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Patrolling - beefed up sentry system to reduce micromanagement

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by blackprince, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. blackprince

    blackprince Chieftain

    Dec 11, 2007
    It doesn't look like anyone's posted this idea up till now, but imho it would be a simple enough interface fix that would make one aspect of the game much more enjoyable, and reduce micro-management.

    The sentry command for units is useful in its own way, but sometimes you don't have enough units to blanket cover the area you want to watch, so you move the unit up and down the "border" / sea-lane in order to check for encroaching units from other civs. I particularly find myself doing this with naval units as they're so damn expensive to build, I don't want to spend too many resources on them if I can avoid it.

    What I would like is a command which brings up a patrol route definition tool. I choose the squares I want the unit to patrol, and then it does that automatically at the beginning of every turn from now on. Should the patrolling unit catch sight of an enemy unit the patrol would be woken up (like a sentry) so that it pops up as something requiring attention, but otherwise continues on its merry way. The patrol routes could be multi-turn patrols if the unit's movement allowance was insufficient to complete it in a turn. The only difficulty I see is how to wake the patrolling unit if it only spots an enemy when it reaches the final square of its patrol - i.e. runs out of movement points. :scan:

    Talking of this does remind me that fortified units could ideally have some kind of similar wake facility on sight of an enemy, or at least those which are resting from battle. How many scouts have you lost because you forgot about the approaching bear you could see from two turns out (being on top of a hill), because your scout didn't wake himself in the interests of self-preservation? :rolleyes:

    A further expansion of the waking on sighting an enemy would be to be able to define civs of concern, e.g. your number one enemy whom you just happen to be temporarily at peace with. I would really like to know - and be reminded!! - if he/she send a huge invasion armada towards my lands straight through my cordon of ships strung out across mid-ocean specifically to watch for such an eventuality. On the flip side one could also flag certain enemy units fortified stationary inside your territory that 'yes I know they're there: please stop waking my chariot (who can't fortify) unless they move again, because they're not a major concern right now'.
  2. Khan Quest

    Khan Quest Chieftain

    Dec 5, 2003
    Right behind you
    Excelent suggestion.
  3. Party

    Party Chieftain

    Oct 11, 2007
    I agree, that would be nice to have.
  4. ChicagoCubs

    ChicagoCubs Chieftain

    Mar 6, 2006
    I am not a big fan of the patrol route, even though I'd use it.

    I would prefer an extended visibilty range. I would leave a function called "sleep" as it currently exists in the game. I would add "sentry" as a new feature. It would work something like:

    1. When you hit the sentry key, the unit maintains it's visibilty range for the next two turns.

    2. As long as the unit hasn't moved, on the third turn, the visibilty increases by 1. This would represnt the unit is familiar with the territory and is patrolling.

    3. As long as the unit hasn't moved, on the tenth turn, the visibility increases by another tile.

    4. Any unit that is in sentry mode will gain some basic fortifed level.

    5. All other civs movements in the sentry's visibilty will be reported in the chat log. The exception to this is if the movement occurred within someone else's cultural borders.

    6. All enemy movements in the sentry's visibility will cause the unit to wake up; however, you can send it right back to sentry mode with the same range as long as you don't move it. This would cycle to the sentry unit, and allow you to wake up any other units in the stack.

    7. If the units are in a fort, you gain another tile of visiblity. Makes for great use of forts on your borders.
  5. blackprince

    blackprince Chieftain

    Dec 11, 2007
    I see where you're coming from, ChicagoCubs, and that would be an interesting alternative. The improvement I proposed is merely an interface / automation issue which doesn't involve any gameplay amendments. Your expanding sentry system would need to be carefully tested for its impact on game balance. For instance would it be appropriate for the sentry visibility range to expand into rival territory (where strictly speaking the unit shouldn't be patrolling if you don't have an open borders agreement)? And of course patrols passing through enemy territory should be open to ambush... :mischief:

    Re chat log - does that function in single player mode? (Where I always play, I'm missing out I know, but don't have the time to devote to multiplayer.) Also even if it does, it would be something else to have to check. One of the slight annoyances for me about Civ is that because it's only a game I don't every turn check every single part of my empire - I want the action to move faster than that. If an event of concern is flagged to me at the beginning of a turn I often have forgotten about it by the end of the turn, and then I have to go back and reload not as a cheat, but as a response of the kind "hey, of course I wasn't going to just leave my unit(s) out there in the open, but I forgot to move them after having moved 50 others and selected 10 new buildings to construct". Some of my extensions to the patrolling idea, e.g. waking healing units in danger, are as much about solving that problem. The AI doesn't forget about such things, and in the real world any half-decent advisor would not let you forget about them either, so I'm just looking for some ways to eliminate some of the tedium. Like most veteran Civ players I turn off city governors, opting to choose exactly what is build each time, that aspect of micromanagement is important in order to get my civ looking exactly how I want it. But other aspects could be improved just by the interface doing some of the donkey work for me. Let's hope Firaxis are reading this...

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