[Vanilla] My opinion about Districts

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Makenshi, Oct 21, 2021.

  1. Makenshi

    Makenshi Ahoy, ye salty dogs!

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    0) DISCLAIMER

    I only have vanilla Civ 6 so far; got it free on Epic Store and now I wait for a kick ass promotion so I can get a pack with everything for a nice price (my country is knees-deep in economic turmoil and won't get better any time soon, so I can't spend much in anything). Many times have I installed, tried it, gave it up, uninstalled in frustration and rushed back to Civ 5.

    Then, after playing that jewel almost non stop since 2013 (08 years in a row, no game ever held me that long), at last I stopped playing Civ 5. It's been almost a year now. An suddenly I decided to try Civ 6 again, this time to end at least one game no matter what. So, as you see, I am kind of late to the party, but after finally having played a few games of Civ 6 to the end, and havong developed a taste for it, here it goes: my opinion about districts.


    1) CAMPUS DISTRICT AND THEATER SQUARE

    While their names sound good, the districts themselves make no sense to me.

    In real life, I don't know any place/city (at least not here in Brazil) where libraries, universities and research labs are concentrated in a given region. I know it is common for libraries and labs to exist inside universities, but these are for the graduates and staff.

    Libraries for the general public (which would represent the ancient ones) are always in the city centers. In the same manner, private research labs are almost always in tall buildings (belonging to pharmaceutical companies, for example)... which are in the city centers, too.

    The same pattern - if I can call it that - applies to (amphi)theaters, museums, CINEMAS (where are they in Civ games?) and broadcast centers/radio stations. They are scattered all over the city. Most universities also contain some sort of amphitheater and museum, to make this in-game representation seem even more distorted.

    And that's not even going into the fact that it is absurd for a city to not have a single building for culture and/or science if it doesn't have an entire district dedicated to these aspects. There is no city here in Brazil (that I know about) in which there ain't at least one small public school and a gathering square for the people to do something that reflects the local culture (which would be equivalent to the very greek amphitheater). Only the smallest, poorest towns, lack literaly ANY education whatsoever. I suppose not even that happens in the USA, in the EU and in Japan, to cite a few richer places.

    All that said, I also feel, from a gameplay perspective, that city centers should have more options besides walls, a monument, a granary and maybe a water mill (not all cities are next to a river). Scientific and cultural buildings would be perfectly adequate options.


    2) COMMERCIAL HUB AND HOLY SITE

    Unlike the Campus and the Square, I can see some sense in the idea about this district, since there are many cities here in Brazil (and all over the worlds, I assume) in which many commercial activities are concentrated in specific places.

    In most cases, it is a single street, like "the avenue where most car shops are placed" or "the four streets where the electronics shops are all near each other". Actual markets, banks and stock exchanges are not really grouped, unless we are talking about places like Wall Street in New York... but I get the point, it is a representation of commercial activity itself, where money flows.

    From a gameplay perspective, I also like this district, but that's probably because the adjacencies for it (+2 from river, +2 from Harbor) are so good. Overall, it gets a pass with me, despite not having any kind of regional effect.

    About the Holy Site... I think religion got significantly weaker in comparison to Civ 5, to the point I don't really care about it. And that's from someone who always race for a religion in Civ 5 (gotta love tithe + pagodas, if nothing else). Considering people coming from Civ 4 always accused Civ 5's religion is weak and whatnot, one can imagine how calamitous it is to commit 1 district slot in every city (assuming you really want/need the faith specific religious building you choose).

    I know the district itself is probably representing Vatican, Mecca and/or some other religious centers (just like the CH probbly represents Wall Street, as I mentioned)... but in reality 99% of the cities in the world don't have religious buildings concentrated. I can guarantee you'll see churches and other temples scattered everywhere in brazillian cities.

    That said, I don't bother with the fact that there is a Holy Site district. Maybe it should get a regional loyalty effect upon cities following the religion, for those who play with the expansions (I assume it was introduced with Rise and Fall). That surely would make sense and increase the value of having a religion and placing more Holy Sites.

    PS: Just to be fair, I liked the Lavra when I played as Russia, because it gives a head start towards Great Writers, Artists and Musicians. Excelent for cultural victory. Also, since Russia has a tundra bias, the religion I crafted was a bit useful to get extra food.


    3) INDUSTRIAL ZONE, HARBOR AND ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT

    I mentioned the lack of regional effect in the CH above, because that is exactly what I love about the IZ and the ED. In fact, I think the adjacency bonuses it gets, and the +2 from Workshops, all of them should ALSO be regional. That's exactly how industrial zones work in real life: most factories and whatnot are concentrated outside city centers and provide jobs (production) not only for the city in which they are based, but for smaller cities in the region as well.

    While most entertainment options in a given city are NOT concentrated in specific streets/districts like the comercial and industrial enterprises are, the fact that Entertaiment Districts have regional effects give it a huge gameplay pass, in my opinion. And that comes from someone who had a hard time to understand how this works, because I was so used to the happiness system of Civ 5. I suffered a lot with lack of amenities in my first games... let it rest, I should open a whole topic to rant about luxuries in this game.

    Now, finally, let me opinate about Harbors: I love them, but they absolutely should have +2 adjacency from Industrial Zones, AND VICE VERSA, because in cities that have both, they're usually close and interact very well (which in game would be represented by the significant increase in productivity and money flow).
    In fact, everytime a Harbor is built with no adjacent city center and/or sea resource, I kitten dies somewhere and that is so, so SAD!


    4) FINAL THOUGHTS (So far...)

    a) As I said, I only have vanilla so far; for this reason, I can't coment on newer districts I only heard about, like Government Plaza, except to say that, in principle, the idea of this district is very good: Brasilia-DF, with its "Square of the Three Powers", and Salvador-BA, with its "Centro Administrativo da Bahia", are solid examples, here in Brazil, of cities that have this district. Here, both of them concentrate the heads of the Executive, Legislative, Judiciary, plus the Previdência (Social Security) and Ministério Público (Attorney's Office), among other government related institutions.

    b) Industrial Zones should definitely get adjacency bonuses from Lumber Mills and that is a no-brainer, imo. Sure, mods can solve this and maybe there is one already... but this is the kinda stuff that should have been in the game itself from day one.

    In fact, thinking about it, maybe the IZ should also get adjancency bonuses from plantations... I 've read that Rise of Fall brought a Corporations option (or was it an isolated feature?), that let's you turn luxiries into "industries".
    If the plantations are not perfect to give adjacency bonuses to IZ, I guess these "industries" surely would be.

    c) I've read about a governor that creates "fisheries" in the expansion... are they an improvement? If so, these surely give adjacency bonuses to Harbors, right? If not, they definitely should!


    To all those who take the time to read, and maybe interact with this topic, I leave my thanks!
     
  2. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    nope.
    Many districts work, sure a campus does not but I guess it is a consistency thing. I like the idea, spreading out the city, other things I do not like but the unrealistic side is not one of them.
     
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  3. clapyourhands

    clapyourhands Prince

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    Agree that some districts make more sense than others, but entertainment complex always made sense to me. From my perspective most cities I've been to do concentrate their main attractions into one street or walkable area, or at the very least have a district famous for activities and nightlife. Usually a section of downtown. Also, it might help from a realism perspective to think of districts as areas known for/having a high concentration of the activity, rather than the only one. IE: the campus is the main university + library of the city, not the only ones.
     
  4. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    I think you can apply the Commercial Hub is like Wall Street logic to other districts as well.

    Pretend the Theater Square is like the Theater District in New York, where Broadway street runs through which also has museums.

    The campus is easier to comprehend just like you said in which libraries and research labs can be found on university campus grounds.
     
  5. Zaarin

    Zaarin Diplomatic Attaché to Londo Mollari

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    Ancient libraries were definitely not for the general public. They were for the elite, usually just the priests and scribes (often the same people) and other educated people if non-priestly educated people existed in the society. By the Classical era, you do have some public libraries--but they're still basically for the elite since literacy was not widespread.

    The district game doesn't make sense realistically. It's a dangerous world and anything that could be built behind city walls usually was, and even small towns usually had fortifications of some kind, if only a palisade. However, as a game mechanic, I really enjoy the district game.
     
  6. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I’ve written about districts, and how they imo. can be improved, other places as well, but some brief thoughts about your good post:
    • I agree some districts are not 100 % realistic, but as a game abstraction, they are fine. However, I wouldn’t mind city centre (and possibly other urban districts if they are added in future) to have some sort of “wildcard” building slot, maybe only from second half of the game, which would allow you to build a level 1 building from a district not otherwise present - for instance to represent the rise of public schools or shrines that you mention.
    • I agree strongly that more districts need area effects - particularly those linked to special yields (campus, theatre, commercial, holy). We also need more alternative buildings in more districts.
    • Harbors … sigh … where do I even begin. I hate the design of this district. I would prefer instead more districts to have water equivalents, similar to how the entertainment district has the water park. Commercial Hub should have a water equivalent (call it Harbor, Port or something else), and that should be separated from the Encampment water equivalent, which would be the Naval Base. The “port” should focus on gold and food yield, and tourism late game, whereas the Naval Base focus on production and military. There are mods pointing in this direction, although none do this fully.
    • Corporations and Industries … yeah, another halfhearted NFP game mode. But there are mods that improve on it that are starting to appear. But in game version has no synergy between “Industries” and “Industrial Zones” (for real).
     
  7. Oberinspektor Derrick

    Oberinspektor Derrick Warlord

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    Interesting topic.
    I agree that districts are unrealistic, but for a different reason:

    Cities (in real life) usually don't suddenly expand with new districts far away from the city centre, and instead have tended to grow their city limits organically by taking the closest plot of available adjacent land.
    This frustrates me especially early on with districts placed up to 3 tiles away, because there is no way a city founded in 2000 BC would place a "campus" that far away from the city centre up in the mountains where nothing grows.
    There just wouldnt be the infrastructure to support that level of decentralized city power, as a campus placed 3 tiles away would essentially be a different city alltogether considering the distance, and lack of communication and infrastructure.

    I like districts in general, but I would like to cee cities grow more organically the next time, ideally by being restricted to the adjacent tiles around a city (thereby making the city "bigger"). With some exceptions of course, like dams and industrial/modern Era tech allowing to place districts further out.
    I would also like to see the possibility of running a project to relocate districts, as the modern day city planners should not have to conform to the city layout that the local rulers in 2000 BC laid down.
     
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  8. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    Yeah, that's where I always go back and forth whether the commerce hub is more like "Wall Street" (ie. a part of the city) vs it representing like some part of Connecticut where banks/insurance companies set up their HQs. Or like whether the Harbor in the city represents the port itself, or it represents like the port down away from it.

    And basically, yeah, it doesn't make sense that districts only house those buildings, or that you can shove a campus entirely surrounded by mountains and have it still produce for you.

    But it was a neat board-gamey idea, and it does lead to some planning and optimizing. I think for realism, it would make more sense if basically all the T1 buildings were simply city-centre buildings, and districts came slightly later. That way, every city would still have a library, market, etc... but essentially when you want to construct a university, you need to build the university campus first. If you also shifted more or all of those buildings to have regional effects, then essentially every district would be regional, and then it breaks reality a little less if you happen to place them away from your city centre. It would also add a little extra strategy - if I know this is my main campus for my core of cities, I want it to cover them. But perhaps the best spot to cover the cities isn't in the best location, so you would need to balance that.

    That would also shift more district construction to medieval or later, where you can understand the sprawl a little more. It makes zero sense in 2000BC to build the main campus for a city hundreds of miles away from the city centre.
     
  9. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Just think of districts as towns in cIV. Well not game mechanics wise as they are different but consider the city as more like a province or state of your empire and the districts are towns/smaller cities in it. They contribute more diverse things than towns in cIV but they are kind of doing a similar thing.

    There are plenty of university towns in real life where the whole community revolves around the university. There are industrial towns, artist colonies, harbours/ports that were away from the main city, etc. (Like Ostia for Rome)

    Anyway, that's how I look at districts from a role playing point of view.
     
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  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Ok something that strikes me more now I think of it thanks to @Thormodr clarifying my thought.
    I have 2 of my 3 children going to universities, 1 Southampton and 1 Oxford.
    Having visited both many times… they are a campus, that is exactly what they are. The seat of learning in each of these cities is in one place, a shared library and a Uni or even a group of uni’s gathered together so that everything is close. This makes perfect sense.

    The trouble with how we view this game is we walk from the ancient age forward and think of it logically building statically from there… but that did not happen. Entire structures are nocked down and rebuilt in cities over time and all a campus is in civ is a simplification of this process up until the current day when everything is in one place.
    So I actually celebrate what they have done, I in fact think campus works now.

    as for remote districts, was the Oracle in the middle of town? The trading hub or IZ will move over time and consolidate where it is more suited. I think adjacency needs work or is just accepted as a mechanic, +5 for being surrounded by mountains is just insane IRL. If people want to place a campus 3 tiles away from the city it is a town and you have to pay additional gold to get that tile, it is neither realistic nor unrealistic, it is a game simplification that works for a city evolving over time.
     
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  11. Leucarum

    Leucarum Emperor

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    Wben thinking about districts and what they represent In principle I like Humankind's model of urban sprawl requiring districts to be placed adjacent to another. In practice though the district placement isn't as much of a puzzle as it could be in that game though, and it kind of works in that game because cities are much larger than in Civ.

    As a thought experiment you could do something like, get rid of settlers but have a system where your districts are something like a 'science town' - which can eventually grow into a new city with a few bonuses towards science generation. But I don't think that would feel like civ any more...
     
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  12. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I see this argument brought forward a lot when the talk comes to the incoherent city sprawl of civ6 - which is something I'm also a strong opponent of - and while I acknowledge that there are real-life examples that merits this idea, I see zero evidence from how things are presented in game, nor from how the developers talk about it, to back up the idea that this was how it was actually intended. I think the word "district" speaks volumes in itself: This is not intended to be seen as a separate town, this is intended to be seen as a part of the entire city.

    If they had give us the code to allow it, I would force all special districts to be linked to either city center or to another district to prevent these weird examples listed above. I would also increase minimum city distance from 4 to 5 hexes to give a better separation of cities (and yes, that also requires somewhat larger maps, but that can be fixed by increasing map size and removing one or two civs).

    I think the idea of having districts appear a bit later in game and have basic buildings appear in city center is really interesting - I could definitely see some good things coming from that approach, compared to Civ6. This would also work well in the context of the urban/rural city separation that City Lights mod plays with: Basically special districts would be something you'd only build in your urban cities, whereas rural towns would have a completely different development path.

    A final thought, one thing I'd like to see put up for consideration in future civ is exactly how resources interact with city placement. I hate how in Civ6, if a luxury or strategic resource appears in a certain spot, it can completely screw up your city development. This is neither particularly good for game, nor can I see it as particularly realistic - I'm aware that certain resource deposits (ores and minerals) obviously are locked in place. On the other hand, many bonus resources like crops and animals should to some extent be movable - like if there is a region with, say, horses or sheep, we should have some liberty as to where exactly we want to place the pasture to domesticate these animals.
     
  13. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    I do understand this. However I would rather it be the choice between two buildings late game (cargo port and naval base) to further specialize your harbor instead of making an entirely new district.
     
  14. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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