Civilisation Design with Negative Bonuses

GeneralZIft

Enigma
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Feb 25, 2019
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Here is an interesting question. What do you guys think about "drawbacks" for Civs with very powerful bonuses?

Do you think it should be more commonplace? For there to be some crazy good bonus coupled with a reduction to some other trait for the Civilisation to add more nuance to each Civ without adding too much complexity.

Or do you prefer just straight "only bonuses"?

Sidenote, personally I want simplistic bonuses back because Civ 6 really went offtrack with legible understandable bonuses.
 
There's a high likelki good simplistic bonuses will be back in 7 because Ed said so himself, and some of the bonuses in Leader Pass so far (2 out of 3) are quite simplistic.

I would like a Strength and Weakness in every leader, would shake up the formula quite a lot, and they relied quite a bit on it in Gathering Storm.
 
I kind of want more bonuses other civs can interact with. I don't want like straight -20% production for instance.

Like Egyptian artefacts yield more culture and tourism. The drawback if you're Egypt is that other factions are more likely to steal them (by conquest or other means) from you (Not because you have a straight bonus to it, but because your artefacts are more desirable).
 
That...is actually a neat concept. Not sure how wellmit can work with sommany civs, but it is very neat.
 
Frankly I find a lot of Civ 6 bonuses nearly incomprehensible, at least at first glance.
I'll never forget Civ 5 Aztec because it's so simple yet so compelling: Gain culture from kills. boom. there. done.

to add to the topic:
I remember Egypt in Civ 5 had that tomb which had a few more bonuses than the standard temple, but also more gold if its city was captured.
...So I would not necessarily want to ruin a player's game at the outset, but rather give players something that would make other civilizations more likely to "go after them" somehow, whether by trade or by conquest.
 
I'll never forget Civ 5 Aztec because it's so simple yet so compelling: Gain culture from kills. boom. there. done.
That was my favorite ability. I just play civ6 with Sparta because it's ability.
Make my warmonger behavior compreensible, I need to farm culture.
 
I think some would be nice to have.

What I would do is keep the civ/leader split, and try to make it so all civilizations have a bonus that is a "rule change" bonus, which might include a drawback, while the leader bonuses are more just straight buffs.

So like the civ 5 Polynesian Wayfinding bonus would be a great "Rule Changer" (land units can embark and cross deep ocean immediately) bonus for a civ. It makes you deal with the map and prioritize settling/moving around differently than other civs.

Here's an idea for a Baltic/Lithuanian civ:
"Romuva: Cannot found a Religion. Is immune to passive religious pressure. Has a unique set of Pantheon beliefs to choose from."
So the Balts would be playing a different religious game, trying to keep other people's missionaries etc. out so they can keep their super-powerful pantheon bonuses. Their UU or UB would probably have to help reinforce that with a way of deconverting cities.
Like Egyptian artefacts yield more culture and tourism. The drawback if you're Egypt is that other factions are more likely to steal them (by conquest or other means) from you (Not because you have a straight bonus to it, but because your artefacts are more desirable).
Unique improvements kind of work in a similar way, because they make the land around your cities more valuable, and are kept on conquest. That's one of the reasons why I like UIs a lot more than UBs; they're more 'stealable', so they present a possible downside, or can make you a target.
 
The Realism Invictus mod for Civ IV adds a third, negative trait for leaders. They're not all perfectly balanced yet, but they are super thematic and utterly fascinating to play around.

i.e. Gandhi is Pacifist, giving many of his units a small debuff. Kublai Khan is Foreign, so workers are slower under his rule.
 
I'll never forget Civ 5 Aztec because it's so simple yet so compelling: Gain culture from kills. boom. there. done.

That was my favorite ability. I just play civ6 with Sparta because it's ability.
Make my warmonger behavior compreensible, I need to farm culture.
Gaining culture through killing is quite edgelord or Robert E. Howard territory, and even quite disturbing as a notion. I would definitely say it did not work that way for the Aztecs or Spartans. The Spartans eschewed the trappings of high culture, and were always FAR below the other Greek polities in the matter, so obviously mass killing wasn't doing anything for them there (in fact, Athenians often rhetoircally portrayed them as,, "displined barbarians who somehow spoke Greek,"), and the Aztec cultural style was only something that spread, as it did, in the context of the Mesoamerican sphere - and, even then, it was more than just racking up body counts.
 
I would not express the question as one of Positive versus Negative 'Bonuses' to either a Civ or a Leader, but one of Bonuses that Require Meaningful Decisions From the Gamer.

A 'Bonus' that just makes it slightly easier to do what you were going to do 99.99% of the time anyway is essentially meaningless: it doesn't require you to make any meaningful decisions, doesn't change anything you were doing in the game - and which, after a few games, you will be doing in your sleep, effectively. And if you can play the game in your sleep, you might as well go to bed and save the electricity.

So, I would rather have Uniques that are positive or negative depending on the decisions you make as a gamer in how to use them.

For example, if Gandhi were an Indian Leader, he might have 'Bonuses' for Culture and Diplomacy, but a Malus for Military/raising troops. Playing India with him, you can take the easy route and play for a Cultural/Diplomatic Win, or try a contrarian Domination game - but you cannot play the same game with him that you would play with, say, Babur or Rajendra Chola as Indian Leader. Nor would any 'inherent' India country/civ bonuses be the same for all three of those leaders - it simply wouldn't make any sense if we are assuming different personalities/bonuses/uniques for each of them.

I am also more in favor of any Leader, since they are just graphic idolatry instead of actual representations, having a set of 'Bonuses' or Uniques from which you pick at Start of Game. Say, give each 3 Uniques but you can only play with 2, and possibly even Unlock the 3rd Unique only after playing to certain standards/criteria for X amount of the game - you could 'grow into' Gandhi, or Vlad Tepes, or Ambiorix the longer you played to their strengths.
 
Gaining culture through killing is quite edgelord or Robert E. Howard territory, and even quite disturbing as a notion. I would definitely say it did not work that way for the Aztecs or Spartans. The Spartans eschewed the trappings of high culture, and were always FAR below the other Greek polities in the matter, so obviously mass killing wasn't doing anything for them there (in fact, Athenians often rhetoircally portrayed them as,, "displined barbarians who somehow spoke Greek,"), and the Aztec cultural style was only something that spread, as it did, in the context of the Mesoamerican sphere - and, even then, it was more than just racking up body counts.
The Spartans left behind a poetic style: "laconic" and virtually no other cultural attribute of any kind: no sculpture, pottery, decoration, architecture, artwork. Hell, we wouldn't even know their history if someone else hadn't written it down: there are no Spartan histories, geographies, novels, sagas, or any other kind of literature other than some declaimed poetry. Every depiction of their martial prowess seems to ignore the fact that to get it they sacrificed almost everything else. It makes them the most Extreme of all the Greek polities to model: an outlier compared to almost every other Greek city state in culture, literature, economics, and politics as well as military.
 
Culture from kills (well, winning battle) would make sense for, say, Napoleon's France (which was actually both a military and cultural powerhouse and channeled glorification of its battlefield achievement into aggrandizement of their culture that in turn fed national mobilization), or maybe at the limit Rome (but Rome should probably not be a culture powerhouse, whereas France should be), but yeah, Aztecs and Sparta are bad picks for it.

Of course, Civ VI's Sparta is actually Greece with a Spartan leader, so the ability can be half-justified as "the Spartans do military stuff, the other greeks write about it", but weak.
 
Of course, Civ VI's Sparta is actually Greece with a Spartan leader, so the ability can be half-justified as "the Spartans do military stuff, the other greeks write about it", but weak.
I always pictured it as Sparta's main focus was their military, therefore they developed a primary military culture in their city.

But yeah Greece, as a whole, is also a culture civ and since Pericles gains culture through city-states, it makes sense to balance it out with Gorgo getting it through their military.
 
I mean, culture *really* doesn't represent culture in an anthropological sense (ie, the general inclinations and preferences of a large group of people), though? Because by that standard every civ in the game developed a culture, so every civ should be producing culture, and Sparta has nothing to suggest it should produce *more* than anyone else, other than association with Greece.

In older games where culture is more cultural influence, the ability to attract the interest and attention of people and make them want to be more like you, rather than artistic-humanities output, the ability would have made more sense, because Spartan battle prowess sure became an obsession for the rest of Greece and for much of early modern and modern Western people leading to a number of absolutely moronic statetements about Sparta from otherwise intelligent people (no, Rousseau, Sparta did not have a superior government form). But in VI that kind of cultural pull is tourism, not culture.

(The same applies to Rome: Cultural Rome made perfect sense in any number of the older games, because Roman cultural influence is about as big as any civ ever got, but Rome has no business being a cultural (art/humanity producing) civ in VI).
 
In fact, we have a pretty good idea what an Actual "Greece with a Spartan Leader" would look like, because that was, briefly, Greece after Athens lost the Peloponnesian War. The result was Sparta imposing their preferred leaders/puppets on many Greek cities at spear-point, and turning most of Greece against them. Multiple conflicts later, Spartans were all back home in Sparta and Greece going about Business As Usual, fighting each other. Not having anything cultural, economic, artistic or even political to offer, Sparta could not get any real followers among the other Greek cities, except momentarily and for local political convenience. All they had was military prowess, and that was not enough to govern.

To paraphrase a much later author:
"You can do many things with spears, except sit on them"
 
In fact, we have a pretty good idea what an Actual "Greece with a Spartan Leader" would look like, because that was, briefly, Greece after Athens lost the Peloponnesian War. The result was Sparta imposing their preferred leaders/puppets on many Greek cities at spear-point, and turning most of Greece against them. Multiple conflicts later, Spartans were all back home in Sparta and Greece going about Business As Usual, fighting each other. Not having anything cultural, economic, artistic or even political to offer, Sparta could not get any real followers among the other Greek cities, except momentarily and for local political convenience. All they had was military prowess, and that was not enough to govern.

To paraphrase a much later author:
"You can do many things with spears, except sit on them"
^ There's also similiar asian paraphrase. "You can't rule your Empire on Horseback", a praraphrase that Liu Bang learned from a confucian sage and shaped a very stable Chinese Empires since Han onwards.
After watching a Youtube documentary on Spartans. Military of their Empire came from a little town of Sparta. how can this empire expect to keep itself together if main army came from just a single settlement rather than everywhere within the Empire boundaries.
Eventually Spartan Hoplites met similiary matching opponent; the Theban Sacred Band.
And in the end Sparta failed to stop Macedonian Ambitions and later Roman Expansions.
 
If the AI can take advantage of bonus I think adding malus would be fine, or at at least not be totally hampered by the malus. As for players I think there is a significant portion that wants OP civs. As i've said before I think "modes" should be there at the start of the game and a "balanced mode" would which could include the malus.
 
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