“Someone get Radar in here!!!”

I’m a fan of real-time strategy games. I still regularly play Star Trek: Armada and several of the Command & Conquer games. And recently, I had a thought about a variant.

In most RTS games, the player starts off with a certain amount of resources and has to develop more to supply themselves. In Armada, you have to mine dilithium ore from moons; in Command & Conquer, it’s either Tiberium or “ore” and gems that one has to harvest.

This struck me as unrealistic. Military forces haven’t had to do their own “foraging” for a very long time. They are supplied with their equipment and reinforcements by a government and military bureaucracy, and don’t have to directly concern themselves with buying and developing things.

So I was wondering if any game had ever tried a more “realistic” model.

The idea I had was influenced by shows such as M*A*S*H and Sgt. Bilko and hordes of other fictional accounts of the armed services. In my game model, the player would start off with a complete military force, and have to use their units to build their own base. They would also have a certain number of non-combatant units who would be critical to their success.

These would be “supply clerks.”

These units would be the only ones who could requisition new equipment, new units, new personnel. You would have to click on them and then have them ask for what you wanted.

Every now and then, though, they wouldn’t succeed. You’d get back a note that their requisition was denied. Or the item was unavailable and would be delayed. Every now and then, you’d get the wrong item entirely. (You put in for a platoon of tanks, but you got a new latrine instead.)

Clerks who survive long enough would get promoted to “elite” status, increasing their success at getting you what you want. And they would get the “scrounge” ability, where they can sometimes get you what you ask for immediately — but have to trade something else you have to get it. (“You can have the attack bombers right now, but you have to give up three bulldozers and one anti-aircraft gun. Click here to make the deal.”)

I dunno how well it would go over, but I think it could be entertaining. And it would at least be somewhat more realistic than the current model for RTS games.

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