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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. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    I've played two games with Secret Societies now, and...I love it! My first was with Voidsingers Kongo. I found that society to be really flavourful and fun, and Kongo was a nice Kongo. Then I went with Hermetic Order Mayans, and it too was a lot of fun. I get that Voidsingers are probably more powerful, but the Hermetic Order was still fun, and I had an unusually fast (for me) Science Victory.

    I'm okay with societies not being perfectly balanced, so long as all of them are useful in certain situations and synergize with different civs. They add some much needed flavour and spice to the game.
     
  2. Pietato

    Pietato Emperor

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    Yeah, 3% is bad. If I have 34000 gold unspent, the extra 1k is not going to matter.

    Hermetic Order is incredibly far behind the others, though. Plus Maya seems like a really bad fit for them.
     
  3. Deadly Dog

    Deadly Dog Warlord

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    I'm finding SS mode great for some "practical" roleplay. Once civs have all picked a SS the relationships are skewed enough to make it easy to factionalize the world along SS lines. Especially if you take Owls or Voidsingers you will easily find a nice bunch of civs that "recognize you as kin". So I'm always taking my "kin" into wars with me against the other factions, until there's no evil left in the world. Except sadly some of my "kin" have been corrupted and only seek ultimate power for themselves, so.....

    It's nice not to feel like I have to be friends with every AI neighbour in the early game because my Society brothers have got my back. (On the understanding that an ally's strength in a joint war is splitting your enemies forces, not much else).

    I haven't yet played SS mode without Apocalypse also. The two work well together, imo, the world is extremely volatile and unpredictable. It kinda softens the individual civ flavors, for sure, but then I've been playing the game since it came out so I've had plenty of fun with that already.

    Furthermore, the AI is doing very well sometimes with SS, getting Amani up in City states really early and then levying their troops, or having shockingly high yields later. Lady Six Sky is a beast when shes in my worlds but remote, taking AI cities just outside her 6-tile range and having good science and good military.
     
  4. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    How so? Because of their tallness reducing the number of Ley Lines they get? They do have a unique Campus replacement though, which means Alchemical Societies in every city.

    I also tend to think the first two bonuses are more important than the later ones in terms of impact. Sure, the output I got from Ley Lines once the world entered the Industrial Era were absolutely monstrous. I had grabbed just about every Great Scientists at this point, as well as a bunch of other great people, so even though I had just a handful of these tiles, their yields were great. I have no doubt they sped up my victory a bit, but the game was decided long before this.
     
  5. Arraz

    Arraz Chieftain

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    Hello,

    on my part I disagree with a big part of the criticism that has been made here.

    Voidsingers are very fun to play but not as good as people here claim. If you re going for a religious victory, you want a quick victory (by the medieval/ renaissance era) and you re not going to get many cities. just 3-4 and spam holy sites projects.
    A buff in science/culture/gold in the medieval is fun but not contributing to the victory condition. As for the +4 faith on monuments, they are a bit helpful but certainly not gamebreaking.
    You re probably better off picking the owls of Minerva in order to ensure suzerainty on some key city states (erevan, hong kong).

    I think voidsingers are good with civs that use some religion but focus on cultural victory condition. Russia, Mansa Musa, Khmer, Alienor and the new ethiopia being the ones I'd think of. These civs are either terrain dependent or just flat out weak.

    Vampires are fun but very slow which I would say is their main drawback. They are probably useless on higher speeds. They can get very strong with some planning though. And the castles make some stronger capitals. Overall a neat SS in standard speed.

    The hermetic order has probably not received much thoughts from the devs. It's hard to get and quite terrible. Even if you re going for a science victory, you re better off joining the Owls of Minerva. Both ley lines and alchemical society are not impactful enough (even with oracle/pingala strat). Feels like playing without a secret society for most of the game.

    The Owls of Minerva, The "Go-to" secret society by excellence. You cant go wrong with an additional economic policy card and later on a joker card. The emissary bonus on trade routes can be used in many strategies to secure key city states. The bank replacement make some water civs much stronger (namely Dido).
    I'd say they re not gamebreaking though as those bonuses are all nice to have but not too overbearing. They support strategies and make them easier/more efficient to execute. Those strategies were not overpowered so there's no much complain to be had.


    TLDR: To me, the biggest unbalance in this mode comes from the government titles. Nothing else seems that op, they are useful and fun but do not boost the strongest strategies that already exist. (No, hiding in the Tundra settling and building churches while being late in science is not that strong of a strategy)
     
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  6. Jkchart

    Jkchart King

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    I've played with all of them except vampires so far.
    -Voidsingers are fun, a tad broken, but not nearly to the extent some think they are. If you nerf the obelisk and their 2nd tier a bit, I think they'd be just right.
    -I loved Owls of Minerva a lot - two extra policies are beautiful, and they are great for Diplo victory. They make RR Teddy a MONSTER with Diplo victory tbh. Really fun, I think they got the balance right with them because they're not broken/op.
    -Alchemists are strange - their unique building is really good, but the ley lines are a crapshoot. If those were a bit more consistent and powerful, I'd like them more.

    I do like that the SS mode really boosts the capabilities of an AI. Have you ever been in an emergency where 5 AI are against you and there are vampires coming for you? Honestly terrifying and made me think about how I had to plan that war. Also, they KNOW they can build castles near you, and they did for respawn purposes. Oh and the extra science/culture if they pick voidsingers also makes AI more potent.

    All in all, more fun and enjoyable than Apocalypse mode (or as i like to call it Diplo Victory: the Game)
     
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  7. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    Another thing that I forgot to mention is the late unit that gets unlocked for void singers which causes rebellions in nearby civilizations. The units aren't that expensive in faith and combining them with rock bands for rebellions will get you an extra city or two by reducing loyalty from other nearby civilizations.
     
  8. Finvola

    Finvola Where's my pie?

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    I've tried Owls and Vampires so far. I just finished the Vampire one with Alex. I got a little frustrated because I unlocked the other 3 first and I specifically wanted Vampires for him and then I saw other civs walking around with their vampires.I found natural wonders, goodie huts, cleared a few barb camps, found 2 or 3 CS first. I thought maybe I would miss out as the others found it first so I started my war declaration rampage right away out of frustration. But I did eventually get the invitation from a barb camp.I stretched the game out until late game so I could unlock everything. I did use all 4 vamps a lot at the end, along with my giant death robot. That was pretty fun. I don't normally go for domination wins. I could have if I wanted but it was a science win in the end.

    Not sure how useful Owls would be unless you're playing a trade focused civ like Cree, Mali ,or the Netherlands I suppose?

    Voidslingers are next, but I haven't decided who I'm going to try it out with yet.
     
  9. Pfeffersack

    Pfeffersack Deity

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    There is a (tiny) chance to get an invitation without meeting the trigger condition - via diplomacy. The exact math behind is yet unkown, but you can try to maintain deep relations (in terms of diplomatic visibility - at least "secret" level ist needed) with AIs already members of your target secret society and at some point you (might) get an invitation. It happened to me already, but sadly I can't provide any additional info on the mechanics behind.
     
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  10. Finvola

    Finvola Where's my pie?

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    I wasn't sure how much diplomacy I was going to have once Alex started conquering, haha. But it is good to know that all hope of getting an invitation isn't lost if you haven't gotten one early from exploring or barb camps.

    I'm trying voidslingers with Ethiopia now but that's not a very peaceful game either. It's my first time playing him. I spawned kind of in the middle of the map and there were 5 other civs in the vicinity. I got the voidslinger invite right away from a goodie hut. The other civs all started settling towards me, I knew there was going to be early war because everyone was trying to expand. So far, I've been at war with 4 of the 5 other civs. Japan won't make peace with me. I have a stronger force than he does, but he's surrounded by mountains. I just need to find a weak spot that he doesn't have covered. If I take one of his cities, maybe he'll be a little bit more open to making peace once I start making him cry. :lol:

    I'm in the medieval era now so I haven't yet unlocked all of the voidslinger benefits but I am looking forward to it.
     
  11. Pietato

    Pietato Emperor

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    I am currently using cultists to free city-states.
     
  12. iammaxhailme

    iammaxhailme Emperor

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    I've finished a game or two with each society now, and I enjoy the game mode a lot. The Hermetic Order really needs a buff (or the other three need a nerf) but it is quite fun.

    I would worry that perhaps the voidsingers ability to generate relics so easy may be over-centralizing and create a rush to the "relics give +tourism" belief, becuase that gives you such an easy culture victory, especially considering that the voidsingers give you lots of great work slots. But that's ok, it's an optional mode so OP stuff is fine.

    Owls are a money machine, plain and simple. But money is good to have and can be converted into basically any win type, so despite being a bit overly passive, they can be applicable anywhere.

    I am pleased that the vampires are not useless when playing peaceful, as I feared they would be. The castles are insane & the vampires are good for light defense against barbs
     
  13. tedhebert

    tedhebert Emperor

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    And how is that working out ? My experience with freeing CSses is that once freed they loose the loyalty shield they normally have, and just start rebelling anyways ;-(

    Are you just making them free states ? or capturing and releasing ?
     
  14. Pfeffersack

    Pfeffersack Deity

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    I often see the rebellion warning graphic right after the liberation, but usually that corrects in the next interturn.
     
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  15. Finvola

    Finvola Where's my pie?

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    I haven't tried with the CS yet but I will.

    I did eventually find a good spot to launch my counter attack on Japan and I started to take his cities. He kept asking for peace but I ended up wiping him out, so that got me a whole round of denouncements but I didn't care.The denouncements wore off in the next era and cultists became available to me. I had a Golden Age and Scotland was also right on my borders but had a normal age. One of his cities looked like it was going to flip so I made a couple of cultists and sped up the revolt process and I got the city. The cultists are pretty cool. I am swimming in faith and culture and am using it to buy everything. Granted I'm only testing all these societies out on Prince, but it feels more ridiculously easy than ever. When I get the upgrades I'm going to swarm everyone with rock bands and cultists.Faith is never going to be a problem. So far I like the voidslingers best but I will try the last one out in my next game.

    Edit: I never did make it to the final promotion for voidslingers. I got a culture victory well before the era unlocked. I tried dragging it out a little too!

    Now onto the last one!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  16. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    I have liberated CSes too but not with the cultists. You'll automatically become the Suzerain.
     
  17. Pietato

    Pietato Emperor

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    Cultists let you do it to your allies, and others you want to avoid war with. Just have some military nearby to liberate it once it goes free-state.

    On a somewhat related note, my GDR just liberated Yeveran (it rebelled due to pressure, not my cultists), and now it has disappeared from the CS list and cannot be interacted with. This was a bug a few patches ago, and I am sad to see it back.
     
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  18. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    Does anyone else feel like Soothsayers should have been in Secret Societies, not Apocalypse Mode? Or that maybe the Secret Societies should interact with the Apocalypse more?

    I could definitely see Void Singers summoning down comets on their enemies or maybe their own Cities.

    In guess the best you get is just running both AM and SSM, and enjoying the thematic overlap, even though there’s no actual mechanical overlap.

    Also. If we’re going to have all these cultists and comets and stuff, can we get some Zombies in the game? Maybe in AM as another disaster, or a Zombie Secret Society, or maybe Zombies just get their own game mode.

    I mean, I wasn’t really looking to play a Dark Fantasy 4X. But if we’re going to have freaking Vampires and Yog-Sothoth, then lets go all in!
     
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  19. sonicmyst

    sonicmyst Emperor

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    Warring with AI with vampires are bit annoying. They keep on pushing with immortal whack-a-moley vampires and I have a stronger desire to eliminate civs under that wretched society.
     
  20. Finvola

    Finvola Where's my pie?

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    I'm trying alchemists now with the Maya but I am on King now. I only have horses and niter and I'm in the industrial era. A CS is giving me iron and that's about it. It's my first time playing her and I know I not to play them wide, but being tech leader and no resources to upgrade my stuff really sucks. If I was some other civ, I'd look for somewhere distant to settle a city, or go to war and capture some cities that have what I need. I'm trying to seek out which CS might have oil and coal, with any luck I'll score some.

    Anyway, I was on a little continent with just Mali and he was way down at the bottom. He settled right up on my borders, far from his capital and other cities and suddenly Canada and Georgia came from whichever landmass they were spawned on to settle in my little area too. I'm about ready to scream. Mali settled that city right in the spot I was going to put my 3rd city because it was within the range of my capital. Eventually, the opportunity to claim it happened when he surprised warred me. He launched an attack and once his forces were down, I moved in and captured it. At least he was stupid enough not to put walls up. I have one Ley line. I'm not sure I'm going to see this one through. I thought a science based civ would be a good one to try this out with but maybe I should have stuck with one I've played before because I'm not enjoying this combination of SS with her at all. I'm kind of hooked on the voidslingers!
     

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