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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. Pietato

    Pietato Emperor

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    More discussion about this, please.
     
  2. The Civs 6

    The Civs 6 Prince

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    It's super broken. Faith is, on its own, a very useful resource. But to have it give one of each of the others as well? That makes every point of faith basically another .6 extra. That is super tremendous broken. It means you can optimize one resource in the mid-game (oh yeah and you are getting old god monuments). I'm not complaining about this game mode but that stuff is insanely OP.
     
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  3. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    It's really not. You can say "broken" and "OP" all you want, but you aren't convincing. The facts are:

    1. Most games don't revolve around getting large amounts of Faith because that requires significant investment in Holy Sites, Earth Goddess, or some other Faith generator.

    2. Games that do involve large amounts of Faith are generally cultural games or religious games and in both cases, Science and Gold usually aren't as important as the Faith itself. The Culture is, though.

    3. 20 Science, Culture, and Gold per 100 Faith isn't that much. Even in a game in which you're generating 500 Faith per turn, which is a game that you've almost certainly won, you'll get +100 Science, Culture, and Gold. At that stage of the game, none of these values is very broken at all.

    4. The Obelisks only provide +4 Faith per turn and they aren't modified by the cards that modify Holy Sites and the like. So, with 10 cities, you're getting a whole 40 Faith per turn. That's uh... 8 Science, Culture, and Gold. Not that much.

    I played a game as Kongo the other day just to see how powerful Voidsingers is when you don't build Holy Sites. And, the AI beat me to Earth Goddess. So, my Faith was basically just random luxuries, some wonders, and whatever I got from the Voidsingers. I settled 8 cities because I figured that's about a normal cultural game.

    I finished at turn 240. Not my best game, but I hadn't played Kongo before and anyway, Alex had a really strong culture defense for an AI.

    Anyway, I had +115 Faith per turn at the end.

    +32 from Obelisks (8 * 4)
    +52 from Void Relics (8 * 4 + 5 * 4)
    +31 from luxuries, trade routes, wonders, etc.

    So, that's not that powerful, right? It's a whole 23 Science, Culture, and Gold. At that time, I was at 337 Science, 1261 Culture, and 1035 Gold per turn. Who cares about 23?

    I mean, look, Voidsingers are obviously great for cultural games and maybe for religious games, too. And, sure, you can come up with scenarios like Russia or Ethiopia where the +20% Science/Culture/Gold ability seems really strong. But, most of the time it's just pretty good. Not broken. It's certainly not any more broken than what you can get from the other societies with a tiny bit of effort.
     
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  4. kb27787

    kb27787 Deity

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    It's not that it's OP by itself (requires significant investment, although earth goddess + Liang is a combo any civ can do; also, La Venta, or theocratic legacy cards) the main OPness lies in monumentality. +4 faith/city is huge early because it is a free builder, routes, settlers, and later on archaeologists. Faith is something insanely useful already by itself and to have it give something else too (and gold is insane useful for culture games as well) is broken.

    And Kongo is insane with all those relic slots (Mt St Michel). If you only have 13 relics as Kongo you are doing something very wrong.
     
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  5. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    From my experience so far:
    • Owls Of Minerva is very good.
    • Hermetic Order is a complete gamble, in my game where I picked it, it sucked. The Alchemist lab is more expensive than a normal University and doesn't seem that great. Ley Lines are pretty average, very much of a gamble and can end up being an nuisance as much of a benefit by blocking tiles.
    • Haven't tried Voidsingers, but the +4 faith alone from Ancient Era is massive. I mean, get Monumentality in classical or/and Medieval, and I agree the faith from the obelisk alone is game-changing.
    • Haven't tried the Vampires yet, but I fought against some Australian Vampires and was not impressed. But then again, perhaps Bombers are just OP ...
     
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  6. Melliores

    Melliores Warlord

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    @kaspergm

    You need to face a Roman Vampire in the Classical era. The Vampire and a Charriot almost took single-handidly my capital before I managed to build a wall (on Deity).

    Voidsingers can be very good for a Faith-based civilization if you invest in Holy sites and a religion. If you do not have that, as was shown by Kwami, you will have a pretty modest Faith generation. Even with the +4 Faith per Obelisk you still do not get enough benefit from it if you do not have somewhere to house all those Relics you might be able to get.

    For comparison, a Commercial hub/Harbor not only gives you additional gold, they give you a trade route which be used to get additional gold and other resources. Faith is good, but you really need to dedicate your game to it to be able to take full advantage of it with the Voidsingers.
     
  7. Datian

    Datian Warlord

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    I've tried to play with Hermetic Order as Germany, I thought that a bunch of districts around the ley lines were going to be fun. Alas, it's the most elusive secret society : you need to find a natural wonder and be lucky enough for it to prompt to invite. It took me two reloads to find it early enough to enjoy it (if you have it at turn 120, what's the point ?)
    Then I realised two things :
    - ley lines are really scattered, much like ruins they often are in forlorn places
    - I'm a city planner, I can't stand a silly ressource popping where I wanted to build a dam or something, so I always play with the harvestable ressources mod (and playing Kupe is challenging for my nerves) : the unwelcome ley line which I can't get rid of is really, really annoying

    I'm currently in a Mali play with the Owls of Minerva. Voidsingers would probably have been more powerful (Mali tends to have small cities, and you prioritize holy sites and sugubas, so the massive faith turned into science and faith could compensate), but the number of trade routes coming from my Zimbabwe city is insane. So much fun, and so much culture with the gilded vault ! Can't wait for a Phoenicia+Minerva play !

    The Voidsingers are broken and there isn't much to argue. Find them soon -> build a monument -> enjoy an early pantheon like Earth Goddess -> roll in faith -> monumentality golden age. You can still build campuses and theatres since you don't rely on holy sites, and come the medieval era, your investment goes insane.
    The cultists are the instant win for Eleanor.
    I don't understand why the AI doesn't even try to use them. It doesn't use rock bands either, but at least it doesn't buy them. I guess it's because I usually kills other religions, and it doesn't know what to do with this faith.

    As for vampires, I didn't really care for them, I rarely, if ever, play domination.
    However, I've come to hate them, not because they're thematically silly, but because they're relentless. When you're defending, they're quite alright, you get rid of them and they're gone for a while. But on the defense, they're like an extra city walls, which you can't bombard for good ! Really a pain !
     
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  8. Pietato

    Pietato Emperor

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    The AI uses rock bands.

    Curious how good Scythian vampires would be...

    Has anyone tried the Maori, yet? Can they get invites without a city? Will there be less ley lines with them in the game?
     
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  9. walkerjks

    walkerjks Prince

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    One other issue not mentioned with void singers is it makes golden eras (other than the first one) more likely. For example, in a game as Ethiopia, got a classical era golden age and went crazy with monumentality (all that faith - some from obelisks). Got a medieval normal age. Well, I had just spammed out 10 more cities or so and the late ones are (or not settled ones will be) completing obelisks... there's a dedication that grants +1 era score for creating great work slots... you get the idea. Would be my choice anyway in a culture game as some ampitheaters will be turned out and some inspirations, but with the extra obelisk points, makes a renaissance golden age pretty easy. Same applies if you miss out on classical golden age - medieval golden age become much easier.
     
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  10. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    I just didn't have a good place to build Mont St. Michel. But that's only two more relic slots. Who cares? I had 13 relics because I had 5 in the palace (Kongo) and one in each Obelisk. So, 13. I guess I could have had 18 (+3 more from St. Basil's), but that's only +20 Faith per turn. I wasn't anywhere near the tundra (yay!), so St. Basil's seemed wasteful. Eh. You know, you're right. I could have built de Medici's bank, I could have build the National History Museum and filled it with relics, etc. But I don't think it changes anything. That's really a Kongo kind of situation and Kongo (with Mont St. Michel) would have done that without Voidsingers, too.

    The point of the game was to focus on just the Voidsingers. That's why I picked Kongo. No religion, no Holy Sites, no policy cards that buff Holy Sites, etc. Just the Obelisks and Void Relics.

    The problem with using the Faith from Obelisks for monumentality is timing. You don't get the Obelisks until you've founded the cities and built them, which means that you don't get the Faith to spend on builders and Settlers until it's too late. Besides that, you still have to get the golden age, which is no guarantee. So, maybe you have 3-4 cities going into the classical era. Assuming that you had enough Production and/or Gold to build/buy an Obelisk in all of them, then you'll get... 12-16 Faith per turn. That's really not enough for a good monumentality golden age. Sure, the Faith from Obelisks can help you during a monumentality golden age, but you're going to need another good source of Faith to really make use of it. If you want to save up Faith for a medieval or renaissance, then that's probably better. You'll have most or all of your cities and Obelisks by then and 32-48 Faith per turn is much better than 12-16.

    As for Earth Goddess and Liang, I'm not sure what you're getting at. I guess with all of the early Titles generated by society invites, you can go right up to Parks and Recreation to get the tile improvements that give +1 appeal, but are you really going to be spending Builders on this so early? Don't your Builders have much better things to do like improving resources and chopping trees? Better to go with Reyna's Forestry Management in most cases, I think. That's only two Titles instead of four and it works without spending extra build charges.

    Even then, though, Earth Goddess is really start dependent and works against a lot of what you want to do early (chop trees, build mines). It's still a really great pantheon choice for later, when you need tons of Faith to buy Naturalists or Rock Bands or to fuel a religious victory, but it's usually not amazing early on. Yes, you can get a super lucky start, but that's not so common.

    So, ultimately, all Voidsingers really does for the first part of the game (the expansion phase) is gradually build up to 32-48 Faith and slightly improve a monumentality golden age. Again, it's a good bonus, but it's not game breaking.

    The Alchemical Society is 250 Production and 2 Gold maintenance, same as the University.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  11. Futumch

    Futumch Calm as a Coma

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    Lots of interesting information and observations in this thread.

    I'm just winding up my game as Bull Ted, using the Owls of Minerva SS. I'm shooting for a science victory but I think I'm going to win a culture victory just after I get my Mars ship launched. The yields once I built the Eiffel Tower are nuts.

    I named all my cities after places in Ohio. I like their funny-shaped flag. : )

    EDIT: I was dragged into a war (Maya declared war on my ally, Japan). The Maya Vampire unit shrugged off successive attacks from a jet bomber and modern armour army. I didn't want to use nukes, but I believe in the livestream they said that a nuke will kill a vampire completely.

    Sweden was my most annoying opponent. Once I was on the Great Person gravy train, Kristina just began alternating between denouncing me and demanding luxuries. In previous games she was normally not as loopy as that. Oh well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  12. GunsGermsandSteel

    GunsGermsandSteel Warlord

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    Just wanted to throw in that I have played with Vampires. I was playing as Georgia and won a religious victory, and fought a good sized war vs kongo. From what I've read in other peoples posts they are underestimating the value of these units. Essentially since they at least equal the highest combat value unit in your empire, and can get bonuses on top of that they reach a point where they one shot most units. While they clearly geared directly towards domination, they can be used to supplement your military which is what I did.
    When you join Sanquine Pact you are getting a free stong unit with 'free upgrades' outside your territory. You can also place them in risky situations since they don't get eliminated. That said I used them more selectively so I could wipe out the enemies most deadly units when they showed up. They are very useful early on. I chose to go with them precisely because I was going for RV and didn't have a strong early military. Will be playing them again for sure.
     
  13. The Civs 6

    The Civs 6 Prince

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    I'm just going to point out the super obvious thing - if I get voidsingers, I'm going to play a faith game. And since Voidsingers are super easy to proc, I'm going to know I have a voidsingers game very early - probably before I even choose a pantheon. If they gave you 20% of everything for gold, or culture, or whatever, I'm going to optimize for that. That ignores the fact that the Voidsinger monument is itself giving you +4 faith. In other words, since you should be building that in every city, every city will be generating a bonus +.8 or whatever gold, science and culture per turn - just without you doing anything extra.

    Unless you are literally not optimizing (which would make me ask - why are you playing a strategy game at all?), the Voidsingers bonus (that they get in the freaking Medieval era) is incredible.
     
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  14. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    Sure. You get 0.8 Science, Culture, and Gold in each city. So, by the time you have 10 cities, you have 8 Science, Culture, and Gold. Does that really sound super powerful in the medieval era? I think not. The Obelisks are neat, and I love the graphics, but they're not overpowered or broken or whatever. They're just a really good bonus. The empty slots are probably the best part, really.
     
  15. Thebard78

    Thebard78 Chieftain

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    But they aren’t broken because the AI gets them too. The first game I used the Void (with Ethiopia), Rome had them too and was generating 650+ culture on turn 211 and the Inca (who had Hermetic) were halfway through the Mars mission at that time (I won on that turn, Diety). Until I see people consistently getting faster wins on Diety vs the AI than they did pre-societies, I am going to go with powerful, but balanced because everyone gets them.
     
  16. The Civs 6

    The Civs 6 Prince

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    You aren't just getting the .8 science/culture gold. You're also getting the faith, which itself is pretty useful - it can win you the game with monumentality (+4 faith/city and you have maybe 6 cities that's +24 faith a turn, which is enough to get you 2 "free" settlers or maybe 4 workers), or it can be used to set up your religion, or buy great people and so on. On top of that you are getting +.8 science AND +.8 culture AND +.8 gold.

    And you are reinvesting that faith into your faith economy, especially when you have the faith buildings for your religion. If you are playing Voidsingers you probably are getting a pantheon that will help you generate faith, founding a religion, and selecting early/helpful beliefs. Meanwhile, as you generate faith which is helping you with your overall game, you are also getting free science, culture (culture being especially critical) and gold. Even if you are just generating 24 faith a turn (which you shouldn't be) from those monuments that's +5 extra culture, which can be huge at that time in the game.

    For me it really puts to shame the extra economic policy slot - and policy slots are what I would call "a really good bonus". The only reason I'm not sure is because the vampires might be really good, just haven't had a chance to work with them.

    I'm comparing them to the other secret societies. I suspect humans will be able to exploit the secret societies more effectively than AIs, but evidence such as your experience seems to indicate that the AIs are dealing with them pretty well.
     
  17. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    Look, I don't really know what your point is anymore. If you truly think that 0.8 Science/Culture/Gold is game breaking, then there's nothing further for us to discuss. We're just going in circles now.
     
  18. Kataklysm

    Kataklysm Chieftain

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    I wasn't really aware of the Secret Societies mode up until I began a new game. I have to say my Zulu vampires are adding even more weight to my Impi steamroller to squash everybody around.

    Pretty fun (combined with Apocalypse), it changes the dullness of the game a bit.
     
  19. JesseS

    JesseS Warlord

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    Voidslingers are great for monumentality, though you will certainly want sources of faith other than just the obelisks. The early game value of the old god obelisks is in your faith economy snowball started, by buying that settler a few turns earlier. Later on, the slots are very useful for a cultural victory. Super potent with Russia or Ethiopia, and quite good for any civ with a bonus towards faith.

    The vampires are pretty good for domination games. I played a game with Hungarian vampires and it was fun to have a black army fueled by mercenaries and vampires sweep the world. I leveled up the first vampire to be pretty terrifying and able to almost one-shot unwalled cities. The downside is that the vampires are slow, which means they aren't really immortal from the perspective of fast domination games. A unit that vanishes for 5 turns before reappearing 20 turns of movement away from your active fronts is, for all intents and purposes, dead. The first one had a hard time keeping up with the levied troops and cavalry and the second one never caught up to the main armies and just built a couple castles. Those castles were nice, helping my mediocre capitol build Terracotta Army fast. The real strength of Secret Societies was getting those early governor titles though. I got Armani by turn 8 and was able to levy the first city state army by turn 13 before moving on to levy the second by turn 18. :crazyeye: For the first time ever, I was the one doing a turn 20 warrior rush on the Deity AI.

    I wouldn't necessarily discount Owls of Minerva too. Their banks make commercial hub-harbor combinations actually good, as you get the adjacency bonus with culture and an extra trade route. A city with a harbor and CH with the gilded vault at the mouth of a river is going to be producing +5 culture and +8 gold, without factoring in any other districts or sea resources. I bet you could have some pretty insane Free Inquiry ages. I'll need to test it with Phoenicia or someone else with no faith bonuses and an incentive to go for CHs/harbors.

    Side note: I do find it funny how holy sites and faith are becoming significantly more useful with each patch and expansion, at the same time that the AI is prioritizing them less and less. In the Hungarian game, I founded a religion on like turn 100 without having even researched Astrology. Rome's single conquered holy sites was enough.
     
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  20. The Civs 6

    The Civs 6 Prince

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    I definitely want to give the others a shot before I make a final judgment. I was also playing bull moose Roosevelt in like this incredible mountainous starting area, which was a pretty absurd experience.
     

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