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[GUIDE] Handling happiness (reprise)

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by tu_79, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

    Feb 11, 2016
    Malaga (Spain)
    Updated for 2018 June. Feel free to add things up!

    1. Introduction

    Happiness is a much recurrent issue for old and new players, especially after the changes done in 2018 March where happiness is scarce, so I'll try to make a comprehensive guide on how it works and discussing strategies.

    2. Effects of happiness

    Why is happiness so important? Check this:
    - Local happiness has no effect, only global happiness matters.
    - Local unhappiness cannot be greater than city population (they are your citizens who are unhappy).
    - Every positive happiness point adds to golden age points.
    - Unhappiness adds to combat penalties (capped at -20% CS).
    - Under 10 unhapiness. Cities can no longer be settled.
    - Under 20 unhappiness. The empire is under revolt. Rebel units may appear and cities can be lost.
    - There is a global efficiency bonus that affects :c5culture::c5science::c5gold::c5faith: and :c5food: growth, and values:
    +(Global happiness)%, capped at -10 and 10.

    3. Sources of happiness

    Happiness can be obtained in several ways.
    - Difficulty handicaps.
    - Having access to luxuries. Expending great admirals in voyages grants some luxuries, making allies with some city states too.
    - Discovering world wonders.
    - Social policies.
    - Religious beliefs.
    - Luxury monopolies.
    - Allied mercantile city states.
    - City state quests.
    - Expending Great Musicians for Concert Tours.
    - Happiness buildings such as Zoo, (Circus line).

    Unhappiness is gathered by:
    - City needs.
    - Religious unrest.
    - Isolationism.
    - Specialists.
    - War weariness.
    - Conquered cities
    - Ideologies

    4. Further explanation of happiness sources

    I'll discuss only the sources that present some complexity in the following points.

    4.1 Luxuries

    A player can have access to a luxury either by controlling it directly with a valid improvement (its own, a great person tile improvement, or a unique improvement that allows for connection), by trading for it, by allying a city state that has an unique luxury, or by expending Great Admirals in Discovery Voyages.
    The effect of luxuries scales for the average population size of your cities. This means that every accesible luxury gives more happiness when cities are tall, but on the other hand, tall empires have usually access to fewer luxuries.​

    4.2 Needs

    Your people are jealous. They expect a certain quality of life from what they gather from the rest of the world and become unhappy when the player cannot provide. Yields considered are gold (poverty), science (literacy), culture (boredom) and city defense (crime) (As of June 2018 betas, city defense is replaced by distress, accounting for food+production in the city). Best thing in improving city needs is providing more yields. Other than that, it is also posible to reduce needs with some social policies and some buildings such as the barracks. City defense is increased by buildings such as the walls, and by placing garrisons and great generals in the city. Fealty scaler is also a good source of city defense. (Deprecated)​

    Technically, every city wants to be over the median value of the world-wide city yield per population. More explicitly, divide all yields by the population in each city and find the middle value for each yield. A penalty is then applied for the number of technologies the player has researched. Finally, the number of people suffering from some city need is obtained from the distance of the current city yield per population to the target value. In other words, your citizens have to be efficient. Having workers on +2 food tiles is not efficient at all.​

    4.3 Religious unrest

    Your citizens dislike people not following the majority religion in the city. This is obtained by the relative number of people that do not follow the majority religion.​

    4.4 War weariness

    War weariness happens as a result of a prolonged or bloody war. Its effect takes a while to be noticeable, but it also takes longer to go away.​

    4.5 Conquered cities.

    After a city has been conquered it can stay as a puppet or be directly controlled. As a puppet it produces one fixed unhappines per 4 pops in the city (actual figures may vary). As a controlled city without a courthouse, it produces one unhappiness for every pop in the city. With a courthouse, unhappines is the same as in any other of your cities. Razing a city does not increase unhappiness, but makes the city revolt and might produce rebels.​

    4.6 Isolationism.

    Missing a connection with the capital makes your people sad. A connection can be made by trade routes alone, by uninterrupted land roads, or by unblockaded coastal cities with lighthouses. Beware that trade routes may use better destinations, roads cost big gold maintenance, while lighthouses pay for themselves but are not prioritary.​

    4.7 Specialists

    Every 5 worked specialists 1 unhappiness is added globally (again, it may vary for every release). On the other hand, specialists provide yields that are hard to find in the field, such as science and culture, so they are useful for addressing unhappiness from needs.

    4.8 Ideology

    When your people are influenced by another civilization, and said civilization has a diferent ideology than your people, then they become unhappy. This penalty starts applying 30 (??) turns after you have obtained an ideology. Switching your ideology to the one that has influenced your people removes the penalty.​

    5. Strategies.

    When a city is suffering from one kind of unhappiness, the obvious thing to do is trying to increase the yields of the same kind, and finding out bonuses against the related unhappiness type. For increasing those yields there are buildings, world wonders, some improvements, specialists, policies, and technologies throughout the game (not going to make a full list now), and the same is true for reduction needs bonuses. It's worth noting that world wonders are always kept upon capturing a city, so if a wonder that reduces a kind of unhappiness that is hurting your empire is already built by other civ, capturing the city where that wonder is built may help.

    The following are less evident strategies.

    5.1. Controlling growth and tech progression.

    Since a major factor of unhappiness comes from needs, it's important to have them under control. Every city pop that is not working on a over-the-average tile is probably contributing to unhappiness. So, when no good tiles of specialist slots are available, it is preferably to work on fewer food tiles since it slows down city growth. Food buildings are still useful, for they release your workers so they can work on more productive places.
    If the unhappiness is too big in one city, but it is fine in the other ones, then controlling growth in that city is enough. But when unhappiness is too big in most cities, then it is infrastructure what is missing. This happens when the player researched too fast, and the new buildings were not built. In this case, it's preferably to unfocus science for a while, until economy follows.
    A key for having always a nice tile to work on, is having enough worker units. The default is one worker unit per city, except for enhanced workers (Pyramids, Progress), which can do with 3 workers every 4 cities.
    Disclaimer: A civ might suffer from undergrowth too. Without enough population, raw yields are low, so techs and policies come slowlier than the average. Techs and policies that are needed to obtain those over-the-average tiles that make your civ happy.​

    5.2 Diversify.

    Having all trade routes departing from the same city is very effective for gold revenue, but it makes secondary cities suffer. Those trade routes give gold, science and culture to the city, helping with most city needs.
    Yields also need to be diverse. Production is always nice as it allows to build fast, but if production comes at the price of not having gold, science or culture, then happiness suffers.​

    5.3 Villages.

    Looking for farm adjacencies, it is easy to overlook village placement. Villages are one of the few culture sources, but also give gold and production, so they are key for handling city happiness. Villages and Towns are enhanced by being under a uninterrupted road/railroad which connects two cities, and also for passing by trade routes, so it should be mandatory to place them in such places.​

    5.4 Unify religion.

    Religious unrest can be avoided in two ways, or just be accepted. One way is to spread your religion far far away, so any religious contest is done outside of your borders. The other way is to strenghten your religious pressure so any foreign religion cannot penetrate (temples, religious buildings and garrisoned inquisitors). Alternatively, if nothing can be done to prevent a religious clash, then Pagodas and Rationalism policies help reducing religious unrest. Note that you can build a religious building when your city is following the religion that offers it, and this building is not destroyed when converting to another religion, so building several buildings from different religions is posible.​

    5.5 Quick wars

    Prolonged wars are deadly for happiness, avoid them at all costs and do not be greedy. If you cannot take a city from a war, make a truce for ten turns and try again. Even the war of the hundred years had a lot of truces. In the worst case, pillage everything you can. If you can't force AI to declare peace, conquer a city and raze it!​

    5.6 Pace expansion.

    Every new conquered city is a big drag to happiness, so unless you really must hasten, try to expand at a pace that allows your happiness to recover. It is useless to take three cities in a row, and lost one for revolts. In the worst case, raze useless cities (at least you are not giving them to the enemy). If you only want cities for controlling the territory and the resources, use puppets, they usually cost less unhappiness and do not drag your progress. Puppets keep growing and building, so the biggest and eldest puppets in your empire might contribute more by being annexed.​

    5.7 Fight at sea.

    Naval combats produce great admirals who can be expended for some free luxuries. Even if you think you do not need a navy, the extra happiness is useful for a faster expansion.​

    5.8 City processes.

    A fast method to increase some yields is turning 20% production into a city process, when the technology allows. For example, if your cities are suffering from boredom everywhere, turning production into culture in most cities may put your empire back into positive happiness. With the caveat that nothing can be produced in such state, only unit purchases. (This may have been disabled for happiness purposes, need confirmation.)

    5.9 Ally city states.

    An allied mercantile city state grants +5 happiness, and also has unique luxuries that cannot be obtained by trading with other civilizations, like glass and jewelry. Other city states may give you unique luxuries when allied too, and their granted yields are not to be dismissed.
    Special thanks to Omen of Peace, Mad_Madigan, Legen and Paramecium for their added tips and fixes.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  2. Mad Madigan

    Mad Madigan Prince

    Jun 15, 2016
    This is a very helpful guide, @tu_79 !

    One thing you didn't mention, but can be very handy for controlling city Unhappiness in certain circumstances, is the :c5gold: / :c5culture: / :c5science: processes that unlock over time through technologies. If you've kept up with infrastructure but you don't have the ability to spread around trade routes (maybe you're surrounded by enemies and can't trade with but a few City States), and you have some cities with no other way to access additional Gold, Science, or Culture you can set the unhappy city to turn a % of its :c5production: into another yield. I find this especially useful on higher difficulties when playing as a warmonger through the mid- to late-game when I have lots of bonuses to production but not enough of the other main yields in my cities, even after all of the main infrastructure buildings are in place. It's not a permanent solution, but it can help recover a few :c5happy: points in troubled cities until you can find some other way to help them (usually via some new building unlocked from tech).

    Also, you didn't mention that Specialists generate Unhappiness. It's global and not per-city so it cannot be "combated" through proper infrastructure or trade routes, etc. but it does make up a sizeable chunk of a player's total Unhappiness, especially in the late-game. By the same token, Specialist yields do count towards local city Unhappiness, so troubled cities can get a little extra :c5gold: / :c5culture: / :c5science: by working the appropriate Specialists, assuming they have the right buildings. But every X number of Specialists generates Y global Unhappiness so combating local yield Unhappiness with Specialists can turn into a zero-sum game.
    Hinin likes this.
  3. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

    Feb 11, 2016
    Malaga (Spain)
    Forgot completely about specialists. As stated, it's a WIP.
    Much appretiated the hint on city processes. I'll edit.
  4. Legen

    Legen King

    Sep 13, 2015
    Nice guide.

    A few points that deserve mention:

    - If global happiness is negative, it subtracts from your golden age points pool.
    - Combat penalty from unhappy empire caps at -20%.
    - I'm sure you meant "Discovering natural wonders" at "3. Sources of happiness".
    - Specialists add 1 unhappiness for every 3, not 5, if I'm not mistaken.
    - Additional strategies to manage happiness include:
    • targeting wonders that reduce needs in your empire (e.g. Oracle, Branderburg gate) or increases overall yield production (e.g. Himeji Castle, Sistine Chapel).
    • chaining Golden Ages to fight Poverty and Boredom, plus speed up your infrastructure.
    • competing for mercantile city-states, as they not only provide happiness, they also have under them luxuries that are not available anywhere else (Glass, Porcelain, Jewelry).
  5. Paramecium

    Paramecium Prince

    Jul 14, 2016
    To add further, you forgot to mention, that a city cant produce more unhappiness than it has population. So a new found 1 :c5citizen: city with several :c5unhappy: from poverty, crime etc. wont produce more than 1 :c5unhappy:.

    Also, you should mention, that you get the luxuries from allied city states and so making mercantile city states better, because most city states will have 1 luxury to improved and the mercantile ones add the unique luxuries like jewelery, porcelain and glass.

    Maybe you should also explain that the :c5happy: from luxuries gets improved with more population you have.
  6. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

    Feb 11, 2016
    Malaga (Spain)
    Thanks for the tips. An allied mercantile city state is sure a good asset. I'll fix the other oversightings too.

    Sure? I never saw this mentioned anywhere and didn't notice it myself.

    Unless it was changed very recently, it was per 5 specialists. @Gazebo, can confirm?
  7. Omen of Peace

    Omen of Peace Prince

    Mar 22, 2018
    Late game, there's also unhappiness from "Ideological pressure", i.e. civ with differing ideologies that exert more Tourism pressure on you than you on them (based on the discrete levels Exotic / Familiar / Popular / Influential / Dominant).
    CppMaster likes this.
  8. Legen

    Legen King

    Sep 13, 2015
    I'm sure about the golden age points, I've seen a warning in the tooltip whenever I checked under negative happiness.

    It's worth noting that golden age points from happiness accumulates during Golden Ages in VP. Iirc, they don't in vanilla BNW.

    I remember tyhe specialist discussions talking about a nerf of them having a 0.33 unhappiness from urbanization. I can't remember when exactly.
  9. Ghiznuk

    Ghiznuk Chieftain

    Apr 10, 2011
    Very interesting guide.
    What is the logic behind making Specialists give unhappiness, though ? :) (just out of interest)
  10. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

    Feb 11, 2016
    Malaga (Spain)
    Hi, this guide is outdated. I want to update it once the recent changes to happiness stand.

    If specialists didn't produce any unhappiness, it would be trivial to address any unhappiness from needs, just with enough specialist slots and it will force players into working as many specialists as they can.
  11. Shadowhal

    Shadowhal Warlord

    Jan 26, 2006
    I was wondering … doesn't this system incentivise a "build everything everywhere" strategy? If the only way to away (most) unhappiness is to have high yields across all categories, that means you will want to build everything that boost any yield and other factors. Which would seem quite boring strategy. Sure, some cities will be better at food or production. But if they get unhappy from low food output, that still pushes me to build markets and so on.

    Happy to be taught otherwise, if I have missed the point.
  12. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

    Feb 11, 2016
    Malaga (Spain)
    In the late game, happiness was not an issue, so you did not have to build everything. At least when happiness was lenient in the 2017 model.
    Now it is different, but still the late game is easy. Only unloved warmongers face crippling unhappiness, and even then it does not prevent you from conquering other civs capitals, which is the winning condition.

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