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NEW an CREATIVE ideas for traits and abilities

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Deggial, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. Deggial

    Deggial Emperor

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    Hi all!

    I know that there is a big thread ongoing, full of ideas for new civilizations. While I do not want to belittle these ideas and proposals, all too often it comes to a simple: Give this swordsman +1 strength and faster healing and name him XYZ. Or give him this or that (already existing) promotion right from the beginning to make him “unique”.

    Com'on, you can do better! Do you really think that traits like this will make playing with this very civilization a new and unique experience? Doesn't it sound like “Just more of the same”?

    I really liked what the developers of CiV did with some of their new (DLC) civilizations. Let's see...
    - The Inca have these great terraces with +1 food for every surrounding mountain. Something like this was never seen in any Civ before. Same with the retreating ability of the slinger (even if it might be one of the weaker units. Nevertheless it is new and creative!). Lowering the movement penalties for all units on hills makes a big difference in game-play, too.
    - The Polynesian Moai is an inspired idea, as I think. It is new and perfectly fits to its original counterpart (trading food and production for culture. The inhabitants of the Easter Islands literally ruined their living basis while building all these statues!). The “Wardance” is a brand new promotion, too (even if it is just an “inverted” general) and the early ocean-crossing changes game-play tremendously.

    See what I mean?

    In this thread, I'm looking for really NEW and first of all CREATIVE ideas for unit characteristics, unique civilization abilities and land improvements.

    Let me challenge you! Use your fantasy! If you want to develop a complete Civ, it is fine – but not necessary. If you just have an idea for a special ability, it is welcome, too! And please: discuss!
     
  2. Deggial

    Deggial Emperor

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    OK, let me start the collection.

    VIKINGS!

    I really like them and I want to see them back in CiV! (“Norse”, to be precise. “Vikings” they were only named, if on a raid.)

    But how to give them an unique playing style? Giving their units an “amphibious” promotion comes into mind – but comes into mind all to easy! Just “more of the same”, again. (As stated: no offense intended, if this was exactly your idea. It was mine at first, too.)

    So, what distinguished the Vikings in their time?
    - Their very fast ships (absolutely High-Tech at their time!)...
    - ...which delivered round about 60 warriors surprisingly at the coasts of weakly defended victims.
    - the lack of a political central power (at least in the beginning of their “golden age”). The raids were not organized by the state, but by single clans or alliances of clans.
    - The Norse were great discoverers (first Europeans in America)


    How this could be represented in CiV?
    Well, here comes my central NEW and CREATIVE ;-) idea:

    UU: “Viking”
    - Dragon-Boat (gallon with +1 (or even +2) movement ability. *laughing* I know! Wait, please!)
    - If the Dragon-Boat “hits” solid ground, it changes into a meel unit with mediocre strength (let's say, same as spearmen). This unit is ANCHORED to the point, where it landed and can just move two tiles away from this position. If it wants to change to the “ship form” again, it has to return to this anchor point.
    - the unit has the ability “plundering”, which means, that attacking (not capturing!) a foreign city yields a certain amount of money (let's say 5 Gold).
    - to represent the lack of central (and responsible) power, they *might* be marked as “barbarians” for other players. Like this, the “Vikings” can plunder without declaration of war. (OK, *this* is not new as we already know it from Civ4's privateers.)
    - If upgraded, the “Viking”'s meel unit could be similar to the players best available unit but with 25% less strength (or what ever seems appropriate).

    As second UU we might think of a “Swords Dane” with “plundering” and... OK, OK, higher strength and “amphibious” promotion. Maybe, if you judge the “Viking” as too strong, we can limit the “barbarian” or even the “plundering” ability to this second UU (but it would be a shame! ;-) )
    Other UUs or even UBs are thinkable, of course.

    UA of the Norse could be “Seewolves”: The ability to take over enemy ships instead of sinking them with a certain chance (say 25%). I admit, that this ability is very close to the Ottoman UA, but in contrast, it is needed to destroy the enemy and that *all* ships can be targeted by this UA (not only barbarians).

    I think, that the “Viking” UU could make the Norse very special to play. I don't think that the “Viking” is overpowered, as the meel unit has lower strength than “normal” equivalents and the anchoring limits their movement tremendously. Beside raiding weak coastal cities, its worth will be the fast and safe exploration of new coasts (as barbarian ships are less threatening) and the exploring of ruins found on their routes (representing their discoverer traits, as mentioned above).

    -

    The principle of anchoring units to a special point of the map could be used for other units, too. Think of cheap militia, anchored to the city they where trained in. Or strong (and not so expensive – at least not in relation to their power, as the have the limitation of “anchoring”) Templars which can only be build if there is a temple (or cathedral, thinking of theoretically coming expansions with religion) in the city.
     
  3. Deggial

    Deggial Emperor

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    The second NEW and CREATIVE idea is not mine, but I like it very much so I want to share it with you.

    It originally was posted by “Hamilkar Barkas” on the german “Civilzation Forum” (civforum.de). (There is a quite similar thread, but the responses are not overwhelming and I really hope, that on this bigger and international forum, we will see much more great ideas!

    So, Hamilkar's suggestion is this:

    As Carthage was famous for his mercenary army, he proposed a UA named “Hannibal's Mercenaries”.

    The effect of this UA is, that the player can “hire” UUs from every AI civ in the game, if the relation is at least “friendly” (A “declaration of friendship” as precondition might be possible too, but is maybe too limiting.)
    The mercenaries' price (they can only be bought, not build) is much higher than normal (doubled?) and the upkeep is higher, too (2x again).
     
  4. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    They have been pretty creative with the DLC so far. Even the spanish "double Natural wonder effects" is pretty neat, to go along with the conquistador/settler ability.

    Maybe to make the "Viking" unit less complicated, it would just simply be a combination land/water unit. Ie. it can move over land or water, and doesn't embark.

    In another thread I had an ability for Canada to get a free social policy when they liberate a city-state (peacekeeping). If you want to keep going crazy, we can even give them a fort improvement ("stockade") which would be maybe a fort with +1 gold (so make it actually useful to build).

    I'd like to see some civ get a unit that is both a melee and ranged unit. I don't know what it would actually be, but that certainly would be useful at times. Or, I wouldn't mind seeing a civ get a fully unique unit at a spot on the tech tree, which doesn't replace a former one. Not sure what, but that would certainly be a nice change.

    Another idea, not sure who or what, would be a unit that gives something like +1 science when it's sitting on a jungle tile (something like an explorer unit). If it had other uses, it would definitely be fun to manage.
     
  5. filli_noctus

    filli_noctus Hmmn

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    How I would do the Norse:

    UA: a'viking - all land units begin with amphibious and embarkation (coastal tiles), embarkation and disembarkation only use a single :c5moves: and embarked units gain +2 :c5moves:. Double plunder from coastal cities [not sure about this last point, may make the UA too good]

    UU: berserk - replaces swordsman, always fights with full strength, may not fortify, +[50]% bonus when attacking, must attack if a hostile unit is within range

    UB: mead hall - replaces temple, +2:c5happy: in addition to standard temple.
     
  6. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I applaud the creativity, but the issue with more outlandish and unique bonuses is that they threaten balance. If you're introducing entirely new variables, this is bound to happen. I prefer a balanced game to one with a ton of unique things. But I prefer even more so a unique and balanced game. :)

    The idea for Carthage in post #3 seems particularly interesting.
     
  7. CYZ

    CYZ Toileteer

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    I think, if we look at the DLC civs, unique and balanced is what the devs are going for.


    I've mentioned my idea for the Dutch in another thread, but it definitly suits this one:


    Unique improvement: Windmolen.
    The Windmolen can only be build next to a lake, it adds 1 :hammers: to the tile and may only be build on flat land. By building the Windmolen the adjacent lake will be drained in X turns. When drained, the laketile turns into a Polder tile. This yields 3 :food: and 1 :gold:. It's also (still) a source of fresh water. It can be improved with a farm, road and railroad.

    If a lake consists of more than one tile it can still be drained. However, for every laketile you will need one Windmolen improvement. The number of turns before it is drained increases very fast (to avoid 3+ Polders per city).

    When a Windmolen is destroyed/removed the Polder wil turn into a lake again in X number of turns, destroying any improvements and embarking any units on the tile.


    I like this idea because:
    a) it's realistic, the Dutch actually did this kindof thing during the Rennaisance
    b) it puts in a small and very fun terraforming factor
    c) it's strong but comes relatively late in the game
    d) it can be used to create a millitary advantage (purposely filling up the lakes again to block an enemy advance/force units currently positioned on lake tiles to embark)
    e) draining those big lakes by building 10+ Windmolens and waiting centuries, then... Supergrowthcities!



    As an alternative to this idea. Windmoles could be build next to a lake or river on a flat area, providing +1 :hammers: and spreading the fresh water to all adjacent tiles. This is probably more realistic and still very nice yes?
     
  8. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Actually... For the Dutch how about a UU workboat that can "improve" non resource Coastal tiles [that way they get the Compass bonus]

    or a UB (for their naval trade empire) harbors with 0 maintenance.
     
  9. I_qua_I

    I_qua_I Prince

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    CivX: UA: Mountain tiles provide 1 food 2 production and 2 culture. UU: UnitX Can move through mountain tiles
     
  10. blac

    blac Warlord

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    Maybe the Swiss? Since they have the alps and whatnot
     
  11. Deggial

    Deggial Emperor

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    I really like many of the your ideas!

    @Camikaze:
    In principle, I agree with you. But, as CYZ stated, balance *can* be and *was* achieved with new civs. There are so many mechanisms to do so: make it longer to build, more expensive in it's upkeep, tweak the strength,...
    If there is a solid and balanced game in the background, NEW and CREATIVE introductions should be abel to worked in satisfyingly.

    @filli_noctus:
    Giving attacking units an extra bonus sounds very promising. This could be done with a defending bonus, too. This would bring some game mechanisms back, we already had in Civ2 (not sure about Civ1), where units had different strength in attacking and defending. I liked this very much, but maybe the devs think it as "to complicated". Nevertheless I would really *love* to see it again in CiV - even if it is only for some units.

    @CYZ:
    Nice and creative! I'm not sure, if something so fundamental ("Terraforming" was unfortunately never an element in Civ. Wait - in CiV, we can dry swamps! so your idea is even not to far away from current game mechanisms.)
    My question: lakes may have different size in CiV. How many Windmolen should be needed for them? Just one per lake or one per every three lake tiles? This could lead to a bit complicated gameplay. Maybe one should be fine for this reason.
    What do you think about the possibility, that dried lakes become swamps first, which must be drained first?

    @I_qua_I:
    Why not making mountains usable? But giving them food, production AND culture seems a little bit over the top. Why not restrict it on production and (maybe) 1 food? A mountain climbing UU could be fine.

    --

    OK, there was an other idea coming to my mind. As you might imagine from my first post, I like to have some restrictions modeled into my units opposing some advantages in other areas. (At least, if the "anchoring" is used for militia or templar units. My viking is a bit different.)

    Well, what do you think about this: Let's have a railway gun coming with the railroads technology.
    Its movement is (obviously) restricted to railroads. The range will be 4 or even 5 tiles and it will have more strength than the normal artillery.
    Of course, this unit can only be build in cities with railroad connection to the capital (the unit would be too powerful if used as static city defender. Not allowing it to be placed in cities would be possible, too). This artillery will probably mainly be used in defense but with enough preparation in offense, too.

    Railroads would be a little bit more interesting and versatile with this unit.
     
  12. awesome

    awesome Meme Lord

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    honestly, i was thinking about this for an empire-wide ability for carthage about a month ago, but never said anything because i decided that i didn't really like it all that much after all. maybe as a unit ability, as you suggested, it'd be better.
     
  13. CYZ

    CYZ Toileteer

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    I think it should be one windmolen per laketile. After all, those polder tiles ought to be pretty powerfull, and you don't want to make draining bigger lakes too easy! In fact, there should be a steam achievement like ''Drain a lake of minimal 15 tiles'' which requires 15 windmolens and takes centuries before actually being drained!

    It could turn into a marsh, but that just turns into grassland and is thus no longer special. Perhaps the Dutch can build the windmolen adjacent to marsh tiles and turn them into a polder?

    Any of these ideas would work, I would just really like to see this terraforming element. I am a tiny bit proud about my nation's watermanagementskill:mischief:
     
  14. awesome

    awesome Meme Lord

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    maybe when you conquer a city/civilization, all nearby units from that civilization join you? it sounds kind of like germany's ability now that i think about it, though.
     
  15. Deggial

    Deggial Emperor

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    Awesome idea ;)

    It's not exactly Germany's UA that comes into my mind... do you remember "Populous"? Might have been a little bit before your time...

    Well, in "Populous", you were a god and had to bring your people to glory and defeat the other god (AI). To do so, one of your tools were elemental forces and the avatars of this elemental forces. The avatar of nature was great: Every time he defeated an enemy, he splited into two parts. When *they* defeted an enemy, they splitted... you see, what happend? A wave of avatars steamrolled the other tribe. (At least, every split made the avatars less powerfull. So the wave ebbed away at the end.)

    Awesome, I'm afraid, your idea could lead to something very similar. (*If* there are enough enemy units left. If not, the opposing empire is at it's end anyway.)
    So I think, this UA might be a little bit overpowered an I don't see a way to ballance it.

    Nevertheless, I like your idea of turning enemy units (*not* only barbarians) to your side.

    What do you think about following approach:
    Make it an UU's special ability. To "bribe" an enemy unit should be very expensive. Maybe, not even gold should be the "currency" but something even harder to get... what about *culture points*?
    They are slow to accumulate and therefore more valuable than disdainful money. It would even fit to the game mechanics, as the Cultural Victory turns whole nations to your favour. So "bribing" units with culture makes perfect sense.

    Additionally, using this system of bribing can be ballanced easilie by adjusting the ammount of culture needed for the bribery.
     
  16. awesome

    awesome Meme Lord

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    so kind of like the diplomat from civilization 1? it isn't exactly a new idea, but it hasn't been used for a few games and i guess it's creative since it uses culture instead of the gold that the other unit did, so i'd say it works. maybe a scout or great person?
     
  17. Deggial

    Deggial Emperor

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    Diplomats could do this in Civ1? Darn! I really did not remember this. It's obviously not so easy to find really NEW ideas...

    If great persons would have this ability, it would be extremely rare and moreover the civ would lose a golden age or for whatever the player normally would use the GP. I think, this would even weaken the civ.
    The scout would be neat in contrast. There is no scout UU yet. Maybe this special scout could have more strength than the standard one to make him a little bit more durable, too.

    Could be cool to play...
     
  18. awesome

    awesome Meme Lord

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    well, it doesn't have to consume the great person, but i can't really think of one that would be close to a real life counterpart. so scout it is, i guess. i'm not sure what to call it, but maybe it could replace the proposed hannibal's mercenary idea, leaving room for a better one.

    so it's basically bringing the diplomat unit back from the first game as a unique unit for carthage.
     
  19. Deggial

    Deggial Emperor

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    OK, I don’t know whether or not this is really NEW, but there is another idea, that came to my mind recently:

    What about a “hiding” promotion for an UU or even as UA?

    When placed in a forest tile, the respective unit is invisible for the opponent. It is uncovered (for the rest of the AI/player's turn) only if attacking or if an enemy unit accidentally moves to this tile. Maybe scouts are able to see them from distance as usual (this would make scouts more useful, too...) and maybe this ability is useless against opponents which already discovered the satellite technology.

    This ability might be thinkable for some Native Americans. Other “home tiles”, such as hills, might be possible for other Civs, too.

    What do you think? Is this ability far too much “fantasy” or could it be an option for a “realistic” Civ?

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure whether or not the AI could handle this ability (active *and* passive).
     
  20. awesome

    awesome Meme Lord

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    i think we discussed something like that in the which civs do you want thread. but yeah, more importantly, the ai would probably know the unit is there, even when it's invisible.
     

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