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ICS: Love it or hate it?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by snarzberry, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. flyingbunnys

    flyingbunnys Warlord

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    I don't consider Cottage spam and SEs broken, silly and stupid yes but broken no.

    It would be cool if cottages came back. I would like to see more than just the trading post farm options.

    I would like to have cottages, trade post, farms, and workshops. and acctually have them balanced so they are all viable options.
     
  2. spiffamoo

    spiffamoo Chieftain

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    At the risk of sounding foolish commenting on a strat I haven't actually tried in game...

    How do you get rid of the additional unhappiness per city so easily? Doesn't the cost of social policies rise as you build more cities? AFAIK, only two things reduce unhappiness from the number of cities, forbidden palace and the SP from the Order branch. That's pretty late game right? And I can't imagine that rush buying colosseums would be cheap.
     
  3. Psyringe

    Psyringe Scout

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    I'm sorry, but "Simply pointing out logical breaks" would have been possible without sarcastic remarks. It would also have been possible by asking questions to better understand the logic behind a line of thinking that is apparently unknown to you, instead of writing a rebuttal to tell other people that their perspective "makes no sense". Why are you interested in looking for "logical breaks" in the way I enjoy (or dislike) certain game mechanisms?

    Well, I can. To me, it is perfectly plausible that an invention or application simply isn't being made in an alternative history, or comes much earlier or later than in our history. The Greeks had knowledge of a machine that used steam to put an object into rapid motion, it's absolutely plausible that they could have invented steam power, which would have created a history of technology that diverged much more from ours than any history in an unmodded Civ can. I don't see why you regard cannons as an absolutely necessary application before rifles could be invented. Imho, the history of technology is much less predetermined than you think.

    The difference between "riflemen before cannons" and ICS is that to make ICS plausible, I have to assume that people in an early civilization deem it a good idea to maximize the number of cities in their empire, regardless of the terrain cities are founded in, and actually take care that none of these cities grows beyond a very small population. This I regard as so implausible that at this point my immersion breaks.

    I also have to say that I'm not sure whether I ever had riflemen before cannons, and I don't see why you regard this as a good example. I disagree that beelining to riflemen is an "optimal strategy" in Civ4. I also wonder why you throw Civ4 into the discussion; I didn't mention it except for stating that I was glad that it didn't favor ICS, and my dislike for ICS is independent of whether or not riflemen could be available before cannons in Civ4.

    I don't see extreme specialist or cottage economies as an "optimal way" to play Civ4. Usually in my games, even a commerce- or food-heavy city leaves a forest standing, places a mine or two to have a production base, and probably utilizes one or two special resources as well.

    However, again, why do you continually throw Civ4 into this discussion? I explained why I disliked ICS based on problems inherent to ICS, not based on comparisons to Civ4. If Civ4 doesn't have overpowered historically implausible strategies, then that's of course fine with me. If it does, then I'd of course wish it hadn't (and would have wished for Civ5 to fix this). In any case, my dislike for ICS (which is the topic of this thread) wouldn't change. Your argument seems much more suited for a "Civ4 > Civ5" discussion than it is suited for a discussion of ICS. I didn't intend to have a "Civ4 > Civ5" discussion here, though if you insist on it, we can probably go that route. I just don't see the merit.

    May I point out that the "better reason" you now claim to see is an exact quote from my very first post in this thread - i.e., the one that you wrote your rebuttal for? There, I said: " ICS breaks my suspension of disbelief", and one of the reason that it does is (as I said) that I regard ICS as ahistorical and historically implausible.
     
  4. Bandit17

    Bandit17 Warlord

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    I play on king-immortal levels all the time but since I always add several civs/cs's I rarely run into this issue. Even when the ai can apply ICS my control of Maritime cs's or my human intelligence in the application of combat can counter their larger number of cities. I always have near the highest population/production/GDP around the mid to late games not using ICS. So again, I personnaly have not seen ICS as an issue.

    Your horsemen rush/insta-heal comparison is flawed for the fact that ICS is an overall grand strategy and the other is a tactical combat imbalance. Grand strategy can be more easily dismissed or neglected by the player while tactical every turn imbalances put an unreasonable strain and expectation on the player to overlook and dismiss.

    Should I go for a large empire puppet domination victory or a small turtle culture victory or a ICS infused domination victory? These grand strategy choices are easier to choose from depending on personnal play style, civ, map and starting position. The tactical combat decisions come about more frequently and are thus harder to resist using.
     
  5. Eberon

    Eberon Chieftain

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    I have only continued to play CiV for now because of ICS. I had all but quit the game when I discovered the strategy.

    How does this factor into ICS? If anything ICS would be a way to connect the borders between a few well placed productive cities.

    The problem isnt the colesseum. Its the fact that no matter where you place your city the tile you place it on gets the exact same food hammers and gold. The best place to found a city in CiV is the worst tile you can find. Of course that doesnt hold true for tactical reasons but for pure production reasons it is.

    The global happiness is a game mechanic only. Trying to be immersed and RP this game is a mistake. Treat it like a board game the entire game is much easier to swallow.

    I fear that this would only change the face of ICS not cure it. Balancing this so it doesnt curtail valid early game expansion (when fewer happiness buildings and resources and buildings are available) might be tough in my opinion. If I were a dev looking for a way to change the face of ICS to something not as offensive or boring I wouldnt reject this out of hand. At first glance I wouldnt have much faith in it being viable without breaking too many other things.

    Thats how it all plays out in the early game. Once I get to the mid game I start to grow my ICS cities. I dont let them work tiles at all. I make EVERYONE a specialist. I like to have 3 maritime CS going at once and make as many buildings as I need to keep the unemployment to a minimum. It requires tons of managment. I am always working to make sure my cities in the early game are not growing past 4. Once the mid game hits I am constantly tweaking cities and making sure they arent accidently working tiles and causing faster growth that needed. Once I get to the mid game stage I run happiness in the 60 range with nothing more than colleseums for happy buildings.

    I enjoy this strategy. I dont think its stupid. You would have to do more than tweak happiness to 'fix' ICS. As a case in point ICS works exactly the same for Ghandi as it does for all other leaders.

    This does nothing to address ICS. Size 4 city with a colleseum and meritocracy would still be happy neutral. Meaning nothing at all would change over the system in place now.

    I like this idea but since ICS cities are placed as close to each other as possible I dont see how it has any effect at all on ICS. This only affects large sprawling empires not ICS style crap city spam.




    I am sorry to go down the line and pick your post apart. I feel for people who are just trying to make a more vibrant game experience. I just kinda think that CiV is broken at a CORE level. Fixing this is not going to be as easy as tweaking a few happiness or research numbers. Not unless you want to break other areas of valid gameplay. In my opinion they are going to have to add in some new mechanics to increase the robustness of the gameplay. CiV has been stereamlined down to a broken state IMO.
     
  6. zuraffo

    zuraffo Warlord

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    ICS is not inherently BROKEN as although it is an optimal strategy, it is not that easy to pull off. I don't think I want ICS out the door as it provides an interesting alternative to small size empires.

    It all depends on how you execute ICS. If you combine REX with ICS then you'll have very few SCs, which can mean a less effective empire. If you wait till you get the good SC to start spamming, well, you get to build a much smaller empire, puppets notwithstanding.

    Personally, I am not good at ICS, and thus it has been a challenge for me, so yes, I want the possibility for ICS to stay. I think people who are good at ICS can try other play style. Sure, it is suboptimal, but why not use your formidable strategic prowess to make it work?
     
  7. liet

    liet Chieftain

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    I think this is a valid point. Benefits of happiness buildings could scale with city population, but be capped at a maximum.

    I also think some sort of (un)employment / migration mechanic could be more realistic. Your size 15 city with wonders and luxuries should siphon population from your size 2 tundra gulags.
     
  8. aimlessgun

    aimlessgun King

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    I think making Maritimes a % based food increase, and at the same time lowering the food cost of the larger population sizes would be good initial changes. Often balance is something that should be done incrementally, followed by periods of testing.

    Furthermore, I think the elephant that just overshadows every single balance discussion is the military AI. It's hard to throw around terms like 'overpowered' or 'optimal' etc when a half decent military force will win regardless. Yes people are optimizing now for the quickest victory, but going for records like that is so much at the mercy of the map: the obvious ideal is you're just playing to scratch out a win (on deity at least). And you can scratch out a win militarily right now with pretty suboptimal play in other regards.
     
  9. slightlymarxist

    slightlymarxist Comrade

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    I fail to see how Settler spamming is a good strategy. If you're spending all your time building Settlers and Coliseums, how do you find time to build a proper military? What about the lag in happiness and income? Why not spend those resources building more units and approach the happy cap by conquering?

    I guess if you're at peace and alone on a continent ICS makes some sense, so it becomes more of a mid-late game strategy. Like someone else stated in this thread, a solution could be something like increasing unhappiness from number of cities. IF it is indeed a problem.

    EDIT: Also, consider the hit to Social Policies and Great People Points.
     
  10. Eberon

    Eberon Chieftain

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    Once you make your first ICS city it can spam make the settlers for you. ICS propigates itself. You dont need to divert any production from your core developed cities to continue ICS.

    The hit from SP is defenitly a negative in ICS but the tech boost you get outweighs the loss of SP. ICS makes TONS of great people...all scientist pretty much which are arguably the most OP great people.
     
  11. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Well if your goal is only to win as fast as possible, I don't think anything else can compare with a horsemen rush -except maybe a warrior rush. For me, I got tired of abusing the helpless tactical AI in early warfare, so I switched to a building-based strategy instead. Settler spamming just works really, really well for building up your economy without conquering cities.
     
  12. Biz_

    Biz_ Prince

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    it's fine if you don't get rushed...

    problem is that a smart opponent will rush you
     
  13. slightlymarxist

    slightlymarxist Comrade

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    Good point about Science. That seems like a plus. Social Policies get nerfed though, and so do the generation of Great People iirc.

    But even without exploiting/rushing, is the opportunity cost of ICS viable? I can see how building a city in the middle of nowhere just for the basic income/science is an investment that pays off in the long run, but not before you've built that Settler and Coliseum, and grown your new city a couple of points.

    Settling a city near a Resource gives an immediate payoff, like it should. No problem there. The question is ICS - settling cities on poor land just for the mechanic exploit. I see benefits, sure, but I also see drawbacks. Which is why I doubt ICS is a problem really.

    Case in point: While you're ICSing, the warmonger neighbor will lick his mouth, going "ooh yummy! More Puppets!" ;)
     
  14. jenks

    jenks Prince

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    I would like to see a population building requirement per city.

    Lets say that where a collosseum gives you +3 happy citizens, you cant build it until you have 3 or more citizens in that city.

    Logically for me the game should require you have at least 3 population to make 3 people happy.
     
  15. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    What opportunity costs? It only costs 80 hammers for a settler- less than that with liberty. You can build them really fast. I guess there's a small happiness hit from the new cities, but that's much better than having only a few cities which barely grow at all.

    The only real opportunity cost I can think of is if you rush a coloseum in the new city. You pay 680 gold for that, and if the new city is making 10gpt it'll pay for that in 68 turns, which is not bad. That's much better than most investments in this game. For example, if a city is producting 20 base gpt, and you rush buy a bank for 1000 gold, it will take 200 turns for the bank to turn a profit lol. The only possible better use for the money I can think of might be to rush a university in a more developed city.

    It's not like you have to skimp on military, at all, to do it.
     
  16. Eberon

    Eberon Chieftain

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    Optimal ICS is city size of 4 for early game. I dont see this fix severely impacting ICS.
     
  17. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    I think the doubters don't understand the strategy, so I'll (hopefully correctly) summarize it.

    You start with a more or less traditional start: a core of a few cities, with the number depending on how much you care about social policies. You can do well with 3 liberty (base, 25% workers, one extra happiness per connected city)..so you don't need to keep your empire *that* small to have the essentials. 2 in patronage (base, 25% gold bonus) are also useful - you can use the discount to add a bunch of cultural city state allies, allowing you to keep up on social policies during the early snowball days.

    Sell extra luxury resources to the AIs and prioritize gold; this lets you afford your first couple of maritime city states. Once you can build colloseums then you're ready for the snowball.

    Start filling in cities - they will only cost you 1 happiness per city plus one per person. Initially you place these traditionally so that you get more luxuries, etc. to build up a happiness buffer. But you park most of the cities between your existing ones. You want them to have library, colloseum, and perhaps monument; have them connected to existing cities; and then switch to wealth, units, or settlers/workers. Leave 2 specialists in science and 2 working trading posts; with 2 maritime CS and the base tile you're food-neutral or can manually turn off growth.

    The trade income and city cash are positive; the happiness is neutral at size 3 (pre-forbidden palace) or 4 (post); you can also get less effective happiness bonuses from piety (20% discount, so 5 people = 4 unhappiness) or commerce (extra happiness from luxuries). If you get to order you can get 5 bonus hammers per city (obviously highly useful for this strategy) and an extra 1 happiness per city, so it gets even better. But it's extremely good even at size 3.

    You don't have an opportunity cost per se, since once this is running the core cities don't have to do much to feed it. And you'll be sitting on a river of gold and beakers.
     
  18. slightlymarxist

    slightlymarxist Comrade

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    I disagree. ICS does make you skimp on military. You're spending your Capital production on Settlers, and your new (non-optimal) cities are building Colosseums to make up for the happiness hit.


    Opportunity costs:

    Each Settler cost 89 hammers/food. Each Warrior cost 40 hammers, each Spearman cost 50 hammers, for example. So, each Settler has deprived you of one Warrior and one Spearman. Opportunity cost.

    If you're running Liberty you're not running Honor. Opportunity cost.

    You can either do an ICS, settling non-resource/inferior tiles OR you can build Settlers where appropriate and military where appropriate (not ICS).

    Having said that, I'll concede that some aspects of Civ5 unfairly penalize large cities: food growth, border growth, Maritime city-states - and this should get fixed. Not to fix ICS, necessarily, but to make developing large cities more viable.
     
  19. Jharii

    Jharii King

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    A possible path to explore is that colliseums (and circuses) become less effective, or even obsolete, at a specified age. This would then require the more advanced buildings to be built, which would become less effective, or even obsolete, at another specified age.

    The newer aged buildings are more costly to build than their older cousins, thus spamming small cities would be difficult to maintain as your age progresses.

    This would also add some of that realism that people are concerned about, as it would be representative of your civilization maturing and evolving, requiring more sophistication as the ages progress.

    Colosseums became obsolete in time. Circuses are still around, but are hardly the source of entertainment they once were. Both could become obsolete (or change to a +1 or +2 gold producer so the building is not wasted) when you are able to build...

    Theaters (as implemented in the game) are present today, but are considered more of a source of culture than happiness. Maybe this would be its next progression (similar to how the above change to gold) when you are ready to build...

    Stadiums are flourishing today.

    To me, it all fits together nicely. It makes historical "sense" and thwarts ICS as an exploit. Those that wish to pursue ICS need to accommodate their population's new needs as they evolve.
     
  20. Eberon

    Eberon Chieftain

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    just use my massive ICS cash to buy the new building. /shrug
     

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