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Ideas for The Perfect 4X Historical Game

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by AsH2, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. AsH2

    AsH2 Prince

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    This is a discussion thread (from a civ6 point of view) about Ideas for The Perfect 4X Historical Game
    based on @Boris Gudenuf 's suggestion and related posts from the discussion thread is-humankind-civilization-vii-under-a-new-banner.

    Intentions:
    This post will be updated with links to (topic) interresting threads in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions'
    • to highlight such dark places
    • to allow wider and alternative perspective here (and keep balancing matters back there)

    1. Civilization VII, later or other project.
      by Naokaukodem, Aug 26, 2019.
    2. Building a Civ game backwards
      by HorseshoeHermit, Monday at 9:28 PM.

     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2021
  2. AsH2

    AsH2 Prince

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    I've been thinking both about what I would see in my Perfect 4X Historical Game and what would still be needed/found in a coming Civ (7)..
    I'll post my suggestions where they should, but to mention some..
    • Leaders - I think we'll be stuck with them, but perhaps in some better ways..
    • Turn-based - of course, but perhaps having strategical decisions and tactical moves separated in ordinary turns and in-between turns.
    I'll be back - need to go hunt some food..
    Edit: Fed and then found this quote.. :goodjob:
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  3. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    A bunch of Semi-Random Thoughts on the subject, which has been engaging me ever since I heard about Humankind and Ten Crowns and started thinking about the Historical 4X as a category instead of just 'Civ'

    Leaders:
    Kill 'em Off every once in a while! Not at historical rates, or none of them would last more than 2 turns until half-way through the game, but allow them to Lead a Battle (with bonuses and a chance of getting whacked), die in an accident, natural causes, Plague, Assassination, bad oysters, etc. Succession Wars, Civil Wars, all the problems with 'picking' a New Leader should be in the game - they were a major set of problems and solutions for the historical Civs, after all.
    Animated Leader Bards should be the diplomats/emissaries actually doing the negotiating - that way the game can have multiple leaders/Civ without bankrupting the company and the gamer.
    Leader names can be historical, legendary. semi-historical, or Complete Fantasy.
    After all, why shouldn't I be able to play as Red Orm or Ivar the Boneless in the same Civ?

    Map
    First, the map graphics have to to be much, much better than Civ VI, which, compared to other games coming out, looks like a kindergarten crayon effort. Completely realistic is probably not the way to go, because it can result in both blandness and difficulty for the gamer in keeping track of the tiles and their effects (The Japanese Army identified over 20 different varieties of Swamp in Manchuria in the 1940s - we do NOT want a 'realistic' Map!)
    So, how about the Map As Artwork. Specifically, model the game map on the efforts of the great Landscape painters of the 18th - 20th centuries:

    upload_2020-2-8_12-5-23.jpeg

    upload_2020-2-8_12-5-56.jpeg

    Now that would give us some dramatic and lovely maps to fight over - spend the graphics animation money on terrain light/clouds animations instead of ephemeral Leader Heads

    Resources
    Need a complete Re-Think.
    For instance, why is Wheat or Rice only on certain tiles? Once you've domesticated either one, your people are going to plant them on every freaking tile where they can make them grow.
    Mineral Resources of all kinds should Deplete, and new ones found - keep the whole thing Dynamic: All Gold does not appear magically in 4000 BCE, nor any other 'deposit' in History.

    More later . . .
     
  4. AsH2

    AsH2 Prince

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    Agree.
    One way to keep the animated Historical Leaders could be to tie (more) achievements and then ingame requirements to unlock a leader for a specific era - think of a new concept similar to eureka/inspiration and instead of the current Heroic Age.
    Then they could sell a lot of such DLC to CivFanatics, but I think it's important such DLC should include other players to experience them in MP games if host got them - so no pay2win or mishmash of game versions.
    Oh, 20 different varieties of Swamp would otherwise be nice during tactical turns.. [weather talk] Let's make one more type of Swamp..:vomit:
    Indeed. Earthquakes could have done some of it already in Civ6 GS, but I guess they struck the roof of damaging effect when designing the Hurricanes..
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  5. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    I'd do a complete revolution in 4X civ like game. The fundamental design goals are

    1) All mechanics should be more or less based on historical mechanisms and this (as well as immersion) always has something to say, even if ultimately Fun is always top priority.
    2) We care about challenge and difficulty, and design the game so AI can actually handle it. To stand the test of time is an actual challenge - it is not easy to survive from ancient era till modern for continuous civ.
    3) Easy to learn (for its genre), hard to master
    4) No victory conditions at all, just Fame from great achievements (yeah copied straight from Humankind but I love this approach on paper)
    5) Attention directed towards endgame challenge


    Some random specific ideas
    - Moving from era to era is a big deal and every era changes some base systems slightly (eras are: Bronze, Iron, Feudal, Exploration, Industrial, Modern)
    - Settling cities is possible only if nearby already existing ones or as a coastal colony, to make countries shaped sensibly
    - Income comes from taxes, trade etc, not just straight from the ground
    - Trade is everywhere and highly developed minigame
    - Army limited by manpower, not just money
    - Population is dynamic: has social classes, ethnicities, religions, separatist movements, migrations, rights, famines etc
    - Armies are limited stacks (I have completely list faith current tech era AI can handle 1UPT) made so there is as little tediousness using them and as much war strategy as possible
    - Empire consists of Metropolies with districts, Cities (one tile settlements), Rural Areas, Fortifications, Wastes etc
    - Production is completely dissociated from hills and terrain features and based on the structure of city and pops. It never made sense how an empire cannot build anything properly if it exists on the flat terrain.
    - There are no weather disasters besides rare random events, instead Climate does change but in very slow cycles.
    - Religions (7-8 largest from history) appear at fixed dates and spread based on how civs approach them
    - New civilizations appear in new eras, evolving from barbarians, or splinter from other civs as colonies or separatists or old ones
    - There is no truly empty land on the planet, from 4000BC everything belongs either to civs or to barbarian (non urban) peoples of very varied strength, range, advancement level etc. To expand you have to assimilate them in some way. Usually expansion is still quite easy, but some barbarian groups are much stronger.There is some diplomacy with them and some may turn into new civs.
    - No snowball effect, there is always room for a great empire to fall, dominant powers change through the entire game, not all civs survive from beginning to end
    - Every era advances through tech somewhat differently. Bronze age is mostly organic and based on what your people do, iron age needs scholars and philosophers, feudal develops research networks, exploration age relies on universities (which began in medieval era), industrial ties inventions and economy, and modern needs research labs and stuff.
    - Governments are handled in the similar way as in civ4, but more refined.
    - Endgame simulates world wars, ideology conflicts, cold wars, UN etc
    - You may generate some random world and its history up to certain era (up to exploration I think) and begin as a newly rising fresh power in the far older world
    - Each civ has at least few leaders which change with time (at least every era). If a given civ has not enough historical leaders, random ones based on its culture are generated. Their clothes change with time but with culturally unique characteristics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
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  6. Prester John 2

    Prester John 2 Chieftain

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    Krajzen, where can I buy this tremendous game? I don't need fancy graphics, 2D is enough for me.
     
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  7. AsH2

    AsH2 Prince

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    ok. so this thread got moved and will now die instead of contributing with a wider discussion around ideas.
     
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  8. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Not if I can help it.

    Comments in discussions on the General set of Threads (or anywhere else!) can always include links to discussions here for more depth, and that's my intention . . .

    And now, for further consideration:
    Resources (continued)
    Once you have Agriculture, there shouldn't be any 'single tiles' of Rice, Wheat or such: you will plant every available tile with your selected 'basic food plant' and cultivate it to the Max. So, as long as you are Hunter-Gatherers (Neolithic, or First Era of the game) Wheat and Rice (and possibly Barley and Millet, two of the other Main Grains of the early Eras) appear on the map, to be 'harvested' as you move along. Once you settle down and start feeding a city, every tile that can grow Wheat/Rice will be planted, and the basic yield of the tile will reflect that - automatically. AND once you have selected a Basic Food Plant, it's incredibly hard to change to another one - like, try introducing rice cakes as a substitute for wheat or rye bread to Europeans (or Americans) - unless Necessity Intrudes. As in, Potato which provides great increases in both yield/tile and the types of tiles that can be planted, so a great increase in total Food supply.
    This also applies to Animals, Domesticated. When you are a'wandering the map, you have herds of sheep, goats, cattle, horses (all domesticated in the Neolithic) and they feed themselves on natural pasturage (don't try to be pastoral in the Tundra or Desert with any of them - it won't be pretty). Once you settle down, you coop them up in Pastures from which you can obtain meat and milk from the cattle, sheep and goats, but only a little meat from the Horses, and once they become a Military Resource (you learn how to draft them for chariots or ride them) not even that. Which means every Horse Pasture takes Food away from your people. That should very quickly show you the 'real' cost of Cavalry to a City-based Civilization!

    And, some 'Resources' will move on their own: Un-Pastured or herded animals, for instance, will not stay put: horses, cattle/Aurochs, Elephants, sheep, Bison, Camels, etc roam across suitable tiles, and, especially given the early time scale of the game, some of them will change the landscape as they go: elephants and Bison both are notorious for 'making' grasslands and moving forests by their activity (elephants eating the foliage until they kill trees, Bison literally pushing them over)
    All of which means the early game will see a very Dynamic Landscape, and where people are thin on the ground (until at least the beginning of the Industrial or Early Modern Eras) that Dynamism may last quite a while.

    Dynamism will also include weather/climate changes, some of which are 'microclimates' and some of which are nearly World Wide, some of which last a few years and amount to a 1 - 2 turn Natural Disaster and others last Centuries: a great many early cities were abandoned at one time or another because of 10 - 20 year Droughts or Floods, in which food scarcity (semi-starvation) got quickly combined with Epidemics to depopulate the city directly or simply scare the majority into leaving: 'Rise and Fall" willl and should be part of the game . . .
     
  9. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    I may not be the Boris Gudenuf Winger Hussars charging in to save the thread, but I was thinking about this all day!

    While I won't try to give a magnum opus post, I will throw out 3 things that i seem to be drawn to when pondering the 4X games i play.

    #1: Victory and Tension
    Most victories in 4X are positional - IE, do something first or be the best at it. Score, conquest, etc. That positional aspect is the key, because the closer the empires are the more tension the game has and generally the more fun players have. Personally, I think the decision to formalize eras in Rise & Fall, and make it affect game play, was one of the potentially most impactful changes made to the series in a while. I think that making each era something of a minigame of competition between players is the path forward for this. For example, instead of just getting golden/dark ages from era score, players would be competing in various categories, like most cities converted, most techs researched, most wonders built. These would shift over time, but each new era would form a sort of blank slate where even civs that haven't done so well can suddenly shoot up in a niche that the leading powers aren't really focusing on. (With my sort of cost balancing, imagine a player who fell behind in tech in one era catching up: it's easier to "improve" than to further your lead.)

    I would broadly have the game balanced so that you cannot truly have it all; imagine allocating your focus between several categories - say, [trade, science, culture/tourism, religion, military] and I give you 5 "points" of focus. You can put one in each category and have a balanced playstyle, you can neglect one for to double up in another, etc. This would generally subject the player to diminishing returns, but it would allow a lot of options on how to run things. A korea might go all in on science at the expense of the military; another civ may really push the military and use conquest to make up for a lack of trade. Putting all your eggs in one basket won't allow for the same effect as science spam does now, where it means you can win in all categories. To do this, I would impose a sort of "arctangent scaling" on research rate. It is regular effort to research things contemporary with the world era. It is progressively more difficult- becoming exceptionally so- to research things ahead of the world era, and progressively easier - becoming exceptionally so- to research things behind the world era. This modifier affects your research rate, but it's monotonic: the player with the most science will always have the lead, the player with less will always be behind. The difference is you don't get these crazy 3 era gap blowouts developing, and any empire can focus themselves to "catch up-" but this does not necessarily mean overtake!

    #2: Economics
    One thing gamemakers always need to contend with is how detailed to make the game. That's a judgement call. I enjoy some detail but complexity for complexity sake isn't something I prize.
    Economics
    As far as economics go, I think representing the key metrics by the three yields - food, production, and gold - is a very good and classic mechanic that many games (Age of Empires, Civ, Stellaris) have in some form or another.
    I think there is a place for resources, but the perfect game, to me, is one a lot of other people would play too, so having lots of schemes of resources on the map->manufactured resources->final product is probably out. But I'll get into that in a second...
    Tying in with the central focus of the era system in #1, the basis of the game economy should be forced to change era to era. For example, a slow shift in production coming from terrain vs industrial infrastructure. Etc.
    My largest civ6 gripe is how common gold is. I think the ease of generating it removes a lot of empire management opportunities. When I discuss economies changing over time, I recognize that part of the incentive of getting a new era's unlocks is that it helps you solve the problems you currently have. That said, I think it should also introduce new issues. Using the principle of consistent rate of return, I think a critical lever of game balance is to make financing your empire reflect the military strength system in civ6: you can make more money over time, but you need it to pay for more expensive stuff. Let's just say that, for example, in an empire that was fairly balanced, it might spend 10 gold for every 11 it produces. This margin of (example) 10% is a number that should be pretty consistent over time: whether you make 10 gold, 100, or 10,000, you will be spending it too. You won;t end up with civ6's late game where maintenance never escalates and you make +500gpt and don;t think about it for several eras at a time.
    The reason I like this is it means we can keep our carrot and stick tech incentive. In civ6 terms, say I currently have an empire funded by my market buildings. I don't have a lot of surplus gold income with which to buy units, conduct diplomacy, pour extra into other areas. But I am about to get banks! Banks mean I can suddenly fix my budget and afford working towards other areas like science! But... I will also unlock universities, and opera houses... which I need the gold generation of banks if I want to pay for them. Now I'm back to where I started and I am actively looking forward to stock exchanges.
    I wouldn't have things so spaced out, but you get the picture of a "tick-tock" process that first gives the means to solve existing problems, then gives you new problems/opportunities. The same concept applies to production - more productive infrastructure is needed to produce everything you want to build, but also will be required because all the new stuff costs more. Etc.

    In order to break the wide/tall extremes, i would make the economy ultimately centered around pops + infrastructure/policies for them. In civ6 terms this would mean that a campus full of scientists will really dominate a campus without them.

    Resources... As far as strategic resources go, I think keeping the game limited to just one level of resource production is ideal. As an example, see stellaris: much more complex economy, but even they only have the three basics of food/minerals/energy, and the manufactured/acquired alloys+consumer goods+strategic resources. Military units need alloys and those rare resources.
    How would I do it? Let us suppose we are staying somewhat true to civ in terms of resources for a moment. So an early game resource is iron. You can find iron on the map starting in the classical era. You need it for swordsmen. Having an iron mine is a great thing, but we won't totally hose you this time: you will later unlock the Forge building which allows you to run a project to make 20 iron for X production and drop it into your stockpile. The ability to see and mine iron would come first, and would serve as an advantage. But anyone can make iron for a cost. This would be paired with the military: at first only swordsmen need that iron. Between the classical and medieval you get the forge. In the medieval, more units want iron - knights and possibly foot soldiers. This would mean that unless you are blessed by the map generator, even players with iron mines will likely need to run iron projects to keep their military modern. Niter is similar - you first see it in the renaissance, but then you learn to make it, and between renaissance and industrial a lot more units want it. I would apply something similar to aluminum + horses, and any other material resources. I'm not sure if this should be extended to fuel resources like oil - chiefly oil. I would have a global market mechanism later in the game to allow players to pay gold to buy more for their stockpile regardless of diplomacy, (see how I just gave a path for production focused players to produce resources to sell on the market?) but synthesizing the stuff would be much more difficult and resource intensive - something you really only want to do in a pinch. And, these would exist because the world congress might be able to ban players from the world market for bad behavior.

    I would also make resources a benefit you can take advantage of, but don't have to: there are always military options that don't need resources, but those that do are superior. See infantry vs tanks or pikemen vs civ6 style longswordmen. (Assume combat was balanced such that it would be possible to do such things!) Similarly, the economy could also consume resources. The Power system is obvious, but infrastructure might enjoy it too: I made a personal mod to add mutually exclusive factory alternatives that consume strategics, namely the Steelworks (eats iron, but +2 prod to all districts in the city) and a fertilizer/chemical plant (eats niter, but +production to farms, pastures, camps, plantations, etc in the city.) Conceptually, we can have more advanced structures that consume a resource to provide more of a basic yield, or we can have things like a Steelworks that eats power and coal, and lets you more efficiently make iron than a Forge would. Helpful UI tools, like automatic world market trades, or being able to run a resource synthesizing project indefinitely, would avoid micromanagement hell. A lot of buildings would require power like Civ6, but this would become much more pronounced than now - for example, once you have a research lab, each scientist working in the city will consume power but provide more science. Ultimately, the economy is something a player must invest in, and can choose how much to invest in, rather than static infrastructure that you fabricate and forget about.
    To complement the role of strategic resources being used this way, I would like to see luxury and bonus resources become something more impactful over time. Since strategic resources are mostly serving as a concentration or abundance of something instead of their literal presence/non presence, the core of what bonus and luxury resources actually do would be similar. It's nice to have them, but you can get the results - food, prod, gold, amenities - other ways that just take more effort. First of all, luxuries would give a diminishing effect for multiple copies - like provide 4/3/2/1 amenities for the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th copy you have, etc. Second, bonus resources would unlock special buildings to boost them and other things, like how the forge, stable, and stoneworks of civ5 worked. (This is an anti-chopping incentive.) But, in a historical 4X context, luxury resources would play a key role in 1) trade routes 2) the colonization phase of the game 3) the industrialization phase via corporations. This is to give players a reason to want them even if they can get amenities other ways. I've suggested this before, but what corporations would loosely do is consume one of a few target resources for a primary yield benefit. The luxes would be split into a few categories, and each player could only choose one corporation (but it may be the same as someone elses.) The corporation mechanic acts as your tool to economic influence on the world economy.
    Corporate benefits would affect physical control of a resource itself, getting it traded to you by someone, as well as trade routes. Like religion, its an optional system. It may even have some customization ability just like them! They don't show up until around the industrial era, though.*
    *Not that we can't have an ability to get one a little early, EITC style.


    #3: Empire Mgmt
    So this one is hard because the exact implementation is difficult, but since I am dreaming i will be a little wild. Basically, while your economy feeds the rest of your empire, you do need to keep things in balance. Funneling extra resources towards your production capacity or your gold income will mean less available for your research efforts or your military. And this isn't just resources: because I want the primary balance of empires to be around pops, the entire concept of keeping them supplied with amenities becomes very central. To this end, we need some methods to differentiate what empires are actively doing for their people and up the stakes over time; and I think the best way to do this is to borrow the terminology from Stellaris: living standards. People talk about this concept a lot, and I think that independent on what policy cards (or civics or social policy trees or whatever we call them) you run, you have a couple basic decisions as a government you can set. This one would be the living standard across your empire. Replacing the "happy/ecstatic/we love the king day" of present games, essentially the living standard is a choice that modifies how much amenities your people consume and how much they can produce.
    Rough idea would be the ancient era starts with a "basic subsistence" and over time you get new options, eventually old ones phasing out. Progressively more advanced standards slowly raise the productivity of your empire (like ecstatic does now,) with end game, futuristic standards like "utopian abundance" being significantly more efficient than basic subsistence. This lever can also affect loyalty (if you are above or behind your neighbors) and per pop outputs - while I would actually do away with innate science/culture, i would bring in gold generation per citizen as a standard.
    Certain government types would enable special choices that affect your people in other ways. For example, the ideology governments might allow for an extra choice that would have trade offs (imagining some requiring less amenities than other standards at the same level; or giving different empire level effects.) The most advanced standards could even start creating per pop power consumption in exchange for the greatest benefits.
    Over time this might mean pops go from costing 0.25 amenities each, to 0.5, 0.75, 1, and maybe some late game choices exceeding that. I do envision specialists that just produce amenities for our entertainment complexes etc, and some way to basically use gold or tie up city production to supply more amenities than even those specialty infrastructure set ups allow. (Like bread and circuses but formalized.)
    The result is that you could have a research kingdom where basically everything is tied up supporting your nation of PhDs; or perhaps you need to run a peg below the average in order to cover the needs of your conquest gains. But not delivering on the promised quality of life would have huge implications, to the extent that your empire can start falling apart until the remnant can be managed. You then have a choice of whether you dump your economic output into your pops, or if you use it to further other ends - because you only have so much "guns and butter" to both supply existing pops and keep your empire growing/expanding/building up.

    This whole post is more a few theoretical frameworks in civ6 language that I think would make good principles to build a full game around that could be civ7 or some other thing.
     
  10. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Some really good points here. This Thread is becoming a Cornucopia of Ideas - Firaxis, Mohawk Games and Ampltude please note (they are all in the Historical 4X Game Business now)

    This ties in with the idea of requiring Need, Resources, and Preliminary Technology/Civic/Social conditions to even start 'Researching'. A Civ that has seriously 'fallen behind' in Tech (especially Military Tech) has a pressing Need automatically, so his first 'block' is already checked off. Resources, being only required for certain Technologies, may or may not be a stumbling Block, and in place of the specific Civic/Social/Research required for the precise Unit, District, Building, Improvement, etc implemented by the Tech, there may be another one that serves the Need. You might have to have a set of Civics/Social Policies like a Feudal European Kingdom to field plate-armored knights, but you don't need the same requirements to field Pikemen and Musketmen to blow them out of their plate armor. In fact, the aristocratic elitist 'warrior class' that formed the Knights might be a real Obstacle to 'arming' the peasants or merchants with pikes and muskets!

    Economics is not only "The Dismal Science" it is also, too frequently, a Dismal Part of any game that tries to include it. As you stated, no two people have the same degree of comfort with the same degree of complexity. - And complexity in Economic matters gets out of hand very, very quickly.
    BUT some complexity is unavoidable if we are not going to get relegated to playing Fantasy (Go ahead, as a Thought Experiment, try to list ANY fantasy novel that included Economic Factors). I'm not going into detail here (we're not in a contest for Longest and Dullest Post, after all) but just some of my thoughts:
    Gold is Shorthand for Amount of Purchasing Power that the State (Gamer?) can lay its hands on. It is almost never the same as Amount of Gold in the Culture/Society/State. In fact, it is usually more related to the Civic/Social Structure of the State and the bureaucratic efficiency of the State. So, in Early Game terms, if the Ruler is a Supreme God-King with a bunch of literate scribes to keep track of everything, the State can lay its hands on just about everything - but the 'weight' of supporting the Palace, Monuments, Bureaucracy, etc for the God King and his/her retinue may absorb a large percentage of what the State produces.
    In other words, ad to summarize, changes in Social/Civic/organizational structure (universal Literacy, Citizenship, Communism) may change the amount of Gold available far more than the discovery of new Gold Deposits or new Trade Routes.

    Production is another Shorthand for everything in the State that allows you to build things. So, again, it may be more related to what the majority of people in the State want to build than the actual Production Capacity - get everybody to agree that Pyramids to entomb the God King are a Good Thing, and most of the Production Battle is done before a single stone has been moved.
    There are also a lot of things that vastly increase Production that have really never been properly modeled in Civ, or any other game that I'm familiar with. For instance, individual Blacksmiths working in small family forges all over Europe developed some very sophisticated metal-working techniques in the early Medieval Era: wrought iron tools, cutting edges, etc. of all kinds, folded pattern-welded blades, and by the middle of the Era, cast iron and cast bronze up to several tons in size (church bells, and coincidentally the first really servicable cast iron Bombards). The result was that the ability of the society as a whole to construct - the Production in the Civ - went up dramatically, and virtually mass construction of major structures like cathedrals, Guild Halls, Town/City Halls, stone bridges, harbors, city defenses, etc, exploded in the 12th - 15th centuries.
    This is just one example - the availability of Steam Equipment made the difference between the French failing to complete the canal in Panama and the USA succeeding just a few decades later. The availabilty of Industrial Engineering - a non-technical advance, or 'Civic/Social' advance if you will - made the difference between building 1 automobile (Model T Ford) a day and one every 25 minutes - go ahead, calculate the Production Increase that means!

    Food. On the one hand, is a necessity second only to water for a human settlement or society to exist at all. On the other hand, a great deal about Food has been utterly overlooked in 4X games. Just for instance, new studies show that many early cities were temporarily or permanently abandoned because climate variations (drought, floods, rivers changing course) interrupted Food Supply: crops only had to fail for a few years in a row (the Biblical 'seven lean years' seems to have been enough in most cases) for people to pack up and scatter for, literally, 'greener pastures' (and fields, and gardens). Changes in the type of Food Supply could have Huge consequences to a society and its neighbors. Again a For Instance, but the introduction of the Potato from the Americas, which could yield much more calories per acre and in much more marginal soils in Northern Europe than the 'regular' grains, meant that the population of Northern Germany and the Baltic Coast exploded in the late 16th - early 17th centuries. That in turn meant that Brandenburg Prussia could raise a much larger army in 1740 than in 1620, which meant in turn that in the latter period Brandenburg was run over by almost every army in the Thirty Year's War, and in 1740 - 1763 Prussia attacked and out fought every one of her neighbors, including much larger neighbors like Austria, France and Russia. Friederich only had a chance to be Great because of the potato.
    And, again related to Social/Civic changes, the independent ("free") land-owning farmer, regardless of technology, has been the greatest single 'secret' of Food Supply throughout the ages. Capital-Intensive Latifundia or Plantations might be more efficient at growing Cash Crops - like Resource Crops such as Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Tobacco - but were never the best way to actually Feed the State. Soviet Communal agriculture, even though it was more heavily mechanized than any other in Europe, had, amazingly, 60 straight years of 'bad weather' that ruined their output. No, they simply had a very inefficient Food Supply system compared to the 'Free' Food Economics of France, Germany, Britain and other European States.

    Again, you are going right to the heart of the Raw versus Actual Availability to the State/Population/Gamer. Early on, the ability to work Iron was very rare, the ability to extract Iron was limited by mining technology, and the techniques of working Iron pretty primitive and wasteful. Iron tools and household goods were rare throughout the Roman Empire, and the Empire had to establish State-Run concentrations of iron workers (in Northern Italy) to produce weapons and armor for the Legions. By contrast, by the Middle Ages almost every village had a Blacksmith and forge who could produce the axes, picks, scythes, and other tools for local use, and if the market was there, spear points, arrow points, and even swords and helmets for local 'warriors'.
    The Order of Magnitude Change, though, was when, especially metal resources, were required by the 100s of Tons rather than the 10s of Pounds. I have argued, and will again, for a division of Resources into Ordinary and Industrial Quantities - with Industrial Quantities required for the development and construction of metal-hungry railroads, ironclads, Factory machinery, skyscrapers, etc. and, therefore, new Extraction techniques also required: early shallow mines from the Ancient/Classical Era have to become Deep Mines in the Renaissance with steam-powered pumps, regular timber shoring architecture (developed in the later Middle Ages in Germany) and wood-railed tracks to lead carts of ore out (the earliest 'railroads' from just as the Renaissance started, in 1450 CE)
    And later, the Modern/Atomic Era Open Pit mines in which an entire tile gets removed, hills and all, and replaced by a crater of removed earth visible from Orbit.

    There should be a great deal more Dynamism in the resources. For one thing, 'Luxury' Resources could be divided into Addictive and Normal. Addictive, like Coffee, Sugar, Cacao, Tobacco, Wine, have no Upper Limit - you can 'sell' as much as you produce, virtually anywhere. Normal is more selective. Another For Instance: during the Classical Era, Greek Wine was sold by the cart-load throughout Germany to the 'barbarians' - fragments of Greek amphorae clay containers for wine have been found all over northern Europe, in fact. But Greek Olive Oil was rarely sold north of the Mediterranean at all: they weren't 'addicted' to it, and more importantly, they had soap from animal fats and ash (invented by the Gauls, among others) to take its place.
    And some Luxuries can be Artificial. The British East India Company in the early 18th century spent a great deal of money Promoting Cotton fabric as the fashionable choice in England, in order to stimulate the sale of their Indian Cotton Monopoly. They succeeded, but it took some doing t originally get everyone to replace their familiar wool and linen with the new fabric.

    One single thing that would make any 4X game more interesting than the current models would be for it to include some semblence of the actual problems of 'running' a State throughout history. We read exciting accounts of ststes being overthrown and conquered by another, but overlook frequently the fact that it was overthrown in many cases because it was already unraveling from the inside out.
    IF the gamer reflects the 'Overall Spirit' of the Civ instead of an individual Leader or Political Group, it should not matter for Victory that the Civ went through multiple Ups and Downs in the course of a game. In fact, the ability of a Civ to recover from the Down Times might increase its Victory Score (Humankind's Fame Mechanic for Victory seems to be heading in this direction - all that matters is how much Fame you accrue by End of Game, not whether you got it by maintaining an even keel, a steady rise, or various dynamic recoveries).
    This, in turn, could tie in with a greatly increased set of Consequences from Dark versus Golden Ages.

    And should be directly related to how much the majority, or at least the vocal Minority- of your Civ is happy with their life. I would make a major component of any Victory Score be related to just how well your people made out from 10,000 BE to 2020 CE. It should be nearly impossible for them to be 'happy', or even 'content' or not 'panic-stricken' much of the time, but if you can end a 12,000 year (or 6000 years, or whatever) journey and keep the majority of people for the majority of time at various levels of Positive Feeling, you've Won. And that would include Physical Protection - military, diplomacy; Happiness - entertainment, 'amenities', low 'taxes'; Satisfaction - no constant Fear of Neighbors, Change, Economic Downturn, Famine, Plague, Locusts or door-to-door insurance salesmen.
    Running an Empire is Hard Work. At least as hard as conquering one, and that should be reflected in the game.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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  11. Shadowhal

    Shadowhal Warlord

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    A few random ideas.

    One type of game I'd love to see is a combination of the Civ IV mod RFC Rand with the Revolutions mod. The additional social policies, historical goals and dynamic appearance of civs from the former with the excellent revolutions and internal stability mechanisms from the latter. More broadly, I'd love to see a more goal-driven victory condition. Something like a spiced up Era score. Historical deeds worthy of being in the history books. And if you do enough of them, and significant ones, that "wins" you the game.

    The other type I'd really love - and I may be in a minority here - is a more compact experience for the gamer with less time to spare. Compact doesn't need to be simple or simplified. Just boil it down to a handful of really important choices and cut out more of the fluff. Like micro-ing your research to hit eurekas. Or swapping policy cards every few turns and adjusting production to maximise it. Or setting production for individual cities when you have more than a dozen of them. Or moving around individual units when you have dozens of them. That kind of stuff.
     
  12. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    Even without having looked into humankind, the 1st section where I went over making each era a mini game between the players was an allusion to being able to support such a victory system. For example, perhaps the game ends when someone triggers a classic victory condition, but the winner is based on who won these minigames over time. (And for fairness we can weight the later eras a little more so you can never truly have the game on lock.) Or you can disable that kind of win condition!

    This is where I was sneaking in the concept that players can generate strategic resources, so that strategics are really a shorthand for extra effort - and the concept of the "forge->steelworks" being that you have a system inherently capable of this kind of "industrial quantity" detail if you want it.
    Having dabbled in modding a few different 4x games, the real key is ahving a flexible system that you can bend to do what you want. With a few of the things I mentioned, the framework allows someone to make a civ7 that's at the complexity of civ6, or be adapted to include the full gamut of economic history.
    Between the lay out of resources, pops, governments, and living standards, I think you could achieve almost any mix of complexity. Having resource extraction being a shortcut to generation means you could also easily code in extra levels. For example, require iron to be made into steel, or other manufactured goods, to your hearts content. I personally wouldn't do this for a civ style game but we aren't bounded by the kingdom of Sid Meier.

    For those who dabble in mathematics, consider the 4X game space as a Vector Space- basically, a big area with a large breadth of complexity and representation. Any particular person's ideal game would be a point in this space. To me, the best game mechanics are ones which for a Vector Basis; that is, using the same mechanics but changing their balance would allow a designer to reach nearly any point in our 4X space.
     
  13. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    "Historical Deeds worthy of being in the history books" is very close to a Fame Score mechanic. This has the intriguing possible effect that you can gain Fame from activities that would, in a 'normal' 4X game, be considered totally Negative. The example I've used elsewhere, is that a Battle Lost can sometimes generate more Fame than a Battle Won. For example, the Persian Army that invaded Greece under Xerxes was destroyed at the Battle of Plataea by the combined Greek forces. Nobody except a few of us old Classics Majors have ever heard of it. On the other hand, the Greek Defeat a year earlier at Thermopolye is one of the most famous battles in history - even before the movie was made out of it.

    This also ties into a potential 'short game' that still has all the elements of the Full Game in it: allow the gamer to set the ending Era, and play a complete game to see how much Fame you can accumulate by, say, the end of the Classical Era, or how much Fame you can get from a 'standing start' (0 Fame) in any specific Era. Assuming 6 - 8 Eras in a game with 50 - 80 turns each (Civ VI with 8 Eras in 500 Turns is about 62 turns/Era average) that could potentially give you a game as short as an hour or so.
     
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  14. Shadowhal

    Shadowhal Warlord

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    (Hope I am quoting Boris Gudenuf's post correctly)

    Exactly - which is why the fame victory intrigues me. I am very curious to learn more about Humankind's mechanics, as they have said some encouraging things.

    While I really like the different dynamics and flow of RFC, the fixed victory conditions feel like they lock you into a correct way of playing. It becomes less a strategy game, than a puzzle to be solved with experimentation. Maybe all strategy games are like that to an extent, but that's the extreme version. Other than that, it's really neat to jump straight into an existing world with a history. And in less than 10 turns you are up and running and it feels like you have been playing dozens of turns. Combined with - believably - wrapping a game up way before modern times, that has its appeal for shorter sessions.

    On the discussion about economics and resources, I wonder if both production and science are somewhat misunderstood in the traditional 4X resource split. "Production" doesn't really come from land, it comes from labour. It's people employed in workshops, factories (depending on age), spending their time to convert resources into end goods. What you get from land are natural resources, timber, stone, metal etc. With that in mind, one could think of requiring both natural resources and labour to produce things. Want a granary? Sure. 50 stone, 50 timber, and 100 labour. Axeman? 10 timber, 30 metal, 50 labour. Maybe ironically, I am thinking back to Rise of Nations and how brilliantly it brought so many concepts of 4X into a neat, real time format. No, I won't want Civ to became and RTS, but I think maybe some lessons could be learned back from such elegance in simplicity.

    On science, well, others have mentioned before that it seems silly to discover sailing or currency or metal casting by imagining sages studying books, holding discussions, etc. Much technological progress has been driven by necessity and individuals' desire to make life easier. I remember a story of one small improvement to the steam engine apparently invented by a boy who got bored of regularly watching and adjust one particular lever/handle/something on the machine and finding a way to automate it so he could … play with his friends. Civ VI had a neat idea with the eurekas/inspirations, but the implementation made it gamey. What did someone say: you build you civ/cities to get the reward, rather than getting the reward for the way you build your cities. One clever modder introduced a multiple eureka/inspiration triggers for each tech/civic. The mod had an option to hide the trigger. So, I always thought it would be an interest way to play. You know that if you do "maritime stuff" you will likely get a boost. But you don't know exactly what you needed to do, so it took away to (imo) boring part of micro-ing. If it could be finished off by having those triggers "transfer" across tech stages that would be neat. Like, there are 40 triggers for maritime techs throughout the game. By random sampling, 15 are selected for this particular map/session. And you will always get a bonus upon triggering the moment, but it will get less valuable the later you do it (e.g. half is a fixed amount of science, half a % progress on the most recent tech of that kind available). Not the massive idea, but maybe something in an interesting direction. The crazier idea would be multiple science currencies (financial science, military science, agricultural/biological science, etc.). But … I dunno. I am a proponent of fewer currencies/resources in a game, in particular if they don't work differently. Seems complexity for complexity's sake and potentially very messy.
     
  15. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    #4 Military Units
    Personally, I rather like most of the changes in civ6's combat, namely combat being based on linear strength difference, the addition of corps/armies, and support units.

    If I were to design the groundwork of a civ7 style military system, I would mostly import what we have with a few changes. I realize some people prefer a more war game approach, but since this is CFC, I'm sticking with civ style. But the ideas in this post hopefully leave an impression of something general enough that you could tailor it to ultra fine detail or broad strokes.
    Unit lines/upgrades/pacing
    I think era pacing is too short/uneven in the current game. Certainly, the devs wanted to have civ6 be something that someone could play a relatively quick round of. It's part of the nature of trying to move into the MP space. But I do think that eras shouldn't be so variable - the first 3 take a while, the last few you comparatively fly through. I dislike that. The idea that fast game = need to have gaps in unit upgrade lines also I think has shown some big weaknesses, especially now that the new strategic resource system has been adopted.
    I would seek to mostly fill out unit trees, especially in the critical early parts of the game. The division between units would become one of both role (direct vs indirect attack, fast vs tough, etc) and one of resource usage. So instead of having a situation where the resourceless unit upgrades literally do not exist in classical (spears and archers are ancient units, horsemen and swords are classical,) they would still be upgrading. For the most part, unit lines would have a consistent identity, but unlike currently, some unit lines would go away and be folded into others, and new ones would crop up.
    The reason to have this is so that the real balance of a military can remain its resource vs resourceless composition, instead of absolutely hinging on which particular unit lines it is made up of.
    Formations
    Inheriting the corps and army system, I think the concept is amazing. But I would bring it into the game a little earlier, with some reduced effectiveness - namely that maintenance wouldn't become magically lower, and possible a slight hit to combat power. So you'd have the option to make an army of swordsmen to assault a well defended Keep in narrow terrain, but you wouldn't necessarily want to just have them all over the place. *Of course, later on they would become fully effective and larger formations would become the standard for many armies. But, while you can draft an Infantry Army, building a Tank Army might be resource intensive...
    Tech tree upgrades
    Included because it's the only real way to have gaps in units trees and maintain balanced units. It also allows someone to tune it to be the basis of the entire military unit system, although in this post I'll describe some examples of how I would use it.
    Certain technologies would either make units tougher to keep up with rival unit classes that get upgrades, or it would grant abilities. For example, spearmen would come about at bronze working; but ironworking grants them better equipment - so their combat goes up. Units like Infantry and Destroyers also get some improvements to have staying power. Then you have things like riflemen being melee units, but a certain civic grants them socket bayonets to give them a small anticav factor. This can be extended in a near future era to make units get effectively extra upgrades without having to make entirely new units. You can also have these abilities affect support units - imagine an advanced tech granting your AA units better plane killing power.
    Support unit system
    Besides resource usage, we have the idea that an empire with strong production and logistics can field a much more effective army than someone who is literally calling up old men and boys to the front. Sometimes you need that cold, hard currency to afford the best military around.
    This dynamic will be achieved via a greatly expanded support unit system. This will allow 1upt (which i think many people who aren't looking for a serious war game enjoy over stacks) to be much more fleshed out, add an additional economic dimension to warfare (support units cost maintenance too!) and really allow for some cool customization.
    Example of support units:
    -Early siege units could become support units. Namely the catapult and trebuchet, as well as the battering ram and siege tower. Bombards are the beginning of the "field artillery/siege artillery" line of standalone units. This is because actual artillery needs to vulnerable to flanking attacks, cavalry, counter battery fire, etc, to justify making it a useful field unit. This does not mean a roman ballista, or a hwacha, can't be units on the field that happen to upgrade into field artillery type units. I'm not devoted to early siege not being standalone, but I think it would help declutter early battlefields.
    -Anti tank units would become support units. The Anticavalry and Melee line would merge at Riflemen, who possess those pesky socket bayonets. The new anti tank units would be something to attach to your regular units to help give extra punch when fighting off armored units.
    -Gatling/machine guns grant a ranged strike before combat that acts like the civ5 impi's spear throw.
    -Anti air units. Obvious.
    -True 'support units' - medics, supply wagons (to help artillery keep up the fire rate) plus antiquated options for the early game like Mantlets/Pavises (defense vs ranged attacks) and even a burning pitch unit (boosts the attack of the attached ranged unit, especially vs cities & ships.) Maybe some more modern era gizmos too. The goal with these units is to give the player a level of material support to their forces, beyond what the corps/army formation system would allow.
    Promotions
    The promotion concept of civ6 is cool, but I think one problem it creates is that changing a unit from line A to line B becomes very problematic - how do you handle the promotion transfer?
    What I would do is create a simple, mixed system.
    Instead of 7 unique promotions, each unit line would instead have 5. In exchange, each time a unit levels up, it would gain a point of "Veterancy." Veterancy confers a +1:c5strength: per level bonus, up to 5 levels. So while changing a unit line would wipe out its promotions, it would retain veterancy.

    This is both a compromise and an extra lever to play with. For example, there's no reason that a level 3 veteran that just had its promotions wiped couldn't get the first 3 promotions relatively quick to catch up. It also means that buildings like a barracks or armory could confer starting points of veterancy (instead of promotions.) Some policies or governments or unique units could work based on it - for example, an "elite forces" policy that doubles the veterancy :c5strength: effect. Imagine having your feudal society government be able to produce knights that start with free veterancy but levied pikemen do not. Etc.

    Since we can change promotion classes/unit lines, I think I might do something that preserves a bit of civ's historical abstraction but brings in opportunity for new arms races to develop.
    Unit Classes
    Very roughly, here's loosely how I would have unit classes:
    Melee- Heavy, Direct fighters. Riflemen + Infantry are intended to be the "levy soldier" in resource+cost usage.
    Anticavalry- counters mounted units. The "Levy Soldier" until riflemen.
    Recon - scouts and "light units." They are mobile and have some hit and run ability as they upgrade, but pretty frail.
    Ranged- attacks from range. Weak if fought in melee.
    Heavy Cavalry- Hard hitting shock unit. Elite and expensive. (Does not ignore ZoC)
    Light Cavalry- Fast, raiding and flanking unit. Used to pillage stuff or flank around and go after the vulnerable ranged/siege units. (Ignores ZoC)
    Siege- At Bombards, becomes more effective at hitting units and fortifications. But, they need to be protected.
    Armored- an amplified version of heavy cavalry. Much more expensive to build and maintain than contemporary ground units, but dominant on the field. Ignores ZoC.
    Naval Melee - the generic ship. Can capture cities and counters raiders inherently.
    Naval Ranged - the capital ship. The heavy cavalry of the sea: more expensive, and will blast you to scrap metal, but can need support to avoid getting picked off by raiders.
    Naval Raider - stealthy raiding unit. They are not tough at all in a direct confrontation, and should be used as a commerce raider or to take down ships out of position.
    Air fighter - brutal ranged attack, intercepts aircraft.
    Air bomber - brutal siege attack, takes on cities.
    Here's a quick mock up upgrade chart. Sorry boris, plz don't flay me for musketmen existing! (Although terminologically incorrect, I could live with the foot soldiers merging at P&S, and having something like "Halberdiers" representing the renaissance armored infantry before gunpowder. They could have silly hats, and everyone would love them.)
    Don't get too attached to the specifics, the idea is just to show that it wouldn't need to be every unit class every era, there could still be gaps here and there.
    upload_2020-2-10_18-48-32.png
    The parentheses indicate that it upgrades to a different unit class.
    The idea is that you have some resourceless choices - namely anticav and ranged - that can form a competent force, but if you are willing to put in resources, you can really expand your capability. Heavy Cav and Naval Ranged are intended to be a bit "OP" in that they will beat almost anything 1v1, but they are really expensive to field. Not civ6's 10% cost variation, like 50%-100% more :c5production: and :c5gold: and resource hungry. End game balancing is such that the last upgrade for several unit lines - Mech Inf, Modern Armor, Rocket Arty, for land units - are intended to serve alongside the modern era troops. They are stronger, but also consume more resources and fuel in particular. So you'll want to maintain as many advanced units as you can afford, and fill in the rest with "regular" units. Recall that the tech tree has upgrades to help units stay relevant when they have gaps - crossbowmen in the renaissance, spears in the classical, etc. Especially true for ships - once you can make quads, galleys get improved hulls too so they become true contemporaries.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  16. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    On the topic of military, I'll throw in the idea that the nature of your military should be integrally linked to the nature of your government.

    Further, I'd organize military units into three types: Elite, Professional, and Militia. The nature of your government and social policies, combined with the investment you have made in your military infrastructure, dictates the make up of your armed forces.

    Militia units appear immediately if your territory is invaded, or may be called up under different conditions depending on your government type if you're trying to fight an aggressive war. They're equipped with the basic weaponry of your age (spears, rifles, etc.) The effectiveness of your militia can depend on your social policies, government, etc.

    Professional units are always on the map and require maintenance to support. They also use the basic weaponry of your age, but more effectively than most militia, and can also use some specialized weapons. How many of these you have depends mostly on your military infrastructure and what your economy can afford. Mercenaries can be used to supplement this category if your economy allows it so that you can field an army larger than your military infrastructure would otherwise support.

    Elite units are always on the map, and are replaced for free (with a time delay) after being lost in combat. How many of them you have depends on the nature of your government and social policies. An early Chiefdom might have one Chief's Bodyguard, a later feudal monarchy might field a handful of armoured horse units. Elite units never upgrade until they lose a battle, at which time you get the option to re-organize your elites and upgrade them to a new unit type. These are the core of your army, and what makes your army "special" in terms of history, replacing the unique units currently used by Civ. Instead of being restricted to a unique unit by the civ you choose, you get to pick new elite units as the ages go on to suit your taste, if you otherwise have the conditions needed to field such units (right techs, right resources, right social policies, etc.)
     
  17. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    God's Teeth, there are a bunch of interesting proposals here, so I have to bite down and post a bunch on Units just to join the discussion.

    First, some Grounds for my proposals:
    1. It should not take over 200 years to field a bunch of warriors or slingers in the Ancient Era, yet, short of buying them with Gold, that's the minimum (5 turns x 4 years per at standard speed). Also, if, playing as Rome I were to lose 3 Legion units to the Germans in the Classical Era, it would take me at least a generation or two to replace them. COntrary to popular belief, Augistus replaced the Legions lost at Teutoburger Wald in less than 10 years. In the Modern or Atomic Era it's even worse: If my Germans lost 20 units at Stalingrad, the game would be practically over before I could replace them. Just rebuilding damaged units to full strength would take more turns than the years it took to fight all of World War Two.
    Conclusion: the Time Scale for units is so far out of whack that it Passeth Understanding.
    2. "Promotions" in Civ VI are a combination of Tech Upgrades ("Drop Tanks", "Reactive Armor"), Tactical Formations ("Square", "Tortoise"), and entirely new weapons ("Zweihander", "Supercarrier"). In short, they make no sense at all, but are simply words strung together at random to give an excuse to Upgrade Units on the sly.
    3. In the game, Technology and Production, occasionally coupled with specific Resources, are the only requirements to build a Unit. The fact that ALL military units also require some numbers of People, sometimes highly trained and educated and therefore relatively rare and expensive people, and that some weapons and units require a certain type of Society to form, are ignored. Fact: the Persians knew perfectly well that Greek Hoplites were superior to their own infantry, yet they never tried to form Hoplite Units of their own, despite having the same weapons technology. Fact: several states (Pontus, the Diadochi) tried to form 'imitation' Roman Legions - again, with the same weapons technology and at least as much Gold available, and they all failed miserably. Some units require you to reform your entire Society, and it cannot be done without a whole lot of other, unwanted and unintended consequences.
    4. Troops and military groups get better with practice. They get slowly better with practice in peacetime, they get a lot better by surviving practice in combat. They get better at things they already know how to do, and sometimes get so much better they can do things that are simply impossible for troops without their experience and expertise. Instead, in the game, after a certain amount of 'practice' (existence) a unit gets a whole new Ability through a "Promotion". In the game, then, there is no difference between a brand-new 'Green' unit and a unit with a lineage stretching back to the Bronze Age, unless one of them started in a city with an Encampment and a bunch of Training Facilities - and you can Never send the unit back for more training, because that, in the game, Doesn't Work. Instead, you throw it into combat and hope the enemy will teach it how to do something New without killing it.

    So, here are a few basic Proposals:
    1. To build a Unit requires People, Equipment and Weapons. It requires that the people be trained to use the equipment and weapons. Sometimes that is Automatic: a society of horse nomads has a large percentage of the 'military manpower' (commonly, men between the ages of 20 and 45, exact ages and therefore, percentage of the total population vary Wildly with the Civics, Social Policies, and Government of the Civ) that already know how to ride a horse and use weapons from horseback. IF your Civ has a number of Sheep/Cattle, then they also have shepherds that know how to use sling, bow, or throwing spear to protect those sheep/Cattle from predators. Most of them will even bring their own sling/bow/spear to the Muster.
    From Ancient Times states 'stockpiled' weapons and equipment. Some of the earliest 'writing' samples are lists of chariot parts stored in Mesopotamian, Mycenean, or Egyptian warehouses by the State, ready for use.

    So, to 'Build' a Unit requires 1 Turn. No exceptions. The shortest turn in the game is 1 Year, which is plenty of time to call up the recruits, swear them in, issue the weapons and equipment, break in their new sandals or boots, and march them off.
    Of course, that means the Weapons and Equipment have to be on hand already, so they have to be, usually, built and stored, you have to have a storage place and people to keep track of them and Gold to pay for all of this. You also have to have some means of assuring that the people you called will actually show up on time at the right place and be willing to fight.
    And, of course, you may eventually want Training Areas to get people and units good enough with their weapons so that when you march them off they come back alive and victorious.

    Weapons and Equipment require various Resources and 'Construction" facilities to produce. Those requirements change Constantly, and those changes will be the focus of both building units and making them better (Upgrading)

    An Example List (Ancient/Classical/Medieval Eras only)
    Ancient Era Resources:
    Basic Resources: Leather, Horn, Bone, Sinew
    ..... Available from having Cattle, Deer, Horse, or Sheep Resources and Craft Workshops
    Basic Metalwork: Copper, Lead, Bronze (requires Technology)
    .....Available from Mines over Metal Resources (Copper, Lead) and Smithery Workshops
    Basic Woodwork: Joined Timber, Formed (water, steam, fire) Carpentry, Wood Joining
    .....Available from Forest or Rainforest tiles and Carpentry Workshops
    Classical Era Resources:
    Advanced Metalwork: Wrought Iron, Low-Carbon Steel alloy
    .....Available from Technology , Iron Mines, and Primitive Forges
    Advanced Woodwork: Formed and interlocking wood, simple biological forming (controlled breeding of trees)
    ..... Available from Technology, Forests, Planted Forests, Rainforests, Carpentry Workshops
    Medieval Era Resources:
    Specialized Metalwork: Cast Iron, Cast Bronze, High-Carbon Steel
    .....Available from Technology, Mines over Iron and Copper, Blast Furnaces
    Woodfitting: Wood formed in geometric truss forms, laminated, interfaced, formed woods
    ..... Available from Technology, Forests, Planted Forests, Rainforests, Architectural Workshops
    Units:
    Scouts - require short spears, javelins (Basic Woodwork)
    .....IF obtained naturally, are limited to Hunters in population (number of Non-Pasture/Camp Animal resources worked), IF Trained/recruited, have same limitation in numbers, must be Paid, but may be Upgraded.
    Upgrades:
    .....Bows/Slings - require Basic Resources, add Skirmishing Range Factor (short)
    ..... Mounts - require Technology, Horse Resource.
    Slingers - require Leather slings (Basic Resources)
    .....Cannot be Trained, must be recruited from Shepherd population, so limited by number of Pastures or Herds worked.
    Upgrades:
    .....Shields - require leather, wood (Basic and Basic Wood Resources)
    .....Lead Shot - require Basic Metalwork
    Warriors - require wood-stone hand weapons (maces, short spears, javelins, stone-headed clubs) (Basic Resources)
    Upgrades:
    ..... Shields - require leather, wood (Basic and Basic Wood Resources)
    ..... Body Armor - require leather (Basic Resources)
    ..... Metal Weapons - require Copper, Bronze (maces, short swords, daggers, metal-headed clubs, axes) (Basic Metalwork)
    Archers - require bows, arrows (Basic Woodwork)
    .....IF obtained naturally, numbers limited by number of Pastures or Herds worked. IF trained by State, require Barracks and must be Permanent Troops and paid.
    Upgrades:
    .....Body Armor - require Leather (Basic resources)
    ..... Composite Bows - require Technology and Basic Resources
    Chariots - require wood chariots, trained horses, trained drivers (Basic Woodwork, Horses, Pastures, Stables)
    .....Chariots may carry either Warriors or Archers: see requirements under those two types.
    Upgrades:
    ..... Heavy Chariots - require Basic Metalwork, Basic Woodwork, Technology, Pastured Horses
    ..... Scythed Chariot - require Advanced Metalwork, Technology, does not have to carry any Troops for a Combat Factor, but if used purely as a Scythed Chariot, is automatically destroyed in any combat.
    Horsemen - require Technology, Basic Resources, Horses
    ..... IF obtained naturally, numbers established by Social Structure (Warrior Class, Comitatus) and numbers of Herds and Pastures. IF Trained, require Pastured Horses, Stables and must be Paid.
    Upgrades:
    .....Body Armor - require Leather (Basic resources)
    .....Metal Armor - require Metalwork or Advanced Metalwork, Technology, Pastured Horses
    .....Shields - require Leather, Wood (Basic Resources), Technology
    ..... Composite Bows - require Technology and Basic Resources: numbers limited by Social Structure (Pastorla/Nomad only)
    ..... Swords - require Advanced Metalwork, Technology, must be Trained or from Social Structure (Warrior Class, Comitatus)
    ..... Lances - require Woodwork, Advanced Metalwork, Technology, mist be Trained or from Social Structure

    As you can see, while you can 'build' a new Unit in 1 Turn, you will be seriously limited on how many of what types you can build by the weapons and equipment your people can construct and stockpile, Population, and expense of keeping certain types either Trained (standing army and draining Gold) or available from a Social Structure that may restrict what else you can do: an aristocratic Warrior Class may give you access to self-trained and self-equipped Units, but will severely restrict what kind of Government or Society you can have.

    And, you can through Upgrades and Social Structure have quite a variety of units available without having to invoke Promotions, and still keeping their basic characteristics close enough to not require a new Unit Type.

    Note that Chariots and Horsemen are the only units here that combine Weapons and Equipment: The Chariot and Team or Horse/Mount are the Equipment upon which the Weapon is mounted (with crew) While being on a horse or in a chariot does add to the effectiveness of the weapon/crew, the Equipment is not the same as a weapon except for the Scythed Chariot, which can dispense with the other Weapons but then makes the Equipment Expendable (FYI, there is no Historical Record of Scythed Chariots being effective. There are secondary accounts of them being effective, but when you consult the actual results of the battle, you find that the non-observing writer wrote them up as deadly, but the battle resulted in the chariots wrecked and their drivers all dead!)

    Finally, before you start screaming about all them Workshops required, Buildings while be built in less than 100 - 200 years each also, and I want to revise Districts so that they can include more than 3 structures each: tentatively, up to 5, including possibly, Wonders that take up 2 - 4 'slots' or a Processional Way/Main Avenue that can run through several districts to a Temple/Cathedral/City Center District that increases Civic and Social bonuses ("a happy population is an industrious and tax-paying population" - or, let them stand by the roadside and watch the parades go by in between building things)

    Okay, I still have a bunch of other things to get done today, so will be back tomorrow with more thoughts on Upgrades, Training, and the differences between Militia/Levy, Trained, Experienced and Elite Units.
     
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  18. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    We would probably all be lying if we say we hadn‘t have a perfect civilization in mind, so in short:

    1. The number of decisions you get to take stays roughly equal from the first to the last turn. The promise of the game is to „stand the test of time“, for that the game needs to be able to take you back in when you had a break. So, a good UI that tells you what you wanted to do last time and that doesn‘t burden you with small decisions after reloading a safe (should this scout go there or here on that remote island he is right now?). In short, make The game compatible for public transport.
    2. History is a series of mini-games. Every civ should start as a nomadic tribe. Some settle down right now founding the Babylonians, some roam around further and become the Mongols later on. When the Greeks become city states, you are more concerned with interior politics than when you play as the Persian Emperor. In short, less control over where to build that farm after the first phase of the game, more management of interests on a higher level.
    3. Abolish the type units. There is no army just composed of swordmen and they feel weird filling out a whole districts while the catapults are behind them in the farm. It‘s just a dissonance of scale for me. I‘d rather have three types of units: Armies, Garrisons and Civilian units. Each army and garrison has a number of slot and you can switch out your swordmen as you please, similar to the great works UI. Garrisons are immobile and the number of slots depend on the fortifications. The number of armies you can field is dependent on your civ, government, tech and so on. Civilian units would also encompass scouts, they may work much more like caravans do right now in that you give them a task and they return x turns later. (Naval would work similar, so like air units do now, just constricted to the water, thus teaching the player to use that system from early on)
    4. Simplify the yields. Instead of constructing, everything is bought. It just makes more sense timeline-wise. Wonders would be special. Instead of the physical objects like food and gold, we now have a more in-between yield named manpower. Culture is what you do with your manpower, not just emanating from a monument. Also, coastal tiles can‘t be worked, how does that work? They give their yields differently. Which leads me to
    5. No empty map. There are no settlers of the unit form since there‘s already somebody living where you send them. You can still found a city, but have to deal with the local tribe, city, pirate stronghold or whatever. When your scouts find a empty village, they don‘t give you a tech and vanish. They stay there. Occupying the village may allow you to found a city, or you can just vassalize them and take a tribute. In short: the map needs to live. Also later on: Demographics and religion of your cities makes them alive as well and not just totally loyal yield-generators.
    6. Districts, but general ones. Districts can stay, but they are more general. Each has 4 building slots and generate a synergy based on what‘s in them. Fill them with all science buildings and you increase your chance of breakthroughs. Mix a few industrial ones in there and you increase the chance of making an existing unit better („further on versus deepen“, see the tech thread). Wonders take up two slots so you can build a few more but they still are present on the map. In short, mix and match to find the synergy you like. Micro-managers can move the buildings around by the turn to gain a small advantage, but mostly it‘s fine to just let them be where they are.
    7. User-friendly diplomacy / global market. not everything is bilateral between nations. The diplomacy screen is a big table around which leaders are sitting. You can talk to one, but also to several at once. „Who wants my 2 surplus resources of wine?“ to the highest bidder it goes. It‘s a noble task to want to establish a relationship like they did in civ6, but it just takes too much time. This one is streamlined for your needs. Oh, and the world congress is included in this as well naturally from the beginning.
    That became longer than anticipated. I did enjoy reading the other proposals, though a few were too small scale for my taste. But this is about the ideas, right? :)
     
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  19. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    I didn't say anything on food, so here's how I see that: every tile has a food production and accordingly a population. Your trade network allows the food surplus to be shared to other tiles. So if you want to have a huge city, make sure you connect it by roads or ship lanes to fertile regions and make sure there are no pirates around. Settle a great person and give your governors a priority.

    That gives us two ressources (food and manpower) and two factors controlling their efficiency (health/happiness and loyalty respectively). All other elements either affect those two or get affected by them (and other elements) : religion, ressources, science, government. Culture is a weird one since I'm not sure we need it: great people yes, paintings yes, theatres yes, diverse groups in your population yes, but "culture"?
     
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  20. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I'd add only "Government and Society/Civic Expectations". For an example, The Classical Greek City States had a variety of types of governments - Democracy in Athens, Oligarchy in Corinth, "Kings" or "Tyrants" (Kings without ancestors, basically) in some of the smaller, states, Aristocractically-Dominated governments in Thebes and others. BUT they all required their men to serve as Hoplites, if they had the means to provide their own Hoplon Shield and heavy thrusting spear. That was, so to speak, your 'Civic' duty. It is Pre-Greek, in fact, because something like it appears to have been Indo-European, or around for at least 1000 years before the Greeks reached Greece. The principle remains: your military will reflect both your Government and your Social and Civic organization. That may have more affect than Technology, in fact.

    Once spent several years helping to develop miniature wargame rules that wrestled with this question extensively. I suggest that, in fact, there are a minimum of 4 types or Degrees of Professionalism in any military:
    Militia - men (rarely women) that appear to defend their state and society when it is endangered. See above, this is expected in many, many societies BUT Not All of them. For instance, almost no Divine Right or God King ruler wants the bulk of the population to be armed or know how to use weapons at all, because they couldn't trust them not to use the weapons against the Ruler eventually. This extends to the near-Modern Era: Virtually every government in the early Modern Era was suspicious of the idea of Draft or Conscript mass armies, because they were nervous about all those potentially-Commie workers having weapons and knowing how to use them. Serious debates took place from the 1870s to the 1930s CE about Professional versus Conscript Armies and which was better for the State.
    The basic characteristic of Militia is that in most cases they have little or no training as Units. They may be very well trained with their chosen weapons - check above, the Classical Greek Hoplite was an Upper Middle Class Militia whose Civic Duty it was to be well-trained with his weapons in the Gymnasium. In Medieval England, the "Yeoman Archer" was peasant militia who practiced constantly with the Longbow. The Horse Archers of many of the Steppe Nomad cultures were, again, essentially a militia - everybody with a horse and bow - who showed up whenever somebody was suicidal enough to invade, and they were all very well practiced at riding and shooting.
    When weapons have to be provided by the State - like, say, flintlock smoothbore or rifled muskets of a standard caliber, then the Militia and its effectiveness depends on the State, the organization, stockpiled weapons and training provided. This coincides closely with the rise of 'Democratic' or Mass Government, and is a distant relative of the old Indo-European concept that if you have a say in the government, you should also Defend It.
    Levy - "Non Voluntary Militia". Men with the same degree of training (or lack of it), but who show up because the State doesn't give them any choice. There may be rules that say they can only be 'called up' for X months of the year, but not showing up at all is Not An Option. As States become Bureaucratized, these are the bulk of Conscript/Draft Armies, and the State may expend a great deal of Gold and effort training them so that they are more effective.

    In the case of both Militia and Levy, the Prime Factor is that they are Temporary: when the war is over, the invasion repelled, they go home. In fact, the Society cannot continue to function with them 'under arms' because they also are a (sometimes majority) percentage of the prime workers/producers in the society, and without them, everything else in the State crumbles.

    Only add to this that many Civilizations 'support' or maintain these troops by making that support part of their Societal Position. For instance, in the early Medieval Era (prior to about 1150 - 1200 CE) no state 'maintained' Knights directly. Instead, the Feudal system gave a certain class of people land with which they supported themselves and paid for the equipment - Destrier Horse, armor, weapons - that allowed them to serve the State as a Knight. Classical Persian Nobility was part of a similar system - their land came from the King of Kings, in return they were expected to show up when called with horse, weapons, armor, and either serve as troops or command Levied Troops for him. Several Chinese Dynasties ended up with military forces of a similar nature, so the idea of having people who are 'Professional' Warriors and also all or mostly Self-Supporting is an attractive one to all sorts of Societies historically.

    The term is Comitatus, and it represents an Elite Bodyguard in Indo-European cultures. Traces of them have been discovered in groups as different as Greeks (Leonidas' '300 Spartans' at Thermopolye), Germans, Norse, Mongols, Goths, Huns, and Indians - it also shows up in "Warrior Societies" in Native American (North American) tribes. They have one universal and one early Characteristic:
    The Universal is that they are all exceptionally skilled at what they do. This is regardless of where they come from, but later Elites are formed by Levy or even Militia that keep doing combat things until they get good at it, or are subjected to intensive and costly (in terms of both resources and time) training. The replacement of Elites automatically means, though, that you are taking the best warriors out of the rest of your army into the Elite Unit. Do that long enough, and there is nothing left of the rest of the army.
    The other 'part' of being Skilled is that Elite Units can do things that other Units cannot do. Even if armed and equipped with the same stuff, they know how to use it better, and can do things that are simply impossible to other Units. So, there should be a set of Elite Skills or Promotions that ONLY Elite Units can get: Paratroops and Special Forces, for instance, are always considered Elite in modern armies; troops that can storm fortresses ("Grenadiers" or "Forlorn Hopes") are Elite (because no one else is crazy enough to try it); and a State may have a Special Organization of Elite Troops, like the King's Household Cavalry or Royal Guards or Keshiqs or Praetorians that are reserved only for special duties and status.
    The early peculiarity of the Comitatus is that they had to be constantly rewarded, either with 'gifts' from the Ruler/Chief or with Loot from battle.
    That means, regardless of their origin, Elites are Expensive to keep - several times more expensive than a similar non-elite group, even with the same weapons.

    And, finally, some of what the Civ franchise has called Unique Troops in the past are in fact, Elites, but not all. Berserkers, Immortals, Keshiqs, Garde Imperiale - all historical Elites. Hoplites, Longbowmen - Militia!. Redcoats, Legions - Professionals - from which, however, you could get individual Elite Units like the Grenadier Guards or Praetorians.

    To return to your original point, Elites for most of the game are going to be intimately related to what kind of society/Civic structure your Civ has. In fact, if there is a single Universal Rule that should be applied to design of a Perfect Historical 4X, it should probably be that Everything Is Related, and an Elite Unit, or a Democratic Government, or a Wonder, don't any of them show up independantly of the Civic, Social, and Government structure of your Civ.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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