Elephants in Civ7

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Lonecat Nekophrodite, Jul 9, 2021.

Tags:
  1. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,169
    Gender:
    Male
    What's your ideas regarding to these giant beasts of labour?
    In Civ 2 and 4. War Elephants are generic units, Particularly in Civ2 where UU concepts didn't come to exists yet, and Civ4 where Elephants are treated as BOTH Strategic resources required to train any Elephant units, and Luxury resources (Ivory). Since Civ5 onwards however, Elephant units became UU of many respective civs, particularly those originated from Africa or South and Southeast Asia. Also trainable without having to tap Ivory resources or trade with / extort others for ones.
    https://civilization.fandom.com/wiki/War_Elephant_(Civ4)
    Civ 3
    - Indian has access to War Elephants, replacing Knights.
    Civ 5
    - India still has their iconic War Elephants as in Civ3, instead replaced Chariots
    - Siam was represented as Medieval Civ and can train Naresuan's Elephants (I think Civ5 Designers did watch 'Legends of King Naresuan' movies... too bad his preferred enemy - Burma - NEVER shows up in that series -- or ANY Civ games AT ALL)*
    - Carthage got African Forest Elephant.
    All Elephants belonged to Mounted Units roster.
    Civ 6: This is the first game in the series where mounted units were divided mainly into two classes, Light and Heavy. Each has its own promo tree and different focuses.
    - India. Their war elephants in previous Civ games now called Varu (Royal Elephant, or what else? One thing fore sure is that only persons from Ksatriya castes may ride one in battle), horseman replacements. Being Heavycav unit however.
    - Khmer. Recurring unit from Civ4. This time their Ballista Elephant is called Domrey.
    - Vietnam: Siamese enemy since the Founding of Bangkok ( and rival right after regained independency from France) , Effectively replaced Burma by King Rama III era (Weakened after prolonged wars against Qing China and Ayutthaya and two successor kingdoms, and later Kaungbaung's extortions over Assam region eventually invited Redcoats into their Irrawady homelands), though chosen leader apparently came much earlier (and I'm not sure who's her enemy? China under Yuan Dynasty or Ming Dynasty?) and thus not particularly King Rama III's enemy nor ever has any chance duking against Siamese General Chao Phraya Bhordindecha (เจ้าพระยาบดินทร์เดชา) , their UU, the Voi Chien (Fighting Elephant I think, too bad they didn't use Hanzi characters anymore but I guess it might be 武象 ) however replaced crossbowmen... and I'm VERY sure that Nguyen's Dai Viet ambitions to unite Laotian Kingdoms, a region that's now referred locally as I-saan (อีสาน = Northeastern), and entirety of Cambodia included this unit as well, though Siamese shifted the uses of war elephants into mobile gun platforms instead.*

    Elephant gun platform..JPG

    Official Civ6 Elephant units now referred to with local names. and no translated names AT ALL.

    CIV6 MODS by @sukritact
    - Siam also retained their War Elephants but this time also followed Civ6 tradition, referred to as Chang Suek (ช้างศึก = a direct translation to War Elephants which I liked it alot), basically adapations of Civ5 country with the same name into Civ6 engine (AFAIK a medieval civ, though experts suggested if this country is to be playable it should be Renaissance or Industrial era civ, a suggestion which Amplitude TOOK SERIOUSLY in HUMANKIND with Gatling Elephants of King Chulalongkorn's era)
    I'm not sure about Burma though but I think theirs also being their iterations of War Elephant as well, and might also be the same heavycav 'Knight replacements' as well.*

    As F'xis is working on Civ7 (I did speculate this possibility several months earlier). Let us discuss the future of elephants in the future games. Because historically several civilizations that did learn to tap elephants did use war elephants--for a very long periord of time right into the Industrial Era (some did it beyond but not as primary units) while many more without access to one didn't. This might means a decision to reintroduce 'Generic War Elephants' might make SOME sense UNDER the conditions that elephants will be Strategic Resources (And 'hypothetic appearances as well), but in game terms. is it possible, plausible, balancing to have TWO-IN-ONE resources as in Civ4?

    In reality, Civilizations that used war elephants did not just use them strictly as one kind of unit for specific jobs, In Sokhothai mololithic stele there were referrences of 'Clash of War Elephants' between King of Sukhothai VS King of another city (possibly Old Khmer remnants). I'm very sure that Old Khmer Dominions did use their Domreys BOTH as ballista platforms AND Superheavy cavalry as well. Similiar facts did went to anyone else in South and Southeast Asia (There might also be Voi Chien Knights as well, other interesting fact is that there were also Chinese War Elephants as well, a Chinese Chess game did have a unit referred to as 象 too). The rise of gunpowder in the 16th Century eventually shifted focus of War Elephants, especially After a famous battle where King Naret led his counteroffensives against Hanthawaddy's Army led by Prince Mang Sam Kyat (??), a battle which King Naret won, his victory was actually achieved (primarily) by European mercenary musketeers (I'm not sure if they temporary scour ahead of main tercio block in the same fashion as Spanish or Portuguese Tercios which quickly adapted by everyone in Mekhong subcontinent along with Portuguese Feitorias built there) which did a volley that hit (and likely killed) that young Burmese Prince before King Naret on his mighty mastodon even reached him. Rather than a dramatic honorable elephant duel as often portrayed in modern Thai 'historical' genre medias. The Battle which aftermath eventually shifted focus in War Elephant Doctrines away from Heavy Shock Cavalry towards Gun platforms and siegery (including to ram city gates, something Phaya Tak (Zheng Xin (?)) did in his desperate 'Final' Assault on Chandapuri about one or two century later. Same thing which Indians also allegedy did in Mughal era. and shortly later Brits too did with evenmore advanced weaponry.

    What is your view on War Elephants?. and what should Elephant units represented in the next Civ games?
     
  2. Duke William of Normandy

    Duke William of Normandy King of England & Unofficial Welcoming Committee

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2020
    Messages:
    3,306
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Rouen, Normandy
    Ivory should count as both a Luxury and Strategic Resource. In fact, maybe some Resources should be hybrids of two types of Resources.
     
    AnonymousSpeed likes this.
  3. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,169
    Gender:
    Male
    If Melee War Elephants were to be made as generic unit.
    1. Begins in Late Antiquity, Ended in Renaissance. (Battle of Daun Cheti (1593), King Naret's Ayutthaya Army VS Hanthawaddy Army led by a Burmese Prince was a clear example that War Elephants effectively lost its role as Superheavy shock cavalry, Musketeers could kill any big men with halberd or bill sitting atop of mastodon platform so easily, the duel, if ever exists were more of dead body puppeteerings by Prince's retinue sitting in the same platform and less of One on one duels)
    2. Automatically earned tech boosts (mmm @Boris Gudenuf 's 'technical upgrades' concept) with more techs added to them until the unit became obsolete
    3. Begins with battering ram ability (So many Generals did order his war elephants to crash or ram against enemy city gates in a final assault phase of any siege), earns Psychological factors at higher levels.
    4. Slower than Horse riding units and chariots, but did not affected by movement penalty horse units could suffer
    5. Still vulnerable to phalanx units (I don't really like Anticav term much), but should be less vulnerable than horse units.

    I'm not sure about ranged options though.
     
  4. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Messages:
    7,964
    Location:
    Europe, more or less
    I'd want unique units to be earned in gameplay in a build-your-own-civ kind of way which would allow for both, elephants as unique units or being generic units.

    But I like it better if they are generic units, maybe requiring the strategic/luxury resource. The unique units can be better versions of it. The "elephant civs" may get a higher chance of spawning the resource, or special other effects of getting them (i.e. a unique building that spawns them). But even England should be able to field them if they spawn near Elephants or buy them on the market.

    I don't know, that just makes intuitive sense to me, but it is linked to my notion of unlocking uniques through the game based on how you play it.
     
  5. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,021
    Gender:
    Male
    Agree! Civ 4 had it right on this. :) Except that it was maybe too easy to trade ivory if the AI had this luxury resource twice already.
     
  6. Lord Lakely

    Lord Lakely Idea Fountain

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,931
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Belgium
    We could have a situation where the improvement decides what you get - if you improve a source of Elephants with a camp, you'll receive Ivory, which is a lux. If you improve it with a pasture however, you'll gain the strategic resource "Elephants", giving you the ability to use them as mounts. You cannot get both at once from the same source, you either hunt them (exterminate) or domesticate them (exploit).

    While we're at it, do the same for camels. Camels as a lux is a bit strange but their milk and wool must be of some value.
     
    Zegangani likes this.
  7. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,036
    Location:
    north of Steilacoom, WA
    ALL Resources should be classified by their use, and their use should depend on in-game developments: technologies available primarily, but also possibly Civics, Social Policies, Religions, etc.
    Ivory is an early luxury good (but a large percentage of it used in Europe came from Arctic Walrus and in the 19th century a large percentage of it came off of frozen mammoth carcasses in Siberia - go figure). The Elephant where they are available live and trainable (which does NOT, by the way, include the largest of the modern types, the African Bush Elephant) is both a Production Bonus (organic Bulldozer, Crane, Tractor) and a Military Resource, and as late as World War Two was used as a Production/Transportation Resource (Elephants helped build a number of airfields hacked out of the jungle, because they could haul enormous loads of equipment and supplies over terrain that would stop anything else)

    Elephants were traded IRL: Anybody notice all the great elephant herds in the Middle East? No? Yet all the Diadochi kingdoms (Alexander's Successors) used elephants in their armies. Except for the Ptolemies, who had access to the (now extinct) North African Elephant, the rest all got theirs by trade from India - and paid a great deal for them.

    Small Quibble: technically, elephants are not domesticated, they are Trained. Except for Zoos, nobody breeds and raises elephants in captivity, hey catch them from the wild and train them, so both Ivory luxury good and Elephant military/production resource would come from the same Camps. On the other hand, since luxury Ivory and healthy Military/Working elephant can't come from the same elephant, they could still be in-game exclusive, because, unlike many other animal-based Resources, you can't 'relocate' elephants easily: you have to find them wherever they are on the map, and they have been known to Migrate right out from under you, which would be a neat mechanic in the game.

    Camels' usefulness is less in their wool (which is pretty coarse), meat or milk but primarily on their use as transportation: they made it possible to cross deserts with Trade Routes and supply armies, to the point where the trade across the Sahara between the North African coastal states and Egypt and the west African states like Mali, Songhai, etc was not possible at all until the camel had been domesticated, and after that it flourished.

    As military resources, Camels have not only a major desert terrain advantage, they have the same characteristic as Elephants in that horses that haven't been raised with them can't stand them: a camel or elephant unit should give a major malus to any cavalry unit from a force that does not have camels or elephants.

    My vote for the Civ VII Elephant would be that the resource is a Requirement to have an Elephant unit of any kind, but you can send expeditions to 'catch' elephants even in tiles not part of your own territory and trade for elephants from those that have them (including City States), and certain Elephant Units would be Unique to certain Civs, because there is just too much variety in the way elephants were used to try to produce them all as 'generic' units.

    And, if you have Elephants, you also get a Production Bonus because of their usefulness in moving heavy loads - maybe even a specific Wonder Building Bonus because an animal that can drag a multi-ton stone block all by itself speeds up Monumental Construction marvellously when the alternative is using 100 men, rollers, ramps, pulleys and a reservoir of sweat - and a few whips.
     
  8. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,169
    Gender:
    Male
    ^ So your conclusion is that. in addition that elephants need specially trained catchers (Certain tribes and peoples living near elephants did develop skills and traditions circling around elephant catchings, especially here in Southeast Asia. ) and the need to catch ones manually (or assign automatic catch command). Elephants should remain UU rather than generic units as in Civ2 and 4?

    So are war elephants really good at breaking city gates as I've explaned how Phraya Tak did in 18th Century against a warlord in Chanta Buri?

    And did the Battle of Daun Cheti (1593) the last instance of Elephant Duels (ยุทธหัตถี) between two opposing Generals in world history (and so the uses as Superheavy cavalry). Did Burmese Prince killed by European merc musketeers volley rather than in a duel VS King Naret?
    This aftermath eventually refocused War Elephants into Gate Knockers and gun platforms (Either Jingal heavy muskets, swivel guns or even Culverins) which everyone else followed suit. including Viet's Voi Chien also (I think) became gun elephants shortly after (or maybe around the same time or even before that) and did used against several Pro-Siam City States (or even met Siamese counterparts in King Rama III era).

    And what is the last instance Voi Chien used in combat? and against whom? (Siamese contenders or French invaders)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  9. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,036
    Location:
    north of Steilacoom, WA
    Elephants should be both a Generic and a UU, but they are only available as 'Generic' Units to those who have access to them, and that will never be everybody unless there is a whole lot of Pachyderm Trading going on. Think about it: in the Ancient Era elephants were available in a swath of territory from India across Southeast Asia and southern China and in North Africa. None in Europe or Central Asia, or the Middle East, or the Americas, unless you want to back-date the game to have a Starting Date in the last Ice Age. (Note that I am NOT including the central African Bush Elephant, because they are simply too big and dangerous to be useful, as Circuses discovered in the 19th century and the occasional Zoo Worker discovers today) That leaves a lot of Civs out of the elephant race in any normal game and start position distribution.
    Some Civs, like the Khmer, Siamese, Mughuls, would have 'provisional UUs' meaning that if they get access to Elephants (and they should have a major Bias towards Elephant Country in their starting positions) would have access to Elephant UUs - the Khmer might even get a choice of UUs, since the early (Classical) Khmer Kingdoms had up to 16 archers riding or dangling from their elephants for Massed Firepower while the later (Medieval) Khmer had large and powerful crossbows mounted on theirs - pre-gunpowder supporting mobile field artillery, so to speak.

    Rather than add another Unit to the game, I suggest that once Elephants are recognized as useful (about 3000 - 2500 BCE as Work Animals or Production Bonuses in the Indus Valley Civilization, as War Animals by the Magadha Kingdom in India about 540 - 500 BCE) then you can pay extra to give a Builder the Elephant Handler ability and send them out to build a Camp to obtain elephants, and with an extra Charge they can build the Camp outside of your territory
     
    Yudhisthira likes this.
  10. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,169
    Gender:
    Male
    ^
    1. And Elephants will take so many 'Technical Upgrades' once techs became available. They may even earn plate armor both for elephant, platform shielding and crews
    2. Should Khmer Ballista Elephants (Appeared in Civ4 and 6) be Siege or Ranged class?
     
  11. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,036
    Location:
    north of Steilacoom, WA
    1. First Technical Upgrade would be Howdah - which was not used by the Ptolemies, but became 'standard' in all armies with elephants to the east of Egypt. It allows more men to fight from the elephant and carry more arrows and other missiles, so increases basic Combat Power.
    Second Technical Upgrade would be Armor for the elephant's forehead. The standard response to elephants pushing in gates was to put spikes sticking out of the gates so the elephants couldn't put their heads against them. Metal plates strapped to the elephant's forehead made it possible for them to put their weight against the gates again, so this would increase Siege effects from the Elephant Unit
    Third Technical Upgrade might be either Heavy Firearm once you have gunpowder or Automatic Weapon once you have Machine Guns. Plate or padded armor on elephants was pretty much exclusive to the Mughuls, so should really be part of their Elephant UU.

    2. The "Ballista Elephant" is a mis-interpretation. The Khmers mounted large crossbows on elephants, but nothing as large as a Ballista. They should be Ranged, but possibly with a longer range than ordinary archers or crossbowmen since they were noticeably larger and more powerful than anything a man could carry.
     
  12. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,169
    Gender:
    Male
    ^ So Khmer's ballista elephants aren't really good siege unit IRL? Eh? Asian siege tactics focused more on neutralizing wall defenders and not breaking the walls itself. And elephants are good platforms shooting at enemy defenders on city walls and towers, something footsloggers aren't really good at.
    I've never been to Angkor Wat to see if such ballista elephants did exists on its mural carvings. But I bet ones that seen in Civ6 isn't really historically accurate. Not really aimable at any angle while I think they used some kind of swivel mount.

    Also did Siamese Gatling Elephants really that good against either Haw marauders or later French colonial troops? (I'm not sure if France did deploy African units anywhere in Indochina by 1880-1890s)... Oddly enough one seen in a photograph shown them to belonged to The Navy with Combat Sailors (Marines, originally they wore Sailors uniform like Brits Armed Sailors) manning ones.

    gatling elephants and naval infantry.jpg
     
  13. BuchiTaton

    BuchiTaton Warlord

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2019
    Messages:
    266
    Gender:
    Male
    Before anything elephants sould be an renewable but depletable resource, the same for others like whales or even fish.

    To gain something from elephants you should build the improvement next to NOT over their tile. That way you can gain like this:
    - Workshop = Culture and Trade (representing IVORY).
    - Encampment = Production and the option to recruit War Elephants (representing TRAINED elephants).
    - Arena = Amenities that would applied to all the cities with arenas on your empire (representing their explotiation on SHOWS).
    - Reservation = Science and Health (representing the ENVIROMENTAL importance of these animals).

    Of course at some point the Workshop, Encampment and especially the Arena could cause the depletion of the elephants.

    Also I am of the idea that both the initial city of the playable civs and city estates should have bias to spawn with some resource. For example if the initial city is from cultures like Bengali, Tamil, Burmese, Thai, Khmer, Malay, etc. They could start with elephants next to them to secure these could use their War Elephants.

    By the way could be funny if the regular War Elaphant of each regional unit set have different kinds of elephants, for example of course african civs have Loxodonta, Asiatic civs have Elephas, but in the case of europeans would have Mammuthus while americans get Cuvieronius! I know is too much to expect but would be a nice easter egg. :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
    Zaarin, mitsho and PiR like this.
  14. Zaarin

    Zaarin Diplomatic Attaché to Londo Mollari

    Joined:
    May 14, 2016
    Messages:
    9,385
    Location:
    Babylon 5
    I'd prefer Mammut americanum. :p
     
  15. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,036
    Location:
    north of Steilacoom, WA
    Don't forget there are two Loxodonta today and there was a third historically that is now extinct:

    Loxodonta Africana, is the modern African Bush Elephant. Unfortunately, they are simply too large and too dangerous, and have never been exploited by any human society except as the object of hunting.
    Loxodonta cyclotis is the modern "forest elephant", the smallest modern species of elephant. A now-extinct version of this species, with variously proposed names of Loxodonta Atlantica or Loxodonta Pharaohensis, used to range across north Africa from the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts all the way to Ethiopia. It was used extensively in war and peace by states like Pharonic Egypt and Carthage and was finally wiped out partly because so many of them ended up killed in Roman arenas.

    So, Elephas could be the species for the Asian states from India to southern China, while Mammut Americanum could be available to North and South American states, Mammuthus Columbi specifically to North American states if Canada and the Cree want something exclusive, Loxodonta Atlantica for Carthage, Egypt and by trade to the Mediterranean and Middle East, and finally, since we're pre-supposing a fair amount of Counter-History anyway Mammuthus Primigenius for northern Asia and northern European Civs.

    There are sub-species of the Elephas native to islands like Sri Lanka and Sumatra, so we could stretch a bit and even make elephants available to Indonesia and the Maori . . .
     
    Zaarin likes this.
  16. Lazy sweeper

    Lazy sweeper Warlord

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    195
    Don't forget Persia also had access to war Elephants.
    There's historical documentation of them being used against Arabs (famous battle lost to Khalid Arab leader, the sword of Mohammed)
     
    Zaarin likes this.
  17. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,036
    Location:
    north of Steilacoom, WA
    From the records of the Diadochii, Persians, etc, one gets the impression that at least some of the Indian players/states were making a very good living out of selling elephants to anyone with cash/gold in hand.

    To me that means that any game mechanic that requires Elephant Resources of some kind for elephant-based units should also have a robust mechanic for Trading Elephants/elephant resources to reproduce the historical availability of elephants.
     
    Zaarin likes this.
  18. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,021
    Gender:
    Male
    But they shouldn't be able to be sold at the other side of the world. Neighbor, that's realistic. Indians didn't sell the elephants to Celts, did they?
     
  19. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2019
    Messages:
    1,169
    Gender:
    Male
    ^ That's another discussions regarding to tradings and diplomatic models and modes of operations in Civ7 entirely. But still related to Elephant questions.
     
  20. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    4,036
    Location:
    north of Steilacoom, WA
    Quite the opposite: the Galatians (Celts in Anatolia) were so unfamiliar with elephants that a mere 20 elephants basically routed their entire army: the "Elephant Victory" was pretty unique in ancient battles.

    On the other hand, Celts in Carthaginian service (most of Hannibal's infantry were Gaullic or Celtiberian mercenaries) were very happy to fight alongside his elephants - until at Zama the pachyderms got stampeded back through them, which was always the major potential drawback of having elephants in your army . . .

    I've said it before, Civ VII needs a Major Revision of the trade systems in Civ VI. For starters, a single trade system and not 2 systems with almost completely different mechanics and results: trading Elephants or any other resources should be subject to Trade Route length and possibly trade route number restrictions, and not limited only by Diplomacy.
     
    PiR and Zaarin like this.

Share This Page