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A simple solution to "one sided games" : "Common Knowledge"

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Borg, May 10, 2004.

  1. Borg

    Borg Chieftain

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    I've read several posts in which people complain about the game getting boring quickly when one of the Civs becomes too strong (and stronger ever after) and the final result in not really in doubt anymore.

    How can we keep those games interesting ?
    How can we give the weak nations another fighting chance without handicapping the superior nation too much ?

    A good solution IMO would be something like "Common Knowledge".
    I'll explain right away.

    The backbone of the game is obviously the Tech tree.
    If you're too far behind in Tech and you have little money and resources, you basically don't have a chance anymore.
    However, if EACH civ could benefit from a kind of "Great Library" effect in A CERTAIN SITUATION, the trailing civs might still be able to catch up.

    Suppose that EACH TECH which is known by AT LEAST 50% of all civs AUTOMATICALLY becomes a known tech to all other civs as well , FOR FREE (just like the Great Library does)
    don't you think that would throw a new lease of life to some civ's who are way back on the power chart.
    For instance, you're dead last and trailing by at least 10 techs, but then some of the more powerfull Civs start trading tech amongst each other, breaking the 50% common knowledge threshold and all of a sudden you get that Tech as well, for free, because it's no longer a mystery to the world, it has become "common knowledge".

    Civs would have to think a little now before they start trading their newly discovered techs away too soon and to too many other civs.
    Example : In an 8 civ game : trade away your new tech to 3 opponents and the other 4 know the tech as well, for free, as the tech becomes "common knowledge".

    Selling Techs amongst each other (AI) would not be as rampant anymore and would no doubt bring on a more "selective" game, adding more depth to the game.
    (who do you sell to? The highest bidder or maybe the neighbour of your biggest rival - for a bit less ?
    How many civs already know of that specific Tech ? Hey, one more and I get that tech for free, time to start up my research again in another branch, I might get a new chance here ............... etc.

    In short :
    Giving the backward civilisations techs for free when they are already known by at least half the world sounds logic to me. Those techs should have no mystery about them anymore.
    Great way IMO to keep the game close (enough) and interesting until the later ages.
     
  2. ybbor

    ybbor Will not change his avata

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    i think it should be higher, maybe 75%?
     
  3. croxis

    croxis Chat room op

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    I'm sure the exact number would have to be play balanced. At this point we shouldn't be arguing between 50 and 55% but more on general concepts. I like the common knowledge idea for civs that are neighboring and good (trade?) contact with. Isolated civs obviously would not be in contact so would not know.
     
  4. rcoutme

    rcoutme Emperor

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    Instead of the knowledge being automatic after a certain # of civs get it, I would like to see the possibility that any civ may get an advance if they are in commercial contact with a civ that has it. The more civs, the higher the chance.

    Thus: if you have a trade agreement with China and they have gunpowder, you might have a 5% chance each turn of getting that tech (not cumulative). For each other civ that has that tech that you have a trade agreement with, you would get an additional 5% added onto your chance (i.e. 10% each turn if two agreements, although only 5% per civilization).
     
  5. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Deity

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    I think that they REALLY hit the nail on the head in another, similar thread!
    This is how the system worked:

    1) Break techs into three 'types', for dissemination purposes-Cultural, Pure Science and Military/Infrastructure.

    2) Cultural Techs have the best chance of disseminating to other civs. If a civ has a tech, and has trade networks with other civs, then there is a % chance each turn that one of the civs you're trading with can pick up your tech via 'Osmosis'. The base chance would be influenced by the number of civs who currently possess the tech, and how 'culturally related' the tech and the potential recipient are (based on the 'flavours' system). Also, religious, agricultural and seafaring civs would have a better chance of picking up techs in this fashion.

    3) Pure Science Techs can pass via osmosis, but require the civs to be in some kind of alliance-be it a scientific or military one! Each turn, there is a % chance of a pure science tech flowing from the civ that discovered it, and one of their allies. Scientific and Commercial civs would have a better chance of picking up techs this way.

    4) Military/Infrastructure Techs can ONLY be disseminated via direct discovery, tech trade or espionage. Tech trades should be the hardest way of obtaining these kinds of techs, though being in an alliance/mpp will improve the chance of a tech trade, and being a militaristic, industrial or expansionist civ would will help as well!

    Anyway, thats the idea, what do people think?

    Yours,
    Aussie_Lurker.
     
  6. hr_oskar

    hr_oskar Deity

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    Overall I don't like this idea because I think the game already handles this quite well - first, techs get progressively easier to research as they spread among civs; second, the AI tends to trade tech quite freely.

    The sort of arbitrary rule which you're suggesting will mostly benefit good players who know it and understand it - they will break it by researching less, eliminating the weaker civs, and trading more "strategically" than ever before. Imagine 5-10 techs suddenly rolling in when a primitive civ gets eliminated :crazyeye: A simple percentage would also have to be higher than 50%, otherwise think of what happens when there're only two civs left...

    Exploiting this rule would ultimately feel silly, unrealistic, boring, but sadly necessary (for beating whatever difficulty level the good player is trying to beat).

    Also remember that although we like to keep our games interesting as long as possible, they all have to end at some point! If I'm already number one, I'd rather not have any rules like these stalling the game, delaying the inevitable, if you know what I mean :)

    So basically, if the AI would catch up with me through this rule, I'd just be annoyed, while if I caught up with the AI through it, I'd feel wrong.
     
  7. the mormegil

    the mormegil Emperor

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    Yeah, I've thought that this should be in the game for a long time. It just makes sense.
     
  8. Gengis Khan

    Gengis Khan Deity

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    I agree with hr oskar 100%
     
  9. yoshi74

    yoshi74 Tourist from Mars

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    Its normal that the strong grow stronger. Without this there is no reason to play good and do smart things. What the point of playing when you don't have a better shot at winning the game as the big powerhouse? Also the tech gap in civ3 is not that big between the techleader and the other nations. If its that in your game, raise the difficulty ;)
     
  10. judgement

    judgement Itinerant Polymath

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    First off, hr_oskar is quite correct on both points: techs already get easier to research the more civs know them, and giving free techs as suggested would allow smart players to exploit the situation.

    Furthermore, I don't think that tech disparity is the real problem. Borg says the backbone of the game is obviously the tech tree, but I disagree: the "backbone" of success is number of cities. If you're being in tech but have plenty of cities (and thus have plenty of income, access to plenty of resources and luxuries, etc.) its not that hard to trade around and catch up somewhat tech-wise. On the other hand, if you're much smaller than the other civs, you're in trouble. Even if you're ahead on techs, you're still not necessarily going to do too well unless you can quickly capitalize on your tech lead before other civs catch up. And, as youshi74 says, if you're way ahead in tech, you might try a harder difficulty level.

    Keeping games interesting is an admirable goal, and to do that, weaker civs need to be given a fighting chance. That much I agree with. But I don't think the solution involves free techs. I think the solution should involve extra difficulties for big civs (and a correspondingly easier time for small civs) instead of handicaps for advanced civs and/or benefits for technologically-behind civs. Some of the ideas about rebellions/civil wars are good in this regard... they could be more likely to happen to larger civs.

    Yoshi74's point is also important to remember. Keeping one civ from running away with the game too soon can be good (it keeps the game interesting longer) but, if taken too far, it decreases the fun since it removes the incentive to try to succeed. There always needs to be a balance: success needs to pay off, just not so much that a little bit of early success is all you need to run away with the game. I actually think the balance in Civ 3 is pretty good in this regard... I often don't know whether I'm going to win or not until the late medieval age or the industrial age. Still, there's always room for improvement: it sure would be nice to occasionally have the outcome in doubt even in the modern era.
     
  11. yoshi74

    yoshi74 Tourist from Mars

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    Interesting sidenote: The heavy corruption/waste topic is clearly an approch to penelize the players with really big empires, to allow smaller civs to stay closer. Ironically this feature is one of most bashed by a lot of players.
    I can almost hear the hysterical cries from players who just experienced a civil war/rebellion in their empire ;)
     
  12. warpstorm

    warpstorm Yumbo? Yumbo!

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    I disagree. This won't really add much over the current progressive pricing scheme. In general, at the higher difficulties, the AI is outresearching you anyways so it would only serve to allow you to spend nothing on research and still gain the benefits of "common knowledge".
     
  13. judgement

    judgement Itinerant Polymath

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    Yes, very true.
    Well, we're getting OT here, but certainly this would depend on how such a concept was implemented. If it was as random (and, for novice players, hard to understand) as the current "culture-flipping", then there would surely be lots of hysterical cries. On the other hand, if it was easy to understand why and when such rebellions might occur, and if it was possible to avoid or suppress such rebellions (using easy-to-comprehend means), things would be different. In any case, I think most people who like the idea of rebellions/civil wars are hoping that it might be a more interesting way of slowing down runaway success than the current heavy corruption/waste (like I said, whether it would actually be better or worse depends on the details of how its implemented).

    The point is that some mechanism to curtail runaway sucess is necessary, otherwise the game is over before the end of the ancient age. Many people seem dissatisfied with the corruption/waste mechanism, and both the idea suggested in this thread and the concept of rebellions are alternative ideas. Personally, I agree that corruption/waste isn't the most fun way of handling it, and I think the "common knowledge" idea suggested by Borg in this thread is both uneccessary (given that techs already are easier to research once lots of civs have them) and unlikely to really address the issue (since in my experience success usually depends more on a lead in number of cities than on a lead in tech). I think the rebellion concept has some promise, but it would have to be done very carefully. I'm also interested in any other ideas - anything to replace the too-heavy corruption/waste. But I do agree that such mechanisms shouldn't be too strong: a big powerhouse should of course have the best chance of winning; but the first civ to gain a slight lead shouldn't automatically snowball into a big powerhouse. Like I said, a balance must be struck, with any such mechanisms carefully tuned through playtesting.
     
  14. Smoking mirror

    Smoking mirror Ships Captain

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    Yep, I think in general the best way to deal with the "run-away success" idea is to penalize the front runner rather than aiding those dropping behind.
    Penalties are always going to be much harder to exploit than a bonus. Almost any way you can think of to help the failing civs can result in an exploit, and there are too many already.
     
  15. joebasstard

    joebasstard Chieftain

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    Maybe the 1st civs to research a technology have to work harder for it, or more precisely, there is a break in the tech "price" if you BEGIN researching it before anyone else has discovered it.
     
  16. judgement

    judgement Itinerant Polymath

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    Isn't that already the case in Civ 3? Cost in beakers to research a tech depends on how many civs have that tech already.
     
  17. barbu1977

    barbu1977 Warlord

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    The simple way to do that is that for each civ you know that has the tech, the tech is needs less beakers. Not only that, but the longer the civ knows the tech the chaper it gets.

    Example:

    Astronomy: 700 beakers
    you play against 7 opponents: So you can get 700/7 = 100 beakers by civ you know.

    Each turn you know that civ, and is has that tech, you get 3 beakers bonus (The number of beakers should vary with ages and thech type (pure knowledge, military, cultural)

    So you are the third to reaserch Astronomy, Civ 1 has it for 10 turns, civ 2 for 15 turns, The tech would cost 700 - 30 -45 = 625 beakers

    That represents the imposibility to keep a tech an absolute secret. As soon as people know what to reaserch, it gets mutch more easy.
     
  18. barbu1977

    barbu1977 Warlord

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    You could also get scientific spies that when plated in a specific civ, automaticly increaces the "sicence rebate" regarding that civ.
     
  19. judgement

    judgement Itinerant Polymath

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    Like I said, isn't this already the way it is in Civ 3?
     
  20. croxis

    croxis Chat room op

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    Civ 3 uses something like it yes. Another idea is a less percice research model. In Smac there was an option where the player did blind research. The player selected any compenations of four areas to deticate research to (Build, Discover, Explore, Conqour) and out pops tech. Perhaps a new system for tech would have sliders to each of these areas and instead of researching one tech at a time, several techs can be researched at once.
     

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