Expanded concepts: Uniques beyond units and infrastructure

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by circeus, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. circeus

    circeus Chieftain

    Jan 1, 2005
    Some time ago, I was considering the possibility of unique wonders as additional to Unique units and infrastructures, and I realized... why stop at unique wonders? So I got pondering as to what other uniques could become standard to all civs.

    (Previous threads: Conservation and National Parks, Corporations and economic victory)

    Unique wonders
    People have discussed unique wonders before, but usually (as far as a cursory search could tell me) in the context of Civ V. In Civ VI, it feels like granting "true" unique wonders would obviously cause serious balance issues. I think a more sensible approach is to expand the "replacement system" already found for most buildings and districts. A Unique wonder has the same costs and effects as a base wonder (although it may have a different placement requirement or prerequisite tech/civic to make it more likely to be built) [ETA: this sentence originally trailed off here because I got interrupted and forgot to properly finish it], but acts as a duplicate: that is, it's not that a unique wonder has an effect which no other wonder has, but this civ is guaranteed to be able to build it, while the "regular version" has other players vying for it.

    For example, Canada could get the CN Tower as a replacement for the Eiffel Tower (if one wanted to prop up the mountie), the U.S. gets Broadway (with the base game wonder becoming, say, the Comédie Française or Odéon), while assigning the Országház to Hungary allows the return of old favorite U.N. Headquarters...

    Unique policies
    At first, these seems to fit into the unique pantheon/belief issue, but policies have to be actively slotted into places before they can be used, and in this case, we can find some inspiration from the unique policies unlocked by Tier 3 governments in Gathering Storm.

    To America I would give Exceptionalism (unlocked at Colonialism: Open borders with all city-state, obsoleted by Gunboat Diplomacy), Canada From Sea to Sea (unlocked at Mercantilism: Trade routes generate +2 additional loyalty pressure in both cities, doubled if you have a trading post in the target civilization.)

    Unique great people
    Gran Colombia implemented a form of this, but I find it an obviously poor fit to generalization. The people in question are in my opinion too narrow, and the number you can get too restricted. As is, the game skirt a large number of possible great people by excluding diplomats, most politicians, activists, journalists, entertainers, religious figures (aside from great prophets), sportspeople and the entire film industry. My proposal is for a category of great people I call "National Orders", which can be any type of great people, both existing and new (which means it's possible for a civ that otherwise wouldn't build up science or culture to earn a great scientist or writer and thus answer a city-state quest). My default idea is for the National Order points to be earned as a fraction of your total GPP each turn, but one could also have them generated by the palace, gov. plaza (and its buildings) and/or monuments.

    Discarded concepts (Civics, techs, pantheons, beliefs, governors)
    I did give some thought to unique civics, techs, pantheons and beliefs, but came to the conclusion that all of these are essentially already baked into the leader and civ unique abilities. Furthermore, there is generally no guarantee that a civ will achieve a religion, especially on higher difficulties, making such uniques almost moot for that type of play (unless you have the Arabs).

    Unique governors have now made it into the base game (as well as into some mods, like Civitas Djoser and Sukritact's Chulalongkorn) and unlike Great People do not need discussion anymore, although it does make for an interesting thought exercise to consider what unique governor would fit each existing game leader (if the date weren't such a poor fit, I'd love for a spying-themed Edgar Hoover as Teddy's unique governor!).
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
    Sirsquier likes this.
  2. How to know

    How to know Chieftain

    Oct 7, 2015
    middle of nowhere
    I find the unique wonder part problematic regarding the replacement. If I am playing as Canada I want to be able to build both CN Tower and Eiffel Tower, not just one of them, the replacement feels more like a limiter to me. To make CN Tower a unique replacement to Eiffel Tower, I needs to be more potent than Eiffel in terms of game-play, which would make you wonder what exactly makes CN Tower "better" than Eiffel Tower. Obviously there is no support for such claim that one wonder is legitimately better than another one. I would rather have a new wonder for each civs.
  3. 679x

    679x Warlord

    Mar 30, 2017
    I've made a suggestion about unique policy cards before but I fear they might just pile more buffs onto a time-specific power spike for a certain civ. e.g. Sumer's unique unit and infrastructure are available right from the start of the game, and since they're an ancient civ, one might be tempted to have their unique policy card be available in the ancient era. But then that means that not only do the Sumer have those crazy-strong warcarts, the early-game development boosts of the ziggurat, and extra $$s from clearing the ubiquitous barbarian camps, but they'll now also have another buff on top of that that shows up at the exact same time. Then, their usefulness will all fade away later in the game - unless, of course, the policy card is still going to be relevant throughout the entire game. And, if it's designed to be that way, then you'd need some careful and possibly rather arbitrary balancing choices in the design to make sure that it's not OP earlier on.

    I think for unique policy cards to A) be balanced, B) be fun, and C) be something that can be considered separate from a civ or leader ability ("why didn't they just make this part of the civ ability?") then they should be designed like dark age policies, where they have downsides in addition to the bonuses. I don't know enough about history to give a strong example, but suppose Japan's unique policy card could be called Sakoku: when the card is active, domestic trade routes might receive considerable buffs and foreign tourism/religious influence is greatly weakened against Japan, but foreign trade routes are stopped and Japan's own religious and tourism influence is weakened against other civs as well. Ideally, these cards might be designed such that they sort of 'stagger' the bonuses of a civ, so they don't receive all their power spikes at the exact same time. Maybe that's not necessary, that's just my opinion.

    I also fully support the notion of unique Great People. I think it'd be fun if there were certain actions that granted points toward these great people that weren't limited to per-turn yields from buildings. Again, I might not be able to give an accurate historical example, but think of part of what I included in my own Iceland civ design: a unique great person called the Skald that creates works of skaldic poetry, and you earn Skald points by performing such 'heroic' or epic feats like winning battles against stronger powers, settling cities on new continents, discovering new natural wonders or constructing world wonders, winning emergencies, or liberating cities. So, rather than Great Writer points just being earned passively from having theatre square buildings, you need to take a more active stance toward earning this great person, for which you will be rewarded generously.
    The Civs 6 likes this.
  4. The Civs 6

    The Civs 6 King

    May 27, 2020
    These are all great ideas!
  5. circeus

    circeus Chieftain

    Jan 1, 2005
    I didn't have enough sleep in me when I wrote this up and forgot the really important aspect that the Unique wonder is essentially a "duplicate".

    The National Orders, of course, could in theory get points from literally any action (as there are numerous abilities in mods and in-game that grant extra GPP of various types). I just thought some sort of baseline should be present so that all civs would be, to a degree, guaranteed to earn at least some of them over the course of a game no matter what style of play the player engages in. My philosophy is that although in a normal game a very aggressive civ normally would be very unlikely to earn great writers, merchants or engineers, you should be earning at least some Unique GP no matter how you play.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020

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