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[NFP] My review of the new Secret Societies game mode.

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by AvianBritish, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. AvianBritish

    AvianBritish King

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    TLDR: I hate the new secret socities game mode as there is only one worth taking. It's a real waste of something that could of been good.

    I haven't seen anyone else's comments on these Secret Socities; I kept a clear mind up to the release of the DLC and these all thoughts and opinions are based on my own experiances only, and not anyone elses. I've already played 3 multiplayer games and 3 singleplayer games all on Epic speed, Huge maps as both Teddies, new Catherine and Ethiopia.

    The Alchemists give you access to Ley Lines, which you only seem to get 1 next to everyone's capital and then a random cluster of 7. But would you risk going down the Alchemists path if you knew you were only ever going to get 1, maybe 2 ley lines in your whole empire? (To get the second you have to be lucky to be near an unocupied one or take someone's capital giving you -5 Diplomatic favour and grevances.) Or you can save scum to see if you magically have a cluster like this near you. With only the University replacement actually giving you any empire-wide benefit to you, this Alchemists are pointless to me.

    The Vampires as you only get 1-4 vampire units and 2-4 castle buildings. Sure they seem pretty cool but the vampires are more irritating to baby-sit then recon-units getting them to the level-3 ambush promotion. And sure the Vampire Castles can give you some really nice yeilds, but that's the only real benefit to playing Vampires for me, the castle...

    The Owls of Minerva never seem to spawn for me, but in the few games they do, they give you 2 nice card slots, some envoys, a couple more trade routes and some defensive bonuses to spies which I think are quite nice and tame but balanced! Not too bad; The final pormotion is pointless as my games are always over before the atomic era (I only persue science or culture victories) so I never get any use out of it; but it's a nice sum of yeild but not too outragious...

    The Voidsingers however... This is the only socity worth taking; you get +4 faith in every city which at the begining of the game is king. You can buy settlers, builders and traders so quickly; and settling those new cities with your faith allows you to build more obelisks for even more faith, to buy even more settlers to build more oblelisks to buy even more settlers and... well you get the idea. Combine that with priotising holy sites and a decent faith-based pantheon and you have so much faith rolling in. Just keep doing that for 2 eras and in the Medieval era you then also can convert all of that faith into science, culture and gold to go ontop of your existing commerical hubs, harbours, theater squares and campuses giving you so many yeilds there is no reason to continue the game. It's just a big snowball and no one can catch up to you with any other society. And then 2 eras later you can then get free relics for even more faith, and can flip cities for an added bonus, and then 2 eras later (if, again, you ever make it to the Atomic era) you can generate even more faith and therefore every other yield... Has no one else seen how broken this is? It's an instant win... All you need to do is get 1 tribal village and 1 golden age and you've won the game.

    I won't ever be playing with Secret Societies on again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  2. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    I haven't played with all of them, but my thoughts on what I've seen to date:
    Ley Lines are weak, for sure. I guess I was lucky to have 3 near me, but I'm a couple eras in and it still takes a while to get districts near them. And all that for a +1? It's just, not much bonus early when you need it most. Yeah, once you get the last unlock I'm sure they're going to be killing it, but it just feels underwhelming for an early bonus. Maybe if they spawned as like a +2 of everything tile (ie. 2 food, 2 production, 2 science, 2 culture, 2 faith) they could be a really big tile. Or perhaps if they also provided like a Nazca-like bonus so that if you didn't want districts near them, you could get some bigger tile yields. And then the T2 upgrade is the Alchemical society which is nice, but it's only going to really be a little production, a little gold, and a few great people points. Honestly I think it would have been more fun if you, say, gave it a bonus similar to Ethiopia's resource bonus - make it potentially give a lot of gold if you have a lot of resources nearby your cities, and then maybe that society bonus would alter your style.

    Vampires look neat, and I haven't played with them. I was tempted in my current game to use them mostly for the castles to effectively double a bunch of tile yields, and I could see in the right situation vampires turning in an early menace if you can find a way to farm bonuses from them.

    Owls of Minerva is tempting with the early econ slot. If policy cards matter to you, that can be a pretty big bonus in itself. The gilded vault sounds pretty tempting too, and I think if you were in an area where you have some nice river delta spots, you could really make use of a Reyna+CH+Harbor triangle, giving you some serious culture plus extra trade routes too. You could also make some use of them if you can get your spy game going - an extra wildcard slot and some spies is a nice bonus to kick in later.

    But yeah, from what i've seen, the voidsingers do feel like the top option. A cheap faith boost in every city early, and then if you have a strong enough faith economy being able to just get science, culture, and gold for free, and then turning that into a free source of relics later? Yeah, that's super powerful. Only flaw is I've played a few big faith games recently, so having voidsingers around is just like "yet another faith game" so I kind of want something else for a change.
     
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  3. AvianBritish

    AvianBritish King

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    I've completed 1 game with the Alchemists, but did a couple more tester games to get a better idea of the distribution of ley lines, and in the three 3 games I played on Huge continents maps (although the 2 tester games I only explored 1 of the 'landmasses') there was always only 1 Ley Line per capital, a 2-3 more on each landmass unowned, and in one of the tester games there is a huge cluster of 7 (8 if you are including the 1 but the capital near by):
    Spoiler 8 Ley Lines :
    20200726223254_1.jpg

    Now I'm not normally 1 for save scumming; but as the Alchemists you have to do that; so see if it's actually worth while you taking that society or not; because if I were in the Zulu's location; sure! I would take them in a heart beat with all of those 2 adjacency tiles and a couple of 3s! But it's on the otherside of the map and you would have to fight your way over ther ethrough 3 civilizations (because of the formations of the mountains) meaning you would of conqured half of the continent before you even get to the ley lines meaning you probably would already have won the game with all those cities and land.

    I think if the ley lines were more consistant, and the voidsingers have a nerf to both the ammount of faith they get from their Obolisk and drop the 20% yields from faith down to say 10%, then I think the socities will be playable.
    But at any cost; these are just more ways to snowball which is the only problem with Civ6. It's just more things for more bonuses, rather then alternative stratagies or alternative modes of play and it's hurting the game for me; I hope to see more game modes like Apocolypse Mode or systems like Loyalty, Ages and World Congress that added more depth and varity to the game rather then just more bonuses upon bonuses and bonuses.
     
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  4. Inhalaattori

    Inhalaattori Emperor

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    Sanguine Pact is very weak until medieval era, but after that you will be doing great. 2 Vampire castles make your capital a total powerhouse. Pingala should definitely be on your capital if you are playing with them.

    Hermetic Order is very weak until industrial era. IF you get a lot of great people and IF you have good amount of lea lines in your empire you will get crazy yields beginning from industrial era. But its too late. In my game it seemed that Ley Lines are mostly found in desert, tundra and snow.

    Owls of Minerva is the only one I havent played with, but on paper they seem very strong. They seem to be decent option for all civs and for all situations. You cant really go wrong with them.
     
  5. Melliores

    Melliores Warlord

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    Well, I find the Secret Societies to all be very useful and encouraging you to try a different playstyle. As you pointed out, you prefer cultural and science victory and arguably the Voidsingers are tailored to your preferrences.

    - I played Pericles with the Owls of Minevra. The extra Policy slots are really nice for any type of victory but what helps you really is the fact that you get an extra envoy for each trade route sent to a certain City state. Coupled with the extra trade routes this can give you a whole lot of envoys which will allow you to dominate the Diplomatic victory.

    The extra money helps you with buying Great works and Relics from other players (for a culture victory). The Spy abilities help you to stop any Spaceports, help out with conquering and Loyalty penalties and with stealing Great works.

    All in all it is a pretty great choice for a Diplomatic victory based on City states, with very strong culture game (to help you get all those new policy cards). They can easily transition to culture victory depending on the civlization you are playing.

    - I have played against the Sanguine pact and the vampires are for all intents and purposes immortal. What makes them a scary unit is that they get a permanent bonus when a unit (any unit) dies in their vicinity. When you drop them to 1 HP they just get teleported to the Capital and on the next turn they come back at you, possibly getting a new bonus from any of the units that will die that turn. Even at 1 HP they still can do a lot of damage.

    I had 4 Corps of Nihangs at 87 Combat Strength fighting against two Vampires, at 92 and 95 Combat Strength with additional units on the side. Even though I neutralised both vampires and destroyed some of their support units, I lost two Nihang Corps and the vampires came back two turns later as I was close to their capital, They are really powerful on the defensive and can get out of hands on the offensive. Perfect for Domination victory.

    The AI is aware they are immortal and is not shy at throwing them in your direction to wear you down. They also pair them with Great Generals which makes them even scarier.

    - I have yet to play with the Hermetic Order but they seem to be adapted for Science victory. Your key tools are the Alchemical Society which gives 3 different types of Great Person points as well as the Occult Reseach project if you get that far. The Ley lines are just a side bonus that is map dependent.

    - The Voidsingers are great for a culture victory and help you with a religious one. Nothing else needs to be added here.


    It really depends on your playstyle. I would say you need to play against the different societies more to see how the AI handles them. The Inca vampires I encountered were really something refreshing and made me change my approach to that war.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  6. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    My game the Ley Lines seemed fairly decently distributed. Ended up 3 of them within 4-5 tiles of my cap, another 2 of them somewhat nearby near a CS. Kupe had big cluster near him, but I didn't find they were too terribly distributed. But yeah, without being ready to save scum if you don't have any nearby is kind of a pain. I'd almost rather have them be a system where they don't exist, but when you place a district, there's like a 20% chance of "discovering" (ie. placing) a line next to it.
     
  7. AvianBritish

    AvianBritish King

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    I'm a Economic, Diplomatic, Appeal-based Tourism 'city builder' normally. Lots of trade routes and a teasury with a four-digit gold per turn, all the diplomatic favour and all of the sea-side resorts, national parks and any unique tile improvements I can get my hands on (Bateys, Alcazars, Chemamull, Kampungs, Polders, Haciendas etc...) and cities planned out perfectly for as few cities as possible grabbing the most ammount of tiles leaving non-unowned with the best possible adjacenies for each district, tile improvements and to make them all look graphically appealing too. So the Owls of Minerva fit that perfectly, but I'm not afraid to change it up with the others; but in the 6 games and a handful of testers I've done so far, the voidsingers are hands down the best in each situation because you get the faith economy for free.

    The reasons why I specified only Science and Culture victories is because I disable Diplomatic because it's far too easy to win even when you aren't trying. Religious is also all too easy so I never go for it; instead only founding a religion to keep to myself. And I never like going after Domination because although combat is fun; domination is just as easy as the religous victory but you begin to snowball and you don't need the faith economy to help you. I don't disable those last two victories but I never aim for them; even warmonger Civs I end up only taking out 1-2 other Civs before just settling down and building a pretty empire whilst I wait for my space projects or tourism to tick over.
     
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  8. lindsay40k

    lindsay40k Emperor

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    I find ley lines annoying. They’re another thing, like Horses and Iron and Niter, that jumps up on you when your city’s just about to grow and put down the district that will share adjacencies with two other districts but now you can’t because there’s some magic bat poop. Except they can’t be improved (right?) except until the late game. They feel like a poundshop Meiji Restoration

    Vampire castles are hilarious, Bull Moose Teddy with Earth Goddess putting one on a sea of mined Petra hills with a highly active volcano & Petra itself making tiles Breathtaking gave me the best part of a hundred total yield. The vampire itself is incredible IF you have a strong early unit - give them Eagle Warrior or War Cart base strength, nom a few barbarians, and they can solo cities. Is it me, or is the castle’s yield set when you build it, with no updating unless you remove and rebuild it? Is there Reyna synergy there, plonk it in a jungle that’s had a lot of fires and is getting +2G everywhere then move her on?

    Voidsingers are incredible, +4 faith per city is a massive game changer, the slot also means tall Khmer can go for an early culture win might work

    Two extra policy slots is also fine, and securing all the city states is solid. I often take Owls for the same reason I default to Pilgrimage - if it gets taken by an AI I can’t easily sweep, it can ruin my day

    Honestly, the biggest asset is having four extra Governor titles in the Stone Age. Amani to Suzerain the best/most threatening neighbour, Pingala buffing your palace yields, Magnus getting your expos online, Victor stabilising the capital you rushed, then put the two early titles on Pingala to get your great prophet or on Victor to get an elite army, if you don’t need the faith or fangs you can wait until your govt plaza to get your society online
     
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  9. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    You know, I see this phrase, "unbiased review", a lot these days. It's all over YouTube, for instance. It doesn't make any sense. Of course, you have biases. Everyone does. What is "unbiased review" even supposed to mean?!

    Anyway, Voidsingers are fun, but let's not get carried away about the improved Monuments. We're talking 4 Faith per city. In an average game, you'll probably settle between 8 and 12 cities. So, that's 32-48 Faith per turn. There aren't any cards that modify this Faith, either. It's just 32-48 Faith per turn. That's nice, but it's hardly game breaking. You don't get the Cultists to make Void Relics until much, much later in the game, so those slots are going to remain unfilled unless you're just rolling in GWAMs or you have some reliable way to generate relics (e.g. Khmer). And if you're buying enough Cultists to fill 8-12 slots, then you're spending a good chunk of the Faith that you get from the Monuments. And you'd better hope that the other members of the Voidsingers don't get those relics before you do, too.
     
  10. Zaarin

    Zaarin Chief Medical Officer, DS9

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    I agree that ley lines are way too rare to make the Hermetic Order appealing. I tried taking Hermetic Order and found not a single ley line anywhere within settling distance--in fact, I'd explored somewhere between a third and half the map and only seen a single ley line. That being said, I don't agree that the Voidsingers are the only society worth taking; I think the Owl of Minerva is pretty potent.
     
  11. jddods

    jddods Prince

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    Play style is a bias in itself.
     
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  12. kryat

    kryat King

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    I played the Alchemists and found them to be very fun to play. The ley lines can be hard to find, but they’re definitely worth in great-person focused play styles because of the industrial era promotion. I was playing Scotland, Divine Spark, and Bologna, and at the end of my game each line was worth 13 science, 8 production, and 4 gold. The university also synergies quite well with a great-person focused game. While there was only one in my proximal empire, I ended up chasing a few in the tundra. I had 2 cities with 3 each, 3 with 2, and 2 with 1. That’s bonus 100+ science per turn with no production required save settlers. Pretty decent. I could see them being very strong in a culture game too, when you’re recruiting writers and artists every few turns. The hermetic order’s final promotion is pretty strong too. In my experience, it gave ~200 GPP for science, merchant, and engineer, plus some science as well.
     
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  13. iammaxhailme

    iammaxhailme Emperor

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    Has anyone actually gotten a secret society invite from a tribal village? I have visited lots and never got one. I know I have SS mode on becuase I get them from finding natural wonders or city states...
     
  14. Kmart_Elvis

    Kmart_Elvis King

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    I got an invitation to the Voidsingers after my 4th tribal village.
     
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  15. jddods

    jddods Prince

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    In my current game. second or third.
     
  16. iammaxhailme

    iammaxhailme Emperor

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    Hmm. Do you get the invitation when you VISIT the village, or when you just find them on the map (not necessarily put a unit on them)? The wording in the patch notes seems ambiguous
     
  17. Equilin

    Equilin Prince

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    you have to reach the village. i assume it actually check a goody hut trigger as i got one from stepping on a meteor site (with random meteor bonus mod on), and assume Sumeria will be able to trigger one from barb camps
     
  18. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    Keep in mind that the invitation isn't guaranteed, though. The base chance is around 70-80% (it's different for each society). If there are already some other players in the society, then the invitation is less likely. Especially if they're on your continent.
     
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  19. Liegence

    Liegence Warlord

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    Just finished a game with the Sanguine Pact and I thought the vampires were pretty OP. I think they get some kind of bonus heal on any pillage, right? I had them waltzing through an enemies walled cities and encampments just pillage everything without taking much of a scratch and hauling in yields. And one of them died, it was tragic, but he just popped right back in my capital ready to go in a few turns.

    The Castles were also great - those free yields are a powerhouse and they don’t even have to be worked.
     
  20. Piranga

    Piranga Chieftain

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    Yet again extremely disappointed by another "expansion pass" game mode. Its pure garbage.

    I completely agree with the OP. Voidwalkers is an instant win.

    If you do get to the atomic era, after you bump your cultists up to 26%, 4 of them instantly take a city in one turn. They can enter enemy territory without open borders. So create 4 of them (easy to do as they are way to cheap) just walk them right to your opponents capital and set all 4 off. The next turn it will be a free city, and since it was the capital the AI who lost it will have no cultural pressure to take it back without fighting for it. If the cultists survive the 2 free city enemies that appear, you can then just walk right up to the AI's next best city and repeat.

    Meanwhile the AI also has no clue how to use these new units. They have huge amounts of them just wandering around, but never activate them. It's completely lopsided mechanic in the players favor.

    I have zero faith that any of the coming game modes will be anything but unbalanced trash.
     
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