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happiness question


Sep 22, 2008
Ok, so I dont want this thread to turn into a bashing thread...I for one like this game..BUT...can someone explain to me what the happiness system in the game is supposed to be simulating?
ok so I know that there needs to be a negative effect for your civ growing...the whole rock paper scissor concept of game making i get that but i cant rapp my head around what I am supposed to be "pretending" when in comes to the happiness..
For example..
I am Rome...happiness plus 10..everyone loves me..yea...
Spain DOW's me...so off to war I go....
I start winning the war...I take city after city and now my people are BOOOO we hate you for winning the war...BOOOO.....BUT If I start losing the war and lose cities then....YEA we love you even more....yea.... I just dont get the simulation part of that..
I get the money thing, that is done well. you are taking in x but spending y on military and education (libraries and universities) see i get that and I can pretend with that..but the happiness thing, well can someone tell me how to spin it in your imagination to make it work????
again I know there needs to be a negative for growing or the game is too easy i get that but BOOOO you are winning the war...I just cant get it..
To me, Happiness represents a gauge of popularity, both political and economic, among your own people. Think of it almost like a Gallup poll as to both the popularity of the leader as well as the direction the civilization is going. Some people are going to hate you regardless. More people leads to overcrowding. Taking over cities (more specifically annexing cities) adds more people to that group, specifically people who belonged to an enemy civilization are now probably pissed off at being taken over.

On the flip side, I'm not 100% sure how or why a particular wonder would raise or lower Happiness/Unhappiness except maybe that your people feel better about their situation because of said accomplishment. In that case, all wonders should grant some sort of Happiness bonus, however minimal. More easily understood is adding luxury resources to your empire should and does add Happiness as it would seem to enrich the lives of everyone.
Like utgotye said, just having more cities and I think more people too makes your happiness worse.And I think you get extra unhappiness in conqured enemy cities.Annexing makes them not produce as much unhappiness, but you can't control what they build if you do that, which is ok, if you're ok with that.But if you annex conqured cities, you can build courthouses in them, which helps eliminate at least some of the extra unhappiness.
well ut...good thought, at least now I can kinda pretend that because i took over there cities and now they are voting members, that is why my populariety has gone down, however of course that does not help with your happiness going up if you start losing a war...but anyway it is a good thought...
well ut...good thought, at least now I can kinda pretend that because i took over there cities and now they are voting members, that is why my populariety has gone down, however of course that does not help with your happiness going up if you start losing a war...but anyway it is a good thought...

In a way it could help because, if you are losing the cities that you conquered, then you are losing the cities that are producing the most Unhappiness (as a ratio). A city you built (a non-Occupied city) might have a ratio of 2:1 or something, whereas a city you conquered (possibly an Occupied city) might have a much lower ratio, i.e. 5:4, thus still keeping you in the black but by a much lower margin (1.5 > 1.2).

Also, if you lose a unique luxury resource when you lose a city, that's going to piss your people off because now all of the sudden your empire has no gems or spices...etc.
Perhaps you can look at loosing a city as something that brings your people together - now everyone in your civ is totally committed to the war effort and completely supportive.

Think the US after pearl harbor - before that, many people opposed Roosevelt's desire to get involved in Europe. After pearl harbor, there was almost no opposition to sending troops into Europe (even though it was Japan that actually attacked).
Pretend that your citizens don't care about war. You win, you lose, they could care less. To try to simplify it some:

You are throwing a party at your house. You have soda, you have chips, you have pizza, you have a room where people can watch movies, a game room, you have a pool and a dance floor.

People start showing up. The take some of the food and just hang out talking. More people show up and take more food and start filling up the available space. More and more come and pretty soon you are out of food, there's no room anywhere and so the newest people to show up are bored and angry because you didn't make sure there was enough for them.

Happiness in Civ V is the same. You have enough entertainment and luxuries for a certain number of citizens. If you are under that number, your people are happy. They have a surplus of goods so everyone gets extra. This leads to golden ages. If you reach that number, everyone is content because they have what they need. If you go over that number, you now have people that don't have anything for themselves and so they are unhappy with you.

Happiness isn't really a simulation of anything. It's a control to make sure a civ doesn't get too big too fast.
I think "happiness" is not the right word for what that stat represents - maybe "order" or something like that would be better. Essentially, as long as people have what they need (bread and circus), they are unlikely to revolt or become unproductive. When there's not enough bread and circus for everyone, they become restless and start opposing the leadership.

Also, remember that in Civ you don't really play the leader of the day for that nation - you sort of play the entire nation. So happiness does not reflect the people's opinion of you as a leader, as much as it reflects what they feel about their lives.

Having said that, I wouldn't put too much thought into these things. The Civ games and V especially are quite abstract and gamey. I'd love to get a stronger feel of an inhabited world, but this clearly wasn't what they went for with V and I've decided to live with it :).
Well, I'm fairly sure the global happiness was never supposed to be considered real in the first place.

The sub components are:
Population: That's probably easiest to see. You initially get a fix # of happy free that is based on difficulty. Every new citizen is born unhappy.

number of cities: It seems that every one of your cities has liberation movements wanting to be its own city state even when you colonize them. They are apprently always the same number regardless of size of each city but make as much trouble as 3 population points.

puppets: Their now part of your empire and so you get subjected to the same forces as if you had founded that city.

occupied cities: annexed without a court house: Here it's rather obvious what's going on. Your popularity is 0% with these residents.

court house: They deal with all the trouble makers upset about the occupation and in addition even silence the liberator movement. But they are ineffective against the new born citzen starting unhappy.

The luxaries & happiness buildings are those things known to have made populations more content.

Every social tree includes a way that that social policy helps with happiness.
Yeah, this is a great leap backward to the way it was back in Civs 1-2, when you had happiness penalties for units out in the field while in Republic. I think it was even featured in "Murphy's Rules" how a city would actually become happier when you lost troops in battle.
If it weren't for happiness constraints everyone would just build or capture as many cities as possible.

It would be a very different game and conquest would always be the most important thing.

Not science. Not diplomacy. Not culture. Just 'get as many cities as quick as you can'.
I understand what you're saying and what they want to do. It is the scrappy mechanics that we disagree about.
I agree 100% there needs to be a penalty for growing or else the game would be too big...personally i would attach it to food supplies, people cant eat...they get really really pissed....I dont remember americans being pissed when Berlin fell!!!! or when they got Texas from Mexico....anyway...I agree it needs to be there, I just wish it worked better...thats all..I hate winning a war and having my people get pissed at me for it...
but thanks for the replies..
I know that you pretty much closed the thread but I had a few thoughts on what happiness simulated during war.

You have to look at it as two separate things, happiness and unhappiness. When you capture and are winning a war it isn't true that less people are happy. You still produce the same amount of happiness and perhaps more depending on if it had new resources for your people/social policies.

You do have a lot more unhappy people because you just captured a city and the people are from another country and it is going to take time for them to understand how good your country is (courthouses other buildings).

When you lose a city your citizens will always be less happy, even though not necessarily when considering how much less unhappy they are. Sometimes a city with luxury resources, wonders, combined with certain SPs buildings etc, will cause you to be more unhappy OVERALL. But you will always lose total happiness generated. Whenever you capture a city, you will typically get SOME increase in happiness. However, because of the influx in population the total population will not be happy, but your original people are just as happy if not happier with your war effort.

They like that you are winning the war but the new people in your empire demand the same if not more accommodations that you have provided everyone else. (Entertainment, more luxuries, courthouses for the violent rebels sympathizing with the enemy).

I don't know if this made any sense at all to you slo, but it does to me! :lol:
I understand what you're saying and what they want to do. It is the scrappy mechanics that we disagree about.

I agree. They should further complicate the happiness mechanic to make it more realistic.

When you take an enemy city, those citizens should be twice as unhappy, so each citizen produces two :c5unhappy: instead of only one. However, you are winning the war so the citizens in your core cities should be more happy.


Let's define core city. Obviously any city that you founded is a core city. Any city that you have controlled for more than 100 turns should also be considered a core city.

So each citizen in your core cities produces no :c5unhappy: instead of one when you are winning a war (capturing cities or killing more enemy units than you are losing).

Now if the city you just captured is the first one from that civ, this part is skipped. If you have captured other cities though, the citizens in those cities will be more upset because it is becoming more obvious that their civ is losing the war. So each additional city beyond the first should create +0.1 :c5unhappy: per citizen in captured cities.

If however the city you just captured belonged to another civ that is friendly with you, then they should be more happy because you have "liberated" them. So those citizens would act just like the citizens in your core city.

But then the citizens in your core cities start to realize that the luxuries they were getting are now being split up more and they start feeling deprived so the winning war effect starts to fade.

And then the liberated city realizes that you have no intention of giving that city back to its original civ and they start to lose the liberated effect.

And then you make peace or win the war and with no more war, there is no more war winning effect so all of that unhappiness returns. Unfortunately for you, the citizens of the newly captured cities are still unhappy because they are now being occupied.

But after a while of peace, that extra unhappiness starts to fade. After about 25 turns, its gone and you end up exactly where you are right now without all of that complicated mess.

Civ 5 is not a simulation. It is a strategy game. Happiness is nore happiness, it is a system control to limit the number of cities to prevent the ICS of previous civ versions and actually make the game more challenging and in my opinion, ironically more realistic feeling.
Civ 5 is not a simulation. It is a strategy game. Happiness is nore happiness, it is a system control to limit the number of cities to prevent the ICS of previous civ versions and actually make the game more challenging and in my opinion, ironically more realistic feeling.


Put simply, without Happiness, the game just wouldn't work. Of course it's not completely realistic, it couldn't be and still work. Just like how leaders live for 6000 years...
It's really a game of maths.

You have 3 cities and 3 luxes, you sit on 6 happy, all good. Then you see that new lux over there, better build another settler quickly to grab it. You get it and you happy is down to zero, because your other cities grew during that time. Sort it out and connect that lux and you're back to 3+.

This is when you have to decide if you want to expand and put hammers into circuses and colloseums. Myself, I'm happy to stay at -5 for a while, to get things sorted out, especially in non warmongering games. I'm mostly the buildertype player, BUT if it comes to war, I need to have my priorities open and switch gameplay. Sometimes I've been down to -30 unhappiness and then slowly build it from there, when the war is over.

This is in the early game of course, later on you can deal with most of it by policies. :)

Don't grow too big early on and you'll be fine. If you still want to grow, find measures to counter unhappiness, even scouting is good for finding natural wonders to give you a chance to plop down one more city. In worst case, stop cities from growing by assigning citizens to mines and stuff, or just click the button: Stop growth!
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