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Should pillaging have a downside?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by WineGuy, Dec 12, 2020.

  1. Leah and Rachael

    Leah and Rachael Chieftain

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    Interesting thoughts in this thread...
    Here's what I think (I got some ideas from within the thread):

    - Pillaging a Civ you're at war with should give progressively less yields. Say, -10% yields per pillage
    - Plus 10 grievances every time you pillage a tile
    - Moreover, each pillage grants your opponent +2 combat strength (this is like their citizens getting up in arms and helping the military to defend their property)
    - after all that, pillaging also gives citizens +1 dissatisfaction for each tile/building pillaged, and +2 for a district. This is presented as negative loyalty if you capture the city
    - after researching Scorched Earth, every civ has the option to 'abandon' their city. A city qualifies to be abandoned if an opponent has started attacking the city center. Abandoning a city gives you an empire-wide -1 amenities, but you get 25% of the normal yields when the tiles are pillaged from all tiles, stopping your opponent from pillaging them himself.
    After researching Mass Media, allies of your opponent and those who denounce you for grievances against them will all but stop trading with you for the rest of the game. -10% tourism against them and +10% gold costs

    You could still use the pillaging strategy, but you also have to be, you know, strategic about it
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
  2. Josephias

    Josephias Emperor

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    They don't necessarly need to be balanced around realism, but -as in any fantasy- there should be some coherence. It is not coherent you get huge penalties for holding a capital, yet you can get away when just burning everything but cities. If any, pillage grievances should be added, and, to balance, other war grievances could be toned down.


    However:

    IMHO, there's a fail on this logic, in thinking tile inhabitants are not against you when NOT pillage: they are always against you, and this is reflected in the fact that your units cannot heal in enemy territory (they cannot "rest" and "recover"). When you pillage, you are just forcefully taking from them what they don't want to give you in first place, but if any, it should have an immediate impact in your units -> i.e., you get some small (5HP) damage when pillaging, but not a long-lasting one. When the tile is pillaged, people is either subdued, gone, or dead.

    Considering they flee to the city is ok, but that if any, should decrease city strenght insted of increasing it - a chaotic mob of untrained farmers won't help much organizing defenses against a professional army. Altough it could be reasonably modelled as a production boost for melee units and, again, Partisans. And I don't think Partisans were not relevant until modern times: each era has had its own guerrilla-type warbands, maybe not nationalist partisans, but outcasted clans and resisting medieval lords could be called to be in the same "resistance" military line.

    Also, the lasting impact can be seen in people not accepting the change (It's easier to accept a new "boss" who has kept lands intact, so your life won't change much, that having to pay respect to the one who destroyed your village). A loyalty penalty for "pillaged" tiles, which is doubled or tripled when the citie is occupied seems sensible. It even seems sensible to extend it to other cases of pillage (i.e., when the city has not been conquered, loyalty will decrease if you allow an enemy to go pillaging around, or if you don't repair the effects of a natural disaster).
     
  3. Barbarian King

    Barbarian King Prince

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    Perhaps pillaged improvements should disappear when a city is conquered, in the same way that unique improvements disappear when a city is conquered. Other than that, minor grievances is not a bad idea, and loyalty penalties is not a bad idea (although that might be hard to implement), but there should be no tactical disadvantage to pillaging. Pillaging has been used throughout the ages as a tactic because it weakens the enemy while strengthening the pillager, and Civ6 represents this well.

    Also, if Civ6 had citizen identities in the same way that Civ3 did, I could see adding a system where pillaging a city with a majority of one identity could cause unhappiness per citizen with that identity in your empire. I think bringing back the citizen identity system would actually be a good way to nerf warmongering in general, for the current loyalty system really only affects cities on the edges and makes your cities more loyal the more cities you conquer, which shouldn't necessarily be the case.
     
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  4. cain3456

    cain3456 King

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    Why do you people want to nerf Norway even more? :confused:
     
  5. FinalDoomsday

    FinalDoomsday Prince

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    If pillaging is to be penalised city occupation should then have fewer penalties as a trade off. When a city is taken give the option to occupy it peacefully with fewer penalties or loot it for a big load of resources in exchange for severe population reduction and diplomatic penalties.
     
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  6. gcampono

    gcampono Chieftain

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    IMHO the best way to address this is making repair cost worker charges. Maybel 0.5 charges. In this way even disasters can feel a little costly.

    Another way would be to nerf yields.
     
  7. ezzlar

    ezzlar Emperor

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    I usually pillage, then raze so I don't really care about grievances. But that is also because of the snowballing effect. Once you are in position to pillage the enemy you are usually safe from the AI.

    Early game your population wont care about pillaging but late game they ought.
     
  8. WineGuy

    WineGuy Chieftain

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    Again, my real question is whether there should be a tactical disadvantage to pillaging. History is replete with examples where a foreign army marched into a land and treated the local citizenry with a modicum of respect and the local farmers and villagers basically went about their business. Conversely, if that same for an army pillaged and looted the land, history it’s packed with examples of where the locals turned against them, either with violence or at least harassing them and denying them free movement, often to the result that the campaign failed as a result of the pillaging strategy.

    certainly, the fact that unit cannot heal as quickly in foreign territory reflects this, but perhaps making it so that units actually suffer a penalty for occupying a territory that they pillaged, are either a loss in combat strength or chipping away at their health every turn.
     
  9. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    IMO, one of the biggest flaws right now is that captured cities are too useful too quickly. For example, in my current game, I captured the Persian capital, and within about 5 turns it was full loyalty to me, and could now build a catapult in short enough time that I could use it against another city in their empire in the same war. Now, that's not directly related to pillaging, true, but if you basically tied pillaging somewhat into the mechanism that cities regain loyalty, that might have an impact. So something like "when you capture a city, it has -1 loyalty per tile in the city (or vs that civ as a whole) that you pillaged". Maybe you have that drop by 1 per turn, but if I had pillaged, say, 8 tiles on my way to capture the city, then it has an extra -8 loyalty the first turn I capture, -7 the second, etc... It can already be a real pain to hold onto captured cities, that would probably have it much more likely to flip and slow down war. In theory, if you have pillaged hard, you might even start running into cases where even if you actually wiped out an enemy, there would be so much pillage penalty that a city might still flip free.

    Of course, you would have to also obviously fix the repair-flip-pillage-capture-repair-flip-etc... exploit (probably preventing any pillage rewards from tiles you have repaired), but even without playing into grievances or combat penalties, that would at least give a slight downside to pillaging. Not opposed to some sort of health/combat penalty to pillaged lands too, but I'd probably lean to simple loyalty penalties.
     
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  10. Abaxial

    Abaxial King

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    Historically, having refugees flooding into the nearest city was a negative for the defenders - more mouths to feed, and bunch of frightened farmers is no use militarily against trained troops. As for adding grievances, please no. There are already too many grievances in the game.
     
  11. Banazir864

    Banazir864 Warlord

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    They could always lower/remove the penalties for Norway as part of its pillage-enhancing UA.
     
  12. Josephias

    Josephias Emperor

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    That's partly true, but as the quote above says, having people against them did make the campaign fail not because they were not able to defeat the defenders, but because they were not able to hold the land after it was already conquered, so the tactical disadvantage you are proposing comes too soon, and proposed loyalty penalties reflect it better. Other options include partisan armies (just the same as revolting cities, but a bit ealrier), and it might be sensible to make a permanent damage-per-turn penalty to anyone standing in a pillaged tile (once pillaged, it's indeed barren land, that can cause you only damage).

    As for grievances, on the contrary, I think there is too few (sources). Indeed being so few sources and so impactful is what makes grievances system bland. You should be able to have more sources allowing to reduce the costs of current ones. You might also include additional emotions (awe, fear, despise) to the balance of diplomatic relations, and all that might make diplomacy something interesting, more if you make different leaders more or less inclined to one emotion. (Monty might care less about your grievances but be highly impacted by awe, in example; or Victoria might consider worse you not meeting progress standards (despise) instead of the grievances you cause to others...). It will take some trial, test and error to have a completely working system, but they already started in that line with BE, so it's not unthinkable.
     
  13. jasper

    jasper Warlord

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    Same argument wrapped in a new bow. Game play first.

    Holding caps is the win condition to a video game. Its special; its seperate. Capital penalty was to balance the game for diplomatic victory conditions. This isnt about making sense or coherent mechanics. Its about making the game fun and balanced.

    Like i said, pillaging gives players a way to profit over their rival without taking over their cities. You already get a grievance for taking a city so theres no need to double tax for pillaging. You also get grievance for declare unjust war.

    Pillage is part of the whole war package. You bomb factories, harrass trade routes, damage production. The only pillage i can even see being off limits is neighborhoods.

    Its fine as is. Give a major hit for starting the war and taking cities since those are bug deals. No need to micromanage grievances for each event that takes place under its umbrella.
     
  14. greenOak

    greenOak Warlord

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    Norway is really strong right now because of pillaging mechanics. Go check the HOF for fastest science victory. Norway currently occupies the #2 and #3 spots.
     
  15. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Prince

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    I can see the sense in having some kind of consequence for pillaging, but my knee-jerk reaction is that defending cities is already too easy and I don't want to see even more buffs for city defense. In game terms, one of the key reasons to pillage is to regain a damaged units' HP, so healing the unit only to buff the city's defense would make pillaging many tiles counter-productive (depending on how much of a buff is provided). I think I lean more towards pillaging causing grievances. As far as I am aware, pillaging an enemy civ back into the stone age currently incurs absolutely zero diplomatic repercussions as long as you don't capture any cities. I could also see a loyalty penalty being reasonable in the city after you capture it ("You pillaged our land!"). Conquerors would then have to weight the trade-off of taking the immediate yield of pillaging, or risking being unable to hold the city due to loyalty pressure.

    Pillaged improvements are virtually trivial to repair. It doesn't even cost a charge to do so. Bring 1 builder or 1 military engineer with 1 charge along with your army, and you can have the countryside fully repaired in just a few turns. Pillaging districts is more consequential, as those take longer to repair, and require spending production and the opportunity cost of not building something else in the city.

    So basically every tile is like a cottage from Civ IV?

    While we're on the topic of "diverse reasons to go to war", I think that pillaging a strategic resource tile should grant a lump sum of that resource to the pillager. e.g. If I pillage an Iron mine, instead of getting gold, I get 10 iron. This would be a way to steal a rival's strategic resources and then use it against them (or stockpile it for use against another enemy), which would make it all the more important to defend one's strategic resource tiles.

    Yeah, this was a promising idea in Beyond Earth's Rising Tide expansion that I was disappointed wasn't further expanded in Civ VI. Other civ leaders had a "respect" value and a "fear" value towards each other. Respect basically determined how much they like you, and how willing they would be to trade with you and enter into formal friendships and alliances; while being fearful made them dislike you and largely unwilling to trade, but also made them more willing to give in to demands and threats. Having another civ be afraid of you basically allowed you to bully them like you could do to a city state in Civ V. It was a small step in the direction of what you're proposing. Rising Tide is IMO an under-rated entry in the Civ series. Lots of good ideas, but Beyond Earth in general got a bad rap for not living up to Alpha Centauri, and so I guess hardly anybody played the Rising Tide exp, even though it improved Beyond Earth almost as much as Brave New World improved Civ V.
     
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  16. aieeegrunt

    aieeegrunt Warlord

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    This makes disasters far far too punishing
     
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  17. Linklite

    Linklite Prince

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    Especially since disasters are often repetitive - they punish the same player over and over because once it happens to certain tiles, those same tiles are very likely to have it happen over and over throughout the game.
     
  18. aieeegrunt

    aieeegrunt Warlord

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    My first GS game I built a campus/library/university district next to a volcanoe because that tile had crazy adjacency due to several mountains

    When I had the university finished the volcanoe erupted and trashed it. It spent the rest of the game pillaged, because just as I finished repairs the volcanoe would erupt again, and again, and again.

    I pictured future archaologists finding infinite layers of volcanic ash alternating with skeletons in lab coats
     
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  19. DanQuayle

    DanQuayle Prince

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    I can see this turning badly for the following reason: the modifier that almost every AI seem to get which is "grievances you have caused others". Pillage the hell out of one AI player (and accumulate grievances) without taking cities and I can guarantee you all AIs will hate your gut even before reaching Mass Media.

    You can also question the whole rational for other AIs/players hating you for pillaging others. As an example, contemporary people care very little about ongoing genocides currently taking place in Africa, let alone pillage wars. It seems people care very little for "tragedies" which do not concern/impact them directly.

    There is already a loyalty penalty linked to grievances against the founder civilization when you capture a city (until wiped out). If you add a loyalty penalty for pillaged tiles/districts and add grievances for pillage, you effectively double count the impact of pillage. You can do one or the other, but both seem like overkill.

    I however think at the very least pillaging should impact the target with war weariness/unhappiness.

    You can argue that it's the job of the player/AI to make it more difficult for others to pillage their land by building higher tier walls, forts, encampments, fortifying units, etc. and learn from past attacks. By doing so, the rewards from pillage stay the same (high), but the associated costs related to pillage increase and the probability of success decrease making it less worthwhile to do so.
    However, since the AI is currently incapable of doing any of this, this could be an avenue worth exploring...

    ***

    The Main Problem of Pillaging


    My main gripe against pillage is that pillage yields are a function of your own tech/civic progression and not of the target's. This is the main reason why fast science victories currently involve pillaging: your own tech/culture progression fuels your pillage yields. There thus exists a positive feedback loop where you can use your current science edge to increase it even further. This goes against the "spirit" of pillaging which naturally lends itself as an "equalizer" (or rubberband mechanic if you will): you steal what others have already researched. Pillage yield should ideally not help you research anything new/undiscovered. (Also, the fact that AIs accept city "gifts" which they have absolutely no chance of holding through loyalty is a related, but separate issue that contributes to the same problem.)

    As an example, what could current preeminent countries ("tech leaders") possibly learn from pillaging a Library/University/Research Lab located in a developing country? Certainly not much... However, under the current civ6 rules, because they are the tech leaders with a lot techs (or civics) discovered, they would find an incredible amount of science by pillaging a campus in this developing country...

    A simple solution would be to use the target's tech/civic progression to calculate the pillage yields, but an even better solution would use "the number of techs unlocked by the target and not discovered by the raider" as the base factor entering in the pillage science yield (similarly to Peter's UA). You can do the same for civics and culture pillage yields. Thus, pillaging the amphitheaters of the culture leader would provide incredible culture yields, but pillaging the amphitheaters of a civilization lagging culturally would not provide much. This factor could also enter in the calculation of AIs' decision of who to attack (ie potential rewards). (An alternate, but more complicate solution to implement would be to get a fixed percentage, like 10%, of science for all techs you have not researched yet, but the target has when you pillage.)

    For improvements and districts that provide faith or gold, the total faith/gold output per turn of the target civilization could be used instead as the main factor. One should salivate at the idea of pillaging Mansa Musa's mines and Sugubas, but not so much for the mines and CHs of an AI with a weak gold output.

    ***

    Pillage Wars vs Conquest Wars

    This topic is infinitely more complex as it mainly relates to how loyalty is calculated which is a completely different can of worms in itself. I will however attempt to discuss this subject without starting a debate on loyalty.
    1. Since an empire's yields are currently mainly a function of the number of cities the said empire owns, there is a very strong incentive to own as many cities as possible. Currently, the only reason you should refrain of conquering a city when you have the means (army) to do so is if you believe you cannot hold it due to foreseen loyalty problems. The current rules governing loyalty however make this unlikely to happen.
    2. Since pillage yields are high and the downside to pillage are low (movement points, repair district/building time), when you are in a position where you are able to pillage there is very little reason not to do so.
    3. To conduct either a pillage or conquest war, you need in most cases a similar investment in troops. Add 1 battering ram/siege tower to your melee army and you can take down a walled city. Add 1/2 siege unit(s) to your light cavalry army and you can do the same. The difference in the amount of troops needed to conduct a pillage only versus conquest war is thus very little. The size your army needs to be at is mainly a function of the opposition it has to face.
    It thus follows that most wars end up involving pillage followed by conquest.
    If a strong loyalty penalty linked to pillaged tiles/districts was to be added to conquered cities, the incentives would only shift to conquest (with little or no pillage).

    Currently, there are only a few cases where doing a pillage only war make sense
    1. Opportunistic war: When you have an inferior army to your opponent, but this army is occupied dealing with barbarians or another enemy at the other side of their empire, you can use this small window of opportunity to pillage their unprotected lands as your army is not strong enough to deal directly with your opponent's or the defensive capabilities of his cities.
    2. Foreseen loyalty problems: You are in an age in a tier below your opponent (ie dark vs normal or dark vs normal/golden or normal vs golden) and your army is not powerful enough to conquer cities quickly enough to create stable population pressure. Since loyalty is a function of population pressure and the type of age you are in and that it is currently easy to chain golden ages, these situations rarely happen. If you however find yourself in such a situation, you can mitigate this problem by first focusing on wiping your opponent's armies and secondly focusing on the more populous cities of your opponent and the cities closest to your own.
    Analysis of proposed changes
    1. Changing the mechanics related to loyalty could create situations where holding cities with low loyalty would provide low return on investment to their conqueror, making pillage only wars more valuable.
    2. Adding a loyalty penalty to conquered cities in which you pillaged would nerf the currently most powerful approach which is to pillage and then conquer a city, thus adding a risk to the most rewarding approach. It would create a separation between a pillage only versus a conquer only approach.
    3. Changing the pillage values to my previously outlined changes would create interesting decisions about who you decide to target, when you decide to target them and what improvements/districts you should choose to pillage.
     
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  20. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    There is a tactical disadvantage to pillaging (at least theoretically). It's the opportunity cost of not taking an action that actually conquers the city. Every turn spent pillaging rather than attacking gives the opponent time to build a defense or even run light cavalry around and pillage your stuff.

    The only reason there's even a thread on this is because SP games don't provide enough threat to the player. You're not risking much by lingering around pillaging tiles. No defense is coming.

    I like the raiding aspect. It's a fun way to do war other than just taking cities.

    As for the realism of pillaging hurting rampaging armies, Hannibal spent 15 years romping around Italy basically subsisting on pillaging. It really wasn't a truly significant problem. In fact armies kind of relied on it before modern logistics it's why attrition tactics where retreating armies slashed and burned their own lands were employed.

    I could see a loyalty modifier for occupied cities that were really wrecked but they already have reduced growth and start with lower loyalty. Adding loyalty penalties would likely just speed up "pillage, capture, repair and lose just to pillage again" exploits.
     
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