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[R&F] Does Civ “Front Load” too much?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by acluewithout, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    I thought this was worth a separate thread, as this topic is otherwise getting mixed up with another thread about Eurekas.

    My question is, does Civ front load to many mechanics or options into the early game?

    For example, do you get too many districts in the Ancient and Classical Eras? Should the Campus or Government Plaza come later.

    See eg:

    Do Trade Routes come to early? Wildcards?

    I think Governors in particular may come too early. I’m sure their timing makes sense historically, but I feel like they should have been something that is an out growth of more advanced government.
     
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  2. isau

    isau Warlord

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    I don't really think too much comes too early, but the lack of a United Nations in the later game really sticks out to me compared to the previous civ games. Also, air combat never really materializes as a threat, which means the Modern era and beyond feels like too much (IMO) like the eras prior.
     
  3. playshogi

    playshogi Chieftain

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    There's nothing wrong with choices in the early game--you can't get them all.
     
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  4. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Trade Routes are definitely not too early - if anything, we could use more of them earlier. There was extensive trade both by land and sea all across the Mediterranean and Middle East in Ancient Era, after all.

    Governors are another question entirely. Partly it depends on what you think the Civ VI Governors represent, but to me they indicate a Representative of the King/Chief/God-King who can act independently in cities and regions away from the Palace/Seat of Government. Historically, there really isn't much evidence of that before Cyrus' Persian Empire in the 6th century BC - early Classical Era. Since now the first Governors appear at Civics: State Workforce and Early Empire in Late Ancient Era, that's not really moving them back very much.

    On the larger question, I think the basic Game Problem that most people see in Civ VI is not in the early game, but in the Late Game.
    To take two examples of the Imbalance:
    First, in the military units:
    From Start through the end of the Industrial Era, there are 27 Land, Sea, Air, or Support common (non-UU) military Units available.
    In the Modern through the Information Eras there are 26 Land, Sea, Air or Support common military units available.
    - And, as has been commented on many times in these Forums, with half the units crammed into the last 3 Eras, you barely have time to build them, let alone build armies/navies of them and use them.
    Second in the technologies, Civics, and Activities from them
    (NOTE: This was compiled before R&F, so there have been some minor changes in the statistics, but the trend is still viable)
    NOTE: 'Activities' are defined here as Units, Buildings, Districts, Improvements, Wonders, Projects, or Special Changes in productivity or Capability, but NOT Social Policies or Governor Promotions
    Start: (1 Technology, 0 Civics)
    5 Activities from Technology (5.0 per Tech)
    Ancient Era: (11 Technologies, 7 Civics)
    30 Activities from Technologies (2.73 per Tech), 4 from Civics (0.57 per Civic)
    Classical Era: (8 Technologies, 7 Civics)
    19 Activities from Technologies (2.38 per Tech), 13 from Civics (1.86 per Civic)
    Medieval Era: (7 Technologies, 7 Civics)
    15 Activities from Technologies (2.14 per Tech), 3 from Civics (0.43 per Civic)
    Renaissance Era: (9 Technologies, 6 Civics)
    18 Activities from Technologies (2.0 per Tech), 9 from Civics (1.5 per Civic)
    Industrial Era: (8 Technologies, 7 Civics)
    16 Activities from Technologies (2.0 per Tech), 7 from Civics (1.0 per Civic)
    Modern Era: (7 Technologies, 9 Civics)
    23 Activities from Technologies (3.29 per Tech), 10 from Civics (1.11 per Civic)
    Atomic Era: (8 Technologies, 5 Civics)
    19 Activities from Technologies (2.38 per Tech), 5 from Civics (1.0 per Civic)
    Information Era: (10 Technologies, 3 Civics)
    15 Activities from Technologies (1.5 per Tech), 1 from Civics (0.33 per Civic)

    In other words, Technologies remain useful to the end, in that from start to finish each technology gives you several new things you can do from them, while Civics Drop Off in Late Game, the last two Eras having only as many Civics Combined as a single Era earlier, and in the last Era the Civics are almost worthless in adding anything new to your Civ.
    Also, note that earlier the Ancient and Medieval Eras' Civics are remarkably Light in the number of New Things they add to your Game (this has changed somewhat with the addition of Governor Promotions). This may have been intended for the Medieval Era, though I would argue that it is not historically accurate and that dramatic changes in the value of Techs and Civics from Era to Era is not very good Game Design, as it arbitrarily changes their value while not changing the Resources the gamer can/must devote to them
     
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  5. Leyrann

    Leyrann Warlord

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    I think you're touching on some good points here @acluewithout. Perhaps one of the most fun parts for me, in particular when the game was just released, was unlocking the districts, but that's over when you get the Industrial Zones.

    But in old times there weren't that many separate city parts. Sure, a Commercial Hub or Harbor unlocking early makes sense, and so does a Holy Site or an Encampment. But a Campus? Better put that in the Medieval Era with Education, add an extra building and pull the Library into the city center. Same for the Industrial Zone - put the Workshop in the city center, push the district back to Industrialization - and as bonus you're going to get much more of an "industrial revolution" feeling at that point. (also, put more power into the IZ itself to encourage building it even if there's already one kind of nearby, but not enough to make it a must build)

    The same can perhaps be done for Theater Squares, possibly for Entertainment Complexes as well. Also, move the Airport a little bit back, or at the very least don't make it a requirement for biplanes.

    I also agree about the governors - governors should come because your empire is growing too unwieldy to keep together on your own, which should happen in medieval or renaissance era, not ancient era. Refine the loyalty system to have loyalty depend on distance to capital in addition to nearby cities, then let governors radiate loyalty in the same way but weaker. So if I were to settle the east coast from Europe on the earth map, if I'd put a governor in New York then say, Washington would also gain some loyalty from that.

    Also, I think the single most important change that should be made is a total overhaul of production costs. The current costs are very formulaic - every column in the tech tree has a certain cost associated with it for units, buildings and wonders, and every unit, building and wonder holds to that. That both means production costs escalate more than in any prior Civ game, and that production cost cannot be used as balance lever. The same holds true for district buildings, where every single district building generates the exact same amount of yield as every other first, second or third tier building respectively - the combination between these things is also why a Barracks is objectively better than a Workshop - the yield for a first tier building is 2, but the production cost for a Barracks is lower because it unlocks earlier. It's also why the Barracks and Stable, which are supposed to be equal, are not the same price.

    This, by the way, would also fix the "build army at the start and just upgrade it", as later units would likely be less expensive with a total overhaul.
     
  6. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Well, I certainly can’t justify pushing any districts etc or mechanics back historically. Not really on the basis of balance - I think where districts and governors etc currently arrive is fairly balanced.

    But it is a bit sad after you unlock the IZ there’s not really much else that’s ... ah ... concrete, tangible to look forward to. I guess reaching Fuedelism feels cool. Shipyards given how much they change up the harbour.

    Pushing Govermnent Plaza and Governors largely back to Medieval would be better pacing IMO. I wouldn’t push back trade routes or campuses. But honestly, this is all so subjective.
     
  7. Leyrann

    Leyrann Warlord

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    I mean, it's not like there weren't any institutes for learning or the like, it's just that I'd argue they weren't big enough to warrant their own district until later times. Therefore first a building in the city center and then later on a district and more buildings. Maybe get a +1 city center adjacency if you have the city center building because of a library being close to a campus or a workshop close to an industrial zone etc.
     
  8. cinattra

    cinattra Chieftain

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    The game as we call it is played like this. City rush and science rush. That is not quite in-line with history. My philosophical take on the game is that it should reflect mechanics and concepts that are as historically accurate as possible within and given the constraints of the rule set. Some suspensions of belief are required like the passage of time vs distance traveled. Archers being able to fire up to 2 hexes away. Contemporary cities with city walls firing rockets. Some things maybe cannot be helped so as to make the game playable.

    This pacing or front loading or whatever the actual problem is with Civ6 is not a figment of the imagination. Adding more stuff is sometimes not the best solution. Sometimes the things you have just need to be organized a little differently. I keep asking myself, "self, how come I had no problem playing the first 4 Civ games to conclusion even when I was losing?"
     
  9. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Well, I wouldn't mind if say Campuses and or Theatre Squares - the two research yield districts - were linked not only to the population of the city where they are built (via district capacity), but also by total population of your empire - maybe 1 per 10 overall pop. I can accept spamming harbours, commercial hubs etc., but being able to spam Campuses and TDs seems a bit daft, and causes problems with balance.

    But Campuses and TDs are very soundly baked into the current balance. I think moving them around is a lot more tricky that in might first look. Whereas, I think Government Plaza and Governors could be pushed back a bit more easily, because they were sort of tacked onto the game anyway.

    ...I kind of wonder if the design of the Government Plaza and Governors, and where you get them, was driven a little bit by - uh - marketing, I guess. Sorry, this is not (another) thread for complaining about these, but both GP and Gs have a very simplistic design. That obviously makes balancing super easy... but is also sort of why they're kind of lame.

    ...anyway, if they were a little marketing driven, that might partly explain why they come so early. People are buying the game for these features, so they want to play them as soon as they can!
     
  10. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    I don't think stuff comes too early. The game was to emphasize the districts so it wants to toss all these features at you at first. In fact I'd say some things (factories) come too late. IZs are close to trash before Industrialization. Any extra delay and they're going to be "never build"

    I think they should just nix district scaling. The reason the later game feels boring is that it takes too long to develop cities relative to the time left. And even when it doesn't there's maybe 20 turns to reap the yields of it? totally unrewarding. Cities late game should be easier to develop, not harder. And this applies to all the high level buildings that never get built anyways.

    Besides, pushing development to mid-late game is just going to lead to military, again. I mean, what else would you build? Part of the challenge early game is to build districts while still maintaining a strong military. The reason why late game sucks is because early game is actually well designed. It's actually the part that's doing its job then.
     
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  11. zonk

    zonk Chieftain

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    I think so.

    Granted, I'm playing with a lot of mods and customizations that suit my playstyle (a classic wonder whore turtler) - so I'm sure that also contributes... but I think there are other items that are agnostic to this that contribute as well.

    For example, the fact that it's better - MUCH better - to build ancient units and then upgrade them rather than wait to build more advanced units. It's been a LONG time since I actually built an archer - I'd much rather even delay the discovery to finish off slinger builds.

    I also think front-loading contributes to the snowball problem - and I very much think Civ6 has a serious snowball problem. I play marathon just to try to stretch it out - but I still find myself zooming through techs and eras by ~medieval or so. I'm not sure I've ever even built a biplane - other than for the occasional eureka - because why bother other than the 'upgrades are cheaper' paradigm (and by that point, I'm swimming in gold anyway, so who cares).

    Late game has always been a problem in Civ - but I very much agree that it has gotten worse... Anymore - I find the evolution from arrows to gunpowder to ~modern to be so quick that it's hardly worth bothering.

    Likewise, I don't like the mechanic of "the more you build, the more expensive they get" - it's so wrong and counterintuitive since things should logically get cheaper as you build more of them.

    Much as I know it leads to game mechanics people don't like - I really think the answer to how to mallus it is by introducing sprawl costs... i.e., sprawl costs that apply to more than just population or cities - but stuff like scaled higher unit upkeep costs, loyalty problems, corruption, etc. It's just more logical and real than the way it currently happens.
     
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  12. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Warlord

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    Ancient Athens would disagree. The problem is as mentioned above is there have been historical incidences of these developments during these times. The thing is, this happened to civilizations that were thriving, where as most of the rest of the world wasn't close to this level of advancement. Ancient Athens really skews the timeline a bit. Shame on them for being so advanced in certain areas. They have ruined game balance for us. :D
     
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  13. iammaxhailme

    iammaxhailme Chieftain

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    Well, I think all the fun is front-loaded, because I like exploring and stuff. I often end up quitting about the time coal comes around
     
  14. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Agreed. Hence my suggestion that maybe Campuses and TDs should have some other break beyond the capacity of each city to build districts. Say, you can only build one Campus for every 10 pop your empire has.
     
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  15. liv

    liv Warlord

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    If you stagger then would the game not become easier?
    AI will be worse and you can focus on units
     
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  16. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    - Been doing a little research on 'history of schools', and have come to modify my original assumptions/conclusions a bit.
    It seems that virtually all the early (pre-Renaissance) school systems were religion or Palace-based. Temples and the Rulers were the two institutions that needed people to keep track of things, so they ran 'literacy' schools to train scribes and similar 'literacy technicians'. There is evidence of this in ancient Sumer, Egypt, China, and India, and it only took a few minutes to find them, so there are probably a lot more archeological or historical instances that could be cited.
    - Classical Greece appears to be the one 'outlier', but the pre-Classical Bronze Age ('Mycenean') civilization of Greece was palace-based, so even the Classical Greeks may have started with 'temple/palace schools' as the basis for their literacy. And Karen Armstrong has argued (in The Great Transformation, a great book on the history of religion) that Greek 'Natural Philosophy' actually served many of the functions of a religion, and it appears (7th - 6th centuries BCE) at about the same time that Kong-Fu-Tse, Zoroaster, and Gautama the Buddha were all teaching, and that the books of the Monotheistic Judeans and the Hindu Upanishads were being codified - as if a light went on somewhere and Someone Said: "Let's have some Religion - Any Religion Will Do!"

    So, we can make a good case that the first 'Science Enhancer' mechanism should be a Religious or City Center (Palace-based) Building., and that an 'extra enhancer' would be a Cultural (Civic) mechanism representing the Greek Natural Philosophy and Requirement (which the Romans inherited) that you must be literate and familiar with the 'canon' of poetry, songs, and literature of the society to be a Leader in that Society. This could even be tied to a Civic like 'Heroic Epic' since the basis for much of the 'cultural literacy' was familiarity wth Heroic Epics like the Iliad and the Odyssey .

    More specific 'Science Enhancers' could be the 'Public' Palace Libraries like those in Assyria, the public libraries in Greece, and the specific institutions like the Confucian Schools in China, the Academies in Classical Greece, and even a Wonder like Dionysus of Syracuse's Workshop that produced the first Catapults, Crossbows, and Quinquerimes.

    All of this would 'push back' the Campus as a general District to the late-Medieval/early Renaissance and make its first Building a University or Madrasa. The Second Tier Building could be something representing Public Schools, because near-Universal Literacy became a requirement in the Industrial Era, and then the current Research Lab to 'top things off' in the Modern Era.
    IF we think we still need to speed up Science in the late game (I don't, but IF) a Campus with all three Buildings could be a requirement to build a Wonder like Silicon Valley or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory or Bell Labs or the Max Planck Institute.
    Additionally, certain 'general' Technologies would enhance Science throughout your Civ: Printing and Computers for two obvious examples.
     
  17. ezzlar

    ezzlar Chieftain

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    Science districts in all your cities 3-4000 years ago doesn't feel very realistic. Or that uber early IZ.

    There should be some trade off between building early districts or waiting for later ones since your population only allows a few early-mid game. I guess AI would fare better since they arent that good at choosing which districts to focus on early.

    Maybe the holy site should be the early game science alternative.
     
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  18. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Warlord

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    And has been mentioned, it would be nice if later cities could get up and running faster. My city is only slightly over 100 years old, and it's quite the powerhouse. We don't have a lot of industry (though Henderson used to make rocket fuel for the space shuttles), but we have 2 million people and a good economy.

    I often just rush buy monuments, water mills, and granaries in new cities late in the game, and that helps, but it still takes a long time. With Reyna you can rush buy a district, but often there are better things to spend money on, and I almost never use that promotion as there are better promotions as well.

    Does anyone spend a lot of effort making late cities? I don't, aside from snagging resources. I'll just set them building a long build harbor and forget about those cities.
     
  19. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    The stifling of cities founded late in the game is a direct consequence of the mechanism of Escalating Costs they built into the game to rein in Runaway Civs and City Spam. Whether it was intended or not, it means Best Strategy is to found any and all cities in the first half of the game and then build them up, using Conquest or, since R&F, Loyalty Conversion for any 'new' cities.

    That this turns history on its head seems to be unimportant, but also, if followed rigorously, it would make the rise of such in-game Civilizations as Brazil, Australia, and the USA utterly impossible in their Historical Timeframe.

    There are some things already in the game that indirectly and inadequately address the Late Game City Problem:
    1. By Late Game, most Builders are coming out with 4 to 6 Charges due to Social Policies and Governor additions, so they are much more efficient than in the Early Game.
    2. Other Policies allow certain 'colonial' cities to start with 3 Population instead of 1, which is a major boost, especially when your Late Game Builder (which the city can start with if you are in a Golden Age and choose Wisely) can quickly Improve 3 - 4 tiles to keep Food, Gold, Amenities and Production flowing.

    These would probably solve the problem except that the cost of Builders, Settlers, Buildings, Units and Districts also keep rising throughout the game, and it is now obvious that they serve to throttle the late game. I suspect there would be even more complaints if more people actually played the Late Game, but if they are like me, most games turn boring by the Industrial Era and are quit, or are won by Conquest or Cultural Victories by that time.
    I confess, I still have not built an Information Era unit of any kind nor any aircraft in any Civ VI game.

    Possible solutions to the Late Game City Stifle:
    1. Do away with the escalating costs. This mechanism, however, has a purpose and it isn't by itself a bad mechanism, it simply needs to be brought into line with the pace of increased Productivity.
    2. Allow population to 'flow' into a new city faster. Since most new population is from immigration rather than birthrate, this can be independent of the food production in the city, or it can be directly a part of a mechanism for increasing the food provided to a new city.
    Jack up the Food available through an 'internal' Trade Route, for example, and the growth rate of a new city can be increased and at the same time the number of new cities you can 'spam' is limited by the number of Trade Routes you are able to allocate to them. This also neatly replicates the problem with 'colonial' cities: to thrive at first, they all required constant reinforcement from the 'mother country', and a Trade Route mechanism for earl city growth would bring this into the game. Such an increase could be related to Technologies like Cartography or Steam Power that speed up transport of goods and food, or Sanitation that (presumably) indicates an increased knowledge of how to keep food from spoiling in transit.
    3. Increase Production in a new city. Given the difference between, say, a migrant family with stone tools and oxen for hauling in 4000 BCE and a 'forty-niner' in California with steel hand tools and steam power in 1849 CE this is easily arguable. It could be connected with an increase in Production through internal Trade Routes starting with Steam Power or in any Trade Route from any city with a Factory.

    The ability to found and use cities in the late game is part of a Balance Problem. I think the game went too far in 'balance' in favor of avoiding City Spam, but I also think that wholesale removal of the balancing factors (increased costs of Districts, Buildings and Units, for instance) runs the risk of turning the middle to late game into a cascading Runaway for whichever Civ gets in front by the Renaissance Era, which would make the late game even more unplayable than it is now.
     
  20. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Warlord

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    A nice mechanism would be for citizens from unhappy cities to migrate towards the new city. And perhaps give the new city a temporary amenities boost (so that city doesn't end up unhappy).
     
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