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Should chopping be toned down?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by JWJ, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    I agree with some of the posters here that chop rushing is overpowerd.

    Take a look at a capital using 2 food resources and 2 mined grasland hills giving it a production of 6 and a good food production for early growth, workers and settlers. I like such a capital as great civilizations always started in food rich areas.

    Now add 8 forests to this city. They represent 8*30=240 production ripe for the plucking (at normal speed). That's equal to 40 turns of production from the city (if it is improved with mines). You must completely lack any kind of sense for gaming strategy if you can't see that to chop these forests is a great way to improve the strength and expansion rate of your empire. Thus all players who realise this will focus their research on bronze working to chop forests and build a few workers to chop the forests fast.

    Because it is such a dominant strategy, it is an overpowered strategy. No other strategy is interesting compared to this one.

    I would reduce the value of forest chops to 10 each. (I have actually already modded that into my own game.) Then the forests around the above mentioned city would represent a production value of 80 or equal to 13.3 turns of production of the city. Still valuable to chop these forests, but not that valuable to make it a dominant strategy.

    I have also given jungles a 10 production chop value in my game to make a jungle start somewhat less bad. I don't see why (from a realism point of view) forests are more valuable for production than jungles.
     
  2. DrewBledsoe

    DrewBledsoe Veteran QB

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    Totally agreed on the strategy point...I actually haven't bothered playing Civ for a week, just because I know how much easier and more efficient the "chop" strategy has become..its (sorry for this word) , but its boring..completely boring.

    And even though I've tried to use other strategies, I always end up back with the "chop" strategy, as to use a Chess analogy, if youve found a best move in a certain opening , would you use an inferior one..a vastly inferior one?

    No I don't think so..

    And on a final point, pls , pls...no chopping forests miles from your city and having all the production returned to the nearest one ..this should almost come under the category of "bug".
     
  3. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    You're just wrong. Sometimes it slows growth, and sometimes it accelerates growth. Part of your civilization's growth is how long it takes you to build the new settlers and workers that you need in order to expand. Allowing part of the cost of the settlers and workers to be paid by using food, means you can expand more quickly. This is an increase to growth. Against that, it reduces the size of your existing city, which is a decrease to growth. Whether the increase is more or less than the decrease depends on the particular game situation.

    Anyway, your original assertion was that the effect of slowing growth was a deliberate design decision, and therefore it should be protected from any changes that might affect it. If you now agree that it's just a consequence of other design decisions, and not necessarily good or bad in its own right, then there is no reason that it need necessarily be preserved.
     
  4. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    Yes, definitely I would, to make the game more interesting. What's the point in winning the same way every time? Indeed, I'm playing GOTM3 with a no-chop strategy right now.
     
  5. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    I wouldn't have any objection to changing or renaming the existing difficulty levels. You could rename Immortal to Deity, and Deity to Sid, and I wouldn't care one way or the other. But it would eliminate your complaint about Deity suddenly being "too hard". But I don't see why you would care, either. It's just a name.
     
  6. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    This is nonsense. The designers didn't realize that chopping would be so powerful. The Civ4 designers seem to understand their game much better than when Civ3 was designed, but it's still true that the player community knows the game much better than the designers did, especially during the playtesting stage.

    That would be fine with me, but it doesn't actually take that long. Even if you build your worker then settler before anything else (which is a choice, not a requirement), with a standard start you can build a worker in 15 turns at 4 hpt, then the worker can improve a resource tile near your capital in 5 turns or so, at which point you're getting usually 7 hpt, so the settler takes about 16 turns. That's 31 total, not 40.

    But, if you neglect your own growth in order to pump out settlers early, yeah, you should expect it to take a while. That's because you chose not to develop your capital and make it more productive.
     
  7. ShaLouZa

    ShaLouZa Warlord

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    I'd buy that. I don't use chopping myself (yet...) but if I was playing in MP I guess I wouldn't have a choice, and that's the problem.
     
  8. ZippyRiver

    ZippyRiver Prince

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    I didn't imply anyone was being soft. To put it another way, the early chop-rush might be a trap to a player. One can get comfortable with a single strategy and, finding an alternative difficult, go back to the chop. You play the game because you want to have fun, and "losing" early on is certainly not. (losing meaning being so far behind that the "catch-up" is unappealing.)

    I do think the chop should be toned down in one form or another. I personally don't use early chop-rushing. I enjoy the challange of finding something that might work for a given start location. I tend to only chop when getting other production bonuses with it (IE: granaries for expansive civs). Forests don't grow back at a rate fast enough to support chopping being part of your game long strategy and I want to maximize every chop I make. I also play noble/price usually. Not interested at this point in trying the harder levels.

    The other point of my post was IF a player chooses a hard setting, don't complain because it's hard. It's what you asked for. The tone of a lot of posts (certainly not all of them) seems to me, to be more of a complaint of the AI bonuses at higher levels (and secondly that the only way they found to counter them is the chop). More so with SP than MP.
     
  9. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    Nonsense....come on. Forests give you burst production ability that simply doesn't exist otherwise, with some very specialized examples (e.g. slavery), which I dislike for non-game reasons and don't use much. I think it is operating exactly as designed overall; they *did* playtest this game! It was an immediately obvious tactic to a lot of us when we opened the box. It is extensively used by the automated workers; I turned off the ability of automated workers to chop trees or bulldoze old improvements because the autoworkers I was using early on wiped out forests I wanted to keep. It wouldn't surprise me if some tactics were not anticipated, such as the picky queue swapping techniques or Moonsingers brilliant perpetual anarchy trick at deity. But the basic power of tree-cutting is a core game mechanic, and refusing to cut trees is in my mind equivalent to refusing to build mines. Yea, you can play the game that way - but it hurts you. I don't care to mess with specialists much, and it doubtless hurts my game in other ways. I make it up by favoring other things.

    If you don't like them, the game provides numerous types of opportunities to choose maps where they are irrelevant (desert, archepelago, etc.) Or you can just choose to have a slower start. (I really like to start out with wheat farms, fish, etc. - but these things depend on having the right starting position and a civ that can use 'em). Trees are all purpose...and I like to charge out of the gate, then choose whatever strategy strikes my fancy.
    Different strokes for different folks and all that :)
     
  10. royfurr

    royfurr "Klotzen, nicht Kleckern"

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    I'm sorry to be going against the flow here, and maybe I will get totally flammed, but I hope that Firaxis reads this and it gives them a pause about weakening the chop efficacy.

    Personally I am not an uber player who scores 50000 pts on Diety (or even Emperor). I typically am happy to even do well on Prince (ie survive and come close to winning). I hope to do better, to quote Londo. And I point out that those of us who frequent these boards, here and at Apolyton, are not the run of the mill player. It is they, who in their vast numbers are the economic supporters of the franchise and will allow it to continue on to the no doubt desired Civ5, that Fraxis may want to consider. Think about them as you read my comments.

    1) Weakening the chop makes it harder for those players.
    2) Weakening the chop makes it harder for those players to even begin to go to higher levels.
    3) SO WHAT if the AI doesn't chop much ... let the programmers improve that tendency in a patch or expansion pack.
    4) If YOU think that the chop is unfair to the AI, or that its overpowered ... DON'T USE IT. Play withour using it. But don't insist that those of us still learning and struggling are deprived of it.
    5) Regarding multi-player ... let groups decide before the start of the game if chopping should be refrained from, or set an acceptable level (say 2 or 3 chops per city, or 1, or whatever.) If a player exceeds this, everyone quits, and they start a new game, without the miscreant. If people are going to invest the time in something like C4, they are hopefully mature enough to be able to agree on some ground rules before starting.
    6) Regarding competition games, see my next comment. A setting regarding this could be a part of the game conditions set at the begining.

    FIRAXIS- Here my plea! IF you MUST weaken the chop, at least make it customizable so that a player can get the other benefits of the patch/Expansion pack, and not weaken the chop. At least allow a simple on/off if its too much effort to allow a chop efficacy setting.


    Thank you all, I hope I haven't offended anyone about not making the game more difficult for the basic player .... without whom we might not even have C4.

    Civ on, all. Enjoy the game. I am going back to my war with Peter.
     
  11. Bezurn

    Bezurn Prince

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    Well the major problem with that solution is detection and enforcement. How do you know how many forests a certain player started off with at his capitol / city? There is no global message that is sent whenever a player chops down a forest. This idea would be extremely hard to enforce and few people like to be told how to play a game.

    I'm not sure how many multiplayer games you've played but I think this suggestion is off base and in many games I join there is not much discussion about what you can and can't do. Unless it is part of the options via a toggle i.e. "Chop Production nerf" then there would be very few if any games that would be able to implement and enforce this rule.

    However, regardless of what we say here I think things will remain pretty much the way they are now. People have had a while to get used to their play styles and changing this poweful feature would throw a monkey wrench in many people's plans as you state. In the end it is up to the user to choose the way they play singleplayer. If you play multiplayer its the person who is able to chop the quickest that wins the early expansion. Its just a matter of them holding off any future invasions. I'd still like to see an option to change the chop rule in some way in mutiplayer though.

    For me the rule is to chop down a forest goes in this order.
    1. On hills
    • Next to rivers
    • Any grassland that could be worked by the city
    • Plains forest if food is lacking or town needs more commerce
     
  12. vinstafresh

    vinstafresh Prince

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    I would certainly agree that chopping is overpowered, but I just can't understand why settlers have to be this expensive. Maintenance costs of cities itself take care of rapid expansion imo. I usually play small pangaea games on Prince and when I chop my settler (I usually chop 2 forests), I build my second city at the same time as my enemies build theirs. For me the key is to find 2 good spots and settle there. From there I start building my defense, buildings and wonders. A 4th or 5th city would kill my economy instantly, but if a very strategic spot comes along I'll pop a settler there anyway and take the economic hit.

    Furthermore, I play this game for fun. I don't want to sit back and press enter 30 times, I want to go into action asap. I don't want to be kept busy for the sake of being kept busy.

    I think the early lumbermill is a great idea or a 2 bonus hammer each turn for a certain amount of turns is very acceptable. I really like the idea of increasing the output of hammers as techs are researched (iron working, metal casting). Maybe the bonus depletes each turn? 100% yield for the first 2 turns, 75% for 2 turns after that, etc. A pillaging technique for an enemy could be a forest fire, which is like a turn of chopping without the hammer output.
     
  13. Sidhe

    Sidhe Deity

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    Why should having 42 tonnes of wood make any difference to how quickly a wagon load of people and some food is built. Same goes for workers? Doesn't make sense. When they get there they chop down the local plant life build a few log cabins et voila. Why do you think this should be able to be rushed with wood? So and I want to make this absolutely clear according to the patch notes I have read, htey have decided to half the wood bosst from cutting to workers and settlers. Whether this will still exist in the final version of the patch is anyones guess. Damn, how unsubtle do I have to be;)
     
  14. EscapedGoat

    EscapedGoat Warlord

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    Well I've been saying this from the start. Chopping is just too good of a deal.

    It doesn't take a genius to understand that cashing in 2 forests for a worker or 3 forest for a settler is a good deal. Gee, would I rather have a new CITY with the potential to get 9-10 health easily from fish, wheat etc. or would I have the +1.5 health from 3 forests?

    Here's some fun facts:

    Build settler first: 25 turns.
    Build worker, chop settler: 25 turns.
    Build worker, chop worker, chop settler: 27 turns.
    Build worker chop worker, chop worker, chop worker, chop settler: 29 turns.

    As you can see, chopping will boost you way over what just building a settler first will do. You should allways consider 2 forest a latent worker :)
     
  15. vinstafresh

    vinstafresh Prince

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    I'd rather chop 2 forests for a settler and chop for Stone Henge and Oracle than chop for a worker. I'll chop for a settler in a second city, but I'll leave the rest of the forests for wonders. In the beginning you don't need workers that much (unless you want to save a turn or two chopping). After a few turns your workers are idle and useless.
     
  16. DrewBledsoe

    DrewBledsoe Veteran QB

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    From the above posts , it seems most people agree the "chop strat" is completely overpowered.

    Personally, I've tried to limit forest clearance to squares in which I wish to immediately improve the land, i.e. farms, cottages, mines.

    To people who think "chop strat" is a built in game mechanic..it isnt..it just isnt..to me it amounts to exposing a loophole in the way the game was designed to be played...most reasons why have been explained well above but let me add 2 more:-

    a) The AI doesnt chop forests for production ever..its only incidental production when its building an improvement

    b) Click on a worker at any time during the game and see what action recommendations you get..do you ever see the "axe" highlighted as a best option action? No Never. Remember, this is supposed to be a recommendation of the best possible action for that particular city..if chopping was an intended strat , then youd see the axe highlighted as an option..which you don't.

    Therefore, the action of chopping forests, then moving on to the next one and so on , was never intended to be used in the way that people use it now.

    I have another possible solution, remove the axe icon completely for forests, leaving of course the "build farm, mine, cottage " etc...meaning the forest stays until the improvement is completed ..this should kill the "chop rush strat" completely.

    EDIT:- Ok people could then just build more workers and still chop, someone will say..so maybe its best if we go back to the "token" hammers from forests of CIV III..
     
  17. EscapedGoat

    EscapedGoat Warlord

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    So while I am investing in settlers and workers, which will give very real production returns and expand my empire, you are building wonders which will give you... culture? Seems like a nice idea... Not.

    My workers never run out of things to do, there is so much infrastructure to build...roads, chops, cottages, farms, mines...
     
  18. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    Well, different woods have different qualities, and I know that jungle wood is far inferior to any of the woods we use nowadays. Think about it: mahogany, pine, oak, beech, ash, yew are all from temperate forests. No-one builds high-quality goods from jungles. From a realism view you should perhaps double normal forests to 20 hammers.
    Gameplay-wise what you say makes sense. I think that forest should be particulrly helpful for buildings and wonders. Perhaps 30 hammers for buildings and 15 for people, as Sidhe has pointed out. Someone asked how wood helps you with a waggon-load of people, answering his own question: the waggon!
    Wherever people have settled they've needed wood for their buildings except for a few exceptional places which are now often tourist attractions. Forests were a vital resource and so the game is quite realistic.
    Perhaps rather than allowing a settler to be built entirely from wood there should be a minimun requirement of food input, thus preventing rushing and pleasing Artanis who wants slow growth.

    Chop rushing wouldn't be so necessary if the AI was balanced properly. The harder levels give the AI huge starting bonuses in an attempt to prevent the need for further AI cheating later on, because people complain about AI cheating. The problem is that the AI really needs some sort of bonus in the later game, not the beginning, and so humans need to chop to make up for the starting bonus at whatever level they are competent to play at, but having got an equal start they're far better at developing a good empire, and so the game isn't balanced; either you suffer an unenjoyable start, probably die and if you survive you might catch up, or you get off to a good start or level start but then it's just stretching your lead for the rest of the game. Maybe this is just the way I play, but this is how things work out for me. It'd be nice to have an AI who could be challenging later but not so advantaged at the start that the game isn't fun.
     
  19. vinstafresh

    vinstafresh Prince

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    I don't blame you for not reading up, but as I stated earlier I play on a small pangaea. These kind of games leave room for 3 to 4 cities build by myself, so my entire empire is pretty small (just like the other civs' empires). Getting more than 3 workers will have them idle right after I research calendar. So with very limited space, every square of culture is extremely valuable, especially with resources at the bounds.
     
  20. Sidhe

    Sidhe Deity

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    Well try telling that to the loggers that work the amazon, they seem to turn a nice profit from various species. The fact that jungle yields nothing is pretty wierd IMO.

    Actually Balsa wood comes exclusively from jungle(not so usefull for building though:) ) as does rubber trees(prized long before Dunlop et al got there hands on it) Cocoa trees, coca and cola:D , where would we be without that huh bananas(already in game) and hundreds of other different types of spice and nuts not to mention a myriad of other medicines and by products.

    Also in the Amazon there are sometimes 100 different species of tree per hectare in some areas compared to about 20 in deciduous forrests. The locals and the immigrants to south america/ africa and the islands south of China etc have been utilising the abundance of raw materials both food and for building for thousands of years. yes the yield of building material is probably a little less but it certainly isn't 0. You should get some cash and hammers for chopping jungle. Also contrary to popular belief alot of jungle once cleared actually makes relatively poor farmland.

    And what about bamboo, entire communities are built out of this.
     

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