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Let’s discuss the amazing battle system in civ1

Discussion in 'Civ1 - General Discussions' started by Pikachu, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. Pikachu

    Pikachu Emperor

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    I like the civ1 battle system because it is very simple but still gives many complex possibilities.

    One of the best features in civ1 is that all the units in a stack die if attacked and the strongest unit lose the battle. Because of this large armies need large areas to avoid stacking. This forces the players to pay attention to maneuvering the troops, and it makes military tactics like encircling the enemy’s strong points interesting.

    The zone of control feature makes it even better. This makes it very important to use the terrain for your advantage. Placing defensive units in strategic positions could severely reduce the enemy’s freedom to maneuver his troops, giving the defender a huge advantage. The attacker must then decide if he wants to attack the strategically placed defenders or find another way to the target.

    I also like the unpredictability of the battles. It makes the game more dynamic and full of surprises. You never know how many troops are needed for a particular task, and you have to manage this uncertainty well, just like in real life :)


    So, what do you guys think about the battle system in the original Sid Meier’s Civilization?
     
  2. Osvaldo Manso

    Osvaldo Manso Warlord

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    I totally agree with you, Pikachu. For me, the battle system is just like a soccer match. There is always a tiny possibility of victory even for the weakest team/unit.

    In real life the same thing happens. We all watch as well prepared armies (like the american or israeli) face very tough wars against poorer enemies. Just look at what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan or what happened in Vietnam or Somalia.

    In Sid Meier's Civilization, I usually don't spread my military units around the map. I prefer to pack them in cities where they can always defend one at a time. Normally, I build an efficient road network (and upgrade to railroad as soon as possible) so that my units can reach every part of my territory in just one or two turns. However, when I'm out in the enemies territory I always look for mountains or hills next to cities to place my troops.
     
  3. Grand Dad

    Grand Dad Chieftain

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    Ah yes the battle system was manageable...like what you two say. The strategy was in your control...and you updated your fighting units with the civilization advances you discovered and the amount you allocated for research!:)
     
  4. Grand Dad

    Grand Dad Chieftain

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    Another great thing about Civ. is that sometimes when starting a new game you get TWO Settlers :) and that makes the rest of the game so much easier!
    AND the end it earlier IF you're lucky you get at least FIVE other civilizations on the same continent and you get to finish them all so much earlier! That's how how I got to become the Conqueror of the World 6 or seven times in the early BCs :)
     
  5. ollj

    ollj Warlord

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    I only miss the zone controll, but culture nowadays takes care of that effect a lot better.
    Stack death and zero health seriously sucked even as simplification and even for their early time.
     
  6. Grand Dad

    Grand Dad Chieftain

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    I really don't quite understand what you mean by comparison? The game was and still is one of the greatest strategy games.:)
     
  7. covok48

    covok48 Emperor

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    Ah yes. the amazing combat system...

    I lost 22 chariots taking over a single-phalanx defended city on a grassland.

    Or the time I lost three defending (and barracks trained) Riflemen by an attacking militia.

    Or the single invincible knight that repelled 3- (barracks trained) knight attacks on grassland and proceeded to beat three musketeers (barrakcs trained behind city walls) and a settler to sack my city.

    I'm glad those days are over.
     
  8. Grand Dad

    Grand Dad Chieftain

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    Ah well things like that do occur...maybe it's a form of cheating but if you save game and your unit(s) fails, reboot and 99 percent chances are they'll win :).
     
  9. covok48

    covok48 Emperor

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    That is a good point. I could reboot, but I believe it's an unnecessary hassle dealing with a situation that shouldn't happen once, much like 2, 8, or 22 times.

    Either way, I did like stacks getting killed. With the way it's been with civ 3 & 4, superstacks with every type of unit rule the battlefield which make things like encircling uneeded and thus warfare boring.

    I also liked zone of control, well kinda...other sides would dump their settlers on my in-use and developed territory, plop a city down, and expect me not to wipe them off the face of the Earth, the nerve!
     
  10. Grand Dad

    Grand Dad Chieftain

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    If you do have diplomatic relations with the intruder you can protest and order them to withdraw. Chances are they will. If not warn them about war and then you can cancel the peace treaty and re-occupy your territory. A good way to do it, if you have developed 'Espoinage', is to buy it provided it has a population of at least two :lol:
     
  11. Pikachu

    Pikachu Emperor

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    Then I hope you reload every time you win against the odds too?

    Why do you want to eliminate the luck from the game anyway? If that’s what you want you should play chess instead :p

    Sure it could be nice that everything goes according to your plan sometimes, but that gets boring after a while. The unpredictability of the battles in civ1 makes the game more dynamic. Sometimes you have to reconsider your plan because your mighty army gets eliminated by an inferior enemy for example. I think deciding how to deal with such unexpected events makes the game more fun, and it certainly makes it more interesting to play the game over and over again :)

    You must have played too much civ2 ;)
     
  12. Dack

    Dack Terra Form Moderator

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    Without this, what could one do avoid all battles but those that calculate you the winner. I use this unpredictability to justify the loss of a bomber when you accidentally select it a second time during a move. In battle planes are loss to navigation errors all the time. The same goes for transports the bump against a shore with some unit on it puff it’s gone.


    This is certainly what allows for one to never get bored and make this a game that stands the test of time.
     

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  13. Osvaldo Manso

    Osvaldo Manso Warlord

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    I totally agree with dack and pikachu. If the stronger side would always win, the game will be less fun and not so close to real life as it is.

    I know that sometimes it is frustrating to see how a weaker unit or city can cause so much damage to our strategy. In those moments, all I do is breathe deep and... keep playing. I never cheat (i'm sorry but for me loading a previous saved game when battles don't come out as we expected is cheating).

    That's just the way things happen in real life. Victory not always goes to the better prepared. Luck and unpredictability exist and play an important role in our world.
     
  14. Grand Dad

    Grand Dad Chieftain

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    Well, well I did not discount luck, it's there in one of my earlier posts...luck does play a big role! :) And I did say that many a times your strategy doesn't work, that's the entire part of the fun of playing again and again! AND I haven't promoted the case for cheating!!! I DID try reloading my game once but didn't like it so gave up! So I hope my critics will understand why I mentioned it?
     
  15. Grand Dad

    Grand Dad Chieftain

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    Also you can't equate Civ. with chess...you don't and can't save any of your moves in real chess...though both depend on strategy! :).
     
  16. Sark6354201

    Sark6354201 Warlord

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    Civ 1's combat system would be fine if the number spread was better. A rifleman should not have less attack than a chariot (3 versus 4).

    If you doubled the defense of modern units, maybe thins would be more realistic. For instance, I once lost a city that had fortified riflemen to Chariots. Some things should NOT be possible.
     
  17. Jops

    Jops Chieftain

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    Oh, I disagree. Everything should be possible. I agree with the first post (couldn't have said it better myself) and have never understood why this genial gameplay was discontinued in the sequels. Maybe it's in order to accomodate all those idiots that can't imagine any background to the events themselves. For example, a battleship losing to a phalanx could be like the al-qaeda attack on USS Cole.

    I think the sequels are quite unstrategic because it's only who produce most flesh that wins, which is totally unrealistic.
     
  18. Sark6354201

    Sark6354201 Warlord

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    So Al Quaeda has the same weapons and technology as a Phalanx formation!?

    Please, tell me how it is even hypothetically possible that through shore bombardment a Battleship can be destroyed by a military formation that consists of men with spears.

    All those idiots who can't imagine the background? :lol:
    A regiment of Riflemen could easily defeat even the largest formation of Charioteers. Even without heavy weaponry like machine guns it would be an easy task. A charge of charioteers would be met with rifle shots far beyond the range when the charioteers could attack. This is not even taking into account the fact that in a game with the scope of Civ, a unit of Riflemen can be assumed to be in possession of heavier weaponry such as machine guns, which of course makes slaughtering the chariot charge even easier.

    Technology is a HUGE factor in military battles, and Civ does not take this into account well enough. For example, the trench warfare of World War I was a direct result of technology outpacing military tactics of the time. Charges of infantry were futile in the face of incessant artillery shelling and withering machine gun fire.

    I could go on and on about this, but I'm pretty sure you get my point:)

    p.s. The only combat system in Civ that 'got it right' so to speak is IMO Civ2, which did a nice job of taking into account the advantages modern military units have over their ancient brethren through hit points and firepower. When Civ3 came, it was back to "my tank lost to a spearman!"

    edit: typos
     
  19. Whelkman

    Whelkman Phantom Taxman

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    This may be the best explanation I've seen regarding Civilization's battle inequities. History readily demonstrates that technological superiority is devastating militarily. While victories of the underdogs exist in romanticized accounts, most achievements were decidedly minor and were gained due to errors or lack of focus by the dominant force. As Sark6354201 suggests, even medieval technology wouldn't stand a chance against modern weaponry, let alone military equipment and tactics from the dawn of civilization. The minor victories obtained by the technologically disadvantaged would amount to very little--certainly not the loss of an army. A civ news blurb along the lines of "Terrorists attack Rome! 1/5 Shields destroyed!" would be more appropriate.

    Without getting into Saturday Night Live-esque Mike Ditka comparisons, imagine a small squad of highly armed special forces against a lord's knights. Not only do the special forces possess guns but also battle knowledge far outside the grasp of long gone strategists. And, to be accurate, an army of "knights" would contain very few highly armed and highly trained horsemen partnered with a gaggle of untrained peasants battling with whatever sharp objects found about their huts. As the army falls several at a time by faraway shots from locations unseen, panic would quickly set in, leading to scattering, desertion, and even in-fighting. Given ample ammunition, the small team of special forces would make quick work of the medieval army. With that exercise completed, increase numbers so the the special forces becomes an army. There's no comparison.

    Gemfire is a relatively obscure medieval strategy game for the NES/Famicom, Super NES/Famicom, and Sega Genesis/Megadrive, and its battle system handled these considerations. Factoring into battle mechanics were troop size, command skill, and positioning. Command skill was a stat attributable to the lord battling, which basically was an attack multiplier. This way, a more skilled general could defeat a larger army with less forces, for Lee vs. Grant type scenarios. Positioning refers to battling from front, rear, or flank. Pertinent to this discussion, if a small force attacks a larger from the rear, it may inflict up to 1:1 attacker vs. kill ratio while the larger force can barely defend itself. This seems to recognize that, after a point, army returns diminish as only so many people can engage a small number of attackers; the rest are targets. However, the best the small force could do is stall the larger army with better tactics for a few turns. Like the movie 300, the underdog would eventually crumble under repeated pressure of the massive army.

    Though the preceding example focuses on troop numbers rather than technology, the effect is the same. For evidence of the superiority of even a small number of highly equipped soldiers vs. a large but disadvantaged opposition, refer to the Battle Of Mogadishu where at least 500 well-armed but largely untrained Somalians were downed at the expense of 18 American lives of a force of about 160. The Somalians even possessed modern weapons and home turf advantage. In the end, the Battle of Mogadishu serves as a realistic example of the absurdity of "spearman beats tank".
     
  20. Pikachu

    Pikachu Emperor

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    I think of it as the units evolve in time. There are huge differences between mediveal pikemen and ancient phalanxes, but in the game they are all represented by the same unit, so clearly the units does upgrade their weapons and tactics a little as time goes by. A phalanx in modern times doesn’t have to be a bunch of guys with bronze spears...

    But realism is not the most important aspect of civ anyway. The game should also be fun. Real wars are not fun, so obviously the wars in civ should not be too realistic.

    The relatively low strength difference between ancient and modern units has a function in balancing the game. Maybe the values could have been tweaked a little, but the modern units should not be too strong either. The game must not become too easy if you get the upper hand in the technology race, or hopelessly hard if you are falling behind. If you could bring down huge ancient civilizations with just a couple of armours, there would not be any challenge left in the game if you have the only modernized civ, and the rest of the game would be terribly boring. It would be no better if you start falling behind technologically. Then you would be screwed like in civ4 and the like. That is just frustrating and not fun at all. In civ1 it is possible to recover. Having the most advanced technology is a huge advantage, but it is still possible to catch up with a technologically superior foe. This means that even a civ with superior technology still has to focus on many pressing issues to avoid loosing the edge. This way the game is exciting even if your civ is far ahead or far behind the other civs.


    Ahh,
    I love civ1 :love:
     

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