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Restarts: On or Off?

Discussion in 'Civ2 - Game of the Month' started by Andu Indorin, Dec 7, 2004.

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AI Civ Restarts: Love'em or Leave'em

  1. I like them. Let's keep them.

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
  2. I hate them. Let's avoid them.

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  3. I really don't feel strongly on the issue.

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
  1. Andu Indorin

    Andu Indorin Retired Druid

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    I'm debating proposing a minor rule change regarding AI civ restarts. But before doing so, I'd be interested in getting some feedback on how player's feel about the whole issue of AI civ restarts. (Call it my social-scientific tendency towards caution ...)

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Ali Ardavan

    Ali Ardavan Mathematician Moderator Civ2 GOTM Staff

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    (Caveat: I mostly try to win by Space ship.)

    I feel the restarts were put in for good reason: to balance against luck swinging the result wildly early in the game. Which is why after a certain point you do not get them.

    Taking over an undefended only city of a civ and destroying their civilization just because you happened to get a fast unit from a hut who happened to move just in the right direction is the prime example.
     
  3. Ace

    Ace Emperor

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    I like to win by conquest and it is a pain in the a*s to track down that last civ when you (try to) complete the game before the end of restarts. That said, I usually have restarts off on "fun" games, but, I really don't care which way its set in gotm games...maybe having restarts on will "slow down" some of those early conquests, and variety is the spice of life. Also, in light of DoM's discovery that you can have 255 cities if you trap a restarted settler where it cannot build a city, I would have restarts on if I started another HOF type game, just to see if I could do it.

    I guess in multplayer and play-by-mail games, it would be up to the players to decide what they wanted before starting the game. I think the rule should stay as it is, players choice.
     
  4. Peaster

    Peaster Emperor

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    As a conquest player, I hate them. If you look at the spoiler threads of recent gotms you will see that some well-played games were ruined by a rash of re-spawns. I have been lucky to have had less of them than other players, but I don't want to win that way.

    When respawns do occur, they often go on a looooong time. The game becomes deadly dull as you chase down and kill settler after settler after settler without even knowing or caring what tribe they are from. It becomes a totally mindless exercise. Enough re-spawns make your conquest date a meaningless random variable, and they take a lot of fun out of the game.
     
  5. Duke of Marlbrough

    Duke of Marlbrough The Quiet Moderator Retired Moderator

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    To me, that's a large part of the reason behind the GOTM. To give people a variety of games to play, as well as being able to compare their results with others.

    Restarts is just another 'option' to choose when playing a game.

    It would, however, be interesting to see which people prefer.
     
  6. grigor

    grigor Prince

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    In my own fun games I turn restarts off. It doesn't affect spaceship strategy, but is a major handicap in conquest.
     
  7. ElephantU

    ElephantU Deity

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    I like Restart on for spaceship games, and off for conquest games. Often I decide what kind of game I will play based on the Restart setting. Playing a conquest game with Restarts On is quite frustrating - as far as we know the results have a strong random element, so a strong player can get multiple restarts while a weak one gets few. The advantage of Restarts for spaceship games is in the issue of tech costs based on your KeyCiv. When an absent civ becomes your KeyCiv your beaker cost goes way up.

    I would recommend not setting a definitive rule one way or another for future GOTMs, but vary the Restart setting much as we vary types and sizes of map, difficulty level, starting techs and Barb frequencies. The Restart setting should be prominent in the list of starting conditions.
     
  8. Ali Ardavan

    Ali Ardavan Mathematician Moderator Civ2 GOTM Staff

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    We do not vary these other parameters as much as we could. (should?)

    I have not played all GOTMS but in the dozen or so that I have played the difficulty is typically King to Deity; it has been prince once; never below. Map size is typically small to normal; never very large. With one exception the map has been randomly generated (this one irks me most). Barbarian frequency has always been one of the top 2 settings; never the bottom 2.
     
  9. Duke of Marlbrough

    Duke of Marlbrough The Quiet Moderator Retired Moderator

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    The difficulty levels are kept within the most commonly preferred levels for people to play. Lower levels are thrown in every so often for the variety of it.

    One of the biggest issues people have with the GOTM is finding time to try and finish a game, thus the smaller (not very large) maps for the most part. Again, however, they are used every so often.

    The maps are normally 'randomly' generated, but can be tweaked to some degree to change the rather static maps. Pre-made maps are normally avoided because people may have played them before and thus have advanced knowledge of the terrain.

    Barbarian frequency is the same as the rest, usually within the preferred range, with the other levels thrown in every so often.

    One of my many seemingly unattainable goals was to chart out the settings that have occured for the GOTM games to spot if there have been gaps where certain options have not been used enough. For now, I rely on my 'feelings' as to what has or has not been used enough.
     
  10. Andu Indorin

    Andu Indorin Retired Druid

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    I happen to have a copy the starting game settings handy. ;)
     
  11. Ali Ardavan

    Ali Ardavan Mathematician Moderator Civ2 GOTM Staff

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    Thank you for your comments Duke.

    I knew you were going to say that! I am glad I heard it rather than simply assuming it. The above statement clearly assumes that the player is going to win by conquest. If the goal is early landing (OCC or not) then the size of the world hardly matters.

    I guess I should have made it explicit, but I always assume that if we are going to play on a designed map the map will be available to all players to look at apriori.

    Again, an implicit bias towards conquest and war game players. If I am playing a war game I have military all over the place and I love those barbarians because I can recruit them cheaply and capture their leaders with some nearby unit. In a peaceful game they are a nuisance at best.
     
  12. Duke of Marlbrough

    Duke of Marlbrough The Quiet Moderator Retired Moderator

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    Actually, time wise, the conquest players seem to have the least trouble finishing games within the given time. It's the players who go for a spaceship that tend to have the most problem with it. Not everyone plays for an 'early' spaceship, but they play for a late game spaceship with time to try and colonize the map. A huge population would be the only way to counter the later finishing date.

    In any game Barbs can be useful is 'used' properly, conquest or not, I don't really see how they 'favor' a conquest game all that much over any other game.

    None of the games are made to favor conquest over another style. It just happens to be one of the easier ways to play the game and get it done in time so many people prefer it. And, actually, some games are specifically designed to try and 'encourage' normal conquest players to try something different, or at least think of new ways of doing things.
     
  13. ElephantU

    ElephantU Deity

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    I would disagree with that. Small maps are actually easier to get bigger caravan bonuses over shorter distances than large maps. A conquest game is usually over before a spaceship game, although I have seen some Early Landing games break the AD500 mark. The micromanagement required is more of an issue, though. Things like Restarts are a bigger issue for conquest that map size.

    A lot of the fun is in discovering the map as you play, adjusting your game accordingly, compared to something like Settlers of Catan where you look at the map and decide what you are going to do before the first roll of the die. Several of the GOTM maps have been "designed" or altered from random; as long as the creator does not compete the suprise is preserved.

    Barbs are a big bonus in any style game, war or peace. Nabbing a BarbLeader early on can be an immense help to your treasury at a time of short funds, either for infrastructure or rushbuying settlers for ICS. You just have to be prepared to deal with them, and look at them as a blessing rather than a curse.
     
  14. Peaster

    Peaster Emperor

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    I don't hear anybody saying that restarts are fun. It sounds like some people mainly want to slow down the conquest players (why...?). If you do, there are better ways, that don't introduce such a huge luck factor -

    a) remove all huts, or disallow popping them
    b) use continental/varied, large and/or arid maps.
    c) disallow conquest tools, like triremes, barracks, ellies, SunTzu, etc...
    d) take our first-born [make us disband one of our first two settlers]
     
  15. ElephantU

    ElephantU Deity

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    For players who like more than 6 opponents you might say they "extend the fun"; for those like you practicing Early Conquest they are just a nuisance. I like OCC and EL games, so losing my KeyCiv due to an early Barb or AI conquest is very annoying. I'll grant you some games with restarts off if you'll grant me some spaceship games with restarts on...
     
  16. Peaster

    Peaster Emperor

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    In theory, restarts could "extend the fun", but in practice 9 out 10 respawns are pathetically weak... usually just a settler that you stomp on as soon as you find it. I just don't see the fun in that, and wouldn't want my kids hanging out with people that do. ;)

    That makes sense, and I respect anyone who plays for EL/OCC (which I don't know much about). But in 9 out of 10 conquest games, the Key Civ survives until YOU kill it. So, I'd be surprised if this problem happens often in EL/OCC.

    Prolonged restarts DO happen in a lot of conquest games. And I've never heard a good word about them. Besides the boredom factor, they defeat one of the Duke's stated purposes of the GOTMs, which I completely agree with - "....to compare their results with others." I mean, you can still talk about your game with restarts on, but they do make it harder to evaluate each other's strategies.
     
  17. A+ombomb

    A+ombomb Actuary

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    I dislike restarts because of the excessive randomness, so I said turn them off.
     
  18. Ace

    Ace Emperor

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    Having restarts on does not cause problems in comparing one game to another, at least, not any more that having huts and raging hordes for barbs!
    There is a randomness built into the game so each game will be difference, even when starting with the exact same setup. Sure, the odds have been researched on what will pop out of a hut when entered, but its still "random" and you might get coins while I get a none chariot from that first hut.

    In fact, restarts are "more equal" than huts, because everyone will get a restart when an original civ is wiped out. :D
     
  19. Peaster

    Peaster Emperor

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    @Ace - Not true. Read the spoiler threads from recent gotm's. This is by La Fayette from gotm46:

    "I would probably have finished conquering before 300AD without respawning, but I spent more than 5 centuries finding and destroying those newborne settlers (certainly more than 20 = )."

    In the same gotm, I had only ONE respawn, which had almost no effect on my conquest date. I don't believe bad luck from huts, barbs or battles could slow a strong player down by 5 centuries. But I do believe La Fayette's story, and it is not hard to find others.

    Sorry, but I've read this thread a few times and see no reason for respawns. The best one is variety, but you don't put mud in your food for variety, do you? Some people seem to have a problem with early conquest dates, which makes no sense. Everyone knows that landing games take longer, so there's no need for EL and EC players to compete.
     
  20. Old n Slow

    Old n Slow Emperor

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    I think that the Civ science of restart inhibition is still under researched. I recall a couple of Smash's games where he founded some "useless" cities simple to inhibit/easily crush a potential restart. As far as I'm concerned, yes there may be a luck issue (similar to huts) but an awareness of the luck issue shouldn't affect play -- it simply opens a new dimension to play with.

    Due to my casual play, restarts don't enter much into my sphere of concern -- I rarely get around to smacking the enemy down so early in the game.
     

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