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Problemedical's Civilization VII Ideas/Wishlist


Jun 21, 2021
Odesa, Ukraine
Hello there! I hope you are all having a great day. Welcome to my first magnum opus of sorts: a compilation of things I would love to see implemented in future Civ games, as well as ideas and things that, from my point of view, would greatly benefit and enrich the game series. The overall goal is to create a monumental historical simulator providing a toolbox of sophisticated instruments to create and live a unique, era-spanning experience of running a sprawling empire, standing complex sociocultural changes and tests of time.

Spoiler 1. Civics/policies system overhaul :

Don't get me wrong, I like the overall direction the Civ 6 has ultimately chosen to move and evolve in. Separate civic tree in particular was a thing both long needed and anticipated. However, it's hard for me to get rid of the feeling that the long evolutionary road of civics/policies mechanics on Civilization series is not only far from its endpoint, but also has led to somewhat underwhelming results in Civ 6. In their current iteration civics feel fun to play, easy to navigate, quite versatile and overall very game-y, but also extremely unimpactful. Your entire internal policy in the game consists of sweeping cards back and forth in search for a dream combination best suited for the nearest 5-10 turns. It makes leading a millenia-spanning civilization feel like a routine card game session. You are not punished for changing civics at the blink of an eye: moreover, your choices don't even matter much, because in a couple of turns there will be no trace of them left. Current system is, for me, suited best (or probably only) for a thematic board or a mobile game. A large-scale complex and immersive civilizations simulator, which I really hope Civ 7 will eventually evolve into, needs something new - a bold step forward with some side swings further on the way.

I envision new civic system consisting of two principally different primary parts: Tenets and Edicts.
Representing your society's core foundations, Tenets would be essentially reimagined permanent Policies from Civ 5, integrated with Old World- and Humankind-inspired features and tied to both cultural progress and specific game eras. Basically, you get a limited (but overall quite large, perhaps 20-30) number of Tenet slots, new slots unlocked every era. Each Tenet can be adopted in three ways: making a certain game choice (think Events and Decisions mod for Civ 5 and Humankind's choices), unlocking it via culture or satisfying a chosen Agenda (more on that later). Tenets can be changed, but at a high cost that increases depending on how many Tenets you have already adopted and how long has this specific Tenet been around in your civ, and you will have to face major drawbacks or even a period of anarchy. In real history, major and drastic sociocultural changes were never easy. Government Types would be integrated into this system as well, with a unique Tenet Slot for them. Another interesting possibility is making some Tenets mutually exclusive and give others synchrony bonuses, walking a razor's edge between overly restricting the player and making the game feel more like a grand story deeply and directly affected and shaped by the player.

Edicts, on the other hand, would be temporary bonuses than could be activated either in a single city or on the empire-wide scale. They would more closely resemble Civ 6 civics in a sense that they give relatively minor bonuses and carry out the function of rapidly adapting your game for current situation, while Tenets are about overall goals and more global things. Some Edicts would be unlocked passively when the player enters a new era, others are tied to specific Tenets or buildings. The number of Edicts that can be activated and the duration of an action of a given Edict would depend on the separate game "resource" (like Orders in Old World), Tenets (especially Government Type) and overall imperial development.

Both Tenets and Edict would comprise a "civic" tree, which I would reorganize into more of a civic "web", divided into parts corresponding to overall spheres of action (warfare, administration, trade, science, religion etc.), and each Tenets, the coexistence of which would be highly illogical in real history, would have the cost of adopting them both at the same time substantially increased as to provide a flexible but still not overall discouraging limitation system to the player.

Spoiler 2. Eras, Dedications and Agendas :

This is my attempt at tying together Era Score and Golden/Dark Ages from Civ 6 with my proposed new political development mechanic with aim in mind to create a system that allows for unique and complex almost narrative-like game experience. I've always wanted to have the everchanging tapestry of historical epochs in a Civ game, to forge a living and breathing History with a capital H. Unfortunately, Golden Ages do not even come close to this. They have came the closest yet in Civ 6 from. my point of view, I liked Era Score and Dedications mechanics, but overall, same as with civics, I feel like the system started evolving in the right direction but got stuck halfway through.

I imagine the Ages/Eras as a perfect tool for introducing and developing role-playing element in Civ. Each Era should be a vast landscape of opportunities, decisions and changes, not a race for some score points or a section of the tech tree.
At the start of each Era you would receive a number of possible Agendas. Each Agenda is essentially a quest for the player, like a hypertrophied Eureka/Inspiration requirement (, launch an early game war, secure and maintain N alliances etc.) By successfully satisfying an Agenda you would receive certain bonuses, some active only during this Era, like yield bonuses, some permanent, like Tenets. There'd be no reason to have a limit of one Agenda per Era, as with Dedication. For example, in Ancient Era you receive a set of options: Religious (build N shrines and found a religion/pantheon), Military (successfully wage an early war, building N units, killing M units and taking F cities), Expansionist (found N cities in certain terrain or in certain number of turns) and Administrative (build N buildings of certain type, reach M population, train R specialists, enact S edicts) Agendas, with later Eras adding new ones.

Here I see an opportunity for a somewhat revolutionary change in the realm of civilizations' uniques. Instead of giving each civ a rigid and predetermined set of bonuses, you could give them a combination of starting bonus (what yield bonuses, technologies and units civ starts with) and
unique Agendas which reflect their historical path and let you dynamically sculpt the remaining part of civ's uniques in the game process. For example: you are playing as England. You start off playing a generic Anglo-Saxon civ, but in Medieval Era you gain access to a unique Agenda enabling you to found a Kingdom of England, with longbows and feudal wars, in Renaissance Era - another Agenda relative to maritime expansion, colonization and piracy, and in Industrial Era - a third unique Agenda relative to British industrial development. Unique units and infrastructure would be tied to unique Tenets, which in turn you get rewarded with after satisfying the Agenda. The coolest thing about this approach is that you are not compelled to choose a predetermined path. If your England starts amidst plains and grasslands and becomes a proud nomadic nation founded upon horseback, you do not have to aim for England's uniques relative to the seas. Instead you can pursue other Agendas in this Era which better suit your background, playstyle and circumstances while not losing other parts of English uniques package, creating and living a game session-unique English civ experience a-la Crusader Kings 2. Even Alternate Leaders can be easily integrated into this approach: you start your game as Alfred the Great with the possibility to switch to Elizabeth in Renaissance Era, Victoria in Industrial Era and finish up with Winston Churchill in Modern Era.

Spoiler 3. Cities, Population and Administration :

- Getting rid of districts outside the city seams like a first and foremost step, combined with increasing the overall map scale, making the one-tile city centers wider apart and leaving more place for units and land improvement. No more board game-fitting technicolor urban sprawl from the Classical onward. Instead, you could leave the very concept of districts/quarters the same, but make them virtual, existing only at the city panel to simplify viewing all the buildings.
- Getting rid of Builders seems to be the second. The only function I see them retaining is building Roads, Forts and other infrastructure not linked to a specific city. All tile improvements would be built automatically by citizens working the tiles.

- Reworking the Specialist mechanics. This idea would probably meet some hostility and dislike, but I would make Specialists permanent. Sure, it somewhat implies that your citizens are immortal, but, on the other hand, it's not actually implied in previous games that your city has 20 people when you see a number "20" on the city screen: both are just game's way of representation. A generic base citizen would be converted to a Specialist after spending N turns working a specific tile improvement or building slot (e.g. Farmer after working a Farm for 10 turns). After that you can either plug this Specialist in a corresponding tile or slot for additional bonuses, or instead this Specialist could be made working a different slot with much scarcer results (Farmers wouldn't have an easy time working in a Mine or a Library). A long and costly re-specialization process would naturally be available. Migration systems feels like a natural extension of this new mechanics - if you have an industrial city that pumps out more Worker specialists that you have slots for in this city, unemployed Workers might move in search for a job into the nearest city, and it wouldn't be necessary for this city to be yours. Refugees and war captives could also be represented by this approach.

- The only way I could see city-external Districts from Civ 6 in my hypothetical Civ 7 is in the forms of Villages/Hamlets/Towns and Trade/Military Outposts. With a debuff to wide game style (see later) they would come as a natural way of extending your city's territory by way of "expansion nodes" without mindless city spam. You could be able to place them upon clusters of generic tile improvements (e.g. triangles of Farms for Villages, for example). This "districts" would have citizen slots, which they would need to be filled in order to grow and upgrade. With each upgrade the number of slots would increase, as would the range of Specialists working there (e.g. you would only have Farmer slots in Village, but in Town there would be slots for Merchants, Priests, Workers etc.). I also see a possibility for further town specialization depending on what tile improvements and resources are next to it and what buildings/wonders you build in them, essentially making them "generic districts" of sorts, as well as a town clustering/merging mechanics much later into the game.

Military Outposts/Military Settlements, on the other hand, would work akin to a crossbreed between player-owned Barbarian camps and Civ 6 encampments created by veterans (promoted military units) on the outer edge of your borders with aim to control adjacent territory, extract resources from it and provide support and protection for military units. Later they would evolve into Military Settlements, where you could build buildings like Barracks or Training Grounds and train units (the type of unit trade would be dependent upon which unit founded the settlement: if you have a lot of experienced cavalry, some of those units could found you military settlements, where you would be able to train better cavalry units).

- In Civ 6 the more cities you settle, the easier the game is to win for you (apart from annoying amounts of micromanaging, of course, but even those are not often necessary). In my ideal Civ 7, the more cities you have, the harder it would become to maintain the integrity and stability of your empire. Maintenance (especially of road network) and corruption should scale positively with increased number of cities and distance to your capital, while loyalty and stability, on the other hand, should scale negatively. I am not personally a fan of Civ 5's techs and civics cost scaling, and I don't think this kind of limitation does a good job.

- Governors and Great People should merge together. It would both make perfect sense and be very cool to have your Great Scientist "retire" to become a science-oriented Governor, leading your very first Academy of Sciences. Imagine the variability and flexibility the game with something like 40 possible Governors would have. Of course, it would be hard and resource-demanding to create something like a 3-tier upgrade path for every new "Governor" as in 6, but it is not necessary: 2-3 abilities tops or even one would suffice. In this case you'd have a choice each time you earn a GP: use them up right away for a strong, but temporary (era-long) empire-wide bonus, or make them Governor for a weaker initially, but permanent city-specific bonus. Furthermore, I would love to see new types of Great People: Great Diplomats/Politicians, Great Administrators, Great Physicians, Great Philosophers and the list goes on.

- Another major addition I have long anticipated would be the system of Classes/Strata. From the very start of the game your society would be divided among three classes: warriors, priests and farmers. Later Eras would see changes in societal structure of your civ, reflecting historical phenomena like, for example, rising of polis aristocrasy in Classical Era, feudal class system in Medieval Era or emergence of working class in Industrial Era. Each Class would draw power/influence from the number of respective specialists in your empire, as well as specific Tenets, especially Government Types, Edicts and Agendas. Each Class, if dominant in the societal structure of your civ, would provide you with an array of bonuses to its respective field (various military-related bonuses from Warrior class) as well as inevitable drawbacks (in a society dominated by warriors and zealots science and arts would have a hard time flourishing).

Hope you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to drop any bit of feedback or your own ideas and suggestions. My imperfect English is to be blamed for any lack of clarity in explaining concepts, so feel free to ask questions as well.
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Spoiler 4. Units and Warfare :

Combat and military affairs have always been the most underwhelming aspect of Civilization games for me. I get it, Civ ain't Total War, and doing zoom-in tactic battles a-la Endless Legend/Humankind is no longer a viable option devoid of outright plagiarizm. Ultimately, you got to just accept that Civ is just not a battle tactics simulator, and that's...okay. However, I feel that certain aspects of Civ combat could and should be modified and reinvigorated in order to make the warfare side of the game more interesting and complex (in a good sense).
1) The infamous 1UPT vs Doom-stacking. I've never played Civ IV, so I've only read and heard about the Doom-stacking issue. 1UPT, in turn, is something I'm very familiar with, and something I in turn don't really appreciate. Corps and Armies are an interesting attempt and finding a "middle ground" but they come too late into the game and there are still many limitations.
What I propose insted is to gime player an ability to form Corps and Armies as earlyy as the Classical Era. Make them formable (I hope that word exists in English...) only by means of Great General (this and further suggestions would apply to Great Admirals and naval units as wee, I'm just going to avoid doubling out everything I write). Armies should not be limited to three units of the same type per Army, it's not even remotely related to real-world armies of any historical period. What if Armies could be created by GG with certain unit slots in place (e.g. one melee, one cavalry and one ranged), and later in the game, based on the Era, Tenets you've adopted and military buildings you've built, the number and composition of slots would increase and change. This way modern armies would include up to 6-7 units of various classes. Also let the player create custom Armies templates to introduce tactical variablity. Now as to the Army's Combat Strength issue: I feel it should be anything but the raw sum of unit's CSs. Something like CS (strongest unit) + some mathematical blob factoring stengths of other units could work, but I'm very remote from being an expert on that matter. Alternatively, zoom-in tactical battles with dynamic terrain and reinforcement could be added with some tweaks to make them at least a bit different from those of Humankind.
2) Supply and Attrition
Units healing a fixed number of XP in a desert or snow 20 tiles away from nearest city has always driven me crazy. It would make a lot of sense to tie the number of HP healed per turn to the food yield of the tile it's situated on, as well as surrounding tiles, distance to the nearest own city and the amount of foods in this city which could be stored in specific builidings, presence of roads and rivers in military theater's vicinity etc. Support units like Supply Trains and Foragers enabling military operations in remote lands also come to mind.
3) Retirement and Military Settlements
I've tacked this idea a bit in earlier sections of this thread. Inspired by Golden Age Brave New World mod for Civ 6, retirement would allow your experienced units to contribute to your civilian development in times of peace. Retiring in an owned city, military unit would add 1+ population based on the number of promotions it has, as well as grant a permanent bonus to the city, said bonus increasing if the city is the same as the one that the unit was built in. Instead, they would be able to found a Military Outpost (see Section 2).

Spoiler 5. Barbarians and City-States :

I think that quite artificially separated Barbarians and City-States concepts shoud effectively further merge together into a new complex continuum, enabling the creation of a prolific geopolitical landscape with dozens of actors of different power level all competing and interacting with each other by hundreds of possible strategic possilities.

Tribal Villages would take on the role of traditional Barbarian Camps, with some additional quirks and features. One-tile radius, automatically extract adjacent resources without improvements, spawn units from time to time. Tribal Villages tend to occupy quite valuable spots, next to one or a couple of Bonus, Luxury or Strategic Resources, and their attitude towards player and other major civs would not be outright hostile by default: their units would only engage in combat while protecting themselves in certain radius from the TV.

The list of possible interactions with TVs would include both options from Civ 6 Barbarian Clans mode and new ones:

- training units in the TV (you leave your unit in the TV for a couple of turns, then get it back with a new unique promotion)

- sending trade routes to them (this would require an overhaul of trade mechanics by enabling trading resources with trade routes in addition to yields)

- allowing a part of their population to settle in your territory (your nearest city gains +1 or more population at the cost of temporarily decreased maintenance and loyalty).

Barbarian Hordes would work as a sort of a mobile Barbarian Camp, with the same one-tile radius, but unable to extract anything but Horses and other Pasture- and Camp-improved resources. While it "settled" mode, Horde would gradually decrease (not permanently) the food yields and resource gains of tiles it's situated onto until it's driven to convert to "roving" mode (basically a sizable force of slightly weaker, but faster and fast-healing cavalry units) in search for new viable lands. Hordes would preferentially target nearest and weakest-protected cities, civs in Dark Ages and cities with largest yields of Food and/or Gold. If the Horde takes over a city, it can either pillage it, greatly reducing the population and destroying most buildings, or it could take the city and settle in place (the choice, as I see it, would probably depend on how big a part of the horde remains upon capture of the city, how long does the war between horde and the previous owner of the city lasts and how big and valuable the city is). Bribe, Hire, Incite and Ransom options would also be available for Hordes, albeit at a much higher price.

By the way, the spectrum of TV types present in the game would not have to be limited to the existing seven Clans. Instead, they could be based upon real-world cultures possibly "too small" to be included as a full major civ, numbering dozens possible variations.

TVs and Hordes would actively engage in diplomatic relations with neighbouring civs, sending scouts as delegates, offering their resources to trade, their mercenaries to hire, or simply demanding a tribute for not attacking you (for Hordes). In their turn, major civs would compete for the TVs and Hordes, because each interaction will earn them Influence points.

Influence would not only serve as an analogy for City-State conversion points bar, but also will reflect how big of an... well, influence, duh, each civ has over respective TV or Horde. The importance of this change would come to light once TV actually converts to a City-State, or once a Horde takes a city (also becoming a City-State). If upon conversion you have the most Influence over the TV or the Horde, they would be integrated into your civilization, becoming a part of your empire. You receive a free city, a permanent yield bonus and a unique unit or infrastructure.

City-States would basically work the same way as the Barbarian-converted City-States do now. However, they would be much more active in the foreign relations department, forging alliances and waging wars on other City-States, TVs and Hordes (they did something like that in Civ V from time to time, I really miss that).

The final stage of this long evolutionary path would be a Minor Nation, which could be form as a consequence of one City-State conquering another or a couple of City-State creating a union against a common foe. In a game where most civs have 10-30 cities, MNs would typically be 4-5 cities large. This would add another layer of complexity, as player finds himself in a center of numerous conflicts serving as a points of opportunity.

Spoiler 6. Trade and Economics :

Civ VII desperately needs a unified trading system, one which would see abolishment of separate leader trade screens and trade route screens. Instead, every city that has a Market and a trade route connecting it to a trade network would be represented on a separate Trade Map, with all improved tradeable resources in its vicinity. You would directly see which cities have resourses you need and base your trade network specifications upon this. The only trade-relative thing you would need leader interaction for is probably to get a trade agreement allowing you to trade with them in a first place and, consequenly, trade embargos. Everything else would be handed to an AI-run market economy. I would even go further and eliminate Traders alltogether, making trade routes automatically generated - you only choose the starting city and the destination city. Imaging possible global strategic economical and military confrontations upon continent-scale trade networks akin to real world Silk Road - something I've unfortunately never seen in Civ 5, nor in Civ 6.
You are going to go far, my friend. I love these ideas, and I wish I had thought of some of them myself. :lol:
Someone just browsing the civ forums might get so inspired. Maybe we'll get more 4x games. (Which my bank account would not like but I would XD)
Here a few ideas.
Wild Animals: These were featured in Civ IV. They were Barbarian type units. I think we should bring them back. Especially for Civs with lots of Jungle, desert, and Forest terrain. Also how about sharks and other predators of the Sea.
10.000BCE Starting Age: The Continents of the planet were reached by about 13,000 years ago. Camps and later cities came to be around 10,000BCE. It would be nice to have more historic accuracy
Naval and Shipping activity: Civ III was the best of the franchise in this regard. Transports were key to amphibious warfare, as well as sending Settlers and Workers abroad to create Cities abroad. let's bring that back
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