1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

[GS] Is an Ancient Era start actually balanced?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by bengalryan9, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. bengalryan9

    bengalryan9 Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2018
    Messages:
    466
    Gender:
    Male
    ...because it seems to me whether I win a game or not almost entirely comes down to whether or not I can survive the ancient era.

    Now I totally understand that there are a lot of players here better than I am, but I'm no slouch either - I play and win on deity the majority of my games... *IF* I can survive the ancient era. But I swear, sometimes the game just puts you in an unwinnable position, and I'm not even talking about those "worst start ever" kind of starts either.

    Here's how a lot of starts go in my experience:
    1) Think to myself "ok, this looks an interesting start, should be a fun game".
    2) Find that an AI has spawned right next door to me - on the default settings no less. I find that the more fun and interesting a starting position looks, the closer your AI neighbor will spawn to you. The map generator hates you.
    3) Churn out a handful of troops with my one lone city with no improved tiles to defend against the inevitable AI surprise war declaration. Use them to try to keep barbarians in check, but at the same time keep them close enough to my lone city they can help in it's defense. If I'm lucky, I might even get enough gold to buy one unit before the AI comes.
    4) AI declares a "surprise" war, promptly shows up with an army twice as large as mine (after all, the AI has plenty of cities to train units). Not only does he have more troops, but he also has chariots going up against my handful of warriors and slingers. Plus, on deity, as if this isn't hard enough, they get a big ol' combat bonus on top of it just in case the AI doesn't have enough of an advantage already.
    5) Still, I gird my loins and decide to attempt a defense. I move what meager armies I have to prepare to defend my one (or two if things have gone particularly well) city in what will most likely be a bloodbath...
    6)...only for a barbarian camp to spawn with it's stupid scout right outside my borders to the rear of my armies. Here come the hordes!
    ***Bonus points if said AI is Teddy, Monty, or any AI that can make this even harder!**

    I feel like I'm doing everything I can to defend against this - I'm focused purely on training troops, I send delegations to every AI as soon as I meet them (nothing I'd rather do than send a chunk of my meager economy to an AI that's just going to come at me anyways), I try not to antagonize them where possible (sometimes it's not)... and it just doesn't matter. They have such a huge starting advantage if they want to steamroll you, they almost always can.

    What really sucks about this is that it ends up making my games feel very similar. Most of my games end up having either the coast to my back (which makes defense and barbarians a ton infinitely easier to handle), or lots of mountains that make full scale attacks on my few cities difficult. I'd love to play a game where I spawn in the middle of a continent surrounded by other civs... but these are so difficult to survive at the start I hardly ever get to.

    If I survive the ancient era, I'd say I'll win 9/10 games no problem. That alone tells me it's not balanced, but I'm curious what other people's experiences/thoughts are.

    Tl;dr version: AI are overly aggressive early on and barb spawns can be pretty stupid.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2020
  2. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11,201
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I was expecting from the thread title this would go another direction. I was thinking the human has more advantage with ancient era start. I feel this is the case. I keep saying to myself I'll get away from ancient era start, but they are just so satisfying to me to build up slowly. Anyways, the point being that all those decisions the human makes better than the AI add up over the course of a long game, and ancient era start also gives humans more time to develop and catch up.

    Has anyone tried late era games? I keep meaning to as I mentioned, but never get around to. Humans tend to start with additional settlers in later eras, but does the AI still get those additional 2 settlers on deity? Only times I've done those kinds of starts is to get achievements.
     
  3. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2017
    Messages:
    1,797
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    The problem with late starts is they scale all production costs down, and the human is far better suited to leverage rapidly throwing together a cluster of cities and getting onto winning than the computer. I find late starts (Ren+) are basically impossible to lose because its so cheap to expand with many settlers and districts being 1 turn to build.
     
  4. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,732
    Gender:
    Male
    The game is balanced around the default settings it would seem, if one notes how civs are designed. So kinda, but yes, it's not balanced because...

    1.) Major variance from early lucky things such as relics, early CS, disasters, and barbs

    2.) Various strong early UUs or UIs

    Of course the other factor is the AI doesn't know how to play the game but is at least semidecent with early era stuff since it just needs numbers. That isn't really a sign of balance but rather it being too potato to stop a human player later.This is more of a factor of this entire's franchise's lousy approach to higher difficulties as a whole.
     
    acluewithout likes this.
  5. bengalryan9

    bengalryan9 Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2018
    Messages:
    466
    Gender:
    Male
    Well I know a lot of people do an early rush against an AI, but I think for most players on high difficulties (and I know there are exceptions) it's more of a classical era rush than in the ancient era. Even if I start a game planning on rushing a neighbor, what can I do? Unless I'm Gilgamesh or Montezuma, I'm spamming warriors. I guess with a decent start I could probably get 6-8 of them out before the era ends if I don't build anything else. I can march them off towards my closest neighbor where they are likely to come up against his warriors (which are naturally stronger than mine on deity), chariots, and archers: advantage, AI. And of course as the cherry on top I'll have barbarians spawning behind the front lines in all those areas where my warriors aren't. Unless I'm a leader that has an inherent combat bonus in this area (like Teddy or Genghis), I'm probably going to get my clock cleaned.

    An early rush is certainly powerful, but I wonder if they tend to take place more in the classical era than the ancient era (at least on higher difficulties) for most of us...

    Maybe the AI combat bonus on higher difficulties should only apply when their units are defending? I assume the idea behind it to help keep the AI from getting steamrolled, but does it really need to give them a leg up when on the offensive when they already have so many other early advantages?
     
    Kmart_Elvis likes this.
  6. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,732
    Gender:
    Male
    That's what I'd think too. Sometimes people say they can get away with 2-3 units and survive all barbs/civs (diplomacy, gift, and delegation), but I am a bit skeptical it can be done on certain maps. Unfortunately, it's hard to find live examples.
     
    acluewithout and Kmart_Elvis like this.
  7. dagriggstar

    dagriggstar Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Messages:
    579
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    The thing with starting in the middle of a continent surrounded by other civs is, in my experience (generally play emperor though), even when those civs are controlled by the AI they tend to themselves get steamrolled by other AI. As in, the problem isn't necessarily the difficulty setting or the ancient era start, it's that the starting in the middle of a continent is unbalanced.
     
  8. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    10,812
    It depends on the civ.
    Try Hungary, China, Sparta. They are great examples of central civs. Sparta starts centrally, typically with good resources and like to fight early so is great for it. China the opposite.
     
    Deadly Dog likes this.
  9. yung.carl.jung

    yung.carl.jung Hey Bird! I'm Morose & Lugubrious

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,124
    Location:
    the most beautiful town in Germany
    Thank you, this is very helpful. Whenever I want to play domination I spawn coastal with no close neighbors. I looked up the start biases but did not find this piece of information. Guess I will be playing as Sparta!
     

Share This Page