1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Problem the whole Civ series suffers from

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Olleus, May 19, 2017.

  1. @Rob76

    @Rob76 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    50
    I agree w/ the original posting that Civ 6 suffers from runaway boredom in the late game. But I do not think the solution is to punish good play by auto-ramping up the difficulty level during game progress. Or some such. The real problem is w/ the victory conditions. Domination victory is simply too laborious. It goes on too long There is simply no suspense in taking the last few capitals, but it is a huge amount of repetitive work. But there is an easy fix. Simply add a new victory condition awarding the win when any player has a two-hundred point lead over his nearest rival. Or something equivalent. Domination is the only game I play, so I'll leave it to others to develop similar solutions for other types of victory, such as culture or religion. From what I've seen from first learning the game, the science victory needs big-time help.

    And there may be other approaches. We want to preserve the drama and excitement of the early game, but award victory when a player is pulling exponentially ahead of the AIs.
     
  2. Xefjord

    Xefjord Prince

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Messages:
    310
    Gender:
    Male
    Honestly, I hated Civ 5 for a wide variety of reasons, including its scaling. A lot of this "make it harder to play as a player gets stronger" scaling just seems somewhat unrealistic to me and would ruin Civ 6 for me as well. I will not deny that there is problems though and there is two ideas that I really really liked in this thread so far though that I absolutely think should be implemented. The first being Tech Diffusion, so as to really help people catch up and keep any one civilization from being too far behind if they are in close proximity to another well achieving civilization. And the idea of maintenance scaling for military units. I agree with the idea that a bigger army takes more and more to maintain, and I think this can keep civs from building a military too strong. So long as smaller civs have the ability to build a good military and conquer cities from bigger civs? The playing field can always be evened. This is impossible however when bigger Civ's are ridiculously far ahead in tech and have developed a stupidly huge army. I think the two above solutions work hand in hand to fix this problem and create a far more balanced endgame.
     
  3. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,551
    Okay, here's my big thought on how to address the runaway winner problem.

    WARNING: Holy cow violation imminent! :eek:

    Move away from the multiple path victory with the scoring victory being this pointless time-out condition. Ditch the current scoring condition, and replace it with a race to accumulate a requisite number of achievements. There are achievements for all of the civ that is supposed to qualify as civ as having that all-important quality of greatness. You're basically competing to get the most pages in some abstract history book. And there are lots of achievements required--think more like 100 than 10.

    There are permanent achievements for being the first to do something notable, like found a religion with all four beliefs. Or reaching certain thresholds, like city population or treasury size or meeting all the civ's or city-states. Building a world wonder and discovering natural wonders are achievements. And then are a few achievements that would be unique to each civ so only that civ can pursue them.

    Now, in addition to that, there are also many achievements that are essentially titles that have to be held onto for a certain duration before they kick in. Stuff like having the largest empire or having the strongest army. Some might only be available for a certain time. For iinstance, once a couple of players have reached the medieval era, there's an achievement for having the most castles or the most knights. Then when a couple of players reach the renaissance comes, there are achievements for amassing great people, building fleets, and controlling luxury resources.

    Many achievements can be taken from you. This is where capturing capitals and converting other civ's to your religion and other forms of conflict come in. Conversely, you can get achievements for diplomacy by striking up alliances or having the most city-states as suzerains.

    What does this all accomplish? Well, you no longer are faced with the all-or-nothing propositions that domination and religious victory present. You don't necessarily see winners of scientific or cultural victories coming from miles away, because completing space projects and attracting visitors are ways to gain achievements and that might be all you need. Basically, civ's can pivot and pursue military, religion, art, science, economy, diplomacy, and more rather than focus. A game where players can't pivot is a game that lends itself to runaways.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  4. empresskiova

    empresskiova Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    170
    Gender:
    Male
    The Runaway Lead isn't just a problem in the Civilization series (and other similar games), it's also a pretty common issue in board games. Take Monopoly for example. If you manage to make another player Bankrupt (**Lose**), you get their belongings. This gives you twice as many properties to work with, increasing the odds of you winning mathematically. Unlike Civ, Monopoly is a chance based game, but it is a game of probabilities none the less.

    Runaway Lead games generally have one major point to them, you race to the end. It doesn't matter how or when you reach that end, and if you snowball hard enough you can reach the end long before other victory options become available or whenever super-builds start to spring up (like canals, railroads, or maybe even super wonders lol). An example of this is in a game I'm currently playing of Civ 6. I'm playing Norway on Marathon speed on a Huge map, with lots of mods lol. I'm not even 300 turns in and I'm sure I could probably take out the other 8 civs by the start of the Industrial Era. Mind you, I've just reached Mideival, so I've got plenty of time before that. Hell, at that point, a potential World Congress won't change anything.

    So, I dunno, maybe the best way to kill the snowball effect is to look at the victory conditions? Instead of making the game a race to the end, make it something else. Perhaps the only way to truly win is to win by "Score". Score could feed from doing Space Projects and even winning wars, and forming your people's identity via culture. But then coexistion could also help your Score, perhaps the more traders you have running to other nations (representing global trade) and the more foreign followers of your religion (but not needing majority) could also contribute to your score. Hey, real life doesn't have an expiration date, who says civ needs to?
     
    Olleus likes this.
  5. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,551
    As someone with a fairly shelf-busting collection of designer board games, I feel compelled to point out that Monopoly is the game above all others (save, perhaps, Candyland) that have informed modern designers how "not* to design a board game that people will never get bored of. :)

    It is the norm to resort to what has come to be called "point salad", for exactly the reasons I specified previously: it gives players the ability to pivot rather than pursue rigid, linear strategies, often in vain.

    It absolutely matters how you reach the end--or rather, how you are able to reach the end.

    Sure, luck-of-the-draw can provide an advantage, as can poor decisions on the part of other players. The latter is something that has to be accepted on a game-by-game basis. The former is something we have to keep hoping to see improved by the designers. Ramp up the difficulty if need be. But all that doesn't mean there aren't other considerations for breaking up the monotony of a very predictable and by-the-numbers journey to victory.
     
  6. empresskiova

    empresskiova Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2017
    Messages:
    170
    Gender:
    Male
    You aren't wrong that Monopoly is a crappy game ;) I don't get many chances to game, and when I do I prefer something besides Monopoly. Heroscape is a favorite (my username is a unit from that game)

    But it is comparable to Civ in the same fashion. Civ could work as a Point Salad game (kinda like how you described and how I alluded to), but right now its far from it.

    Concerning this, I was mostly just referring to that the game was over regardless once a victory was hit. Games where Runaway Leaders exist only make this more apparent. :p Probably didn't clarify too good.
     
  7. HF22

    HF22 Warlord

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2004
    Messages:
    203
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    In Civ 6 in particular, where playing the map is supposed to be key, making the map dynamic through out the game might help (ie using a climate change dynamic).

    This could even be an anti snowballing mechanic, as giving tools to deal with specific terrain types such as policies, could be balanced to benefit smaller Civs with less terrain type variety.
     
  8. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    4,016
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Idea is good, but you shouldn't make it depend on score. In my last science victory I had conquered one other empire in the ancient era, and this alone gave me enough land to have some 400 point advantage over the number 2, by being 850 vs 450, when I was approaching endgame. Instead, use the Civ IV system: Once you own a certain amount of land (I believe civ had something like 2/3rd of all land available) you win.

    Best post in this thread.
     
    steveg700 likes this.
  9. Kyro

    Kyro Prince

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    599
    @Olleus

    The problem you describe here is referred to scientifically as Cumulative Advantage/Disadvantage and is an actual phenomenon in reality. Cumulative Advantage or Snowballing as we like to call it due to Conquering other Civilizations is indeed a a very severe problem in Civ 6.

    However, I think the solution of increasing costs exponentially in response to increased production rates is not feasible and here's why, based on the principles of game design. In every game, there are clear rewards and punishments; without which the game will not be fun. Rewards must always be the result of right decisions and Punishments are always the results of wrong decisions. At no point of time should a player be punished for making sensible decisions and the opposite is true as well.

    In Civ 6, rewards come in several forms but most of them trace back to the same root, an increase in relative "power" to complete objectives. One of these rewards is an increase in generation of resources; be it production, food, gold, culture, faith or science.

    If production/gold costs are unfairly increased for a player just because he's winning and needs come challenge then you would have broken 3 fundamental rules of game design; all at the same time.

    1: Giving a winning player a handicap is simply unfair. Games must be fair, that is why there is balancing in games in the first place. You don't start crippling leading athletes just because they'e taking a significant lead that's just absurd.

    2: Giving a winning player a handicap for being efficient in one aspect is directly punishing a player for doing things right when you'r supposed to reward them instead. Terrible.

    3: Raising costs for a player who is generating more resources destroys the reward of making right decisions in the first place. You finally start generating enough production to build districts/wonders quickly (Reward) by investing in Industrial Districts/Buildings (Right Decisions) and the game directly responds by raising production costs so that you don't actually get to build them much faster. Where is the fun/reward in that?

    You do not cripple player power or remove existing solutions as some sort of challenge, that's just very lazy and very poor design.

    The snowballing effect is only exceptionally prevalent because of how insanely profitable warmongering can be. No amount of building and expansion can beat the efficiency of conquering opponent cities in the same time frame.


    A better solution to this issue is to
    a: Bring back the penalties of conquering cities so that it is not superior to normal expansion. This is only fair since you are already gaining a lot from conquering opponents cities without significant costs. (Units are far cheaper to produce now thanks to the 50% boosts from military policy cards while districts costs inflate to huge amounts.)
    b: Reintroduce penalties for having too many cities. Founding new cities should still give significant advantages but there must be appropriate costs and decision making processes to manage huge empires and that's only fair based on reality.
     
  10. unpossible251

    unpossible251 Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2016
    Messages:
    241
    Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic post. Couldn't agree more. I sympathise with the game developers in that the Civ series is probably the hardest game in the world to program effective AI and compelling systems... but yes. Its widely known, by renaissance, you can probably pick the winner.

    Everyone's talked about scaling, scaling, scaling the problem away, and I agree thats probably the way to go. There is another option though, which is to reintroduce the "random events" of civ 4. Non compulsary, of course. I'm thinking random events should have 3 options: (1) switch off, (2) true random, and (3) equalisers.

    The AI can be smart enough, surely, to have a look at the score board and figure out which civ is having a break out, and which are becoming stuck. So these events are designed to press the civs somewhere back to equilibrium. If you're doing to well, you get a slave revolt, leading to a civil war. If you're lagging, you get a few Eurekas, or a unique unit, or just about anything really.

    The beauty of this is that you can just switch the option off if you feel the option is just too spammy.

    I also hope that they bring back corporations and economic victories, which might spice up the late game.
     
    Leyrann likes this.
  11. dagriggstar

    dagriggstar King

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Messages:
    621
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Honestly, the main problem is a distinct lack of co-operative game mechanics. Mechanics that encourage you to (for lack of a better word) grow together with other civilizations in the game. We have research agreements (I am still yet to use one in VI however) and technically trade routes but not really (receiving civ gets zero or near zero benefits) and ....... yeah ......
    If you make co-operation more important, then it is easier to deal with runaways (stop co-operating with them), but more likely the outcome would be having a group of civs keep pace with each other.

    I also dislike the late game tech tree. I'd rather science victory be first to the moon, so then you are faced with a develop nukes or win science sooner dilemma (If we say you reach the Atomic era and its like 15 turns to develop nukes but an separate unrelated 50 turns to win science). Also anything doubling tourism output does not belong in a tech tree.
     
  12. cll3

    cll3 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Messages:
    49
    Hmm iunno mang. Sometimes when you're trying to convey your idea thoroughly, more words happen to be required. Nothing arrogant about it imo... And your points are all good, and also an interesting read.

    I've noticed most posters on here have above average rhetoric skills... compared to other gaming forums and subreddits I've read in the past. If someone doesn't feel like reading a text wall they can just skipperino.
     
    Olleus likes this.
  13. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,478
    Location:
    Beyond the Veil
    There are a lot of people here against scaling, interpreting it as a way of punishing the player which is bad for all sorts of reasons, but mostly psychological. However, one very successful genre of games has tough exponential scaling all the way and nobody objects to it. Those are RPGs. We can very loosely draw an analogy between resources in Civ and gold in an RPG, building units/cities/wonders is akin to buying equipment, and your power (what ever that means) in Civ translates as your stats in an RPG.

    Generally in an RPG the stats of weapons you can buy increase fairly linearly (or at least slowly) through out the game. However, the cost of them absolutely explodes. To the point where many games have bronze/silver/gold coins and the latter are unseen in the early game, while the former are completely worthless in the late game.

    This isn't punishing the player, it's ensuring that the 'rewards' for playing well are evenly distributed in time. That's the one-more-turn feeling, that you're just around the corner from something you've worked hard for. If 'rewards' are coming thick and fast, then they stop feeling like rewards. That the resource cost needed to achieve these rewards are exponential is basically irrelevant here.

    Note that a different way to achieve a similar result is to make each new one of something you have less good than the previous one, so you need more of them to gain the same benefit. Civ3 had just that with its hated corruption mechanism, and one could think of a way in Civ where as you gain more units the new ones have a penalty strength. I believe, however, that this would be bad design because the player doesn't see his own progress (no "I have +1000gpt, wow!") and it implies a huge amount of poor quality rewards, which is far less fun than a small number of good ones.
     
  14. Biz_

    Biz_ Prince

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    482
    this kind of assumes that the game is required to be fun from start to finish

    most strategy/racing games aren't like that at all. once they stop being close, people should just give up and move on to the next match
     
  15. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    4,016
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Netherlands
    You are confusing two very different things here, in exponential scaling on one hand and handicaps on the other hand. Exponential scaling means that the first X costs 50 production, the second X costs 70 production, the third X costs 95 production, etc. Handicaps, however, means that if you have 1 X, it's 100% effective, if you have 2 X, they're both 90% effective, if you have 3 X, they're all 85% effective.

    The fundamental difference between these two, is that with exponential scaling, more is always better, even though it's not as much better as it was earlier on. Handicaps on the other hand have a "sweet point", where you don't want to have more anymore. You are actually arguing against handicaps in your post, not exponential scaling.

    At the end of your post, when you propose to bring back penalties for having too many cities, however, you are actually arguing for handicaps. We know the penalty for having too many cities from Civ V, and the answer from the community was loud and clear: 3 cities is too few, 5 cities is too many. We don't want that again. Every next city should give you less than the last one, but they should not cost you more than they give you, no matter how many you have. What you are better off doing is to increase costs (Civ6 settlers and builders), reduce gains (Civ1-Civ3 corruption), etc. Not balance on "you require X% more for every city you have", as at some point the % increase will be more than what a new city gives you.

    This would totally invalidate the Information Era, though, as a Moon Landing is pretty easy to achieve. Even now I don't get to Future Tech if I'm going for a science victory because by that point I've already launched all my Mars projects.
     
    Olleus likes this.
  16. DocRock

    DocRock Prince

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Germany
    I do not mind the snowballing, it's fun. But the lack of decisions, the slowdown in speed (killing tons of units with tons of units) and the feeling of how-many-do-I-still-have-to-kill-to-finally-finish kills my mood. 5 was way better here because it was easier to close a game via a diplomatic victory.

    Edit: one of my favorite game design is in Master of Orion 2. You win if you have the majority of votes. And that happens early enough before the game gets boring. But if you decide not to win at that time, everyone unites against you and declares total war. Making the Endgame a challenge again.
     
  17. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Messages:
    12,348
    Well if the costs scale based on # units made or # cities conquered (not held) then you can avoid those.

    The issue with 3 city builds is costs were limited based on # of cities, not just number of techs.

    So instead of +2% cost per city why not x125% cost per tech you have that others don't...as you get further ahead it gets harder to stay ahead

    You can also have a rubberbanding... the more things other civs are, the cheaper those things are for you... and vice versa (similar to tech diffusion, but apply to armies and culture as well)
     
    Siptah likes this.
  18. Katakanja

    Katakanja Emperor

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2016
    Messages:
    1,258
    Sure, this would work as a pretty good way of slowing down a runaway leader and balance things out.

    However, the general sense I'm getting from all the replies here is that mechanically speaking, finding places to apply exponential scaling is a pretty good solution for combating runaway leaders and keeping the endgame from being stale. For me though, the issue remains that from a player-psychology standpoint its terrible. I think it was... uhhh... @Kyro that pointed out that at the end of the day it's punishing skilled play - you start to get ahead and the all-seeing God of the Rules of Civ sees this and decides that "thou shalt be penalised!" to make sure the game stays competitive.

    You're all welcome to disagree, and I freely admit I have little more than a superficial understanding of game design, but as far as I am concerned, good play should be rewarded and that the reward in question shouldn't be an additional obstacle to victory.

    Nah, this suggestion shouldn't be seen as some kind of civ heresy :p its a good one :D. Hopefully the people at Firaxis think the same way. It could make for a nice twist on the standard Civ formula if they tried it out for Civ VII. So far we've had games where you have multiple choices of victory each with a more-or-less preset path to achieve - why not try a game where there is only one victory, but multiple routes to achieve it?
     
    steveg700 likes this.
  19. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,243
    Maybe the progress based inflation should work the other way around.

    The leading player should have 100% costs and players who are far behind should get a discount based on the difference between their progress and the leading player's progress, e.g. if the leading player has 50% progress and another player only 40%, he would get a 10% discount to catch up.
     
  20. blackcatatonic

    blackcatatonic Queen of Meme

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Messages:
    3,423
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    UK
    I agree with the OP - I've always found it hard to finish Civ games primarily because the late game is extremely dull and once I have built up my nice little empire I don't really see the need to keep playing just to satisfy the endgame victory conditions. Although I'm generally not that interested in the military aspect of Civ, in Civ 6 I've been winning a lot more games that I'd have expected through domination out of sheer boredom. I've even switched to playing on standard-sized maps and on quick speed (used to play huge maps in every previous iteration) but those last few turns really drag.

    I'll probably attract criticism for mentioning the dreaded Call to Power, but one thing in that game which did make the later eras more engaging for me was the option to build sea and space colonies. Suddenly, whole areas of the map open up that you couldn't settle before, and you could go on a late-game expansion binge. It never makes any sense at all to do that in traditional Civ, unless you need to grab late-game resources. And late-game cities just feel dull and pointless, especially in Civ 6 when you're often looking at crippling production times.

    I don't think sci-fi future eras necessarily belong in Civ, but I do feel like there needs to be some sort of late-era game-changing mechanic that could actually give you something to do as you 'wait to win'. The World Congress in Civ 5 was a nice idea but mostly it felt like just a way to score some extra culture/SPs, or to give the AI even more reasons to hate you - Civ 6 certainly doesn't need that.
     

Share This Page