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A look at Culture Victory

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Stalker0, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    By my own rules this thread should likely get shot down....its likely too dramatic a topic as we move into gold. However, I have done a lot of ranting about CV in recent posts, and I felt I should offer at least some thoughts on corrections. Maybe something in this discussion would be worthy on inclusion.

    My concerns about CV in summary: Of all the VC, culture is the most dependent on the AI's "good graces" to be effective at. Many of its mechanics require the AI to participate with you to be effective. In other words, with a single press of the "declare war button" from the AI...and CV can become untenable.

    If you want some more detailed thoughts you can find them here:

    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/new-version-december-18th-12-18.639855/page-9#post-15315202
    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/new-version-december-18th-12-18.639855/page-9#post-15315197

    Firstly, I'm going to break down a CV into its components parts (aka the things you need to do to win a CV), and try to isolate the parts I think are good mechanics, the ones that are great, and then ones that are bad.


    1) Culture, acquisition of 2 Tier 3 Tenents (Good) - I would prefer X number of tenants over specifically Tier 3, but minor in terms of my concerns. Puts the culture in culture victory.

    2) Great Musicians / Great Writers / Great Artists (Good)

    3) Shared Religion (Good) - A decently interactive mechanic, requires work for the AI to shut down, gives a nice but not critical bonus.

    4) Open Borders (BAD) - Too easy to deny and way too good a bonus with Artistry (and most CVs are going Artistry).

    5) Trade Route Tourism (Very BAD) - Double whammy of tourism bonuses and tourism percentage bonus makes ETRs critical to a CV. Requires single minded focus of your TRs on one opponent (regardless of other bonuses). Is far to vulnerable to warfare (either the key civ, or another civ that wars you and then takes out your TRs). And the biggest sin, requires you to actively lose out on your bonuses to TRs from tourism in order to push the CV.

    6) Ideology Penalty (BAD) - If there were more ways to get a person to switch ideology with you than this would make sense, but ideologies tend to be pretty set for the big culture players.

    7) Diplomats (BAD) - A drop dead boring mechanic (just slap the diplomat in the culture leader), and too vulnerable to warring.

    8) Archeology Race (GREAT) - Fun, interactive, a mix of interesting timings and passive aggressiveness with the AIs.

    9) World Council (GREAT) - There are a number of fun agendas to both promote (and guard against) to make a CV work.

    10) Great Work Heists (Good) - Could in theory be an interesting mechanic for CV players...if it wasn't such a waste of a spy at the moment. But the potential is there.

    11) Wonders (GREAT) - Wonders are a fun mix of science, production, and culture....the ultimate in passive aggressive interaction with the AI.

    Probably the two most important ones are the CN Tower (big bonus to tourism, more so than Cristo I believe), and Great Firewall (defensive, if the culture leader gets this one it may cost you the CV).

    12) Buildings (Hotel/Airports/Stadium) (GREAT) - This is a way for builder types to really optimize and get use out of their terrain, natural wonders, landmarks, etc.

    13) Tech Bonuses (Good) - A way to accelerate all of the win conditions towards the end, the equivalent exists for the other VC.

    14) Earth Citizen Protocol (Good) - A way to ensure CV players can't bum rush the game, and have some investment in science and hammers. Its imo a necessary element to balance CV with other types.

    15) Historical Events (Good) - This lever can be hard to really manipulate, but there is some fun interaction to be had here. Further increases the importance of culture and great people.

    16) CS Quests (GREAT) - There are a few quests to generate more tourism, creates great and immediate passive interaction with AIs.

    17) Defensive Warfare (GREAT) - Ultimately a CV player often has to hold out against superior military forces in order to secure the victory.


    Ok, so now with this breakdown, in the next post I'm going to discuss some ways to shift the focus away from the BAD mechanics towards the Good or GREAT ones.
     
  2. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    So I'm divided my suggestions into simple ones (basically just moving bonuses around) or complex ones (likely requires new coding or big alterations).

    Simple
    1) Shift Ideology penalty (and bonus) into the Cold War resolution. We have often complained that this resolution isn't interesting enough. Give it some CV hooks by shifting in the innate penalty...and even add in bonus for the same ideology.

    2) Give most wonders a tourism bonus. Can be something small, +2 to +5. Let wonders play more directly into tourism.

    3) Give some tourism into the chancery/wire service line of buildings. Let your CS allies provide a more direct tourism bonus...but in a way that the AI still has a measure of control against you.

    4) Greatly reduce the Open Border bonus (to like 10%, with no boost from Artistry). Adjust other bonuses to compensate.

    5) Have the Tourism from Trade Routes apply to all civs, not just the one you are trading with. Reduce the TR tourism percentage bonus.

    This one might be a bit harder to swallow from a IRL argument, though we have the Statecraft bonus from CS as a precedent. Further, tourism IRL is a bit of a word of mouth game. If country A loves to go to Country B....Country C is going to start wondering what all the fuss is about and may want to go there too.

    With this change, TRs would still be vulnerable to warfare and pillaging....just not so incredibly vulnerable if the culture leader wars with you. Now Trade Route duration, safety, bonuses, and your influence level (who would have thought!!!) are key factors in your decision making as opposed to always trading with the culture leader.

    6) Reduce Diplomat bonus, reduce time to setup diplomat, increase power of Great Work Heists.

    Let the heist system finally see a real light of day. Make this the more interactive use of spies, either to acquire Great Works to enhance a CV, or to steal them from the CV player to weaken them.

    Let Diplomats focus on acquiring votes, which is why I am advocating for a reduced setup time. Let them move in, try to wrangle some votes, and then send them on to another civ, instead of just sitting there doing nothing but giving a flat bonus.

    7) Increase historical event bonuses


    Complex

    1) Have influential civs create new great works for you.

    Similar idea to how military CS or vassals create units for you periodically. Another civ loves you so much that they fashion great works to honor your civ.

    2) Have Open Borders provide new bonuses and benefits. If Open Borders is to remain a part of CV, at least make it interesting.

    3) Allow influence levels to "force" certain diplomatic actions. For example. once I'm popular with you, you can no longer deny me open borders. Doesn't help with warring, but at least diplomatic you can't stop me anymore.

    4) Remove Diplomats entirely, allow vote trading as an innate diplomatic option.

    What purpose does the diplomat really serve? Ideally I want to be stealing techs, stealing Great Works, or influence CS. Diplomats are the "I have to" option, not the "I want to" option. So why not just remove them. Allow vote trading as one innate option of diplomacy, and go from there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  3. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Chieftain

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    There's one game where I think CV might be one of the viable options I have. However, I have a fierce opponent, Austria, geared for Diplomatic Victory. From your perspective, how do you deal with such a foe? I'm certainly not built for offensive wars, especially not those on a different continent. Austria can also pass the Travel Ban to slow me down. I feel like there's very little I can do in this case other than hope that I've got enough tourism to deliver a large enough blow before she wins. Do you think there's something we can address here to give those pursuing CV some tools to work on this? It feels extremely one-sided if the one going for Diplomatic have the tools (with access to a lot more delegates) to slow down the one going CV while the other player/AI is helpless in that regards.
     
  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    It may sound silly, but....build diplomats. You can regear your economy to mass production of diplomatic units, as well as use diplomatics to try and secure votes on key agendas. Another is to propose agendas you know will hurt the diplomatic player to siphon votes away from the proposals they want to push.

    the WC is a key part of a CV, you really can't ignore it to win. But to me that's ok, that's simply part of the strategy, and I can work to control or minimize it. The difference with a CV is...one press of the declare war button can finish me, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it, to prepare for it, or to reverse it. With the WC, you know the hammer is coming, and its up to you to find ways to stop it.

    Also just to showcase the magnitude of difference, a Travel Ban gives you a -50% tourism penalty. What do you lose if the culture leader declares war?

    40% Open Border (with Artistry)
    20% Trade Route
    50% Diplomat

    I just gained a -110% tourism penalty!! And that's not even factoring in all of the lost tourism for those TRs that don't get to finish, which is quite significant.
     
  5. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Chieftain

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    Given that most cases with CV are tall civs, do you have the time/hammers to build diplomats? I'm just curious at what stage you start working on getting influence because I've noticed that, at some stage, some CS are too heavily influenced and require a coup to succeed. How's your experience with coup?

    I can see from those numbers that wars are the killer of CV. In the case you are pursuing CV, what tools do you have to stop someone from winning Diplomatic? If your opponent proposes World Ideology, I guess you can propose something else so they won't get enough votes to pass it. I have seen AI split up their votes so I don't know how much a priority they put into World Ideology if they are seeking Diplomatic. The same can be said about United Nations. Delaying those can certainly help you. I guess if you have made the mistake of letting those two pass, then you earned the loss. If you happened to have a session with World Ideology/Travel Ban/your proposal, then I guess you just got a terrible roll.
     
  6. CrazyG

    CrazyG Warlord

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    I 100% agree with you here. Its an unnecessary bonus that AI doesn't handle well.

    I agree, taking a great work takes far too long. The only situation great work heists are relevant is against Egypt (especially if you are England or have statecraft).
     
    CppMaster likes this.
  7. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Warlord

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    Good post. I'll state my opinions.
    1) Good idea, but might be a bit too much of a change. Maybe just reduce the penalty? I don't know.

    2) I think it's unnecessary with the Cultural Heritage Sites proposal/Hotels/Stadiums etc. And Sacred Sites.

    3) I think this is unnecessary as well. Chanceries/Wire Services are fine.

    4) Yes please. This is a very good idea.

    5) I really like this idea too, so kudos to you! Statecraft's bonus should be made equal to the bonus from Caravansaries/Custom Houses for this to work ideally imo.

    6) I do think Heists/Diplomats could use some value tweaking or something, don't know how much is possible though.

    7) Indifferent to this. Let the tourism values be decided through testing.
    Edit: Actually, if we remove the 20% bonus to Open Borders from Artistry, increasing the bonus from Historical Events in there could be decent compensation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  8. Zanteogo

    Zanteogo Chieftain

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    I’m pretty neutral on CV’s. The AI certainly seem to “know” when someone is getting close to one and acts as it should. Either passively via the WC or more activitly by declaring war or bribing other to war the civ getting close to the CV. Like all other victories you need the help of a strong military as a deterrent or to beat down civs into submission.

    My only real beef with it (and same holds with the DiploV), is it tends to cut the game short as it tends to come early. SV’s occur in what must be 5% of my games at best.

    I personally would leave it as it is myself. I actually have more of an issue with DiploVs as they are almost given to whomever gets the UN wonder.
     
  9. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    I'd like that tourism from trade routes worked both ways.
     
  10. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    This is a lot of change for ‘going gold.’ I’m not opposed to tweaks but let’s keep them light. Let’s do the % changes to the modifiers and go from there.

    G
     
  11. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Agreed. If I were to pick one "more radical" change to seriously consider it would be the Trade Route applying to all. It addresses a lot of CV concerns in a single move, and correct me if I'm wrong, but since we have the ability through the statecraft policy such a change already exists in code....or would that require complete new code to do?

    In terms of changes, so far I'm advocating mostly nerfs to the % modifiers. So something has to get buffed, or else CV just won't be possible at all. So where should the buffs come from. My thoughts:

    1) A small bump to historical events. We have to be careful here, as certain Civs and policy trees get a lot more out of this, so we can't do the mainstay here.

    2) Give all Great Works a +1 or +2 to tourism. Lets start with base tourism, and then we can add in some additional % buffs later on. You could also give the Arena a +1 tourism just to get the ball rolling a little earlier.

    3) Increase the % bonus from Hotel/Airport/Stadium. This seems the most straightforward place to buff. We can increase these percentage bonuses, which is something that all civs and styles will get. These are also techs that CV players already rush to, so we are not fundamentally altering the CV playstyle with buffs here.

    4) A more radical "tweak"....simply lower the thresholds needed to hit popular/influential/dominant. So overall everything is lowered a bit. Overall tourism is harder to get because the % bonuses are now weaker in general. However, the goals are easier to obtain to balance things out. I note this one for completeness, but G I know you are already adverse to more radical adjustments (of which I understand), so I would probably focus more on Number 3.

    This would be my main area to buff to "balance the books".
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  12. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    @Gazebo

    So G you mentioned being interested in some modifier tweaks. I’m curious on what your thinking of toning down and what you would want to buff to compensate.

    My immediate post above has some thoughts on where counter buffs could be applied.
     
  13. kkkitten

    kkkitten Chieftain

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    The problem with this, I think, is that you don't need to lift a finger on troops/cities to counter CV. WC is fine but a simple DoW like Stalker0 is saying is pretty devastating, when you don't even need to fight at all if you have decent culture (compared to say, countering a SV or DV where you need to hurry and fight back)
     
  14. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    I'll be honest, I've been so busy I've barely had a chance to dig in. I will soon, though.

    G
     
  15. Rekk

    Rekk Chieftain

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    I have a couple of questions:

    What's the current balance of tourism per turn to instant yields?

    Do instant yields also get reduced by the per city tourism penalty?

    I'm asking because tourism for a wide player seems almost nonexistent as a defense against ideological pressure, not to mention actually pursuing it as a victory condition. Hotels etc., being buildings which should be the strong suit of the wide player, are worthless, except maybe in the capital city. Sacred sites is awful for wide, because you take it thinking you're going to get ~6 tourism per city while you'll actually get less than one.

    In my current game with 13 cities + 4 puppets, my tourism per turn is 174, while my averaged per turn instant yields are reporting >5000.

    Even a 6 city tall empire is taking strong penalties to tourism, such that the hotel's culture to tourism conversion is much less than the mediocre 25% it gives at face value.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019

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