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Rotating Civ Leaders


Jul 11, 2021
Here is my proposal for how leaders should be handled in civ VII: Play with rotating leaders, choosing a leader with their own ability, at the start of every era.


Have a list of influential leaders from each civilization each with their own related unique bonus. At the start of each era or when your last leader dies. You choose a new leader. You’ll choose from a list of ~3 leaders as soon when you found your first city. Choosing a new leader each time you progress to a new era. This mechanic has already been used in many strategy games ex: choosing a minor god in Age of Mythology. This would replace era dedications. Many nations today define their eras by major leaders ex: Victorian era.


The trigger to choose a new leader could be reaching the next era in the civic/tech tree, world era, or an independent tracker. I think an independent tracker of leader’s health/lifespan would be best, so everyone’s leader wouldn’t change at the same time, and so you could have spy assassination missions that force opponents to suddenly choose a new leader.


I was thinking you’d have 8-10 leaders across the course of a game that goes all the way to the end of the Future era. Each civ might have a selection of 19 leaders. Each leader slot on your leader selection panel would have a 5% chance of being one of your civ’s main leaders, a 1% chance of being random leader from any civ, and the remaining 4% for leaders you share with another civilization like Kublai Khan and Eleanor. After a leader is chosen they can’t be picked again in that game. The number of leaders for each civ should be double the amount you’d have in a long game, so you can ignore leaders you don’t want, and so you can have two players playing as the same civ without running out of leaders. In the rare case you run out of leaders: leaders will be randomly picked from a pool of all available leaders like when you run out of city names. The 1% chance of a random leader option could make for some excitingly wild, entertaining, and memorable games, While keeping it rare enough to not break the game. It would probably be a good idea to scale the number of leaders with game speed, maybe 6-8 leaders on quick game speed, and 10-12 leaders on marathon speed.


Other mechanics could integrate interestingly with the leader selection: Spy assassination missions. Governments changing the number of leaders you can choose from. Health, disease and food availability affecting lifespan of leaders. Diplomatic marriages. Policies that allows you to choose leaders from civilizations you’ve conquered. And leading your troops into battle for combat bonuses at risk of losing your leader bonus if he dies or is captured.

Leader design

Some leaders will be better in different stages of the game, but they will try to be balanced so there is reason to pick them in many eras. Civ bonuses will be the most defining bonused, while leaders would work to accent the themes of each civ. The different leaders will give each play though of the same civilization a unique feel, allowing for players to focus down different strategies, victory types, and play styles. These leaders would also better be able to represent the varying history of each civ with leaders from their ancient era to modern era (for civs with that historical range). I have made an example for America: Here and Aztec: Here. The Aztec have a few Mexican leaders to give them some modern representation. You could include major, but problematic leaders this way. Hitler and Stalin leaders have been some of the most popular mods in Civ 4, 5, and 6.


Major flaws with this: More things to code, break and bug out. Harder to program the AI to use these abilities, as they can’t take advantage of their abilities in civ VI. Harder to achieve game balance. More leaders to animate (Game designers could use a character designer set-up to make this easier, with personality types to guide their movements- would also making modding new civ leaders easier). Needing more voice actors. (This could be solved by just having a male and female voice for each civ.) Legal issues using recent leaders (There are some legal loopholes that could be used at least here in the USA as they are public figures, but I’m no lawyer). Many influential leaders are controversial and could get the games banned in some places (Solution: don’t include them in the official game, but put out an official and free mod including all cut leaders).


While there would be obvious pushback and complaints to such a game change, I think nearly all players would really warm up and love it. Just like district placement, loyalty, and trade route building roads was initially hated by long time civ fans, but most now prefer the new system. Curious to hear your thoughts below.
I already give an idea similar in this forum before, in this thread https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/changing-leader-mechanic-in-civ-7.675902/
I guess one of the problems to have many leaders is to draw they, that will cost too many of the civilization budget.
And some civilization have a lack of good leaders, they have one good option as Shaka to Zulu or Simon Bolivar to Colombia, but if we have multiple leaders who should be the other leaders to this civilizations? Propably you will find some names without a great charisma to be a civ.

But in the end I support have multiple leaders, because that way we can have leaders who never will leader a nation if not in a multiple leader sistem, for example Brazil who just be lead by Pedro II in a regular game but in a multiple leader game it can be lead by Getúlio Vargas, Deodoro da Fonseca or even Marechal Floreano Peixoto, all unthinkble option in one leader game.
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