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Old Civs, New Leaders

Bonyduck Campersang

Coper-Seether
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I've been meaning to make this thread for a long time, and logging on to CivFanatics just now I see that the Caesar of Bread has made a very similar one. I am still going to go ahead and post this one, because I believe its purpose is sufficiently focused to merit a separate thread.

Every iteration of Civilization features a fixed staple of civilizations (giving or taking a few). That is unavoidable from a realistic point of view, as you just can't make a game loosely based on historical empires and then give the Romans, Persians and Spanish the miss-in baulk. But what you can do is have a fresh face for the civilizations each time, and you should, not only to break the monotony, but also because there are several great candidates for the staple civilisations who deserve to be known more about.

So what makes a good candidate for a leader for a civilization? There was some interesting discussion about this in the Female Leaders thread, and I am mainly sticking to my guns, though I have broadened my views thanks to the users in that thread.

I will begin by trying to define (loosely) who is a candidate for a Leader, regardless of whether he/she is a good or bad candidate, simply as to what criteria he/she should meet to be considered in the first place.

Firstly, the candidate must have exercised a significant degree of political power. This will include Heads of State, viziers, regents etc. However, I maintain that there should be notable exceptions to this rule. An example is Gandhi. There are some who feel that Gandhi should not be considered a Leader because he held no political office. I would argue that, on the contrary, of all the other leaders feautured in Civilization's ensembles, Gandhi is the most deserving of the 'leader' label. There is nothing really remarkable about ruling people due to divine right or military power, or even through being elected (I am a great cynic when it comes to democracy), but there is something very remarkable about holding sway over millions of people despite your orders not being politically binding or using the threat of force (implicit or explicit, for even the most beloved Head of State's orders carry an implicit threat of violence in case of disobedience). However, Gandhi is an anomaly, and I used him only as an example of an exception.

Another example of a candidate exercising a degree of political power is a grey eminence, or a power behind the throne. Examples include Roxalena, Richelieu, Nogai and the Sayyid brothers.

Now to define what a 'good' candidate is. I believe he should satisfy at least one of three criteria (and preferably all):

1) He must have been CAPABLE: He must have been good at what he did: ruling, conquering, building, leading, building, grey-eminencing etc.

2) He must have been IMPORTANT: His actions, or simply the mythos surrounding him, must have inspired events or legends, even very long after his rule.

3) He must be INTERESTING: He may not have been a very effective leader, but there must have been something unique about his rule, or even his person. For example, a female leader is always more INTERESTING than a male one, simply because there were relatively fewer of them, and because there is something remarkable about a woman holding authority, regardless of whether she was good at exercising it or not. Another example of an interesting but not necessarily good leader is Grigory Rasputin (who satisfies both criteria 2 and 3) who is certainly a very remarkable historical figure, and who can offer some very interesting unique leader abilities.

That concludes the opening post. I will (try to) shortly post my personal choices for leaders for Civilization VII.
 
I agree, and I'll go a step further and say I'd like to see some of the staples given new roles. For example, I'd like to see an Elizabeth I-led culture focused England while Henri IV makes France a commerce-and-colonies civ, sort of swapping their traditional roles. (I know Elizabeth I isn't new, but I won't be satisfied until Firaxis stops portraying her like Victoria.)

There are some who feel that Gandhi should not be considered a Leader because he held no political office.
I really don't think there are very many who hold this opinion. Most people think Gandhi should be retired for some combination of being a tired meme, a stale joke (which, it turns out, is based on a fake story), a sketchy person whose faults have perhaps been overly glossed over, and/or simply because India is overdue for balkanization. I'm in the latter camp myself; having an "India" civ feels rather like having a "European Union" civ. It's high time India was split into two or three civs.
 
England

Henry VIII: Henry satisfies both criteria 2 and 3. He was the one responsible for breaking England away from Rome, and making the ruler of England the Supreme Head of the Church, and invested heavily in the navy. He was also certainly a very flamboyant figure, and it would be interesting to see how he is depicted in Civilization VII.

 France
Richelieu: I love me a good grey eminence, especially one who could be portrayed as a villain

 Russia
Stolypin: I think a big part of why I want Stolypin in CiVII is because of how sorry I felt for him when we studied the Russian Revolution in A-Levels. That, and because he is a figure who often gets ignored in favour of Nicholas II and Rasputin.

Persia
Khusrau: About time we had Sassanian representation in the Civilization series.

Ismail I and Abbas I are also good choices for non-Achaemenid rulers for Persia.

Sweden
Gustav III


Rome
Vespasian

Ottomans
Murad II:
We really need a non-Suleiman leader for the Ottomans. While Mehmed II was the obvious choice, I would like some other leader because Mehmed is already very well-known. Murad II was one of the great Ottoman sultans, who was as canny a propagandist as great as he was a conqueror.

There are several pre-Suleyman sultans who are also good candidates including Orhan, Mehmed I, Bayezid II and Selim I, as well as some good leaders post-Suleyman who can give the lie to the notion that the Ottomans started declining in a straight line after Suleyman including Mehmed IV and Mahmud II, as well as figures such as Köprülü Mehmed Pasha, Roxalena and Turhan Sultan.

Aztecs
Tezozomoc (?)
Moctezuma I

 
Khusrau: About time we had Sassanian representation in the Civilization series.
Which one? There were two of them, and both of them were solid. :p Shahpur II is my personal choice for Sassanid Persia. He ruled the empire at its greatest extent, was a massive builder, and just all around a fun pick. Shahpur I and both Khosrow I and Khosrow II are good choices, though.
 
Which one? There were two of them, and both of them were solid. :p Shahpur II is my personal choice for Sassanid Persia. He ruled the empire at its greatest extent, was a massive builder, and just all around a fun pick. Shahpur I and both Khosrow I and Khosrow II are good choices, though.
The first one, who built the City-Better-than-Antioch, which could be be the basis of a fun leader ability
 
England

Henry VIII: Henry satisfies both criteria 2 and 3. He was the one responsible for breaking England away from Rome, and making the ruler of England the Supreme Head of the Church, and invested heavily in the navy. He was also certainly a very flamboyant figure, and it would be interesting to see how he is depicted in Civilization VII.
He was in Civ 2, but I guess that's too far removed and it's not like there were any separate abilities, or any abilities at all, that would be given to him.
 France
Richelieu: I love me a good grey eminence, especially one who could be portrayed as a villain
Not my first choice for a French leader but I'd love him if we get another spymaster leader for France.
Moctezuma I
We've had him the past 2 games, in Civ 5 and currently Civ 6.

Anyways here are some that I have mentioned before:
Ezana for Ethiopia
Hadrian for Rome
Han Wudi for China
Manuel I for Portugal
Hayam Wuruk for Indonesia

Edit: Can't believe I forgot Thomas Jefferson for America and Akhenaten for Egypt. :crazyeye:
 
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I'd love to have neither Moteuczoma for once. Granted, of Civ's mascots--Gandhi, Shaka, Alexander, Montezuma--he's the one I feel the least need to get rid of (well, I don't mind having Alexander as long as we can also have a less militarized Greece), but it would still be nice to see someone new. Ahuitzotl would be most similar to Moteuczoma as a primarily military-focused tlatoani, while other tlahtokeh could add a diplomatic focus (like Itzcoatl) or culture (like Axayacatl or Nezahualcoyotl).
 
France:
"Bon Roi" Henri IV:
1. He was capable, able to unify both Catholic and Protestants in peace (the Edict of Nantes)
2. He was important, having founded the Bourbon dynasty of France and ending the French Wars of Religion.
Phillip II Augustus:
1. Definitely capable, and took many English lands in France.
2. Important, having led crusades, founded France as a great medieval power.
3. Didn't he sleep in the same bed as Richard the Lionheart when the two were off crusading?
 
Russia:
Ivan IV Vasilyevich
Also known as Ivan 'the Terrible' BUT as I have posted more than once, the better translation of grozhniy is Terrifying or Ivan the Mighty or Formidable (and yes, it says something about traditional Russian thinking that anyone mighty or powerful is automatically also Terrifying!)
So everybody thinks of him as the Conquerer of Novgorod, man who started the Streltsi pike and shot unit (well, barded axe and shot)
BUT (again)
He also started the first printing plant in Moscow, personally wrote (they've been able to check the handwriting on drafts) a stack of religious pamphlets (one modern Russian scholar called him "a pamphleteer of genius"), reformed the Muscovite Legal Code, set up a Council of Nobles and the Zemsky Sobor, or Council of (feudal) Estates, and had the Cathedral of Saint Vasily the Blessed built in Moscow - you know, Saint Basil's, to an architectural design ever used again anywhere.
He established Russia's first 'secret police/Royal Bodyguard', the Oprichnina
He also opened up Russia to trade with England's Muscovy Company (England's first Joint Stock Company) and started the Russian expansion into Siberia.

And he outdid Henry VIII, having at least 7 wives, with 4 recognized by the church and he was negotiating to marry a relative of Elizabeth I of England (and wouldn't That marriage have shaken up the dynastic history of both states!)

So, practically defined the Russian government and Russian army, has his own Unique Unit: the Streltsi, his own Wonder: St Basil's, and has chops for military, cultural, religious, economic, expansionist or trade bonuses
 
Russia:
Ivan IV Vasilyevich
Also known as Ivan 'the Terrible' BUT as I have posted more than once, the better translation of grozhniy is Terrifying or Ivan the Mighty or Formidable (and yes, it says something about traditional Russian thinking that anyone mighty or powerful is automatically also Terrifying!)
So everybody thinks of him as the Conquerer of Novgorod, man who started the Streltsi pike and shot unit (well, barded axe and shot)
BUT (again)
He also started the first printing plant in Moscow, personally wrote (they've been able to check the handwriting on drafts) a stack of religious pamphlets (one modern Russian scholar called him "a pamphleteer of genius"), reformed the Muscovite Legal Code, set up a Council of Nobles and the Zemsky Sobor, or Council of (feudal) Estates, and had the Cathedral of Saint Vasily the Blessed built in Moscow - you know, Saint Basil's, to an architectural design ever used again anywhere.
He established Russia's first 'secret police/Royal Bodyguard', the Oprichnina
He also opened up Russia to trade with England's Muscovy Company (England's first Joint Stock Company) and started the Russian expansion into Siberia.

And he outdid Henry VIII, having at least 7 wives, with 4 recognized by the church and he was negotiating to marry a relative of Elizabeth I of England (and wouldn't That marriage have shaken up the dynastic history of both states!)

So, practically defined the Russian government and Russian army, has his own Unique Unit: the Streltsi, his own Wonder: St Basil's, and has chops for military, cultural, religious, economic, expansionist or trade bonuses
I'd choose Alexander Nevsky

1. He was capable of being a great commander and leader against the Teutonic Order.
2. Ranked #1 in the poll of Greatest Russians. He also founded modern-day Russia.
3. There's a Sergei Einstein film about him that is really influential (second most popular behind Battleship Potemkin) - and he is the literal opposite of Peter and Catherine!

Technically that means that we can do John Lennon for England.
1. He was great at being a dove of peace, and was one of the faces of protests in America and beyond against the Vietnam War.
2. Famous singer and songwriter. Of course, he's famous.
3. A lot. He even made his own nation (Nutopia)!
 
I'd choose Alexander Nevsky

1. He was capable of being a great commander and leader against the Teutonic Order.
2. Ranked #1 in the poll of Greatest Russians. He also founded modern-day Russia.
3. There's a Sergei Einstein film about him that is really influential (second most popular behind Battleship Potemkin) - and he is the literal opposite of Peter and Catherine!
Not going to happen, sadly. Ukraine-Russia War makes it very unlikely we're going to see Russia's capital in Kyiv.
 
Not going to happen, sadly. Ukraine-Russia War makes it very unlikely we're going to see Russia's capital in Kyiv.
Novgorod was his capital, not Kyiv
 
Novgorod was his capital, not Kyiv
He was still Grand Prince of Kyiv. I very, very much wanted a Rus' flavored Russia, but the unfortunate reality is that's not going to happen while Russia is at war with Ukraine--so we're stuck with a Romanov.

had the Cathedral of Saint Vasily the Blessed built in Moscow
I think there's some prime irony--or symbolism--in the fact that Ivan IV patronized a cathedral dedicated to a holy fool. :mischief:
 
Technically that means that we can do John Lennon for England.
That would be one way to make me stop being a pacifist player, especially if his theme music was that ghastly nonsense "Imagine." :lol:
 
To me, An ideal candidate would be A leader who led the country through a crossroads. Or failed at some grand vision that the player might be able to reenact and see through.

Eg. what if Ulysses S Grant’s vision of reconstruction had been followed through, and he hadn’t been held back by the disfunction of his own establishment or the racial animus of his own people? What if Akhenaten’s new monotheistic Egyptian religion had taken root?
 
Which one? There were two of them, and both of them were solid. :p Shahpur II is my personal choice for Sassanid Persia. He ruled the empire at its greatest extent, was a massive builder, and just all around a fun pick. Shahpur I and both Khosrow I and Khosrow II are good choices, though.
Ah, Khosrow II and the letter from a then-little-known Bedouin religious leader and founder in the Hejaz named Mohammed, allegedly peacefully asking him to amicably convert his empire to this new religion based on a new take on Abrahamic roots called Islam (the Arabic word for, "submission") completely at odd with the Zoroastrian state religion of the Sassanid Empire, which he apparently tore up in a rage and sent his own letter to his vassal, the ruler of Yemen, to bring this man of the Hejaz to his court in chains (except that Yemen had already fallen to Mohammed's followers), thus sealing the fate of Khosrow's several short-serving successors, and his empire. Probably an inaccurate anecdote, but it's colourful...
 
Not going to happen, sadly. Ukraine-Russia War makes it very unlikely we're going to see Russia's capital in Kyiv.
Ugh! Modern politics in game!

"The past being enslaved by the present is propaganda and revisionism,
The present being enslaved by the past is not learning the lessons of history,"

-Quote Author Unremembered Embarrassingly by Quoter
 
Ah, Khosrow II and the letter from a then-little-known Bedouin religious leader and founder in the Hejaz named Mohammed, allegedly peacefully asking him to amicably convert his empire to this new religion based on a new take on Abrahamic roots called Islam (the Arabic word for, "submission") completely at odd with the Zoroastrian state religion of the Sassanid Empire, which he apparently tore up in a rage and sent his own letter to his vassal, the ruler of Yemen, to bring this man of the Hejaz to his court in chains (except that Yemen had already fallen to Mohammed's followers), thus sealing the fate of Khosrow's several short-serving successors, and his empire. Probably an inaccurate anecdote, but it's colourful...
It all sounded quite peaceful until the letter was torn up
 
He was still Grand Prince of Kyiv. I very, very much wanted a Rus' flavored Russia, but the unfortunate reality is that's not going to happen while Russia is at war with Ukraine--so we're stuck with a Romanov.


I think there's some prime irony--or symbolism--in the fact that Ivan IV patronized a cathedral dedicated to a holy fool. :mischief:
For Aleksandr of the Neva (Nevskii) his most important title was Grand Prince of Vladimir, which meant he was the highest-ranking Russian puppet under the Mongol khans of the Golden Horde based at Sarai (near modern Volgograd) on the Volga. While he was a very good military leader against the Christian west, he was completely subservient to the Mongols. That means his capital could be either Novgorod or Vladimir, but it also means he could do nothing without looking over his shoulder towards Sarai or Karakorum.

A better choice, and like Ivan IV also not a Romanov, would be:
Dmitrii Ivanovich (Demetrius Ioannovich)Donskoi - Dmitry of the Don, Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir and a Saint of the Orthodox church.

There are three great 'field battles' in Russian military history, and Dmitrii won the first of them: Kulikovo Field against the Mongol Golden Horde in 1380. He was the first Prince of Moscow to openly defy the Mongols and get away with it, because after Kulikovo by the Don River the Mongols never came back, Moscow stopped paying tribute, and under Dmitrii the city state of Moscow became the first really independent Russian polity and his son became Prince of Moscow without consulting the Mongol khans.
He also started the building of the Moscow Kreml (kremlin) in stone (there had been a wooden fort there for at least 300 years already) as a fortress, which put a punctuation mark on the independence of Moscow and the Muscovites. If anybody 'founded' independent Russia, it was Dmitrii, not Alekandr.

I'd still slightly prefer Ivan IV for Russia, though - also a pre-Romanov and also with a claim to 'founding' Russia - he was the first Grand Prince or Prince of Moscow to also adopt the title of Tsar of Russia.
 
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