Factors that Effect Difficulty

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by myb7721, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. myb7721

    myb7721 Chieftain

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    Having played CiV for 1000+ hours. I have come to some conclusions about how to incrementally effect the difficulty of the game. I thought I would share my thoughts here since an incremental increase in difficulty is a great way to improve play.

    The primary factors, in my experience, that effect the difficulty of a game are the Difficulty Setting, Game Speed, and Map Size.

    The Difficulty Setting clearly has the greatest effect on the difficulty of the game. I will take this for granted and not venture an explanation as justification seems self-evident.

    The effect the Game Speed has on difficulty, on the other hand, might not be as apparent. But the Game Speed is certainly a significant factor. Generally speaking, the faster the game speed, the harder the game. On higher difficulty settings this is largely because there are fewer turns to make up for the power differential present at the beginning of the game. There are fewer turns to make better choices than the AI and fewer turns to mobilize troops in the interest of military expansion. Every turn matters greatly at high levels of play. And the fewer turns there are, the more each of them matters.

    The third primary factor that effects the difficulty of a game is the Map Size. May thoughts on this factor may prove controversial and I welcome all comments and criticism. As I see it, the larger the map the harder the game. This, of course, is to some degree dependent upon which victory condition is sought. My assumption in this regard is that all default conditions are available and equally viable. There are a number of reasons that larger maps make for more difficult games. The primary reason is that a larger map means more civs. And the more civs there are, the greater chance that one of them becomes a runaway civ. And clearly a runaway civ can prove quite a hurdle in achieving victory. Another reason that larger maps are harder is that a domination victory, being perhaps the most viable at high levels, takes longer and is thus more difficult to achieve. It has been suggested numerous times on these boards that one of these easiest deity wins to attain is on a duel map. And this is completely in line with my experience.

    Assuming these factors are correctly identified, the hardest game would be on the highest Difficulty Setting, at the highest Game Speed and on the largest Map Size. I would suggest that to make the smallest incremental change in difficulty, one would modify the Map Size, while the greatest change would come by modifying the Difficulty Setting. The effect that changing the Game Speed would have on difficulty would fall between the other factors in its severity.
     
  2. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    One major factor the above omits is how good that special abilities of the chosen civ is (for the chosen method of victory and map).
    Some civs play a full difficulty level lower than others.

    Number of civs is a difficulty level magnifier. (implied by map size above)
    So on Diety, that indeed is the most difficult.

    But if someone routinely beats say Emperor in Science on standard map; it actually makes it easier to win science on a larger map. This is mostly due to more RA agreements available. But in addition, the map size above standard actually gives small happiness bonuses for number of cities compared to standard.

    As to a runaway AI on the other land mass; it doesn't really matter of they are merely ahead of the other AIs if you are going after a peaceful victory type. What needs compared with is turn they are likely to stumble upon a science victory vs the turn your going to reach your own method of victory.
     
  3. DevilHell

    DevilHell Warlord

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    Map Type, aslo, is a Factor one has to see
    For example: On Pangea you get a DoW in 30 Turns
    In archipielago you might not even get a DoW
    :p:p:p:p
     
  4. myb7721

    myb7721 Chieftain

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    There are innumerable factors that can come into play, including map type and the chosen civilization. My guidelines are not intended to cover all possibilities but to provide general rules of thumb for adjusting difficulty.

    I was also thinking that in the interest of clarity it might be helpful to quantify the general difficulty contributed by each of these factors. Again, don't take this exact science. It seems to me that 1 change in Difficulty Level = 2 changes in Game Speed = 4 changes in Map Size.
     
  5. Optional

    Optional Deity

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    I play on both small and standard maps, and my trading opportunities are better on standard maps, as there are more civs to trade with. On higher levels you need to be trading a lot, as you need money for upgrades, CS investment, RA's... This is easier on standard than on small.
    I think I agree with most of what you're saying, but this is an important factor as well, I believe.

    Deity Duel is not representative of an average game, you may certainly mention it, but it's maybe better to focus on small - average - large maps with default amount of civs to come to a fair rule of thumb.
     
  6. chazzycat

    chazzycat Deity

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    I personally think continents is more difficult than pangea, due to less early trading partners and potential for runaway civs on the other continent.

    as far as map type goes I would say archipelago-->pangea-->continents from easiest to hardest
     
  7. James T

    James T Chieftain

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    In my experience, map size has a huge effect on difficulty level, but not because there are more civs. Giving Deity AI more room to expand only compounds their bonuses. Fire up a deity game on a Large map but delete a couple AI so you start with only 8 civs. The AIs get so massive and powerful so quickly that I have never been able to come close to keeping up. I can fend off the enemy for 120 turns or so, but it's a battle of attrition that I can't see a way to win.

    This probably doesn't have the same effect below deity or maybe immortal because the AI can't or doesn't expand as much, and doesn't spawn endless units.
     
  8. torfish

    torfish Chieftain

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    This is an excellent topic. But I probably have a dumb easy question. I'm working on KING and I have a very tough time beat it with a DOM win. I always play on a standard or large continent map that is set on standard speed. So, is it an easier game if I change the speed from standard to marathon?
     
  9. chazzycat

    chazzycat Deity

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    generally, yes
     
  10. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    Yes; for all victory types, but especially domination victory.

    You should have several more turns with Long swords while they have mere Swords,
    and Calvary when they have mere Knights, etc.
     
  11. comatosedragon

    comatosedragon Emperor

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    Not only this, but anything smaller than a 'standard' size map will reduce the amount of available luxuries. (A small map may have no spices or cotton, for example. All luxury resources are included only on standard and larger maps.)
     

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