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Selling "lost cause" cities? Good idea?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Wildcat67, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Wildcat67

    Wildcat67 Chieftain

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    Has anyone else done this and is it a good idea? What I'm talking about is selling a city that's being attacked that you have no chance of saving.

    What happened to me was I was in a war with America and had most of my army on the other side of the world. Right then Rome declares war and immediately attacks Sparta (who's just a tiny city I just acquired and had no time to do anything with). I see there's no chance of me getting over there before they take the city. So I sold it to the French and got quite a bit for it.

    I figured I got something for nothing and kept the Romans from acquiring a city.

    Is there a downside to this that I may be missing?
     
  2. bryanw1995

    bryanw1995 Emperor

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    Only downside is that you might want that city back at a later date and you might NOT want to take it from the french. Generally speaking, however, it is a very good move.
     
  3. Pac-Dragon

    Pac-Dragon Destroyer of Worlds

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    That's a great idea, actually. Even if you're planning to take the city back, it would probably still be better to sell it first. There would be less population lost & less buildings destroyed (i.e. only conquered once instead of twice). Assuming you don't mind DOWing on the civ you sold it to, of course.
     
  4. Deau

    Deau Emperor

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    You can sell it for highest stake (usually means to a close neighbor w/ good relationship) or for cheap to a civ your opponent is DoFed with, it should spoil their relationship some. You may also sell it to settle a peace treaty if the war has been going for 7 turns+. Last, you may also sell it to a civ your opponent is currently at war with. He will then take it, maybe with some casualties and you can take it right back hell and maybe even sell it again...


    The last one is my favorite when I get DoWed early and don't have the defenses to defend my marginal border city. The gold gain from it allows me to put a little offense together and then capture it back once I'm ready.

    All in all though it is definitely a good strategic move to do any of the above. It is just one of those tricks that fall into the zone of "some call it exploit, others call it part of the game" thing.
     
  5. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    Yeah it does feel a bit sneaky doing this, I must say I've only rarely sold cities to the AI and not felt cheap about it. It doesn't feel like it should be okay to gift a city under siege. Also, selling cities to fund vote-buying for a diplomatic victory feels like it should be a no-no. Or is this too harsh an approach?

    There's no comparable real world situation where selling a city that is about to be taken by an enemy army could possibly happen, it's just absurd when you try to relate it to real human civilization. Although it's kinda funny to imagine it's April 1945 and there's a Nazi spruiker trying to convince you that Berlin this time of year is a real good buy seeing as it's heavily discounted due to a strong forecast of bloodthirsty Russians. So it's out from a realism perspective and that just leaves gameplay. What does it really offer from a gameplay perspective? It gives you the ability to profit, monetarily and strategically, from losing a city that you could not defend. So I think it loses on that front as well and personally I toss this tactic into the 'don't use' bin.
     
  6. eric_

    eric_ Emperor

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    Personally, I prefer to use such cities as a buffer against more important cities deeper in my territory. It can slow down an invading force and give you time to redeploy if necessary.

    I also try very had never to leave an entire flank of my empire completely unprotected.

    The only reasons I can see for selling a city are to create a peace-time buffer to *discourage* war or to offload dead weight from a maintenance/happiness perspective.

    On a side note, is there a way to ask one civ to stop trading with another, or at least to close borders?
     
  7. Deau

    Deau Emperor

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    You can stop open borders unless a DoW occurs. On the other hand, you can sell the city to a civ that has bad relation with your enemy and thus get the units spawned back outside the territory to the other end. It may also provide a strategic choke point or even a "natural" closed borders barrier in certain cases.
     
  8. eric_

    eric_ Emperor

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    Right. I also like bribing a friendly buffer civ into war with a civ that just DoW'd me on the other side of the buffer civ's border. It's really nice dealing with weakened units as they trickle in and stumble up to the city walls :D.

    It would be nice if there were a way to cancel deals, though. Could be a powerful aspect of diplomacy.
     
  9. Callonia

    Callonia Deity

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    Actually it could be a Casus Belli for a buyer to declare war on the russians after they ignore the buyer that bought Berlin from Germany. Especially if you wish u had a excuse but couldn't have one just yet.

    A third party get to butt in directly xD

    Let's say, I'm India, and Germany find a seller in me, And I happen to have a handy large army that can get in a tussle with Russia and possibly win.

    I pay germany monies, they hand over Berlin to me. And russia is now flabbergasted at the city being whisked right under his nose. If he don't like it, he is free to invade Berlin but at consequence of declaring war upon India.

    And India emerges victorious? He gets Berlin in the end. And Germany have one less enemy to worry about.
     
  10. ditchhook

    ditchhook Chieftain

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    I don't think it absurd at all. As late as WWI the Germans "gave" two warships to the then neutral Turks to avoid being captured by the British. They retained their German crews thoughout the war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pursuit_of_Goeben_and_Breslau

    Andorra's history includes a similar 'trick' to selling off one's territory/city to avoid invasion:

    Before 1095, Andorra did not have any type of military protection and the Bishop of Urgell, who knew that the Count of Urgell wanted to reclaim the Andorran valleys, asked for help and protection from the Lord of Caboet. In 1095, the Lord of Caboet and the Bishop of Urgell signed under oath a declaration of their co-sovereignty over Andorra.

    Sure Civ code over-simplifies these kinds of diplomatic moves, just as it simplifies the complexity and horror of combat. But I wouldn't describe these aspects of the game as 'absurd' by any means.
     
  11. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    Seems to me that your examples are nothing like what occurs in Civ. Accepting help and protection in exchange for co-sovereignty isn't the same as what we're discussing and is, I agree, not absurd an occurrence at all. However, if Hannibal is at the gates you can't just declare your roman city greek on account of a sudden transaction and expect him to scratch his arse, pack up his elephants and head home.
     
  12. CYZ

    CYZ Toileteer

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    Rome was the capital and capitals can't be sold. It also isn't a small faraway useless city. So doesn't compare.

    Let's say the Persian empire would've sold Egypt to a nearby nation that had trade relations to Greece. That would've left Alexander the choice of invading an ally or leaving Egypt be.


    As for selling a city to the invaders it's even more common. Very often cities would be surrendered to avoid unneeded bloodshed. Sometimes cities would shift owners back and forth without any serious combat.
     
  13. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    My statement did not imply that Rome itself was the subject of the hypothetical transaction, rather I said 'roman city'. I thought that it was clear I was suggesting an outlying city and not the capital, given the punic context.

    As to your other comment, I want to make it clear what I'm objecting to, and what I'm not. Persia selling Egypt to a neighbour nation to strategically act as a buffer to lessen the chance of invasion is not something I'm calling out as poor form at all. I'm totally ok with that. What I'm labeling absurd and out of order is if after war is declared and the invaders have lain siege to the city, or it in some way becomes obvious that the city will fall to the attackers, to then sell that city to a third party creating a buffer between you and your enemy, denying them their rightful spoils of war and generating cash for yourself to boot.

    So my Roman example stands, assuming an outlying city. I just think it's silly and unrealistic. And I know realism isn't everything, I think it detracts from gameplay too.
     
  14. CYZ

    CYZ Toileteer

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    I suppose you're right. Selling a city with the enemy knocking on the gates does seem silly.

    Perhaps it should be made impossible to sell a city if there are enemies within it's territory? Seems like a simple and adequate fix.
     
  15. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    Yep, that would be fine by me, but I think this is smack in the middle of what's commonly called the 'grey area'. Some probably have no problem with it and others might prefer not to do it. So I'm happy to just avoid it in my own games.

    In a similar vein, what do you think about selling 9 of your 10 cities the turn before the UN vote to ensure you have the money to win diplomatic?
     
  16. CYZ

    CYZ Toileteer

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    I think the AI should* be able to recognize this and, since they play-to-win, not accept such a trade.

    Should meaning: A very good AI would recognize this, I don't reasonable expect this from CiV AI.
     
  17. Luciela

    Luciela Chieftain

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    I see what you guys are saying. What about suffering a diplomatic penalty (permanent would be much more heavy) for trading a city that's about to be conquered by another civ? If Germany invades and they have at least 1 unit next to or inside by city "Baloga" and I sell "Baloga", Germany will hold a diplomatic penalty against me saying something like "You took our spoils of war!".

    Funny thing about this "You took our spoils of war!" is that it could also be applied to a city you move in and take when the AI is about to conquer it (if the AI does more Damage than you to a city, and you move in and conquer it). But that's another story.

    With "You took our spoils of war!", It's also possible that after I suffer this penalty Germany does a series of checks to see if going to war with the civ that I sold Baloga to is plausible. The War AI will change to a "Conquer Baloga and Defend" mentality treated only vs the civ that had Baloga. The War AI will continue to treat the war against me normally. Just a thought.
     
  18. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    It's just absurd when one uses games a model for real life and then tries to compare the two...which carries the same logical weight as using real life as a model for deciding the credibility of in-game tactics. For example:

    People live 1000's of years, or see cities (with no military at all!) firing at siege-level ranges, or plan out exact technological paths of unforeseen breakthroughs that will develop their civ. Real life isn't like these things; therefore real life is ridiculous!

    If players don't like that games make concessions for gameplay purposes instead of conforming to reality 100%, the game doesn't have much chance of being fun. If players DO accept those necessary concessions, than decisions on what is "cheap" and what is "good play" in games like civ V are COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY ARBITRARY ;).

    Avoiding tactics like this for a challenge or personal preference is valid...the basis of it being "cheap" and "not realistic" is not valid.

    Firaxis put this beta out as it is...play by the rules :p!

    Of course, there ARE gameplay arguments to to levy against this tactic (and they are the only remotely valid ones), of course. Probably the biggest issue is the allowance of military collusion without actual war; in MP this would be seen as an obvious alliance against the attacker, and nobody would begrudge the attacker from swiftly pounding the gifted city to oblivion. Since this IS a de facto alliance, the ability for the alliance to forcibly move opposing units without killing them or using actual military power is concerning (city gift of this nature should be treated as an act of WAR by the guy accepting, and treated accordingly). If this were able to draw the buyer into the war as an aggressor (IE taking a war bribe) and it didn't expel units, it would be balanced...

    However banning tactics in a beta release parading as a finished title is inherently arbitrary. Look at the June patch and the #things changed...any argument of "this will probably be changed" falls doubly invalid by firaxian patch history (dating back WAY earlier than civ V; there is still lots of unfinished garbage in IV for example)...you can't make a legit claim that "this will likely be patched" OR "this isn't patched so it's intended" because the post-release support of unfinished features has been SO HORRIBLE that neither argument is reliable (quick civ IV examples: overflow, apostolic palace, the entirety of the vassal state mechanic, how AI calls UN resolutions, game controls).

    In other words, this tactics "feels" wrong because it takes advantage of an incomplete AI in an incomplete game. Where do you stop though? Do you avoid fleecing the AI for gobs of gold? Do you avoid baiting it into declaring on you and then killing units nonstop to farm xp? Do you avoid RA spam that they can't match? Great people? Etc? None of these things, based on Firaxis patch history, are any more or less valid than city sale (this tactic ALSO existed in civ IV, mind you...................was it ever fixed? Take a WILD guess :p)
     
  19. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    I agree it's completely arbitrary where any one person ultimately decides to draw the line and there will probably never be a consensus on allowed/disallowed tactics, it's at the end of the day up to each player to decide how they'd like to play single player. I've given my reasons, and argued for preferring the way I do, that I'll not sell a city to a third party if I'm about to lose it to an enemy. You're right there would be no way to capture that in a precisely phrased rule which allowed no room for ambiguity so it is up to each player to determine if any particular situation poses some kind of civ ethics problem or not, and then to operate within their self imposed boundaries. I think we have a kind of general agreement on those boundaries, but they're fuzzy at the edges.

    The game was released in a laughable state and it seriously is largely a new game by this time, how much future patches will change things is impossible to say but one thing you can probably rest assured about is that there will not emerge from any future patch a game that does not create disagreements between players regarding where to draw the line on foul play :).
     
  20. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    You may be guilty of not noticing your own bias while pointing out the relative nature of other players decisions about right and wrong when it comes to civ rules. Let's think about the idea of not allowing a certain tactic because of it seeming 'unrealistic' as opposed to it having a detrimental effect on gameplay.

    I'm not challenging the claim that any assertion about the rightness or wrongness of a particular tactic for reasons of it diverting too far from Civs goal of loosely modeling human civilisation is arbitrary in nature. I'm challenging the claim that any assertion about gameplay rules is ultimately any different.

    You are, likely, as I am more inclined to play the game for the challenge of devising strategies and tactics that lead to winning than for the fantasy simulator of ruling kingdoms. But I think we would do well to have that type of player in mind when we make statements about what arguments are valid and invalid.

    You're likely saying that from a gameplay point of view you can logically arrive at inescapable conclusions but from a realism point of view you cannot. Hence your valid/invalid divide. I don't think that is true. Think about it, any argument you make about gameplay right and wrong is going to be inductive in nature. You're just going to be making a cumulative case for disallowing something and it's going to be convincing to some and not to others. The same types of arguments can be made to support realism claims. They are both ultimately open to interpretation from the individual players and it's hard to see a situation where absolutes can be confidently established.

    Take the trade/pillage/trade tactic. I've not seen a single player endorse this as allowable. From what I can gather it's very close to universally considered a 'no-no'. And yet how would we capture this in a precisely defined rule that encompasses all situations? What if a barbarian pillages the resource, is it re-sellable then? What if I made an attempt to stop the barb but failed? Am I morally obliged to make every effort to avoid having the resource pillaged and if it is am I obliged to not gain more value than I would otherwise have had if my trade deal wasn't broken? Or is reselling in this situation allowable?

    The same goes for trading with an AI for gold and then declaring war. What if I did it 26 turns ago and had no idea this situation would arise and would now feel like war with them is my best option? What if it was 12 turns ago and I had an inkling? What if it was only an open border agreement? What if I only made a little from the deal? The line drawn here too, is completely arbitrary. I think there would be close to universal agreement that trading your gpt for gold on the turn you declare shouldn't be allowed (for gameplay reasons as it makes the game too easy) but that DoWing when you sold open borders to your target 25 turns ago is permissible. It's where the permissible ends and the prohibited starts that will cause arguments.

    These questions, I assume, are the type of questions that can be brought up about any proposed civethical (yes that's now a new word :)) standard and will generate a lot of disagreement in the community. Where do we go from here? We just admit that we are applying personal codes of behaviour to the game and that the best we can hope for is loose agreement on these matters.
     

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