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No longer satisfied with current Civ VI experience, looking for advice on what to try next

Civ VI's combat AI is certainly incompetent. Having noticed that the barbarians are a larger threat than other civs, my current hunch is it may be an improvement to the game to simply eliminate walls, or at least set their bonuses extremely low, so that at least the AIs might on rare occasions be able to take cities from each other.

The real answer to a Civ or Civ-like AI that can be a challenge is Soren Johnson. He wrote the Civ III AI (while still early in his career), which is fairly predictable once you've played enough, but is still much more effective than the Civ V or VI AI at being able to, y'know, actually capture a city on occasion. It often accomplishes that through raw numerical strength, but as vorlon_mi wrote, that can still be a powerful force, with the "runaway AI" who beat its neighbor, and then that neighbor's neighbor, etc., being a significant hazard to human opponents as well. It won't fight smarter than them, but if it expanded earlier, that can still be a hazard.

Then Soren lead Civ IV, which IMO is the pinnacle of Civ AI. I've played it for years, and while I did wind up dominating in my most recent game, it was still a near-run thing (on Prince difficulty, i.e. even terms) for a while there. Only a couple more units from the Japanese or French, and they would've had an open line towards more core while my main army was off fighting on some other front. And mods can make the Civ IV AI even better; Civ IV is also the most moddable version of Civ (if the modder knows enough Python/C++). If Firaxis decided that Civ VII should be Civ IV, but 64-bit and with some minor updates, I'd say they couldn't have done better.

Most recently, Soren lead Old World, which is a period-focused Civ-like game that is great for emerging storylines, with story events being much more prominent than in the Civ series. Urlance Woolsbane is right; I used to bash 1 UPT endlessly based on my Civ experience (especially Civ V experience), but skeptically tried Old World, and it works completely differently there, and the combat AI is on par with Civ IV. Especially as a new-ish player, I was losing as many units to the AI as it was losing to me, with my development being stunted as a result of focusing on not losing the war to the AI. But even once I had a few games' experience, in certain geographic situations, the AI can make life difficult. And I've yet to try the "Ruthless AI" option.

Outside of Soren Johnson games... space-based, but Galactic Civilizations II is better than Civ V/VI at AI. I think III was supposed to be better yet in theory but am not sure if it, or IV, was in practice, as I tend to prefer history-focused games.

Paradox Development Studio games also tend to be good for the emergent storytelling. Europa Universalis IV is my favorite, and its diplomatic system (with rivals, alliances, royal marriages, and coalitions against expansionist powers) really helps with that storytelling. Playing Bohemia recently, the Ottomans became a real, and very dangerous, rival expanding into Europe, but that only made my friendships with the Teutonic Order and the (heretical, to us) Papal State more important and deep. Playing the Ottomans a few years ago, I had a mystery as to why the Spanish were suddenly crushing my armies left and right, despite being numerically equal... the AI isn't perfect, but it's competent enough to make things interesting.
 
Especially as a new-ish player, I was losing as many units to the AI as it was losing to me, with my development being stunted as a result of focusing on not losing the war to the AI.
Coming from Civ, where each unit loss has a huge impact, I was shocked at first. But it is the normal way of a war, both sides loosing units.
 
it has mods???

The 'Augustus' mod for C3 (now on version 4.0) is beyond any doubt the ABSOLUTE BEST GAME MOD I HAVE EVER SEEN. It has so much depth and so many features.... it's just crazy.


Caesar 3 is now my 2nd favorite game of all time.
 
I find I've kind of cut back on CIV VI playtime as well (total time logged is a little over 1,700 hours). I can still enjoy it every now and then and I love the aesthetics (esp. the music) but I find with me a bit of the thrill is gone. I think a large part of it is, for whatever reason, ever since NFP it seems the game doesn't generate interesting maps quite like it used to. Pre NFP I can recall quite a large number of games with fun and memorable maps, but these last few years... not so much. Never mind too that some map forms like Island Plates and Archipelagos are still glitched... I don't know if they made changes to how the game generates maps at some point in the development, but...
 
James, I like playing YnMAMP, enormous, splintered fractal maps, and I change the age of the world to new. I find that I really restart with this map setting. For me, one of the great things about this setting is that I sometimes find perfect, and useful, spots for Golden Gate Bridge and Panama Canal. Otherwise, for the OP, I have gone back to Civ3, which remains my favorite Civ game ever. Edit: I *have* tried the Augustus mod for *Caesar* 3, and it really is fantastic. It’s practically a remaster done right. If you like city builders, and you like Caesar III, then it’s highly recommended.
 
Age of Empires 3 & 4
Although I haven't yet tried AoE 4, I still very much enjoy AoE 2 greatly over 3. Bigger map sizes, by far, the minimap is a lot cleaner, the age and tech trees are both more straightforward, but still have interesting divergences by civ, trade is more realistic (as RTS go) and the AI is meaner and more effective.
 
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I feel this post hits the nail exactly on the head regarding my gripes and frustrations with modern "strategy" games. Far too many games these days (usually from the Paradox production line) are trying to sell us games with "role-playing" and "story-telling elements" and all of them fail miserably. They miss the issue entirely - good story-telling emerges as a result of gameplay mechanics and how you and your opponents use them in pursuit of a goal. You CANNOT tack-on a "story" by adding events or waxing lyrical about how deep and realistic your simulation is. Every story has a purpose, a character or characters striving to achieve something and facing obstacles and pushback along the way. I feel this is why Paradox games are so hollow. They are designed purely as simulations and the only one actively trying to do anything is the player. All other AI players are just bits of code doing whatever their programming tells them to do.

My most fun Civ IV game was on the Earth map playing as Japan. I conquered my way through Asia, India and Australia to form a vast intercontinental empire. Upon reaching Persia I met Germany who had conquered Europe, Scandinavia and Africa. Two superpowers collided in the Middle East and it wasn't long before all hell, including nuclear weapons, was unleashed. It was all-out bloody mayhem, and it was fantastic fun. No events, no simulation, just two players striving towards winning the game and an almighty, catastrophic world war erupted as a result, completely organically. That was over a decade ago, and I remember this story far better than any of the puerile offerings Civ VI has served up.
 
Although I haven't yet tried AoE 4, I still very much enjoy AoE 2 greatly over 3. Bigger map sizes, by far, the minimap is a lot cleaner, the age and tech trees are both more straightforward, but still have interesting divergences by civ, trade is more realistic (as RTS go) and the AI is meaner and more effective.
I prefer AoE 1 even though they don't have a lot of players the games are of quality since I usually play multiplayer more often than AI or single player. I must admit I do play AoE 2 and it is great, but only if there's no one in AoE 1.
 
Has anybody here tried 'Aggressors: Ancient Rome'? There's a sale now ongoing on Steam and I've picked it up after reading some very positive reviews and just started trying it out, it is too early for some definite opinion, but first impressions are very nice. It is not new, from 2018, but the territory acquisition alone won me over for now: you step on a tile - it is yours, provided it is unclaimed or hostile. No unit teleportations, thanks Jupiter, and there are proper naval transports! The same studio released a newer game along the same lines in 2020: 'Imperiums: Greek Wars'. This one has some DLCs and is also on sale. Reviews are also quite inspiring.
 
As many others have suggested, Old World is a great game! It has a new DLC coming out tomorrow which will shake up the game, as well as an update a couple months ago that did as well. I'm excited to get back into it! :p
 
Just wanted to say thanks for this discussion. It gives me a lot of inspiration. I am still playing Civ6 but even after over 14K game hours (according to steam) my frustration over the still existing bugs and badly balanced game features annoys me more and more. Barbarians still ruin every non-militaristic early-game strategy, even on lower difficulty levels.
Deep in my heart I still hope there will be a Civilization 7 some day, but at the moment I cannot even find rumours about such a thing. Maybe they have given up the franchise after all. But I don't have enough insight and knowledge about the gaming business to know that.
 
Deep in my heart I still hope there will be a Civilization 7 some day, but at the moment I cannot even find rumours about such a thing. Maybe they have given up the franchise after all. But I don't have enough insight and knowledge about the gaming business to know that.
No need to be despondent. The only way there’ll be no Civ 7 is if 2k decides they don’t like money anymore.

This is just how it works. Firaxis doesn’t ever announce Civ games or dlc until it’s nearly ready to go. They don’t do announcements years in advance. For reference, Civ 6 was announced about 6 months before it came out. Before that, there wasn’t a word at all.
 
No need to be despondent. The only way there’ll be no Civ 7 is if 2k decides they don’t like money anymore.

This is just how it works. Firaxis doesn’t ever announce Civ games or dlc until it’s nearly ready to go. They don’t do announcements years in advance. For reference, Civ 6 was announced about 6 months before it came out. Before that, there wasn’t a word at all.

*Old man mode*

They announced Civ3 at E3 in 1999, two and a half years before the game shipped!

*End old man mode*
"Old man mode"

I remember, when I was young in the '80's and early '90's, computer and first- and second-generation console games were advertised and previewed in computing and early computer game magazines. If you didn't read the magizines, or weren't on the game designers' mailing lists, they were a suprise when they hit the shelves.

*End old man mode*
 
Of course, the comment was mostly a joke reference to ancient times. Comparing Civ3 to Civ6, everything in the gaming industry changed between those games. Budgets are different, work at dev studios is different, the role of publishers is different, customer expectations are very different, etc.
 
A movie or a collection of movie about a Tolkien adaptation were also announced at that time and I remember scouting the Internet every week for any little bit of an additionnal information about this secret project.

The world of information and teasing is so different now it's crazy :crazyeye:
 
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