Segregated Mechanics in Civ VI

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by clapyourhands, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. clapyourhands

    clapyourhands Prince

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    A recurring issue I've seen people discuss in V and now especially VI is the increasing number of game systems and mechanics, many of which affect few or even only one aspect of the game. These gameplay aspects interact little with other parts of the game, making them niche at best, or esoteric and opaque to casual players at worst.

    Probably the most egregious example at the moment is Tourism. Both domestic and foreign tourists at the moment are little more than counters for a cultural victory. While functional, none of the other victory conditions focus so heavily on a system so divorced from other aspects of gameplay. The science and production you focus on for a scientific and to a lesser extent domination victory have a plethora of uses beyond achieving the victory itself, and while faith and religion could use more work, the religious update and religion as a whole do give good use for religion outside of a total religious victory. Domestic Tourism derives entirely from Culture and serves as a defensive counter, so it does make sense for it to not affect much else because it's really just Culture with a different formula and name. But International Tourism is something that must be focused on in order to achieve one of the victory conditions, and at the moment it affects nothing else. It has 3 types of Great People largely dedicated to it, with little to distinguish them from one another. In that sense I would consider Great Works to be another game mechanic that are largely divorced from the rest of the game.

    Relics and Naturalists were a good start in integrating Tourism with the religious system, but from a design space perspective I think a lot more could be done. Things like foreign relations, income through tourism, loyalty, etc. could all feasibly relate to tourism. It's just that at the moment, the system is not only separate from the rest of the game mechanics, but also quite uninteractive; you collect things that give Tourism and by doing so hope to win a cultural victory. Theming is a small mini-game that gives some interactivity to the system, but it isn't much. I think a good example of an uninteractive system that was made more interactive with RnF is Envoys; in vanilla, they were simply a counter much like Tourism. With the new governors and spy missions, even if Envoys still serve the same purpose, there are more ways to manipulate them in the various CS's.

    I'm not saying that all systems should be both important all the time or integrated into one another; I do think, though, that a system should either be interactive enough to be interesting to use despite being narrow in focus, or useful in enough situations to justify being a separate system in the first place. I'm all for more mechanics, but that does mean more complexity, and for that to be worth it the new mechanics should feel rewarding to use. For instance, Envoys still only serve one purpose, but I think are in a much better spot now because there are more ways you can interact with them. Spies are another somewhat niche mechanic (partly because they tend to arrive in the mid-late game), and while the system could use some work, they affect a wide range of other gameplay mechanics and involve meaningful player choice if they are used. In concept I think the espionage system is solid, and hopefully with some polish it could be even better.

    The following are some game mechanics/systems that I've heard people consider niche or unrewarding to utilize in vanilla Civ VI:
    • Tourism
    • Great Works
    • Appeal
    • Envoys
    • Espionage
    • Religion
    • Amenities
    In general, these are mechanics that players tend not to go out of their way to utilize unless they were directly relevant to the type of victory they were trying to achieve. This isn't a bad thing, and not all systems should necessarily be in use all of the time for all players. But mechanics like tourism, religion, and espionage require a moderate to significant investment for comparatively little reward when you compare investing the same amount of effort into science, production, or even gold. Part of this may be because they don't feel fun to use, or perhaps because they serve little use outside of a very specific purpose. So the main questions of this discussion are: Which systems serve their role fine as is? Which systems serve their role in theory, but feel unrewarding to use in their current execution? And which systems have an issue with the purposes they serve themselves, perhaps by being too narrow in focus or too irrelevant to care about?
     
  2. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    I'm inclined to give some thought to this, because I'm constantly struck with a sense that of "disjointedness" that's impacting my enjoyment of the game, and I can't quite put my finger on what elements exactly are causing it. On the other hand, spending that time would only serve to (possibly) settle my own thoughts. The general gist of the game is set and isn't like to be radically changed until Civ 7, regardless of feedback.

    What I have resolved in my own mind is that although Ed and his team have brought a lot of great ideas to the table, the game now needs a manager, not a visionary, at the helm for the next iteration. I love districts, I love what I think they can do with loyalty if they turn their minds to it. There are a lot of great ideas in the design. It's how they all tie together that I question, that and the execution of making the game work as advertised.

    Sorry I don't have specific answers to your questions at this time. Will look forward to reading the responses of others, though, as this very topic has been bugging for quite some time.
     
  3. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I agree some parts of the game feel disconnected. But I don't think tourism is actually a good example of that.

    While Tourism doesn't have any benefit, the things that give you tourism do. Great works give culture, which gets you through the civics tree faster; national parks give you amenities; and sea side resorts give you gold. I think maybe some of these should be buffed (like seaside resorts should perhaps give amenities). But otherwise I think this part of the game is fine.
     
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  4. IdiotStyle

    IdiotStyle Warlord

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    "The general gist of the game is set and isn't like to be radically changed until Civ 7, regardless of feedback."
    Don't forget how they completely changed culture victory in civ 5 with tourism
     
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  5. TomKQT

    TomKQT Prince

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    I agree with tourism. That always felt a bit "random" and hard to grasp in Civ6. And I still don't really understand how it works :) When I'm going for culturar victory (which is not much often), I just focus on culture and great works. And when available, I pick the appropriate policies that increase tourism and I may also make some seaside resorts and national parks. But I don't watch tourism even then, it's just some arbitrary number. I just wait until I win :)

    Appeal - well, it has some functions (and lately even more, for example with Australia etc.). This feature doesn't add anything important, but I think it fits the game quite well. You really cannot remove every simple mechanics, because then you would get a very plain game :) But yea, appeal should have even more impact, because for me it mostly is important only when I want to make a neighbourhood district or when I play as Australia, because I don't make natural parks very often.

    Envoys - this is the new way of interaction with city states, you would have to replace this with something else. I think it's fine.
     
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  6. Katakanja

    Katakanja Emperor

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    Regarding tourism, it struck me as odd that they decided not to include a version of the passive effects it had in BNW in base Civ VI - the science from trade routes, spy effectiveness and military bonuses that scaled up as your culture became more dominant. Sure it wasn't a massive feature, but it did at least give tourism a use outside of culture victory and it felt like a system they could have iterated on rather than just abandoning it :( In fact it feels like they stripped out a lot of the minor aspects of Civ V tourism for no apparent reason (the influence "levels", the unique themeing requirements for some wonders, etc) Presumably development time constraints played a part, because I can't really see any other reason for it. On a related note, I know everyone likes to rip on Firaxis for their bad UI design, but the Civ V culture window was probably the best bit of UI they've done in the last few years - everything relating to culture victory was gathered together under each of the tabs in that one window and it broke all the variables down in a clear manner (at least it seemed clear to me :)) as opposed to the Civ VI one that feels like its doing its best to actively obfuscate information.

    I think spies are in a good place right now. IMO its fine they don't come into play until the midgame because we already have enough to juggle in the early game, and as of R&F they have a broad enough selection of missions that they have ways to help out regardless of the victory you are going for. Perhaps more interesting promotions than the flat +2 to whatever mission type that make up the bulk of their choices would be nice.

    I agree with @TomKQT about appeal and envoys. They are simple systems that do their jobs, I think appeal will just become more relevant as Firaxis designs more civ/wonder abilities that interact with it, same with envoys.
     
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  7. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I agree spies are in a pretty good place, particularly now that there are combat bonuses from visibility (meaning spies have additional value) and a unique building for them in the Government Plaza (which means you can lean into spies more if you want to).

    ...but, if I was to tweak them... then I think it would be good if you needed a specific promotion before you could run certain missions (e.g. disrupt rocketry). That way, not every spy could just do the same thing, and there would be real urgency to get and upgrade spies to unlock certain specific missions before you needed them.

    I really like envoys vis-a-vis city states. Simple. Make sense. Works. Interacts well with other mechanics (e.g. policy cards, governors). I really like how you get both envoys and governor titles from the civics tree - that's a good parallel between the two.

    But, as I've said somewhere else, I wish you could use envoys for other things - like assigning them to other civilizations. And I wish you could unlock and reassign envoys, a little bit like how you can unlock policy cards (e.g. perhaps when you change government, or by paying a sum of gold).
     
  8. TomKQT

    TomKQT Prince

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    Spies are quite well implemented in my opinion. It used to be much worse when the AI built exactly zero neighbourhood districts and the mission was purely imaginary :)
    But I have one small problem with spies (and a very related one with religious combat) - after the 3 promotions you can no longer improve the abilities of your spy, no matter how many sucesfull missions he's had. I think the promotions could be maybe weaker (to make them less overpowered), but shouldn't stop so early. Combat units have 7 slots for promotions (or something around that number), so why do spies have only 3 and religious units only 1 or 2?
     
  9. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

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    I really don't like the spy game, but that's my issue not the game's. It's just not my thing. It's probably the most fleshed-out of the series, and at least you don't have those ridiculous units running around the board.

    I think tourism could use a rework in the next expansion.
     
  10. Magma_Dragoon

    Magma_Dragoon Reploid

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    They could implement corporations a bit like system development levels in ES2. Instead of purchasing an upgrade, a branch office/franchise in a city could gain xp and level up (or down) over time based on available customers (like followers for a religion, corporations compete for customers), resource availability, and tourism generated by the city. That would make tourism useful even when not aiming for a tourism victory.
     
  11. Chocolate Pi

    Chocolate Pi Chieftain

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    You nailed it that Tourism is the black sheep; it feels like it just wasn't wired up to anything else.

    I think if you just added 12.5% (or so) of Tourism to a city's population Loyalty pressure, suddenly about 75% of the incomplete connections in the game are solved. For example, National Parks would actually be quite potent, rather than pointless. (Great Works, Seaside Resorts, Appeal, ect.) I suspect a local (per-city) Tourism mechanic would be far more interesting (and less snowbally) than a global one.

    It might also be nice/appropriate to have +1 Loyalty pressure range for Theater District buildings, which are super underpowered as an early game focus. Right now the only thing they broadcast is "Hi, I'm weak but have lots of valuable stuff to take."

    You could top it off with a -10%/+10% (or so) modifier to Loyalty pressure for different/same religions, to make small tussles over religion matter. This sort of thing also creates neat dynamics between a religious power and a cultural power.

    Of course, all of these interactions make it far easier not just to take a city with dedicated effort, but also to hold a city with dedicated effort, which I think would be welcome to many.



    As for Spies and Envoys, I would consider those mechanics very well integrated into the rest? There are literally Spy missions and City-State bonuses for every imaginable playstyle/goal, and they connect very tightly to all possible victory conditions. TBQH, I consider Spies pretty overpowered atm and one of the human player's best tools to exploit against Deity AI.
     
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  12. GermanSettler

    GermanSettler Warlord

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    I get the general point the OP is making and agree that games such as CiVI often tend to have that rather separated mechanics and systems.

    I do not get that feeling with tourism that much, though.

    I think it is nicely tight in with Religion, as relics give you quite some strong tourism boosts, as well as good modifers if you have the same religion as an opponent (that applies also to governments that have a huge impact on the international tourist generation, afaik).

    And it is tied in with espionage... actually to the point that I am a bit annoyed in my Cree cultural victory game right now, as Japan and Egypt keep steeling my great works ;)

    And in the end it also works together with the diplomacy of the game and whether you have open borders, trade routes etc. with another civilization. Even more so if your opponent(s) have agendas that tie into culture or a culture related mechanic (number of wonders you built etc). In my current game Cleopatra and Chandragupta became my obvious nemesis as both hated me going for wonders such as Emeritage, Broadway or Bolshoi.

    Also, the civic inspirations work directly into the system.


    I think what indeed is a problem is that all the modifiers and boosts you can earn and play with on the way to your cultural victory (or to prevent that of someone else) are rather obscure. I have read up several times how it all goes together and how it is calculated and I still often have to go back and look up the explanations. So it sometimes might not be clear what is actually doing what and how it influences the outcome of the game.


    What I also think and would agree on with Chocolate Pi is that tourism could be calculated in a citiy's loyality pressure. Or even further indeed be calculated for each city and not globally. But even than it would help to add a more nuanced (or rework the current) culture victory screen so that it becomes a little bit more easy to understand why you do certain thinks besides knowing "well, that gets that Foreign Tourist Number up eventually".
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  13. bbbt

    bbbt Deity

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    Tourism isn't that separate from culture - it's largely an output from it. I wouldn't say it's the equivalent of science/production for the science victory - it's the equivalent of the spaceport district and space race projects. Something you build entirely for victory. And those also have a number of great people dedicated to it that only affect it. The spaceport district and projects also have minimal effect outside victory - though they do have some, notably the visibility from satellite launch and the culture boost from moon landing.

    Likewise controlling an enemy capital provides no additional benefits in of itself, outside of having an additional city.

    I'd say religion is the most directly synergetic oddly enough as there are a number of religious beliefs that give you more benefit just from spreading your religion to other civs.

    So I don't know that tourism needs to be that much integrated. Maybe something like a 'gift shop' you can build that coverts a percentage of tourism in the city to gold.

    Great works provide significant cultural output. They haven't been that important to the game as there were more cultural sources in the game that we're more efficient, though with the removal of meritocracy that might change.

    Amenities have been integrated with loyalty to some degree and have a significant affect on all of your city outputs.

    Appeal is definitely something that feels underutilized - though they have tried to change that with some unique abilities. I think part of it is the neighborhoods in general aren't that important. I've thought the appeal of your city center tile should affect the amenities there - that could be a way to integrate both more.
     
  14. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    Indeed--really, Tourism should just be folded back into Culture. It doesn't really do very much on its own to merit its own inclusion as a resource. Which is the point the OP is trying to make, I imagine.

    In regards to the OP, I would no longer say that Religion is unrewarding to invest in, though. Decent Faith output can be used for many things nowadays, you can permanently purchase military units with it using a Govt. Plaza building and even civilian units using a powerful Golden Age dedication (by far my favorite one).

    Personally I also feel like spies are in a good place, and are indeed now tied to the Envoy system sort of with the Fabricate Scandal mission being so apparently powerful.
     
  15. GermanSettler

    GermanSettler Warlord

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    Very shallow but possibly immersive ways to make the culture victory and tourism generation more fun and tie it in with new mechanics: give era score for certain achievements, such as "London welcomes more tourists than any other city in the world" or "Aachen is the most visited city on your continent" etc. (or maybe those are already in and I just haven't reached that state of the game yet).

    Maybe they could also introduce "image campaigns" once there is mass media in the game as many countries do them these days. Basically paying (maybe via gold and culture) for a campaign in other civs to visit yours or using a governor to do this.
     
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  16. WillowBrook

    WillowBrook Lurker

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    I really like these ideas.

    Also, some sort of tie between religion and loyalty as others have mentioned.

    But I'm not particularly bothered by the state of the game as is. Maybe after another few hundred hours it will bug me more.
     
  17. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    The biggest thing I don't like about the current tourism method is that there's not enough work to do with it. There's a little bit in terms of theming archaelogical museums, but there's only a handful of great works that actually can theme, so it's really just a question of "find an open space in a museum to chuck all the works."

    I don't know exactly how to fix it, but it would be nice if there truly was more difference between the types of works. So, give me some reason to commission Monet instead of Van Gogh, for example, to give a different bonus. Or maybe you bring in a system like the old way where your great musician would go "on tour". So maybe it becomes a more dynamic system something like:
    -Each great W/A/M has a hometown
    -When spawned, you assign their works to a "vault" for starters.
    -over time, their works will essentially "spawn" to other theatres around, giving increased culture/tourism for their hometown. Whether this is organic or directed, can figure it out.

    That way, you have a case where, say, Shakespeare spawns in Stratford. If you have an amphitheatre near there, it would essentially "convert" to Shakespeare. However, as it continues, more and more amphitheatres in the vicinity would "convert" to Shakespeare as well, giving even more culture/tourism to Stratford. That way, if you don't actively spread the great person's influence, it's not as valuable. Kind of like if Monet's art never really left Paris, it wouldn't be the tourist draw it is in museums around the world. So while Toronto might get the immediate culture from having a Monet piece in our museum here, it doesn't actually help us in a "culture victory" if he's not "our" great artist.

    Maybe this is too complicated, and obviously doesn't account for culture/tourism from other sources (seaside resorts, wonders, etc..), but would be a little more interesting than the current "get as many great works as you can and run the double policy card, and click end turn until you win" that we have now.
     
  18. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    That idea is just awesome. Very immersive, fits with tourism, not over powered, and would be a great way to improve getting era score in later eras.

    [Edit: shorten quote.]
     
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