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

Rainforests Should Lose the +1 Food

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Shadowstrike, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. Shadowstrike

    Shadowstrike Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Between the Hudson and the Atlantic
    It always feels really weird to me how rainforests are really desirable settling locations in Civ6, but have very few cities in real life. As I'm thinking about it, a big part is simply that a rainforest tile always has at least 2 food, whereas real rainforests are not particularly known for being rich in food resources (rather a lot of them have been cut down for farmland). One way that we might address this discrepancy is to just cut the +1 food bonus from having a rainforest. Since they only appear on plains tiles, that means all rainforest tiles will only have 1 food unimproved, which makes them much less attractive as a location to settle. To balance this out a bit for Civs with a rainforest bias like Brazil or Kongo, one idea might be to allow them (but only them) to get a +1 food bonus on rainforests.
     
  2. Myomoto

    Myomoto King

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Messages:
    610
    It's a pretty reasonable suggestion, however they would need to tinker with the way spawns work then, otherwise spawning in the middle of a dense rainforest area without any bananas would a complete game over from the get go.
     
  3. McKeu

    McKeu Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2021
    Messages:
    77
    Gender:
    Male
    I guess one could assume, since all civs just "start out", they know their homeland and how to get stuff from the rainforests.
    Tbh, rainforest doesn't live long in any of my civs. As soon as I have the tech, they are toast, unless they have resources on them. And on marathon, where it takes a felt eternity to get bronze, the desirability makes place for sadness really fast, when you notice you cannot build a single district or mine.
     
  4. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    3,650
    Location:
    north of Steilacoom, WA
    Rainforests can be extremely productive in everything, but it takes work. First, remember that most rainforests are Tropical (The Olympic Rainforest right over the mountains from me is one of the notable exceptions: a Temperate Rainforest), so you have essentially a Year-Round growing season, making it easy to extract 2 - 3 crops per year. The problem is that all that growth depletes the soil, so Rainforest areas have very poor soil in regards to nutrients (Civ VI actually represents this a little bit, since all in-game Rainforest tiles are Plains rather than Grassland).
    The first Spanish expedition up the Amazon, the classic 'Rainforest terrain' if there ever was one, reported dense populations of villages and even town-sized settlements all along the river. Most later historians thought the Spanish must have been feverish, because Everyone Knows the Rainforest doesn't feed that many people. Turns out the locals had learned how to 'manufacture' enriched soil using organic additives and charcoal fixatives, and built terraces with that soil so they were well-drained and fertile 'gardens' for intensive agriculture year-round. It also turns out that a large percentage of the trees and plants in the Amazon are planted - the distribution is not natural - so the locals were also 're-arranging' the rainforest to provide plants that had more utility - nuts, fruits, useful fibers and bark, etc.
    So, yes, the Rainforest could support and feed that many people (archeology has partially vindicated some of the Spanish accounts since) but it takes a lot of continuous work. And if you cut it all down to put in a wide-field Plantation (like the Palm Oil plantations in Southeast Asia and Africa) you run the risk of depleting the soil rapidly and winding up with nothing unless you add fertilizer, chemicals, and other 'resources' to the tile/land.

    What is needed, IMHO, is some more variety and alternatives to the current Agriculture/Food Production in Civ, which assumes that open plowed fields are the only way to produce enough food for a city population. That model and assumption just isn't true in all cases, and the game needs to model some of the alternatives (and their drawbacks). I should be able to have a Rainforest city, if the game gives me a special Rainforest Terrace Improvement that my little Builders can bust their butts building, and I can have a dense population in a heavily-forested area if I adopt the Three Sisters agricultural system of the Haudenosenee, burn off the undergrowth to make open forests and plant my beans, squash and maize on the edge of and among the open park-like groves - but both of those systems are going to require Population Points to work the tiles, because they are Labor Intensive compared to simply chopping everything down and using horses or oxen to plow the whole thing under and plant a Mono-Crop (wheat, barley, rye, etc)

    Here's to more variety and Alternatives in Civ VII!
     
    Time Tested, Equilin, borad and 12 others like this.
  5. Shadowstrike

    Shadowstrike Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Between the Hudson and the Atlantic
    While I agree that rainforest cultivation is possible (and should be represented as some sort of improvement), it's kind of unreasonable that rainforests have a native food yield the same as grasslands, and a native production yield as good as forests. I can see rainforest cultivation being represented by some sort of improvement, but as is, rainforests are really strong and desirable for settling, well above any other base terrain type. It's kind of backwards from the historical pattern of settlement where rainforests inhibited both trade and settlement, instead of being the place where everyone wants to build their cities (as it currently is)
     
  6. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    5,160
    Yeah, I've actually used a mod that changes rainforest yields like OP suggests - as well as changing hill yields to be similar as Civ5, i.e. +1 production, -1 food for hills - and I can confirm that starting in heavy rainforest is pretty brutal, particularly if you have a "bad" luxury like Cocoa instead of, say, Diamonds or Spices. On the other hand, if you survive long enough to start chopping them, things look brighter. Is it perfectly balanced? Perhaps not, but I prefer it over Civ6's win/win rainforests, which are amazing yields from turn 1, and then loads of yields from chopping on top.
     
  7. aieeegrunt

    aieeegrunt Prince

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    447
    Gender:
    Male
    This is one area where the “Eurocentric”, and by Eurocentric one should definitly specify Anglosphere bias actually exists, as plow agriculture is not the only way to increase food yields but boy you’d never know it looking at a Civ game

    Forest gardens can be hilariously productive; as any Roman legionary assigned to the Rhine could tell you; “Where do all these Germans keep coming from!!!”. Then of course you have the “barren” New Guinea highlands that turned out to have an astonishingly high population density.

    What plow agriculture does do really really well is have an easily centralized and storeable food surplus that can be siezed and monopolized by a authoritarian oligarchy. It’s an interesting coincidence that everywhere plow agriculture was introduced you had a sudden burst of wealth inequality and the overall health and nutrition of the majority (the ones actually working for a liviing) often plummeted.
     
    agonistes, Kjimmet, linaker and 5 others like this.
  8. iammaxhailme

    iammaxhailme Emperor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,763
    A bit reason why rainforests are not that heavily settled IRL is becuase of diseases, which are not really represented well in civ.
     
    Pietato likes this.
  9. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    5,127
    Gender:
    Male
    I don't really see the point.

    Jungle tiles are already bad outside of the early game and force the player to Bronze Working. The game already defaults you to clearing them anyways.

    I'm much more interested in making hills -1 food though.
     
    acluewithout likes this.
  10. Leah and Rachael

    Leah and Rachael Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2020
    Messages:
    45
    Gender:
    Male
    For starters, rainforests giving +1 food is a good gameplay mechanic which I think would have to have a lot go into in order to be reworked.

    Second, the OP is talking about cities TODAY in the Information Era (as per civ). If you go to the information Era in the game, farms give WAY more food than rainforests; there's very little reason to keep rainforests then, unless you're like the civs that are well-known for being in locations with rainforests (like the aforementioned Kongo and Brazil).

    I think the balance is just okay in this case. And the historical representation is fine
     
    Hellenism Salesman likes this.
  11. Guynemer

    Guynemer King

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    Messages:
    797
    It is estimated that 10 million people lived in the Amazon before the Columbian Exchange ravaged the population of the Americas.

    The +1 food in rainforests is good historically, and from a gameplay perspective.
     
  12. frutiemax

    frutiemax Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Messages:
    68
    You can just make a mod and easily remove the +1 food from rainforest...
     
  13. Shadowstrike

    Shadowstrike Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Between the Hudson and the Atlantic
    I think my point stands in both the ancient and modern eras. In Civ6, you want to rush settling rainforests: it comes with pretty decent production and food unimproved compared to other tiles, is choppable in a pinch, and with lumber mills give really good yields (especially on hills). In real life, that was hardly the case: rainforests were mostly impediments to settlement, and weren't a massive source of food or resources either. There were some cultures that made a decent go of it, but their success was not because of the rainforests - often in spite of it. There are very few large population centers in the rainforests, either historically or now, and the population density isn't super high either. The peoples we think of as settling in the rainforests mostly lived in hilly or mixed areas near them - the Mayans largely on the highlands, the Kongolese in the mixed savanna to its south, and the Vietnamese along the river valleys. The Amazon is a massive area, and I'm getting estimates of ~10M in the Inca territories (which are much smaller).

    Look, it would be equally ridiculous if for some reason deserts or tundra had yields that exceeded normal grasslands or plains either, and every single civ rushed to settle their cities in the desert or tundra. Rainforests right now are a super-charged forest, and that doesn't really square up with their role in history.
     
  14. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Messages:
    9,311
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    You're wrong on pretty much every single point. The Mayans did settle major cities in the lowlands, the Vietnamese river valleys were still rainforest (prior to being improved) in game terms, etc. Meanwhile, the rainforest largely only acted as an obstacle to foreigners due to local diseases - they weren't nearly as much of an obstacle to locals.

    Worse, you're also wrong about your basic premise that an unimproved grassland should produce more food than rainforest.

    A grassland prairie, in and of itself, just isn't that special of a food-producing place. Sure, you have large grazing animals, but most ecosystems have their large animals that can be hunted for food. On the flip side, the vegetation in a grassland prairie tends to lean more toward feeding those grazing animals than humans (we're not very good at eating grass), so not actually that good. So in terms of allowing people to just find food without specific landscaping, no, the difference between grassland and rainforest isn't that large.

    Of course, once you get into landscaping, large-scale agriculture is pretty much the norm, and that requires large areas of open flat lands. But we don't need the unimproved terrains to handle that, because that's what terrain improvements are for - specifically, farms. Grasslands are better than rainforests for building farms, requiring less time and resources and producing more food. So the actual advantage of grassland for food production IS represented in the game.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  15. aieeegrunt

    aieeegrunt Prince

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    447
    Gender:
    Male
    You are literally wrong on every single one of those points.
     
    Pietato likes this.
  16. Pietato

    Pietato Platonic Perfection

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    2,072
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Their negative is appeal.
     
  17. Shadowstrike

    Shadowstrike Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Between the Hudson and the Atlantic
    Except that "unimproved" doesn't mean not agricultural, since we're talking largely sedentary civilizations, unless you're seriously arguing that citizens working tiles without farm improvements are hunter-gatherers. The rainforests might not have been an impediment to locals getting around, but they weren't also the areas where the locals concentrated. Sure slash and burn agriculture was practiced, but not to the extend that cultivation was done along flatter regions. They also weren't the most productive lands where tons of people settled, and large urban centers tended to be in some pretty rough places otherwise too. It's profoundly ahistorical that the rainforests are the best places to settle off the bat and to grow huge cities in. As is, rainforests are hugely better compared to other kinds of forest (simply because they come with at least two food), which actually did have reasonable amounts of population.
     
  18. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Messages:
    9,311
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    The extent of cultivation in flatter regions *is* the farm improvement. That's what it stands for. If you don't have a farm or any other improvement, yes, hunters and gatherers and foragers and small-scale gardeners and slash and burn cultivation is the extent of your use of the land; all things that are equally possible in grasslands and rainforests (and grassland forests, which have the same food production as rainforest - it's only plains forests that have some issues).

    If you want farming (that is to say, extensive cultivation), build farms. Don't demand magical farmless farming of grasslands.
     
  19. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Messages:
    5,127
    Gender:
    Male
    If you don't want to build any districts and then have them more expensive for no reason (research Bronze Working), I guess. I mean settling near jungle resources on a hill early game is great, but that's because resource tiles on hills are good.

    Generic rainforest tiles aren't really that exciting.

    What is true is that the unimproved jungle tiles can give unique starts because you would be more focused on early scouts as opposed to builders. But I don't see why we should take away this option.

    And finally, the jungle tiles were also considered too weak in the eyes of the developers which is why they allowed mills on them. It is unlikely they are ever going to consider nerfing them and wasting everyone's time.
     
    Leah and Rachael and Sostratus like this.
  20. McKeu

    McKeu Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2021
    Messages:
    77
    Gender:
    Male
    I think the jungles are really ok as they are. If you are surrounded by jungle, the tradeoff is just too big. The food is just a momentary reprieve. I tend to rush Astrology first thing, for example, but where to place my holy district, unless I take the time to go to bronze working, too?
    That takes away a lot of speed from my gameplay. Also builders you might get from villages or capture will simply sleep around for centuries, which is something you genuinely never want. Ima sit on a decently sized, ineffective city, which probably will get unhappy really fast, unless I have a minable luxury item in one of the jungles.
    Normal forests at least let you boost projects very early, rain forests not really, unless you rush for bronze working, which you will have to. And in marathon tech shuffle mode, which I currently prefer, that can take a really long while.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021

Share This Page