District cost mechanics. A very questionable design choice?

RealHuhn

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If I'm correct it works like this:
District costs are only dependent on the amount of techs and civics you have acquired.
A completed (or conquered) district doesn't increase the cost of the next one.
Advancement to the next era doesn't increase costs (only the tech you researched to get there).
Some types of districts (usually harbor) get cheaper when you have less of them (compared to the AI???).
Unique districts are always half the costs.

Quote by "Dynamic" in strategy&tips forum:
It looks like:
District Main Cost = RoundDown(60 * (1 + P * 9)),
P = RoundDown(100*MAX(TechNum/67, CivicNum/50))/100;
Where 60 - base cost (normal speed), 67 - number of techs in the tree, 50 - number of civics in the tree.
If you have fewer of a given district than the average player has, that district's cost is reduced by 25% for you.
Unic district always costs 50%.

How does it influence gameplay?
To keep costs as low as possible you should do three things:
1. Tech as few techs and civics as possible. How? Beeline expensive techs and civics like commercial hubs and industrial zones. Avoid cheap techs/civics as long as possible. Research techs/civics until one turn before completion or one turn before half completion if eurekas aren't fulfilled yet and switch to something else.
2. Start to build districts as soon as they are available in a city which means at size 1,4,7,10 etc. After that you immediately switch to something else and the district cost is locked down forever!!! Get back to it whenever you want to. Plan the placement of districts in advance, buy tiles and chop forests/marsh before you can build the next one.
3. Expand as quickly as possible to keep amount of techs and civics at a minimum. This way you can lock down costs of districts a lot earlier.

Which civ benefits the most from this mechanic?
Germany:
Not only do they get a cheap industrial zone with insane adjacency bonuses but also they can build one more district than it's usually allowed. This means that you can lock down the costs of two districts at size 1, three districts at size 4 etc. This plus the high production from the Hansa leads to an insane amount of cheap districts and production. Completely OP.

What's my opinion on it?
Pro:

It's fun in a sense because it's a logical puzzle and it rewards efficient expansion, planning of district placement and builder management.
In general, I think it's great that production in CIV6 is limited and you cannot spam each district in every city (unless you play as Germany ;)). City specialization and city placement became more important again. Builder management is fun and rewarding. Expansion feels very rewarding. Science became less important. I really like the game because of this. And how costs of districts increase in CIV6 has a huge influence on all this.
Contra:
It's counter intuitive and micro intensive. Counter intuitive because, in the early game, teching fast and getting as many eurekas as possible actually hurts you more than it benefits you. Switching production immediately feels unnatural. Expansion becomes top priority. Building early wonders instead of expanding should be avoided because district costs constantly shoot up while you build them.
Micro intensive in a negative way because you have to check your tech and civic advancement each turn and switch to other techs before you complete them (unless you really need those techs of course).
Overall, I'm getting a little annoyed by this mechanic already because researching techs/civics and building early wonders is fun but it ruins production.

Few ideas on how to fix it:

With all this being said, I don't know how to fix it but here are a few ideas.
1. Districts of each type get more expensive everytime you build one of them. This would hurt expansion and get rid of the new trade off in CIV6 that science and culture make districts more expensive! Science would probably become king again. Please be careful with it! But it looks like many people like the idea so far.
2. Make it dependent on overall beakers/culture generated. That way you wouldn't need to micro manage techs anymore, at least, and it wouldn't really change anything else. Again, this mechanic has a lot of positive effects on gameplay. So maybe it has to stay somehow. Costs scaling can be adjusted as well to make it less ridiculous around turn 60-100 or so. My personal favourite ;)
3. Make it dependent on time. Costs increase slightly each turn. This would punish those who lag behind in science. A very "lazy" way to change it ?!
4. Get rid of the "lock-down-effect". It would be interesting to know if it's intended to be in the game by the devs.
Or a combination of those.

What do you think about it and have you already adjusted your strategies because of this?

Edit: Made it prettier and more organized :p.
Edit 2: After reading the first three pages of replies, I had to add a stronger negative statement to suggestion 1. I don't feel like it's a good solution because it would change the design of the game too much. You can still disagree, of course.
 
Last edited:

KrikkitTwo

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I'd say the best solution is all districts get more expensive every time you place (or conquer) a district. (Whether City Centers, Aqueducts, and neighborhoods should be affected I don't know)
 

smartcanuck1988

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I think your idea of each type of district increasing in cost with each one you build is a great idea. It makes sense in my head (supply and demand kind of thing: you need to "better" your older district to attract business people, so it makes sense that the next district you build of the same type would need more hammers).

I also agree with KrikkitTwo that no cost increases should be added to City Centers (Settlers cost already increase), Aqueducts (it's more of a static building than a district for working people), or Neighborhoods (houses do nothing else, so with increasing number of neighborhoods the increasing "cost" is you having to sacrifice tiles).

With the limitation on how many districts you have according to pop, and your idea of increasing costs per type, I think this would give the same encouragement for specialization and at the same time it avoids this really gamey mechanic of plopping a district and switching production. It's really poor design at the moment in my opinion.
 

RealHuhn

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Maybe get rid of the lock-down effect, make it dependent on total science/culture generated instead of techs/civis researched and adjust the cost scaling from around turn 50-100 or so. Districts in new cities are way too expensive during that time, before factories and trade routes kinda balance it again.
 

redwings1340

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I would personally scale it and do it by how many districts you've built in that particular city. So, your first district is cheaper, your fourth is more expensive. This might encourage expanding even more than the current game mechanics even do, butt would be a lot more intuitive than what we have now.
 

KrikkitTwo

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It shouldn't be per type, that would tend to homogenize all civs

Instead building Any district should increase the cost of all other districts. That encourages your civ to specialize. (Keep the 25% discount for the ones lower than average for a little diversification)
 

RealHuhn

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It shouldn't be per type, that would tend to homogenize all civs

Instead building Any district should increase the cost of all other districts. That encourages your civ to specialize. (Keep the 25% discount for the ones lower than average for a little diversification)
However, this would hurt expansion quite a lot. Maybe it's just me but I don't want to return to the boring 4-city "empire" ala CIV5.
 

b5fan

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I think the best solution is to mod out this mechanic entirely. This can be done by setting CostProgressionModel="NO_COST_PROGRESSION" in Base\Assets\Gameplay\Data\Districts.xml. Making districts scale in cost is overkill and just unfun....
 

RealHuhn

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I think the best solution is to mod out this mechanic entirely. This can be done by setting CostProgressionModel="NO_COST_PROGRESSION" in Base\Assets\Gameplay\Data\Districts.xml. Making districts scale in cost is overkill and just unfun....

But when you really abuse Germany's abilities you can see where it would lead to. Building every district in every city destroys specialization and makes the game quite dull. With Germany I can build "locked down" districts in like 6-10 turns on turn 110, standard settings ... in a city with 5 population, one trade route, a well-placed Hansa without factories and without improved terrain. It's silly. District costs have to increase with time somehow.
 

theis81

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I like the idea of increasing cost per type of district.

This would perhaps decrease civ specialization, but increase city specialization within the civ, which imo is more interesting. Also it would limit the ICS a bit, which is okay.

Right now building close pumping out industrial districts with factories is kind of boring to me, but it's the best way to play from midgame.
 

Dida

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Prefer to have cost ties to the number of districts per city. I make no logical sense for cost of districts to go up based on the number already built. Plus it limits expansion. I hate civ5 style 2-city empires.
 

ComradeKroo

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There are some "Cost Progression" mechanic in the game.
-Cost increase by number of teches and civics: Districts.
-Cost increase by number of previous units: Settler, Builder, Religious units.

If its my choice, ill choose
-District CP is increase by number of districts type that has been built.
-Settler, Builder, Religious Units, ... CP increase by Teches and Civics.

And of course, i want Devs bring back old mechanic, Tech and Civic cost increase by number of Cities in your empire.
 

RealHuhn

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And of course, i want Devs bring back old mechanic, Tech and Civic cost increase by number of Cities in your empire.

No, please no. It ruined all incentive to build new cities after the early game. -_-
 

Magil

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I'm not certain districts need any kind of scaling. Consider the opportunity costs already inherent in placing a district: you're locking yourself out of certain buildings until you hit a certain level of population, full stop. It also uses a tile which can't be a farm/mine/wonder. You want maximum value from the placement because a district cannot be moved and you cannot build another district of the same type in that city.

If anything, I'd remove maintenance costs on buildings and maybe attach higher maintenance costs to districts instead. Perhaps even scaling maintenance? I just don't see why it should cost so much production to build a holy site late in the game.

And of course, i want Devs bring back old mechanic, Tech and Civic cost increase by number of Cities in your empire.

Let's not have this asinine game mechanic brought back. Getting rid of it is the best thing VI has done compared to BNW.
 

KmDubya

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Closing the lock down loop hole would be a good start.
 

UWHabs

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I've said this before, but I think the cost should be based on number of similar districts in the empire (wide), number of districts in the city (tall), and current era.

Why? Well, each can be logically explained:
Similar districts in empite: encourages you to branch out more. So if you want to throw a commercial hub in every city, the 6th commercial hub will be a lot more expensive to build than the 1st theatre district.
Districts in the city is more just because the more districts in the city, the bigger the city is, the more capacity they have. If this is the 5th or 6th district in the city, if the cost is too small then it's easy to throw it down. There should always be some sort of cost-benefit, so maybe it's not worth throwing down the encampment late - just take those hammers and build units instead. Would also potentially make the district projects more valuable. If I know it's really expensive to put down the next district in the city, maybe I just put my effort into research projects instead.
Era is more of a catch-up mechanism, then. If I'm 2 eras ahead of my neighbour, then giving them cheaper districts can help them catch up more.

How this all works with the "locking in" mechanism, I'm not sure. You definitely want to avoid a case where a city is forever 1 turn away from building a district because you keep adding cities/other districts in other cities, so you need a fixed cost to plan. Probably I'd vote for something like:
-As long as you have 0 hammers into a district, the cost can still rise based on other criteria
-If you have a district laid out but aren't actively working on it, hammers will decay
Then "locking in" won't actually help at all, and you can't just get around that by locking it in and putting a couple turns into it.
 

smartcanuck1988

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It shouldn't be per type, that would tend to homogenize all civs

Instead building Any district should increase the cost of all other districts. That encourages your civ to specialize. (Keep the 25% discount for the ones lower than average for a little diversification)

I see your point but with some civs having a discounted version of a particular district, I think we still see civ specialization.

I prefer personally to see city specialization where one city is the industrial center and another is the commercial hub..etc. I think it makes wars more interesting to strategize what to attack/defend.
 

Cymsdale

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I hate the mechanic of district costs scaling based on the number of techs/civics you researched because it seems to punish you for doing "too" well in science. It makes campus districts feel like a very poor decision because all they are essentially doing is accelerating the cost of districts in your empire.

I also don't love the idea of scaling based on the number you placed, this feels like introducing backwards Civ 5 mechanics.

If you must scale them for whatever reason, why not just scale them slowly based on the number of turns that have progressed?
 

Ikael

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The current district increase cost mechanic is a mess and it is counter intuitive as hell: Better don't develope your science and culture, or else you won't be able to grow urban centers. Ridiculous! As for the solutions proposed so far:

1. Districts of each type get more expensive everytime you build one of them. This would hurt expansion! Please be careful with it ;)

I like this so, so very much. It would force you to specialize your cities, and to plan your expansion carefully. However, it could kinda make conquer way more OP than it is already (conquering districts wouldn't count as "built").

2. Make it dependent on overall beakers/culture generated. That way you wouldn't need to micro manage techs anymore, at least, and it wouldn't really change anything else. Again, this mechanic has a lot of positive effects on gameplay. So maybe it has to stay somehow. Costs scaling can be adjusted as well to make it less ridiculous around turn 60-100 or so.

Nah, this is, in essence, the current system being on place. We would be back to square one.

3. Make it dependent on time. Costs increase slightly each turn.

A scaling up according to eras would be better, me thinks. That way, you wouldn't be racing against the clock when building districts (or at least, without too much hurry).

4. Get rid of the "lock-down-effect"

This should be obvious, yes.

As for how I would do it:

1. Scale up the cost according to how many districts you have built already on this particular city

You wouldn't get punished by expansion, but you would need to choose carefully what do you want to speacialize your city at

2. Make the popullation cap more relevant for district building (require 4 pop per district intead of 3)

This way, you would have a natural bottleneck and waiting time for specializing your cities, while giving also more importance to yields other than production (food + housing)

3. Scale up the costs depending on how far from your capital the city is

This could be a good way to avoid foward settling and carefully controlling your expansion, but it would need some kind of late game mitigation effect (policies or wonders that remove said penalties from expanding).
 

isau

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I am not a Civ 4 zealot, but it seems to me like all of this should work like Civ 4. Rising maintenance cost per city to prevent ICS but allowing wide play as you bloomed into it with a steady economy. Districts weren't a thing there, but buildings were, and districts should follow that pattern, not rise in cost based on your tech or culture, because that makes hammers >>>>> either of those yields.

While we're at it, Builders should be cheaper. The ratio of Builders to actions they can take right now is too punishing. I cut the cost by 50% in a mod and I swear I think the game got harder, because AIs are actually improving territory and not spending ages on Builders that are easily swiped. It's fine for Builder cost to escalate with each Builder.
 
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