Some thoughts on civics

onefinneday

Chieftain
Joined
Oct 14, 2020
Messages
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First of all, thank you all so much for making this mod. It is by far the best I've played, and after playing it I can't go back to ordinary Civ 4 (and sure as hell don't feel a desire for nu-Civ). There is a lot done well, but there are some things which I feel are a bit game-breaking.

Government civics in general - These are pretty solid, although they generally conform to a line of straight promotions - Dictatorship is souped up Autocracy, and most glaringly Democracy is just an inferior Federalism.
Here is where I think the governments should stand:

Tribal Union - Does it really need to punish players that much with city penalties? The only function here is to push people towards Autocracy or Republic as soon as possible, and thus incentivize players to research bronze working instead of dawdling, so I suppose the penalties are fine. The AI is pretty good about getting to Autocracy or Republic as soon as possible.

Autocracy - Pretty straightforward. Realistically, the first form of governments should be autocracy. I think one way this form of government could be distinguished is that it would be the only form of government that reduces costs from number of cities until Federalism rolls around. That would give it some definition even late into the game. One bad thing about this form of government is that it is really punishing now that classical era gives +1 unhappy, before you have a lot of mechanisms to deal with the unhappiness. Enlightened Absolutism moved to Monarchy. A lack of happies must be offset by a program of expansion, but the lower civic costs mean putting money towards the culture slider is an option while retaining the +10% military unit building. If however happies are not an issue for your civilization, then Autocracy faces few real weaknesses and many strengths, even when Renaissance governments are available.

Republic - Comes way, way too early in game, not at all realistic. Republic really belongs in the classical era - probably Code of Laws would be the best fit, but CoL is already a huge thing. As it stands now, Republic means an instant +2 happy at a time where that happy is really crucial, when city sizes are small. Another thing about early techs - Philosophy is sorely misplaced, considering Philosophy as we know it arrived quite some time after Hammurabi's Code. I think you could move philosophy into the classical era, probably at the Politics tech (so the Senate is immediately available as well). I do think the early tech tree has some problems, like philosophy appearing way too early, but I don't know exactly how to reconfigure the tree. Philosophy is definitely Classical Era stuff, and should probably be in Code of Laws' place, while Code of Laws could appear earlier (with different prereqs, probably Trade).

Monarchy - Right now, it's undeniably better than Autocracy, and probably would be simply by virtue of not having a terrible happy penalty. The happy is fine, but you should miss out of something by leaving Autocracy. Upkeep should probably be Medium as well - the monarchies of Europe invented "useful splendor" after all, to say nothing about monarchies elsewhere in the world throughout history. Monarchy would be more for empires which are stabilizing after periods of early growth, rather than the wanton expansionism of Autocracy. Absolutism opens Enlightened Absolutism which can run during Monarchy and Free Religion, which has the same effects as Enlightened Absolutism does now plus +25% military unit construction speed in the capital.

Theocracy - I only used this civic when trying out Militancy. It does what it does pretty well, and if I'm stuck generating Great Prophets, I might as well go whole hog and get the Sacerdotal Palace to offset the -5% research hit - or forget about the tech race and worry about what I need to beat up the other guy. I think it's an interesting take on a warmonger government that can work into the late game.

Democracy - Basically this is just Federalism with more happy and less savings on support cost. I would probably prefer if it gave a substantial happy boost to population centers like Republic, but smaller cities are left out of the happy. Democracy would have multiple national wonders that correspond to various implementations, based on other civics you have chosen in Legal and Economy, which would distinguish it from Federalism which is for large sprawling empires. Democracies are somewhat more specializable. Democracy loses the reduced upkeep for # of cities, being the same as Monarchy and Theocracy in that regard, but takes Federalism's +25% GPP. Instead of giving happiness to all cities and allowing Courthouses/Mayor's Offices to increase happy, the largest cities in your civilization receive +5 happiness, as they are the most represented.

Dictatorship - Straightforward and does exactly what it needs to do. This should be the only High upkeep civic in this category. While the civic upkeep is high, it gains the same reduction for number of cities as Autocracy, and the free units will save some money on military expenditures.

Federalism - Give Democracy the +25% GPP of this, but Federalism is a Low upkeep civic. Possesses its current -25% costs from number of cities and distance. Civic buildings (Courthouses and Mayor's Offices) and modern transportation infrastructure (Railway Stations and Airports) give +1 happiness each, making up for the loss of Great Person points. Local Autonomy also gives +1 happiness under Federalism, for reasons. The Federal Parliament still offers +25% GPP and +25% culture for all cities. The key word here is "organized". In a way, Federalism is more like a revamped Monarchy than the Republican line of government - balanced and useful for stabilizing a large civilization, but war weariness will take a toll.

Legal civics in general - Overall I think the options available reward quite different playing styles, but I always find myself going for the gold because of how tight money is, and then go for Representation.

Rule of Fear - Well, it does what it says on the tin. It's the only true "war" civic in this category until Feudal Aristocracy becomes a thing, which is even more war.

Traditional Custom - Even though I usually take this, I really don't know what I see in it. The happy from Mob Justice will likely go further than the health, although epidemics are a thing.

Civil Service - I don't use this enough. By time the government officials are available, I find it is really annoying to crank them out of my capital which really wants to build science infrastructure, or the extra hammers mean my important cities have the stuff I want. Colosseum is a way to get some extra mileage out of Slavery, but it is really really expensive, and I'd rather get the GPs from Representation than the now-meager +10% hammers. Maybe I'm just using it wrong, or I need to think about a capital that is geared towards production and my science city isn't the capital (which is kind of fitting for the Rome example).

Feudal Aristocracy - The war, war, and more war civic. I think it's kind of poopy that peaceful AIs are locked out of the quite powerful units of this civic, and usually get steamrolled when said units come online. Still, it's a perfect match for the AI's warmonger tendencies, if only the AI were good at war. I may have used it once, and it didn't really suit my tendencies but I stomped the AI all the same.

Plutocracy - Not sure why this civic appears historically where it does in game. Because I'm always starved for gold, I usually take this when it is available. In theory this should stand up well even later in the game, except Representation does so much more.

Representation - The god civic. The starter +25% GPP is already better than a lot of the bonuses I could get, and it usually comes online when I'm stabilizing my economy after the middle ages so losing Plutocracy (if I ran it at all) isn't so bad.

Collectivism - Comes too late for my liking, and by this point I've stomped the AI too thoroughly to need its benefits. There is a huge, huge gulf between Social Contract and Propaganda, where Representation is just going to be the best civic. I think if this civic came online with Imperialism it would be more attractive, and historically the things associated with "collectivism" have their origins in 19th century industrialism rather than the Communists and Nazis. Both of those ideologies are represented by other civics, wonders, or general managerial decisions in the game. Motherland Calls should be opened by Propaganda for sure. It's pretty silly that "Social Justice" opens up technologically before collectivism, when the more extreme conceptions of social justice didn't exist in a recognizable form until the 20th century.

Social Justice - At present, it doesn't offer a whole lot unless going for a culture victory, and the huge upkeep means less culture slider monies. +1 gold per town isn't a whole lot, especially considering cottage spam isn't a viable strategy in RI. The GPP from Representation (to say nothing of Statue of Liberty) is going to do way more. +25% Golden Age length isn't a great reward.
This civic I think needs to be reworked, with the theme of being like the "good guy" image Americans try to present if they are of a progressive flavor. It would be a legal civic centered around cottages and appealing to a wide empire, and it would have synergies with a lot of the other cottage-focused and peace-focused civics in the game. So its traits would be as follows:
- Unlimited Artist (this doesn't change)
- +50% war weariness in all cities (this also doesn't change)
- +100% culture in all cities
- +2 commerce from towns
- Enables Universal Suffrage (changed)
Universal Suffrage changes:
- Hammer cost increased by 2/3 (same as The Internet)
- Requires Propaganda
- +25% Golden Age length
- +1 food for cottage, hamlet, village, and town in all cities
- +2 commerce for town in all cities
The new Universal Suffrage increases the food productivity of all cottages in your civilization by 1, leading to a surge in population growth if you invested in those improvements. In addition, your towns generate even more commerce. For most cities at the stage of the game where you build this, every 3 towns will be roughly equivalent to 2 specialists - one from the commerce generated, and another from the food which represents an additional population capacity. In raw output, this is like Federalism/Representation's Statue of Liberty on steroids, except you don't get any (direct) GPP, and the food growth will take time to kick in. The additional golden age length is quite helpful for hitting endgame goals, if you did not expend your golden ages already. Lost is its effect of negating war weariness.

Labor civics in general - the early game civics I feel are all fair and offer something for a multitude of strategies. Slavery is viable even after Serfdom for the extra hammers. The later options, starting with Free Commoners, don't make a lot of sense and in the long run you're forced to pick Labor Union anyway. I can just shoot off what I think these civics should represent:

Tribalism - Doesn't have any features, and that's probably how it should be. I have an idea that is described under "Pastoral Nomadism".

Slavery - Really good bordering on OP, since it effectively means considerable free XP and great generals at the cost of maintaining a military force. While this can be used later in the game, there are few reasons to do so when craftsmen bonuses start piling up in the middle ages. I'm not sure if the AI knows how to handle transition from Slave Farms to regular Farms. I like the implementation of (ancient) Slavery in this, and full scale slave economies did not last past the classical period (though Rome in RI can certainly try).

Serfdom - Kind of the default due to food driving so much. Get rid of the commerce from farms via Manor, +1 food by itself is strong enough, makes a big difference in foodening. The worker speed bonus gets poo pooed a bit too much, since I really don't like building workers beyond necessity. Manors now give +1 espionage, +1 gold, +2 hammers, and +1 culture to castles.

Caste System - good at what it does, gives some of the hammers of Slavery but without the revolts, and you can goldrush early. The GPP hit makes this manageable, plus you need a religion for it to even work.

Free Commoners - Until Scientific Management comes along, this is basically superior to Working Class, unless you really want Das Kapital. Giving a craftsman bonus this early is pretty game-breaking, too. I'm not sure what this civic is supposed to represent historically - the bourgeois before they became the dominant class (represented by the Working Class civic)? If this is supposed to be the "use cottages" civic, its bonuses should be focused mostly on improving commerce from towns. My preference would be that instead of +1 hammer for craftsmen, it emphasizes the commerce of towns, and loses the cottage growth bonus. This would be more representative of small-scale manufacturers, but when industrialization hits those hammers will be obsolete. There are too many craftsman bonuses that come early, which can be used by industrious leaders to have an industrial revolution before the industrial revolution.
So the new version is:
- +1 commerce for village
- +3 commerce for town
- Can Hurry Production with Gold
Really simple - if you have towns, this is a good civic for utilizing them, but they will take a while to develop and you do so under conditions of limited food. During a time where much of the population is employed in agriculture, finding a way to develop a cottage economy can reap rewards. This civic lacks any of the production modifiers of other labor civics, but if you have developed healthy towns it reaps rewards, even later in the game. Later, Labor Union delivers greater rewards for the town dwellers. Because Social Justice cottages are massively improved, this can be useful in conjunction with that civic, though it is likely you will want Labor Union instead at that point. The primary use is to reap rewards for nurturing cottage growth in the difficult early game, as burghers seek to preserve their status as free folk. The drawback is that you lack any of the production of the other labor civics, so the commerce from those villages has to be worth it - or the cost of putting down peasant rebellions is getting too cumbersome. With Serfdom also taking a nerf, the commerce distinction is much more apparent.

Working Class - I see this as resembling the 19th century stages of capitalism, or many developing countries today / in recent history like China. I think it's implementation in game is fine, and it should be the first labor civic to give a bonus to craftsmen. I missed the part where Social Guarantees in Labor Union took a base foodstuff away for each craftsman, so this civic can make sense. I'll use this as the baseline for late-game labor civics.
- +1 unhealth per city
- Workers build improvements 50% faster
- +200% growth for cottage, etc.
- +1 hammer from craftsman
- +1 commerce from cottage, hamlet, vilage, and town
- Can Hurry Production with Gold
- Enables Das Kapital and Scientific Management
The only change here is that the commerce is applied to all stages of a cottage's development. Civilizations with this civic are developing towards industrialization, and as a result commerce activity is spurred by the rise of capitalist relations - though the bourgeoisie face the specter of proletarianization, and this results in less productive cottages than the free commoners arrangement.

Forced Labor - I've never actually used this, but it seems like economic suicide to even try. Is the productivity boost anything great? It seems like it has some potential as craftsman slots are not too common, to the point where I'll build extra stonecutters and the like to add slots. I see no reason to change this - it represents the bad side of urbanization and drives its people towards the factory, abandoning commercial development of the towns.

Labor Union - The biggest gripe here is that the happy penalty for not choosing this is absurdly high, especially if multiple players use Labor Union. I've never been a big fan of the "we demand Emancipation" feature, but it often functions as a win-more by penalizing any player who doesn't have the option of choosing it. I find the health effects from Working Class and Forced Labor compared to Labor Union's health and happy improvement are an effective way of modeling how Labor Union is nicer, without involving other civilizations. I'd probably add Labor Union providing resistance to epidemics, or a stronger health bonus; the price is that extra gold from towns is removed (whereas Working Class gets 1 commerce per town).
What I'm looking at:
- +1 health in all cities
- +2 happy in all cities
- -1.00% chance of epidemics in your empire
- +100% growth of cottage, etc.
- +25% war weariness
- -1 hammer from mine, quarry
- +1 hammer from craftsman, town, settlement
- -1 commerce from precious mihe
- +1 commerce from town
- Unhappiness for other civilizations without Labor Union
- Enables Social Guarantees
Labor Union loses a commerce from towns, but retains the hammer. The nerf to mines will hurt if you're still using map tiles for mining (I don't think most people do as craftsmen become so good at endgame).

Economy civics in general - Here, I think the mod gives players an interesting choice between Market and Planned. Many of the other civics... uh, there are some problems.

Subsistence Economy - not much to say about this, except that it works and the Hunter Cabins are okay for what you need them for.

Pastoral Nomadism - simply put, you can tell how well you're going to do by the presence of pasture resources. This civic, for its time period, is brokenly good. +2 food on tiles which already produce very precious hammers is the most efficient use of population, and gets players explosive growth. You can see this most prominently with America, because the Ranch not only gets +1 commerce but +1 hammer SPECIFICALLY in Pastoral Nomadism.
Here's my pitch for balancing it:
Put it at Horseback Riding instead of Animal Husbandry, so it is an option for "steppe nomads" that beeline for HBR. In addition to +2 food per pasture, it also grants +1 hammer and +1 commerce per Pasture (or for Pasture equivalents). Remove +hammers for special improvements (Ranch and Cattle Trek). PN still grants +1 food to Cattle Trek, no hammer or commerce bonus.
PN reduces GPP output by 50% (hard to gather great scientists when your way of life doesn't go in for agricultural-centered cities). This should limit the issue with ridiculously early Great Scientists from minimally developed civilizations.
With certain technologies (not too deep into the tech tree but certainly in the classical period), PN would have two unique buildings:
- Tribal Council (can't think of a good name), unlocked with Tolls and Taxes, gives +1 food and +1 commerce for every pasture in the city radius. Requires Pastoral Nomadism and Tribalism as civics. Allows for 1 Merchant specialist.
- Gathering of the Clans (can't think of a good name), unlocked with Politics, unlocks a national wonder which gives the "bonus" of +50% GPP in all cities, and +50% Great General emergence. This never obsoletes.
The wonder cost penalty would be removed (it doesn't seem to stop them from grabbing wonders anyway)
Mechanized farms will be properly penalized (I don't know if this was intended or not, but you don't see a lot of pastoral nomads around today...)

Craft Guilds - Remove the +hammers to lumbermills from Guild Halls (way too easy for industrious leaders to cheese massive hammer leads with this civic). Guild Halls should be limited to improving the hammer output of cottages to make them more attractive, and adding a Craftsman slot.

Merchant Families - Decent enough for what it does. Craft Guilds is usually better at the stage of the game where this is available, since you have a lot of infrastructure and troops that need building.

Protectionism - I guess this works okay? This is usually the point of the game where I am teching furiously and like my trade routes intact. I don't like to run merchants. Basically Craft Guilds on steroids, but it's not Planned Economy.

Free Market - I'm not sure why this has a war weariness penalty, considering many of the "peaceful" government and legal civics already carry war weariness. Naturally, you wouldn't want to be at war when running this anyway, so it's an additional kick in the teeth to get war weariness when the world is at war with you. The unlimited merchant thing doesn't seem particularly good, since the bonuses available to scientists are way better.
I think this touches on the paucity of good gold buildings, and that gold bonuses should probably be better than research. Great Scientist works can (and usually do) jack up research per scientist. If the generic gold generating buildings were better, it would incentivize strategies in the mid-late game besides "get all the beakers and the more beakers you have the more you win". IMO Toll House should be 25% commerce, Tax Collector 25% as it is, Bank should be 50% and National Stock Exchange a big 100%. This will mean commerce technologies are a higher priority for players, especially expansionist players. Bear in mind that a player with Scientists can get +40% for each great work they construct in medieval, and those are good until physics which is a really long way off. Merchants have no great works until late game.

Planned Economy - Does everything you want it to do, and more. I may be a little biased, but I make it a point to end games in Planned just because. I don't think this should be touched significantly.

Welfare State - Many things said about the paucity of good gold buildings can be said here as well. Like Environmentalism in vanilla, it is difficult to see myself running this as it is. My thinking is that this sort of civic needs to function quite differently to succeed. At a basic level, I want to retain its intention - a civic for smaller civilizations to make up for a lack of resources - but the design of RI is such that not acquiring key materials means you will lose, eventually.
Welfare State can be redesigned in a few ways:
- Culture Slider is much more effective in Welfare State at mitigating unrest, since the economic system is geared towards meeting the needy. This is accomplished through a "Community Center" building which gives 1 happy for every 10% invested in the culture slider. It also generates 2 culture, and generates +15% GPP. Community Center requires the Labor Movement technology (well before the civic itself would normally be available, so you can feasibly use Das Kapital)
- +10% GPP just from adopting the civic
- +15% GPP from Community Center, for +25% total
- National Project which reduces the rushbuy cost for buildings and units by -75%; vast infrastructure spending allows for the government to respond quickly. It's sort of the equivalent of 5-year plan for Planned Economy, except it doesn't give hammers and resources don't build it any faster. Additionally, because Welfare State civs tend to be smaller, they are also pressed for hammers in the few cities they have.
- Removal of the happiness bonuses for TV Station and Forests. The former is adequately covered by the Community Center, the latter is already provided by Forest Preserves.

Religion civics in general - I think the religious civics are generally good, all have their niches... except for Cult of Personality, which is just goofy and the benefits arrive much too late to be of use. When the old Imperial Cult is better for mitigating unrest than modern propaganda, your civic has problems. To do what it sets out to do, the +happy from City Squares needs to be higher, at least 4. RI's epidemics are a check against huge populations, especially in the industrial era. The unhappiness from religious presence just defeats the point of the civic, since you either have lots of religions spreading around before you could adopt the Cult or you went for Paya which means you or someone else picked up a lot of religions. Since early game religions have some pretty beefy benefits - as does Paganism with the wonders - losing out on those with Cult is a tradeoff as well with the Paya route. Religion by itself means at least 2 happies, one for the religion and another for the temple, in addition to missing out on priest slots and shrines.

Again, I thank the devs for putting years of work into this game. There is so much I want to try in this game - currently I'm trying to beat a game on Emperor, and I think I should be able to do it but I will have to play a lot more aggressively and do things I never did before in Civ to compete with the AI's advantages.
 
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