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A different Pre-Agriculture Era

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by dunkleosteus, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Roman Pleb

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    I've seen a few mods for Civ V come up with ways to handle the pre-agriculture neolithic era, but most seem to take "interesting" directions with regard to how to represent this. Many feel the need to represent the last few million years of human development in the span of a few thousand with technologies. I'd like to see a simpler approach which I feel would also be a more honest representation of pre-agricultural societies. (Of course it won't be perfect though).

    I believe the primary effect this will have is it will upset the start of the game, pacing out when each civ really starts getting into the tech game. Spawns on tiny islands will be especially difficult, but assuming no individual civ gets an amazing spawn, the initial delay to beginning the game should be pretty universal.

    To do this, civs won't be able to found cities at the beginning of the game. They will be able to explore the land around their spawn however. At this point, civs won't be distinguishable from each other. If you happen upon another unit, they will be a generic "nomad" or some such label. Warfare at this stage would be difficult. Once a civilization is founded, individual nomadic tribes become the civilizations they initially selected/were given.

    At the beginning of the game, each civ is given two units, a hunter and a gatherer. These two units are relatively weak, I'd say around 4 strength on the hunter and 3 on the gatherer. The gatherer has no ranged attack and is unable to melee attack, but ignores terrain cost. The hunter has a melee attack and does not ignore terrain cost. Each turn, these units consume one :c5food: each from a pool of :c5food:. There will be some initial :c5food: in this pool. Your goal with these units is to explore as much as you feel is reasonable while attempting to fill your :c5food: and :c5production: pools. These pools fill based on the tiles your units end their turns on. When a hunter ends its turn standing on a tile that could be improved (but isn't) by a pasture or camp (deer, furs, ivory, cattle, sheep, truffles, bison) it will add its yields of :c5food: and :c5production: to your pools. When a gatherer ends its turn standing on a tile that could be improved by a farm or plantation (wheat, bananas, citrus, incense, wine, sugar, cotton, silk, dyes, cocoa, spices) it will add that tile's yields of :c5food: and :c5production: to your pools. In addition, units that end their turns adjacent to at least one coast tile (does not stack) add 1 :c5food: and 1 :c5production: to your pool (paying for themselves). Hunters that end their turn adjacent to a coast tile with a fish in it may add an additional +1 :c5food: per turn for EACH fish. Gatherers adjacent to crab or pearl tiles may add an additional +1 :c5food: per turn for EACH crab or pearl. This is so that coastal starts are still viable. The rationalization for this is that your people are collecting shellfish and other animals on the shores and beaches, or fishing in the water by wading to their waists or knees.

    These units have abilities that can consume :c5food: and :c5production: in exchange for benefits. These benefits will largely have no great impact on you once your first city is settled, but I'm still undecided and am open to suggestions. :c5production: is primarily able to unlock "tech" innovations that may improve your units' ability to survive. A hunter that begins its turn on top of sheep or furs may spend :c5production: and the rest of its movement to develop clothing/cloth (although clothing is much more ancient in reality, I say develop not invent) which gives units a 25% defence bonus against attack and allows them to enter snow tiles. This effect is removed once you settle your first city and all units may enter snow tiles. It also yields +5 culture (scaling with game speed) which will be maintained after you settle your first city. Gatherers have a similar capability when standing on cotton or silk. I'd like other "tech" innovations but I can't really think of good ones. Perhaps more to develop culture, like jewellery or art or something. Artistic expression is obviously much older than this time setting.

    One of the more interesting capabilities is that units may consume :c5food: to produce more units (either another hunter or gatherer). This does increase the number of :c5food: you consume per turn but also increases your ability to explore and generate :c5food: and :c5production:. When a sufficient level of :c5food: and :c5production: is in your pool (much more than is needed to innovate or make new units), your units gain the ability to create a settler and unlock agriculture as the first true tech. Once you settle your city though, the game changes. You have 3 turns after you settle to move your hunters and gatherers into your territory. As soon as you found your city, they lose their special abilities and no longer consume food per turn, but instead a small amount of gold as a regular unit. You may keep any units that you successfully move into your city before the three turn limit is up. Any units that fail to make it will secede from your civilization and become barbarians. Gatherers that reach your territory may be upgraded into scouts for a small amount of gold. Hunters that reach your territory may be upgraded into warriors.

    The 3 turn limit represents the cultural divide between hunter-gatherer and settled societies. Before cities are founded, no barbarians will spawn.


    Tell me what you think. I feel this would give a more accurate feel of how civilizations get their start and that it will let players select their ideal location before settling. Spreading your units out is effective for exploring more territory and finding the best location, but settling with them far apart means you will likely lose those units. It's a choice players will have to make, and I think that adds something to the game.
     
  2. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    interesting ideas i like to think about this too.
    why to have different units for hunters and gatherers? why not just have "tribe" units, capable of any task?

    i feel gold should be used somehow too as its one of the base yields.
    maybe, you have 1 maint-free unit and for excess ones you pay upkeep and if you cant theres a chance one of your units will turn into a barbarian.

    those tribe units may technically be moving cities. you would settle, produce a unit / research a tech, then unsettle and move to a new location.

    the main question is - why would you roam and not just stick to one good place, e.g. deer tile, skipping turns until you are allowed to settle permanently?

    historically, tribes were moving because of climatic change, demographic pressure or environmental degradation - overhunting or soil depletion in case of primitive farmers (well this was a case even in 20th century - see the dust bowl).

    maybe, at the start the map should be filled with resources but those would disappear when you work them. deer disappear from forests, forests get chopped up, fertile (new terrain feature type) soils become useless dirt etc. this forces your tribe to move around. after several turns resources may restore. so your tribe may follow some circular route.

    later you develop imporvements like farms or camps which preserve resources so you can work them with no fear of depletion (maybe with some decrease in yields) - from this point it may be more advantageous not to unsettle anymore.
     
  3. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    ps there may be "herds" units which would act like movable bonus resources. with such we could emulate steppe nomad civs like huns or mongols better.
     
  4. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Roman Pleb

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    Sticking in one spot is fine if thats what you want, but it means you dont have the ability to explore. For archipelago maps, the ability to make a small number of tiles last is very important. You wouldn't want to deplete the deer tiles before you even settled your city.
     
  5. daft

    daft The fargone

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    Neolithic wasn't at all without Farming!
     
  6. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    it should be possible to develop catamarans or something, to cross water tiles like polynesia. historically ppl have settled new guinea and australia long before optics (~50 k.y. ago).
     
  7. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    if nothing depletes it would be much more advantageous to stick to some good location asap.
    or maybe there should be bonuses for meeting other tribes and discovering new resource types?
     
  8. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Roman Pleb

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    Assuming you don't wander through a desert, exploring around probably wouldn't hurt
     
  9. Arishok

    Arishok Chieftain

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    I like that idea.
    I'm thinking the whole thing could work like this:
    You start the game with a 'Tribe' unit. It has melee strength that depends on the size of the tribe. It has a 'camp' ability that makes the tribe set up a camp. This works the same as a city, with some differences:
    - You cannot build any buildings or wonders in the camp. You can build units though. You can't build workers (but maybe any camps or pastures you can build around your camp are build automatically). I'm thinking you can build settlers, which become a new Tribe unit. Or maybe you can split your tribe into multiple tribes.
    - A camp has no ranged attack, if it's attacked it defends itself as the Tribe unit.
    - At the start of every turn, the camp turns into a Tribe unit, and it has to move to a different tile. It can camp there or it can continue moving.
    - You get a free Cows or Horses resource in the tile you're camped (as soon as you discover Animal Husbandry). Maybe you also get some extra food from it.
    - You can never add your culture to the tiles your camp is working. You can only work the ring of tiles immediately around your camp.
    - There should be a bonus to building units in your camp, or maybe just the mounted units. Maybe the units produced in nomad settlements could have reduced or even no maintenance.
    - I'm thinking the nomadic camps should produce less science per unit of population than cities.
    - You have a 'settle' button that turns the nomadic camp into a regular city. This might not be available at the start of the game, maybe it unlocks with the discovery of Agriculture.
    It's a lot more boring then the OP suggestion but I think it makes nomads more viable after the point you can build cities, maybe into the Medieval era. After all, even now you have some nomadic tribes in some countries. Maybe you could even have a mixture of cities and nomadic settlements.
     
  10. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    i think there should not be much difference between permanent cities and nomadic ones, so the whole system could remain simple and consistent. in previous games of the Civilization series building a settler would cost 1 population, and if you built it in a size 1 city the city is abandoned (with all the buildings and stuff). so the player perfectly could migrate though there was no real need in that.
    about "nomad camps" which i think can be mere cities,
    - no need to specially restrict building options as building something costly does already have little sense in a temporary city.
    - all early cities could have no ranged attack at first but it may be given with construction of walls.
    - resources part is quite tricky, maybe there should be some system of domestication and transition to nomadism; i think nomad cities should not produce much food, as their population should stay low compared to farmers (thus having lower science output as well). those herd resources may be moveable and give more production than food, to build units. Also having many of them may create a passive effect, e.g. there was a free building (Yurt) giving 1 hammers per Herd in the city radius (so no need to actually work those tiles). There also may be a Nomadism policy tree boosting nomad civs, e.g. converting excess food to production when you build units, providing double move in plains for units built, trade network connection without roads etc.
     
  11. GHalfrunt

    GHalfrunt Just zis guy, you know?

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    Other "new techs" to represent inventions predating permanent settlement could include reviving tech names from other Civ games (with new effects, though) like Mysticism (replacing Pottery as the requirement for Shrines, maybe, or enabling Faith to start being produced?) and Ceremonial Burial (???), and some other things invented pre-settlement like Brewing (+1 happiness from grains), Baking (+1 food from grains), and Herbalism (some kind of health bonus?). And then Baking + Jewelry (suggested above) could lead to Pottery and Glassworking (a tech incredibly vital to the real world, but never included in Civ!).

    Two other things that occur to me:
    1. In at least one case, construction of permanent buildings predated permanent settlements. Maybe add Göbekli Tepe as a pre-settlement equivalent of a Wonder that would get placed as a Great Tile Improvement instead of a "real" Wonder in a city (generating Faith for any Tribe adjacent to it?).
    2. There have historically been multiple paths to development of permanent settlements. Agriculture is by far the most common, but Japan and western Australia both had small but permanent settlement before agriculture because of extremely abundant fish and wild edible plants. Perhaps an "easy route" to settlement via Agriculture and a "hard route" via finding a location where you can passively accumulate a very high amount of food per turn?
     
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