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Create a good vanilla line-up for Civilization

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Vahnstad, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    I never said they were Greek to the exclusion of everything else (ethnic, cultural or otherwise). I said they were Greek Byzantine emperors in the sense of language—in the sense, to clarify, that they (by and large) primarily spoke Greek, which is a fact. Contrast that with Justinian, who struggled to speak Greek, and was often considered the last truly “Roman” Byzantine leader due to his use of Latin. And note, please, that I contrasted Greek with Latin Byzantine rulers at the start, not Greek with Slavic or other. Ethnicity was never something I focused on for Byzantine leaders.

    Also, I don’t see how this division in language “skews” the selection. Every leader pick comes with various factors to consider, even among us fans. I never think “oh well, let’s pick a Latin-speaking one because that’s just the better language”. I think some in these forums do want a Greek-speaking Byzantine ruler for variety, but I am going to courteously assume that Greek language wasn’t the only factor for their preference for such Greek-speaking medieval Byzantine leaders.

    Certainly for me the most important factors are that we not pick truly incompetent leaders that left no real legacy. Which is why Theodora is fine. She definitely left a legacy, and is arguably one of the better known female rulers of world history. And she arguably bridges the Greek-Latin gap fairly well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
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  2. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I have no argument with Theodora as a Leader, for the reasons you give as well as the "Firaxis Argument" that she was a big, impressive personality that would come across easily as a cartoon, which seems to be one of their major criteria now.

    If I can clarify myself (something I seem to have to do more and more often these days) I just wanted to make sure that the selection of an Alternate Leader for Byzantium/Eastern Rome did not exclude the leaders from the post-7th century CE, the truly Medieval Era, just because they were all officially 'Greek speaking'. I think temporal diversity should be a selection factor, at least as much as language and culture, if the most important criteria like unique response to problems, historical impact and importance, and general competence are all present.

    Parenthetically, when I looked up a list of all the Byzantine emperors before replying to this Thread, I was struck by how many of them - certainly the majority of them - failed on one or more of the important criteria, especially ability to respond effectively to problems and general competence. While every Civilization has leaders they would just as soon forget (Paul of Russia, the Georges of England, Frederick III of Prussia, All after Louis XIV in France, etc.), I think Byzantium was cursed with a general low level of leadership ability lasting centuries, interspersed only occasionally by flashes of simple competence.
     
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  3. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

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    Indeed, in my case, that Medieval Byzantium spoke Greek is more a mark against it than for it (so many Greeeeeeks), but I also feel like the Medieval era is when Byzantium really came into its own as a civilization.

    I object. George III would make an incredibly entertaining leader, especially if they included his friend the King of Prussia. :mischief:

    If so, I think it's evidence that a civilization can do pretty well for itself without great leadership...(Granted, Byzantium was more or less on the decline throughout the Medieval era--but it was a rather slow, luxurious decline.)
     
  4. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Fair enough. I think temporal diversity is an important factor too, to be clear. But I still think Theodora is a better pick than many medieval Byzantine emperors for her flavor factor (her life story reads like an HBO drama, and we know quite a bit more about her than some later emperors).

    Byzantium did generally have other things going for it—an advanced military, wealth from its position between continents, immense Theodosian Walls to repel attackers for centuries, etc., so even with incompetent leadership at times it’s done well. Most other kingdoms/empires/chiefdoms around it crumpled or declined in a far shorter time than Byzantium.

    I agree that too many Greeks (I.e. THREE Greek leaders in Civ VI) spoil the broth.

    But Byzantium was really into its own from way earlier IMO—during Justinian and Theodora’s co-rulership, you had immense wealth (and the beginnings of Byzantine silk production), overseas conquests, codification of Roman law, religious disputes, intrigue (which Byzantium is famous for), a largely Greek-speaking population, skilled generals, and so on. The empire was at its height in their time. However competent later emperors could be (and quite a few were), none got the empire back to its territorial heights, and few developed as many new things with lasting legacies as Justinian and Theodora did (to cite the best examples, the Justinian Code and the Hagia Sophia).

    It’s true also, of course, that the empire was stretched thin and spent a lot of its wealth due to Justinian’s sometimes poor decisions. But to be fair, we know a great deal more about Justinian, and from an ardent critic too. We don’t, for example, get as many hostile sources providing info on Alexios Komnenos (chief source for his reign was a book by his daughter written while she was imprisoned for a failed coup). Even though we know his role in the ignoble First Crusade for example.

    But to get back to the main topic of discussion with a little less Byzantine focus, do you think my suggested leader list for Civ VII has enough temporal diversity? I think it’s somewhat weaker there since cutting Greece and Rome also means fewer late BC leaders...of course, I could kind of remedy that by putting in an earlier German leader. Arminius may be controversial though since he was revered by the German nationalists pre-World War II.
     
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  5. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Justinian's (Theodora's) era was the apex of Byzantium's influence: reconquered Italy and North Africa, if briefly, had some of the best generals anywhere (which could be the basis for a UA). I think a later leader would be handy as an Alternate, but I have no problem with Theodora as Primary Byzantine leader.

    Arminius led one little tribe, managed to put together a brief confederation long enough to ambush a Roman idiot and his legions, but while that gets the publicity, Germanicus came back a few years later and mopped the forest floor with the German tribes. Doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about Arminius as a leader with any lasting legacy.

    On the other hand, the early non-Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperors have some good candidates aside from old Red Beard. My pick would be Otto I ('The Great'), who whipped the Magyars, conquered a good part of Italy - could be a good military leader long before the usual German suspects. also a little earlier, but still late Renaissance, would be Frederick Wilhelm, "The Great Elector" of Prussia in the mid-late 1600s. Played off all sides in the Thirty Year's War and largely kept Brandenburg-Prussia out of the worst of that mess, built up a superbly-trained army much larger than the country should have been able to afford by meticulous planning, beat the Swedes by using sleigh-mounted infantry in a 'blitzkrieg' like march at Fehrbellin, invited the Huegenots and other refugees in to 'beef up' the Prussian economy - lots of ways to go with him, military, production, diplomacy.

    Another possibility for an 'early' German leader (it's in a Mod already) would be a Dual Leader of Charlemagne as a leader for both France and Germany.
     
  6. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

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    Four (counting Cleopatra).

    I don't disagree. I just feel that Byzantium is made more unique by the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The splendor of Byzantium was a byword for culture and sophistication in Medieval Western Europe.

    I'd just like to say that Anna Komnene was awesome. :p I don't want her as a Civ leader because she never actually led, but...

    So was Bismarck, but he's been the German leader in most iterations of Civ. I don't think we have to dislike someone just because the Nazis happened to like them...Personally I think claiming cultural continuity from the Germanic tribes all the way through the Federal Republic of Germany is a bit of a stretch, far more so than the Holy Roman Empire.

    I vote Rudolph II on the "big personality" grounds. :mischief:
     
  7. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    When even the Romans can recognize major cultural, political, and linguistic differences among the tribes, "German Unity" becomes a pretty vague phrase. - And given that these differences became even more pronounced during the 'migration period' when Burgundians, Franks, Goths, Frisians, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Swabians were all labeled "German", and the term becomes almost meaningless. Personally, I think we have to wait until they all stop moving around and recognizable German states, no matter how small compared to the eventual Imperial Germany, start to appear,

    I regard the Hapsburgs as only 'pseudo-German' because of all the Spanish/HRE emphasis and influence, but Rudolph would certainly be something different in a German leader:
    Almost completely inept at military and politics
    Religiously Tolerant, which was almost unheard of at the time.
    Major collector of "Great Works", maybe give him an associated Art Museum of some kind
    Prague as his capital, which will make the Bohemiophiles a little happier.
    Major interest in Astrology and Alchemy, which could either be a Science emphasis (as they were then considered) or something Completely Different.

    And, of course, his major erotica/porn collection, which is probably better left out of the game if Firaxis doesn't want to get Trolled by all the Clean Living Groups (for which Ambrose Bierce had the best line: "(They) yield to the temptation of denying themselves a pleasure")
     
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  8. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

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    And yet when Hapsburg Charles V became king of Spain the Spanish revolted because they didn't want a foreigner on the throne. :p Though the Hapsburgs controlled Spain and Sicily, among other places, I'd consider them a German dynasty.

    He may have been the original owner of the mysterious and infamous Voynich manuscript.
     
  9. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Certainly their 'home base' was the Eastern March (Österreich = Austria) but despite the linguistic similarities, Austria is not the same as Germany, and the Hapsburgs tended to regard (non-Austrian) Germany as a source of HRE votes and impressed military contingents, which were increasingly disreputable as time went on. The best summation of the Austria versus Germany differences is in the old German saying:
    "In Berlin, things might be serious but they were never hopeless.
    In Vienna, things might be hopeless, but they were never serious."

    He is also considered responsible for Prague getting a reputation as a something of a center for the Occult. Giving a Unique Attribute to your capital would be in itself a rather unique Unique in the game.
     
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  10. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Byzantium in Justinian's time did come after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and in his time it was cultured and sophisticated also. :D

    Bismarck is different because he also sought peace at key points, and was revered widely outside of Nazi nationalist circles too. Arminius, these days, is comparatively less well-known.

    Agreed!

    He's sort of like Boadicea in that his lasting legacy as that of symbolic importance--resistance, warrior spirit, etc. I think Arminius was more cunning than your summary accounts for though--he used deception to divert the Romans and then crush them. Other than Teutoburg Forest, didn't the Romans also try and reconquer Germany afterwards and also fail because of Arminius?
     
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  11. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

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    This is a quirk of history, though. That Germany ended up under Prussian domination is simply due to the scheming of Otto von Bismarck, but during the Late Middle Ages Austria was the beating heart of the HRE. Many German electorates were very distinctive, but I'd still consider them German--except Bohemia, Livonia, and the HRE's Italian holdings, of course.

    Then it's an excellent opportunity to educate the public. :D Though like I said before, I'm very skeptical of treating the Germanic tribes as the same civilization as HRE/German Empire/Federal Republic of Germany.
     
  12. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Not quite. Germanicus led what amounted to an Expeditionary Force to recover the lost eagles of the Varro's legions, but the Romans never intended to move the formal border away from the Rhine.

    However, what most people don't realize (and I wouldn't know except that I was stationed there for almost 10 years) is that Roman influence spread far across the Rhine in the early Empire. Across the Rhine river from Maintiacum (modern Mainz), where they had 2 legions stationed, they strung a set of border posts along the ridge of the Taunus Mountains in a large arc to defend the area of modern Wiesbaden, because the tribe there (the Matti) were trading heavily with the Romans and had set up a thermal bath in what is now the center of the modern city, and invited the Romans to cross the river and enjoy it. The Romans also maintained small forts watching strategic points on the trade routes leading east and northeast, such as the crossing of the Main River at modern Aschaffenburg: there was a German village on the site of the center of the modern town, and a small Roman fort across the river to make sure nobody tried to hold up traders coming down from the Baltic with amber, furs, and other 'Amenity' goods bound for the border and Rome.

    It culminated with the 'scheming' of Otto von Bismarck, but before Bismarck's time the Elector of Brandenburg in the HRE had also become the King In Prussia, and then the King Of Prussia, and then the head of the North German Confederation, so that before Otto came along Prussia had already effectively shut Austria out of the northern three quarters of Germany. Prussia's dominance was really a product of three more than competent leaders in a century from the late 17th to the late 18th century: Frederick Wilhelm "The Great Elector", then Wilhelm Frederick "The Soldier King", then Frederick II "The Great". To which line-up I would add Louise of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, the wife of Frederick Wilhelm III, who ruled during the Napoleonic Wars. Fred III had all the forceful personality of wet kleenex, but his wife Louise sponsored the reformers who rebuilt the army and the state and set up the conditions for the "Liberation War" of 1813 - 15 against Napoleon. This was really the first sign of German Nationalism, and largely because of Louise, it was centered on Prussia, not Austria.
     
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  13. Phrozen

    Phrozen King

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    And if Bismark had his absolute wishs neither Austria nor Bavaria would of been in the Imperial German state due to the large cultural gap between Northern Germans and Southern Germans. Bismarck could see that a Southern German state would be an issue but having both Austria and Bavaria in the Imperial state would also be an issue so in the end he chose to include Bavaria, even if the Bavarians did as much as possible to be in the Imperial state in name only, and Austria became its own country.
     
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  14. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Bavaria was a large and important German state when Brandenburg-Prussia was still a patch of sandy pine woods full of impoverished Junkers who were still too poor to afford monacles (In fact, it was a recognized German Kingdom before Charlemagne!). Even after they supposedly became part of the "2nd Reich", the Bavarian Army was administered separately and maintained separate unit identities right up to the end of World War One (and to this day there is a separate "Bavarian Army Museum" in Bavaria).
    Parenthetically, this is also why Bavaria is a legitimate "third German state" after Prussia and Austria/HRE upon which to construct a Civ for the game. It has some Unique Personality leaders - Maximilian the Great who made Bavaria an HRE Electorate, Maximilian II "The Blue King", Mad Ludwig "The Fairy Tale King" of Neuschwanstein fame, etc., it has different military, cultural, and political leanings from the other two, and aside from Bohemia, it may be the only Civ that could legitimately have a Beer-Based Unique: reason enough to include it in a DLC!
     
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  15. Red_warning

    Red_warning Warlord

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    Civ I is the only version where the Norse haven't been included, kinda surprised to not see them on so many lists :p
     
  16. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

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    I admit that German history between the Thirty Years' War and Bismarck is not my speciality. Thank you for clarifying this for me. :)

    We already have them. They just happen to be led by a Christian king who swears by Odin and denies his foes the right to enter Valhalla. :lol:
     
  17. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    The period in Europe is dominated by the rise of the French Absolute Monarchy under Louis XIV and the English "Constitutional" monarchy via the English Civil War, "Glorious Revolution" and rise of a fabulously wealthy (by all previous standards) English/British Middle Class, so the squabbling German States don't get a lot of attention. They yield to almost no period or place in history in the numbers of strange and intriguing personalities and variations in government, politics, military and culture.
    My favorite illustration of this (which I used in a lecture at a Gaming Convention once) is the Great Fantasy Character: the great Black Lord of Evil who attacks all of his neighbors, enslaves their soldiers, burns down their cities and palaces - and also plays the flute, writes opera, and corresponds with almost every intellectual in Europe - I just described Frederick the Great of Prussia according to both his contemporaries and biographers: the historical characters are literally, too strange to be fiction! - And I'm not even talking about the infamous Augustus the Strong of Saxony, head of the Most Corrupt Court in Europe (contemporary description, not mine) who had over 100 illegitimate children - the oldest of whom became one of the best Generals the French Army had in the mid-18th century! Again, no novelist would dare make this stuff up . . .
     
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  18. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    As much as I find a "Vikings/Norse" Civ interesting and fun, I don't think they are needed for the base game.
    We are guaranteed to have at least have England, France, Germany, Russia, Greece and Rome representing Europe, which already usually has the most representation to begin with.
     
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  19. Red_warning

    Red_warning Warlord

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    As long as most costumers live in the West I think Europe always will be overrepresented, though I understand that not all wish that was the case.
     
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  20. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

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    That's a shame, because there are great costumes to be had all over the world. I mean, it's true the Tudors in particular had a keen eye for fashion (all the more reason to be sorry we lost Lizzy), but I think there's little that compares with the elegance of Chinese hanfu. :mischief:
     
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