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[NFP] POLL: Secret societies and the late game

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by nzcamel, Jul 23, 2020.

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Should Secret Societies have been in the main game, and started in the late game?

Poll closed Aug 6, 2020.
  1. Yes to both.

    3 vote(s)
    3.8%
  2. Yes to starting in the late game, but still an optional mode.

    24 vote(s)
    30.0%
  3. Yes to being in the base game, but still start early in the game.

    5 vote(s)
    6.3%
  4. No to both.

    44 vote(s)
    55.0%
  5. Unsure.

    2 vote(s)
    2.5%
  6. Other - comment in the comments.

    2 vote(s)
    2.5%
  1. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    I don't think it is as game changing (flood of gov promotions and vampires aside) as Apocalypse mode. It's adding a bit more nuance and tension to diplomacy and your abilities. Fix the promotion thing and make the vampire a little more historically plausible (some blood cult); and it will fit in nicely.

    Yeah, 100% to both these suggestions Victoria! :stupid: ;)

    Ah, maybe I have misunderstood something here. I thought you got their promotion automatically when they entered the appropriate era. When you are probably right that the promotion becomes available then, but you still have to spend a Gov promotion to get it. So if that is the case, I stand very corrected.
    Having said that, they should give you the extra gov promotion at the point the new promotion becomes available (or just give you the promotion automatically as I assumed they would) rather than give you them at the beginning of the game, as @Alexander's Hetaroi says above. Or this could be another solution:

     
  2. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    I've never properly played Apocalypse mode so I don't know for sure.
    The vampires to me are more historical based than others at least. I did change the name Vampire Castle to Gothic Castle though to subtle the theme. Besides you can randomize the names of the vampire unit so you don't have to look at the word vampire on screen. :)
     
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  3. Linklite

    Linklite Warlord

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    I haven't got NFP as of yet, so I can't comment on SS directly, but:
    1. It should remain an option. I feel like more of the content needs to able to be turned off in order to create exactly the kind of game you want, not less. I don't like the fact that I have to have countable strategic resources if I want Canada on the map. Or if I want to make sure the Dutch aren't playing but still want randomised enemies, then I can't have the loyalty mechanic, etc. I want more customisability, so SS should still remain optional. No one is stopping hou from playing with it by doing that.
    2. End game definitely needs to be shaken up. As previously mentioned, there is a lot of exploring, building and optimising in the first half to 2/3rds of the game, then the last segment becomes repetitive and robotic. While extra choice at the beginning is never a bad thing per se, it's not the same benefit as it would be at the end. I don't know if SS is the mechanic for that job, but I hope they do something about it.
     
  4. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I agree the game is too front loaded. I’m also not a huge fan of the World Congress always starting at the same point in the game. Feels like it should have a more situational trigger, and so its timing is more variable.

    I mostly like the SS mechanics and I like flavour, but they really have nothing to do with either secret societies historically and don’t even do much with secret societies as historical fiction. I mean, I’m okay with the vampires and vampire castles, but that is a very, very vanilla implementation of Vampires as genre (although the vampire names are pretty funny), and the Cthulhu stuff is yet another “Cthulhu as empty flavour” which totally misses the existential horror and pulp of love craft. (Honestly, the best take I’ve seen on Lovecraft for ages was Cabin in the Woods.)

    I think FXS might have done much more with SS given either the historical precedents and or genre. But I get they’re also sometimes trying to keep stuff bold and broad strokes and more general, to maximise appeal and keep things conceptually easier. And that’s probably a good thing to some extent. eg I used to really dislike that Governors weren’t historical and didn’t vary by Civ and you end up with duplicate Amanis and Victors etc. But I can see now that, given the overall complexity of the game, the Governors as they are are much easier to see and understand, and don’t really hurt the roleplaying because you can just either ignore their identities a bit or just mentally re-write them as stand ins / avatars.

    I do think the bigger missed opportunity with Secret Societies is the lack of negatives and or effective counters, so they really just become “more stuff” particularly with all the Governor titles. It means the mechanics don’t really change up the game much - it’s more just roleplaying and or power gaming. Doesn’t mean the mechanics aren’t fun - honestly, playing England with trade route stacking back and an extra economic slot is hilariously fun - but it doesn’t massively limit the replay value of this mode which is a real pity.
     
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  5. Josephias

    Josephias Emperor

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    The way SS are represented is 18th-centurish. But, yes 18th century SS claimed to be there for a long time, or based on ancient knowledge....

    In gameplay sense, I think the change proposed by @nzcamel will not be bad, as it will force you to re-think your strategy mid-game. It makes sense as well a "secret society" is mature when civilization has been going around for a time, and there is already enough population-communications to organize an "alternate power structure" of some sort.

    They can't come to late, however, as some of its dinamics (for hermetic order ley lines mainy, and also potentially for vampires) are linked to exploration and colonization, but a middle ages start seems fine. (Or maybe a start linked to reaching a certain population treshold in your empire).
     
  6. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I thought this was interesting (from twitter).

    upload_2020-7-25_13-15-31.png

    I obviously don’t know Anton, but from what I see he seems like a good guy and thoughtful game maker. And I really appreciate him taking time to talk to players.

    My main takeaway from this is that FXS meant Secret Societies to be a big power spike. The extra Gov titles are meant to be part of that power spike, and also an incentive to find additional Secret Societies.

    I really can’t fault FXS for wanting to have a game mode that really dials up the power levels. I think the game mode clearly achieves that goal, with each promotion being basically as powerful as a Leader UA. And if that’s how they want it to work, then fair enough.

    That said. I think FXS might have taken a slightly different approach with Secret Societies. The big jump in power level is fine. But I really do wish it had come with a bit more of an opportunity cost or trade off, not to make the Mechanic more balanced (it’s clearly not meant to be balanced in that sense), but just to make the mechanic more interesting, or really just to make your choice feel like it has more consequences.

    Indeed, I think this is something that comes up again and again in the game - all upside, no down side. A good example are Golden Ages. I get these are a reward for playing well, but I find it odd there really is now downside to them except maybe that the next Golden Age could be slightly harder to get. I’m not saying everything needs to have an equal and opposite negative - that really isn’t good design at all. But your choices are more interesting when they have consequences, particularly mixed consequences where you get some good but also some things you maybe didn’t want or anticipate and then have to adapt to. Although, maybe I’m in the minority, because other people seem to quite upset with some actions having consequences - eg people that don’t like negative relations or Diplo Favour from taking Cities (I think those people often forget just what a huge benefit stealing a city is, particularly capital cities).

    Anyway. I also think it’s a pity Secret Societies don’t have any counters, because there’s really no way to mess with other player’s societies. Yes, you can mess with other players via vampires and cultists, ie using your society, but there’s no way to mess with the other player’s society, and that’s a missed opportunity for interesting play in my opinion.

    Lastly, I really like the idea of having an incentive to look for other societies. But I wish that reason was more organic rather than just “more loot”. I often feel the same about Alliances, it often feels like the only reason to have them is for trade yields rather than more organic strategic considerations (although, there are strategic reasons too if you look for them, like Diplo relations, visibility etc).

    Oh dear. I really didn’t mean to post more on secret societies etc. It’s just Anton’s twitter post caught my eye. Frankly, it’s somewhat shocking just how much posting one optional game mode has generated (from me I guess, but also others). I think that partly reflects that there’s some really cool stuff in this mode that speaks to people. But I suspect there’s also a bit of “what could have been”, because I do think there’s more potential in this game mode than has been realised so far.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  7. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    I guess I can respect it as a deliberate design decision aimed at a very different Civ player to me; and as it's a mode, no skin off my nose.
    The "what if" does hang in the air though; and here's hoping they do have something aimed at livening up the end game a little among these modes.
     
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  8. Fluphen Azine

    Fluphen Azine What is Fluphen Azine?

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    I'm gonna pay for whatever but I think to myself... why am I paying money for these modes that I might only use a couple times??? Why can't they fix this broken game instead of adding MODES to it??
     
  9. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    I guess if you want to look at the SS being based off of Bram Stroker's vampire folklore that does make sense.
    I can possibly see certain SS like the Sanguine Pact and the Owls of Minerva be moved to the Medieval Era but the Hermetic Order with ley lines and Voidsingers with the old god obelisk makes sense at least in the Ancient Era.
     
  10. NukeAJS

    NukeAJS King

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    One of the nice things about civ is how as the eras go on, more systems become available. Having the SS system running from possibly turn 0 messes with the tempo of the game a bit.
     
  11. jozef57

    jozef57 Warlord

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    what can i say about the etheopia pack and secret soc other than i love it so much finally this is my kind of civ 6 way to go devs
     
  12. Illianor123

    Illianor123 Warlord

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    I agree with Victoria’s suggestions.

    I think that maybe you could choose a society early and get a bonus equivalent to a city state’s 1st envoy bonus but the current bonuses wouldn’t kick in until the medieval. During the early stages (pre-medieval) you can change between the different societies as you meet them but don’t need to lock in until the medieval. Or they each provide their bonus until you elect to join one. I this this would still encourage exploration to find all the societies but make the game les front loaded and push back a key decision by a little.

    I think some world competitions were you only compete against other members of the same society would be fun. Some normal yield rewards but primarily Diplo favour and improved standing with other society members.
     
  13. Lily_Lancer

    Lily_Lancer Deity

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    Having Vampires in base game is unacceptable for a game named "Civilization".
     
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  14. playshogi

    playshogi Emperor

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    I agree, although one can argue that Secret Societies is not the base game.
     
  15. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    I consider them more realistic than ley lines or Relics of the Void at least.
    Of course I'm not complaining about those either.
     
  16. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Well, they are secret and typically worked within a civilization so not easy to mess with. Kitting your army out with wooden stakes? Using power sinks to effectively erase ley line power?
    I am a bit gutted they did not use Ḥashīshiyya, thugee, templar, illuminati etc. Blood sucking ley owls are just a bit odd but then I guess so are Soverein citizens.
     
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  17. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    They probably couldn't use the real names.
    The Owls of Minerva are basically the illuminati which is the most realistic society. The owl is one of their symbols.
     
  18. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    Would you need to harvest Woods to build stakes? Would Jungle Tiles also work, or would I have to unlock Exploration first?

    If I think about Secret Societies as a Genre, then I guess one of the things that's in that genre is Secret Societies fighting with each other and or other people trying to stamp them out. So, I was thinking more like Spy missions that target Civs with Secret Societies - eg maybe Reveal Conspiracy - or World Congress Resolutions that target a SS, eg Seize Assets or Secret Funding (-/+ % Gold and Grievances to some Secret Society).

    Anyway. Trade off. Counters. Many ways to do things, don't really care how. The SS abilities are just all just more, more more yields and abilities. They'd be more fun and more interesting if there were some real trade-offs or it opened you up to some counter-play, just so it felt like the decision to join a society felt more consequential. But the designers have literally said the goal of the SS game mode was to throw more and more power at players, so it is what it is.
     
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  19. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    I don't think it matters if said SS has a theme that goes back to the ancient era. That doesn't stop them being added later in the game. It's part of their mystic to claim to have been around since the dawn of time, and only now are the powers that be taking note of them.
     

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