Merging Camps, City States, and Civs

aieeegrunt

Emperor
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Jan 8, 2021
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I think there could be something to the idea of merging the concepts of Barbarians, City States and Civs


Everyone starts out as a Barb Camp. This first part of the game you only really accumulate food, that can be spent on units, or accumulated to increase your population. You have no control over what tiles are worked, because you don’t have any sort of state mechanics yet. What Ev Ah, I Do What Ah Waant. The units you can build is based on the most advanced units you have fought.


Military units can be used to fight your neighbours and raid their camps for their food. If you have more decadent/civilized neighbours you can plunder their tiles for food. Razing a city gives you a huge influx of food. Or you can raid it, decreasing it’s pop each time, and get a smaller but more sustainable harvest.


When your pop reaches a critical threshold you “graduate” and become a city state; basically the same as unlocking Chiefdom in Civ6. Now you can control what tiles are worked, pick some policy cards, have a normal production que, accumulate science/culture/hammers etc. The “flavor” of city state depends on what yields are in your worked tiles. If gold is highest you become Commercial, beakers is Scientific etc. This flavor gives you a minor bonus going forward, so your civ at least partially reflect where they came from


When you hit another threshold, perhaps a civic like Early Empire, you “graduate” to a civilization and can send out settlers.


The map at start is semi full of barb camps; the conveniently “empty” maps of Civ have bothered me on several levels. Some of them stay barbs, some “graduate” to city states, some go further and become full civs.


One possibility I see, similar to the old “One City Challenge” in previous titles is the “Ghengis Khan Challenge” where you deliberatly stay a barbarian by spending all your food on units and, well, Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn.
 

Zaarin

Diplomatic Attaché to Londo Mollari
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I have mixed feelings. In principle I like your idea (with the adjustment of merging Barbarians and City-states into Minor Civilizations), but I also feel like a game where I have to fight for every inch of expansion is a game where I'm going to play a permanent one-city challenge...which I would not find fun.
 
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I think there could be something to the idea of merging the concepts of Barbarians, City States and Civs


Everyone starts out as a Barb Camp. This first part of the game you only really accumulate food, that can be spent on units, or accumulated to increase your population. You have no control over what tiles are worked, because you don’t have any sort of state mechanics yet. What Ev Ah, I Do What Ah Waant. The units you can build is based on the most advanced units you have fought.


Military units can be used to fight your neighbours and raid their camps for their food. If you have more decadent/civilized neighbours you can plunder their tiles for food. Razing a city gives you a huge influx of food. Or you can raid it, decreasing it’s pop each time, and get a smaller but more sustainable harvest.


When your pop reaches a critical threshold you “graduate” and become a city state; basically the same as unlocking Chiefdom in Civ6. Now you can control what tiles are worked, pick some policy cards, have a normal production que, accumulate science/culture/hammers etc. The “flavor” of city state depends on what yields are in your worked tiles. If gold is highest you become Commercial, beakers is Scientific etc. This flavor gives you a minor bonus going forward, so your civ at least partially reflect where they came from


When you hit another threshold, perhaps a civic like Early Empire, you “graduate” to a civilization and can send out settlers.


The map at start is semi full of barb camps; the conveniently “empty” maps of Civ have bothered me on several levels. Some of them stay barbs, some “graduate” to city states, some go further and become full civs.


One possibility I see, similar to the old “One City Challenge” in previous titles is the “Ghengis Khan Challenge” where you deliberatly stay a barbarian by spending all your food on units and, well, Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn.

We definitely need a change from the rigid Barb - City State - Civ trilogy and the Barbarian Clans is only a small step. This is a start in the right direction, but there are several things that I think eed discussion.

First, starting with essentially no possibility of city building right away implies an earlier start to the game, since permanent 'semi-urban' concentrations date back to 6000 BCE in a very few parts of the world. Pick a date: 6000 - 8000, 10,000, 15000 BCE - Humankind's 'Neolithic Start' ostensibly starts at 15,000 BE, and I've argued for a Neolithic Start at the actual start of the Neolithic, about 10,000 BCE, which also has the advantage that it is also the earliest start of any kind of conversion from hunter-gathering to primitive agriculture and animal domestication.
But at any of the earlier dates, nobody would start as a permanent camp of any kind, they'd start as a wandering 'tribe/clan'. IF they found a really good food source, they could settle down into a camp or Settlement - think marshy river delta full of fish and waterfowl, or a broad river bottom full of grazing animals and wild gatherable plants like wild rice and berries.

The transition from wandering tribe to settled city is not just one of More Food = Urbanization. Just as important was an intellectual 'jump' from Family Elders in charge to taking orders from someone not related to you - Heirarchial Order. Without that, any urban concentration is just a collection of separate clans/families, and will disintegrate as soon as anything goes wrong - a host of early cities were simply abandoned when drought, flood, raiders, or any other setback hit them, because there was no social/civic structure to keep them together.

The next Mental Jump occurs after a single city tries to conquer other cities, and this was at least as much of a change: once loyalty was transferred from the Patriarch of the family (or Matriarch, but apparently much less often) to the Head of the City (High Priest, Chief, King, Grand Nagus, etc) it took another jup to the idea of including Other People from another city in your Group: the Greek polis of the Classical period, which allowed virtually no outsiders into the running of each individual city, seems to have been typical of almost all earlier cities - they might share genetics, language, and lifestyle technologies with neighboring cities, but that did NOT make them 'brothers and sisters' in any sense. Early Empire or any kind of Multi-City Empire is a major Civic/Social Policy change.

So, to modify your concept a little:

Start in the pre-city period: 8,000 - 12,000 BCE

Everybody starts as a 'roving clan' of hunter-gatherers. Given that now the game starts with Settlers from Civs and City States and both Barbarian Camps and Tribal Huts, I suggest that by submerging all of them into the new system on a Large map there might be up to 40 - 50 such clans wandering the map at the start.

Settling down requires good Food sources, but simply starting a Settlement (camp, 'tribal village', etc) doesn't require any change in Social/Civic alignment. Find a good spot on the map with Food Sources, and choose to settle. That Settlement will not grow without the Social Change to Heirarchy. Instead, it will simply spawn a new roving group when it would normally 'grow' more population, and off they go. There is some evidence that early cities frequently grew up around Religious sites, 'Holy Places' of some kind, but that does not mean organized religion in any later historical sense, it's just that being a religious leader seems to have given some legitimacy to leadership in the civic/urban sense as well.

By whatever mechanic we choose, Settlements can grow into cities. All of them will be City States until they get to Early Empire or its equivalent, but before then they can try to 'conquer' a neighboring city or group, but the conquest takes the form of raze their city or settlement and resettle their people as slaves in your city: you get population, but no new city site until Early Empire.

Somewhere in there you should/can choose a Civ to play. I suggest that roaming hunter-gatherers are All Equal in that you do not choose in 12,000 BCE to be Germans, Chinese, or Egyptians. Even for the earliest Civs like Sumer or Egypt that's far too early, and for some of the most popular Civs like Greece, Rome, or France any such decision is really thousands of years past the start of the game (it is also a thousand years or more past the 4000 BCE traditional start of Civ, and it's about time we acknowledged that the game has been lumbered with a Fantasy Start ever since Civ I)

So, probably either when you first become a City State or when you first stop roaming and start a Settlement, you choose a Civ. I suggest that the Unique attributes of that Civ should not be completely set: better would be a number of 'Specific Uniques' that define, say, Greece, Mali,Burgundy or Great Zimbabwe, plus a set of 'Uniques' that you can choose from based on the terrain/climate/surroundings of your first City/Settlement. It makes absolutely no sense (and never has) to be stuck playing a naval-Unique England when your clan wandered out of a howling arctic tundra into a massive forest without a Coast in sight anywhere. Each Civ should have some choices connected to it from the Start.
 
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