Please review my house rules for single player

ViktorGamer

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If you ever played chess with professional player you know that once you touch a piece you must play with it!
if you don't you lose the game.
If you touch 2nd piece you lose the game.
If the move you played is invalid you lose the game.

As simple as that, there is no but...
If you're new then a pro player will tell you, OK let's start a new game but this time you must follow the rules, at least that's how I learned to play chess.

In this thread post I'm going to put my short story and few "chess rules" that apply to Civ and then later I'll put rationale behind these rules to explain why they matter.
In the end I'll put some additional rules that are optional for you to follow, they improve gameplay experience and end game value.

~~~

I'm one of those who play higher difficulties ex. immortal but with some exceptions which is that I very often reload a turn (sometimes even several turns back) if gameplay goes unfavorable such as mis-settled city, misplaced district or loss of a unit or city.
Also I would abuse the AI by selling them excess resources which they overvalue as much as possible to skyrocket my GPT much higher than what's normal income of most AI's in given era.
Then also when I start a new game I would restart a map like 10-20 times over until I get a river start on coast with luxury resources around.

By using these methods it's not hard for me to have an advantage over the AI and my excuse was that the AI is getting bonuses so now we are even, it's "fair game" because my cheat is justified due to AI cheating me with bonuses.
I didn't do this only in Civ games, I did it with almost every 4X game and I did this since I play strategy games and this become my really bad habit, so bad that I didn't realize how bad it is.

As I write this post I suppose how you feel and what you think, you must be having negative opinion of me, but you're right because I learned on my own skin that this is very wrong not so much due to cheating but more because it ruins gameplay experience and also ruins game replay value because it becomes easy to learn how to win by using trial and error.
However knowing how to win should be learned by player by playing more gameplays rather than reloading single gameplay to learn all in one gameplay, this made many mainstream strategy games boring to me very soon after first few gameplays.

And now I decided to put an end to this problem for good, I wish to make a very short and strict list of "house rules" and I whish to stick to them, here are only 5 "must abide" rules.

Rules:

1. Restarting a map for a new game is allowed at most 2 times without saving your starts (this is to avoid going from start 3 to start 2 ex. because previous start was better)
- For example, if you restart a map 1st time then either you stick with the new 2nd start or you restart for the last time for 3rd start which you then must accept.
2. You are not allowed to reload a game under any circumstances except to continue game next day from latest save point.
- If there is computer crash you're allowed to reload earlier but you must repeat your last moves and actions exactly.
3. You're not allowed to use any kind of cheating mods which would give you an advantage or information that is otherwise not available in game.
4. The minimum price tag at which you're allowed to buy and maximum at which you're allowed to sell stuff from\to the AI is:
- 10 GPT per 1 luxury resource. (or 300 flat gold)
- 10 GPT per 30 strategic resources. (or 300 flat gold)
- 5 GPT for open borders (or 150 flat gold)
5. You're not allowed to stop producing or changing production of military or civilian units that are 1 or few turns from finished.

Rationale for rules:

1. You just like other AI players must have equal probability of a good starting position, just like there is a probability for you to have a bad start so is there a probability of the AI player to have bad start.
If you keep restarting until your start is good this means you have clearly increased your probability for a good start while the AI has not been given the same treatment, therefore this is unfair game.

Rule No.1 allows up to 2 restarts which results in max. 3 possible positions, if you restart and find out that your new start is worse than previous one you're not allowed to reload previous start instead you have only 1 additional chance to restart again.
If you decide to restart yet again then what ever 3rd start is you must accept it, thus it's wise to accept mediocore 1st start because you might as well end up with much worse start if you restart.

This is fair game for both you and the AI because every restart reduces your probability of a good start by 33% while in same time it does not affect the AI unfavorably as much as if you would restart indefinitely.

2. Rule No. 2 is chess like rule aka. "touched - moved", a piece touched is the piece you must play with.
Rationale is that if you reload just as not to lose a unit then it's unfair game because the AI player is not given the same chance, thus you again increased your probability to win.

Another rationale is, we know end game is boring because player is snowballing in every aspect but this rule helps a lot to reverse this:
if the AI killed your unit or captured your city in early or mid game this means you will need some time to recover and rebuild your forces, and it is this time which will prolong your gameplay experience because now it will take much longer until you can feel secure, which means catching up the AI will take longer and may even go as far as into late game, depending on your loses.

3. mods which reveal hidden information that is otherwise not available in game (diplomatic visibility) and mods which let you circumvent some restrictions or those which give you flat resources and units is clearly unfair game and must not be used.
Example of such mod
QoL mods which provide more information that is available in game anyway trough diplomatic visibility are an exception to this rule, example of such mod

4. The AI is obviously trading very horribly to it's own detriment, it's both unfair and not fun game to exploit that to your advantage, instead we should help the AI to be perfect in those areas in which it is not by treating him fairly.

5. Producing military units but leaving them at 1 turn until complete in the city with the aim to cut on unit gold maintenance cost, or to trick the AI into thinking you're weak to provoke an attack for easy victory,
and then suddenly you produce a bunch of military in a single turn and easily defeat the AI.
This is clearly unfair because the AI does not do these things to cheat or trick human player, also very likely the AI isn't designed to predict this human trickstery thus it's unfair to use this strategy.
Similarly you're not allowed to do the same for builders, ex. waiting until you apply policy card which gives you +2 builder actions, thus ensuring you use the card only once rather than across 2 policy changes as it's usually the case.
Next policy change might take only 3 turns, thus you produce builders upfront and then apply policy for those 3 turns and change it soon afterwards is unfair.

Optional rules for better end game and gameplay XP:

1. You're "not allowed" to win.
A simple rule which results in better endgame, in order for you to win a game you must lead in every victory condition in order for you to win one of them.
For example if you're going for science victory, your science victory is valid only if you lead in every other victory condition.
For example if you win scientific victory but one of the AI's is leading in culture then your victory is false and you lost the game.

Rationale is simple, having lead in every victory condition will take more effort and will surely go far into the end game, your only obstacle to this is difficulty you're playing on.
Thus if you're unable to achieve such victory you might as well have fun playing on one difficulty below what's your normal.
But from my XP, it's not extremely hard, I achieved lead in all conditions except faith on immortal difficulty before reaching information era.

2. Victory doesn't count if your favor per turn is negative
If your favor per turn is negative this likely means you took out too many capitals or grievances against you are far beyond reasonable.
Civ AI is not militaristic, thus going for domination victory is nothing but beating a dead horse.
Ensuring positive favor per turn means realistic game because you don't abuse the AI which is uncapable to pose same military challenge to human player.

These 2 optional rules thus ensure more fun in end game because achieving them takes effort and skills.

I'm sure you know of some more rules which could be added, if so please do share them, I'm very interested to hear about how you rule your games!
 
Last edited:

vorlon_mi

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Many long-time Civ players will agree with rule 2. A nickname was developed for reloading previous saves, to try for a better result from the random number generator (RNG): "save scumming." Many players here frown on it; it is not allowed for games submitted to the different CivFanatics Halls of Fame for other franchise games.

I'm less of a "pro chess player" for this one. Most 4X games (Old World is a notable exception) do not have an "undo" function. If I mis-click when sending a builder/worker or settler into danger, there's no way to undo that, except by reloading a previous save. I have reloaded to recover from a genuine mistake with keyboard or mouse. I don't reload if a particular battle doesn't go my way, or if I don't get the desired result from a Civ3 goody hut or Civ5 ancient ruins.

I have been known to save the game right before launching a major war in other Civ games. Often I am not sure if I'm adequately prepared, or run the risk of other AI joining the war against me. If the first couple turns of the war go very badly, I may reload the save and make more preparations. I understand that is less of an issue in Civ6.

In the end, since I don't submit games to the HOF nor do I compare my results with other players, I allow myself some very limited "save scumming" since it helps me have fun in the game.
 
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Use whatever house rules you want, it's SP and you are the best at evaluating how you want to spend your time.
That being said, I play largely by the same house rules that you do in the sense of not restarting, and usually don't restart if I just want "another game of civ"..
However, in some cases I will do so, and that is in the case that I want to test a very specific strategy that relies on certain conditions.
For example, I wanted to test the potential of Khmer with Sacred Path + Work ethic, and for that reason I had to restart not only for a heavy jungle start, but also until I could secure that pantheon.
Most Khmer games would simply result in me failing to get Sacred Path before the AI (jungle starts are common, and the AI will nearly always pick a HS adjacency pantheon if it has the terrain, and Religious Settlements isn't taken, thus making Sacred Path hard to get).
And since I wanted to test this particular scenario, I had to restart.

One interesting thing it teached me (after something like 30-50 restarts), is that the people who claim that Khmer is the best civ in the game (citing their Sacred Path+Work Ethic power), are exaggerating Khmer to an extreme extent, as that scenario is extremely unlikely to happen if you play with a house rule of no restarts.
Same goes for Bull Moose Teddy, he just gets way too much jungle and floodplain terrain on your average start, so that his power is extremely dependent on getting that perfect mountain/sea/forest start (which he gets surprisingly rare).
 

ViktorGamer

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Most 4X games (Old World is a notable exception) do not have an "undo" function. If I mis-click when sending a builder/worker or settler into danger, there's no way to undo that, except by reloading a previous save. I have reloaded to recover from a genuine mistake with keyboard or mouse.
I think undo function if it would exist would have to be limited to those actions which do not involve actions of other players, for example no undo for attacking or for being attacked or undo trade etc., but undo to just move a unit, build improvement or undo constructing district is OK because it doesn't affect decisions of the AI or other human player in any way.

I think major problem with undo is that you could move a scout or any other unit and then undo, then move it other direction and undo again, this way you explore a bit of map or fog of war for free to help you decide where to move it finally which is unfair.
Similarly you could move a settler near barb camp by accidence and then undo and retreat it, but this is again unfair because your settler should be escorted by military unit, it's also unfair because you discover a barb camp for free in this case.
Thus undo is valid feature but it might be abused.

mis-clicking sounds like genuine reason for reload, but mis-clicking is nothing but human error, we know for certain that the AI makes mistakes too although of different nature, therefore for this reason since the AI doesn't fix it's mistakes I think it's perfectly fair to treat our mis-clicking as something we have to get over just like the AI and not reload, it's fair.

I have been known to save the game right before launching a major war in other Civ games. Often I am not sure if I'm adequately prepared, or run the risk of other AI joining the war against me. If the first couple turns of the war go very badly, I may reload the save and make more preparations.
That is what I do too, I especially hate to declare war just to discover my target has more advanced units and there is nothing I can do to defeat him without loses, however instead of reload in this case going on defense is what worked for me many times since the AI will not heal it's units until very low on health, so you can easily take out those of his units which are on low health until he only has few of them.
Another reason why not reloading is because it's my mistake for not scouting his territory to see what units the AI has, therefore it's my mistake and I must eat it.

Use whatever house rules you want, it's SP and you are the best at evaluating how you want to spend your time.
That being said, I play largely by the same house rules that you do in the sense of not restarting, and usually don't restart if I just want "another game of civ"..
However, in some cases I will do so, and that is in the case that I want to test a very specific strategy that relies on certain conditions.
For example, I wanted to test the potential of Khmer with Sacred Path + Work ethic, and for that reason I had to restart not only for a heavy jungle start, but also until I could secure that pantheon.
Most Khmer games would simply result in me failing to get Sacred Path before the AI (jungle starts are common, and the AI will nearly always pick a HS adjacency pantheon if it has the terrain, and Religious Settlements isn't taken, thus making Sacred Path hard to get).
And since I wanted to test this particular scenario, I had to restart.

One interesting thing it teached me (after something like 30-50 restarts), is that the people who claim that Khmer is the best civ in the game (citing their Sacred Path+Work Ethic power), are exaggerating Khmer to an extreme extent, as that scenario is extremely unlikely to happen if you play with a house rule of no restarts.
Same goes for Bull Moose Teddy, he just gets way too much jungle and floodplain terrain on your average start, so that his power is extremely dependent on getting that perfect mountain/sea/forest start (which he gets surprisingly rare).

Testing a strategy is different from dedicating your time to play one game isn't?

I mean when you play a game you play it from beginning to the end, but just to try out or test something is not playing a game in it's real meaning, thus there is no reason to apply house rules to this case.
Similarly to test a mod is also valid reason where house rules don't need to apply.

House rules I think are for those games where you dedicate your time to play game in attempt to win in the end.
 

speedin70]

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Carcasonne: This one is a minor one, but draw your tile at the end of your turn as opposed to the official rules which states to draw tiles at the start of your turn. This speeds the game up tremendously and otherwise doesn't affect the gameplay at all. It's a no-brainer houserule.
 

ViktorGamer

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Carcasonne: This one is a minor one, but draw your tile at the end of your turn as opposed to the official rules which states to draw tiles at the start of your turn. This speeds the game up tremendously and otherwise doesn't affect the gameplay at all. It's a no-brainer houserule.
Can you explain what means to draw a tile and how you draw it at the end of turn?
 

comatosedragon

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Can you explain what means to draw a tile and how you draw it at the end of turn?

The poster is speaking of the board game Carcasonne, and a house rule they use in that game; not Civilization.
 

aieeegrunt

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I don’t see anything wrong with a reload due to a misclick, especially since it’s easy to do in this game and there is inexplicably no undo function.
 

ViktorGamer

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I don’t see anything wrong with a reload due to a misclick, especially since it’s easy to do in this game and there is inexplicably no undo function.
One of my key take-aways from playing a bit of Old World: WHY WAS THE UNDO BUTTON NEVER IN ANY CIV GAME?! [pissed]
because undo could be easily abused to player advantage and it might also conflict with other players or AI, see how in my post #4
 

kaspergm

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because undo could be easily abused to player advantage and it might also conflict with other players or AI, see how in my post #4
Who cares if they player abuses it? If you don't want to use it, don't use it. I'm not ashamed of the fact that I save scum, but there are a number of justifiable reasons for using it, either when simply misclicking or when the game does stupid things like having your scout walk directly into the arms of barbarians hiding in the FoW (and don't start with the "I always move my scouts one hex at a time", NO!, that is not good game design to have to do such a tedious micromanagement).
 

Bostock

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Wow, I would hate playing with even a tenth that many self-imposed rules.

I hereby grant you the requestetd permission not to use stricter rules, though.
 

Linklite

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There's only one rule - do what's fun.
It's the same with D&D - the overriding rule is do what's fun, but it also requires a cognisance that the other rules are required in order to have fun. If people need these extra rules to have fun, more power to them. Rules beyond "do what is fun" are necessary for that rule zero to work.

That said, I don't think "putting yourself on the same level as the AI" is the best rule - sometimes you need an advantage to have fun, other times you might need to be put at a disadvantage to create the challenge. On the other hand, I noted a while ago on the board that there was a significant overlap between those who stated that they routinely restarted to get the best possible start and those who complained loudest about the AI difficulty. It wasn't a well received comment, but it was true (board member composition has changed dratically and there have been, ah, "developments" in the AI since that change the situation and so the dynamic has changed). Sometimes people lack the awareness that things they do stack the game in their favour. Restarting when you have a merely average start does that to a significant degree.
 

DeckerdJames

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There are some options to help with starting positions. Playing several games with Alexander always seemed to give horses and iron in reach of my Capital. I don't know yet if what constitutes legendary depends on the civilization.

The truth is you might not always want a tough start.

I don't think it is unfair to trade resources for maximum profit. I assume the AI can do so with other AI players, but even if they do not trade between themselves, which would be odd, the AI seems to have plenty of gold. Sometimes, I have paid for 50 or 60 iron for 20 or 30 gpt as well. Sometimes it is easier to stand up the economy than it is to get resources.
 

Abaxial

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As I have said before, if I am going to put a lot of time into a game of Civ 6, I want it to be enjoyable, and I don't find starting on a snowy island with no production to be enjoyable. So I will restart. Some players like to rise to the challenge of such a start. Good for them! I'm just not one of them.

On the other hand, I don't do the save-reload undo tactic. Each to their own. There is a game (don't remember which) that allows you to undo a move as long as the move you just played didn't reveal anything new, and I guess the lack of an undo button in Civ 6 is related.
 

AntSou

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I use a mod which increases starter Settler speed to 3 and removes all movement penalties. That lets me scout the area a bit before settling. I don't have the patience to restart games, and I don't think I ever got one of those truly unplayable starts that sometimes pop up on reddit. I only restart games when the location has nothing to do with the Bias (e.g. Russia without Tundra, Mali without Desert).

I always reload for misclicks (if I can be bothered), when the game gives you incorrect information regarding unit pathing, or when I forget to do something.

I have my own house rules:
Can only trade Luxuries for Luxuries. Cannot trade unique luxuries the AI already has access to;
Can only trade open borders for open borders;
Can only trade art pieces for art pieces. Sometimes I need to give two pieces to get one I really want;
Strategics can only be acquired from allies.

Other than that, I also never choose Religious Settlements, partly because it's a bit too strong, partly because it's very dull. I only play Immortal though, I don't think you have the freedom not to choose it on Deity.

Good house rules are those which increase your own enjoyment of the game, so I don't think anyone else can review your rules. You'll have to adjust them through trial and error until you find the sweet spot for you.
 
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