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Arabia post Egyptian introduction

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall: Europe' started by Force44, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Force44

    Force44 Chieftain

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    A lot of the discussion in the thread about a new Egyptian civilization is about Arabia.

    I'm starting a new thread so I can contribute my two cents without derailing the topic further.

    ~​

    In my opinion Arabia is a blanket civ. A playable entity that represents a multitude of Muslim entities from the past that not rarely were at odds with one another.

    With the introduction of new playable muslim civilizations the original characteristics and UHV's are up for reimagination.

    ~​

    Things I really liked about the Original Arabian civilization.

    1. The attempt to forcefully convert Europe to Islam (hence the original UP of spreading islam to a city upon conquest)
    2. The crusades. Stomping a huge stack of hostile units into the ground and gaining lots of Great General points was fun, albeit a bit distracting.

    Things I didn't care so much about.

    1. Empire building. Although I liked it how the ai sprawls over the map I don't really care too much about copying that behaviour myself. The conquest UHV's felt arbitrary.
    (I understand they represent the extent of influence of a certain dynasties, I don't identify too much with them. I am leaning towards the opinion that in an ideal world a mod about the middle ages should be more about familial ties than countries, as nationalism was not yet an invented concept back then, but I guess there are certain limitations to achievable concepts with Civ4 as a modding platform.)
    2. The religious bonus.
    Faster growth is nice (even if you receive most of it when you don't really need it anymore) but the bonus to military production is negligable. Arabia has relatively poor production and rich commerce. Imho hiring mercs is way more efficient than building the units yourself (even with a bonus to production)

    Things I felt were missing.

    1. The projection of Arabic power during the middle ages. (the completion of the two conquest UHV's are but a pale imitation of what the muslim clans achieved/threatened to achieve)
    2. Arabic intellectual superiority over medieval Christian Europe.
    3. The Mongol conquests. (Baghdad is not on the map, but an event to narrate about the fall of Baghdad, accompanied by some refugees/free citizens/free specialists in exchange for money and/or faith would have been nice to accompany the few Mongol units I faced)

    ~

    I understand to historically simulate the height of the Muslim Power there are only thirty turns ingame.
    Personally I'd prefer to give them more time (than they had in history) to project their power over setting a more modest goal.
    (I derive a certain sense of satisfaction outperforming history. But I am well aware others like to try to replay history more.)
    Also it seems like a nice opportunity to grant Arabia some (perhaps restricted to early play) unconventional abilities. Paradropping units (or a variant thereof) comes to mind. (paradropping in contrast to increased movement needs not run into engine limitations (it is already implemented for the AI in vanilla Civ4))

    ~

    I'm looking forward to learning what others liked about the Original Arabia and what they'd like to see in the post Egyptian introduction one.
     
  2. The Turk

    The Turk Chieftain

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    Not wanting to spend to much time debunking your post, but suffice it to say most of you ideas are a mix of bad history and bad gameplay. Arabia represents the Rashidun Caliphs, the Umayyads, the Abbasids. In total a time period between 632 - ~1000, before an Egyptian civilization spawns.

    Everything after that is "alt-history" for the Arabs, and is supposed to represent a "what if" scenario if the Abbasids succeeded in their "restoration", driving back the Fatimids and holding onto Syria.

    That is what the "Arabs" are. Because in truth, after this period, politically speaking, Turks dominated. Starting with the Tulunid governors in Egypt (and following into the Ikhshidid governors), the region was dominated by Turks & other non-Arab foreigners.
     
  3. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    The first 2 are planned with the updates.
    Already have quite a few posts about it in the other thread.

    I like the 3rd one, a couple additional flavor events always sound good!
     
  4. Force44

    Force44 Chieftain

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    I understand you want to protect the mod from ideas you deem bad. But to do so you have to elaborate a bit more than just stating something is unhistoric and/or bad gameplay.

    For starters, find a point of common understanding.

    In this specific case you state the Arabian civilization is a representation of the Rashidun Caliphs, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Tulunids, Turks and other non-Arab foreigners. The representation of all these different entities is what makes Arabia a blanket civilization.

    Also an idea is only bad if it takes away more desirable than undesirable. And since this is not your mod that decision isn't up to you.

    On a civil note, if you want to bait people by doing your arguing for you by giving insulting statements, in this case: "Not wanting to spend to much time debunking your post, but suffice to say most of you ideas are a mix of bad history and bad gameplay." you succeeded this time. I won't do it again for you in the future. It is perfectly fine to state that you think my idea lacks historical background and will make the game less fun to play but you can do that in a less offensive way. For instance: "I don't think your idea does history justice because A and I don't think that is a good idea gameplaywise because what I'd like to see when playing the game is B and that is made possible by B'. Your idea prevents B' from occuring as often as I'd like."

    Finally I stated that this thread was to discuss Arabian gameplay in the upcoming version that would also entail Egypt. Although after giving it another look one might misinterpret the title into those turns of the game of Arabian gameplay that occur after the Egyptian spawn. I'm still interested in what you'd like to see and why you'd like to see what you'd like to see for Arabian gameplay in the upcoming version that also entails Egypt.
     
    Publicola likes this.
  5. Swarbs

    Swarbs Chieftain

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    I think his argument is more that the Arabs should only represent the Rashiduns, Umayyads, Abbasids and other Arabic tribes, not the Turkic tribes which began to dominate after the spread of the Seljuks. Although not including the Aghlabids and some other Arabs for some reason.

    In general, a lot of the 'projection of Arabic power' that you mention was actually Turkic in origin - the Tulunids were Turkic, the Fatamids were Berber, and the Ayyubids were originally Kurdish, so it isn't really historical to lump them all under Arabs. That's why I think we are leaning towards a conquest UHV which focuses on the conquests of the Abbasids and possibly Aghlabids, followed by a tech goal based on the UHV and finally the ahistoric 'stretch' UHV which focuses on establishing some form of dominance over the Turkic and Berber Muslims, rather than having to be a blanket conquest.

    Might as well save your breath before he accuses you of being a BS merchant... :mischief:
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
    The Turk likes this.
  6. The Turk

    The Turk Chieftain

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    Exactly my point. And the Aghlabids don't last that long anyway in the grand scheme of dynasties. But even the Aghlabids relied on Berber and Saqaliba for their military power. The Arab 'ajnad of old were no longer sufficient (for a variety of reasons).


    Thats reserved for you :);)
     
  7. Force44

    Force44 Chieftain

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    A (partial) argument for inclusion of non Arabic tribes into the Arabic civilization.

    extremely short version:It is more fun for more people then omitting them altogether.

    Fair enough. I consider any knowledge I have about Arabic civilization or Projection of Arabic power contingencinial so when a historical argument like this one is given I can only concur and thank you for eluminating me a bit more on how medieval islamic entities projected their power. So, :thanx:.

    I'd like to elaborate a bit more on where I'm coming from when arguing for inclusion of Turkic, Berber and Kurdish tribes into an Arabian (blanket) civilization.

    elaboration under spoiler for readability sake
    Spoiler :

    A couple of years back I made the Pelgrimage to Santiago the Compostella. I did it the authentic/mediƫval way so I ended up covering a distance between 3700 and 3800 kilometers by foot (the amount I walked was probably over 4000 km because I spent a significant amount of time and space recovering my footpath). For me the majority of this journey went through France so I spent about 2000 km trotting trough france, enjoying the sites. Knowing this part beforehand I broadened my knowlegde of France history and culture a bit beforehand by watching courses about French history and culture to increase the enjoyment my then future travails.

    When walking through France one of the things I noted was how often was referred to Arabic/muslim occupation and battles by local guides, information boards and monuments. Now I don't recall the exact phrasing, but it was never as subtle as to refer to the armies as being Berber or Turkic. Now from a historical perspective an argument can be made that the conquestial endeavours of these tribes were not part of the Arabic conquests, but there is common perception that they are. This common perception shared amongst myself and some people in France I spoke to about this topic got fed by the university of Yale (at least in my case) and the French gouvernment. That is a bit of a bummer for any exchange of ideas because I consider myself to be neither qualified nor comptetent to explain what either a Yale-Professor or the French gouvernment means. Moi Francais est juste pas que bon. (My French is just not that good)

    Fun in gameplay comes from either from learning new stuff or from seeing preexisting ideas confirmed or from perceiving faulty ideas.
    The inclusion of these non arabic tribes into an arabic civilization gives the opportunity for a lot of fun derived from the mod.

    For players like me, who know next to nothing about (al least some of) these tribes, there is no way of distinguishing between the acquirement of false or true knowledge. At the moment of playing both are equally fun. Adding objectivity enhancing subtleties does not increase fun for alike people. It arguably even makes the game objectively worse. (A game striving to be a teaching tool is partially at odds with a game striving to be a game. And there is only so much time and effort a developer can put into a game.) It happened to when I played a game or some guy on the internet told me are no valid arguments irl (mild:sarcasm:) unless of course he wrote it on Wikipedia. The sad thing about this is that it compels factchecking upon accruement of knowledge through a game. The happy coincidence is it releases the developer from an obligation to make a game within the confines of factual history.
    (learning new stuff)

    Also for me it would be a source of enjoyment to see my (arguably misguided) perceptions align with gameplay.
    (see preexisting ideas confirmed)

    Seeing stuff done wrong in a game makes for a challenge to do it right when playing the game (a game within a game).
    Some people enjoy making fun out of obvious mistakes. (eg point out how bad something is, or underline the part that is good about a game by providing contrast through a bad part)
    (a way to have fun through mistakes, athough personally I would be a bit hesitant to council Absinthred to steer the mod more into this direction)
    summary/conclusion: Not including non-arabic tribes into the arabian civilization forfeits a lot of potential fun. There might be enough historically objective correct fun to be had but I'd like to argue in this case that this mod is about mediƫval Europe, and the perception of Arabia during the middle ages in Europe was far from historically objective. (so far I've only argued the Europe/French part of the argument but I'll cut short supporting the argument for including non-Arabic tribes into the Arabic civiliaztion for now for brevity sake)

    ~​

    A different thing I'd like to point out against historical correct empires is that the strong part of the civ4 engine for simulating history is the geographical component. The political component (diplomacy) is hardly a boon to historicity.

    (And that it does even that is a small miracle in my opinion as the map is a flat projection of a curved plain and the engine uses chess physics in stead of the established euclidean geometry for flat plains (in civ4 moving diagonally is no different from moving orthogonally so V4] = 4))

    So focussing on the people that ruled an area (politics) in stead of focussing on the people that were ruled in an area (geography) is a recipe for future difficulties as it forfeits a strength of the civ4-engine and highlights a weak point.
     
  8. Swarbs

    Swarbs Chieftain

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    If you are talking about the invasion of Spain and France then yes that was done under the direction of the Umayyad Caliphate which was Arab in origin. So any French and Spanish battle sites would involve the Arabic conquests But the concern there is that:

    A. That is already represented by the Caliphate of Cordoba
    B. There isn't really enough time in game to represent the Arabic campaigns into France without what I would term 'spoofy' game mechanics like paradropping

    I agree it would be good to reflect all the Umayyad conquests if we could, but that is a limit of the game engine - same as how we can't represent the Bellisarius expedition, the Angevin Empire and other major conquests / territorial acquisitions in their historical time frame
     
  9. Force44

    Force44 Chieftain

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    I probably agree.

    But I would like the omission of projection of Arabic power (in fact any idea) to be a positive choice.
    A choise to omit because you prefer omission over inclusion.
    Not a negative choice.
    A choice to omit because inclusion can not be done in a satisfactory manner.

    In that light I think it is fruitfull to come up with ideas to make the projection of power possible and then choose not to implement them because not including them would make for even better gameplay.

    An other option would be to provide the arabic civ with a conquerer like event. eg upon researching a certain tech, acquiring a set amount of espionage points/faith points or building a certain building or certain amount of buildings.

    Stretcheng history a bit is also a viable option in my opinion, letting the invasion of France (Spain is not around yet) be represented by Cordoba falls into that category. It would be nice though if the Cordoban AI would prove to be more up to that challenge. In my games sofar I have seen no Cordoban army threatenting the French core provinces.
     
  10. Swarbs

    Swarbs Chieftain

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    Well if we are moving to 3 years per turn then that does give some more scope for Cordoba to achieve some Islamic conquests in Europe, particularly if we allow them to move outside the Umayyad timescale and use the Spanish spawn of 910AD as an end point.

    Although in order to make it a positive choice, imo, it would need to be integrated into other UHVs rather than replacing an existing Cordoban UHV. As such, I would say we could consider the following change to the 3rd Cordoban UHV, making it a dual stage one:

    Make sure Islam is present in every city in the Iberian peninsula, Provence and Aquitaine in 910AD and 1492AD

    Therefore at the start of the game you have around 66 turns from spawn to conquer six cities: Portucale, Pamplona, Barcino, Bordeaux, Toulouse / Narbo and Aix / Massilia and spread Islam to them. As they are indie cities, conquest will be necessary IIRC.

    I think that is doable, particularly as the process will give you access to Deer, Clam and Dye which will support the 1st UHV of making Cordoba the largest city in the world.

    The issues I see with this are:

    1. Stability - hopefully there will be changes to civics (ideally Theocracy) to reduce the stability penalty for non state religions, otherwise it will be really hard for Cordoba to conquer so many Catholic cities and stay stable
    2. Burgundy's spawn in 843 increases time pressure to capture Massilia / Aix
    3. Spreading Islam into Francia creates the risk that France and Burgundy will switch to Islam
    4. Do we want to expand the 1492 part of the goal to include Provence and Aquitaine?
    5. We might need a mechanism to flip Pamplona and the French cities away from human controlled Cordoba at 910AD, else they will be too powerful against the small Spain
     
  11. AbsintheRed

    AbsintheRed Chieftain

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    I don't think I want to include those territores in the Cordoban UHVs.
    The date for them would be before 750 with the Umayyad conquests, before the separate Emirate of Cordoba emerged in 756.
    No matter how we represent Cordoba (whether we keep it at 711 or move it the 756, depending on how is Arabia handled), it doesn't seem like a good goal for them.
     
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