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Aristocracy Economics (and some republic)

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fall from Heaven' started by Fafnir13, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    I expect you have. :hmm:

    You have just demonstrated the futility in taking you seriously.

    Have fun talking to yourself :D
     
  2. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

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    Your game was a bad example so if you're unwilling to show how a trade economy could make a difference during the relevent part of a game, its probably best you cut your losses and withdraw now.
     
  3. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    It's true that Aristocracy has it's uses. In fact in some situations it can be incredibly powerful, fo example I once had a Malakim game where I was making a loaf of bread and a sack of gold from just about every tile I worked, due to flood plains and the financial trait. However, there are certain negative sides to the civic that I tend to think balance it against the other Government civics.

    Firstly, I think it's fair to say that to make the most out of Aristocracy, you must use Agrarianism. Not using Agrarianism means that you will have, overall, quite significantly less food, with farms not actually providing an increase in food until you reach Sanitation. If you're the sort who likes to rush Code of Laws to get Aristocracy then this will be a problem for you. Afterall, you will not have had the time to reserach into bronzeworking or construction, techs needed to hit Sanitation. Not to mention that fact that you are at the stage of the game where you will want to be getting new cities on their feet as soon as possible. Therefore, Agrarianism.

    Now this isn't neccessarilly a problem, but you have to consider that to run both Aristocracy and Agrarianism you're starting to build up some quite nasty opportunity costs. After all you're having to fill an extra civic group just to qualify running Aristocracy. Furthermore, running Aristocracy kind of limits the use of Agrarianism (a very powerful civic in its own right), as it essentially serves only to fight the damage Aristocracy is causing. This is a huge opportunity cost, as Agrarianism on its own can lend itself to very nice city sizes and lots of specialists.

    But perhaps the killer, and why this problem is in fact a problem, is that both Aristocracy and Agrarianism are extremely painful to leave. Dropping Aristo hits your commerce hard, and chances are that you don't have much of a specialist or cottage economy running because you have farmed every farmable tile, and are not quite making enough food to run many specialists. Leaving Agrarianism obviously starves your population, and if you leave agrarianism you are probably going to need to leave Aristocracy too if you like your cities above 10 population. My point is that Agristocracy is for life, and this is bad. Some very competitive civics start to come into the picture in the later game. For government you get Republic, and a personal Favourite of mine, Theocracy, and in the Economy grouping you get Foreign Trade, which I know from experience can be really nice. Not to mention that fact that at this stage in the game, especially if you play Order, OO, or AV (big city religions) you are probably wanting as much food as possible, which is difficult while running Aristo.

    Finally, people often seem to overlook GodKing and City States. These are both readilly available civics, that are themselves hugely powerful all throughout the game. Very often I've stayed in Godking for the entire game (sometimes moving my capital to a holy city). This is immensely powerful when combined with the Bazaar of Mammon, and the huge quantities of gold (more then 100 per turn at 100% research) more then make up for the reduction is commerce from not running Aristo, and the extra food you get from running Agrarianism on its own means you get bigger cities, allowing you to have more specialists (loads of merchants in your capital), and work more production tiles. Quite often I go RoK using this strategy, so that synergises very, very nicely with Arete for the extra hammer from mines and the bonus to Great People production.

    There are so many great strategies for this game, and in reality Aristocracy, while strong, is quite a minor one indeed.

    EDIT: I almost forgot, Aristocracy also relies, absolutely relies, one vast tracts of flat land to farm. On many map scripts its simply impossible to have enough arable land to use Aristocracy to its best. The ideal situation for aristocracy is starting in a desert with perhaps 5 or 6 fllod plain tiles (minimum). How often do start in that situation? In contrast Godking and City states can work on any terrain, and GK actually benefits from a more rugged terrain.
     
  4. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

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    Theres a lot of misconceptions there.

    Aristocracy will have enough food to run specialists at +2 per grassland farm. Specialist caps and happy caps are the limiting factor, not food.

    You can stay in Aristocracy the whole game which works well on small map sizes or you can transition into a mostly Sage economy through using civics that give +1beaker to specialists.

    The biggest misconception is that Agristocracy gets less food than God King/CS + Agrarian and so gets less specialists and production. It gets more because it encourages you to build more farms, even if they don't produce quite as much food.

    The only constraining factor for Agristocracy is a lack of early happiness resources. This is soon overcome with Religion, Public Baths (and even Gambling Houses if you're desperate) offering easy happiness. But if early happiness resources are available then Agristocracy will run away because it behaves differently than other economies.
    Other economies are growth rate limited. They trundle along making good commerce/pop point but take a long time to hit the cap. But heres the thing: Every new population point makes growth slower and starts off working a low value cottage.
    Agristocracy is cap limited. All the excess food that most of the population is making causes it to grow like crazy right to the cap. Each new pop point increases growth rate as it adds food (up to health cap) and makes its full economic contribution immediately.

    Its like one is a liquid and one is a gas - they behave by different rules and have different constraints.

    The Random Number Generator of the mapscript is not an argument against Agristocracy, its an arguement against RNGs. If some players will have the option to use Agristocracy (which is better) and some don't then that is a problem.
    Floodplain starts are ideal for everyone, not just Agristocracy.

    Aristocracy is a fine civic but Agrarian needs a mid-late game penalty. Like -25% hammers per forge or -1 hammer per Workshop/Windmill - that would get people switching away.
     
  5. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    You're talking rubbish but I'm not going to argue with you. UncleJJ has done a great job doing that already.
     
  6. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

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    Aha, thats two people who can't answer my points. On a roll this week.

    If you're still reading and haven't turned away in disgust from an internet slapfight over stuff that doesn't matter, heres the important bit. This is the bit people don't get because its something thats not seen in Civ before and people are still thinking in terms of Civ4 cottage spam for economy, or even Civ2 road spam for economies. Theres not been something that increases growth rate and is source of income at the same time, so people don't know what they're looking at.

    There need to be stronger rewards to change out of Agristocracy or at least a strategic choice. Having Agristocracy as a strong early game tactic wouldn't be a problem if it lead to a weaker late game.
     
  7. EverNoob

    EverNoob Prince

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    I think there is a pretty good incentive to switch out of Aristocracy once you've reached your population cap due to :food: supply. When you reach the point where you're working every single tile, economic growth must continue via assigning more specialists, which requires more :food:. The natural turning point is anything that gives specialist +1:science: and a civic giving unlimited specialists, which makes the SE on par with Aristocracy.

    I've always found the transition from Aristocracy to a full-fledged SE pretty smooth. And vice-versa too.

    After those Aristocracy test games, I've come to the conclusion too that Aristocracy is usually the best default civic for a builder. However situations where Aristocracy is not appropriate are fairly common too. Warmongering, Expansive, coastal trade econ, Great Library, to name a few.

    Anyway that's my 2 cents. Hope you guys sort out some form of concensus...
     
  8. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    I was fine with what you were saying, Ekolite, until:

    Aristocracy, or to be specific the Aristograrian farmspam strategy, isn't a minor strategy. It's a major one, perhaps even the major one, and spawns occasional discussions about whether it is too powerful. By contrast, no one has started a (serious) discussion about nerfing the Trade Economy. I don't mean to take a side in the Trade Economy discussion, but I think we do need to be clear that comparing it to Aristograrian is very unfair to Trade Economy. There are some situations where Aristograrian doesn't shine, but generally speaking you just build farms and it works. Many other economies, including Trade Economy, require more specific circumstances for success.

    Republic is the primary limiting factor for Aristocracy, but the AI isn't especially good at using it against a human. As a cottage-based civ, you're naturally inclined to want to research Taxation as soon as possible to improve your cottages. This enables Republic, and construction of the Pillar of Chains. Switching to Republic pressures Aristocracy civs by increasing unhappiness, which as you mentioned is a constraining factor for Aristocracy. Of course, one civ in Republic isn't going to make much difference, but as a human you can begin an economic warfare campaign in which you trade Taxation to other civs and then encourage them to switch into Republic as well. As the number of civs in Republic increases, the damage to Aristocracy civs increases, and eventually (depending on the number of civs that switch to Republic and the amount of excess happiness available, of course) Aristocracy civs may be forced to switch or fall behind.

    The alternative, as an Aristocracy civ, is to build the Pillar of Chains and avoid the whole Republic-generated-unhappiness issue. This solution is perfect, except that it requires you to race cottage civs to Taxation, an expensive tech that is otherwise not important to you, or else win the game before Taxation starts to be traded around. If you lose the race to the Pillar of Chains, and can't win before civs start switching to Republic in droves, then you are in a very bad situation. If you are forced to switch out of Aristocracy then your easy economy goes away. You'll have to switch to a pure specialist economy, or start a cottage economy from scratch in the "middle" of the game.

    Unfortunately, this situation doesn't seem to come up very often (in my experience). I can put that squeeze on the AI, but the AI doesn't make a priority of converting the world to Republic and never seems to win the race to Pillar of Chains. So although a mechanism exists for limiting Aristocracy in the late game, it is easy to just side-step it in single player play.
     
  9. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    I don't want to argue with you, not because I can't answer your points, but because it's clear that you are completely unwilling to appreciate other people's point of views, and are frankly getting quite tiresome to listen to.

    Hahaha ok I admit there are plenty of times when aristocracy is the ideal civic, but my point was that its not always the right option, and not always the most effective. I've been toying with the idea of removing the maintenance reduction from aristo to bring it down a step, and give city states more of a niche. What do you think?
     
  10. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

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    There have been threads and threads on the subject as I'm sure you know. Agristocracy as powerful has been established for months now. It shouldn't need tiresome repeating.

    Aristocracy doesn't work without Agrarian, so fix Agrarian and you solve the problems of two civic categories. If you can fix Agrarian in such a way that there are more viable improvements than farm/cottage/mine that'd be really impressive.
     
  11. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    What I did was improve mills and workshops to try to solve that problem actually. Worshops are quite competitive in terms of production but make no food. Mills are the opposite iirc. Both provide a little commerce too,and become stronger at various techs down the line. That way you know you can get food from your hills if you have to, so can spare some arable land for some cottages, or workshops. You still get a little less food from mills then farms, and less hammers from workshops then mines, but the extra commerce is nice. I'm thinking of adding an industry civic to increase the commerce value of these quite substantially to create a new sub-economy system. I also improved foreign trade and mercantilism to make them very appealing options.

    I believe the fact that Aristocracy needs agrarianism in most cases is a good way of balancing it, as it increases the opportunity cost of using the civic.
     
  12. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    These were my changes:

    Mercantilism: no foreign trade, 30% gold in all cities, unlimitted merchants, +1 :) from markets.

    Foreign Trade: Provides 2 extra trade routes in all cities, and two more in all coastal cities, +20% culture, -10% gold.

    Workshops: Base yields are -1 food, 2 hammers, 2 commerce. Yields are improved in the same way as in base FFH.

    Windmills: Base yields are -1 hammers, 2 food, 2 commerce. Improve in the same way as base FFH.

    ---

    Another option could be to make agrarianism remove one commerce instead/as well as one hammer from farms? This would make them slightly less compatible, with a net effect of plus one commerce, minus on hammer. There would be more of an incentive to use aristo on its own which reduces food available?
     
  13. seizer

    seizer Warlord

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    The thing is, there are many ways to play FFH. Your advice might be good for some people who play certain gametypes, but not for everyone. For instance, I usually play on maps with arid terrain. If I have 7 grasslands tiles between my first 10 cities I consider myself lucky. Obviously aristocracy is not going to be a good option for me, as I'm generally food-starved. Another example, if you're playing on a archipelago maps with small islands (never mind that the AI can't handle it atm), obviously agristocracy won't help, since usually you don't even have fresh water to build farms, while trade routes really shine.

    Hammers are another consideration, especially in the early-mid game. 2 plains agristocracy farms = 4 commerce, 0 hammers, while 1 farm 1 cottage = 4 commerce 1 hammer.
     
  14. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    I agree with all this, especially the part in bold. They are different types of economy that work in different ways and so are not incompatible. Aristograrian relies on tiles and particular types of tiles at that; with grasslands and floodplains being much preferred to plains and tundra farms. A Trade Economy (as I see it) depends on multiple cities and the size of their population and the relative distribution of those cities. It is quite possible to start with an Aristograrian economy and then as the civ expands further and gathers other techs develop aspects of the Trade Economy. The trade routes can suppliment the commerce from Aristocracy and make newly captured cities less of a burden. By favouring coastal sites (where there is a choice of city location), building the GLH and founding a couple of cities on offshore islands the value of internal trade can be increased significantly, equivalent to a few farms in each city ;). The two types of economy can be blended together on many maps with the main contention being the Agrarianism versus Free Trade civic choice and in most situations that will clearly be with the former, since food is usually more important that commerce.


    I like these ideas but some of the improvement suggestions seem a bit too strong for the early game and could be toned down or linked to technologies. I'd like to see Aristograrian reduced a little more rather than strengthen other civics and improvements being strengthened. Otherwise ordinary tiles become too strong versus resource tiles and a balance has to struck in that respect as well.

    I do like the possibility of Agrarianism costing a commerce rather than a hammer, but I guess that might make plains farms better than grassland ones in some respects. It would also hurt Financial leaders a lot as they would only get their bonus on riverside farms. So overall that's a good suggestion :lol:

    Have you considered the possibility of changing the maintenance costs of the civics? Aristocracy is currently a low upkeep and Agrarianism is med upkeep. If they were both raised a notch that would make a small adjustment in favour of their alternative civics.

    I would modify your civic suggestions to:

    Mercantilism: no foreign trade, 20% commerce in all cities, unlimitted merchants, +1 :) from markets.

    [Note: a global commerce bonus is much more useful than a gold one. 20% might be too high] An alternative might be to add +1 gold to merchant specialists.

    Foreign Trade: Provides 1 extra trade routes in all cities, and two more in all coastal cities, +20% culture, + 10% trade route yield (and no gold penalty)
     
  15. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    Yeah I wasn't sure how balanced the changes were, I'll certainly consider those ideas. I might push the techreq of workshops and mills back a little, and reduce the amount that they increase by. I just need to work out how to change how much a tech improves their yield by. I guess I'll just look at how sanitation works for farms and work it out from there.
     
  16. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

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    Some good ideas but the numbers look a little off. I think Mercanitilism (and Conquest) are fine as they are, its Agrarian thats the problem. Conversely, I think Aristocracy is fine, its Theocracy and Republic thats the problem.

    Theocracy needs something big. Like, Holy City receives +2gold/city with religion instead of +1. Or an old idea of mine that would be too much work to implement, just like Aristo enables a unique unit, Theocracy could enable a unique building. A Cathedral building that gives big happiness and would have some kind of special power that is only active while in Theocracy civic.
    They could be simple like Order Cathedral is +20% unit production and Empyrean is +20% science.
    They could be more unusual like RoK cathedral upgrades Cottages at double speed and Overlords Cathedral might gain +1 beaker, +1 Great Prophet Point per water tile.
    They could even be ability based such as living units dying to a Veil Cathedral city raised as Diseased Corpses.


    Republic: Can't compete as a big empire civic, so what if its role were changed?
    High Upkeep
    +20% GPP and Culture
    Happiness bonus
    Civic anger in opponents cities
    +1 commerce per city population <---- this is the big draw
    +2 gold per military unit upkeep. <---- Keeps the big draw in check.

    Going all the way back to versions of Republic from Civ2 here. A recasting of Republic as the ultimate in small empire, highly specialised cities defended by few high strength, high tech units.
     
  17. Tasunke

    Tasunke Crazy Horse

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    aristocracies are very prominent in games that generally have only one climax (aka builder, builder, builder, WAAAR!!, game ends) such as many multiplayer games.

    There are however, very crowded maps of multiplayer where aristocracy is less favorable and Godking is much more-so. In those kinds of games its HAMMERS HAMMERS HAMMERS, oh and I'll get this cottage while im at it ... but of course in the very early growth stages its practically all farms, then some cottages, and then lots of mines.
     
  18. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

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    Except many ostensibly builder civs are un-rushable. Kandros Fir with Agg and Khazad city defense, Rhoanna and Flauros with worldspells.
     
  19. Ekolite

    Ekolite The Mighty Jungle

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    As an alternate change to the whole Aristograrian system, how about spreading the effects out over three civics? Therefore increasing the opportunity cost further. My pick would be slavery, a currently quite weak civic, and making these changes:

    Aristocracy: -1 food, +1 commerce to farms
    Agrarianism: +1 food, -1 hammers to farms
    Slavery: + 1 commerce to farms

    The net effect of Aristograrianslavery would be -1 hammer, +2 commerce, the same as current. However, having three seperate lines to tech down now makes the strategy take a fair bit longer to set up then before, making it harder to rush, and probably making it important to build at least a couple of cottages to help tide you over until then. In most cases, Philosophy is an expensive waste of time in the early game when there are more important things to research so having to get it quickly will be a little more painful then the Calendar-Code of Laws rush that currently exists.

    This also means that you can't use handy civics like Apprenticeship, Arete, and Guilds in the late game, while maintaining the strategy at its full.

    Of course, however, you can easilly run only two of the civics at any one time and ignore the other.

    Aristocracy-Slavery: -1 food, +2 commerce
    Aristograrian: +1 commerce, -1 hammer
    Agrarian-Slavery: -1 hammer, +1 food, +1 commerce

    Or of course you could run any civic on its own for limitted benefits. With financial leaders, Slavery alone is enough to trigger the bonus commerce on river tiles, but to get the +1 commerce all over you will still need Aristocracy.

    If it is unfair/unbalanced to require non-good for slavery I think that can be dropped.

    Comments?
     
  20. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    I think the problem is Agrarianism rather than Aristocracy. There are plenty of useful alternatives to Aristocracy in its category, it doesn't need to be weakened.

    In its category if you have a few farms Agrarianism becomes much better than any of the alternatives in almost every circumstance. That's why we see so few people running Conquest, Mercantilism etc. GoN is only really strong for elves (or if you capture a lot of huge elf cities I suppose ;))

    How about this recipe? :

    Aristocracy: -1 food, +2 commerce to farms
    Agrarianism: +1 food, -1 hammers -1 commerce to farms
    Slavery: + 1 commerce to farms

    That would weaken Agrarianism with Aristocracy, unless Slavery was also included.

    Aristocracy + Slavery: -1 food, +3 commerce
    Aristograrian: +1 commerce, -1 hammer
    Agrarian + Slavery: -1 hammer, +1 food, 0 commerce

    Without Aristocracy, Agrarianism would be bad for plains tiles and riverside tiles. I foresee every riverside plains tile having a cottage if this was what we had :lol:
     

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