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An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Civilizations

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by CGG1066, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    . . . ok, I'm going to admit upfront, that I'm a huge econ nerd. Which is one reason why I'm disappointed in CivV (although the military innovations make up for it). I believe that the suggestions outlined in this post - mainly through a completely reinvigorated trade system - brings economic depth, enables natural diplomatic relationships, encourages cooperation, and invigorates civics - even communism.

    Now, I know there will be push back about this being too complicated because it’s outlined over several posts. But – please remember, a lot of the text is describing what goes on “behind the scenes”. I would argue that my economy is just as simple as the current system, but far more deep. It is easy to manage too: the choices the player has to make are (a) whether or not to trade and (b) what tax rate to impose. That’s it. Two simple choices. And for the low price of having to make just a handful big decisions you get incentives for diplomatic cooperation (to act as a foil against the 3rd grad bullying we have now), the ability to expand science and exploration without micromanaging units, and ways to leverage science into wealth.

    I’ll also throw in other suggestions that won’t complicate the game too much, but add a lot more depth; such has how to integrate civics into the economic system and expanded diplomatic options. However, these ideas are NOT necessary to the economic improvements I describe.

    There are several numbers thrown in as examples. I realize that there are balancing concerns which I haven't addressed; numbers are used to illustrate the concept.
     
  2. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    The Basics:

    I imagine an economy with 3 goods: food :)c5food:), production :)c5production:), and commerce :)c5trade:). As now, food is used to grow population and remains unchanged (i.e., :c5food: is a non-tradable).

    Production :)c5production:): Are used to produce GOVERNMENT buildings/units. (unchanged from how things are now) Government buildings are units and buildings like barracks, city walls, public schools, etc.

    Commerce :)c5trade:): Are used to produce CIVIL buildings. These are things like markets, granaries, and things you would expect a flourishing merchant class to build for themselves.​

    Cities now have two production slots: one for government buildings and one for the civil economy:

    Government slot: In this slot, you build units and government buildings. This is largely unchanged from the way Civ has always worked.

    Civil Slot: In the civil slot, your cities build civil buildings like markets, banks, factories, and all the things that the merchant classes provide for themselves. Generally, you do NOT get to choose what the build in this slot (unless you adopt a communism/planned economy civic).​

    Some buildings are hard calls - are temples government buildings or civil (especially in a game without religion)? When I talk about civil buildings, I am more concerned with buildings that increase :c5food:/:c5production:/:c5trade:. Knowing that the AI has to handle this in a way that prevents it from building a bunch of "useless" buildings, lets just say that it builds the building that increases the combined yield of these resources the most. Science/Cultural buildings should go in the government camp, because they cannot be evaluated with this criteria; or maybe be able to built in both, after all the :c5food:/:c5production:/:c5trade: buildings are completed, the civil slot begins building science and culture buildings which haven't already been built in the government slot. (Although I would be happy to tinker with this if the AI can choose buildings in a way that doesn't needlessly frustrate players).
     
  3. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    Taxes:

    So where does money :)c5gold:) come from? Like prior civs, you get to choose a tax level. If you you have a tax rate of 10%, 10% of your :c5food:, :c5production:, and :c5trade: is converted to :c5gold:. In addition, taxes cause unhappiness :c5unhappy: (call this a dead weight loss), which could also affect future production if there are more unhappy citizens (this is not a change from the current system). I'm also in favor of some of the ideas in the “anarchy bucket” thread, which dovetail nicely with this idea.

    You can also get :c5gold: from tariffs, described below.
     
  4. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    Trade:

    Trade occurs automatically between two civs with an established trade route (connected roads, harbor route, river), if they are open to trade and not at war. Each civ must select a trade civic which impacts how much trade is conducted: closed to trade (isolationistic), protective of trade (mercantile), or completely open to trade (open economy).

    Trade creates several benefits, as follows:

    Generates commerce :c5trade:: The goal here is to, even in the absence of luxury resources, to allow all civs an incentive to trade. Each trading partner gets a resource bonus which is distributed to the population, meaning both parties build buildings faster and get more money (through a larger tax base).

    The factors in this calculation would distance and tariffs. However, tariffs will generate :c5gold: for the protecting civ. Distance will become less of factor as transportation technologies are researched.

    Click here for a numerical example (MATH WARNING!):

    Spoiler :
    In a world with two goods, you can generate a relative price of each and calculate the gains of trade, and determine the gains of trade between them, as described by the Heckscher-Ohlin model See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckscher–Ohlin_model. The below example does not use the math for this model - there is too much that needs to be made up out of this air including Cobb-Douglass production functions, technology factors, production possibility frontiers (which actually could be derived quite easily from available workable tiles, I just suppose that running this would be resource intensive, and even if it weren't, I'm not going to really go through it all here). Chances are, you probably don't recognize any of those concepts, and you don't need to. What I have in mind is much simpler, but would be a good analog for these concepts in a game world, with positive game play effects.

    Imagine Civ A (the player) has a total population of 10 and produces 60 :c5production: and 40 :c5trade: (commerce). Civ B has a total population of 20 and produces 80 :c5production: and 100 :c5trade:.

    This means that in Civ A, the relative price of each good is 3:c5production:/2:c5trade: and Civ B has a relative price of 4:c5production:/5:c5trade:. We could set the price anywhere between these two prices - but let's split the difference (at chieften level, the price can favor the player, at immortal, it can favor the AI players) and say that trade occurs at a price of 11.5:c5production:/10:c5trade: (averaging the two relative prices: 15/10 + 8/10 = (23/10)/2).

    Now, Civ A and Civ B would "purchase" enough of the other good the other good so that its :c5production:/:c5trade: equals the global ratio of 140:c5production:/140:c5trade: (in this example, the global :c5production:/:c5trade: ratio happens to be equal, which does not have to be the case). This means that Civ A needs an additional 20:c5trade: and Civ B needs to purchase an additional 20 :c5production:.

    As an abstraction, we don't actually execute the trade because players would just get mad that they're losing something (what's the point in specializing in :c5production: if you just trade it away?). However, we give each Civ bonus equal to what the gains of trade would be. Here, since Civ A would purchase 20 :c5trade: from Civ B, Civ B gets of 23 :c5production: (based on the relative price) -16 (because this is the amount of :c5production: given up to produce 20 :c5trade:) = a total bonus of 7 :c5production:.

    This may not seem like much - but remember that a player has the opportunity to trade with multiple civs at once, which should add up. (A more complicated multi-party calculation could be done, or - for simplicity's sake, you could just calculate a trade with a specific civ as if you were only trading with that civ, adding the gains each time. Although unrealistic, I'd probably prefer this approach for game-play reasons. If I had more time - I'd like to see those numbers though.)

    Homework: What bonus would CivA receive?

    The bonuses are then pro-rated by population and distributed to the cities appropriately.

    Minor tweaks to this formula can account for distance and tariffs. For example, once you know how much each Civ needs to buy, you can just reduce the amount of trade ( and the amount of the bonus by 10% for each movement point spent in transit.

    For tariffs, you just make the price more expensive (multiply by 1+tariff rate), reducing how much bought, and converting the amount traded * tariff rate to gold).



    The bonus is then distributed pro-rata to your civs cities, and thus increases their production of civil goods (as well as tax revenue, of course).

    The idea here is that there is always a gain to trade for both players, it is a positive sum transaction. Of course, with both players going towards victory, the civ that gains the most gets farther ahead, so in that sense, it can be looked at as zero sum. Additionally, this makes your economy a little less predictable - but in a non-random way. These values are likely to change from turn to turn (though not too much) based on the production values of each good in each Civ. This brings a dynamic element of economic management to the game that can force you to keep re-evaluating your strategy. I believe this is extremely positive for game-play, though I recognize that it may need tweaking if things become too volatile.

    Luxury goods :c5happy:: Producing luxuries is more like strategic resources in that a tile will yield a small number. Multiple luxuries work to increase happiness, but with decreasing marginal effectiveness (the first one makes 3 people happy, the second makes 2 people happy, the third makes 1 person happy, and additional sources have no effect on happiness). When you trade, a luxury resource exchanges 10 commerce for each person it makes happy. Your civ will automatically sell a luxury to the highest bidder.

    NOTE (1/18): I've been rethinking this just a little bit - perhaps a system that one can indicate how much commerce per happiness point they want to purchase, which is then aggregated into a market of connected countries. I haven't thought through the execution of this, but it may be worth considering.

    Click for example:

    Spoiler :
    I produce 4 units of silk and trade with a civ that has 0. I keep my first silk, and trade my second one to the partner (and I get 30 :c5trade:. This would have only made 2 people happy if I kept it), I keep my third silk (it makes 2 people happy, though I would have gotten 20 :c5trade: for it - ties go to the producing country). I’ll trade my last one, because the other civ will only give me 20 commerce for it (as it will be his second silk), and it would only make one of my citizens happy.


    Tariffs also effect luxury trades, so that they generate money to the treasury, but make it so that other civs outbid you for resources, so you don't get as big as a bonus.

    (Strategic resources are still traded though diplomacy, with all the childishness which is Civ negotiations)

    Science :c5science:: This is my suggestion for tech diffusion: open economies will increase production of techs already acquired by one civ by 10%. The civ that already has the technology gets a commerce bonus equal to the number of beakers created by the trade (i.e., 10% of the total cost of the technology).

    This includes military technologies, until the development of military science. Then, there is no sharing of military technologies.

    Exploration: Trading will slowly automatically reveal tiles around and owned by your partner – first following routes to their cities, and then areas surrounding them. This sort of brings back the ability “trade world maps” in a way that forces each side to provide value for it (something the AI couldn’t do, so they removed it.) This means you’re not going to be stuck in the 1960’s with unrevealed parts of the map!​
     
  5. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    Diplomacy:

    Trade will also benefit diplomatic relations, because it allows both parties to generate commerce faster. I envision this totally replacing paying bribes – err – gold to city states (see below for proposed mechanic). The volatility of trade (at as an extension, money) also means that you'll probably have to shift trade arrangements quite frequently, as the deterioration can cause deficits/unhappiness. This can cause a negative diplomatic impact as you change your strategies, or even adjust your production so that the trade relationship they have with you does not yield as much as it did. This should make diplomacy interesting.

    City States :c5citystate:: As now, city state relationships are based on influence points. Each resource bonus created for the city state through trade translates into one influence point. After some time, you will create friendships/alliances with them after a certain number of influence points are built up (assuming you haven't lost points by trespassing a lot or declared war). As now, these points degrade from turn to turn at a set rate. This means that a CS would always friend/ally with their most valuable trading partner, but still retain a value for past trades. Another civ might happen to be a better partner for a particular turn, but if I have influence points stored up, the CS won't change it's ally immediately.

    The benefits here are numerous: (A) Prevents the end of the game buy up of CSs for votes. (B) AIs also end up with CS allies a lot more often, which would lead to a more balanced game. (Remember that distance is an input into the trade formula - this prevents the same civ from getting every CS.)

    Also, missions for influence points are retained, so that it is possible to overcome distance if you really make it a priority.​

    Trade Agreements: You can negotiate with a Civ to give them better access to your markets, and increase relations. Other Civs might get jealous, however, and demand equal treatment (at the risk of degrading relationships with them). For example, if you generally impose tariffs, you can sign a "free trade agreement" (FTA) with a Civ A, who would appreciate it. However Civ's B, C, and D would be upset that they aren't getting most favored nation trading status.

    Conversely, you can choose to embargo another Civ, or - if you generally are a free-trader - impose tariffs on a certain C. The other Civ might view an embargo as close to a declaration of war - and be fairly upset about tariffs not applied to other civs. (I think this penalty would be much higher than the situation presented if you were trading with everybody, and then chose not to trade with nobody).

    You could even get more complicated if you want – with neutral trading partners protesting blockades (if you block all the trading routes); there are several other things you could do, but the main point here is to build the framework, which you can see already.
     
  6. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    Civics/Policies:

    One of the problems with civics was that liberal democracy was always superior. The duel-building concept changes this. Here's a few ideas for civics (in addition to trade and economic civics, there should also be government ones; but I will leave them out of this thread).

    Trade Civics (already explained above):
    - Isolationalism
    - Merchentileism
    - Free Trade

    Economic Civics:

    - Communism/Planned Economy: This civic allows the player to (a) choose which buildings to build in the civil slot, (b) substitute commerce for production and vice versa, and (c) allocate :c5production: or :c5trade: to one slot or the other. This comes with say a 20% reduction in hammers/commerce/food.
    This can be very powerful for pumping out buildings and units to come from behind. Let’s say a city produced 100 :c5trade: and 100 :c5production:, and the owner wants to build a factory. The penalty means that he has 80 of each, but he can choose to allocate both to the factory and build it contributing 160 per turn!

    This also means a 20% reduction in tax-base. If the civ has enough money to take the hit, then we have Bellamy’s socialistic utopia. If not, the player might have to raise taxes, and adjust for the additional unhappiness by adopting a police state and we’ve started down Hayek’s road to serfdom. Either is possible.

    The drawback is, over time, you’re not growing as fast. But if you plan it right, the bonuses you get from your buildings will make up for the 20% loss in production, and you can liberalize after these benefits are exhausted. (The Chinese model ??? . . . ). If you don’t time it right, you’ll fall behind and run your economy into the ground (the USSR model).

    - Feudalism: city and unit maintenance is paid with :c5production:/:c5trade:/:c5food:, meaning that it is pre-tax, effectively lowering these costs.

    - Guilds/Chartered Monopoly: This is the typical crony-capitalism economic civic, where the state creates/acquiesces to a system where each industry runs their own show (the obvious example would be medieval guilds, but also think English monopolies in the 1600s [discussed in Smith's The Wealth of Nations], the robber-barons at the turn of the century, or Russia today; all these systems have a few companies wielding both monopoly and political power), and is good for resource-rich civs. Resource tiles yield 300% :c5trade: when worked. Non-resource tiles yield -25% :c5trade:.

    - Free Market: Honestly, I've always had this in mind for the "base case" described throughout this thread.
     
  7. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    some pictures and diagrams would be nice
    i haven't comprehended it from the first reading :blush:
    too much info

    as for trade, some buildings could produce resources by attaching citizens to them (granary - ceramics, armory - weapons, monastery - books) that could be demanded by other buildings/units and be objects of trade
     
  8. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Fantastic ideas! It's really hard to pick holes in them (and that's only partly due to the length ;)).

    I'm a great fan of economic improvements to the game, and this proposed system would seem a great one.

    I'd be curious to know whether you think quantifiable resources could be worked into this system (that is, to give an example, instead of a tile of iron giving 1 iron resource, it would give, say, 1000 iron per turn). Quantifiable resources, IMO, would be a great economic enhancement to the game.

    Also, you might be interested at taking a peek at this thread. I thought it was too complicated, but you might find it interesting. :)
     
  9. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    My initial reaction about quantifiable resources is that it would push the game even further than the RTS path, which I don't like, but I haven't given it much thought. Plus, economies generally use resources immediately after harvesting them (other wise the price would crash). The US does have strategic oil and helium reserves, but those are so small compared to the market that the idea isn't worth incorporating in CivV.
     
  10. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    OK - I'll probably go back and put those in when I have time, though I tried to break it up as much as possible.

    Honestly, I would like to avoid adding building produced-resources etc. - as that could get complicated and requires some MM. Might be an idea to play with later, but certainly not central.
     
  11. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    Yeah - that's a really interesting thread. I'm motivated by many of the same concerns than Wimsey, but I agree his model is way too complicated. I've really tried to keep things simple, and I think they are once you embrace the 1 city/2 building slots and the commerce-as-civic-building-input. The rest of my rather long text mainly describes implementation/game play enhancements which are the result of it.
     
  12. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I don't particularly see why it would lead the game down an RTS path. Each turn you simply use up a certain amount of resources. Now I don't think this system would be entirely realistic, but I do think it would be more realistic if resources were finite and every action that involved them actually deducted from the total in existence.
     
  13. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    Well - are we talking luxuries, strategic resources, or both? Either way (but especially for SRs) - I would be concerned that finite resources would encourage hording. And from a management perspective, I just want to know my tanks has a source of oil from turn to turn, not worry about oil inventories, coal inventories, iron inventories . . . (You'd also have to question how well the AI would handle this - will it tend to make mistakes that players could exploit). I actually like the current system, it seems natural from a micro level, so I don't think it needs to be changed. Not completely against it though - I do see your reasons behind the idea. I just don't think this is part of CivV that is broken.

    btw, Camikaze - any ideas on civics/social policies. Based on your quote, I was curious what your opinion would be to the proposed communism mechanic.
     
  14. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    It could be hard from a management perspective, but it could be simplified too. You'd just get a number like you do currently, but another number would be taken away from that each turn. Add another number that tells you how long your resource will last at the current rate of usage, and it's a pretty easy system to use. Yet it would allow for more economic considerations to be made; do I use this resource now to build a particular building, when I might need it later for more units?

    It sounds a good mechanic (although I'm not sure that it needs 'communism' attached to it). I would think it interesting if there were degrees between this civic and the normal system, whereby you can gain an increasing degree of control over the civil production queue. That is, at one end of the spectrum, you'd have no control over what was built. At the other end, you'd have entire control. And in between you'd have varying degrees of control; you choose what you want, but there is only a certain chance that it will be built.
     
  15. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    I had thought about that as well - the problem I see is that players really don't want things based on a random seed, as it makes them upset when they don't get what they want. This is why they took out random events as well as the stupid senate from CivI (Senate overrides my nuclear launch!!! PSSSH!)
     
  16. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    I've finally updated the trade post with a numerical example which should be rather straight forward.
     
  17. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Yes, that is definitely a huge consideration in all ideas & suggestions involving chance. I certainly see what you're saying. Perhaps instead of having a rather crude system such a 'chance' determining what control you have over what is built, you could have control of a certain % of production. So, the civil queue could potentially have two builds within it. For example, if you had 50% control, you could build, say, a factory, and the other 50% of production for that queue could either contribute to speeding up the production of that factory, or it could go towards something else entirely.

    Now, there would be problems with this in terms of balance between different levels of control; only being able to build at half speed because you only have half control would not be an optimal strategy. So you'd need to add in a few extra incentives for split control. But at least it's a less clumsy way of doing it.
     
  18. Vordeo

    Vordeo King

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    I like the ideas in general, though I'd still say that Isolationism still seems a bit weak in comparison. That said, historically isolationists have tended to lag behind, so I'm fine with that. I do think that economics should play a bigger role in civ politics, and certainly a much bigger role in relationships with city states.

    I will just say that alot of the trade calculations needs to be kinda behind the scenes and automatic (which is I think what you have in mind) because too much math won't be good for the game. I'd like a system where your economic advisor (or someone) would be able to give you a preview of how much you'd profit if you started a trade relationship with, say, Germany at different rates.

    Also, as a fellow econ geek, I liked the read!

    However, I'm a bit iffy on the idea of two production slots. I like the idea of the merchant class making stuff for themselves, but giving cities the ability to make say, 2 buildings at the same time would both require a lot of changing and would change the game dramatically. If you really want the idea of merchants making their own stuff in there, how about a system wherein each city has a commerce gauge, and once a certain number of trade is brought in the city gets a bonus (like say, a free bank/market). It'd also remove the act that you'd essentially be telling citizens what to do with their money.
     
  19. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    True - like I said - there need to be some balancing considerations. I actually don't think isolationalism will be the the top choice ever, but something you're forced into - like when you are desperate to avoid unhappiness, so you keep your luxuries at home; or even you want to trade, but nobody likes you (I see this happening at higher levels). Also - considering that even though trade is a positive sum-game, going for victory is not. (Think about research agreements, nobody wants to sign one with the guy out ahead, even if 750 is a good deal for a tech). Of course, the AI has to actually use the advantages that you give it, which isn't really the case. I suspect people in multi-player would use isolationistism more often - especially to guard techs and prevent other players from advancing. (Which is interesting - I've applied a mainly game-play analysis, but arguably one reason why trade hasn't been free were exactly these types of considerations); The idea is that trade will sort of operate as a prisoner's dilemma, although with a variable payoff structure - isolationalism would be a way to say "time out, I'm not paying your tariffs so you can buy tanks to invade me, it's a losing game". Obviously, testing would need to be done on whether such interesting consequences actually result.

    YES! This would be essential. Some type of tulip that says "you will gain X from this trade agreement, and they would gain Y" for each trade civic.

    :goodjob:

    Yeah - I was really reluctant to make this suggestion, given that it really just adds what appears to be an unnecessary level to production (the distinction could very well seem arbitrary to many). I ultimately did it because (a) if you're going to have two goods, you need to make each good useful for something, (b) it really opens up the options for economic civics (note, the government does NOT get to control this slot unless a "communism" civic is adopted).

    Your idea of some sort of commerce gauge that gives you free buildings is worth considering. It depends how far you take it, but mechanically - it would seem like it operates as a de facto second slot (assuming there is some order for the "free civil" buildings you get).

    EDIT: ARGH! I see that I didn't even state that you don't get to choose what is built in the civil slot! (It has to be inferred from how I described communism. I have added this to the basic description, as it is a key part!
     
  20. CGG1066

    CGG1066 Minister of Finance

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    Added: City state :c5citystate: mechanic to diplomacy section.

    Also made readability edits improving formating consistency and using symbols (overusing?). Took out discussion on isolationalism at the end of the "Trade" section as that is better left for the comments, and is already covered in recent back and forth with Vordeo.
     

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