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Empty Space on Map

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by macrofinite, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. macrofinite

    macrofinite Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
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    Let me give a little background so that you can see where I am coming from.

    I have played Civ since Civ II, though the first one I played a significant amount was Civ III. I played Civ III and all its expansions all the way through the game's life cycle, and I have done the same with both Civ IV and V.

    That said, I love Civ V, and have been playing it since release, and I am especially loving pretty much everything they put in or changed in BNW, but one thing is really starting to bug me about Civ V that has remained the same since release:

    In every other Civ game I have ever played, by the time you get into the industrial era, every square inch of the map is claimed by somebody. Even the horrendously useless arctic islands that the AI insisted on settling. In Civ V, it is very common for half of the world to never be touched by anybody the whole game. I don't have any data, but it seems like, based on my experience, that this is more and more true the larger the map you play on, though it is certainly still noticeable on even a duel map.

    I think I understand some of the factors that come into this:

    • Civ V made everything less cluttered. There are no more stacks of doom. There are fewer cities. Happiness is the only empire-size limiting resource (they killed 'health' from Civ IV cities), and I think they were trying to make the game less micro-managey. In large part, this is successful. It was not really a fun experience to manually manage an empire of 20+ cities in Civ IV. The designers are trying to force you to build an empire of 3-6 cities, and puppet anything else you conquer, and generally this is the best strategy.
    • City-States are supposed to take up a fair amount of space on the map

    I think these are all great additions/changes to the game, so I don't think they are the problem, but this is a problem. Here are some of the reasons why:

    • It is not unlikely, particularly on a standard sized map or larger, that you will be placed 30+ tiles from your nearest rival. This is a much larger area that either of you can envelop, so there will typically be a 15+ tile space in between you and your nearest rival. This will either make the game too easy if you are trying to turtle for science/culture, or just incredibly annoying if you are aiming to conquer.
    • A new problem with BNW is that there is no great way to establish a trade route between such a large distance with no roads. It is not economically viable to construct a road in that empty space, and unless you dedicate 2-3 military units to permanently guard the road, everything will get plundered by barbarians anyway. This significantly diminishes the viability of trading between empires over land, which is a shame, because trade routes are by far my favorite new mechanic in BNW.
    • If you do conquer somebody, their territory is probably going to be on the other side of the map from your home territory (even if they are the closest empire to you), which not only diminishes the usefulness of conquering them in the first place, but also opens you up to a wider range of attacks and splits your defenses. In other words, it further diminishes the incentive to pursue any sort of conquest.

    Hopefully I have convinced you that this is a problem. If not, I'm open to discussing it.

    Here are the two solutions that I can think of so far:

    • Make the maps smaller. Same number of civs, smaller map means that territory will be more in demand, which would solve the problem. I don't think adding more civs is a viable option from a technical perspective, because the AI seems to be fairly resource-intensive, and even on very modern machines, AI turns on larger maps take a few seconds to process.
    • Add a mechanic for cities to add a sort of 'suburb' or someshuch. Once they get to say, the Renaissance era, a city can add an auxiliary settlement around itself as long as it has X population. This settlement will not be managed like another city, but will add its production/gold/science to the parent city. This would be primarily for the purpose of expanding the area that one city can control. This could make empire planning in the earlier eras a bit of a challenge, but I think it could be done.

    I'd love to hear feedback. Am I the only one that sees this as a problem? Do these solutions seem reasonable to you?

    TL;DR - Civ V maps are too big, empires end up being too far away from each other, which puts a damper on several game mechanics.
     
  2. isau

    isau Deity

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    Jan 15, 2007
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    The issue is all the penalties associated with expanding. There just isn't a very good reason to do it a lot of the time. The science penalty and the policy penalty mean if the city can't grow that you end up hurting yourself.

    But it's global Happiness that is the biggest source of problems. Basically, the game is really extreme about not letting a small city grow. If, say, you could grow a city to size 3 or 4 before it started counting against global Happiness IMO a huge part of the problem would go away. Wide empire would stand a better chance against tall ones because they could acquire a bigger population (ultimately). Some sort of bonus for acquiring a very large variety of resources would also help out, because right now the only reason to grab more is to offset cost of the very city you're founding... which is just a little weird.
     
  3. macrofinite

    macrofinite Chieftain

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    Jan 13, 2014
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    I'm not sure I totally agree. It think it is a good thing that you are generally only supposed to have a few cities in a game, because it makes the game a lot cleaner than Civ IV was. Like I said, I think in order to maintain these positive changes there either need to be smaller maps, or some way beyond founding a new city to claim territory.
     
  4. Furret

    Furret Tryhard

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    Oct 2, 2013
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    Rochester, NY
    Am I missing something? This is an option in the advanced set up and has been since vanilla. Standard map with 8 civs 16 CS too small? play a small map with 8 civs 16 CS.

    I think it may also be a difficulty issue, although I'm not sure because you didn't post what difficulty you play on. On Emperor and Immortal I've never encountered a problem where an AI didn't settle as close to me as possible (sometimes inside my borders!! :mad:) and even when I play on King for fun, most of the good lands are taken by Industrial.
     
  5. Barghaest

    Barghaest King

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    Well, I seldom have too much empty space on my maps (provided I haven't altered Civ/CS settings to less that suggested for map size). The little bit of empty space I do possess is usually due to razed cities - even when I do re-settle, it takes a while for the borders to expand to fill the void left behind. - and I sometimes leave this "no man's land" as a buffer/warning to the AI or to create an area for barbarians to spawn.
     
  6. tomplum68

    tomplum68 Warlord

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    i noticed when I moved from king to emperor that the AI gets way more aggressive founding cities. Monty had 43 cities on one large map...

    I also usually add an additional AI civ to the game.
     
  7. Ortega

    Ortega Chieftain

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    i agree, empty space in starting the industrial age is unrealistic.
    i think the solution should be that with every era your sphere of influence expends meaning that automatically your borders expand everytime you reach a new era and until the borders meet another civ.
    :lol:
     
  8. GoStu

    GoStu King

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    Empty space on your map a problem? Just add Hiawatha: he'll take care of that for you.
     
  9. kobo1d

    kobo1d Chieftain

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    Just finished a game where Hiawatha's closest neighbor was Venice. Was a Ring map with random center, but the center rolled hills so there was more empty usable space than normal. Things escalated quickly.

    End game he had solidly double the score of 2nd place (myself). I was playing for SV and he was the only one keeping up in the last era. Fortunately he was a staunch ally because he would've crushed me in a fight with so much population/production/standing army and tech parity.

    I just went DV though before either of us finished the Spaceship.
     
  10. Barghaest

    Barghaest King

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    There was a lot of "empty space" in America during the Industrial era... while America technically laid claim to the land, they did so mainly with (in Civ 5 terms) Forts and Units... they still churned out settlers for quite a while while extending rails across the Midwest.

    Probably a lot more empty space in Africa and Australia at that time....

    The biggest issue comes in the way Civ 5 handles conquering/razing cities... it leaves unclaimed land in it's wake which would technically still be claimed by the original owner as well as the occupiers (borders aren't really determined by presence of cities in real world so much as staked claims... if they'd allow you to stake claims on territory for expansion, it'd be easier to prevent forward settling as well as instigating more border skirmishes).

    What I think would be a good way to fill in gaps of land would be a discount on border expansion if the tile could be reached by multiple cities (that allows you to consolidate holes in your "sphere of influence" a bit quicker)... of course, a strong economy would make this moot since you could just purchase gaps in your empire.
     
  11. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    Empty land in the industrial age isn't something crazy, empty land in the atomic age IS something crazy :p

    I don't know how to solve that, but while "colourful civilized spots on empty barbarian world" look cool until the industrial age, later it is just silly when in the age of planes, railways, steam and communication big empire still expands its borders too slow to entirely cover its small starting continent (I frequently see things like that).
    Or true start locations earth map, when in the information age Australia, half of North America and Siberia are still ruled by barbarians :p

    I don't know how to solve that but in reality there are faster ways of expanding borders during the colonisation :p especially when nation is more and more advanced, uninhabited Siberia was entirely claimed by Russia during one century, while in the Civ5 world they would not manage to make Siberia yellow by the 2000AD, even with infinite city spam :p

    I tried Fortify Borders mod, which allows on expanding borders via forts occupied with units on neutral territory, but a) AI doesn't use that and map still looks ugly b) It breaks citadels.
     
  12. SYKOJAK

    SYKOJAK Warlord

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    I dont think its a big deal how you look at it. I tend to view unclaimed land as areas of lawlessness. I also look at Barbarian camps not so much they are run by uncivilized peoples, more as areas claimed by folks who dont recognize or are recognized as such. Whether its a barbarian camp, a pirate cove, or a terrorist town, its all the same to me to me.
     

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