• Civilization 7 has been announced. For more info please check the forum here .

Civ VII idea for Policies

pineappledan

Deity
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
10,523
Location
Alberta, Canada
I had an idea for how civ 7 should handle policies.

I really didn't like how culture was handled in civ 6, with the separate tech tree. It felt like a lot of culture was invested in things that gave no value, or impermanent value. The culture cards and governments unlocked by the tree only have value if you use them, they were all of variable quality, and you can't use more than a handful at once. It didn't feel much like a progression, because you would only use a small handful of the things that the cultural tree unlocked at a time, and the rest became trash.

I think a reversion back to the civ 5 system would be an improvement. That system gave you a list of policy trees and adopting each new policy was a permanent boost to your empire. Capping off the policy trees was 3 ideologies, which were more powerful forms of policies that gave specific end-game victory-centric boosts. Some things I would change:
  • You have to unlock each opening policy for each government type to get the next tree open.
  • Openers don’t do anything other than give +1 governor slot and unlock the next tree.
  • You have to open every tree individually to get to later branches instead of them unlocking in groups of 3.
  • Each policy tree has 8 policies in a progression tree. Ideologies have 11 slots for 15 potential policies, arranged in a pyramid.
  • You can abolish old policies, liquidating them for a 50% discount on the cost of your next policy.
  • Instead of requiring X factories in your empire, Unlocking ideology requires at least 8 policies adopted from 1 of the last 4 policy trees.
  • Adopting an ideology locks your policies
  • You can mix-and-match policies from different trees, but the ideologies are mutually exclusive.
  • Once you pick an ideology, you are locked into only that tree unless a revolution occurs, forcing you to adopt another civ's ideology
  • Each ideology contains a tenet that unlocks a unique unit
I also liked the euphemistic terms for ideas/qualities that civ 5 used in lieu of descriptors for each of the government types. It added a bit of ambiguity and flair, which helps make it seem less awkward that you can have policies mixed-and-matched from several ostensibly separate groupings at once. Here's my list for policy branch names and the governments they would represent:
  • Honor (Chiefdom) -> Boosts to early buildings and improvements. Emphasis on :c5food:/:c5production:
  • Devotion (Theocracy) -> Bonuses towards religion and the Capital. Emphasis on :c5food:/:c5faith:
  • Authority (Empire) -> Military and trade bonuses between cities. Emphasis on :c5gold:/:c5production:
  • Pride (Republic) -> Bonuses for infrastructure and Great people. Emphasis on :c5science:/:c5gold:
  • Fealty (Hereditary monarchy) -> Military, defense, and Religion bonuses. Emphasis on :c5faith:/:c5gold:
  • Courtesy (Elective monarchy) -> Bonuses for city-state diplomacy and espionage. Emphasis on :c5influence:/:c5science:
  • Order (Dictatorship) -> Bonuses for land military and empire management, but minimal yields. Emphasis on :c5war:/:c5happy:
  • Reason (Constitutionalism) -> Great People, and Cultural progression. Emphasis on :c5science:/:c5culture:
  • Discovery (Colonialism) -> Bonuses for Naval units and trade. Emphasis on :c5gold:/:c5food:
  • Unity (Federalism) -> Heavy emphasis on Golden ages and some city-state bonuses. Emphasis on :c5science:/:c5production:
ideologies:
  • Strength (Fascism) - Geared for Domination and Religious victory - unlocks Ju87 Stuka (Bomber)
  • Tradition (Conservatism) - Geared for Cultural and Religious victory - unlocks Yamato Class (Battleship)
  • Freedom (Liberalism) - Geared for Economic and Science victory - unlocks Tribal Class (destroyer)
  • Equality (Socialism) - Geared for Cultural and Economic victory - unlocks P51 Mustang (fighter)
  • Justice (Communism) - Geared for Domination and Science victory - unlocks T34 (tank)
This list assumes the victories in civ 7 consist of Domination, Economic, Cultural, Science, Religious, and Time
 
Last edited:
I also dislike the policy cards and separate Culture tree. A straight reversion to Civ 5's system here would be very welcome, unless they can think of something better.
 
Honesty I'd like a hybrid between the two versions. I don't have the experience of playing Civ 5 as much, but I feel like it's too limited when it comes to policies and no government choices. At the same time, Civ 6 is too broad with you essentially learning every civic on a tree, and most of the time they aren't what you need.

My idea is sort of like a web where in the middle is Code of Laws which then has different branches which then would in turn unlock policies, governments, districts/buildings, units etc. Like the current governor system, you can choose to go down one path, or go down several at a time, depending on how you want to develop your culture.

Off the top of my head would be these:
Tradition (unlocks after building a monument in capital)- Autocracy, Monarchy, capital bonus policies.
Honor (unlocks after defeating a hostile tribe)- Oligarchy, Fascism, Militaristic policies and units.
Liberty (unlocks by befriending city-state) - Republic, Democracy, empire wide and diplomatic policies.
Agrarian (unlocks with third farm built)- Feudalism, food, builder, and population policies like Serfdom.
Craftsmanship (unlocks with first mine built)- Guilds, Communism, Wonders, Industrial policies, Great Engineers
Devotion (unlocks with founding a pantheon)- Theocracy, religious units, religious policies like Theology
Rationalism (unlocks with Writing tech)- educational policies like Drama and Poetry and Philosophy, and Great Scientists and Great WAM
Commerce (unlocks with improving a luxury resource)- Merchant republic, naval and trade policies and units, Great Admirals and Great Merchants
 
Last edited:
The civ 5 system is nice in that choices matter when they're permanent, but with that comes a great risk that cookie cutter metas evolve.
That is a bad thing, because it really lowers the replayability.
Civ 5 was notorious for having the Tradition policy opener be superior in a majority of cases, so players tended to default back to Tradition because it just fits most playstyles well, especially when you dont know enough about how your current game will evolve.

I would like a mix between the two systems, where policies are semi-permanent and need forethought before being enacted, but where you still get to change policies throughout the game as you progress through the eras.
 
My idea is sort of like a web where in the middle is Code of Laws which then has different branches which then would in turn unlock policies, governments, districts/buildings, units etc. Like the current governor system, you can choose to go down one path, or go down several at a time, depending on how you want to develop your culture.
I think we're thinking similarly here, but instead of a web/wheel, I'm advocating for a stem/branch structure like this:
1678991681217.png

Where you unlock each new branch on the way to the next one along the stem. To get to the authority branch, you have to adopt the Honor and Devotion openers (in purple), which cost the same as a policy, but instead of giving bonuses, all it does is give access to the next branch. This has an advantage over a wheel/web, because it's generally easier to read, and gives the player a clearer progression of government types that a radial progression muddles.
The civ 5 system is nice in that choices matter when they're permanent, but with that comes a great risk that cookie cutter metas evolve.
I agree. Two things that made this really bad in civ 5 was that:
  1. there were big incentives for finishing trees.
    • Finishing civ 5 policy trees gave you a finisher policy for free, let you buy a certain great person type with faith, and unlocked a wonder, which is comparable to a 2nd policy with a small investment
    • This meant that mixing policies from multiple trees was disincentivized. Once you unlocked a tree there were major incentives to just finish it.
    • The next 3 policy trees were also unlockable early if you completed an earlier tree, so you could progress through the culture game faster by finishing 1 tree than if you adopted the same number of policies in multiple trees
  2. trees unlocked 3 at a time, so you really only had 3 choices of 3 in the game
    • In that situation, it's easy for 1 of the 3 choices to be optimal almost every time.
    • Civ 5 was heavily biased towards science and small empires with a few big cities. The trees that supported that were therefore the strongest ones.
These are all things that I would not want to bring back. I think it's fine that policies are unlocked by other policies, but huge incentives for completing trees make the game too inflexible. I have the same issue with the Eureka/Inspiration system in civ 6; it was far too prescriptive, and forced you to do things you might not care about or fit into strategy.
A small incentive for adopting all policies in a single tree is fine though. Maybe adopting all 8 policies in 1 tree could unlock the next branch for free (if you haven't already)?

It's important that the rest of the game not be so heavily weighted towards 1-2 victories like civ 5 was, so that tall and wide are both viable in their own ways. You aren't going to solve that problem by focusing exclusively on policy design though, since victory type balance is mainly determined by the victory objectives; policies merely augment them.
I would like a mix between the two systems, where policies are semi-permanent and need forethought before being enacted, but where you still get to change policies throughout the game as you progress through the eras.
Yes, I'm suggesting that policies ought to be (semi-)permanent and you can have as many as you want as long as you have the culture to pay for them. Policies shouldn't restrict you from adopting other policies by taking up finite slots, but I'm suggesting you should be able to abolish an old policy for a big discount towards your next policy. That should help add some replayability, because you can choose between having more policies enacted at once, or liquidating some policies so that you can progress to the later, stronger trees faster at the cost of having fewer policies overall.
 
Last edited:
I think we're thinking similarly here, but instead of a web/wheel, I'm advocating for a stem/branch structure like this:
[IMG width="618px" alt="1678991681217.png"]https://forums.civfanatics.com/attachments/1678991681217-png.656893/[/IMG]
Where you unlock each new branch on the way to the next one along the stem. To get to the authority branch, you have to adopt the Honor and Devotion openers (in purple), which cost the same as a policy, but instead of giving bonuses, all it does is give access to the next branch. This has an advantage over a wheel/web, because it's generally easier to read, and gives the player a clearer progression of government types that a radial progression muddles.
I'd like each branch to be independent of each other. In your example just because you decide to go down a more militaristic route doesn't mean you also have to be religious, and vice versa. Which is why I was describing my idea more like the current governor system where you have a choice between picking between appointing a new governor, or promoting one.
I'd also still want to call the policies civics and each civic contain some policy cards, like they do currently. I'm just against making the tree so linear and want players to develop their own culture.
 
Just because you opened a branch doesn’t mean you have to adopt any policies inside it. :confused:

Using a web would make it hard to delay a government type like fascism unless you nested inside a larger, earlier militarism line. It also just makes finding anything a nightmare.
 
Just because you opened a branch doesn’t mean you have to adopt any policies inside it. :confused:

Using a web would make it hard to delay a government type like fascism unless you nested inside a larger, earlier militarism line. It also just makes finding anything a nightmare.
bwluav9tywdpy2symde3mdmyms0xnjawmy0xmzgzcxrolmpwzw.jpg

Maybe a web is the wrong word to use. Up above is the concept that I'd be going for with the top being Code of Laws. From there all the different branches might eventually be opened up depending your game and playstyle. A government like Fascism would still require you to invest a lot of culture to eventually reach it.
 
I’d need to see more of what you’re talking about, because that looks like a distinction without a difference. You just put the opener outside the policy box.

web definitely invokes a radial shape, like a tech wheel from something like endless space
 
I’d need to see more of what you’re talking about, because that looks like a distinction without a difference. You just put the opener outside the policy box.

web definitely invokes a radial shape, like a tech wheel from something like endless space
Here is roughly what I have in mind:
 

Attachments

  • Doc1.docx
    28.5 KB · Views: 38
Yeah, still not getting how that is different than what I'm proposing, unless you want later policy branches unlocked only via completing specific, earlier policy branches. You say you want them to have a free "code of laws" policy for free at the start, but that's functionally no different from having no policies at the start.

Maybe opening a new policy branch should give a % culture refund towards your next policy for each policy you have unlocked since opening a new branch. That would preserve forward momentum, and incentivize players to drop points into trees instead of trying to play lean and progress through the tree without policies, while still giving players the option of bypassing some trees.
 
Last edited:
Have people also looked at Humanlimd's civic system? It is one of the few things I really like about the game...

Having things which happen in game unlock related mutually exclusive policy choices felt very immersive, and the cost involved made things semi-permanent. It definitely felt more organic than a policy tree while enabling similar effects.
 
Have people also looked at Humanlimd's civic system? It is one of the few things I really like about the game...

Having things which happen in game unlock related mutually exclusive policy choices felt very immersive, and the cost involved made things semi-permanent. It definitely felt more organic than a policy tree while enabling similar effects.
I wouldn't mind something like that. I agree with you that it is one of the few good things in the game.
 
I am less a fan of Humankind's civics, partly because of the binary choices, and a good deal due to balance. Predictably, I find the early ones more useful, whereas the majority I would not need in five casual games. When playing with strategic imperatives, I find them somewhat redeemed by interplay with Ideology. In practice, I find the organic emergence of civics to be somewhat frustrating when I unlock multiple conditions around the same time and then have to wait for civics to be offered in random order at intervals over the next 20 turns or so. That said, added permanence does offer a distinct advantage over routinely swapping out cards.
 
Yeah, still not getting how that is different than what I'm proposing, unless you want later policy branches unlocked only via completing specific, earlier policy branches. You say you want them to have a free "code of laws" policy for free at the start, but that's functionally no different from having no policies at the start.
You'd still have to acquire enough culture to receive Code of Laws at the beginning, just like it is in Civ 6. If you look at my first post I have certain criteria to open the branches such as the "Honor" branch opening up if you defeat a hostile "barbarian" tribe, "Rationalism/Education" branch opening up when you unlock Writing tech, "Devotion" branch with founding a pantheon etc., without having to go through other branches, or at least opening them.

Even with the idea of a Fascism government being in an "Honor" tree, it would still require you to adopt many policies and accumulate a lot of culture to reach it. :)
 
You'd still have to acquire enough culture to receive Code of Laws at the beginning, just like it is in Civ 6.
So what you’re saying is that you have literally no option of any other policy other than that 1 at the start of the game, you HAVE to pick it to progress, and the actual policy choices only start until at least your 2nd policy? Why would anyone want that? Then your Code of Laws policy is just a toll road. A Speed bump that mainly exists to delay the culture game.

your suggestion of unlocking trees via actions in game is a retread of the inspiration system, and it’s specifically something that should be avoided, imo. If you make the gates too easy then they’re meaningless. If you make them difficult then they are rigid, prescriptive, and limit player choice unfairly. Neither case adds anything of value to the game. Based on the example you give it sounds like you’re advocating for meaningless. How are you going to manage to NOT kill a barbarian in the course of a game and thereby unlock the authority tree?

No, it’s sufficient that players get to choose the policies and bonuses they want in a run, and the toll paid for them is the culture cost of the policies themselves. The eureka/inspiration system in civ 6 is altogether a blemish on the game, and it would be better if it didn’t exist.

Edit: also just a flavour aside, civilization doesn’t presume an actual law code. They aren’t a necessary condition for society, or culture, to develop, so making that an obligatory pick at the start of the game is an odd choice.
 
Last edited:
So what you’re saying is that you have literally no option of any other policy other than that 1 at the start of the game, you HAVE to pick it to progress, and the actual policy choices only start until at least your 2nd policy? Why would anyone want that? Then your Code of Laws policy is just a toll road. A Speed bump that mainly exists to delay the culture game.
I'm still calling them civics. A Code of Laws civic could still incorporate the first government "Chiefdom" and have several different policies to choose from.
your suggestion of unlocking trees via actions in game is a retread of the inspiration system, and it’s specifically something that should be avoided, imo. If you make the gates too easy then they’re meaningless. If you make them difficult then they are rigid, prescriptive, and limit player choice unfairly. Based on the example you give it sounds like you’re advocating for meaningless. How are you going to manage to NOT kill a barbarian in the course of a game and thereby unlock the authority tree?

No, it’s sufficient that players get to choose the policies and bonuses they want in a run, and the toll paid for them is the culture cost of the policies themselves. Adding “quests” that unlock policies is either trivial fluff or constricting. In either case it adds nothing of value. The inspiration system in civ 6 is altogether a blemish on the game, and it would be better if it didn’t exist.
I don't personally see anything wrong with the Eureka/Inspiration system. Either way the quest would only be to have access to the first civic of each branch. If destroying a hostile encampment is too easy I'm open for changing it, or possibly making it to where some are available without having a quest as well. Education/Commerce/Religion branches etc. I think would need to unlock based off your actions in game, at least.

The only thing I really want to change is to make the cultural progression tree non-linear. Everything else in Civ 6 I'm fine with implementing it back in.
 
You'd still have to acquire enough culture to receive Code of Laws at the beginning, just like it is in Civ 6. If you look at my first post I have certain criteria to open the branches such as the "Honor" branch opening up if you defeat a hostile "barbarian" tribe, "Rationalism/Education" branch opening up when you unlock Writing tech, "Devotion" branch with founding a pantheon etc., without having to go through other branches, or at least opening them.

Even with the idea of a Fascism government being in an "Honor" tree, it would still require you to adopt many policies and accumulate a lot of culture to reach it. :)
Im for the civics/policies/ideologies to be more organic based on an action>event>decision system. For example, when you defeat an enemy faction (either BC/CS/Civ) for the first time instead of get a militar oriented "Honor" branch you get a decision event like this:
"My leader our heroic warriors have emerged victorious, bringing glory to all our nation. Now only remains the question of how to retribute our troops"
a) "The blood of our heroes was shed for this land, the less we can do is to honor their legacy with titles and riches" > HONOR​
b) "This victory is without question a divine blessing. Call the warriors and all the people to reverence at the shrines." > DEVOTION​
c) "They have served well their leader. Organize some celebrations and then redistribute the troops wherever are needed." > AUTHORITY​

The option you pick allows either open that branch (if is not open yet) or a free node (if is already opened) within it. Or alternatively the system can be directly pick policy/ideology cards of the proper type for the deck.
 
Last edited:
Im for the civics/policies/ideologies to be more organic based on an action>event>decision system. For example, when you defeat an enemy faction (either BC/CS/Civ) for the first time instead of get a militar oriented "Honor" branch you get a decision event like this:
"My leader our heroic warriors have emerged victorious, bringing glory to all our nation. Now only remains the question of how to retribute our troops"
a) "The blood of our heroes was shed for this land, the less we can do is to honor their legacy with titles and riches" > HONOR​
b) "This victory is without question a divine blessing. Call the warriors and all the people to reverence at the shrines." > DEVOTION​
c) "They have served well their leader. Organize some celebrations and then redistribute the troops wherever are needed." > AUTHORITY​

The option you pick allows either open that branch (if is not open yet) or a free node (if is already opened) within it. Or alternatively the system can be directly pick policy/ideology cards of the proper type for the deck.
So basically the affinity system from civ:BE?
 
Top Bottom