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Thread: IPAT

  1. #1
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    Here's an idea: I was wondering if we could incorporate the IPAT formula into our Birthright game mechanics. I think I could add something to the game.

    For those of you who don't know, I'll explain in short what IPAT is.

    There are various reasons for environmental problems:
    • Population growth
    • Growth of consumption of services and goods
    • Environmental efficiency by which these goods and services are produced
    A simplified equation for the factors contributing to the environmental burden was introduced in 1972 by Barry Commoner:
    Code:
    I = P * A * T
    I = environmental Impact
    P = Population
    (tire ;)
    A = Affluence (consumption of services and products per capita)
    T = Technology (environmental burden per product or service unit)


    Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren brought forward some serious objections against Commoner's reasoning:
    • Population growth has a disproportionately negative impact on the environment. This is mainly the result of threshold effects (pollution, for instance, might cause no harm below a certain level, but can become devastating once it exceeds that level).
    • The main cause of environmental hazards is not the introduction of new technologies, but (again) increased population.
    • The effects that the IPAT formula describes can only be measured adequately in global terms. This is due to the Netherlands effect: a large amount of the resources needed in the Netherlands are imported; as a result, the Netherlands has a much greater impact on the global environment than can be measured within its own borders.
    Later authors came to a more generalized formula:
    Code:
    I = a * P^b * A^c * T^d + e
    where a, b, c and d are parameters and e is a residual term. The original formula is a special case where a = b = c = d = 1 and e = 0.

    The parameters still haven't been established, but there are some rough estimates:
    • The value of a is unimportant.
    • If threshold effects are more important than economies of scale, b is probable greater than 1.
    • If Affluence is measured in monetary neutral terms, there are indication that there is a linear relation between I and A, so that c is approximately 1.
    • The d factor is the most dubious: the introduction of a clean and cheap technology might proceed very rapidly; however, it might enlarge Affluence and stimulate environmentally unsound modes of consumption (the so-called rebound effect).
    So how does this all fit into Birthright?
    Well, environmental Impact might negatively correlate with magic potentials/source levels; as I goes up, mebhaighl goes down.
    We already have measures of Population, why not also introduce a measure of Affluence? This might add another interesting dimension to the game and make simulating the economy a bit easier than with using guild holdings alone.
    Technology, finally, is already being used by Gary, for example. It should be easy to incorporate, I think. Or you can just assume T = 1 and ignore it.

    To make our lives easier, I can think we can also safely assume the Netherlands effect does not apply, given the sorry state of Cerilia's virtually non-existant "global" economy. :)

    Given the estimates above, we could, for instance, utilize the following formula:
    I = P^2 * A * T
    Then source level = magic potential - I, for example.

    If you use Technology level, it might give you the opportunity to increase your Affluence as well as have new game options open to you, such as a wider selection of equipment with which to equip your armed forces. Of course, increasing T (and indeed, A) also increases I, which would be kind of a trade-off.

    Impact level, in turn, might influence the game in more games than just reducing mebhaighl. Environmental catastrophies such as floods might occur as a result of your bad housekeeping. Perhaps the amount of arable land could end up being reduced. If I is really high, a direct breach of the Evanescence into the Shadow World might occur, unleashing hordes of undead and other abominations upon your beloved country. Just to name something. :)

    In short, I can see a myriad of different ways in which we can enhance the game by giving each province its own P, A and T and resulting I levels.

    What do you think?
    <span style='color:darkgray'>&quot;I like to be passionate and sincere, but I also like to have fun and act like a dork... Geeks unite.&quot;
    &#160;</span>&#160;<span style='color:brightgray'>&#160;&#160;—Kurt Cobain</span>

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    Where I can see how this could link into BR, I&#39;m unsure how usable it would be. The province level/source potential scale might be a bit to coarse to take into account the minute differences in the various population and technology levels between different provinces. It would also add a lot of additional book keeping, unless one already has an extensive spreadsheet containing all holdings and provinces with formulae to automate all calculations.

    What makes me the most hesitant is that IMO the province level/source potential rules in BR actually work very nicely, and I don&#39;t say that about many things from the basic rules Adding more detail might be fun and/or interesting, but it does not necessarily improve my campaign.

    That said I will certainly keep this in mind if I get entangled in any more colonization style PBeMs. Games where technology is more varied between states/palyers it would have more of an impact.

    Cheers,
    Don E

  3. #3
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    Technology aside, what about Affluence? Would that anything to the game?
    <span style='color:darkgray'>&quot;I like to be passionate and sincere, but I also like to have fun and act like a dork... Geeks unite.&quot;
    &#160;</span>&#160;<span style='color:brightgray'>&#160;&#160;—Kurt Cobain</span>

  4. #4
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    > Technology aside, what about Affluence? Would that anything to the

    > game?



    Hmm. That could be complicated. Would Afflueent provinces be taxed

    more? Would they grant more regency? It sounds a little like a Rule

    action.



    I like the idea. I`ll brainstorm some mechanics for it later, but for

    now I`m just not sure it fits...



    --Lord Rahvin
    NOTE: Messages posted by Birthright-L are automatically inserted posts originating from the mailing list linked to the forum.

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