#5: Population I'm no professional dev like the firaxites, but here's a loose take on a civilization based system of population units and what they could do. I'm not married to any of this, but looking at what i posted about earlier, here's something that could mesh with it. Growth Growth is often unbalancing is 4x games, and while it shouldn't be so painfully slow that late game cities can't catch up, like civ5, it shouldn't be so easy that the optimal strategy is simply spam city centers. Civ6 isn't too far off a decent balance in this regard, as far as surplus food->growth. That can be inherited. It's a familiar thing that everyone knows. One thing civ6 gave us was the return of a growth limiter in Housing, a la health from civ4. I like this, and I don't think it needs to be done away with for anything much more complex. But what i would change is how housing interacts with growth and the choices players have in dealing with it. Housing First, one of the big historical issues that the current system sidesteps is overcrowding. This is because the game applies a 50% penalty to growth if you are one point below housing cap. For starters, I would have no growth penalty until you hit the cap. This keeps cities naturally tending to hurtle toward a problem point. Cities that are overcrowded suffer a number of penalties. First, a growth penalty - this is to keep things from spiraling, but also to prevent min-max players from ignoring this entirely like you could ignore health. Second, the city would suffer from an amenity penalty. The solution to overcrowding is to either build more housing, or if you exceed the cap by at least 2, expel the excess as a new "Migrant" unit: Taken from an idea I had about settlers, this unit would have charges; it could be activated on a city center and add 1 pop point to the city. It could not be used on overcrowded cities. The functionality of migrants would be baked into settlers as the game went on-settlers would start founding cities with more than 1 pop and could also be used to resettle those pops in other places. A Migrant unit starts with at least 3 charges, and creating one takes at least 3 pop from the city. This way, an overcrowded city will end up 1 point below the cap, applying some temporary breathing room. Expulsion does apply a penalty for a few turns, which would act to keep the overcrowding penalty active for a few turns. This is to disincentivize players from just using overcrowded cities as early game pop farms, and instead nudge them to try to fix the underlying housing problems. Speaking of which, Housing would be less tied to city center buildings existing and more to things that must be on the map. Improvements, yes, but now districts would grant innate housing. That growing population will demand to sprawl out. Fresh water is still the big early game source, with neighborhoods still being the late game way to build up huge towns. Aqueducts still exist as a way to get fresh water and add extra housing. Districts don't provide that much extra housing - 1 per tile at first. Since this is woefully inadequate to handle the 3 pop a district needs to be built in the first place, there will still be a natural city size cap before neighborhoods. There are other methods, but they are more limited and expensive - remember, infrastructure has meaningful upkeep now. The Aqueduct could support a building to give it more utility (eventually it would gain the housing and other benefits of a neighborhood, as would canals) and the sewer building would now grant +1 housing from districts in the city. See how I'm making you pay for those districts? Yet, this aligns the visual feedback with the game effect: Literally more city sprawl-> higher housing->bigger city. The goal of housing balance is to create a system that says "sure, you can spam a carpet of many or few cities, but cities need space, and city size is ultimately quite limited by space. So you will hit the wall one way or another." The inherent city benefits for existing would be partially offset by upkeep - twice as many cities means more instances of universities etc to pay for. Amenity The amenity usage of a city would be based on a per city penalty [generally small (~1) and not at all like civ5, but also not a free amenity like civ6] and also on its population. Pops use amenities based on their Living Standard, which I previously went through. The positive bonus of the amenity system is baked into the living standard. The penalty for not meeting amenity needs is quite harsh - at first it removes that living standard boost, then a penalty, then you start getting serious problems like Rebels, free city, etc. Luxury resources give a nice amount of amenities as always and will be distributed between cities. But, they are really just a way to avoid having to pay for the upkeep costs of entertainment complexes, buildings, and the entertainer specialist (more on that.) Citizens as workers: tiles and specialists and districts Districts Currently, districts are just adjacency bonus+flat building boosts. I don't like this. Now, districts will retain adjacency, which I believe is a very fun and engaging mechanic at multiple levels of play, and they will be mostly focused around the specialists that can be placed into them. Most specialty districts start with 3 specialist slots. Specialists are not cheap to run. Many of them have extra upkeep over a normal citizen, representing the fact that they need to be supported by resources and infrastructure beyond a farmer or miner. I don't mind having 3 buildings per district, but they would definitely be something built around providing +% and other utility bonuses than flat yield grabs. As a broad rule, tier1 and tier 2 buildings grant +1 citizen slot, and tier 3 improves them (often in exchange for power consumption.) So a fully built out district has 5 specialists and a boosted output. Some effects can also boost specialists- the analog to rationalism, for example, gives extra science to scientists. BTW, the general ratio of yields is that 1// = 3, 1/=2. This is how civ6 terrain yields do it, and I think it provides a good split in value between the primary yields and the more complex ones like science. Here's a loose cut at districts, their timings, and specialist slots: Note how the campus isn't an ancient era district any more - it and theaters have been push back to (early) medieval! In exchange for this, though, the city center has picked up the library building. Holy Sites are still ancient to support early religion. Except for Commercial Hubs and harbors, most districts would have upkeep starting around 2-3 gold. This forces players to think about overbuilding. In addition, one could have the district upkeep increase as your government tier advances. There is another aspect i would add, City Specialization, which in conjunction with these upkeep and specialist changes, would hopefully push players to only want to build districts where they have a great location or if they have the economy to support it. City Spec. would be a way for cities to essentially declare that they are an industrial city or a research center etc and really boost that district/specialist/yield. Because you could only have so many specializations per city (really big cities might get 2) for the purpose of cost effectiveness this would incentivize having a city specialized for its best district. Specialists Note from the districts graphic that every specialist has an effective net output of 5 gold equivalent, except merchants and captains, providing 6. Entertainers would get a little more benefit from the civics tree to account for rising living standards over time - in the early game, citizens wouldn't use as many amenities as late game, so it's not as onerous as it seems. All specialists provide 1 great person point, rather than buildings. (These numbers are for comparison to our current civ6 system.) The goal of the specialist system is to force active investment into areas like science or culture to create trade-offs. The more international trade routes and merchants you need to run, the less pops you have working tiles, engineering, research, etc. While gold income is a strategy, you don't otherwise want to run a surplus when you could be using it for other outputs.The science maximizing player would seek to "run as many scientists as I can afford while not having a deficit of gold or amenities." I thought about having adjacency be the base for that district's specialist output, but imo it constrains things to a huge degree- suddenly you can't have unique mechanics allowing for high adjacency (ie Hansa) because it would break the entire game. Having some buildings work off of adjacency, though, is a great system. Tiles In order to have a flexible economic system, tile improvements need to incorporate a few things from various civ games. First, adjacency stays - this is a great mechanic. However, I think it could be expanded a little to more things than farms. Second, a gold yielding tile improvement would return - this would be an attempt at bringing in "improvable improvements" where a builder charge could be used to convert an improvement into a better one. One of my first posts on CFC talked about how the game might bring back cottages - I think builder charges are a great way to bypass awkward things like "must be worked for X turns." The key interaction would be something like build a trading post->build a town on that->get a 50% cost discount if you place a neighborhood on a town. "Why won't players just spam towns everywhere to get around your onerous upkeep?" Because - a town isn't being farmed or mined, and that pop working it isn't working a more lucrative specialist job. For their part, neighborhoods might also have a gold yield so there is a clear progression. One could also force towns to be built on tiles that contain roads. Third, the addition of improvements that have upkeep. I really liked how Beyond Earth had this entire tier of improvements that cost upkeep, and i think such a system could make for some really neat "quasi district" improvements. As long as the option exists, this has a lot of potential. While I would bring back the city connection to capital system, it would mostly be an indicator used to grant other bonuses. Traders I haven't given the full necessary thought to this system, but trade routes would be partially decoupled from districts. You total trader capacity would be determined mostly by your total empire population, with a few slots coming from other sources like the tech tree, wonders, etc. However, any given city could only run a set number of routes based on its infrastructure. All cities would start with 1 available, with city center building options like "Caravansary" and some commercial hub and harbor buildings increasing how many you can run from one city, as well as improving the output of those routes. This means that any size empire can invest in having great trade routes, but they have to invest. An empire of many cities would pay a high cost to all have good routes, and simply having a lot of routes doesn't mean you can push them all out of one city. That doesn't mean certain governments or policies (merchant republic anyone?) couldn't change that a little... Because of how important upkeep is, having profitable international routes would be critical for anyone trying to really push their empire without heavy reliance on commercial hubs. Water trade would be worth more than land trade. Initially, up to 2x. Railroads would also offer 2x, but late game techs/civics would increase the benefit of water routes up to 3x. I haven't come up with a great way for trade route value to work, so I'll have to revisit it.