Colonial Nations retreating from the New World [OPEN]


Civ4Col Modder
Jan 24, 2011
Stuttgart, Germany
(Weak) Colonial Nations retreating from the New World

Comments on how this worked in Original Colonziation (1994)

The original Colonization game (1994) had an event based mechanic that had the weakest Colonial Nation retreat from the New World.

- At around midgame, the game logic did kind of a "score check" to determine the weakest AI player
- This weakest player would then hand over all of its assets to the strongest AI player (for free)
- A message / pop-up was explaining this as a result of a succession war in Europe

The game design idea behind this was basically to increase the challenge by eliminating the weakest AI and strenghtening the strongest AI.

Pro: Increased challenge
Actually it was pretty smart ... as it was trying to keep the challenge for the Human player alive.
It also added a bit of immersion ... as there was something related to events in Europe going on.

Con: Lack of player choice
It could sometimes be annoying as you were maybe just planning to conquer that other AI ... or wanted to keep it in game just because you liked the immersion of it.
At some point it was also a bit predictable ... as you knew this would eventually happen in the game. Also it often felt unnecessary as there was no player choice.

I was not necessarily a huge fan of this mechanic in Original 1994 ... as the game decided to do something without me as a player being able to influence it in any way.
The feature makes sense to preserve the challenge (especially for military victories) but it also takes a player out of the game to e.g. do diplomacy and trade.


Better game design for WTP (today)

1) The Nation that inherits the colony should not be limited to the AI only anymore, but generally be applicable to Human player as well.
(For gameplay reasons we should however not implement that the Human Player loses its colonies when being the weakest - thus game over.)

2) This "event" should never happen just based on turn number and strength comparison, there need to be more factors considered.

- Turn number should only be applicable as a threshold (configurable in XML) so it would not trigger too early in game.
- It should however never be triggered if the other Nation still has more than 3 colonies and enough Ships.
- It should also not be triggered for a Nation that is currently in a war (or revolution) ... it is unimmersive and annoying.
- Colonies / Units should never be given away for free ... they should be sold ... maybe for a discounted price.
- Colonies / Units should not just be given away to the strongest other player ... completely neglecting diplomacy.
- Also it would make sense that these 2 Nations already have touching borders ... but that is not mandatory.
- Normally this should be triggered only once a game ... otherwise potentially it may become annoying. (XML setting though.)
- Also there should be a game Option in Custom games to completely deactivate it ... but it would be on by default.
... possibly more

So what will be the conditions then ?

- After around 100 turns (scaled by game speed) the logic will check if there is a Player without chance to win anymore. (see above)
- Then it will try to check for a player it has had good relations with so far, having enough money to buy its colonies, having touching borders, being at least twice as strong as itself and not being in any war.
- If it identified such a player, it will offer all its coloines and Units remaining in the colonies to that other Player for a discounted price ... if not ... nothing will happen (but the check may be successful later in game).
- If such a deal is made successfully both the AI player that retreats and its King are taken out of the game ... no more diplomacy.
- According to the XML settings (number of times this may occur) - this could be a unique event or possibly happen again ... default will probably be unique.

Case Human Player

- In case of the Human Player will get to make a choice as DLL-Diplomacy-Event, he may decide to accept or reject it ... which will mostly come down to the question if he wants to spend the money or not
- In case he rejects this offer will be made to an AI Player (if that AI cannot affort, it will get it for a cheaper price - which is the easiest way to prevent it to be triggered for the Human Player again).
- In case he accepts, he will of course inherit those colonies and a few Units - including all consequences like e.g. angering Natives ... but of course, he will have more land and power.
- Also accepting will cause Diplomacy changes with other Colonial AIs / Kings (negative) and your own King (positive)
- Refusing will do exactly the contrary. Other Colonial AIs / Kings will like that choice and your own King will dislike.
- Message will of course be displayed ... as it is a major event.

Case AI Player

- Here of course there is no need to have any DLL-Diplomacy-Event triggered, as all the logic can be running in the background.
- It will be heavily simplified as there will be little choice. The other AI will take the deal if it can afford it. Otherwise not.
- Message will of course be displayed ... as it is a major event.


Comments on effort and technical impact:

Effort is reasonable as it can most likely be done in a bit more than a weekend.
It is about as complex as other DLL Diplo Events. So risk considering performance or bugs is moderate.

No promisses when this might be implemented though ...
(I am currently not modding much ... as I spend more time on playing games again.)


Comment on gameplay:

This will most likely give the Human Player another incentive to use Diplomacy in the game.
As only if he keeps good relations with also the weaker AIs, there is a chance that they will sell their colonies to him.

As it could happen both, to the Human and to AI ... it would most likely be perceived as less unfair.
Also as there are some "logical rules" involved and not just score checks, there is player influence.

As it would be a Game Option any player could deactivate it in case he would not like it.
Also as a default it should only trigger once a game ... but as I said, we could have an XML setting for that as well.
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Just to add some clarity to the process in the "original" game, the weakest nation would "retire" from the game when the first of the colonies reached 50% pro-independence. So the strategy quickly became put 1 unit as a statesman in your first colony, add no one else to that single colony and found no other cities until you hit 50% independence. You could import all the colonists you wanted and position them to where you wanted your cities to be. And once the lowest colony quit, then you settle like mad. (How long ago was the original released? And I still remember that strategy? Wow, time flies)
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