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Suggestion: Make citadeling reversable

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by a3kov, Aug 9, 2020.

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What do you think about citadeling and the described issues/suggestion?

  1. I like the suggested change. Let's do it

    21.7%
  2. I think citadels have issues but I don't like the suggested change

    26.1%
  3. I think citadels are fine. Leave things as is.

    52.2%
  1. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    Pillaging a citadel destroys it and it's tile and all adjacent tiles owned by the citadel owner (2-tile radius if the land owner has Lebensraum) become neutral territory, so that both sides could grab the land again (via a new citadel or natural land expansion or tile buying). The only reason the tiles switched side is because of the military presence, so it makes sense once you remove it the tiles flip.

    Now let's compare before and after the change.

    Before:
    • Citadel is mostly cheap land grabbing tool. AI likes to spam it left and right, even to hurt the player by taking his non-resource tiles, where the AI doesn't gain anything
    • There's no point to defend citadel all the time, it can be repaired if pillaged
    • Because there's no penalty or extra costs other than GG mindless spamming of citadels is encouraged
    • Peaceful player can't counter-citadel, as he has much less GG
    • The only way to get your land back is to go on a conquest. Gets worse if citadeled from different sides
    • Lebensraum is crazy broken, you can deprive a city of all its tiles without declaring war.

    After:
    • Citadel is a strategic tool first, a military outpost that you have to, actually, defend (shock!)
    • Losing a citadel would hurt
    • More thoughtful placement of citadels is encouraged
    • Both peaceful player and warmonger can counter citadeling. Warmonger still has advantage though, thanks to stronger army
    • Lebensraum is balanced to some extent as potential damage of losing a citadel increases

    I think the current situation heavily favors warmongering, and the change would help peaceful players and bring balance to this aspect of the game.
    Initially I wanted to suggest the tiles return to the original owner after pillage but that would be too hard to implement so a simple solution as making tiles neutral would work.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  2. CppMaster

    CppMaster Emperor

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    I like the idea, but I don't know if it's feasible to code
     
  3. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    If the citadel is repaired does it get the land back?
     
  4. Aenigmata

    Aenigmata Chieftain

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    I believe the point is if it's pillaged, it's destroyed. You don't get it back and there is no repair. Seems rather harsh though..

    Citadel's have a lot of offensive utility and can have next to no repercussion depending on the in-game situation. So I agree they definitely have problems, but I don't know that making citadels destroyable so easily is the right way. Though it (may?) go a long way of fixing using citadels primarily for tile grabbing, how would this work for already owned tiles before the citadel? Having the land go neutral in the event of destruction might discourage their use altogether or force them to be used only for tile grabbing, and with it's inevitable demise resulting in gold buyouts.

    It's a tricky one.. Cities, and by extension the land owned by those cities, are a diplomatic 'resource' that can be traded. It's a shame Firaxis didn't expand this to citadels and specific tiles.
     
  5. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    Taking someone's land without conquest is also harsh :)

    If you have a citadel that can be pillaged by enemies, you would need to have a garrison there at all times. I wouldn't call destruction of citadels easy - it's actually the opposite - citadel provides very strong bonus so defending it is easy. Warmonger who citadels still has huge advantage as he still has more citadels and more stronger armies to defend them. It's not like we are giving free pass on destruction of citadels - you still have to work for it, and it's a military response - without an army you can't pillage.
    If a citadel is deep within your territory, you don't need to worry at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  6. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    If the citadel is deep within your territory you risk losing your first ring tiles. And if there's a freshly settled city with a Lebensraum citadel planted on the first ring, does the city lose every single tile it owns?
     
  7. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    It's very unlikely to lose it and if it happens it's your fault for not protecting the citadel and letting an enemy unit to dive deep into your territory. Anyway, nobody except you can claim that land so in the worst case it's a minor issue of having to claim those tiles again.

    Yes, it would work that way. I don't think we should have special rules for citadels next to cities. In this case it's almost impossible to lose the citadel as the city protects it
     
  8. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    So it's your fault for not protecting the citadel but not your fault for allowing AI to get all up on your borders and pop a GG?

    So your goal is to change the counter-play option from "Declare war, take city" to "Declare war, pillage Citadel"? That's hardly an improved counterplay option. Still doesn't overcome the annoying "AI with 5 DPs spams Citadels and you can't declare war to take it back" that's a problem.

    I feel like the biggest impact of this change would be that either you would be able to do a really exploitative DoW on the AI that are distracted and take away a ton of tiles from them, or have an AI DoW on you while you're fighting another and take away half your tiles and make you rage-quit without losing a city. (The point that half the playerbase tends to rage-quit right now.)

    No other GPI works even remotely like this. Imagine if you could get DoW by an AI, and then while fighting them another AI DoWs you and even though you're playing smart enough that they can't take any of your cities, they instantly destroy all your universities with no ability to recover them.

    That would be insane and feel like an exploitative way of removing dozens of turns of progress
     
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  9. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    You don't control what's going on on their land and you can't prevent citadeling during peace time (if you can - I want a video proof). But your own land - you can prevent it and you should. In fact, the easiest way if you are paranoid is to keep a unit inside every citadel, even deep within your territory.

    You don't have to DoW, you can also wait for an opportunity for them to DoW (how to get to war doesn't matter much in this case). Very often it's not just 1 city - in my last game my city was citadeled from different sides so I would have to take 3 cities of my neighbor just to get my tiles back. So in my book, that's a HUGE improvement, if I can pillage all citadels during 1 short war instead of going on full conquest mode.

    It's true that DP issue is not covered, but a solution doesn't have to solve every problem. The suggested change already improves the situation greatly for peaceful players. DP can be dealt with separately (and already are, AFAIK).

    I find it funny that you call getting your own land back "exploitative". Taking back the land that is stolen is not "exploitative", it's a working mechanics. Why would the land you occupied still hold it's allegiance to you if your armies abandoned it ? It doesn't make sense at all :)
    Regarding rage quits, well, it's clear that you HAVE to defend your citadels. If you leave them unprotected and lose - blame yourself. You might as well leave your cities unprotected and rage quit when an AI takes them.

    I agree, no other GPI allows to steal land without DoW and without counterplay. So let's fix it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  10. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    Outside of Lebensraum (which could be discussed independently if people have an issue with it, but I don't.) you literally just need to surround any critical resource with unimportant extra tiles. They can only ever grab something right on your border because you can't place citadels next to each other.

    I think being able to buy tiles around an important feature/resource/NW is a fairly available counter-play option.

    Moreover if you use a citadel to take it back (another form of counter-play) they can't respond. He who GGs first can have his GG 'wasted' by an oppsing GG usage.

    With those solid solutions, and the ability to just go to war and take cities, I don't see the need to do this.

    I actually do have a solution of my own that I would be okay with, allow a trade option called "Return stolen tiles" that will return all stolen tiles. (And remove/reduce the opinion modifier.)

    That would allow you to do what you're asking for here, (get tiles back without taking cities) without allowing for what I consider exploitative actions. (where you can DoW on a distracted enemy and permanently destroy multi +GPI improvments with a single unit) You would actually need to win the war.

    It would also alleviate the problem people have with America, which this doesn't address.

    Finally you could demand it if you're strong enough or trade for it if they didn't really care for what they took. (Just placing a citadel to reinforce their borders.)

    Both of these solutions are new code, though I suspect my solution would be more memory heavy. (Probably require a memory value for each tile taken.)
     
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  11. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    Buying tiles helps but it's not a solution, it's very limited - you don't have money for every tile, plus forward settling, plus Lebensraum,...

    So I should take 3 cities just to get the tiles of my city back ? It's a perfect example where the solution is worse than the problem. So after I take 3 cities I am the bad guy, I have diplo penalties, I have combat penalties, and I have 3 crappy puppets I don't need. And the guy who stole my land is perfectly "clean". But in your world it's normal and balanced.

    It's already mentioned in the OP, it's not a counter at all.

    That's why I changed my initial suggestion from ownership tracking to simply neutralizing territory on pillage. Any solution that has this kind of complexity simply won't fly - the game already has too many memory issues.
     
  12. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    You don't need to protect EVERY tile, just the important ones. If you get a non-monopoly deciding resource taken it generally has almost no impact in the long run. You lose what? A few yields? Some iron or coal?
    It is. You don't need to match thier GGs, because they probably won't use ALL their GGs on you. Besides if you want more GGs to counter GG them, you can just DoW and kill their troops until you get one. Then you don't need to take cities and amass a huge diplo penalty.

    Also if they're a warmonger you can probably sanction them any make DoWing them not really have penalties.
    Realistically you can use a combination of buying tiles premptively and using GGs reactively to protect all your important tiles.

    War is only if you can't do those. And even with war, once again, you can grind out GGs to take back the tiles instead of taking all the cities.

    There are a ton of ways to play around an enemy trying to take your tiles with GGs, and I don't support a solution that leaves giant splotches of unoccupied tiles in important areas and feels inelegant to me for the relatively small benefit it gives.
     
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  13. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    DoW is very little penalty. Taking cities is what really matters.

    My last India game my city lost half it's tiles, and for India it hurts because you can't grow your city anymore (my city was starving actually) until you research more buildings providing food. I was lucky that game my neighbors didn't go Autocracy route for some reason (probably because it's not Deity), and thus didn't have Lebensraum. Otherwise I would have to conquer them all (goodbye peaceful play) or sell this city cause it would starve to low pop and not contribute much.

    I don't need their crappy cities, I don't need to spend half the game in wars trying to match their number of generals, I just want my tiles back. Is it too much to ask ? And I'm not even asking to give it to me for free, all I'm asking for is an opportunity to get them back militarily, but without taking cities and becoming warmonger. Seems not much to ask, and pretty balanced.

    You can't out-grind warmonger neighbors, who are in war 99% of time. I was citadeled about 15 times my last game by 3 neighbors, I can't realistically farm that many general as a peaceful player. Unless I become a full time warmonger, but I hate that kind of answer. And I wouldn't spend one of my few GG to get back my farms - I still need to grab strategics that I miss.
    The whole setup is in favor of warmongering, I keep repeating that. Warmonger can afford to use GG to steal farms outside of his 3-ring, that is clearly imbalanced.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  14. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    Losing a citadel would hurt a peaceful player more due to fewer Great Generals. A warmonger will have plenty and losing one or two Citadel won't even matter for them. I think this actually favors warmongers more so that defeats the purpose of helping peaceful players.

    Have you thought about how the AI will be taught about making more thoughtful placement of Citadels? Modding AI logic is difficult as it is and this is just giving the developers a lot more work, assuming that your idea can even be implemented or implemented in a reasonable amount of time.

    How is a peaceful player going to counter citadeling when their forces are smaller and cannot push into enemy territory. I've played tall civs with the intention of turtling up. I'm certain I have just enough military to counter enemy forces, let along push into their territory to rid the citadels. If the warmonger pushes really aggressively and rid my Citadel, then I can't win due to that Citadel being the core of my defenses. How does this weaken warmongers then?

    As for Citadel behind your front line, there are units called Paratroopers. They would mess up your borders badly and you think you'll have enough units to garrison all of those Citadels? This suggestions seems to cause more issues than they solve.
     
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  15. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    I just realized this can't be implemented unless we forbid replacing a citadel with another improvement. Cause it will still be possible to steal land and then replace the citadel with a farm... :(

    I don't know about human vs human, but I would be happy to pillage AI citadels many times as long as I keep getting my land back. I can always outplay AI in wars. Sooner or later they would run out of generals and I would still have my land back. Actually the smart thing to do would be to pillage their citadel, and to plant my own farther - this way I'm not just maintaining status quo but preventing further citadeling - they won't citadel non-resource tiles that are outside of my city work area (of course, in most cases it's just better to pillage because I don't have enough GG for that).

    First they need to stop irrationally trying to hurt the player wasting their GG on resource-less tiles outside of their city area. Other then that, they already place them well, and tend to put units there. But we don't need to research everything in advance - that's what developers are for. This is just a discussion

    If you don't have enough units you can replace the citadel with another tile improvement (and I don't think it's hard to teach AI to do that). But that's the reason this solution won't work..

    It looks like this would require additional logics (and memory) like keeping the construction time of each citadel and only allowing replacement with another improvement after fixed number of turns. But I'm afraid we are going to hear "No" from developers in this case.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  16. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    So you're saying we should create a mechanic that humans are better at so humans have a bigger advantage of the AI? And how exactly do you get your land back? Wait for your borders to eventually grow? Purchase those tiles again only to have a Citadel steal them later?

    The thing is they aren't wasting their GG sometimes. They are stealing territory to get closer to your cities. They are potentially grabbing strategic locations like a choke point that can help them in wars. I'd do similar things if it inches me closer to your neighbor's city so I can launch a stronger and faster offensive. Sometimes, grabbing resource-less tiles is the smart move because it paves the way for a more advantageous war.
     
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  17. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    Well this seems like a serious outlier. Without seeing your game it's hard to tell if you could have navigated the waters better diplomatically, but even my peaceful games I've never had nearly this many usages on my borders.
    Honestly I've got a even simpler solution:
    1- When you raze a city (for any reason) all tiles that are within 5 tiles of one of your cities get added to your city.
    2- When anyone takes over a non-capital city, if they had the "They took our tiles" penalty it removes the penalty (you're even now) and doesn't cause warmonger increase with civs. (Though your increased power can still cause fear.)

    This means you can raze or puppet any city that took your tiles without making you a warmonger, adds a bit of utility to razing cities that I've always felt it should have, and the only new code would be the tile reassignment from razing. (Which I would hope isn't a lot of code, and is a good feature regardless imo. Would also make getting forward settled feel less crappy because you can get some free tiles from it.)

    It would be the closest thing to a casus belli we could have, and a pretty good one at that.

    If @Recursive could tell me how feasible this or the "Give back stolen tiles" trade option are code-wise it could help and I'd appreciate it.
     
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  18. Recursive

    Recursive Emperor

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    This is feasible code-wise. Nulling warmongering and cancelling the penalty would be simple, and the tile transfer on razing a city wouldn't require too much new code.

    New trade options would be more complicated, and I'm not sure if plots store the original owner in memory.
     
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  19. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    If getting citadeled 15 times was common in games then I'd probably be for a change. I've been playing for years and have never seen anything even close to that. Most common in my games is for citadels on my borders to do nothing of importance at all and only occasionally do they result in losing a strategic or something. I don't really even think about counter play to citadels because for the most part it isn't an issue. I just don't see the need for a change here at all.
     
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  20. a3kov

    a3kov Warlord

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    Humans are already better militarily, so unless you remove wars altogether we are already better at it. It wouldn't change much. Or do you think getting advantage militarily is unfair ?
    Using existing advantage is not unfair in my opinion.

    The easiest is to wait for natural expansion if you are a tradition civ, at least you have options.
    But it's better to focus on another solution suggested above, if it's possible to implement.

    In theory - yes, it looks like a military advance, but in my case AI was unable to capture the city because I was far ahead in military tech (It's very common for a peaceful tall civ to be ahead in tech and enemies only citadeling and throwing insults to you). So what starts as a conquest for them often ends up just hurting your city for no advantage for them. The AI simply lacks understanding if it's worth to spend GG on this city at all - they would have much bigger success if they reserved it for strategics and lux only.
    Maybe they should abandon attempts to steal tiles if it doesn't allow them actually to capture the city because of their tech weakness ? I don't know how to fix this properly, as often AI is able to fight another AI that is more advanced simply by overwhelming numbers, but it doesn't work vs human player. @Recursive
    I think the initial suggestion (not mine) posted in this forum to only allow citadeling during war would fix this issue with AI, because if he's in war, it means he intends to and is capable of capturing the city and not just annoying the player.

    I play on huge Pangaea, it happens. Probably less on smaller maps and other map types may have less landmass and less borders/neighbors. Funny that 1 neighbor who citadeled me was my vassal, which is already fixed in the recent betas thanks to @Recursive ;)

    Do you mean unclaimed tiles ? If not, that would be terribly OP. And how to make sure it's exactly the city that suffered land loss is getting compensated ?

    If there was any solution to this, it would be awesome! Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020

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