Has 1UPT Completely Destroyed this Franchise?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by CD7, Jan 13, 2017.

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  1. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    Oh I agree. As I stated before, I think the problem was with the size of the stacks, not stacks themselves. Firaxis should have tried to improve the existing system without throwing it all out. I don't think it would have been too difficult to do either. They could have implemented various mechanisms to limit the size of stacks. That alone would have fixed most of the issues people had with civ4 combat. And I am sure there are other things they could have done with giving units unique abilities or adding more terrain modifiers that would have made the strategic and tactical elements of combat more interesting. They could have added a battle order where players get to look at each other's stack and then pick the secret order in which their units will attack. My 1st against your 1st, my 2nd against your 2nd, etc... Depending on the order that each player picks, you could get very different combat results. For example, if we both pick catapults as our first unit to attack, then both stacks would suffer some collateral damage. But I pick my catapult and you pick your horseman, then your stack would suffer some collateral damage but I would lose my catapult. It would add a real element of battle tactics. Both players would have to guess at what they think the player will do. Stack composition would really matter since a diverse stack would have more flexibility to pick a certain unit to go first that would be a good counter to what the other player has. All of that would have been infinitely better than 1UPT IMO. Let's face it: 1UPT happened because Shafer thought that the combat in Panzer General would be really cool in a civ game.
     
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  2. Gub

    Gub Chieftain

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    This is the best case scenario, in SP on lower difficulty levels there wasn't even that. There was no strategy involved, you could easily win wars against superior opponents without having to make a sacrifice in units to do so, just rip the promotion to make your doom stack even more uber, kinda like conquest armies... However, it was simpler to use and required less clicks..
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  3. Art Morte

    Art Morte Prince

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    Any "strategy war game" that basically ignores the use of terrain - like Civ4 - is very light on strategy. I don't want to play a strategy game where, say, 20 units all fit on the same tile. If anything, I'd be curious to see the Civ series go deeper into the strategy side of things with the units. Something like Steel Panther style where you can stay hidden in the woods unless an enemy unit moves next to you - at what point your unit could ambush them, attack passively. Where a damaged unit's morale might break and it start just retreating without the player being able to do anything about it for a few turns. Where you need to consider the deployment of your units more carefully than just lumping them all together in one massive pile and marching to the nearest enemy city.
     
  4. Gub

    Gub Chieftain

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    They tried Armies in Civ3 (Which the AI could barely use); improved stack combat in Civ4 (creating the doom stacks to win them all, which also was easily exploitable); added hexes, 1UPT and separated city defenses in Civ5 and finally used pretty much all the above in Civ6:

    * Brought back "armies", which allow to create stronger units, and has the side effect of reducing clutter for conquest oriented civs.
    * Reintroduced limited stacking for support units aka "escort formations".
    * Made various adjustment to better utilize terrain, more unique situational promotions, better city defenses etc..

    As for 1UPT, it is a tried and true tactical system, that allows to creates a complex gameplay out of a comparatively simple set of rules. And I think it was the natural fit for them considering all the changes they made. Its fine if you dont appreciate the direction (you can't make everyone happy) but people shouldn't act like they killed your babies with crazy exaggeration.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
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  5. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I am well aware of course, excepting the artillery bombardment spam in civ 3 in addition to your withdraw example, plus air power and a few other considerations.

    Civ 6 is better about chip than 5 due to how the absolute difference in strength can scale. If you want to make a case that fights should be a little more lethal on average, I would agree.

    It's okay if the developers WANT that. It is a serious problem if they believe that tactics actually have increased in importance or frequency since 1 UPT was introduced.

    I am one of those "MBA guys". The design decisions taking that into account is...doubtful. To do this relies on noisy measures. I can totally believe that someone like 2k or other publishers would push a developer to hit a deadline in the interest of considering profitability. The blanket doormat reception by the market shows they're more than willing to accept that treatment as consumers.

    However, project management isn't easy and neither is coming up with substantive evidence that a design choice will cause more or fewer people to buy the game or continue playing it. Can you make an accurate estimate based on evidence of how well civ 6 would have sold if it didn't split the tech & culture trees...a relatively uncontroversial change even here? To the point where you can pin down a solid estimate of the impact of that change alone?

    I bet you can't. I will also bet the designers of civ 5 and civ 6 can't. You can do market research for it, and everything from how you design that research to how it's perceived makes the anticipated consequences noisy.

    You are arguing against some combination of poor project management/planning (unrealistic budget or planning fallacy) and terrible prioritization of resources in the game's development, with the latter being a given due to the state of civ 6. From a big picture perspective, however, the game's brand and dearth of competition are carrying it anyway, despite that in many ways it's fallen below standards of other AAA designers/publishers that the same people defending it hold in disdain.

    On a :hammers: to :hammers: ratio clumping a megastack and walking in on someone was asking to get massacred and throw away 3-10x their production. It would only work if they have no/few units where you're attacking or are outclassed technologically (even then there is some risk). To gain advantage as attacker without tech lead you had catch someone off guard, threaten multiple cities, and/or force trades that favored you (so limiting potential of collateral damage with unit positioning and stack composition, aided by promotions). On water maps naval forks were a serious threat and a rare time where it was easy for attacker to gain advantage.

    I guess in blazing pvp you could try to double-move people, but I'm operating on the assumption of that not being accessible, since "I am host so I can move these horse archers into sight then burn your city before you get to move" isn't an enticing scenario.

    The warlords series did limited stacking pretty well in the 90's. Before it fell off a cliff it had more depth than civ.

    Let's not be flagrantly disingenuous to the point of straight up ignoring previous posts and easily fact-checked game rules.

    Terrain arguably means less right now, in civ 6.
     
  6. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    I agree here. Designing anything, including computer games, is not a science, its an art. And thinking or trying to debase it to a science is wrong. I think strategy games suffer here slightly compared to other genres. Because by their nature they are more "scientific" in how they operate (basically at its core its a game based upon numbers and spreadsheets).
     
  7. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

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    :agree:
     
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  8. krc

    krc King

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    I disagree with much of this (at least on the surface, but suspect that in the end we probably agree on most of what we'd like to see in CIv6+). Part of my problem (not just with this post, but with most of the discussions around stacks vs 1UPT) is making sense of the confusion between strategy and tactics (and the complete omission of operational level in between them, or grand strategy above them). Hiding a unit in the woods isn't strategy; it's tactics. Deciding how to position and move your troops while fighting a battle isn't strategy; it's tactics. Deciding on the composition of your army and which part of it should be sent to attack that particular city is strategy. Deciding who to ally with and when to declare war on someone are part of grand strategy. The Civ series has always let/allowed/encouraged the player to control the grand strategy and, at least to some extent, the strategic decisions. That was the main aspect of warfare modeled by the stacks in Civ4. The big change with 1UPT was to impose tactical-level maneuvering on a map that was still scaled for strategic-level warfare.

    But that's not the only option. Back in ancient times, when real men played wargames on paper hex-maps with cardboard counters, Strategy & Tactics magazine released a game called Frederick the Great. It was (correctly) described as an "operational-level" war game. It was played on a map that represented central Europe. All of the victory point objectives revolved around control of (fortified) cities. Most of the decisive actions would eventually result from assembling (limited) stacks and successfully besieging an enemy city. But --- and this is the crucial point --- you had to carry out this operation very carefully. You had to maintain lines of supply. You had to maintain morale. For supply lines, you had to construct supply depots so your army could ultimately trace supply back to your own cities. And you had to defend those depots, because otherwise a small, fast cavalry force (or even a few determined infantry and artillery) would over run them, and your army would be forced to retreat. (Hungry soldiers don't fight well, and their morale goes to pot pretty quickly.) Terrain mattered a lot. If your supply line ran through mountainous or wooded terrain, you needed more depots, closer together. Which meant detaching more and more of your main army to defend the lines. On the other hand, if your supply ran through open terrain, then enemy cavalry was even deadlier. A small army could defeat a large one by being more maneuverable and striking against the base of the enemy supply. (As an aside, that sounds like the kind of thing an AI opponent could be taught to do.) Morale also depended on having competent generals and was enhanced by successful operations.

    Personally, I think the ideas in Frederick the Great are a good fit for Civ. In both cases, the only (military) objectives that matter are control of cities. A system that allowed limited stacks but forced you to detach units to guard supply lines would avoid both the "stack of doom" and "carpet of doom" extreme silliness that happens on both ends of the spectrum. The operational-level notions of supply, logistics, and morale would give a reason to care about and use the terrain. Light cavalry would have a useful role in screening troop movements or in raiding enemy supply. Zone of control matters in keeping the enemy away from supply lines; even a small force fortified on a wooded hilltop could make a big difference.

    And I also wouldn't have to suffer from the cognitive dissonance of archers who can fire over the English Channel and machine gunners who can't.
     
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  9. Gub

    Gub Chieftain

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    These aren't military collage definition but ones that commonly used to distinguish games. For example, deciding how to position and employ your force on the field of battle is tactics, as seen in Total War series where you take to the field of battle; Meanwhile choosing your field of battle --maneuvering your forces, using fortifications, etc-- is one level up, whether you prefer to call it the art of the general, operational-level strategy or whatever, this has been the level of planing in Civ from the beginning, with a degree of grand strategy on top.

    Regardless of your preferred classification, it should be obvious that these aspects aren't necessarily mutually exclusive and all have been enhanced from the beginning with each iteration of Civ

    The real problem is with people who are not willing to accept what is, wishing to promote particular play-style claiming what Civ is really about, cherry picking examples and massaging its abstractions to their needs.

    With that in mind, 1UPT is yet another change in a long line of "tactical-level" changes, that connected many previous mechanics, making related decision more meaningful, and without taking away existing strategic decision.

    It is another option, but one that has been abstracted in CIv from the start, have no mechanics that lend well to it and the focus of another competing franchise. On the up side, the newly added districts present opportunities to hammer at their war machine on strategical level, no? any ideas on how that can be utilized for a similar effect?

    Anyway, regardless of where you stand on this, keep in mind RL realities, they might do away with 1UPT (expanding limited stacks) but they are not going to change the focus completely, from experience any hope of the later is an exercise in futility --like much of this thread.

    You'd have hard time defining what art is, now days it seem to encompass anything that allow you express.. which including plain color canvases selling for millions, programming, and I bet some found a way to make spreadsheets sexy.. Anyway, I prefer the term talent i.e. the ability to see something that others don't, even though its subjective as well.

    In either case, in the real-world before people get to design anything on a project like this they first go through years of rigorous study in their respective fields, have to submit rather scientific business plans, prototypes and bounded by standard limitations of their franchise, tech, target-audience etc. And while obviously there are teams that are more talented\creative than others, most often fandom cries about arts, uninspired, corporate lackeys etc are nothing but the clueless and bitter cries of the disenfranchised about taking away heir favorite childhood toy --been there done that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
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  10. andreafin

    andreafin Prince

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    i like the term 'fingerspitzengefühl' myself. that sort of intuitive leap, or feeling, that you just put your finger on the key to the position.
     
  11. Chibisuke

    Chibisuke Warlord

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    If they ever bring back stacks of doom, I will probably stop purchasing the game. Yea, I still had fun in the older versions of Civ when stacks were a part of the gameplay, but it wasn't as fun. It absolutely requires less strategy to create a massive stack full of units and slam it against your opponent's defenses until they die. I like it that the player or AI is forced to plan troop movements and positioning to avoid having weaker units exposed, and taking a walled city requires some improvisation around terrain and defending units (rather than just lining the massive stack of doom up and just slamming against it until it falls). I also like the fact that losing individual units is penalized more heavily in this game so that people don't simply engage in a war of attrition. In the current state of the game, reckless play is punished whereas careful planning is rewarded. Yes, that does benefit the player more than the AI (which tends to be more reckless) but on higher difficulties the AI gets so many bonuses that the player is constrained in how you can play anyway if you want to stay competitive, so I think it is a fair tradeoff.
     
  12. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    I don't think anyone is advocating bringing back stacks of doom. But I would love to see limited stacks. And honestly, I think I might not buy civ7 if they keep a strict 1UPT. The AI cannot handle it and it makes moving any decent size army an absolute pain.
     
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  13. footslogger

    footslogger Warlord

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    In answer to the OP's question: yes, it has.
     
  14. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

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    One of the things I really enjoyed about Civ 3, and about Civ 4, was being here on Civ Fanatics when they were new and working collectively to discern the mechanics, develop strategies, and whatnot. Beyond that there were the games of the month and gauntlets and such that, while I didn't do that much, were still fun to do as part of the community.

    You lose this community aspect if everybody is off playing their own rules variant.
     
  15. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

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    Once a stack of chariots whittles away the 10% spearman, the remaining axemen are easy pickings.
     
  16. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    There is a "science" to it. Being effective with market research can make or break a firm. The problem is that in many cases the cost of acquiring information is greater than its potential or at least its realistically-anticipated utility. Still, the guesses you make can be educated ones, and the process of evaluating what information you invest in getting is non-trivial...but I wouldn't call it "art" :p.

    1UPT did very little of that. It also didn't ruin the series. By itself, it's not a significant enough change for that, and most of the problems attributed to it are failures of design to account for its existence sufficiently.

    Ignoring previous arguments that counter what you say is not in the spirit of discussion. Saying this at this point in the thread without addressing points brought up about stack combat previously is flagrantly disingenuous.

    I'm not convinced. I have played games I consider quite good (for their time or in a vacuum), that had 1 unit per tile/hex as a fundamental concept, and did so in different genres.

    On the other hand, a half-arsed, constrained, implementation of 1 UPT with a terrible (even regressing) UI, and design that doesn't take advantage of it did do some damage.

    Just because it takes a long time and many inputs to move 6 units across an empire and position them at peace in civ 6 doesn't mean it has to do that. It's not appropriate to blame 1 UPT there, because 1 UPT isn't the reason that process is such a chore.

    If civ 4 had the inexcusable joke of a presentation that is civ 6 UI but kept its own unit and movement rules identical, it would take 2-3 times longer to complete a civ 4 turn too. when you have 3-6 stacks, newly produced units you suddenly can't waypoint, heaps of cities you can't set builds at the same time, animations rendered off screen, etc...that kind of crap would have straight up ruined mid-late game play in civ 4...and since civ 4 had more units it probably would have been unplayable, close to what trying civ 6 huge/marathon with 30 cities (a completely vanilla setting mind you!) would feel like.

    Would people then make a case that stacks ruined civ? They might, but it wouldn't be reasonable. 1 UPT is the same way.
     
  17. Chibisuke

    Chibisuke Warlord

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    I was making comments very similar to those made by others within the last couple pages of this thread. If you think that's somehow disengenuous then have fun with that. I played Civ4 a lot. Stacks of doom were a huge part of the game play. Some people like them, some such as me dont. I stated why. Sorry you were offended.
     
  18. OranHarken

    OranHarken Warlord

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    The issue in my mind is that if they wanted tactical combat so badly why didn't they have a separate battle screen where the two conflicting stacks were unstacked and the AI was configured to be tactical on that map. It would completely solve the AI's in ability to be tactical on the strategy map while simultaneously trying to do everything else on that layer.

    There is an old adage in game design: If you want your game to mechanically solid promote a programmer to a developer. If you want your game to do anything other than be a pretty spreadsheet find literally any creative with a vision, someone not already tainted by working in the industry preferably.

    My own experience working with programmers is that their mind just too straight forward and disciplined. I would go as far to to say most programmers I've known have been well disciplined people of only just above average intelligence. If you want something truly good you need programmers too carry out the will of someone who doesn't think like a programmer.
     
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  19. Chibisuke

    Chibisuke Warlord

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    Here's one other thing. If you were playing on high difficulty, you had to know that the best defense against a stack of doom was a decently sized stack of your own (to avoid losing wars of attrition). The problem was that any AI bordering your empire could conceivably build up an infinitely large stack in secret and then launch a sneak attack anywhere in your empire at any time. So you always had this unpredictability factor where there was no way to prevent being overrun in a particular area (and of course the AI always knows where you are weakest.) It made the game ridiculous at some points since the only adequate defense was to have large stacks of your own everywhere. Then it was just a question of whose stack will last longer.

    Now you can still get sneak attacked by a large army but you are more likely to notice large troop build up on your border and can use terrain to your advantage so a smaller tactical force can still hold them off.
     
  20. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    There are so many things wrong with this, so I'm just quoting it for posterity.

    Nevermind your other ideas.
     
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