GameRant: Civilization 7 Could Break New Ground with an Exciting Feature

The_J

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GameRant has recently published a series of articles somewhat related to Civ7, most of them not being informative, but one of the authors over there has now proposed something a bit more interesting: Civ7 should have a campaign mode, with dedicated goals and stories for each leader and civilization. They refer to other series like Age of Empires or the Anno series, who obviously do things differently than Civ, and then talk about the good work which has been done in Civ with various scenarios.

An excerpt from the article:
Civilization 7 should break new ground for the franchise by offering the first full campaign mode of the series. Ideally, Civilization 7 should have a tailored campaign mode for each of its world leaders. Borrowing a little from the highly underrated Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, Civilization 7 could offer a series of Scenarios for each leader, as opposed to just one short Scenario each, taking players through their entire historical career beat by beat, and putting them up against the same challenges that the real-life versions of those figures had to face. This way, fans are able to enjoy full-length campaigns, but can take it at their own pace, going mission to mission. Civilization 7 is probably looking for a way to stand out from past entries, and adding a full single-player campaign would definitely do that.

Read the whole article here.

What do you think?
Is this a way to go for Civ?
Or should this stay reserved for a mod like our most very famous and popular "Rhy's and Fall"?
Or is there just n oplace in civ for a story, besides the story of all humanity?

Discuss!
 
What the author is circling, rather like a rogue moon, is the idea of Civilization as a Narrative: the old concept of History as a series of Stories, which is now a bit out of favor with 'professional' academic historians even though Narrative History of all kinds is by far the most popular (and readable) history published.

And the other part of this concept is that it could be used to change the Victory Conditions dramatically.

Right now, Victory in Civ is (and has always) been defined by how you end the game: One More Turn might be the game's motto, but the Last Turn and where your Civ stand at that point is the only turn that counts for Victory. Furthermore, as is becoming increasingly obvious, the Victory Conditions are largely utter Fantasy: NO ONE has ever come close to conquering the whole world militarily, or even all the important parts of it: all the Eurasian Conquerers: Alexander the Great, Chingis Khan, Timur-i-Lenk, never even conquered the entire Eurasian landmass, and never touched the Americas, Africa, western Europe, Australia, or Southeast Asia. NO religion has ever been dominant over the majority of the world's population or all of the human-inhabited territories. "American" cultural norms might seem to be predominant in the last half of the 20th century, but they are in many cases warped a great deal from their American Originals into something very different - look at the application of American Cartooning/Animation in Japan or American Movies in India for examples.
And were the game to have an 'Economic Victory' on the same model as the Religious, Cultural and Domination it would be equally fallacious: the trend, in fact, is Less economic control by governments, and more economic power in the hands of NGOs like international corporations and even individuals (Warren Buffett controls more Wealth than the majority of members of the United Nations)

So, what if instead there were Victory Conditions dependent on how well you 'played' the Narrative of your Civ? How often you gave them military Glory to admire and cheer, how much Prosperity (Happiness, Gold/Population point, etc) and for How Long? Note that in measures of Happiest Populations among countries of the world today, the winners are always smaller countries - size could be utterly immaterial in this kind of Victory, which would go a long way towards breaking the Tall versus Wide controversy that has bedeviled the game since the beginning.

Conceivably there could be 'historical' (or at least, Historically-Based) Narratives for each Civ, but to keep each Civ from degenerating into a single playstyle for Victory, there should also be 'generic' Historical Narratives - perhaps involving only one Era or other smaller segments of History: recreate the British Empire of the 18th century, or the American overrunning of the North American West or Russia's spread into Siberia: read any decent history of any segment from Ancient to Modern and Narratives will be apparent that could be adopted to give Victory Conditions that occur While You Play.

Your game victory would be utterly independent of your Last Turn, but utterly dependent on how you got there: play of the game would matter, not ending the game.
 
What the author is circling, rather like a rogue moon, is the idea of Civilization as a Narrative: the old concept of History as a series of Stories, which is now a bit out of favor with 'professional' academic historians even though Narrative History of all kinds is by far the most popular (and readable) history published.

And the other part of this concept is that it could be used to change the Victory Conditions dramatically.

Right now, Victory in Civ is (and has always) been defined by how you end the game: One More Turn might be the game's motto, but the Last Turn and where your Civ stand at that point is the only turn that counts for Victory. Furthermore, as is becoming increasingly obvious, the Victory Conditions are largely utter Fantasy: NO ONE has ever come close to conquering the whole world militarily, or even all the important parts of it: all the Eurasian Conquerers: Alexander the Great, Chingis Khan, Timur-i-Lenk, never even conquered the entire Eurasian landmass, and never touched the Americas, Africa, western Europe, Australia, or Southeast Asia. NO religion has ever been dominant over the majority of the world's population or all of the human-inhabited territories. "American" cultural norms might seem to be predominant in the last half of the 20th century, but they are in many cases warped a great deal from their American Originals into something very different - look at the application of American Cartooning/Animation in Japan or American Movies in India for examples.
And were the game to have an 'Economic Victory' on the same model as the Religious, Cultural and Domination it would be equally fallacious: the trend, in fact, is Less economic control by governments, and more economic power in the hands of NGOs like international corporations and even individuals (Warren Buffett controls more Wealth than the majority of members of the United Nations)

So, what if instead there were Victory Conditions dependent on how well you 'played' the Narrative of your Civ? How often you gave them military Glory to admire and cheer, how much Prosperity (Happiness, Gold/Population point, etc) and for How Long? Note that in measures of Happiest Populations among countries of the world today, the winners are always smaller countries - size could be utterly immaterial in this kind of Victory, which would go a long way towards breaking the Tall versus Wide controversy that has bedeviled the game since the beginning.

Conceivably there could be 'historical' (or at least, Historically-Based) Narratives for each Civ, but to keep each Civ from degenerating into a single playstyle for Victory, there should also be 'generic' Historical Narratives - perhaps involving only one Era or other smaller segments of History: recreate the British Empire of the 18th century, or the American overrunning of the North American West or Russia's spread into Siberia: read any decent history of any segment from Ancient to Modern and Narratives will be apparent that could be adopted to give Victory Conditions that occur While You Play.

Your game victory would be utterly independent of your Last Turn, but utterly dependent on how you got there: play of the game would matter, not ending the game.
You nailed it, history is more fun and palatable when given a narrative. I got a history degree, and academic trends are trying to sterilize history by ignoring religious texts, oral tradition etc. They do this as if bringing a "scientific" view into their history, but they somehow simultaneously get bogged down into the minutia of it all. Everything had been so macro for so long, now I'm sure there's texts about "the average woman's life cycle in Sidon, and how the agricultural practices in Byblos negatively effected her spiritual growth". So much of it just misses what makes history interesting.

I love Civ V. But what Civ VI tried to do was make larger narratives with era scores, eurekas, names for geographies etc. But got bogged down with policy card swapping, governors, districts, planning for global warming etc. which made the game lose the Grand Scale of it all.

These scenarios, or this "Campaign Mode" doesn't need to be actual sections of history. But somehow making the story of your empire unique and memorable. Take the narrative flow of Civ VI, the "realistic" flavor of Civ V, add better AI interactions/scenarios. I also think adding in a "chapter" after every era would be nice, then introduce something new into the next era, like being on the precipice of war with more flavorful ai interactions or nourishing a religion to spread peace and converting barbarians, that might dominate or underscore the story of your next chapter. It would create a "Campaign Mode" that would be different and unique to everyone playing, while allowing us to play in whichever style suits our role-play.
 
Oh HELL to the no.

They tried that in Civ3 Conquests. It was meh at best.
 
A way to make Scenario-like gameplay more popular is to simply put it into regular game via interesting leaders with interesting, game-changing, assymetrical abilities. You can either play conquest-mad gameplay in Alexander the Great Scenario, or Alexander the Great in regular game may be designed in such way that he is penalized when he has not conquered anything in long time and quite contrary gets many benefits from conquering consecutively, so you play the game in a different manner (like Scenario), but it's in regular game. Likewise you can have One City Challenge option/mode/scenario... Or you can have Civ 5's Venice.

On side note, working off Boris' suggestion: I wouldn't mind separating Civilization Abilities from Leader Abilities by making Leader Abilities evolving as the player fullfills conditions. Something I though of already before. But with what Boris writes in mind, it came to my mind now the last Level could very well be victory. Theoretical example on Pericles with City-State focus:

LEVEL 1: When you send Envoy to City-State, send there another one.
CONDITION FOR LVL2: You've sent 8+ Envoys
LEVEL 2: Capital has +0.5 to each Yield per Envoy sent.
CONDITION FOR LVL3: Have 3+ Envoys in 4+ different City-States
LEVEL 3: Capital has +5% to each Yield per City-State you are Souzerain of.
CONDITION FOR LVL4: Be Souzerain of 4+ City-States.
LEVEL 4: Foreign Civilizations need 2 more Envoys to topple your Souzeracy.
WIN CONDITION: Be Souzerain of more than half of all City-States for entire Era or 30 Turns (last Era).

Something like leveling up champion cards in card games like Legends of Runeterra. This would definitely mean less balance, more crazyness and less leaders though.
 
I swear to god, it feels like some of the writers of these articles wake up one day with some genius new idea which they absolutely must share with the world, the kind of stuff we here usually post in the suggestions sub forum, where others can readily point out all that's wrong with your brilliant idea, thus ending in "oh yeah, didn't think about that". Only in their case they never habe that "oh, right!" moment.

Players have been asking for missions for a pretty long time. That's probably a better solution if you wish to include some sort of narrative, with no need to distract away from the sandbox experience.
 
Some campaign modes, called scenarios, already exist. I'd like to leave them out of the regular game.
It might be a lot of work making a scenario for each leader/civ, however.
 
While adding a campaign mode would certainly fit into the "new" part of the rule of thirds for Civ, I agree with @Alexander's Hetaroi above. Having a campaign for *every* leader would greatly increase the effort required to add a leader... whether in DLC or in a mod from the community. I've given myself a challenge (like I did in Civ3) to play every leader once. In BERT I'm working to achieve each of the affinity victories with every leader. The current group of leaders in Civ6 means my challenge will take a *long* time to complete.

But if every Civ7 leader has a campaign, they may have fewer leaders at launch, which will disappoint many of us.
 
I swear to god, it feels like some of the writers of these articles wake up one day with some genius new idea which they absolutely must share with the world, the kind of stuff we here usually post in the suggestions sub forum, where others can readily point out all that's wrong with your brilliant idea, thus ending in "oh yeah, didn't think about that". Only in their case they never habe that "oh, right!" moment.
Heh yup you should see their similar "wouldn't it be cool if Civ7 was a fantasy game" article lol.. It's like they've been living under a rock and think they're totally the first to think of this crazy stuff as there's zero mention of the recent Age of Wonders 4, nor Master of Magic, nor any other Civ like fantasy 4X TBS, nor any of the famous fantasy mods for previous Civ games eg Fall From Heaven.

And their brilliant Civ7 comparison with Baldurs Gate 3.. god I wish they had a comments section for these articles lol.
 
Can't we just go back to large - scale, epic historical scenarios? Unless I was the only one who actually played a lot of them :p
In civ5 "Fall of Rome" was amazing, followed by "Scramble for Africa" and "Into the Renaissance". I'd love to see something similar for "Early Middle Ages Europe and Middle East", Islamic conquests, Byzantium, Cold War (may be too difficult to design), ancient Middle East, and so on.
I'd even enjoy some cool alternate history scenario.
Campaigns would be too much work and besides their structure is nonsensical in context of 4X games where in each session you already play through "the entire history from beginning to end".
 
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