One of the most common questions I get when introducing new players to Skyward Collapse (through multiplayer) is: "So. Which one is my town?"
It's kind of difficult to explain to them that neither of those "teams" are 'their town', and that we simply both share towns together. Skyward Collapse multiplayer then, is basically just an extension of the single player game, without any major differences except that (from what I've seen), you get to take more turns in total. While this can be interesting and fun in terms of the chaotic nature of how quickly the map will expand, and how confusing things get when multiple people are trying to do several different things at once, it can also take away from the game as well. One of the major pitfalls of having so many action points per turn (when you add all the players together), is how huge the map becomes within only a small number of turns. Before long, you may be waiting 5 minutes or more for the "action phase" of the game simply to resolve, even if nothing particularly interesting is happening. Woes like "Human Vanity" or "God artifacts" which blind people can exacerbate this problem even more.
Obviously, for best results using the Skyward Collapse multiplayer mode, teamwork and communication is key. But even that leaves me wondering, "If my partner and I perfectly communicate what we are going to do with each action point on each town, then what is the point of even having multiplayer? I might as well throw out my partner and just do his moves myself."
While I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with the way Skyward Collapse does multiplayer, I do think it could be changed/improved upon in many ways, and here is my idea:
*Individual Faction Mode -
This is just like it sounds. Instead of each player taking turns with *ALL* the available factions, each player gets to choose their own faction, then spends their action points on *their own* town. In other words, player one controls the blue faction only, player two controls the red faction only, player three controls the yellow faction only, etc.
Why is this important?
1. It gives players a feeling of "individuality", as they own something special the other players don't.
2. It is much harder/more interesting to coordinate given the very unique style of each faction, their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Turns happen much faster because each player is only controlling one set of action points, instead of multiple.
4. Players are no longer "stepping over each others toes" by using precious resources that everyone needs to make what they want.
5. The map doesn't *explode* with towns and units as quickly, making the action phase take forever and making the game more compact.
6. Using this "individual faction mode", players would get the opportunity to pit all 3 factions against one another (Norse, Greek, and Japanese), which up til now, has not been possible.
7. Makes frantic "overcompensations" more likely. Player 1 puts down a mythical creature to stop an onslaught, player 2 builds mass barracks as a result, player 1 uses some kind of epic "God token" in a panic, the game becomes hilarious and insane.
In other words, the main advantage that this kind of multiplayer mode would have over the current mode is the non-superfluous and unpredictable nature of having 2 or more people, who aren't on the same page, attempt to play the game in a co-operative fashion. This is much different than playing by yourself (where you have a master plan), or playing with another person in which, by virtue of sharing the same property, it's very easy to share your master plan.
Obviously, the "points system" would have to be completely revamped for something like this. Perhaps it's an idea for an expansion or a major update somewhere down the road. Regardless, I think it would improve the multiplayer aspect of the game dramatically, and is worth the effort.