Cultural Clash & Cultural Syncretism Mechanics for Civ VII+

Problemedical

Chieftain
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
Messages
16
Location
Odesa, Ukraine
Hello there. The everchanging, volatile and multifaceted kaleidoscope of cultures interacting with each other around the world, stearing individual people and whole nations alike, has always been one of the most fascinating thing for me about real world history. In Civilization series, however, culture currently feels very generic, even more so than faith - just one more type of currency you accumulate and use. You can't even do that much with culture besides unlocking civics/policies, and addition of tourism in Civ 6 didn't help that much. What I propose is a complex overhaul of Culture in hypothetical upcoming Civ games.
Every Civ should have its own culture tied to it and incorporating their unique abilities, units and infrastructure. Civs in the game are constant and unchanging pretty much from the dawn of time to the space era, and we can assume that their culture haven't changed that much as well, based on what we can see. But that is not the case with real human cultures, which are subject to both constant drift and drastic shifts, as well as readily mix with each other.
I imagine new dynamic culture-civs as having a distinct set of abilities from the start of the game, same as in previous games, but also being able to "swell up" with numerous unique abilities through the course of the game based on what you do as a player.
Inspired by Humankind, I see in culture mechanics a possibility of introduction an immersive narrative element to the game, in form of dynamic events and desicions. They could be of any nature, from settling on a different terrain to accepting refugees from a ravaged tribe.
Bonuses themselves would also have to vary: passive yield boosts, culture-tied units or infrastructure (e.g. from different barbarian tribes and city-states) etc. Everything you do gives you some kind of bonus (with or without a downside), and each bonus gets carved into your civilization and remains a part of its abilities for this particular game. This desicions do not have to always be binary and restricting, like in Humankind or in Events and Desicions mod for Civ 5.
Now, imagine you play as Sweden and conquer a Russian city with a vibrant Russian culture. You get a selection of choices: either try to assimilate them into your culture, receiving a part of Russian civ bonuses, which take time and resources, try to eradicate the culture completely, receiving a bonus towards your own civ abilities but antagonising remaining Russian cities, or let cultural syncretism happen, which temorarily weakens your civ, but potentially gives you the benefits and bonuses of both cultures in both cities. And now imagine same syncretism occuring in your cities that have trade routes with, say, England or Norway, or new immigration mechanics. In the end, in this particlular game you end up with a multicultural Swedish-Russian-Norwegian empire, but it can be Swedish-Egyptian in the next one. I think this kind of idea does add up to overall variability of game experience. I also imagine a Cultural Pressure/Influence mechanic, similar to Religious and Loyalty Pressures and also Tourism in Civ 6 and working in conjunction with them.
Now, of course, culture as a purple currency doesn't have to and shouldn't go away.
Also, something will have to be done to Cultural Victory to incorporate changes that vast.
Hope you enjoyed this wall of text which I'm unsure how to format so it looks prettier, written in a language I'm not entirely used to (that's why some concepts may be not very clearly laid out and the word choice may be weird).Please feel free a comment or a further suggestion, and have a nice day!
 

Naokaukodem

Millenary King
Joined
Aug 8, 2003
Messages
3,618
In Civ3, you could have citizens of different ethnicity, and it was visual also as each citizen was displayed in the bottom of the cities screen. This was nice, even very nice, but i don't remember if it served a gameplay purpose. At least it could have do, especially towards a cultural victory. I think War Weariness was influenced by citizens ethnicity, but i'm unsure.

Now, as i said elsewhere, I would not like Ethnicity to be a mix of existing predetermined monoliths, like you have a greek citizen, two arab citizen, and 13 roman citizens. Don't get me wrong, that's an idea of cultural mix, it's pretty decent but rather limitating IMO. What I would like, is, to take again the Civ3 example, a Mii (Nintendo avatars) editor that can mix up different cultures (even those of the "empty land", which is not empty obviously), creating new ones and mixing up culture WITHIN citizens as opposed to AMONG all of them. This would nearly a genome simulator. That's for ethnicity, but I'm aware that it is only a part of culture.

But we could do the same for the whole concept of culture, here a mix of two cultures meaning that there is a third that is created, not only a rough 'mix' head by head. For example, if you are 8 starting civs, in Civ3 there would be only 8 types of citizens ethnicity. And uniques, particularities, would be taken straight up from those 8 cutures. With my model, if you have 8 starting civs, the game could create potentially infinite number of cultures, with infinite number of uniques. Of course, this would imply units editors, buildings editors, abilities editors, from what you could choose among a panel of possible options, unless the game creates the cultures on its own. (but I think choosing between different options would be better, obviously)

This would require the developpers to embrace the maximum number of Earth different cultures, far, far more than there is in the complete editions of all Civs united, in order to build their editors, and ideally, even more. (After all, each game of Civ is Earth II)

I think this kind of idea does add up to overall variability of game experience.

That's what I think too. Experience, like a trip. As to gameplay... gameplay is about limitations. I have experienced great games with no gameplay. So it's already proved that a game without gameplay can be enjoyable, and even replayable. Obviously every next Civ will have a gameplay, so it doesn't hurt. (except the massive amount of work this idea would require)
 

Problemedical

Chieftain
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
Messages
16
Location
Odesa, Ukraine
Thank you for your reply! I hope I understand your idea correctly: each mixture of two cultures creates a third culture which now serves as an identifier for this particular citizen or a bunch of citizens? Say, following my Swedish-Russian example, you get Swedrussian Culture 1, which has one combination of Russian and Swedish traits, but there could also be generated Swedrussian Culture 2, which inherits another set of traits, and so on ad infinitum? It kinda implies a modular structure for civs and cultures from what I get.
Concerning the culture-ethnicity editor: qould it be entirely player-accessible in the main game? If so, would'n it needlessly complicate a gameplay, moving it in a Paradox-y direction (I know many people loveParadox games but I personally find their difficulty (in terms of mechanics and interface) akin to a flight simulator, but you also play it drunk). I have never played Civ3 and I have no idea what Mii is, so I hope I got your post right.
 

Naokaukodem

Millenary King
Joined
Aug 8, 2003
Messages
3,618
It kinda implies a modular structure for civs and cultures from what I get.
Concerning the culture-ethnicity editor: qould it be entirely player-accessible in the main game?

Yes, that's why i talked about uniques, abilities "editors".
No, the ethnicity editor would be totally uncontrollable by the player, unlike maybe other ones when switching culture.
 
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