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[NFP] Civ6 Maya implementation question/discussion

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by kaspergm, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I'm somewhat curious what people think about the way the Maya are implemented in Civ6. One thing that particularly bugs me is how heavily they rely on farms, which I'll explain below.

    Now I realize that Mayan-time Yucatan probably looked very different from how current Yucatan looks (and I'll appreciate any insight into this from people who have knowledge on the subject), but as most people probably know, the area that was Mayan is today completely covered in jungle/rainforest (sample picture: https://cdn.theatlantic.com/thumbor...yucatan-peninsula/y01_1005663616/original.jpg). Yet the way Mayas are implemented in Civ6, they are even more motivated than other civs to remove all rainforests: Unlike the normal Campus, the Observatory doesn't get adjacency from rainforests, and the Maya need to plaster every tile with farms to get housing. Chichen Itza - which provides bonus yields from rainforest tiles - was and is literally a major Mayan town, yet this is the only civ that will have negative benefits from trying to maximize yields from that wonder.

    I realize we already have one civ (Brazil) that gets bonus adjacency from rainforest tiles, but couldn't they have done something else for Maya to give them a stronger rainforest flavor? Like bonus housing and happiness from rainforest tiles next to districts, perhaps stronger adjacency from rainforest to the Observatory (which would synergize favorably with the plantation adjacency bonus)? Or is my perceived link between Maya and rainforest feature actually a misconception, was the Yucatan developed as farmland back then?
     
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  2. pokiehl

    pokiehl Emperor

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    Googling "Maya Farmland" or "Maya Farms" pulls up enough evidence to justify the focus, I'd say.
     
  3. _hero_

    _hero_ King

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    Mayans were indeed known for farming, being famous for the implementation of terrace farms. That's not to say that this area wasn't also heavily rainforest. This is really an issue with map scaling.

    If you were to load up a huge Earth map and consider how much land area a single hex represents, and then try to imagine farmland that size, you will quickly realize it doesn't make much sense, at least not for the pre-industrial world.

    The point being, the Mayans certainly had farmland in that area and it was also densely rainforested.
     
  4. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Deity

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    I actually think it’s refreshing.

    The iconic image of the Mayan archaeological sites rediscovered in the 20th century, with their pyramids swallowed by the jungle, are a result of centuries of reforestation following the cities being abandoned.

    The Mayans engaged in extensive deforestation, both to construct their cities and to expand farm land. Nearly every human society has done this (including the Māori, despite their implementation in the game). I always think it’s a bit patronising to depict indigenous civs as living in perfect harmony with nature. Particularly for the urbanised Mayan cultures.

    I also find the geographic bonuses have already been taken in the game (as with Brazil... another state engaging in massive deforestation to this day...).

    I also think it’s a case of projecting a modern perception of a civ’s environment past it’s geographical or historical reality. The capital of the medieval Malian Empire, Niani, is not in the desert at all, but in the sub-Saharan Sahel. The Sahara itself has expanded massively in the last century or two. Even a more peripheral city like Timbuktu was not as arid in the 13th century as it is today. Yet we have the Mali empire as a desert civ.
     
  5. notNamed

    notNamed Chieftain

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    Absolutely. Their intensive deforestation is one of the leading reasons cited for the collapse of Maya society.
    Here's a reconstruction of the Mesoamerican natural vegetation in the 9th century, shortly after the Classical Maya collapse.


    Rainforests where they once lived are quite literally the historic equivalent of a post-apocalypse movie where vegetation starts overgrowing New York or London.
     
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  6. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    From my understanding the observatory structures, at least at Chichen Itza, were built in a matter where there wasn't any obstruction looking towards the night sky, including vegetation.
    It also helped that the Yucatan peninsula was flat compared to the highlands further south in Central America. I think it makes sense why they get bonuses for only farms and plantations and not rainforests. Plus they apparently developed their farming techniques based off of stars and the calendar.
     
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  7. Lupine

    Lupine Chieftain

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    I think they really gimped the Maya in Civ VI. They were top tier civ in CiV.

    I know some people will like a change of pace style that they provide, but I am not a fan. GC and Ethiopia are quite powerful with no penalties.
     
  8. lotrmith

    lotrmith King

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    If they simply removed the housing penalty, Maya would move up several tiers in power.
     
  9. pokiehl

    pokiehl Emperor

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    They would also be much less interesting.
     
  10. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    Gameplay wise sure it would make them better. But thematically it's fine considering the Maya didn't necessarily develop along rivers like other early civilizations. The city of Tikal used stored rainwater for example.
     
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  11. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    Setting aside the actual deforestation that occurred during the Mayan period. That's been covered already.

    I'm not convinced that the rest of what you say is true, either. The Maya as implemented certainly don't have to chop down all the rain forest and plaster farms on every tile. It takes only two farms to get a city up to the normal 5 housing that you'd get for settling a river. Requiring those farms slows down Mayan expansion, sure, but it doesn't require bulldozing every rain forest tile. It requires destroying at most 2 more tiles than you would have for any other city. But, since the Mayan farms always get that +1 housing over normal farms, in the end, you can probably chop fewer rain forests than the other civilizations and still get to the same housing numbers.
     
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  12. GunsGermsandSteel

    GunsGermsandSteel Warlord

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    I like the way Maya are implemented for the most part. I think historical accuracy in civ is haphazard at best, especially historical accuracy when representing the civ as a whole.

    Back on topic:
    The problem is that their bonus/detrement aren't skewed enough. +10% of yields but -15% just doesn't seem that dramatic to me. +10% is very MEH, and you won't really feel that bonus until the late game. Lets say you have a early city making 4 science, 2 gold, 2 culture 5 production. Since it is in the ring it is making 4.4 science, 2.2 gold, 2.2 culture, 5.5 production. It just doesn't move the meter very much IMO. Mid-game you might feel the bonus a bit once you've got 6-10 cities going. The other obvious issue is what happens when you start too close to: thick mountain range, the ocean, wide desert/tundra. In all cases you are a bit screwed out of your bonus.

    Alternatively:
    The other issue is that they are probably the most builder reliant civ in the game. A bonus to builders could be a good way to buff them. Builders cost less to train/get +1 charge if trained in the 6 tile range... something along those lines.


    One last thought. Maybe the bonus should be proportionally related to the number of cities. Starts off like +30% to all yields but degrades 3% with every newly founded city. JUST AN IDEA. (it also fixes the costal start problem.
     
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  13. lotrmith

    lotrmith King

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    Something about a rainforest suggests to me that, despite perhaps not having a major river, that precipitation and minor rivers might more than make up for the 'housing' problem for which Maya is given a malus.
     
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  14. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    Now that you mention it getting initial housing from rainforest would be interesting though at the same time defeat the purpose of making potential farms and the reliance on how most of the population lived outside of the urban cities.
     
  15. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

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    What if Maya chopping a rain forest gave them a permanent health point for the city, or something? That would be a flavor.

    I like the idea for how the Maya work now, it's a fun and different concept, but they need a little something.
     
  16. Jewelrunna

    Jewelrunna Prince

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    I think the Maya's design is perfectly acceptable and well-representative of their history, other than that they have no real bonuses to faith, like they did in Civ V. Like others have pointed out, they ran major deforestation programs and were pretty urban, making them rather advanced for the standards of their neighbors. But if the Aztecs get some bonuses towards faith (as super minor as they are), the Maya also certainly should.

    The only problem is that it's weak by the nature of Civ VI. You generally don't build tall, and you want to settle a lot of cities. Maya actively run against that metagame trend in Civ VI. On top of that, having the housing tied to their farms really gimps their early game potential.

    But that's fine! It's ok for some Civs to be on the weaker side (Canada and Khmer say hello)! And the Maya at least have some major upside if you get everything running ideally. I think Firaxis could do for buffing them a little bit, making the penalties slightly less and/or increase the rewards a smidgen for playing within their boundaries. But I think having some Civs with a reward/penalty design is pretty cool!
     
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  17. Revanchist

    Revanchist Warlord

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    If anything, the Maya need to be able to remove rainforest and build farms on hills earlier. The observatory is one of the few good things the Maya have, and a lack of consistency is what can really hurt it. My problem with the housing bonus is that it doesn't really do anything interesting for the game, aside from force you to build farms earlier and risk losing a settlement spot to the AI, which were already very precious. Something that would help is increasing the bonuses to 20% for the small 6 tile range.

    I don't agree with civs being on the weaker end of the spectrum. Having a powerful and reliable ability allows them to compete with top civs, and it is also a lot more fun to plan your civ around that ability. Japan is a fine example of this, as its city planning ability changes the game and makes it fun to build closely settled cities, Korea's Seowon on the other hand...
     
  18. lotrmith

    lotrmith King

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    Perhaps if Maya got a bonus to effectivity of rainforest and maybe woods chops, it would fit thematically and make up for their bogus housing malus.

    And yeah, farms on hills.
     
  19. Revanchist

    Revanchist Warlord

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    I pinged anton on twitter about building farms on hills earlier for the mayans, but I don't think it will have any actual impact
     
  20. Zaarin

    Zaarin Chief Medical Officer, DS9

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    The Maya are one of my favorite civ designs in the game: it's historically flavorful given the massive deforestation undertaken by the Maya, it encourages a unique playstyle, and it's just genuinely fun. I wish there were more civs like Maya that were rich in historical flavor and unique to play. (As opposed to, say, civs like Korea that are kind of lacking in both.)
     

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