take out a big bad, and so on.

One pole or the other. Anything in between and I will hate it. Anything in the valley between Total War and Paradox diplomatic systems is literally unplayable to me.

And I mean that in the proper historical meaning of the word. I can’t even stand the thought of playing a Civ game these days.


Found the Chicago guy!

Seriously, though, I agree with everything you said. I’ve been trying to get into Endless Space 2 and Stars in Shadow and I just can’t do it.