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[GS] Outposts/Colonies

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Jkchart, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. Jkchart

    Jkchart King

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    Any thought as to whether it would be in the best interest of the game to be able to claim land with say an outpost improvement? It might make it easier to claim less valuable tiles without expending a valuable settler (so you can control the north and its resources, but you aren't really getting yields of food/production etc.).

    I noticed Humankind is doing this, and I think it would be valuable to have some kind of other border expansion than cities. It's annoying if you play a whole game and there's still large swaths of unclaimed territory, I mean think of the military bases and smaller outposts used historically to claim territory.

    And yes, I'm pretty sure "there's a mod for that" with forts, etc., but I like official content too :p
     
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  2. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    There have been a number of Threads that all or in part discussed the idea of "Smaller Than A City" ways to claim territory, exploit Resources, etc.
    Since then, as you state, the new/proposed Humankind game seems to have an 'Outpost' system of some kind that is a single-tile 'construction' that claims one of their Regions but (apparently - we've seen like 1 - 2 screenshots of them so far with no real details about how they work) does not seem to be able to 'expand' into neighboring tiles the way their cities do.

    And yes, Civ has needed something like this for a long, long time. At the least, we need something between a Barbarian Camp or ephemeral Tribal Village and a full-size City that indicates that Your People are living in an area and exploiting its bounties.
    An Outpost, in other words, but I think of an Outpost as having a Military connotation, and would rather have a more Generic term applied to them. Maybe Settlement, Village, Town, Hamlet - something indicating a concentration of people working the land but not with the concentration of population and services associated with a city. I suggest a single-tile 'small town' graphic that would control a single-tile radius (so, 7 tiles total) around itself in which you could build Improvements - but not Districts or Wonders, because there just aren't enough resources concentrated there to support such major works. You could fortify such a Settlement, but it would cost more than regular city walls because you would have to 'import' so much of the workforce and materials. Without Districts there wouldn't be a lot of buildings you could build in the Settlement, and I suggest that military units other than Scout/Recon units could not be built there - not enough 'surplus population' to march a bunch of them away and still keep the settlement going! Basically, you'd be limited to constructing Builders, Scouts, Monuments, Walls, Water Mills, and a few other City Center-only structures (but not all: Sewers don't seem appropriate for a 'small town' or Frontier Village of the sort we are trying to reproduce here)

    I'd suggest, if keeping the current Civ VI collection of Units and capabilities, that a Settlement could be 'founded' by using 2 Builder Charges, so a Settler would not be required.
    Upgrading a Settlement to a City could be done several ways:
    Implicitly - set up a Trade Route to the Settlement, and a certain percentage of population will follow the road to it and after X turns you could upgrade the Settlement. That means you are trading a certain amount of Trade Income in most cases for a Settler. If we want to make Upgrading more difficult, the Upgrade might require a population point from the city in which the Trade Route originates.
    Explicitly - send a Settler OR a Military Unit of any kind Other Than a Scout/Recon unit and 'add' them to the Settlement. Basically, you are sending Homesteaders or Migrants or settling your Veterans there.
     
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  3. Jaster83

    Jaster83 Chieftain

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    The problem with being able to upgrade them to full on cities without using a Settler is that it would be so abused, and insanely hard to balance. I think if it were important enough for you to want to make a real city out of it you should have to use a full on Settler.
    *Edit-Moved my last statement to directly after my first so the post makes more sense*
    As it is I just plop a settler down and turn off all growth so that the town doesn't need amenities and trot over a builder with 1 charge left, or buy one if there's a good enough reason. Basically does the same thing, makes an "outpost" you don't really mess with that gets you the resource(s) you want.

    I've been thinking about Engineers and how basically worthless they are... this could make them a lot more viable. As they are now, with two charges, maybe give them the ability to make a fort for one charge and tag a resource node that is adjacent to a fort or not more than 1 tile outside of territory you control for one charge. There'd be no yield benefit, but it would give you that resource and the ability to trade it, and if someone felt it was valuable enough to settle on it to claim it as theirs they could still put a settler down. Could add an even deeper dynamic over wars for resources, especially ones that appear later in the game like oil and aluminum.

    Could require a fort and a road connecting it to the fort, so in effect one engineer could claim one resource, one tile off of the Fort, and if there were several near the fort you could use multiple engineers to connect roads to them and have one fort connected to several, other Civs could then pillage these "international" roads without having to declare war, so in order to keep that resource it'd cost a military unit on that tile, and you'd be notified which country pillaged the road, and pillaging the AI's roads would upset them (create grievances? I only have Vanilla right now =\)
    Maybe require a trader to be sent to the fort, and receive nothing for the route except that resource because it's not domestic or foreign, it's not even a city.
    Not sure how they'd code this so that the AI would use it and it wouldn't just give human players a huge unfair advantage over the AI.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
  4. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Your final statement negates your first one. The problem is not how to keep Outposts not requiring a Settler from being 'spammed', it's to find a reason to build an Outpost at all when a Settler/City can do everything an Outpost can do, but more and better.

    The real problem with an 'outpost' mechanic of any kind is how to make it worthwhile to build an Outpost when someone else can romp in with a Settler, build a City, and effectively erase the Outpost. Right now, and ever since the Civ franchise started, the game is set up on a City-Or-Nothing basis. Everything important in the game: production, population, science, religion, culture - is built around Cities. With a City you have (potentially) access to everything you need to Win, without a city, you have Nothing.

    To add a useable Outpost or Less-Than-City mechanic to the game the problem is how to make them a viable alternative to simply spitting out Settlers and Cities. The current 'limitation' of taking a population point to build a Settler is minor: in most cases you regain the population in a few turns, and with a slightly promoted Governor you negate the population requirement entirely.

    So, any Outpost or similar mechanic has to first address a real need in the game, all of which are now sequestered under Cities. I think more dynamism in that regard would be good for the game, but simply adding the possibility of building a Outpost isn't enough: we'd also have to make 'spamming' cities harder and more expensive than it is worth in some situations, which is where an Outpost would actually be useful.
    I suspect the way to do this would be to add a real Colony mechanism where a Settler doesn't start a city at all, but the 'in between' settlement that has to be grown into a city, rather than make founding a city as easy as it is now. That would also make the early settlement period very chancy and possibly result in the resulting city not even being yours, which would be a bit off-putting for a lot of players, but perfectly Historical: the Greeks founded a bunch of colony cities along the north Black Sea coast that all wound up as dependencies on the Scythians, and the Dutch and Swedish colonies in North America ended up as English colonies, and then American States. A fine historical mechanism, but no fun at all if you are playing as Greece, Netherlands or Sweden!
     
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  5. The googles do nothing

    The googles do nothing Prince

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    That's my thought too. A outpost could be unaffected by loyalty perhaps.
     
  6. Jaster83

    Jaster83 Chieftain

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    Disclaimer: I only have Vanilla, but I have read how the loyalty/Governor system works, so if I say anything that sounds dumb for R&F then my apologies in advance, please be kind =D.

    Rearranged so the post makes more sense =)

    I think you're right, to make Outposts necessary you would first have to rework the current method of founding cities... and do it in such a way that reflects that to found a town next to your Capital is fairly simple, you're right next door, but to found one on a different continent without giving it any type of continued support would very likely be a short term prospect. Right now it's fairly low risk to march a settler halfway across the map and plop him down in an unsettled area. It seems the loyalty system addresses people doing this type of thing near an established Civ, so that's good.

    Without completely changing everything perhaps there should be some sort of system where you can combine a settler with a naval unit or create a new naval "settler" unit and give it "Colonization" charges (2-3 charges maybe) to be used on coastline.It could be used to establish "Colonies" on a coast that would in effect be a "Free City" and would require you to finish a trade route to them before they would become your city, but in the mean-time, even without a trade route, the resources gained are considered yours, like if you were the Suzerain of a City-State. The risk would be if another Civ finishes a trade route to the Colony first, it becomes theirs. After the Colony ships use all their charges turn them into a caravel perhaps. Make them available with the Exploration Civic, or a cheap off-shoot that has Exploration Civic as a prereq.

    Some sort of colonization, linked to the naval system and the trade system could perhaps more accurately reflect the history of the colonization of the new world starting in the 1500's.

    This should be coupled with making Privateers appear without any national affiliation and capable of raiding trade routes and other ships without declaring war. (Which is a lot more historically accurate.) It would make the naval game a lot more entertaining, and controlling the seas incredibly important if you wanted to expand to new continents across an ocean, which is a lot more historically accurate.

    I think doing something like this, while still allowing Privateers to be upgraded to subs that have nationality would allow you to continue to use privateers into the end-game, but with a very high risk of them being hunted down and destroyed if you use them to harass trade routes of developed civs. Also giving planes and other naval units the ability to detect naval raiders from earlier eras as though they didn't have the naval raider cloak would be more accurate, and make Privateers very likely to get dispatched by a civ in the industrial era. This would also be far more realistic, as a nuclear class submarine would have a major stealth advantage over the previous diesel subs, and anything from the modern era would have no problem seeing a boat with sails within its sight radius.

    Hell, simply doing the Privateer change would be incredibly impactful, but coupled with the Colony ships it would be a lot of fun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
  7. Jaster83

    Jaster83 Chieftain

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    The problem with that is it wouldn't be historically accurate and would make an outpost a better alternative than using a settler for areas that are populated by other civs. Perhaps some sort of outpost that would allow any country that sent a trade route to it to gain the use of whatever resource it was near? Allowing every country the benefit of an outpost, but also allowing any country that wanted to claim the resource solely for itself the ability to do so with a settler, but by so doing would be beholden to the current loyalty system?

    Make it an action that consumes a builder, so that you would only use a builder with one remaining charge, and you'd have to get the builder to the location without losing it, so you'd need an escort. Coupled with making the Privateer unit nationless it would add a fun new and perhaps risky way of claiming resources without having to use a settler.
     
  8. The googles do nothing

    The googles do nothing Prince

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    I was thinking that an outpost would consume a population to build like a settler, allow you access work tiles and make basic improvements on them, but have population and not build districts or units.
     
  9. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Since I base most of my arguments and discussions on History (or hadn't anybody noticed that yet?) my criteria and aspects of an Outpost based on history would be:

    1. Cannot build Districts or build Units larger than Scouts OR civilian units of any kind - all of those require more resources in Production and People than a Smaller-Than-City Outpost is going to have. Basically, if you were to form a Settler or even a Builder out of an Outpost, the Outpost disappears for lack of any remaining population. The requirements to train a bunch of Missionaries or Apostles or Gurus would also take up so much in resources that the Outpost couldn't feed itself, so none of that either.

    2. Has no intrinsic defense. Sure, you can have Armed Homesteaders, who might fight off small raiding parties, but even in the gun-happy US expansion of the 19th century, when the regular military withdrew to fight the Civil War in 1861, the frontier in Texas moved back over 150 miles because of settlers running for safety in the face of Comanche raids - they felt, even if they always weren't - defenseless.

    3. Can exploit specific resources - like the 'sugar colonies' in the Caribbean, the earliest Greek colonies in Spain exploiting mineral deposits, the Mining Towns in the American West (Deadwood, Dakota for a familiar example), but it takes other factors to make any of these grow into a city. Famously, in fact, many of the Gold/Silver Rush towns in the 19th century collapsed when the accessible gold or silver ran out, and remain, if anything, small or ghost towns today. Truckee, Nevada, was home to a huge 'Boom' and one of the largest Silver Strikes anywhere in the 1850s: it is NOT a major city even in Nevada today!

    4. Setting up an 'Outpost/Colony" requires resources from the Homeland. And the further away they are, or the more different the local climate/terrain is from what's familiar Back Home, the more resources they require. And technology to overcome the differences. In the Greek expansion of colonies in the 8th - 6t centuries BCE, virtually all the new Greek colonies around the Mediterranean, Spain, Black Sea coasts were in spots very similar in terrain and climate to Greece. The technology to make a bunch of Greeks survive in, say, a tropical rain forest/jungle (down the African coast) or in a heavy-forested northern European environment simply didn't exist yet (or at least, not among the Greeks!). In extreme cases, Outposts/Colonies may require continuous resupply of people before they get settled: Jamestown, Virginia killed 75 - 90% of the Europeans who originally tried to settle there, and it was several generations before the 'Virginia Colony' was any kind of a going concern and started producing anything positive for England.

    5. Outposts/Colonies can be taken over by another Civ - or even a City State. Examples are legion - many of the Greek colonies mentioned above became dependency of the Scythians, Celtic Gauls, or North African tribes and groups, the Dutch colony at New Amsterdam in North America was snapped up by the British, and the Russian colonies (little more than Trading Posts) on the Pacific Coast of North America were bought by the USA - as, of course, was the French 'Louisiana' colonial holding in central North America.

    So, perhaps the answer is to treat an Outpost/Colony as a way to exploit a specific resource only, only potentially and with effort later being 'expandable' into a city.
    In other words, an Outpost is simply a way of making a tile eligible for building a Mine, Plantation, Pasture, or other 'resource extracting' Improvement which makes that Resource available to the Homeland.
    Perhaps a simple Builder Action:
    3 Charges turns a tile into a tile controlled by your Civ, so that with another Charge you can build a MIne or other Improvement there. Other conditions being correct, you could even build, say, a Monastery there for a Religious boost.
    IF the tile is the same as the majority of tiles within your 'regular' Civ borders, it takes only 2 Builder Charge - it would be much easier for a desert-based Mali to Colonize a desert tile than, say, Tundra-based Russia.

    Note that by requiring 4 Charges to complete an Improvement in an Outpost, you either need 'improved' Builders or two Builders - establishing a 'colony' in unfamiliar climate/terrain early in the game would and should not be easy. Maintaining it early in the game with the usual swarms of Barbarians roaming the map would pretty much require a Military Unit sitting on top of it.

    It should be possible to Fortify an Outpost/Colony, but that should take twice the Charges an ordinary Fort requires, because of the extreme difficulty of getting supplies, manpower, and building materals to the site. The stone fortifications at Ticonderoga and St Augustine look impressive in North America, but they are very minor Forts compared to similar constructions in Europe that weren't at the end of a long, long supply line.
     
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  10. Socrates-

    Socrates- Chieftain

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    This is a cool idea! In fact, if I remember correctly in Civ 3 it was possible to have a worker build an outpost over a strategic resource outside your territory. Although I'm not sure you were able to upgrade it into a city later on.

    Anyway, maybe a idea to have a look at the way this outpost used to work :)
     
  11. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    There was a 'Genoa' Mod Civ in Civ V that included, until it was modified itself, a mechanism for establishing 1-tile 'patches' of Genoese territory on top of Resources almost anywhere on the map not already claimed by somebody - a rather neat way of reproducing the Genoese 'empire' of trading posts and trading 'factories' all over the Mediterranean basin and Black Sea during the Renaissance. Given that many of the the American colonies mostly started as 'resouce-exploiting' colonies as well, I confess that I was thinking of that model when I made my previous Post.
     
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  12. Jkchart

    Jkchart King

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    Civ III had "Colony" improvements for resources, and I think those would be neat to bring back
     
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  13. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    Civ Beyond earth had cities settle as an outpost phase, which then had to take some number of turns to set up. They ended up having 1 ring of tiles around them.
    Then you had "stations" as a variant of city states, which also had some interesting interactions.
    Transplanting the concept, you could always have some "extra action" to transition to a full city and have outposts lack certain attributes - like the defense and production ability of a city- but also certain downsides - like various upkeep or amenity or sprawl costs. The fact that it took time and they were very vulnerable, and would be destroyed if captured, added some fun gameplay.
     
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  14. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Thank you! It's been so long since I even opened BE I'd forgotten about its 'progressive' version of city-founding.

    Of course, then one has to wonder why go to all the trouble of having a separate 'Settler' Unit if it's only going to give you a Potential City instead of an up and going City ready for Districts et al.

    Perhaps it's time to retire both the Settler except for special occasions (overseas colonies?) and the Builder - have Improvements built from the city as in Endless Legend, let any unit 'start' an Outpost/colony/settlement but it will take a varying amount of time to get it to city status - and, as posted above, the more different the terrain and climate are or longer the distance is from your 'homeland' the longer it may take. Not to mention the possibility of your budding 'colony' being snapped up by another Civ or stormed by Barbarians.

    And, of course, some Units might be able to give the Colony/Outpost a 'running start' - Military Engineers spring to mind. Another possibility is for Great People to be able to 'jump start' a Colony into a city very fast - Great Engineers or Great Generals are both obvious candidates, but why couldn't Apostles also attract population faster and therefore speed the conversion of Outpost to City?
     
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  15. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    I think what could work is that there are several ways to found an outpost - builders in your borders, military engineers outside, possibly other stuff as the game goes on- but settlers uniquely are used to create a true city. Since settlers are expensive and relocate a population point, you could require this large infusion of people and material to actually turn an outpost to a city.
    One could have some benefit for founding a city on an outpost vs any old tile. (Faster set up time, starts with a free building, or whatever.)

    By keeping outposts tied but still independent to true city settlement, they can become very flexible things on the map. For example, outposts in your borders could be built over with a district, speeding build time. They could be a nexus for loyalty effects, trade routes, or finally having true Castles appear on the map.

    Perhaps clearing barb camps or finding a tribal village could sometimes generate an outpost for you. Some Civ’s could have special effects (Portuguese Feitoria, anyone? Russian Kreposts?) for them. City states could use them in some capacity to be more than a dot on the map.
     
  16. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I have posted before on expanding the options with 'Barbarians' to include hiring their units or incorporating them into your Civ in some way. This could tie in with an Outpost System, in that a Barbarian Camp, under certain circumstances, becomes an Outpost for you - likewise a 'Tribal Village'.

    And to increase the usefulness of Outposts, under certain circumstances they might turn into Cities on their own - as, for instance, if a Trade Route is traced through them, which would imply population spreading along the trade route and settling there, eventually reaching 'critical mass' for a 1-Pop city without needing a specific Settler. Building a Road to an Outpost would /should also increase the population moving there until it hits City Status, even without a Trade Route (another use for Military Engineers, or even ordinary Builders or Great Engineers)
     
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  17. Bechhold

    Bechhold King

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  18. Jaster83

    Jaster83 Chieftain

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    This could be interesting...

    After a certain point (sometime in the medieval perhaps?) you'd be able to create a new type of settler that requires a certain district and t2 building, and when it "settles" it creates that type of district instead of a city center. You couldn't place any other districts until you placed and built a city center, and the borders wouldn't grow on their own without purchasing tiles. (Maybe even cost more until there was a city center district.)

    For example, say you have an encampment or a commercial hub in your capital. You build a Military Engineer (requires a t2 building in the encampment) and you could then take the ME out to settle a new town, and it would start with walls. You'd still need to be able to somehow make improvements, either through the district directly or with a builder, so you could work the tiles with citizens. Likewise, the Commercial Hub would allow you to build a new unit that would let you set a Commercial Hub down, then you'd have to build a city center.

    This type of system would be more historically accurate, where a town grew up around a fort, a port, or intersecting trade routes, and even generations later it's still abundantly clear what caused the city to be located there, or a town may be 300 years old but never get any bigger than a small harbor. Might be kinda hard to code this for the AI though =D
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
  19. dagriggstar

    dagriggstar Prince

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    Well if we are linking it to colonialism really, an outpost is an improvement you build inside another civs territory (or city-state), that gives you access to whatever resource is nearby. Why would the other civ allow this - well they'd rather you didn't, but fear your military might. Maybe you can turn it into a traditional city, if for whatever reason the other civ cedes the area to you. If it's unclaimed land, why would you not just build a new city proper there, anyway ?

    I think they'd need to introduce something like "economic resources" for it to make sense in a civ game though. Like, strategics and luxuries you only really need one "source" and you're good. An economic resource like say, if you have 1-2-3-4-5 copies you gain 1-4-8-13-19 gold per turn. You are strongly encouraged to try set up monopolies. Which in turn, would mean grabbing territory all over the world. For me anyway, it's pretty rare I settle a city specifically to get a new resource, usually it's just to build more stuff (more science, culture etc).
     
  20. Sirsquier

    Sirsquier Warlord

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    Besides the Outpost/village. Forts should be able to be built outside your land and have a small amount of control along with a ranged attack.
     

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