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Is diplomacy dead?

Discussion in 'Civ1 - General Discussions' started by ChiTheCynic, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. ChiTheCynic

    ChiTheCynic Chieftain

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    London
    When we Civ 1 players read the word 'diplomacy' we instinctively think of the sneaky diplomat unit, king of the bribes and revolt inciter extraordinaire...

    But. Is there any way to accomplish genuine diplomacy with the Civ 1 AI? It feels like you can completely ignore the other civilizations, pay their tribute demands, exchange tech with them... and they will still attack you. Not only that, but every peace treaty is broken by them within a few turns - and yet they keep demanding to talk to you to make useless peace treaties yet again.

    Now, I know the consensus on this forum is: wage war, wage it often, beat your enemies into submission with chariots and armor and win by conquest. Spaceships are for wimps.

    But. Is the game deliberately rigged in a way that makes war inevitable or is there something I'm missing? Is it truly impossible to lead a peaceful life in Civ 1?
     
  2. Posidonius

    Posidonius Civherder

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    US of gawldarn A
    Pay tribute ?!?! Your words are strange to me, paleface. Never pay them, it's ducats down a rat hole. Other civs exist only to serve you. When they are no longer useful, they become your Eastern Province. The Manual gives some broad outlines of the characteristics of each opposing civ, and for the most part those insights into leaders are true, but only relatively. Gandhi is much more likely to keep your treaty with him than Stalin will, but you can't start with a baseline of ambivalence. The baseline is violence.

    Gandhi is a bit less violent than Stalin, but they'll both hit you if you show any weakness. Never pay them. The only difference is that Stalin will hit you continually no matter how many chocolates you buy him. Gandhi will pause for a couple turns and eat the chocolate. Then he'll hit you. Truly, you can't blame them. They want the same things you want. Only one of you can have those things, so there will be blood.

    Also, consider the time frames here. For the most part, the period where you are interacting with other civs is measured by 20 years at a lurch. Elizabeth The Elder will pass the sceptre to Elizabeth The Younger every couple of turns, and the treaty whereby both of you agree not to cross the Horseshoe Mountains, sealed in solemn friendship, will inevitably been seen in London as an unjust restriction on the proud English Nation! To WAR!

    In European history, at least, it was very very rare for any treaty to last for two generations. A treaty was a very personal thing, either a patron/client arrangement or a detente between evenly-matched parties which required exchanges of hostages and eligible daughters... regrettably often the same person. The whomping majority of treaties only lasted the lifetime of both parties. When one of them died, all bets were off. This ain't no Disney movie. There's a reason why fairytale princesses routinely require rescuing. When her dad dies and you attack her brother the new king, the FIRST thing you do is lock her in a tower. Has Machiavelli taught us nothing?

    So don't take it personally. The Queen Liz who is pouring Legions over the Horseshoe Mountains is not the same Queen Liz, and neither are you. This Queen's grandmother made a treaty with your grandfather, and now both of you have very different ambitions. Besides, your great-aunt Rapunzel has been locked in a tower for 40 years, certainly you have every right to strike first over the Horseshoes. Right?

    Sid M could have made the AI respect treaties for centuries and i'm sure that they playtested such a variant, but i'm sure that it ended up BORING. There must be blood.

    Also remember that the Civ1 AI is state-of-the-art for the mid-1990's... which means rudimentary, but remarkably still relevant even today. A few decades of trying, but no computer scientist has created a system which can pass the Turing Test.

    When a computer passes the Turing Test, some bright CS student will think of assigning values to key words, and then we will have decent AI in computer games. But all games so far (including all the Civs) rely on logic systems which are part choose-your-adventure book and partly a D&D-style blend of attributes+randomicity.

    Plenty of games have a value for your "character" called Luck or Charm or something similar, but under the hood it's the same mechanism as saying: "I have a +1 sword and Strength of 16, I roll a 12 and thus take 6 hit-points off that orc". An opposing civ might, instead of hit-points, have tolerance-points towards you and if you sneak attack on them, that value goes down and your future negotiations get sourer. It's all the same: attributes+randomicity, strength+roll.

    After all that, yes there is. I usually get the +100 Peace bonus on Judgement Day with 3 other civs alive. But it requires domination to wring peace from another civ. There is no peace between two growing and prosperous civs. First, conquer their capital. Next, take out every one of their cities which is a port. Then, ring their remaining city or cities with your military units. I call this a "keeper", and it's like keeping another civilization in a zoo, for your trading profit. If they attack your perimeter, punish them a little, then pull back to a new hedge, slightly closer-in.

    Station your zookeepers on squares which are high in shields and trade. Choke off their production and science. Eventually, as your civ grows far beyond the opponent's 1- or 2-city empire, they become docile and will never attack you again. You must choose keepers which are landlocked, or be prepared to blockade them with multiple Cruisers for the rest of the game. Trust me, choose landlocked.

    Don't know that this is "peace" but it certainly is peaceful. You just buzz them with two diplomats every now and then, one to investigate and one to meet your pet king.
     
  3. Theov

    Theov Deity

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    If the Russians are too close for comfort... prepare for the worst commander; war with the Soviets.
    And if you make peace and think if it's done, then no, it has only begun.
     
  4. mandrakoukos

    mandrakoukos Chieftain

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    Civ1 diplomacy is exactly as real world's diplomacy.
    Negotiating peace is only for gaining time.
     
  5. jarvisc

    jarvisc Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
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    I have kind of a funny style when it comes to enemy civs. Firstly, I build no military units (virtually none, most of my cities are undefended). Barbarians are the most dangerous thing in the game to me and I *might* try defending against them with a strategically-fortified militia, but more likely I will let the barbarian capture one of my undefended "size 2" cities, then buy the city back with a diplomat. Crisis averted, until the next landing..

    Anyway, what I do instead is quickly expand and sprawl my cities across the continent with almost disregard for the enemy Civs whom I build right in the midst of. I think it's funny to build a city, immediately adjacent to an enemy city. You can starve them out if you want to, or let the city grow to be a good trading partner, but either way you are "sharing" the space. So, whenever the enemy civ wants "Tribute or War", I give tribute. If they eventually cannot be restrained and attack me, I let them capture a city (it might be adjacent to one of theirs!) and then simply make peace and buy the city back. This cycle seems to settle down the enemy civ long enough for my "defenseless" empire to prosper and flourish.

    I think that under the hood, I may be benefiting by building cities so close to the enemy because the enemy considers my units a "threat" (being so close), even though not really. I might also pick up a few NONE legion units from purchased barbarians and station them close to the enemy, which both adds to my civ's total unit attack sum and puts my attack units in proximity to the enemy's cities.

    One way or another, I can keep enemy civs subdued long enough to build my empire (reach robotics). Even the more aggressive ones get pretty content if you let them take a city once in awhile. I like keeping the enemy civs around, keeps the game interesting, they make for trading partners, and I don't have to support a military nor pick up their worthless tech as I would by conquering them.

    You'd be surprised how quick you can move along, if you don't spend on military... (Yeah, it's kind of a silly tactic to build undefended cities throughout your enemy's territory -- it's just what I do. But the fact that I do it, shows that "sort of" peace is, sort of, possible). -Jarvis
     
  6. darkpanda

    darkpanda Dark Prince

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    Souns like an intriguing but great strategy... Taking small hits to prevent large clashes. On what difficulty level do you play that way? How do you eventually win?
     
  7. jarvisc

    jarvisc Chieftain

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    Oct 24, 2012
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    Hey, darkpanda. Thanks for saying hi, always a pleasure and privilege.

    I play on emperor / 7 civs. It's definitely a different play style I have, but kind of fun. For example, to deal with sea barbarians in the early game, I build a cluster of cities around my starting point (hopefully the barbarians will not first-of-all reach my capital). I produce a lot of settlers and a couple diplomats in the early game. When barbarians come, if they firstly reach a city that is still size 1, I try to move settlers in and "build" it to size 2. The barbarian legion walks into the undefended city and takes it. On the next turn, I might use a diplomat to buy the city back (and also get the barbarian legion and diplomat as part of the deal). Or, if I can wait a turn (depends on road layout, how far the barb. legion will get when he moves out of the city) I will bribe the barbarian legion when he leaves the city he just captured, hopefully pick him up as a NONE unit, then either buy my original city back (I have a few turns to wait if needed) or use my new "bribed barbarian" legion to ATTACK my city which is only defended by the barbarian diplomat at this point, and earns the 100 gold for the ransom. So blah blah blah, I just use it as an example of the "give and take" you were talking about -- tactics and tricks that are a little unusual, but play into my overall strategy.

    For example, it plays into my early-game strategy in the following way: expand quickly with settlers, don't even build roads, and build on plains in the beginning if possible because it's a quick "irrigation" improvement (grasslands also irrigate on city-build, but you can't take advantage of it until advancing out of despotism). Try to build each of your first few cities within range of TWO good shield-producing squares, such as forest (it's okay if city radii overlap). As soon as a city reaches size 2, have it build settlers at 4-5 production per turn. Buy to complete settlers, and keep tax rate around 100% until almost 3000 BC as you expand into 5-6 cities. Don't open any huts! Too unpredictable and even if you rule-out barbarians spawning by building a city within 3 distance-units of the hut, you still might get "crap tech" that will mess everything up.

    Once you have 5-6 cities, switch to 100% science and start using your settlers to irrigate, build roads, and even continue expanding; but try to get Republic by 2500 BC and switch to it immediately. With no military to support, there is no reason not to switch to Republic/Democracy as soon as possible. Meanwhile, you may have encountered enemy civs; just offer them whatever tribute they want, you can usually stay ahead of them on science. If the enemy civ fortifies a unit right against your city, it's annoying, but on the other hand it's "free protection" (from barbarians etc). Just work around the inconvenience by using diplomatic units to shuttle your own units (settlers) around the zones of control. Get Republic and keep expanding to about 10-12 cities, and at this point there's a balance between building temples and letting your Republic cities grow to size 3 (to use WLTKD) or, keep your cities at size 1-2 and don't even bother with temples (unless a particularly unhappy city), but shoot straight for trade and religion.

    One of my goal posts is that if you have 10-12 cities and Bach's cathedral by 1500 BC, you are "on par". After that, focus on growing your cities (irrigation and WLTKD, markets, banks, temples, cathedrals) and very importantly, trade routes. When you are ready to switch into full science mode, try to build libraries and pick up Isaac's, and then you can blow through the technology in the latter BC years and pick up railroad, but actually electronics, and Computers (SETI) are not that far away, and then it's even possible to go all the way to Robotics in the BC years. (As I converged on my present play style, at first it was exhilarating to me just to get Railroad in the BC years, but then I kept pushing it further, towards Computers or even Robotics.)

    Once you have all that tech, originally I would try to build wonders such as Hoover Dam, Women's suffrage; but actually you are so close to winning the game, it's not worth it to even spend on those wonders. Over the entire game, the wonders I build are: Bach's, Michelangelo's (if possible), Isaac's (if possible), Magellan's (if possible), then straight to SETI and Apollo. That's it...

    Once you build Apollo, you can either go space race or conquer the world with artillery. Since I'm usually still in early AD at this point, I will load enough transports up with enough artillery to conquer the world (as revealed by Apollo), then send all the transports out and switch to building the spaceship. Building the spaceship will usually make everyone declare war (if they're not already at war with me), and then I roll over them with the artillery.. He-he-he.

    Battleships are another thing I used to get distracted by, but now I consider steel not even a requirement on the road to victory. You're so close to victory at that point (and battleships are so expensive), just ignore it. Advanced flight (bombers) are fun, though.

    I play by a pretty strict set of personal rules.. I never allow two ships in the same sea square. I never change what I'm building after clicking "buy" (no staggered building nor military units on the cheap). I never switch what I'm building (a wonder) after adding shields to it with a caravan. No fast settlers.. if I accidentally awaken a settler from his task, I press space-bar to make him waste a turn. I do use diplomats, but since I think they're a little over-powered, I never bribe enemy cities unless it was originally my own city (I do bribe units though). What else... No luck manipulation -- LoL -- thanks to you Darkpanda, one of my personal rules is I'm forbidden from accessing the city view. Of course you can't avoid it if you build something in the city.

    Regarding save/re-load, if I'm playing a "legit" game by my own standards I won't even do that. And if I'm playing a game that I'm not gonna beat any of my own records, I won't worry about a setback. But if I've got a really great game going and something happens, maybe I can't resist save-load.. but my goal is to play three "legit" games (random non-customized starting world) in a row on Emperor and beat them. So far my record is only two in a row, so I'm still working on that.. LoL.

    Okay, well, I've rambled on too long. But thanks for your interest. :)
     
  8. simonnomis

    simonnomis Warlord

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    I never go to war with anyone. Nobody ever declares war on me or makes sneaky attacks either. I just make sure my military strength is roughly comparable to the most powerful other civ, or that I irrigate around all my cities to prevent contact with my more powerful neighbours. I also make sure that after 1AD I'm not sitting at the top of the powergraph. I guess this is a form of diplomacy - understanding what's going to piss your neighbour off, and making sure you work within those limits. You can still easily win without ever going to war.
     
  9. Mize

    Mize Warlord

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    I like to capsulate and vassalize my civilized neighbours. It's always a huge boost for my empire to have a couple of big Chinese or German (or Babylonian... any builder Civ will do) cities on my mainland. Benefits include huge trade with no need for a navy, important technology exchanges, a lot of tribute to be extracted, AND I get to use them as a buffer for those expansionist civs that are coming from overseas. It's a win-win. Civs like that usually survive alongside me and are useful until I go to space. A few well placed forts will keep them relatively peaceful. Sometimes they get too cocky and I have to decide wether to roll them over or just annihilate their army to subdue them. Sometimes they get conquered by those aforementioned invaders. Then I've no use for those devastated cities as trade partners and I proceed to conquer them and set them up better, demolish a few if I have to.
     
  10. Theov

    Theov Deity

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    :confused: what game are you playing?
     
  11. simonnomis

    simonnomis Warlord

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    Wars are so 2015.

    I just enjoy developing the game without wars, it's much more satisfying. I'll sometimes (peacefully) block warmongering nations when they try to take out peaceful civs as well.
     
  12. Osvaldo Manso

    Osvaldo Manso Warlord

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    Just like simonnomis, I like to play peaceful games as well. I never start a war although I respond when attacked.
     
  13. snuffychan

    snuffychan Chieftain

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    I've played iterations where I decided to foster trade and peace instead of war. I got crushed. YMMV?
     
  14. Mize

    Mize Warlord

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    Having a peaceful game in Civ is very hard. If you want reasonably extended periods of peace, you have to be swift with your violence - the moment your neighbours start declaring war on you, you have to be ready and have a plan to hit them so they sue for peace. Early on, this usually means taking one or two of their cities if they get too cocky. Later on, you might need to take more and/or give them cash or tech.

    And here we come to the second point, be ready to make concessions. Some will only buy you time, and some concessions will actually hinder the AI militarily, and also make them a more profitable trade partner. So, if the Mongols ask for the wheel, don't. But if they ask for monarchy or the republic, go ahead and share - your trade routes with their cities will soar in value if they switch and their units will start causing resource strain and possibly unhappiness, some will outright disappear (those with low production in their home cities).

    But overall, you need to keep a strong military and be ready to use it violently, even if you want to play peacemonger.

    EDIT:
    Also, good intelligence helps a lot. Have embassies with everyone and see who is fighting whom and where their capitals and big cities are (so you can make plans how to take them if you need to). Decide whether you want to balance world conflicts by siding with the weaker civs or if you want to exploit them for territory and tribute. If you get this far, the only real threat should be one of the more expansionist civs becoming too large to beat in the space race. So the main goal of your geopolitics should be stifling that civ and eventually splitting their empire apart.
     

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