Civ 7 Game start idea: Domestication mechanic for agricultural improvements

pineappledan

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I was thinking about how weird it is that in the civ games you can just build "farms" just about anywhere, but then there are also resource tiles like Wheat, Rice, and Maize that exist on the map before you have ever discovered them. Agriculture doesn't work like that, and it's a bit strange that you have staple foods as distinct tiles, separate from the base, resource-less farm. If they aren't growing maize or potatoes etc, what are those farms growing???

Proposal: All players start the game with 3 types of domesticated plants/animals that they can place on tiles that fit the prerequisites for that crop:
- 2 Staple crops (eg wheat, rice, etc.)
- 1 Luxury crop (eg cotton, lavender, etc.)

All the improvements needed to connect these resources are unlocked in the Ancient era. However, the improvement(s) needed to place your starting crops are always unlocked from the game start. You only need to research the improvement(s) for resources you didn't start with.

Tile prerequisites are based on the crop type, rather than the improvement type. In general, crops have more exacting placement requirements than farms in earlier civ games. Many crops can only be planted within a certain band of latitude (distance from the equator) at the start of the game, but a Husbandry tech (Classical era), Genetics tech (Modern era), and Gene Editing tech (Information era) will expand the range of all crops into different latitudes and terrain tolerances.

You can gain access to the starting crops of other civilizations in the game through diplomacy, espionage, trade, or war, allowing you to fill out more of the map as you expand.

Other bonus and luxury resources still exist on the map, as in prior versions. Luxuries like minerals (eg. gold), gems (eg. amber), and undomesticated animals (eg. pearls) are placed on the map before the game begins.
Spoiler assigning crops :

The crops that you start off with are semi-random, but are selected based off your starting location's latitude, altitude, and the amount of nearby coastal/inland, freshwater, flat/hills tiles, etc.

Luxuries - Each civilization's luxury crop is unique to their start (ie. 2 civilizations never start with the same luxury in the same game).

Staples - Staple crops are grouped by continent, with a total number of staple crops equal to the number of civs on that continent +1
For example, if in a standard game with 2 continents, where Continent A has 3 players and Continent B has 5 players, players on Continent A will start with 2 of a set of 4 staple crops, and players on continent B will start with 2 from a set of 6 staple crops that are different from the ones on Continent A
this means that there will be some staples on your starting continent that other civs have, but you don't, and mid game exploration to other continents will unlock more crops (Colombian Exchange)

Spoiler gaining new crops :

You are not limited to the crops that you start out with, but can gain new crops by interacting with the civs around you.

Luxuries - To be able to gain access to another civs' luxury is pretty difficult, but can be done: T
- Take more than half of their original cities
- Negotiate for them to become your vassal
- Steal their trade secrets with a spy mission. The spy mission takes a long time and has a high failure rate

Staples - You can gain Staple crops from other civilizations with all the same methods used to unlock other civs' luxuries, but you can get them much easier too:
- Completing 3 Trade routes with a civilization before Renaissance will grant you access to 1 of their 2 Staples (repeatable, so completing 6 TRs to the same civ before Renaissance will grant access to both their staples)
- You can buy or barter for permanent access to a staple crop via a normal trade deals (similar to tech trading in civ IV).

On entering the Renaissance, your state apparatus becomes sophisticated enough that you can control the knowledge of your staple crops to the extent that you can block other civs from learning it without your explicit permission. This means other civs can't gain access to your staple crops passively, and without your control. However, you can still gain staples passively if you have reached Renaissance, but the other civ hasn't. This paves the way for better control of your bonus resource commodities, which become tradeable in the Industrial era, and for monopolies. See below.

Spoiler “Terrain Yields Shenanigans” :

Some unique mechanics could be added to deepen this system

Luxury resources could wipe out the base terrain yields on the tile, and only have the gold, and other yield types specific to that crop. The idea being that luxury crops cannot produce food, and cannot sustain a city, so you need to make use of your staple crops.

Pasture resources could also augment base terrain yields. As pasture crops move between tiles, they could centralize and carry all the base tile yields with them as they move. See below for more on pastures.

Spoiler “Pastoralist vs Agriculturalist civs” :

One thing this would add would be the ability to differentiate civs based on if they are agricultural or pastoral civs. Pastoralist civs have 1 of their 2 staples drawn from a short list of animal crops that are improved by a Pasture resource. Examples of pastoralist civs would be the Huns, Mongols, Scythians, etc.

Pasture resources have much wider tolerances for where they can be planted, being able to be planted on most latitudes and terrains, but sometimes being restricted by flat land. Pasture improvements take up 2 adjacent tiles, but the resource only exists on 1 tile at a time and moves between the two pasture tiles periodically. Pasture resources tend to have the same resource yields as plant crops, but all terrain yields from the base tiles are centralized onto whatever tile the animals occupy. The pasture tile that is vacant contains no yields, and is unworkable. In effect, the terrain yields for pasture resources are doubled up onto 1 tile that can be worked by 1 citizen. This lets pastoralist civs exploit terrain yields more efficiently and leverage more yields from lower population cities.

Some luxuries are also improved by Pasture improvements, but they are not locked to pastoralist cultures; only pasture-based staples are locked to pastoralists civs at the game start.

Spoiler Commodities exchange and Monopolies :

In the Industrial Era, a Commodities Market tech is researchable which unlocks, corporations and monopolies, and allows for the trading of bonus resources.
This is meant to model how the interconnectedness of national economies in the industrial era gives rise to the first glimpses of globalization. The greater amount of trade and the movement of goods over greater distances means national economies are less constrained by what is locally available. As a result, international trade in more mundane goods like grain and building materials represents a larger portion of overall trade, because the danger, time, and expense of long distance travel no longer limits trade to luxury goods, which have much greater value for their weight and size.

owning more than 50% of any resource -- bonus, strategic, or luxury -- gives +1 Trade route cap, more yields on the resource tile on empire, and access to a corresponding corporation. Corporations are built like wonders, only 1 of a specific corporation can be built by any civilization, and they are permanent bonuses that persist even if you lose the corresponding monopoly.

Thus, there is an early game incentive to trade and share knowledge to gain access to more resource types early, and then a mid/late game incentive to lock down your control of resources and control market share in as many commodities as you can. Players will need to weight the long term benefit of sharing knowledge of resources early against the cost of relinquishing control of a commodity that they could control global access to in the late game.

This monopoly/corporation system could form the basis of an economic victory, which is something I would like to see introduced into civ VII as a replacement for diplomatic victory, which has just never worked that well in civ V or civ VI, in my opinion.

Spoiler “Ideas for civ bonuses and augmentations” :

Plains Indian Civ UA idea: Buffalo Hunt
Starts game with a unique Buffalo resource as one of its two staple crops.
- Buffalo improved by a Pound, which behaves the same as a pasture, but takes up 3 spaces in a triangle instead of 2.
- Terrain yields from the 3 tiles are centralized onto the Buffalo resource, which moves around the triangle.
- The buffalo pound is not considered a unique improvement (since other civs can learn to build it), but is unique to the Buffalo resource

Malay Archipelago Civ UA idea: Spice Islands
Starts game with additional Nutmeg and Cloves luxury crops.
- Cloves and Nutmeg are in addition to the randomly-assigned starting luxury (total of 3)

Mesopotamian Civ UA idea: Fertile Crescent
Starts with 2 additional Staple Crop slots.
- Most civs start with 2 staple crops, but this civ would start with a total of 4

Spoiler list of potential crops (not exhaustive) :

Here is a list of some potential crops. I will continue to do a bit of research on each crop as I go, to think up appropriate bonuses and planting requirements for each one.

Format for each crop:
Crop - Improvement type - ( latitude as range from 0 to 9; 0 = equatorial and 9 = polar) - additional terrain requirements - :c5food::c5production:yield on tile ::and:: additional bonuses

Staple Crops - Sedentary
Rice
- Farm - (1-3) - Flat Grassland or floodplains, requires fresh water - +2:c5food: ::and:: +1:c5gold:per 2 Adjacent Farm
Wheat - Farm - (3-5) - Flat Plains/Savannah - +1:c5food:1:c5production:::and:: +1:c5production:per 2 Adjacent Farm

Staple Crops - Pastoral
Cattle
- Pasture - (2-9) - 2 Floodplains/Plains/Grassland/Savannah. Both must be flat - +1:c5food:2:c5production:::and:: +1:c5food: with access to fresh water, Immune to flooding
Goat - Pasture - (0-7) - 2 Plains/Grassland/Savannah/Tundra/Mountain. 1 or both must be a Hill or Mountain - +2:c5food:1:c5production:::and:: +2:c5food: for each mountain tile
Llama - Pasture - (0-9) - 2 Plains/Grassland/Savannah/Mountain. 1 or both must be a Hill or Mountain - +2:c5food:1:c5production: ::and:: +1:c5production:2:c5gold: for each mountain tile
Reindeer - Pasture - (0-9) - Any 2 Tundra/Snow - +2:c5food:1:c5culture: ::and:: Immune to blizzard, +1:c5food:on Snow
Sheep - Pasture - (0-9) - Any 2 Plains/Grassland - +2:c5food:2:c5gold:
Zebu - Pasture - (0-7) - 2 Floodplains/Plains/Grassland/Savannah. Both must be flat - +1:c5food:2:c5production: ::and:: +1:c5food: with access to fresh water, Immune to flooding

Buffalo - Pound (3 tile triangle) - (2-9) - 3 Plains/Grassland/Savannah. At least 2 must be flat. Only 1 tile needs to be inside your own land - +2:c5food:1:c5production:1 :c5culture:

Luxury Crops
  • All Luxury Crops Wipe base yields from the tile unless otherwise stated
  • Luxury Crops give 1 copy of their respective luxury
  • All Luxuries additionally have Trade Monopoly and Corporate Monopoly Bonuses
    • Trade Monopoly: Available from the game start. Control >50% of all luxury resource tiles. Usually gives extra yields on tile
    • Corporate Monopoly: Unlocked by Industrial technology. Control >50% of all luxury resource tiles. Usually some small global bonus
Alpacas/Wool - Pasture - (0-3) - Not on Desert Both tiles Must be adjacent to Mountain - +2:c5gold:1:c5production:
Trade Monopoly: +2:c5production: on tile​
Corporate Monopoly: +2:c5production: to all Pasture Resources on Empire​
Bees/Honey - Camp - (5-7) - Not on Desert or Floodplain. Must be adjacent to Plantation or Orchard - +3:c5gold: ::and:: +1:c5food:to Adjacent Plantations and Orchards
Trade Monopoly: +3:c5gold: on tile​
Corporate Monopoly: +2:c5gold: to all Orchards on Empire​
Wine - Plantation - (3-5) - Not on Grassland Must be on Hill. No Freshwater or Coast adjacency - +3:c5gold:
Trade Monopoly: +2:c5culture: on tile​
Corporate Monopoly: +10%:c5culture: on Empire​
 
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Patine

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I was thinking about how weird it is that in the civ games you can just build "farms" just about anywhere, but then there are also resource tiles like Wheat, Rice, and Maize that exist on the map before you have ever discovered them. Agriculture doesn't work like that, and it's a bit strange that you have staple foods as distinct tiles, separate from the base, resource-less farm. If they aren't growing maize or potatoes etc, what are those farms growing???

Proposal: All players start the game with 3 types of domesticated plants/animals that they can place on tiles that fit the prerequisites for that crop:
- 2 staple crops (eg wheat, rice, etc.)
- 1 luxury crop (eg cotton, lavender, etc.)

All the improvements needed to connect these resources are unlocked in the Ancient era. However, the improvement(s) needed to place your starting crops are always unlocked from the game start. You only need to research the improvements for resources you didn't start with.

Tile prerequisites are based on the crop type, rather than the improvement type. In general, crops have more exacting placement requirements than farms in earlier civ games. Many crops will only be plantable within a certain band of latitude (distance from the equator) at the start of the game, but a Husbandry tech (Classical era), Genetics tech (Modern era), and Gene Editing tech (Information era) will expand the range of all crops.

You can gain access to the starting crops of other civilizations in the game through diplomacy, espionage, trade, or war, allowing you to fill out more of the map as you expand.

Other bonus and luxury resources still exist on the map, as in prior versions. Luxuries like precious metals, gems, and pearls are placed on the map before the game begins
Spoiler assigning crops :

The crops that you start off with are semi-random, but are selected based off your start location's latitude, altitude, and the amount of nearby coastal/inland, freshwater, flat/hills tiles, etc.

Luxuries - Each civilization's luxury crop is unique to their start (ie. 2 civilizations never start with the same luxury in the same game).

Staples - Staple crops are grouped by continent, with a total number of staple crops equal to the number of civs on that continent +1
For example, if in a standard game with 2 continents, where Continent A has 3 players and Continent B has 5 players, players on Continent A will start with 2 of a set of 4 staple crops, and players on continent B will start with 2 from a set of 6 staple crops that are different from the ones on Continent A
this means that there will be some staples on your starting continent that other civs have, but you don't, and mid game exploration to other continents will unlock more crops (Colombian Exchange)

Spoiler gaining new crops :

You are not limited to the crops that you start out with, but can gain new crops by interacting with the civs around you.

Luxuries - To be able to gain access to another civs' luxury is pretty difficult, but can be done: T
- Take more than half of their original cities
- Negotiate for them to become your vassal
- Steal their trade secrets with a spy mission. The spy mission takes a long time and has a high failure rate

Staples - You can gain Staple crops from other civilizations with all the same methods used to unlock other civs' luxuries, but you can get them much easier too:
- Completing 3 Trade routes with a civilization will grant you access to 1 of their 2 Staples
- You can buy or barter for permanent access to a staple crop via a normal trade deal.
I, myself, since back in my days playing Civ1, and onwards, always viewed special resources as just a location of GREAT ABUNDANNCE of that resource, while other spaces may have marginal or trace amounts of it. And thus, farming, would grow planted crops, but crops naturally abundant would be exploited in that particular space for greater yield, because it would also mean the ideal soil, precipitation, temperature, elevation, and level of sunlight in that square would be optimal for that crop. That's how I've always seen it.
 

pineappledan

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Edited OP with my ideas for pastoralist crops and base tile changes that would force civs to take advantage of staple resources, and not rely on luxury resource tiles solely for their city’s economy.
 
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I think it's weird that we don't see resources spread across the map.

My idea for a bonus resource mechanic is simply that each continent begins with it's own set of bonus resources. When you discover a tile with the resource, you gain access to it, giving you +1 food in your cities. You could alternatively gain a bonus resource via diplomacy.
 

Scrabbler

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I agree that plantable food resources linked to specific biomes would be a great innovation for Civ 7. The mechanics don't have to be too complex. It just needs an increased number of biome types (so more than just the usual plains and grassland) and the ability to discover or trade for food resources as long as you have a suitable biome to plant them in. The number of individual food types a city has access to could limit its growth, like the health mechanic in Civ 4 or the housing mechanic in Civ 6.

There is also the possibility to allow planting of some luxury resources (such as sugar), either for trade or as a cash crop.

Let's also not forget the bonus resources, which were very boring in Civ 6. In Civ 4, access to stone, marble, copper, etc., had interesting effects as they allowed you to build certain buildings and wonders faster. In general, I want the design of Civ 7 to encourage a variety of choices and game experiences depending on the resources you have available.
 

Evie

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It's always been my understanding that the food crop resources represent places that are particularly facorable to that crop - and where it might grow wild in large amounts, even without human intervention. If the natural wild growth is turned into a full farm, that farm will be especially productive because the harvests are larger, more frequent, etc.

Farms ALREADY represent domesticated food crops being heavily cultivated. A farm in an area without resources just means a farm in a region where the crop doesn't grow as well naturally.

The idea that food crop resource tiles represent the only places that grow that crop is frankly ridiculous. Having different plantable resources would amount to having different type of farm improvements, which other than granting different bonuses on different terrains, doesn't see, to have much game benefit. It's a lot of detail with very limited gameplay value.

That leaves luxury crops, and I think having rare abilities that let you steal a copy of a luxury resource (like Coaelus and Irene in Civ VI), maybe at most a rare spy mission, is the best way to handle this one
 

Patine

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It's always been my understanding that the food crop resources represent places that are particularly facorable to that crop - and where it might grow wild in large amounts, even without human intervention. If the natural wild growth is turned into a full farm, that farm will be especially productive because the harvests are larger, more frequent, etc.

Farms ALREADY represent domesticated food crops being heavily cultivated. A farm in an area without resources just means a farm in a region where the crop doesn't grow as well naturally.

The idea that food crop resource tiles represent the only places that grow that crop is frankly ridiculous. Having different plantable resources would amount to having different type of farm improvements, which other than granting different bonuses on different terrains, doesn't see, to have much game benefit. It's a lot of detail with very limited gameplay value.
Pretty much my point, above, in different words. Thank-you!
 

pineappledan

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Having a small rotation of staples and luxury crops that you start with that are independent of the map and specific to civs and their starting locations seems like it would more closely reflect “civilization” to me. It would also provide an interesting avenue for reflecting the differences between nomadic/semi-nomadic pastoralist and sedentary societies without making the unique abilities of the civs do all the lifting in that respect.

@Patine and @Evie, your assertion that the tiles represent especially productive places for certain crops rings hollow to me. I’m forced to justify that as headcannon, but especially good, productive farmland is especially good for many crops, not just 1 or 2. Also, things like maize, cattle, and sheep existing on the map prior to your civilization’s expansion, outside the context of your civ’s borders, is anti-historical; I would go so far as to call it misinformation that is harmful to the game’s intent. Wild maize, for example, doesn’t exist; it is the product of thousands of years of selective breeding that makes it look and act nothing like its wild cultivar. If teosintes and aurochs were sprinkled over the map before you settle near them that would be another matter, but the game’s premise is specifically set after the agricultural revolution. Thus, having either the domesticated or wild versions as resource tiles on the map prior to your civilization settling and farming in that area isn’t coherent.

A larger rotation of resources of all kinds would help replayability IMO, it would also subdivide luxuries into cash crops and natural resources, which makes for a slightly more complex, but deeper system for luxury economies in the game. Lastly, having more staples and cash crop luxuries gives an opportunity for learning about the history of those commodities, gamifying and describing in the civilopedia how they are grown, where they come from, and a bit of the history of that plant/animal’s domestication and use.

For example, did you know that (true) cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, and that its discovery in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs from 2000 BCE is some of the first evidence we have of long distance trade in the Indian Ocean? There are lots of cool facts and little bits of history wrapped up in the food we eat and the products we use every day. It’s also a facet of people’s history which this series has tended to ignore in favour of great man history, so I see it as an opportunity to flesh that out more.

I also didn’t like how resources were handled that much in civ 6. If districts are to remain as a system, cities take up more and more tile space while actual resources and features originally on the map take a back seat. The resource removal mechanic introduced in civ 6 reflects a failing of the designers to balance the bloated city system with the map. One good way of dealing with this would be to reduce the number of resources that maps start with, and instead empower players to place certain resources themselves.

I’m still thinking about and developing this system in my head, and will update the OP with a few more details to flesh this proposal out. Another thing that would help balance the system between the early expansion and trade phase is mid/late game trade restrictions, mercantilism, and the formation of monopolies in the industrial era, which extends to ALL resources on the map, not just luxuries. Thus, there could be early game incentives to trade and share knowledge to gain access to more resource types early, and then a mid/late game incentive to lock down your control of resources and control market share in as many commodities as you can.

This last point bleeds into what I think would be an interesting foundation for an economic victory, to replace diplomatic victory, but that ought to be its own post.
 
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Evie

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It may ring hollow to you but it's clearly what the game goes for, and deviating from that kind of abstraction for the sake of realism would be a grave design mistake. Civ is not an in-depth simulator for any part of history - that's not it's genre. It's a heavily abstracted game, using very broad strokes for every aspect of human history because it's always been game first and simulator never. Changing genre this late in the franchise history would alienate existing fans while setting up Civ to fight with already-existing more simulation-heavy games, rather than sticking to the genre it clearly dominate.

If high-level abstractions doesn't do it for you, Civ may not be the game for you.
 

pineappledan

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It may ring hollow to you but it's clearly what the game goes for, and deviating from that kind of abstraction for the sake of realism would be a grave design mistake. Civ is not an in-depth simulator for any part of history - that's not it's genre. It's a heavily abstracted game, using very broad strokes for every aspect of human history because it's always been game first and simulator never. Changing genre this late in the franchise history would alienate existing fans while setting up Civ to fight with already-existing more simulation-heavy games, rather than sticking to the genre it clearly dominate.

If high-level abstractions doesn't do it for you, Civ may not be the game for you.
What you are saying is that abstraction is the point, rather than a compromise between immersion and playability, and I disagree. It’s not about being “more like a simulation”, I think a system of different crops that you get to plant would be fun, first and foremost, make replays more diverse, and that a boost to verisimilitude is a cherry on top.

Fun, aesthetics, and replayability held constant, I would think more historical accuracy would be a goal on its own. However, you’re setting yourself up in opposition to "historical simulation”, broadly defined, and defending artifice for its own sake.
 
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pineappledan

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I just stumbled upon this thread by @Eddie Verdde which covers similar territory. He has a different formulation, but touches on similar points.

w.r.t. artifice vs simulation, much of the conversation in that thread veers heavily into simulation, with discussions of how the resourcing and manufacturing infrastructure for a single good or process has changed radically through history, and how that might be reflected in the tech tree. It also has an in-depth discussion of how resource tiles might be exhausted. This is a step beyond what I would suggest, because I don't think resources that you rely disappearing ever "gets fun". Likewise, I don't think having a monopoly or trade advantage disappear because you have a resource that suddenly disappears, or becomes widely available through a technology would ever get fun either.
 

rocksinmypath

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Also, things like maize, cattle, and sheep existing on the map prior to your civilization’s expansion, outside the context of your civ’s borders, is anti-historical; I would go so far as to call it misinformation that is harmful to the game’s intent.

Sid Meier has been very clear that the purpose of the franchise is not to educate people on history. He's described taking inspiration from history as a sort of cost-cutting measure, because when you add elements to the game that players are already somewhat familiar with, they can use their imagination to fill in a lot of the gaps the developers don't need to fill themselves by creating a rich backstory and whatnot. I understand historical inaccuracies in the game can be a pain point for many players, but there is also a large portion of the player base who just want the game to be fun. For me, personally, I enjoy discussions on how to improve the gameplay aspect, and this usually involves talking about how interesting the different choices available to the player are.

I think there are some interesting gameplay implications with the ideas you proposed. One implication is that this creates an interesting deterrent mechanism to playing wide. Your cities that can't grow the only crops you know how to cultivate will struggle to grow. You'll either have to figure out how to cultivate the crops that can grow in those cities or have your other cities that support them through domestic trade routes.

There are also implications regarding amenities. I've recently been thinking about introducing manufactured luxury products to the game. Unlike luxury resources, these do not exist at the start of a game and are unlocked by players as the game progresses. Civ 6 does have a few: jeans, cosmetics, and toys, but these are all unlocked by great people, and I'd like to see some more depth as well as a wider variety of luxury products to make amenities management more interesting. Some luxury products would be unlocked via science (e.g. TVs, cars) and wouldn't really be exclusive in nature, meaning all players who have unlocked the relevant techs would have access to these. Others would be exclusive in nature and be unlocked via culture. I'm thinking culinary products fall into this category. I haven't really worked out the mechanism for obtaining them, but I imagine it should require high culture output and access to the necessary ingredient resources.

Instead of assigning each player a set of crops at the start of a game, I'd like a more discovery-focused approach. Lately, something that's really been bugging me about Civ is that you don't get to explore the map before settling your first city. I understand that not having access to all the information you want is an important aspect of the game, but giving players too little information makes the game depend too much on luck. To me, Civ doesn't quite hit that balance, and I'd like to see the game encourage or even require pre-settlement exploration for maybe about the first 10-15 turns. One way to force players to explore is to require farms for growth and require knowledge of crops for farming. As you explore the map, you'll discover a crop, and you'll have the option of gaining the relevant cultivation tech for free. If you want to see if you can get a different crop, you can choose to skip and learn a different crop. This decision will mostly be based on the land you have around you. If the first crop you discovered doesn't grow well in the land you see around you, it would make sense to keep exploring.
 

pineappledan

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Right. This is a very common trope in space-based strategy games like Stellaris or Endless space. You need a certain technology or terraforming ability in order to settle planets that don't match your faction's affinity. You might need a certain tech in order to colonize desert or ice planets if that ability isn't something you started with. In tile-based civ terms, this would mean you would be limited to certain terrain types and latitudes similar to your own start location, at least until you can either trade with a civ that started in that biome, and therefor has the cultural/agricultural tools adapted for that climate, or you have adapted your own starting crops via technology so they are more flexible.

A sort of neolithic, pre-agricultural semi-era at the start would certainly resolve some of the issues players have with start locations in civ. I think discovering your crops could be an aspect of such a scouting-phase mini-game, but that's beyond the scope of this crops idea. Presumably if a domesticate-able crop plant were to appear in such a mini game then it is already suited to its immediate environment, and has places where you could spread it within close proximity. I would imagine scouting longer for the "correct" crop would come with a heavy cost of delaying your start, similar to how moving your settler in the first 2-3 turns is rarely worth the cost of starting from behind on science and culture.
 

BuchiTaton

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I also suggest a more deep domestication mechanic here https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/deck-of-breeds.673740/
An early Neolithic exploration and nomad to settled age would be great for CIV7, being the selection of your starting food source a key element that could add unique bonus, eurekas, units and mechanics.
I think it can be a thing like:
- PASTORIAL, when you settled next to (domestication) of cattle, sheep, goat, horse, camel, llama, reindeer, buffalo, etc. Great for militaristic civs and expand in difficult biomes like desert, steppe, taiga, etc.
- AGRARIAN, settled next to wheat, maize, rice, sorgum, etc. Huge yield bonus like food and production.
- MARITIME, settled next to sea resources provide early naval units to explore the sea and comerce bonus.

So this way the early food source have way more relevance and gameplay impact.
 

pineappledan

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OP updated
- brief overview of how this domesticated crop ability could feed into a late game monopoly system, and maybe a new economic victory.
- some ideas for unique civ UA bonuses that could leverage this system: A civ that is guaranteed 1 super-strong staple crop, 1 civ that gets assigned 2 guaranteed additional luxuries, and another civ with 2 extra random staple crop slots.

Will start filling out a list for potential crops when I have time. Feel free to suggest your own crops, and what tile prereqs/bonuses you think they could have
 
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In general, I would favor a diverse list of resources and a map full of them. That said, when including more resources in Civ VI, for instance, it really is necessary to make all resources harvestable for the district mini-game to unfold. In absence of that saturation, I am OK with the prevailing model of representing particularly rich land as agricultural resources.

Part of what I like about your idea is the potential for regional identity through staples. For instance, a continent that has rice as a shared staple may have several cultivars (aromatic, sticky, medium-grain, etc.). Each provides a minor secondary yield and together they enable any particular city on that continent to grow large through trade and consumption. Of course, trading with another continent that has its own staples would add more diversity to diets and probably a boost to health. There are many intuitive avenues for linking resources to other mechanics were staples to broadly represent regions.
 
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