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Choppity chop

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by acluewithout, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Would chopping be more balanced if chopping bonus resources (eg stone, wheat etc) gave gold instead of production?

    The way I see it, you’d then have a much starker choice. Instead of production now vs production later, you’d be choosing between production and gold.

    The risk would be people founding cities and then strip mining them for gold. But you can already do that really, using chopped production for builders etc.

    I see the pros as: you wouldn’t be able to chop projects anymore, because you can’t use gold for projects; equally, you couldn’t chop districts anymore (except with woods and rainforest); you could cap maximum gold reflecting the diminishing value of some resources over time.
     
  2. orasis

    orasis Chieftain

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    Chopping is balanced. Production now vs production later is a strategy that makes sense. Trees and Wheat and Stone.. produce stuff... if you cut down a tree you don't get gold out of it and by the time a market economy comes around... that wheat, wood and stone would be relatively worthless.

    So... chopping for gold would be most useful for... buying tiles...
     
  3. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Well. Crabs and copper always give gold, so I don’t think conceptually other things giving gold is a problem.

    Could use gold for more than just tiles - units, buildings, great people, trading.

    I’m not saying chopping is unbalanced either. I’m just wondering if chopping for gold would be better gameplay-wise.
     
  4. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    District cost and chopping value are tied, regardless of when you place a district a builder can chop it in. Remove this possibility and there is an unpleasant imbalance. It’s not like you can buy a district with gold.

    Removing the ability to chop in districts means games would be longer and after T100 every turn takes a long time as it is. Not everyone wants an epic game.

    If production did not tail off through the game this would not be such an issue.
    You can get obscene amounts of gold currently, why would you want more?
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
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  5. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Yeah, the first point is a good one, as is the one about gold. It would be dangerous with big ben too.
     
  6. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Lieutenant Commander

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    If chopping gave gold, I would declare war on my neighbors, kill their units, take their cities, clear every and all resources they had, lock the cities into tiles that would starve them and then give them back. Currently, this isn't as easy when harvesting wheat or rice because it causes the city to grow. With production, I can have the production go towards a city project which won't help the city at all.

    Because of Civ 6's AI, giving the city back reduces warmonger penalties quite a bit and they don't care that I crippled their cities in the process. Occasionally I'll use inquisitors to convert their pathetic cities first too.
     
  7. Sostratus

    Sostratus Chieftain

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    The mechanic of harvesting is quite brilliant, I think. Especially with the adjacency and placement restrictions we have, it would be infuriating if literally the perfect campus site was blocked by a sheep resource on a hill. Incan fans from Civ5 will remember the rage of being denied your +4 terrace farms. Injustice most high!

    The question with harvesting, though, is whether or not it's balanced with the yield of leaving the tile intact. Well, this is easy to compute, if we know a few things:
    1. What is the value of harvesting at any given point in the game?
    2. What is the value of 1 production at any given point in the game?
    3. How long do games last?
    We know #1, it's an equation in the files.
    Harvesting is worth either base 20 food/prod (woods/jungle/marsh) or 25 food/production (a bonus resource.) This scales up linearly as you progress through the tech or civic tree, to a maximum of 10x at the end.
    So, in other words, HarvestValue=20*(1+9*max[techprogress%, civicprogress%])

    For #2, we can look at production costs over the course of the game. If you look at districts, I believe the base district cost (before applying any discounts for Uniques or how common they are in your empire) follows an identical formula as harvests- it scales up by 10x over the game. Unit costs do the same thing- mounted units cost between 65 (chariot) and 660 (Modern armor); infantry range from 40 (warrior) to 660 (Mech inf.) So they also have a roughly 10x scaling. What this means is 1 hammer at turn one is the same as 10 at the end of the game.

    On point 3, the game might have been balanced around some number like 500 turns, but in reality, I think it's pretty reasonable to guess 300 for a common case. Yes, you can finish faster depending on map, etc, but I'm being generous to the case of more average players.

    Combining #2 and #3, we can infer a production cost "inflation rate" or "interest rate" of ~0.77%/turn.

    Anyways, let's focus on the resources. If we borrow some math from the world of finance, we can actually compare to see what kind of deal we're getting. Specifically, we can treat the resource's bonus yield as an annuity payment, and the harvest yield as the lump sum value. Obviously, as the number of turns left in the game dwindles, harvesting becomes a better and better deal. What does that tell us about how resources themselves should be improving over time- what yield would a resource need to be worth the same as harvesting it? (Again, this value will skyrocket at the end, because as there are less and less turns left, the equalizing tile yield eventually becomes the harvest yield by the last turn)

    I'm making a hand wave assumption that we progress at a consistent rate throughout the tech and civics tree. This is obviously not quite true, but this is a crude analysis.

    Okay, let's have a look:

    upload_2018-4-5_16-17-37.png

    Interestingly, around turn 100, is when having +1 yield from that bonus resource starts to become insufficient. For forests and jungles and marshes, this crossing point happens around turn ~125, or sometime in the middle ages.

    But, we also can recall that while nothing makes resources yield more, some techs boost the improvements on them.
    The bar chart shows what a resource would need to give as a tile yield to be equal to the harvest value. Note that there are a few points that matter: when it crosses whole numbers like 1, 2 and 3. 1 is the base resource (most resources give +1.) 2 is when the improvement is applied, and 3+ would be when the tech boost to those improvements come in. Note that, in assuming all these resources are improved, the builder charge to improve it will ~roughly~ cancel out the builder charge to harvest. That's why I'm ignoring that messy math here.

    "Turns" is really "progress through tech tree," but since the tech tree progress determines both harvest yield and tile yield via improvement boosts, it doesn't matter if we compress or expand certain parts of the x axis to account for real game progress.

    Anyways, let's look at the pasture. The pasture gets a nice +1. So if you build a pasture before the bar chart hits 2.0, you're coming out ahead. Exploration gives +1 food to all pastures, so exploration (which comes about halfway through the game) boosts you to +3 for that resource tile. The equivalent harvest value is only 1.5 yield per turn- going strong! Globalization also gives +1 production, but this comes so late it doesn't matter. Plantations have it the worst, by the way. One gold is worth 0.5 production or food, in the math of civ6. So they start with effectively +1, and then get extra food at scientific method, which comes pretty late.

    Things that you can build a farm or mine on act differently- since farms and mines get the boosts regardless, you should think hard about harvesting some of those resources. Especially if you're expanding into new turf and don't have the improvements down yet.

    The caveat of all this is that most of the things you want to harvest for (wonders) are not about absolute value, but rather positional. In a race for e.g. Big Ben, it doesn't matter how good your production will be after I finish it. So this is where chopping is actually a huge advantage- can be worth much more than simple computing the lump sum value of that +1 yield per turn.

    Lastly, when accounting for that premium of being able to beat someone to something by getting yield up front in a harvest, the game is actually pretty balanced over most of it. Features should almost always be removed after a point, but resources have surprising staying power. However, in R&F, while they threw some nice buffs at improvements over resources, they also add our Lord and Savior, Sir Magnus Choppington. You can imagine that outright doubling the value of chops just wildly skews things, which is true. It's quite a powerful thumb on the scale.

    If they really wanted to fix this, I would siggest adding some inexpensive city center buildings from civ5: the stable, stoneworks, forge, mint, etc., which added a boost to relevant bonus resources in the city. This would help give some extra sway to bonus resources so you don't end up with such barren maps by the end.
     
  8. Sostratus

    Sostratus Chieftain

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    A side note- the rate of cost increases in various things being linearly tied to tech progress, whereas city productivity basically stops growing once you hit your tier 3 government, is a critical piece in all this. If they added, say, late game bonuses to specialists at ideology or gave industrial zone buildings both innate production and the aura production (so a city could benefit from having its own IZ regardless) that would certainly help out. (FYI, James Watt vs Nikola Tesla is an example of this. Watt's bonus is like the workshop- it only applies to the city it's in, while Tesla boosts the auras. The UI is a filthy, lying poltroon about this.)
     
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  9. Pietato

    Pietato Chieftain

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    Chopping is overpowered in R&F.
     
  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    good analysis @Sostratus
    One has to consider the value the chopped resource provides and also if chopped early it to produce a settler the long term value of this is rather high.
    thanks for your efforts.
     
  11. Infixo

    Infixo Warlord

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    Ha, that is exactly what I did in Building Upgrades.

    Great analysis. Observation about 10x scaler is enlightening.

    My idea for Magnus would be to actually reduce its power when he gets more promotions. E.g. He starts with +100% bonus, but with each promotion it gets reduced it by -20%. Or more forceful version: with each passing era. Then we would see if his other perks are useful.
     
  12. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Having the appeal of tiles in the city affect amenities would be another way, the trouble is all those mines would be crippling
     
  13. Sostratus

    Sostratus Chieftain

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    It is an interesting issue. If we think of our production like capital (in the financial sense,) we could make a statement like "the return on a settler is incredibly high compared to other options." Harvesting acts the same way a bank loan does; we are moving money from the future (per turn production or our annual salary) to the present (harvesting gives us production NOW, and a bank loan gives us cash NOW.)

    The fact that a settler is such a high return on production is independent of this harvesting feature. But the return is really really high, so we'd prefer to move as much production into the present as we can to convert it into settlers. This is analogous to taking out a loan or mortgage to finance a rental property or invest in a business, when the return on those is much higher than the interest rate of the loan.

    I find it funny that they call Magnus a steward when he ends up being the antithesis of that - since even without his harvesting boost, chopping is very strong (precisely because there are many things for which the return on getting that production right now outweighs the loss of the tile yield.)
    I would actually rather they swap his harvest bonus to Industrialist and make his innate bonus -Groundbreaker- a boosted version of that: +1 food from bonus resources (new), +1 production from strategic resources (existing.) Then I'd feel more like he's actually providing stewardship of my sheep and stone and deer. Having the harvest bonus be two promotions in at least slows down the insane early game advantage he gives- and you could still get your OP harvest promotion for him at recorded history / defensive tactics if you want. It's not like that would be the end of the world!
     
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  14. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    If we look at the really fast players what they are doing is buying settlers with gold as much as they can up front and early to avoid having to use chops so early when their value is still low.
    In fact the whole chopping regime has phases based on card discount availability and need. A big time of use is chopping in the main districts and subsequent buildings combined with the best value from builders. Its an interesting game when you play to be as fast as possible and matters not how good the AI is.
     
  15. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    chopping also costs 1 builder action. and builder actions become relatively cheaper with time (at least for me)
     
  16. Sostratus

    Sostratus Chieftain

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    Both chopping and building an improvement cost a builder action, so that cost kind of cancels out when comparing the two. Since, presumably, if you don't harvest a resource, you will improve it and work it. That would be the point of not harvesting!

    In GS, the added complexity around droughts and global warming reduction for woods will make this a lot harder to really compute in a holistic way. Even with the fix to the overflow exploit, I doubt the basics will change much.
     
  17. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    you improve the tile after the chopping anyways, build a farm or a mine there (or somewhere else). a city works about the same number of tiles were there chops or not, and thus the same number of tiles should be improved. chopping doesnt affect that.
     

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