1. We have added the ability to collapse/expand forum categories and widgets on forum home.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. All Civ avatars are brought back and available for selection in the Avatar Gallery! There are 945 avatars total.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. To make the site more secure, we have installed SSL certificates and enabled HTTPS for both the main site and forums.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Civ6 is released! Order now! (Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR)
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Dismiss Notice
  6. Forum account upgrades are available for ad-free browsing.
    Dismiss Notice

Comprehensive Guide to Variants

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Arathorn, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2002
    Messages:
    3,778
    Location:
    Illinois
    I've tried to compile a comprehensive guide to variants that I've seen in stories and tales, succession games, the main forum, or other places. If you've ever wondered how some of these games are played, a starting point can be found here.

    Always War (AW): When you meet an opponent (as soon as they appear on the F2/F4/Shift-D diplomacy screen, you’ve met them), you must declare war on them – THAT turn. You can make initial deals for hard goods only (no gpt deals, no alliances, no resource/luxury trades). Opening the diplomacy window to spy techs, cities, resources, etc. is allowed. Signing peace for even a single turn is prohibited.
    Arathorn’s comments: Adds about 1.5-2 difficulty levels. Games usually take significantly longer. Once you’re past the “Can I hold my front?” stage and making progress forward, it’s usually won. Approximately doubles the time required to play. Sample Game

    AW Sub-variants:
    Restricted Always War (RAW): Add to AW rules, no initial trading and/or must declare war during the first visit to the diplomacy window with a particular foe instead at end of turn.
    Arathorn’s comments: These are just flavoring and change the dynamics of AW very little. They’re really minor.

    Anti-Numismatist: (a.k.a. Non-Midas) You are never allowed to end your turn with much gold in your treasury – typically 10 gold is the maximum allowed, although that’s by no means sacred. No deficit research, no steals, no cash purchases and upgrades are hard to do.
    Arathorn’s comments: No personal experience but probably adds 1/2-2/3 a difficulty level. Sample Game

    Defiant: You must never give in to a demand from an opponent, that is, you always reject demands for tribute. You may never ally, sign a Right of Passage, MPP, or embargo with another civilization. You may never pay for peace (a peace treaty must either be straight-up or the opponent gives a concession to you. A deal where a tech costs 20 gpt normally and you pay 10 gpt for that tech as part of a peace treaty is fine). Any troops on your soil must be given a boot order every turn. No capturing foreign cities or demanding them in diplomacy. No foreign workers merged into existing cities. If an AI razes one of your cities, that civ must be eliminated.
    Arathorn’s comments: Makes very little difference on the easier levels but gets crazier on the high difficulty levels. Probably 2/3 of a difficulty level or so. Usually adds to game length, especially >Emperor. Sample Game

    Fast Moving: Military units with movement one may never exit your cultural borders. Settlers and workers are not military units and so are allowed outside your cultural borders.
    Arathorn’s comments: Makes conquest a bit harder, especially in the cavalry age. Requires a start with horses attainable. Any barbarians at all would be lunacy. Probably 1/2 a difficulty level. Sample Game

    Five City Challenge (5CC): You may never have more than five cities. If at any point you have more than five cities, you break this variant.
    Arathorn’s comments: This one isn’t as hard as it sounds. Diplomacy is critical, as luxuries and resources are cheap and staying in minimal war generally important. Hardest part is determining the location of the 5 cities, often. Plays 1/4 difficulty level harder. Plays slightly faster than normal, usually. Sample Game

    5CC Sub-variants:
    Five City Conquest Challenge (5CCC): A 5CC wherein the only accepted winning condition is conquest.
    Arathorn’s comments: Added difficulty is fairly high here. A late-game charge is the way to win. 3/4 of a difficulty level. Sample Game
    Five City Space Challenge (5CSC): A 5CC wherein the only accepted winning condition is a space launch.
    Arathorn’s comments: Not TOO much harder than general 5CC. 1/3-1/2 difficulty level.
    Relaxed Five City Challenge: A 5CC wherein the requirements are relaxed to never end a turn with more than 5 cities. Additional cities can be acquired/built during the main turn but all the extras must be disbanded before the end of the turn. This allows building additional armies and accepting cities as peace tributes.

    Infantry: No fast units (units with movement > 1) may ever be built, except scouts. That means no chariots, horsemen, knights, cavalry, mechanized infantry, or UUs based on those units. “Special” UUs affected are jaguar warrior, impi, and Gaelic warrior.
    Arathorn’s comments: Adds a lot of time to the game. Artillery becomes incredibly important. Can help hone a lot of strategies. 1/3 difficulty level. Sample Game

    Non-Oscillating War (NOW): The first civ met must have war declared on them during initial diplomacy. Each later civ met gets added, in order, to a list. When the first AI civ on the list is eliminated, war must be declared on the second. As each is eliminated, the next must be declared on before the end of the turn. Other wars are allowed, and alliances are encouraged. Sandbagging or not finishing off a defeated foe simply to not go to war with the next one on the list is illegal. When two or more civs are met simultaneously (via contact sale, perhaps), it is player’s choice which order to declare on them.
    Arathorn’s comments: The ability to make alliances is a huge difference from AW. Time commitment is significant, as every turn is a war turn. 1/3 a difficulty level, probably. Sample Game

    No Military: You may not build military units ever. Settlers, workers, and buildings are allowed. Not for the faint of heart.
    Arathorn’s comments: Appears to depend a fair bit on luck. I would expect it to run faster than average but I don’t really know. Sample Game

    No Optional Tech (NOT): You may not research/trade for/acquire optional techs in any manner.
    Arathorn’s comments: No clue on this one, but it looks interesting. See this post for more repercussions.

    No Research: No research means no research. Not only must your science slider always be set at 0%, you are not allowed to make any scientist specialists. This means trading. Gaining techs from wonders is allowed, so it's possible to gain monopoly techs, even in this variant! Choosing a tech to "research" is always allowed (and encouraged, because it has definite value)...you're just not allowed to actually put any commerce to researching it.
    Arathorn’s comments: For some, it’s barely a variant! Surprisingly easy but teaches trading. Adds no difficulty. Sample Game

    One Built City (OBC): You may never build settlers…from any city. Similar to OCC but you can gain via war/culture/etc.
    Arathorn’s comments: Easier than OCC and with similar sub-variants, except Domination is possible. Sample Game

    One City Challenge (OCC): You may never have more than one city. Acquiring a second city by any means for any length of time is a disqualification.
    Arathorn’s comments: Plays pretty fast, in general, with so few units and so little city management to do. Diplomacy is usually critical. Plays 1/3-2/3 difficulty level harder. Sample Game

    OCC Sub-variants:
    One City Conquest Challenge (OCCC): An OCC wherein the only accepted winning condition is conquest.
    Arathorn’s comments: You either win fairly early or you don’t win. The clock is always ticking. Sample Game – relaxed OCCC
    One City Space Challenge (OCSC): An OCC wherein the only accepted winning condition is a space launch.
    Arathorn’s comments: Used to be really REALLY hard to get all the shields you need, but with C3C pushing out the tech, not quite as bad. Still probably a full difficulty level harder. Sample Game
    Relaxed One City Challenge: An OCC wherein the requirements are relaxed to never end a turn with more than one city. Additional cities can be acquired/built during the main turn but all the extras must be disbanded before the end of the turn. This allows building armies and accepting cities as peace tributes.

    Oscillating War (OW): You must always be at war with a neighboring civilization. Psuedowars (where neither side can really reach the other) do not count. When peace is signed with the current foe, war must be immediately declared on another enemy.
    Arathorn’s comments: Seems to be an almost optimal strategy for a human to carry out. Plays almost easier than a regular game, if possibly a bit more time-consuming. Sample Game

    Passive: You may never attack a city. If you lose one of your cities, it’s gone. Accepting culture flips, using propaganda, and attacking units in the open are all allowed.
    Arathorn’s comments: Plays reasonably easily unless you’re trying for domination. Great way to enforce SOME builder’s tactics while still letting warmongers shed some blood. Alone, it’s not too much of a variant, but it shines in combination with other goals. Sample Game

    Passive sub-variants:
    Relaxed Passive: You may bombard cities with artillery units (catapult, trebuchet, cannon, artillery, radar artillery, fighter, bomber, stealth fighter/bomber, ships). You still may not capture a city militarily.

    Tactless: You may never initiate diplomacy. If the AI initiates diplomacy, you must either reject or accept their offer. No haggling.
    Arathorn’s comments: Not checking diplomacy definitely makes the game go faster. Doing all your own research and never getting to trade on your terms is actually a significant challenge. I’d estimate a full difficulty level challenge with this variant. Sample Game

    Combinations of variants are also lots of fun. It’s sometimes hard to predict how certain variants will play out together. Certain variants almost completely subsume other variants (AW, for example, almost completely comprises NOW, oscillating war, and defiant). Essentially adding tactless to AW is pretty common and works well. You can combine lots into one variant. Other combinations seem to be suicidal (AW and no military, for example).

    Variants can force you to consider new ways of playing the game and help bridge the gap between difficulty levels (e.g. a player who consistently beats monarch but really struggles at emperor can try a variant for an in-between experience and eventually move up or stay in that monarch variant range). Variants work well with any difficulty level and are a way of adding spice to your game that’s different from full-fledged mods. Try one out today!

    Arathorn
     
  2. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2002
    Messages:
    3,778
    Location:
    Illinois
    Please recommend additions or changes. I plan on trying to update this list whenever possible. If any description isn't clear, let me know and I'll try to clarify.

    NOTE: This is not meant as an end-all and be-all list. It's meant to provide a repository of variants that can be used as a starting point. (e.g. Arathorn's definition of tactless, except we allow diplomacy purely to pursue peace)

    Arathorn
     
  3. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    4,263
    Location:
    Check Six!
    Good stuff! Though I can't offer any suggestions, I bet there are several in the SGOTM crowd who could...
     
  4. Shoe35

    Shoe35 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Thanks Arathorn, I have been looking for something like this.

    :)
     
  5. Greebley

    Greebley Chieftain Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Messages:
    9,048
    Location:
    Boston Area, MA
    A good write up. The text in the OCC varients needs to be cleaned up a bit as it mentions 5CCC instead of OCCC.

    I don't know if you want to mention this, but I have seen an AW varient where you do not accept any foreigners. All cities with foreigners must be razed; all foreign workers (and with C3C captured units?) must be destroyed, no diplo other than declaring war. This variant is more difficult than standard AW.
     
  6. a space oddity

    a space oddity Chieftain GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2001
    Messages:
    5,170
    Location:
    Between yesterday and tomorrow
    Another one recently played were the Un-militaristic Celts, where no Barracks can ever be build in addition to being pacifist, meaning that you can't do anything the might cause a war.
    See Corrados' Cor1.

    And then there's OneFastWarriors' brilliant Capitol killer atheists game, where no religious buildings are allowed and meeting a religious civ means immediate war and no dealing. The part about having to kill the capitol of the civs you're at war with is the hardest of these rules IMHO. Read all about it here.
     
  7. Ankka

    Ankka Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    7,299
    A nice article. :goodjob:
     
  8. microbe

    microbe Cascaded Mansion

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Messages:
    4,596
    Addition:

    OCC Space Race.

    Sample game: AG6.

    There are 3 games that I know, all at Monarch level.

    The key is to keep up in science with only one city and avoid culture win at the same time.
     
  9. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Messages:
    12,277
    Ones that I did on Civ2

    Eternal Despot: Never change your government

    Tax Free: Never have tax rate above zero..requires extensive use of wealth and taxmen (no taxmen could be added)

    Other Ideas:

    Wonderless: you may never build a Great Wonder..
    More restrictive versions:
    Never build various small wonders
    and/or
    You may never Control a Great Wonder, ie any city taken with a GW must be razed/abandoned/given away

    Capture only... No building of Settlers (less restrictive OCC)

    Slaves: no building of Workers

    No Research..Research rate set to zero, no scientists, all technologies must be stolen/traded/gotten from wonders.

    How about Culture less...no cultural buildings (excluding Wonders+Palace)
    Or altogether buildingless.. no buildings at all only units/wealth.
     
  10. microbe

    microbe Cascaded Mansion

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Messages:
    4,596
    Look at this DI3 - Wonderless is Wonderful

    No building/keeping great/small wonders, not even FP.
     
  11. SesnOfWthr

    SesnOfWthr True Believer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,684
    Location:
    Red Sox Nation
    I've been wondering about AWE and AWM, I think. Obviously variants of Always war, but I'm not sure what it is. Is it just a quick reference for difficulty level?
     
  12. mad-bax

    mad-bax Chieftain GOTM Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Messages:
    5,229
    Yes... Always war monarch and always war emperor.
     
  13. Hikaro Takayama

    Hikaro Takayama a.k.a Laura

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    5,636
    Location:
    Eorzea, Hydaelyn
    Here's a variant that I thought up one night:

    U.N. Charter Variant:

    Article I: Non-agression. You may never declare war, unless you are attacked. In addition, rouge states (any nation that starts a war with another) must be embargoed.

    Article II: Occupation of foreign territory: As long as you are at war with a foreign power, it is permissible to maintain "peacekeeping" forces in their cities, however, once peace is made, all captured cities must be returned to their original owner. Trading the cities for luxuries, technology, etc. is allowed (and highly reccommended). The exceptions to this rule are (1) if the citizens of the city overthrow their oppressive regime and vote to join your empire, that city can be kept, as that was the will of the people, and (2) if the enemy (during a conflict) captures any of your cities and refuses to return them, then you may keep an equal number of cities of your choice, but any number above and beyond that must be returned.

    Article III: The Geneva Convention. At no time during a war may any atrocities be committed. Atrocities include the use of Weapons of Mass destruction (nukes), razing a city (except if a size 1 city auto-razes, after all there are always some casualties in a war), and mistreatment of POW's (slave workers). Mistreatment of POW's includes execution of prisoners (disbanding), and keeping prisoners after a conflict has ended. At the end of a conflict, all POW's must be returned to their home country. In additon, any nation found commiting atrocities against any other must be placed under embargo.

    Article IV: Human Rights. As an example to all the nations of the world, at no time (except during despotism at the begining and during periods of anarchy) shall an opressive system of government be thrust upon the people. In addition, Fascism is a heinous practice that not only allows, but encourages genocide (forced resettlement). All facist nations must be placed under embargo. In addtion, if a facist state declares war, Article II does not apply, since we'd be liberating the oppressed people from their brutal facist overlords, and any war with a facist state must be maintained until either (a) the Facism collapses for a less oppressive form of government, or (b) the facist threat to world peace is eliminated.

    Well, how's that sound for a game variant?
     
  14. SesnOfWthr

    SesnOfWthr True Believer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,684
    Location:
    Red Sox Nation
    Sounds highly restrictive. First off, the returning of cities can not be used as barter (except in very early vanilla patches), as the ai will not consider any deal that includes trading of cities for any commodity.

    The embargo clauses would very likely force you to ruin your own rep if you have trade deals in place when a civ declares war, or becomes a fascist state.

    And I find that two of the nicest things about early wars especially, is the foreign workforce that can be assembled, along with the increase in landmass.

    It would certainly make for a tough variant though.
     
  15. Espírito

    Espírito Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    918
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    Mmhm. I thought of a variant too, but was wondering whether anyone had any comments upon it or ideas to add, I haven't tested this because the rules I've definitely decided upon don't seem quite enough imho, thoughts?

    Variant: Mercenary

    i) You may only declare war if another civ pays you (gpt, tech, gold, workers, resources) in a Military Alliance or Mutual Protection Pact. In both cases they must pay you more than you give them e.g. MA and you give two techs, they give one isn't allowed, obviously you could argue over the value of the techs but that's the players discretion. In essensce you must get more than you give. You may also go to war if another civ declares war on you, at higher difficulties this will obviously mean you'll be at war more tha at lower.

    ii) You may not capture cities, any you do capture must be given for free to your emplyoing civ(s) at the end of the MA. You may only capture cities and keep them if the other civ declared war upon you. Loot would include the gold gained in a city's capture and any from selling buildings. The same goes (or not??? opinions?) for workers, could be classed as loot or property.

    iii) You may Embargo/ROP only if the other civ pays you.

    iv)Not quite sure about this one but: Victory Point Scoring, you'll get more points for the more units and cities you capture.

    v) Only victories are Conquest (last civ will have to declare war on you), Domination (you'll need lots of civs declaring war on you and/or a good expansion), Victory Points (you're a successful mercenary, hopefully).

    Rules I'm unsure about including
    i) Every city must have a barracks - mercenaries need training.
    ii) Civ must be Militaristic? can't be Agricultural - farmers dont make good soldiers
    iii) for this I'm unsure whether to make it Optional, Necessary or Disallowed. Capture the Flag and Regicide - not mass Regicide. The princess would represent loot or an objective gained, and your King would represent the Mercenary leader, his Army falling apart when he died.

    Comment
    Obviously playing in a Democracy or Republic would make this harder. Keeping good relations with civs would be necessary up to Mon/Emp imo as you need an employer. I think Regicide and Capture the Flag and Victory Points would continue the theme better but I've always won too easily at this (Only up to Emperor but I mean easier in relation to other conditions obv.)
     
  16. Tomoyo

    Tomoyo Fate

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    9,698
    Location:
    Boston, Mass
    The Democracy Variant (not the Demo starting kind) AG7
     
  17. vossibeer

    vossibeer Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    10
    I tried a variant with only one restriction: I must not gain any optional tech.

    Definition: No Optional Tech (NOT) : You are not allowed to discover optional techs. Optional techs are those which are not needed to reach the next era, monarchy for example.

    Well, doesn't sound like a challenge. But think over the complications. I list the most important features sorted by their importance:

    a) The one and only one advanced type of government will be feudalism. With all the corruption and war weariness included. Have fun.

    b) You never can build a knight or cavalry. So this game is essential near an infantry game. Have fun. In other words, clean your own continent before the ai reaches military tradition, or you are possibly toasted. (Up from demi god, this can be a problem even for experienced players)

    c) You can never build a library, since literature is prohibited. This means, you can never build a university, since libs are required to build them. In other words: Your own research capabilities will humble you, and still you must avoid a cultural victory of other civs.

    d) You will never be able to get cities above size 12, since sanitation is an optional tech. More important, you are not able to build battlefield medicine. So have fun with it.

    e) Stealing technology will be difficult, expensive and comes along with a high failure rate, because you cannot build the intelligency agency. And this means, you cannot plant spies.

    f) You can never mobilize your economy, since nationalism is optional. This may really humble you up from demi-god level.

    g) You can never build a marine to take out this damn last island city of your opponents. Ok, usually not that important, but it's like a course in my games. Nearly always there's one of these ugly one-tile cities, and combined with war weariness this can cause problems.

    h) If you capture the great library, you must raze this city, because there's the danger that you receive optional techs from it, and your entire game is toast. So, you cannot use the GB to boost your research, which is annoying up from demi-god.

    i) You have no access to some important wonders like Smith or JSB, except you capture them, of course.

    Believe it or not, but all the feature together, the difficulty of a level moves up around 2, so a simple monarch game usually becomes humbling as demi-god.
    Personally, i still had no success with it above emperor, and with normal settings and luck i'm meanwhile able to beat deity on huge continent maps, so i guess, i'm a experienced player.

    So check it out, it's quite annoying and evil :)

    with kind regards
    a fanatic
     
  18. col

    col Old Fart Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    5,812
    Location:
    Sunny Scarborough
    One variation some of us had fun with in competitive games.

    Lowest scoring win

    A tightrope walk. Do you go the OCC route and risk not winning? Do you restrict your border expansion and population. Of course a late win will score less than a quick one but you may lose if you delay too long.
    Fun stuff.
     
  19. Espírito

    Espírito Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    918
    Location:
    Manchester, England
    could you not just abandon all your cities late game then starve the last one, so few pop and territory? play till the end.
     
  20. col

    col Old Fart Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    5,812
    Location:
    Sunny Scarborough
    No because your score is calculated across the entire game. My record low win is under 50.
     

Share This Page