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A look a Forests

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Stalker0, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Having randomly gotten assigned 4 games that had massive forest starts, I've gotten a good look at forests on the current version.

    I do think forests are strong, but not for their direct yields per say. Don't give me wrong a forest tile is awesome to work, but as Funak I think pointed out a long time ago, farm/mine offers you a lot of flexibility in terms of when to grow and when to sprint with your production.

    I think the main issue with forests is the quick access to the herbalist. In the early game when every hammer is at a premium, you have to gauge when to get your workers. And then once you do, it takes a lot of turns to build roads and farms, etc.

    But with the herbalist, I get "immediate worker action". I throw down a massive improvement on all of my key tiles instantly....oh and a +2 food to boot.

    So even if farms are ultimately better for growth, or mines better for production, it doesn't matter because the forest cities are going to get their bonuses faster than farms, and so will start kicking off the growth train quicker.

    So one idea is just to move the herbalist back in the tech tree. Delay when a forest player can get that advantage so its more comparable to the farmer who has finally had the time to get their workers and start making their improvements. It might even make "gasp" chopping a possible option!

    Beyond that, I personally don't think the other yields are terrible. The production is nice, but its comes at a time when other improvements are starting to pick up. The science is nice because its rare to get science otherwise, but I think its really at the beginning where the forest issue occurs, not as much later on.


    So that's my basic thought. On a more radical level...honestly its strange that a player would want to keep forests at all. When it comes to making civilizations....its chop baby chop in real life. In real life, farms are significantly better at producing food, night and day difference. In real life, you chop chop chop that wood to use in industry.

    So a more extreme proposal would be....don't improve forests at all. Make it so that certain techs increase the value of their chop. Drop lumbermills, at machinery your chop bonus gets better.

    Then the decision is not to chop or not....its how long to wait to chop. Chop early for immediate growth, or later for bigger returns? Then I would say the only benefit late game would be tourism bonuses. That makes sense (national parks),and would give some benefit to those who didn't clearcut everything.

    That may be more radical than we want to go at this point in the mod, but it would be more like real life, and would make it so that forests don't become late game super tiles.
     
  2. Deadstarre

    Deadstarre Expert

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    I agree, pretty much what i said in the other thread - if you remove the early food from herbalist to forests the entire dynamic would be sufficiently changed; no other changes are needed and people won't be feeling theyre OP anymore. You can't move or touch the herbalist ability to upgrade jungles though or jungle starts will become near unplayable since you cant alter them for so long in the game.

    so I thought rather than moving herbalist, just take off the food bonus to forests and re-insert it via a lumbermill tech upgrade way later in the game (or just leave it gone); this will already highly encourage chopping in any city which is heavily forested because otherwise they cannot grow. its not worth saving every bit of forest, even for university and workshops upgrades that are forthcoming, if you cannot grow.

    I think G has his mind set on other plans that honestly looked worth a shot, but I do still think this is really all thats needed to address the issue. and it also the addresses the issue of herbalists being too good, as you say the +2 food is a reason to build them already but also those hammers on plantations are an enormous reason to build them. and with Wells getting nerfed theyre going to be even more appealing soon
     
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  3. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    Both ideas -- herbalist and era-based incentives to chop -- make sense to me. But factor in the upcoming nerfs to universities and (I think) woodshops.
     
  4. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Moving herbalist into classical makes sense I think, but early classical is very crowded with techs; it would be a UI nightmare to fit it somewhere. There's also no thematically appropriate techs in classical, like hunting or calendar.

    If you moved the bonus back to a lumbermill bonus, or maybe aqueduct, what would you do with herbalist? the building would have to do something instead or else it is just dead weight
     
  5. Deadstarre

    Deadstarre Expert

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    herbalist would still be +flat food, +hammers where terrain has plantations and +food to jungles. some general usefulness there and a perfect niche for a dead-end building. much better than the caravansary =)
     
  6. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    Moving back the herbalist could make the tech less appealing, and Temple of Artemis much better. One good thing about vox populi is that almost any start is playable, including massive forests and jungles. Herbalist plays a rol here, so it needs to come rather soon, as it does now. I don't think it necessary.

    Changing the way herbalist works, perhaps. I remember when it cost 2 gold, and it was so hard to pick.
    Yeah, herbalist could enhance lumbermills. There are not many enhancer buildings for lumbermills, but then, lumbermills in jungles takes forever. I would not rush a building that gives its rewards one era later. Also, enhancing lumbermills won't work for those tiles with: camps, brazilwood, kunas or kasbahs (maybe not a bad thing).

    Last Gazebo word on the issue:
    I like forest different than jungles, but I have some doubts here. Building a herbalist in a forest start is going to be sad. Jungles certainly need a better push, since lumbermills come so late.

    Ironically, jungles are not the best place for an early population growth. They were always considered unhealthy, and they are just very recently been able to settle in bigger numbers. But rainforests, when chopped, usually give way to deserts. If a chopped jungle turned into desert, as in real life, then there would be very real reasons to not chopp them. I think that meddling with maps is not possible.

    G says forests are now 1p/g. Production from workshops, ok, but where is the gold coming from? Lumbermills? Herbalist?
    Is herbalist going to grant +1 gold to forests and +1 food to jungles? If so, then it's still a top priority building.

    On the other hand, Workshop could enhance lumbermills, as they are probably already built, so the extra yields don't go to all forests/jungles, but only those with a simple lumbermill, that probably won't be worked by late game cities. Lumbermills give production on forests and gold on jungles, if I'm not mistaken (should they be changed for extra diffentiation? More gold on forest, more food on jungles?) One extra production from workshop can't be that bad.
     
  7. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    A thing to consider:
    A forest start has several non forested tiles, while a jungle start has only jungles and forests. This means a forest city has mines and farms in addition to those forests, so it can choose not to work them for a while. A jungle city has little to do other than working on non improved forests and jungles. Also, going for herbalist early means delaying forest chopping.

    How comes the herbalist to be a problem? Jungle starts are too harsh, as in real life, but for gameplay reasons, it is allowed to be playable. So the extra food on forested tiles, which was the main problem for jungle cities. But now, forests in non jungle cities suddenly are too good, because just by having an herbalist, a city can grow without paying attention to terrain development. The proposed solution is removing food from forest and keeping it just on jungles. That's good.

    Jungle starts are difficult even then. Not being able to build improvements, connect luxuries, growing slowly, shorter trade routes... Since jungle starts have typically jungle and forest tiles, and researching herbalist means delaying bronze working (for chopping forests), herbalist could improve forests too, only not by giving food. Gold? Production?

    Markets are very close to herbalist, so gold might not be a problem, but also, giving only +1 gold to forest is quite safe. Production is more useful, and more thematic, but could it be OP in non jungle starts?
     
  8. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Gold would be nice because then it conflicts less with farms and mines.

    The problem early on is that food and production are more important than gold.

    Food is the most important early game, my early tiles have to be able to grow me. On the other hand production is important for a switchover, and even if mines give me more production forests are worker free.

    All of that said, with the new building costs gold maybe more valuable than I give it credit for.
     
  9. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    I like the balance of farms/mines/forests as it is. Between any luxuries or great improvements, I don't really have room to work forests in early/mid. I have to spend my pop on farm tiles to keep up decent growth. Even with herbalist forests only give around 3 food for me. I do think herbalist is a strong building though. I think having it cost 2 gold would bring it in line.

    Forests are useful later on because you can settle a densely forested area and not have to do too much land improvement to get the city going. Otherwise I just chop everything for the production bonus.
     
  10. DarkZero

    DarkZero Warlord

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    That's not right, a forest on grassland whit herbalist for example gives 3 food 1 production, there is not a single tile better early game other than lakes (same yield), Oasis and attols, things gets really op wen you put deers and furs on top of it, you need 3 farms in a triangle on grassland to get a 4 food tiles that while pretty good, is really hard to get, needs you to produce a worker for a number of turns plus needs 3 farms to be manually build across several others turns, meanwhile all you need is a single building that immediately boosts all the tiles and give s+ 2 food on top of that, it even has synergy whit a couple of pantheons, wen you build a worker you want him getting luxuries and bonus resources on line and not farming open fields, thats where herbalists come from, you rush this building and get a bunch of good forest tiles to work while you build a couple of workers and get your luxuries, your stone and your horses, there needs to be a trade off, if you wanna grow early you need to get farms instead of those gems monopoly, instead of relying on the 3-4 forests you happened to spawn next to.
     
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  11. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    It really doesn't take too long to get a good farm cluster going. The tech requirements for luxuries and such mean there is plenty of time to set up farm before your workers have other things to do. For new cities, you can probably set up a farm cluster in about the same time you can build an herbalist. The more workers you have, the faster your farm cluster. Meanwhile an herbalist from a 1 pop city will always take forever to build.

    While building farms will slow down your resource acquisitions, I find that it is the same kind of tradeoff for building herbalist before a monument or shrine for my city for a better chance at wonders and religion.

    For things like Deer and Furs and pantheons, farms have pastures and Cathedrals. Not quite as strong but I don't think the disparity is too large.

    That's why I think it is balanced as it is.
     
  12. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Thing is...many people play with a large spam of cities quickly in the early game. So while you are right that you could build enough workers to get some farm clusters starting...not for all of those cities. Instead, I can farm my city that doesn't have forests and then build the herbalist in the other ones for the instant bonus.
     
  13. Legen

    Legen King

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    First of all, since the discussion focus on the early game, state at least which social policy tree you're considering. Saying that forest/jungle is superior because you only need one building for instant yields doesn't hold on Tradition's secondary cities, that building may take 30+ turns on standard speed. And Authority may not want to research Calendar that early in the first place.

    And maybe it's just me, but I remember the AI chopping trees all the time; whenever I look at their lands, I notice all their forest/jungle tiles being replaced by farms.
     
  14. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    That's why I think it's pretty balanced as is. Forests have some amount of use but aren't particularly strong.
     
  15. CrazyG

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    You have it backwards. Farms have a limited amount of use but aren't particularly strong. I sometimes don't build farms at all unless I'm on wheat or floodplains. Even with Cathedrals farms struggle against forests, even if the forests have no lumbermills.

    Forests are really strong, even if I forget to add lumbermills or ignore that tech for a while (which I very commonly do). Even playing India I tend to work some forests, especially after the zoo is built. Compare how much effort it takes to get a great work for 3 tourism per turn, to the effort of working just 1 forest for 1 tourism. Forests are a very low opportunity costs source of science and tourism. Comparing two cities, both with barracks, library and university, the city without forests produces 14 science, my city with it is producing 22. That disparity is enormous, I intentionally left 3 of my cocoa unimproved to abuse this.
     
  16. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    Farms very easily reach 5-7 food and often output twice as much food as forests. This is important for putting your citizens in more valuable tiles/specialist slots. The yields you can get from forests can't compare to the amount of specialists or resources that farms can sustain. Unless you are somehow avoiding specialists and great improvements, forests don't have much to offer apart from occasional use when your workers are busy.
     
  17. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    What level do you play at?
     
  18. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    Emperor
     
  19. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Do you consider food more valuable than other yields? Because I don't, like at all. As many have discussed in various threads about specialists, its not hard to grow in this game. I've found that a city working a ton of farms ends up being only slightly larger and sometimes smaller (because I'm building aqueducts, grocers, and similar things much earlier). During classical and medieval eras, there are so many important things to build that hammers are really valuable. If you have tradition, your excess food is so large that which tiles you work make a relatively small difference in how fast you grow. For progress you get bonus yields for building buildings, which makes hammers the best yield. Authority cities grow via border growth, yes you can grow faster by working farms but there isn't much purpose. With the coming nerfs to wells, watermills, and other per pop buildings this will be more true than ever before.

    I look at a simple question, what provides more yields now? An aqueduct, university, armory, or comparable building, or my next citizen working a farm. The answer is almost always the building after a city reaches a decent population, not only are forests providing more yields overall for a smaller investment. Its several hundred food to grow, my next citizen works a 6 food farm, which nets only 4 food itself. I also recieve some science, hammers, and food thanks to buildings. The citizens will also cause unhappiness). By comparison, a chancery or universtiy often costs fewer hammers than a citizen costs food, earns more raw yields, reduces unhappiness.

    I'm really experienced playing India, and even as India I often work forests (even when farms have 2 more food than they should, forests compete). Feel free to take a save game, play it working farms, then reload and work forests. I guarantee that you will find the situation where you worked forests went better.
     
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  20. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    The way I see it, I'd rather be working 1 farm and something nice than 2 forests. And while you can say it's easy to grow in this game, I find that if I run forests it will most definitely take a toll on how many specialists/gp improvements I can work. Growing is important for a lot of minor reasons but mostly for working future specialists/gp improvements.

    I think ultimately the (non) issue is that tall players will make better use of farms because of the emphasis on specialists, great people, gp improvements, and growth while wide players don't mind running a low growth city working forests. Which again, I feel is not particularly imbalanced.
     

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