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America - The Civilization of Contradictions

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Trackmaster, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. Trackmaster

    Trackmaster Warlord

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    This is strictly speaking in terms of the game of course. I know that America is universally considered one of the weaker Civs in the game. I agree too. I've spent some time trying to figure out a way to make them useful, but have come up short. I honestly think that their Unique abilities and units aren't bad, but they're just inconvenient to use, and don't point to any victory condition or play style. Let's consider it:

    Probably their most useful attribute is to the +1 sight. It helps logistically for setting up sieges, but also is useful for scouting and finding new land to settle. So you would think that it would a good Civilization for wide. But...

    They also have the ability to buy up tiles cheaply, which would make you think that it would be a taller empire with wider borders (its also a lame ability because in addition to Russia's UA, they can also build a Krepost which basically gives them this ability).

    And, they have the Minute Man, which is actually a pretty great unit, and is basically a scout on steroids. However, it comes late enough that your scouting should pretty much done, and all of the ruins will be gone. If you wait to start your rush now, you'll probably be getting pretty significant war monger penalties because you'll have met ever Civ.

    And... the B17 is a great unit, but it comes waaaayyy too late to help with a domination victory (and I assume domination because the unit is focused on taking cities, and not much else). If you want domination, the victory should be pretty well in hand before the airport/bomber tech is researched.

    Of the four unique abilities/units, I'd say that the game points most favorably to domination of the four, but a domination victory would be nearly impossible playing like that. I would think that you would need an ability to reduce maintenance cost, raise happiness with conquered cities, or have units that were proficient at taking cities early on.

    I suppose an alternative would be to go cultural, and use the B17's to go Monument's Men on other Civs that are refusing to give into your influence.

    As people point out, its ironic how lame America is, considering that in real life, we pretty much already have all of the VC's in hand. We're the last remaining Super Power, we dominate movies, music, and pop culture, we won the race to the Moon, and we control the UN.
     
  2. Rooftrellen

    Rooftrellen King

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    I think America is decent in game. Nothing to write home about. The extra sight can be pretty huge. It has saved units before, and I know I get at least a few extra ruins per game because of it. The problem is that it's hard to quantify the gains from it.

    The ability to buy tiles cheaply also goes well with wide. A tall civ that takes Tradition gets boarder pops like mad anyway. A wide civ has a harder time expanding boarders well. A few cheap tiles can cut off a good portion of land for you or let you settle some better city spots and grab important tiles. It's actually improved in BNW where even wide empires can't expand indefinitely, and settling the best city spots is still advisable. Again, however, it's hard to measure the gains.

    With the Minuteman, set up, declare, watch the AI try to attack, while you have the edge in vision to manuver and take fewer losses with a smaller army than normal. Once their attack crashes and burns, they'll try to run a few units away. Minutemen won't let them escape, then just go take their cities. Yeah, people will hate you, but if you're going for domination, you get to start early. After all, you're nearly to artillery, you're at the right time to start using frigates and privateers for coastal cities. You were going to start working toward domination in 30 turns anyway, so, since you have a nice UU that can let you start earlier, why not start earlier?

    The B-17 comes late, but it never goes out of style. If the game does go on that long (something like a quick huge game very well may), it's as close to an I win button as any UU in the game. For other victory types, it becomes almost impossible to invade America after they get Radar. Bombers make great defensive units. Bombers with evasion make godly defensive units.

    America is a pretty open civ. I agree domination is favored. They have 2 UU's after all. That almost always points to domination, and later UU's, even more so, but their ability to defend so well with a bomber UU with evasion and a musket UU that can move easily though the jungle can both say space, and, as you mention, culture isn't out of the question, either, especially since wide can do culture so well now.

    To say America is "winning" in real life is kind of silly though. Superpower is outdated, and if you consider the traditional definition, the US may no longer have the economic or political power to qualify as such. Movies are almost all based on much older themes (mostly Greek in origin), musical styles of today are from Africa, and American pop culture is mostly restricted to America (let me tell you, as a Colts fan, it tickles me no end that Tom Brady is "Gisele's husband"). Many people would say American movies aren't even that good compared to what many non-American studios are making nowadays (and I would be among them). Many countries today have the ability to go to the moon (we just know there's nothing there), have people on the ISS, and have much better funding for their space programs. And saying the US controls the UN is laughable; a major member, perhaps, but far far from the puppet master.

    So, in the end, maybe America in game is a lot like life, actually, a strong military entity that can go any direction pretty well, but at the same time, a jack of all trades but master of none, which isn't too bad at all for a civ that has existed for just over 200 years. Heck, it's pretty impressive we even make it into the game with such a short history.
     
  3. Trackmaster

    Trackmaster Warlord

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    I guess that another point I should make is that I don't like playing wide when I'm also going domination. I prefer to settle as few cities as possible with the knowledge that I'll be stealing the cities that I need. Although there is something that I've been wondering that I can't get a straight answer for that maybe you can help with. Does razing a city have any diplomatic negative effects that would be any different than puppeting or annexing the city? If it didn't than being wide might not be be as big of a deal because any city could theoretically be razed save a capital or CS. However, if razing does have other negative effects, then you obviously want to avoid settling cities and using the captured cities that you're stuck with.
     
  4. Rooftrellen

    Rooftrellen King

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    Wide isn't as good as it used to be, of course, and the slight buff to America's UA (due to ICS being dead) doesn't make up for the damage done to wide play for America as a civ.

    Of course, if you play on quick, America can get more of the land scouted to make get a better spot or two for going tall, as well...yay? I hadn't considered that, as I normally play marathon.

    As to your question about razing, I have heard that there is a bigger penalty with it, but I regard it as a rumor. I've not seen people being more upset when I raze cities compared to when I puppet them, be it from conquering or peace deals (thus, I have never seen an upset AI from razing cities acquired from peace deals.)

    It would seem to be somewhat illogical, given you can stop the razing of a city. If, as I sometimes do, I raze a city then stop when it gets smaller (more manageable unhappiness for big cities in good locations), would I take a diplo hit for razing it, even though I didn't? Would I not take a diplo hit for razing it, because I chose that option? Would I take a diplo hit while I was razing it but not after I stop? Any answer would seem strange to me, and that combined with never having noticed more diplo penalties for razing lead me to believe there is not one.

    Of course, the best way to erase a warmonger diplo penalty is to liberate cities. Some civs will never forget that you took one of Japan's 20 cities when he declared on you, not matter how much time passes, so if I take a little bigger hit for razing it, those guys weren't going to like me unless I liberate something anyway.

    Maybe someone else can give a more definitive answer, though. I can only speak from my experience, and I'm not a big warmonger, but I've never seen anyone give direct proof from the code (which, to me, is just more evidence of non-existence of higher warmonger penalties for razing.)
     
  5. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    America is an awesome civ. It suites my playstyle. I am a tilebuyingholic. Working those good tiles can really snow ball for you. Extra sight early not only nets you ruins but also saves you turns in getting a big picture of where you want to settle and where your enemies are. Really helps with worker stealing and harassing AIs. I would hate to play against a human America.
     
  6. JimBobV

    JimBobV Warlord

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    I don't understand what you have against late game warmongering. Personally, I think that late game warmongers have it easier due to better infrastructure. Not to mention how beastly B-17s are.
     
  7. 59saintdane

    59saintdane Warlord

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    By that point in the game you've usually won or lost. B17s can however be used to clean up the remaining civs, or to break a stalemate against a particularly strong AI opponent (if Ethiopia's in my game and on the other side of Pangaea, he can be very difficult to break--I can see how B17s could be useful in that scenario).
     
  8. Versaguy

    Versaguy Chieftain

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    The American UA is rather crap I say. The extra sight is good on scouting but other than that you don't need extra sight that much for fighting wars. The cheaper tile purchase does not help much either, since you can settle like 4 or 5 cities max and unless you settle near a city spammer AI like Rome or France you don't need to buy tiles all that much, just let's the border expand naturally.

    The minutemen is nice but if we go for domination most often we focus more on ranged units, just a few melee for protection. B17 is a great unit but if we are winning through domination at that point the B17 become insignificant.
     
  9. noonex

    noonex Chieftain

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    @Versaguy what difficulty level do you refer in "4 or 5 cities" ? If it is below Deity, then you should settle with America as much as land available (on large maps it really can be unlimited number). In Deity - it is big advantage if all cool tiles for those "4 or 5 cities" are easily available with purchase. America may be little slower at start, but it allows to build huge strong empire eventually in both vs AI and multiplayer games, especially on larger maps.
     
  10. Versaguy

    Versaguy Chieftain

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    I play deity for my favourite civs (Arabia and Aztex) and immortal for others (England, China, Rome, Mongol, Huns). Even on immortal I would be lucky to find 4 descent spot for cities since I dont like settle cities too close to one another.

    It depends on how people like to spend their golds on. I often spend golds more on important strategic City States and buy units for timing attack. I dont like to spend gold on tiles or buildings
     
  11. noonex

    noonex Chieftain

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    @since I dont like settle cities too close to one another.@

    Some civs are better for wide, some - for tall. America can not be considered "bad" only because you don't like to play wide.
     
  12. Versaguy

    Versaguy Chieftain

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    In addition to the general consensus that American civ 5 is rather not good as it should've been in real life, America's UA should be instead Austria's UA, since in the history the American often spent a lot of money to acquire states and territory (Louisiana, Alaska, while feeding rebel in Texas California etc.). Austria is the most underrated domination civ by far. Instant purchase of cities and all their military for only 500-1200 golds, I mean Common.
     
  13. Versaguy

    Versaguy Chieftain

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    I like to play wide as long as they are not a bunch of crappy cities :cool:. Therefore it would be better to steal good cities from AIs and the deity/immortal AI settles so fast you don't have time to expand too much anyway
     
  14. noonex

    noonex Chieftain

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    That is not instant - you must ally for 5 turns and smart enemies who understands consequences of that allias should make everything to break it :)

    "Close" is never the same as "crappy". 2 cities size 10 grow faster, easier to defend and produce more than 1 city size 20. And it is easier to manage happiness with smaller cities in long run as you can build multiple happiness buildings. Again - what you say is description of "tall", but others may enjoy "wide". Do not judje civs according to your playstyle only. It is like saying that Zulus are useless because they do not have research boost
     
  15. noonex

    noonex Chieftain

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  16. OnceAKing

    OnceAKing Warlord

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    The trouble with America was clear that it's the by far the youngest significant civ in the game. To make a true American civ would mean to postpone their UUs until the late game. I think the game designers tried to keep that problem down by giving them the Minuteman. Which is one of the strongest front line soldiers in the game. It basically establishes a tradition of America having the strongest Infantry unit for the next 300 years since all its unique attributes carry over to every upgrade. Plus it contributes to golden ages.

    I think the trouble with America is the lack of a specific victory condition. I think the OP is right. I think between WWII to about 1980 we were miles ahead of other civs in tech.

    I would argue we have already almost won a culture victory. Unfortunately we're in the late stage of that victory tyep when you have to war monger the last remaining civs (persia, babylon, and arabia) to override their culture. But I think Europe, Russia, and almost China have already become influenced.

    Ultimately a good American civ would be one that gave us an early buff in culture. I would argue the White House which replaces the palace. And let us keep the minute man. There should be a buff also in the way the ideology game is played for us.
     
  17. Versaguy

    Versaguy Chieftain

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    I wasn't talking about ally period. BTW 2 city size 10 is not as good as 1 city size 20. When you start a new city happiness drop 4 points already. No. of cities increase cost of culture, science, happiness, maintenance. Working with large population cities you can save times on barracks, armory and other type of buildings required for important national wonders such as heroic epic, iron works, national college, national epic, oxford etc. The only things good is your production total, but then again you need to spend production on each types of buildings anyway.

    My play style is domination, but the America civ is not good for other type of victory either.
     
  18. noonex

    noonex Chieftain

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    OK your logic is still "America is bad because it doesn't work the way I like to play". It is shame you can't see it. You even ignore "manage happiness in long run" and try to convince me that fewer cities is better ignoring obvious fact that more cities means more happiness resources.
    That should be enough to wrap this discussion.
     
  19. Versaguy

    Versaguy Chieftain

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    If you have more logics to counter-argue then just do so. Otherwise let's wrap it up then :)
     
  20. Rooftrellen

    Rooftrellen King

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    Germany and Brazil are younger, but you can claim their culture and history goes back further. Still, as countries, they are younger.

    I'm not sure the fact America doesn't aim for a specific VC is a problem. Poland doesn't either, and it's considered god tier.

    If you are suggesting they should be geared toward technology, I say...maybe. America is known for it's technology, but even at its height, we Sputnik was the first manmade satellite, Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space, and America was the first to land on the moon likely only because the USSR wasn't trying. CD's were developed by Dutch and Japanese companies. Watson and Crick "discovered" DNA nearly 100 years after Miescher (who was Swiss).

    I also think the influence seen of American culture (from Americans) is more nationalism than actual influence, but it may depend on how you look at what influential culture means in Civ. America hardly has a culture of it's own. Our writers are based in Greek themes using a form (novel) that is best traced back to Spain. Our music is in the tradition of Africa (from Rock to Pop to Metal to Country, most of today's music either developed from Blues), as if some of the most well known bands aren't English and singers Canadian or Australian. Art...well, let's not talk about contemporary art (sorry, throwing paint at canvas isn't art to me).

    In terms of Civ, I would claim these things show a weak American culture, as our culture has been influenced by so many others. Of course, talking about a 250 year old country, so any cultural traditions were already in place...

    But that is all to say that America probably should not have a strong push toward one type of victory, other than domination. Now, that being said, America's bonuses are a bit...shifty. It's hard to quantify exactly what you get from them.

    If you buy few tiles, maybe the cheaper tiles still made a difference. When I play as America, sometimes I settle a little differently because I know I CAN buy that lux tile in the 3rd ring if needed.

    Maybe the larger sight made a difference too. Without the +1 sight range, would you have known about that one spot you put your second city, when your settler was done? Maybe, but maybe not.

    How did the extra movement of minutemen though rough terrain save hammers, or maybe even let you take a city? Did it make a difference? How about the extra points toward a GA? Did that ever help?

    For a country that is fairly obsessive about the biggest buildings and malls, and even the biggest rocking chairs, foot stools, and pizzas (you need not go far in rural America to find towns that have claims to the "biggest [insert thing no one cares about being big]" where I'm from, a nearby town has the "biggest chair"), having bonuses that aren't smack-you-in-the-face obvious is a little funny.

    If America were mine to design, I'd probably give a straight up boost to attacking cities with the UA, replace courthouses with town halls that give extra culture and happiness while at war (on a per civ basis), and make the UU like the Musketeer, just more power behind it's attacks. War focused, obvious bonuses.

    America is not the land of subtlety, but the bonuses in Civ make it so. That would be my beef with the design. I don't think America is too weak (I'd certainly claim there are much worse civs out there), but needing to go in some other direction with the civ? Nah, it's oriented in the right way, domination focus, but not so much so that it's bad to go another way.

    The bonuses are just too amorphous to really show the way of America; bigger is better, Super size me.

    Now I miss my big cokes....
     

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