In this mod, Gedemon does the game a huge service by freeing it from the confines of Firaxis’ 1upt design. You can enjoy playing 1upt, but in essence it reduces combat strategy to the logistical exercise of getting units to the point of battle w/o clogging the available geography. Challenging, yes, but dreary, and it bears little resemblance to real world realities. And perhaps most importantly, no one has been able to program a PC-based AI to effectively handle this logistical headache. But in this mod, Gedemon has cleverly given us, if not a true 2upt design, then a semi 2upt game template. And I’m here to tell you that the result are liberating. An elegance in tactical play has now been given this game franchise. Anyone who doubts how 1upt has stifled the game should try this mod. And there is more good news. The AI improvements introduced w/ the spring patch do remarkably well handling the mod’s semi 2upt design. More than once, I was sent reeling by the AI’s ability to concentrate offensive firepower. But don’t expect too much. The AI is still unpredictable. Sometime it will attack effectively; sometimes it inexplicably decides not to attack at all.
Of course all this praise is basis play testing, and at this point I need to describe that and the revisions I made to the mod itself.
The programming is robust, well organized, and it is exceptionally well documented. There are even notes for anticipated future revisions. And in every case, the game’s default values are listed. This makes it easy to restore or modify the default values to make the game what you want it. Just open up the mod’s CSO_rules.sql file in a text editor and type your revisions. I recommend Notepad++, but other free editors are available.
For the testing I describe here, I played several partial games at Immortal, Epic game speed, on std-sized Fractal maps, and I played as the Aztecs. The Aztecs are a solid choice for Domination play, but not as overpowered as Scythia or Macedon.
Naturally I started off playing the mod as designed. But not for long. After all those years of playing Civs I thru IV, I wasn’t about to give up the multi-hex range capability we finally got w/ Civ5. So I restored all the ranged units to their default values. Next I tested the new combat system. But I didn’t much care for that either. The lower attack values mean that it takes more turns to kill a unit, and w/ the units being cheaper to produce, the AI has an easier time dynamically replacing losses. The result is that it can be quite a grind to finally win a battle. I think Firaxis deserves credit here for giving us a combat system that’s crisp and decisive.
So where did I end up as what I’d call the optimum? I kept the semi 2upt, the AT reclassification, the new strategic resource system, the air units class revisions, and the revised warmonger diplomacy values. I restored to their defaults the combat ranges and values, as well as the unit costs, and I restored the cities’ defensive capabilities to original. I also reduced the Niter combat bonus from 5 to 1.
I didn’t play any of the games beyond 200 turns, so this review doesn’t address any endgame issues. I didn’t, for instance, ever test the new uranium bonus system.
The only problem I had w/ the mod had to do w/ unit upgrades. Regardless of strategic resource requirements, these were lower than they should be. For instance, the upgrade to crossbow usually costs 305 gold. W/ this mod, it only cost me 22. Despite multiple passes, I could not find a programming reason for this error, not in the original, nor in the revisions I made.
This mod warrants my highest recommendation for those who want dynamic and creative domination play. But this is only a great beginning. More work will be needed to produce a true n-upt design. At the same time, work will need to continue toward a better AI.
Combat and Stacking Overhaul .3
Ranged units stack with melee, strategic resources works differently