[Mod Ideas] Various game balance changes


May 15, 2007
Colorado, U.S.
Last night, I made a post in the K-Mod thread describing some of the tweaks I had made to my copy of that mod. My intent was to offer suggestions, but it was wisely pointed out that that kind of conversation might be out of place in the main mod thread, and since a few people showed interest in it, I thought it would be worth continuing elsewhere.

To begin with, here's a copy of the changelog:

Spoiler :
Units and Promotions

•	Axemen bonus against melee units has reduced to 25% (was 50%), strength reduced to 4 (was 5), and have a 25% bonus against swordsmen. This brings their strength in line with other units of the era, and as an aside, makes the Sumerian Vulture able to defeat a regular Axeman due to the equalized melee bonus.
•	Praetorians have 7 strength instead of 8, but their cost has been reduced to 40 and they have a +10% city attack bonus (i.e, they are regular Swordsmen with +1 strength in all regards).
•	Spearmen require Bronze Working. Since Spearmen already need metal anyway, this change doesn't affect the player much, but it does delay the appearance of barbarian Spearmen and make the early game a little more manageable.
•	Scouts ignore terrain costs.
•	Explorers begin with March and Sentry instead of Woodsman and Guerilla. They also have the ability to attack enemy units (allowing them to capture guarded goody huts), though they can’t pillage. Hopefully they’re a little more useful now.
•	Ironclads have 3 moves instead of 2.
•	Musketmen start with 1 first strike, like archery units.
•	The Drill line of promtions has been expanded and revised:
◦	Drill I: +1 First Strike
◦	Drill II: +1 First Strike, -20% collateral damage
◦	Drill III: +2 First Strike chances, -20% collateral damage
◦	Drill IV: +1 First Strike, +1 First Strike chance -20% collateral damage, +10% against Mounted Units
◦	Drill V: +2 First Strikes, -30% collateral damage, requires Great General
◦	All promotions that list Combat as a prerequisite will now accept Drill as well.
•	Turning a Great General into a warlord grants 26 XP to units on the same tile (up from 20), which is enough to bring an unpromoted unit to level 6. This, along with the new Drill V promotion, makes it a little more feasible to create a warlord unit instead of a Great Military Instructor.

Buildings and Wonders

•	The Customs House increases the commerce of local water tiles by +1 (this increase stacks with the Feitoria unique building).
•	The Drydock increases the production of local water tiles by +1.
•	Nuclear Plants no longer cause meltdowns (their high cost and late position in the tech tree are plenty to balance them against the other power plants).
•	The Carthaginian Cothon has a cost of 80 (down from 100), just like regular Harbors.
•	The Byzantine Hippodrome allows 2 artist specialists, just like regular theaters.
•	The Roman Forum increases great person rate by 50% (up from 25%).
•	Monuments no longer go obsolete with Astronomy. The Ethiopian Stele’s culture bonus has been reduced to +15% (was +25%).

Terrain, Resources, and Improvements

•	Lumbermills are available with Machinery instead of Replaceable Parts. Replaceable Parts increases production by +1, but railroads no longer affect lumbermills.
•	Aluminum and oil can now appear on grassland, forest, and jungle tiles.
•	Coal, copper, and iron can now appeat on forest and jungle tiles.
•	Horses no longer appear in tundra.
•	Rice gives +2 food with a farm, up from +1. This gives it a value equal to that of wheat and corn.
•	Oil increases production/commerce by 3/3 when improved, up from 2/1.
•	Uranium increases production/commerce by 2/3 when improved, up from 0/3.
•	Sugar provides +2 commerce when improved; all other Plantation resources provide +1 commerce when improved.
•	Deer increases production by 1 when improved.
•	Crab and clam receive +1 commerce when improved. 


•	Divine Right now grants a free Great Prophet to the first civ to discover it.

A few of these ideas are ones I've been kicking around for a while now, but most of them were mined from forum posts over the years, along with mods like PieceOfMind's Probably Improved Gameplay, Antilogic's Minimal Mod, Ghengis Kai's Giant Earth Map, and of course, K-Mod itself. I've always enjoyed projects like that, so I guess you could say this is my attempt at one of my own. Feel free to criticize or make suggestions.


Jul 11, 2008
I don't see why axemen need the nerf, but remained open to the idea.
For me, balancing Civ would be a massive project that could take years and hundreds of changes, literally. So I have no idea what the end result would be. I only know where to start. There are major, major glaring balance problems with this game. Some are with base units. For example, elephants just completely dominate their era and I don't see why they should. I think they need a major nerf.Another thing that makes the game boring is that siege units are so powerful. If I have 15 cannons and 50 muskets, I will beat an army that has 50 rifles but only 5 cannons. Or my 20 pikes will defeat your 30 macemen as long as I also have 15-20 catapults. Siege beats all. It's so boring. Without making huge changes to the game we could at least make the game much more interesting by leaving the concepts of siege and collateral damage in the game, but just nerfing them. I think bombardment is fine the way it is, but collateral damage needs to be MUCH weaker than it currently is.
However, the easiest examples of balance problems is with the UU's and UB's. What about the skirmisher vs the bowman? The skirmisher is basically ALWAYS better than a bowman, there is virtually no situation where one would want a bowman instead, thus there is imbalance. I have a feeling Firaxis mainly chose the abilities of these things based on flavour without really caring about gameplay and balance. It's cool that berserkers start with amphibious, but at that point in the game cities easily have 50-150% defence and galleys and berserkers have no way of bombarding the city prior to an assault, therefore the berserker is incredibly limited in what it can do. It's abilities are cool in theory, but underwhelming in practice. If I were on the Firaxis team I would have thought ahead of this problem, instead of being a lazy designer. Obviously berserkers can't do anything against a city with 150% defence. So if you want the Vikings to go around taking coastal cities, you could make the Viking UB give land units amphibious and then the Viking UU could be a galley or trireme that can bombard down city defences. The UB could obsolete by the gunpowder age to make sure it's not too powerful, if you want. There you go! Just an example to keep the flavour of Vikings and making it useful in practice as well, and that's just 1 civ, there are so many other examples. The Russian cossack is worthless, cavalry units are not countered by other cavalry and therefore the bonus goes to waste, just as the panzer bonus does.
Another aspect I would want to see represented is that later units/buildings should be more powerful to balance the fact that they come later. The Mayan ballcourt is based on the colisseum and gives +2 happy, while the Indian building also gives +2 happy and replaces jails. That's just wrong. The Mayans have a clearly, flat out, better UB than the Indians. The ballcourt is always better than the mausoleum. The mausoleum should be buffed, perhaps to +3, to make up for the fact that it comes later.
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