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Rewarding Long Term Policy Commitments

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Amrunril, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Amrunril

    Amrunril Warlord

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    Since I started playing Civ VI, I’ve gradually come to the realization that, while I enjoy the new civics tree system, I really miss the customization provided by Civ V’s policy system. Playing the same civ but opening with two different policy trees felt like playing two different civs, and even a later game choice, like taking Patronage instead of Commerce, would be a major influence on your subsequent decisions. In replacing permanent civics with temporary policies, Civ VI gives up much of this long term customization. A civ running Colonization will, to be sure, play differently than one running Serfdom, but only until the next civic comes around, at which point those strategies are as likely to be reversed as kept. A few policies, like Scripture (+100% Holy Site adjacency bonuses) do lend themselves to longer term specialization, but such policy choices are very much the exception rather than the rule.

    I don’t think that Civ VI will go back to V’s culture system (nor do I think it should). However, I do think that it could regain some of Civ V’s feeling of game-long customization by instituting rewards for retaining the same government policies over long time periods. Perhaps, for instance, Colonization would provide a base of +25% settler production, but that bonus would increase to 50% if the policy remained in place for 20 turns and 100% after 50 turns. A civ seeking a short term boost to expansion could use the policy more or less as it’s used in the current game, but a civ seeking a longer term expansion focus could leave the policy in place permanently, gaining a larger bonus at the cost of flexibility. Similarly, the Bastions policy could simply be swapped in for defensive emergencies, or it could be “charged up” in peacetime to provide a larger bonus. Even policies like Land Surveyors (20% discount to tile purchases), that are currently only useful for short interludes could become important to some strategies with the right scaling, and policies that currently fall off over time (most of the GPP policies) would gain a new form of growth. In all of these cases, players would be making choices between flexibility and raw power in their civic bonuses. Players choosing flexibility would continue to play the game more or less as it stands now, while those choosing power would be making long term commitments to specific aspects of civ development. Each of these choices would present a distinct type of subsequent strategic choices, in addition to the broader choice these two playstyles (and the many intermediates between them).

    This change would, admittedly, have some risks: of further increasing the prevalence of borderline overpowered generalist cards and of further strengthening already strong civics and wonders that provide access to additional policy slots. Nonetheless, I think these are relatively narrow balance issues to which relatively narrow solutions would be found, while the benefits of such a broad civic restructuring would add a huge amount of game to game variation and replayability to the game.
     
    Nigel_Tufnel2 and Siptah like this.
  2. Noble Zarkon

    Noble Zarkon Civ IV Emperor EQM Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Brilliant idea - well thought out, it would lead a lot of fine tuning but I would love to see this in a future expansion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  3. Olleus

    Olleus Warlord

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    Interesting idea, I do think something needs to be done to give some incentive to keep the same policy cards active. There's too strong an incentive now to pre-research civics so that you can have serfdom/professional army/etc.. active for a single turn only. If only for the reason that this is something that the AI will never be able to do well and gives a massive boost to the human player.

    I think your approach might be a little hard to balance and keep track of.

    A simpler idea would be for each policy card to give +1 culture for every 20 turns it has been continuously active. I think it makes sense that an empire which keeps the same policy for a long time has that policy develop into a tradition which is, by itself, a cultural thing. Should also be easy to balance, just replace the 20 by whatever number X.
     
  4. Amrunril

    Amrunril Warlord

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    I don't see balance as being prohibitively difficult. Obviously there would need to be some corrections early on, but I think a system like this would have plenty of levers to work with to get things to a good place. The limiting factor would be the developers' attention to balance issues and willingness to make iterative attempts to address them, which is exactly the same thing that's limiting balance under the current system. As for tracking, I'd envision having each policy card simply show its current effect level (ex. +25% production to settlers) and save the upgrades for mouseover text (ex. +50% in 16 more turns; +100% in 46 more turns) and the civilopedia. This would avoid overwhelming new/casual players with walls of text (these players would be happy to generally know that the policy will eventually do the same thing better if they keep it in place), while more advanced players would still have access to the information they need for informed decision making,

    As for culture, bonuses, I'm not convinced culture they're a good alternative. In my view, the game has too many sources of culture without theater squares already, and it would mean the primary reward for keeping the same policies in place is to unlock different ones. If you did want a simpler rule, though, I think a good option would be to limit free civic changes to one card per unlocked civic.
     

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