Ideas for further refinements to CiV (or perhaps for the shape of Civ 6)

Vandal Thorne

Warlord
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
163
Forward
I had some ideas for what I think would be vast improvements to the Civ V system. As you read through these keep in mind that they are only ideas. I would try to build a mod but several of the core game play features need to be changed in order to accommodate the ideas that follow. As I’m also about to launch into an information science PhD program at the University of Illinois, it seems unlikely that I’ll have sufficient time to dedicate to learning enough coding to make these ideas substance. The changes listed are pretty substantial and may be better suited towards the ultimate shape of a Civilization VI game.

Core Features
The ideas listed here revolve around alterations to four key components of Civ V gameplay:
  1. Eras,
  2. Warfare (more specifically the politics of warfare),
  3. Colonization (making new Settlements), and
  4. Minor Changes to:
    • Cultural Border Growth,
    • Great People, and
    • Influence & Espionage.

Eras
One of the things I enjoy about Civ is the immersive experience of traveling through time across the eras. To improve this I propose deepening the Tech Tree to increase the amount of time that players spend in each era. Since it seems likely that this may make the game too long for some, I also propose that each Era be treated as a distinct mini-game, affording players the opportunity to start and stop their games within selected time boundaries or to customize their play experience by skipping over eras they don’t want to play through. For example on could play a three-era game that zips through history traversing from Ancient Era to Industrial Era to Information Era and skipping the in between eras; conversely, one could play a game focused solely on the early part of history by starting in the Ancient Era, progressing through the Classical Era, and ending with the Medieval Era. Likewise, someone wanting to focus on a twentieth century game could start in the Modern Era, progress through the Post-Modern (an additional WWII Era) and Atomic Eras and finish in the Information Era.

Note that I’m proposing adding an additional era. This would make the complete timeline look like:

Age of Antiquity: Ancient Classical Medieval
Age of Enlightenment: Renaissance Industrial Modern
Contemporary Age: Post-Modern Atomic Information

Again, the focus would be on allowing players to mix and match the eras that they want to play through, allowing them to tailor their Civ experience.

Warfare
Warfare in Civ is still a fairly one-dimensional conquest affair. It is slightly improved by being able to bully City-States with your military units. I propose deepening the warfare experience by making it easier to get away with acts of war. Rather than declare war the first time one of their units is captured or killed there is instead an ongoing state of pseudo-war during the eras that make up the age of Antiquity. Units do not respect cultural borders until the Industrial Era. Civilizations and City-States will only declare war when their capital or other major settlements (Town-sized or larger) are attacked or after other forms of aggression are repeated a sufficient number of times. The threshold for declaring war should vary from Civilization to Civilization. This makes everyone a little bit more like barbarians. Poaching civilian units, killing random military units, pillaging improvements all become “legal” game tactics, and as long as the activities aren’t repeated more than 5 to 10 times war is not declared. This should allow militaristic Civilizations to work their military to support their economy beyond the simple conquer and/or burn everything in sight.

I also propose altering the results of “conquering” a city. Under the current system when one conquers a city you have two choices, Annex the city or turn it into a puppet state (pseudo-annexation), or if it wasn’t a capital, you can Raze it. I propose expanding the available options beyond this to six. The three new options I’m proposing are Loot Settlement, Enslave Population, and Ransom Settlement. Rather than simply getting some :c5gold: payoff when you conquer a city you must choose to focus on specific results. To get :c5gold:, one must Loot Settlement. I also propose changes, summarized fully below, to the three existing conquest choices.

Settlement Conquest
Annex Settlement: You do not receive a reward of :c5gold: when you do this. Instead you must pay an amount of :c5culture:, :c5gold:, or :c5influence: and sacrifice a military unit that is at full health. Colonies (see Colonization section below) on the same landmass are much cheaper to annex than other kinds of settlements. Settlements belonging to other Civilizations that are on a different landmass than your capital are much more expensive to annex. The amount of :c5unhappy: generated is proportional to the expense. The type of Settlement (see Colonization section below) will also impact the cost and amount of :c5unhappy: generated.

Change Government: Rather than simply create a puppet government you can change the relationship with the conquered Settlement to Ally. Again, you must spend a small amount of :c5culture:, :c5gold:, or :c5influence: to accomplish this goal. You can also make a puppet state, what I prefer to call a Permanent Alliance, if you spend a great deal more :c5culture:, :c5gold:, or :c5influence:. Certain types of Settlements (see Colonization section below) are not affected by this ability.

Ransom Settlement: If you conquer a Settlement belonging to another Civilization then you can sell it back to them for :c5gold:, units, Artifacts, and/or Great Works. Certain types of Settlements (see Colonization section below) are not affected by this ability.

Enslave Population: Rather than assume control of the Settlement in some way you can enslave its population and take one or more civilian units as spoils of war. Up to half of the Settlement’s population may be enslaved in this way. Every 5 :c5citizen: can be converted into a Worker, every 10 :c5citizen: can be converted into a Colonist, or every 15 :c5citizen: can be converted into a Great Person. Civilian units captured this way only cost 25% of the normal maintenance cost. Enslaved civilian units will cause :c5unhappy:.

Loot Settlement: Rather than do any of the aforementioned options above, you can choose to loot the Settlement, receiving 100 x the population of the Settlement in :c5gold:.

Raze Settlement: Finally, you can choose to raze the settlement to the ground. Settlements that are razed will eventually become Antiquity Sites. During the Ancient and Classical Eras any settlement, even Capitals, can be Razed. During the Medieval and Renaissance Eras, Cities (of any kind) cannot be Razed but Town and Outpost types of Settlements (see Colonization section below) can be Razed. During the Industrial and Modern Eras only Outpost type Settlements can be Razed, and beginning in the Post-Modern Era, Settlements can no longer be Razed at all.

This suggests some interesting new Resolutions for the World Congress, such as bans on Looting, Slavery, Annexing, and Ransoming.
 

Vandal Thorne

Warlord
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
163
Colonization
Rather than just have the humdrum of building settlers and expanding our little empires I suggest we change things up a bit, by limiting the amount of land that an empire can expand to during the early phases of the game. There are two primary methods for accomplishing this:
  1. Settlements (which come in a variety of types) are made by a variety of units, which includes 3 different kinds of Settler.
  2. Settlements are not always Cities, instead they come in a variety of sizes: Outpost, Town, and City.

Outposts
Outposts are the smallest type of Settlement. They can only work the tile that they are built on. When an outpost is built the tile it is built on must be purchased using 25 :c5culture:, 50 :c5gold:, or 15 :c5influence:. The Thorpe type of Outpost will grow but at a rate that is 8 times slower than a City; other kinds of outposts do not grow. All Outposts ship their tile yields to the nearest city, except for Thorpes which keep ½ of their tile’s :c5food: yield and ship everything else. Outposts cannot be built within 3 tiles of other Settlements but they may be built within the cultural borders of your Cities (as long as they are 3 tiles away from the City itself). As always, anything built on a different body of land is an exception to this rule.

Types of Outpost include:
  • Thorpe: Thorpes can be created from the start of the game and are founded by expending a Rustic, the weakest and cheapest kind of Settler. A Thorpe’s cultural alignment will be to the City nearest to it. If this is not one of your Cities then you do not have to pay for the Thorpe’s tile. A Thorpe’s population will grow very slowly over time. Thorpes provide weak advantages to units garrisoned in them (+1 :c5defense:, +10 Hit Points). A Thorpe’s base output is 1 :c5food: and 1 :c5production:. These yields increase as technologies are researched and its population grows. They can be founded on any type of land tile except for Mountains.
  • Fort: Forts are strictly military fortifications that claim the tile they are built on and provide the following advantages to units stationed in them: +10 :c5defense:, +100 Hit Points, Cover I, 7 :c5rangedstrength:, and Range: 1 [note: this ranged attack does not replace a unit’s existing ranged attack and can be used in addition, so an Archer stationed in a Fort could attack enemies near it twice, once at Strength: 7 and Range:2 and once at Strength:7 and Range:1]. They can be built by Workers (once Construction has been research; the Worker is expended upon completion) or by Explorers (once Cartography (see Tech Tree post for details on this technology) has been researched; expends the unit when completed). Forts also provide 1 :c5influence: to the Empire. This influence can only be spent on interactions with the nearest City-State or Civilization. These yields increase as technologies are researched. Forts can be built on any land tile except for Mountains but are best placed on tiles with Hills, Forest, and/or Jungle.
  • Trading Post: Trading Posts are a type of Outpost that can be built by Workers or Explorers (only once Cartography (see Tech Tree post for details on this technology) has been researched). The Worker or Explorer is expended as the Trading Post is completed. Trading posts can only be built on land tiles that border a City-State or Settlement from another Civilization. Trade routes with that City-State or Settlement are +2 :c5gold: for you and +1 :c5gold: for them, and you receive one copy of a Luxury or Strategic resource controlled by that Settlement. Trading Posts also provide 1 :c5influence: for the Empire. This influence can only be spent on interactions with the nearest City-State or Civilization. These yields increase as technologies are researched.
  • Whaling Fleet: Once Optics has been researched, Work Boats can be used to create Whaling Fleets on tiles with Whales on them. Whaling Fleets can only be made on tiles that are outside of the range of your nearest Settlement and so could not normally be worked. The Whaling Fleet’s tile output is sent to your nearest Settlement. Whaling Fleets yield 4 x :c5gold: when pillaged.
  • Fishing Fleet: Once Steam Power has been researched, Work Boats can be used to create Fishing Fleets on tiles with Fish on them. Fishing Fleets can only be made on tiles that are outside of the range of your nearest Settlement and so could not normally be worked. The Fishing Fleet’s tile output is sent to your nearest Settlement. Fishing Fleets yield 2 x :c5gold: when pillaged.
  • Deep Sea Platform: Once Commercial Industry (see Technology Tree post for further details on this technology). has been researched, Work Boats can be used to create Deep Sea Platforms on tiles with Oil on them. Deep Sea Platforms can only be made on tiles that are outside of the range of your nearest Settlement and so could not normally be worked. The Deep Sea Platform’s tile output is sent to your nearest Settlement. Deep Sea Platform’s yield 6 x :c5gold: when pillaged.
 

Vandal Thorne

Warlord
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
163
Towns
Towns are a more substantial kind of Settlement. Like Outposts, the base tile for the Town must be purchased for 40 :c5culture:, 75 :c5gold:, or 25 :c5influence:. Towns will grow slowly over time and keep a portion of their food for themselves, but send their other tile yields to the nearest City. Towns cannot be founded within 5 tiles of other Settlements and cannot be founded within the Cultural boundaries of any Settlement. The tiles immediately surrounding a Town can be purchased for 50 :c5culture:, 100 :c5gold:, or 30 :c5influence: each. The Town’s population will work these tiles. Towns support 1 free unit, this will usually be a civilian unit.

Types of Town include:
  • Barbarian Camp: Barbarian Camps are not founded by the player. To increase the organized threat level of Barbarians, I suggest improving their camps with cultural borders. The camp provides support for 2 free military units. Enslaved workers will be used to improve the tiles around the camp. Barbarians will use captured Settlers to found additional camps contiguous to the cultural borders of their initial camp. Camp’s provide the following advantages to Barbarian units stationed in them: +5 :c5defense:, +50 Hit Points, Cover I, 8 :c5rangedstrength:, and Range: 1 [note: this ranged attack does not replace a unit’s existing ranged attack and can be used in addition, so an Archer stationed in a Barbarian Camp could attack attacking enemies twice, once at Strength: 7 and Range:2 and once at Strength:8 and Range:1]. Barbarians will use yields from improved tiles to support additional units. This suggestion essentially turns Barbarian tribes into micro-Civilizations.
  • Village: Villages are scaled up versions of Thorpes. They can support one free unit (military or civilian). They can be founded from the game start by the Pioneer type of Settler. Like Thorpe’s, a Village’s cultural alignment will match that of the City closest to it, so do not found them to close to City-States or other Civilizations. Villages provide military units garrisoned in them with some weak advantages (+5 :c5defense:, +50 Hit Points, and Cover I). A Village’s base output is 1 :c5culture:, 1 :c5food:, 1 :c5gold:, and 1 :c5production:. These yields can be improved as technologies are researched.
  • Manor: Manors are similar to Villages, except that they can only be founded by a Noble, which is a kind of military unit (see Caste System in the Tech Tree post for details on the Noble’s abilities). Once founded, each Manor supports 1 military unit and produces 1 :c5culture:, 2 :c5gold: and 1 :c5influence:. Manor’s provide much better advantages to units stationed in them: +10 :c5defense:, +100 Hit Points, Cover II, 11 :c5rangedstrength:, Range: 1 [note: this ranged attack does not replace a unit’s existing ranged attack and can be used in addition, so an Archer stationed in a Manor could attack attacking enemies twice, once at Strength: 7 and Range:2 and once at Strength:11 and Range:1]. These yields can be improved as technologies are researched.
  • Abbey: Abbeys are a religious version of the Manor and can only be founded by Monks (see Theology for details). Once founded, each Abbey supports 1 civilian unit and produces 2 :c5faith:, 1 :c5food:, and 1 :c5science:. Abbey’s provide good advantages to military units garrisoned in them: +8 :c5defense:, +85 Hit Points, Cover II, 11 :c5rangedstrength:, Range: 1 [note: this ranged attack does not replace a unit’s existing ranged attack and can be used in addition, so an Archer stationed in a Abbey could attack attacking enemies twice, once at Strength: 7 and Range:2 and once at Strength:11 and Range:1]. These yields can be improved as technologies are researched.
  • Citadel: Citadel can only be founded by Great Generals (expends unit). Citadels claim their tile and the surrounding tiles for free. While they do not support any units, Citadels will send all of their tile outputs to the nearest City. Citadels grant units stationed in them with phenomenal advantages: +12 :c5defense:, +115 Hit Points, Cover II, 12 :c5rangedstrength:, Range: 1 [note: this ranged attack does not replace a unit’s existing ranged attack and can be used in addition, so an Archer stationed in a Citadel could attack attacking enemies twice, once at Strength: 7 and Range:2 and once at Strength:12 and Range:1]. Citadels also generate 1 :c5culture:, 1 Espionage, and 2 :c5influence:. These yields can be improved as technologies are researched.
  • Coastal Battery: Similar to the Citadel, Coastal Batteries can only be founded by Great Admirals (expends unit; see minor gameplay improvements below). Further, they can only be founded on land tiles that boarder a Coast tile. Like Citadels, Coastal Batteries do not support any units. Coastal Batteries do provide phenomenal advantages to units stationed in them: +12 :c5defense:, +115 Hit Points, Cover II, 10 :c5rangedstrength:, Range: 3 [note: this ranged attack does not replace a unit’s existing ranged attack and can be used in addition, so an Archer stationed in a Coastal Battery could attack attacking enemies twice, once at Strength: 7 and Range:2 and once at Strength:10 and Range:3]. Coastal Batteries also yield 1 :c5gold:, 1 Espionage, and 2 :c5influence:. These yields can be improved as technologies are researched.
 

Vandal Thorne

Warlord
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
163
Cities
Cities are the final kind of settlement. Cities must be more than 7 tiles away from the nearest other City-sized settlement. They are founded by the Colonist type of Settler. This distinction is important as the Cities founded by Colonists always begin play as some form of City-State.

During the Age of Antiquity (Ancient, Classical, and Medieval Eras), Colonists always found independent City-States that use the next available city name in the Civilization’s roster. For example Greece creates a Colonist during the Ancient Era. It is used to found the City of Sparta. Since this takes place during the Ancient Era, Sparta is an independent City-State. Civilizations may spend :c5culture:, :c5gold:, or :c5influence: to annex or form permanent alliance’s with their colony City-States. As Colonies are City-States they are subject to all of the abilities of Civilizations, once annexed they become a normal City.

During the Age of Enlightenment (the Renaissance, Industrial, and Modern Eras), independent Colonies can only be founded on landmasses other than the one your Capital is on. Colonists used to found Cities on the same land-mass as your Capital now found Duchies. Duchies are also City-States but begin in permanent alliance with your Civilization. They can be annexed but this costs twice the normal amount of :c5culture:, :c5gold:, or :c5influence:. As recompense, you can purchase buildings and units in Duchies. As City-States, Duchies are vulnerable to the City-State affecting abilities of other Civilizations.

During the Contemporary Age (the Post-Modern, Atomic, and Information Eras), you can no longer found new Cities on the same land-mass as your Capital. Colonies founded by Colonists on other land masses are founded as ordinary City-States in permanent alliance with your Civilization. You cannot spend :c5culture:, :c5gold:, or :c5influence: to annex them. They still use the next available City name from your Civilization’s city list.

Finally military units garrisoned in Cities receive several benefits: +10 :c5defense:, +100 Hit Points, Cover I, 7 :c5rangedstrength:, and Range: 1 [note: this ranged attack does not replace a unit’s existing ranged attack and can be used in addition, so an Archer stationed in a City could attack enemies near it twice, once at Strength: 7 and Range:2 and once at Strength:7 and Range:1].
 

Vandal Thorne

Warlord
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
163
Minor Changes

Cultural Border Growth
The algorithms for cultural border growth frequently seem less than ideal. Players should be able to directly control cultural border growth and choose the tiles they acquire. This can make abilities like Manifest Destiny and the Krepost more transparent. Acquiring tiles should require that :c5culture: be spent. After specific technologies, such as Nations (see separate Tech Tree post), are researched then :c5gold: or :c5influence: can be spent instead. Once the Nations technology mentioned above then Civlizations and City-States should be able to buy, sell, and trade land tiles. This avoids useless plots of lands from accumulating.

Great People
More specifically Great Generals and Great Admirals, the manner in which these Great People work is too different from other Great People. Rather than just have your Great Person accompany military units you should be able to convert the Great General or Great Admiral into a Command or Flag version of a land or naval unit. The player would choose an existing military unit type that they can already build and the Great Person becomes a version of that with Morale and Bonsue (+15% Strength) to all friendly military units within 2 tiles.

Likewise the Great Admiral’s “Heal all naval units” ability should be replaced with a permanent improvement, the Coastal Battery. Details on the Coastal Battery are above in the Colonies section.

Influence & Espionage
Both of these should be normal yields that can be spent for effects.

Influence
Influence is specific to the nearest City-State or City-sized Settlement that isn’t part of your Civilization. Rather than simply exchange Embassies with other Civilizations, an Embassy is now a building that you can purchase in any City-State or Capital City (other than your own). Accumulated influence can be used to purchase resources, form alliances, negate negative effects from raiding, bullying, and other war mongering.

Espionage
Spies are currently very limited in game. Rather than just have Spies that periodically do stuff, it would be nice if Espionage was simply a yield which can be spent for certain effects such as making deals more expensive, making population unhappy, sabotaging improvements, changing City-State governments, and similar effects.

Spies & Diplomats
Spies and Diplomats are assigned to specific Embassies or City Halls (or the Palace in the case of the Capital). Spies placed this way will produce 2 Espionage each turn, while Diplomats produce 1 Espionage and 1 :c5influence:.
 

Vandal Thorne

Warlord
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
163
I also have a couple of supporting documents consisting of a revised, expanded tech tree and revised versions of the Civilizations currently available with BNW. Rather than post them here, I'm attaching these lengthy documents to this post.

Comments are welcome. As I stated in the forward. These are a compilation of ideas for how CiV can be further refined or Civ 6 could be shaped.
 

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Nick Hynds

Chieftain
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
37
I think your ideas are great for Civ 6 but they are not going to change Civ 5 this much at this point.
 

plastiqe

Grinch
Joined
Oct 5, 2004
Messages
597
Location
Canada, eh
This would add a lot of complexity to the game. Civ V A.I. probably needs a rewrite to be able to handle it because from what I hear it isn't very good at the simpler game it was programmed for. So I agree with everyone else that this is much more of a Civ VI idea; but you've got some good ones.

Great cities today often started out as little more than a fort or small outpost. After reading through your post I had an idea that instead of being able to build all different levels of outposts, towns and cities what about just having a few basic structures that can be upgraded? Each basic structure comes with an upgrade path and can eventually become a city. You could still base it on distance rules, so if founded inside the distance for cities the max you could get is town sized. I'll expand on this a bit.

I would minimize the amount of units required rather than have a different unit for every type of building. Settlers and workers could cover the construction of most basic structures, sometimes workers can just put down something such as a trading post or sometimes they are consumed in the process like for a fort. To add population to a village it could grow slowly on its own or you could build another settler and use it to speed up the upgrade (like population moving from the city to the settlement). Also you would only start with the basic options and gain access to upgrades over time with techs

Example, a religious tech unlocks monastery, which upgrades to abbey, which can have a settler added to form a village for population, which can grow into a town, which can be combined with the nearby castle and trading post to form a city. Or you can choose to just combine the abbey, town and trading post and keep the castles stand alone benefits. In modern times your settlers and workers would be able to skip right to the higher leveled structures like starting off with a town or military base for a higher cost.

Even for your system of many types of settlement I think there must be a cost not only to build the unit and create the structure but to to maintain any size of settlement. And the further away or higher the level the more expensive otherwise you'd just spam forts on every tile. Well placed structures would be profitable because the resources they return to the city are worth more than the costs to operate them.

And lastly, slightly related, I've got a request in to split this section into one forum for Civ5 Ideas and Suggestions and one forum for Civ6 Ideas. Two different topics and you wouldn't get mixed up with all the threads that want to add or change things in Civ5. If anyone thinks that is a good idea please say so in that thread. : )
http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=511141
 
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