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Symbolic Annexation

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by nick pea, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. nick pea

    nick pea Chieftain

    Dec 6, 2017
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forum, long time strategy game player (huehue), and a law student. I've been reading about colonialism and what a country would have to do make a new land their own (exclusively).

    The scale goes from Discovery --> Symbolic Annexation --> Effective Occupation.

    Civ and other strat games have Discovery and Effective Occupation as features, but don't have symbolic annexation.

    Discovery was never really seen to be efficient for establishing exclusive rights to a new land. So lets move on...

    Effective Occupation is fairly simple (though harder to accomplish)... it involves many things, having settlers on the new land, trade stations, forts etc. You can imagine it's exactly how you colonize a place in Civ.

    Symbolic Annexation, on the other hand, was less effective and not often recognized as an effective means to establishing exclusive rights to a new land. This was mainly introduced by Portugal and Spain. Under papal grants, they would do things like nail a coat of arms to a tree or build something symbolic (not useful), like pillars or an altar. They may also hold ceremonies or plant a flag.

    Other countries didn't respect these symbolic acts and asserted that Effective Occupation was the way to go. This was seen as more in line with the natural law. On the other hand, lacking Effective Occupation, land disputes were settled by whichever symbolic acts were present (along with discovery). The British and the U.S. settled a dispute regarding the Oregon territory, not based on effective occupation (because there was none), but based on discovery and symbolic acts.

    (keep in mind this is all ignored Natives, who were not Christian, so didn't have any respect in regards to these issues)

    Anyways, I can see this playing a role in Civ. I'm not a pro, so take this with a grain of salt, but often times I have the perfect settlement location in mind, but i just don't have the resources to settle it. I think it would add a neat level of gameplay and especially politics if we could perform symbolic acts in order to establish a bit of a claim to the land. The claim could be easily disputed, but there may be political consequences to the dispute.

    I think that a couple examples could be 1) sending out a religious unit to build a remote temple ... 2) drafting some document (in a couple of turns) that states your intention to settle the location 3) planting a flag with scouts.

    Remember, these three acts could be overridden by Effective Occupation (building a settlement) by any other civilization, but there may be consequences for doing so!

    Referencing: "Law and Public Order in Space" by McDougal, Lasswell, and Vasic
  2. Naokaukodem

    Naokaukodem Millenary King

    Aug 8, 2003
    Yeah, I had the same concern a while back. I simply extrapoled it and concluded that to ensure such a thing, our territory may depend on discovery. For example : As long as your scout is the first to discover a new land, your territory directly grows up into it. That is gameplay wise, but not very realistic. (a tiny village controlling Russia or Roman Empire ? You have to have the means of your claims, or they are of few value. But, what if it were encouraging more wars ? Like wars being more common, and less "total", "agravating", key issues, but.. more common, unlike Civ games with denouncing) Some players don't want wars, OK. Let ennemy unit act and settle on our territory if we can't see them then ! If we notice them, we can earn a casus belli or something.

    This ties to this : to generate not direct territory but flags of our colors. So that, whenever we enter another civ discovery territory, we know it, same for them. But nothing prevents you to actually set up them, and them to do it. There would not be the twice fault thing for a casus belli because the land is already marked. (unless there's a "oops i didn't notice the evidences of your claim, sorry", has to be determined by gameplay, but the excuse can make a long shot) But we would have to make a cross on real-time fog of war updating (for borders at least, the only thing for what there is such a thing if i'm correct, improvements for example are not updated i believe)

    Last, I would say that in fact and in a way symbolic annexation already exists in Civ : it is the city borders. Like at the start, you have 6 hexes in your borders, but only one worked hex. Symbolic annexation is not based on whatever, it is based on your projection of your future needs. For example, I do care to settle this place in the future, because it is virgin, and it's not very far. Also, I plan (city-wise) to grow my population, therefore I would need more space to crop it. We absolutely need this place because it's about to happen. Also, strategic ressources, but those last are more about wars because they are highly coveted. Strategic resources are more about "i declare total war to steal your resources or your future resources or resources that i will need in the future even if you don't know them yet". Thing is, you are in inferior position if you don't possess the resources. So if your enemy buys the tile with Iron next to your city, you are immediately in inferior position, because you have not an army yet and cities can not only defend, but attack too, and tiles are tied to cities.

    Civ1 and Civ2 issued this by not having borders. I found it quite more satisfying than currently, but still not perfect, and anyway players don't want to give up borders, for a reason that escapes my mind. (initially borders were made to avoid AIs to plant cities in the middle of your empire, but this quite still remains, if only forward-settling) You owned the tile if you effectively occupied it, i.e. working it. This were still a matter of who is there first, and with the limitation of city working range, and it could cause problems like do I work a more efficient tile or work this one early with no food, eventhough there were no strategic resources in Civ1 or Civ2)

    To solve this issue, we could keep the borders, but a tile within no borders could be worked by more than one civ. For example : you still can "secure" the land around you, with the power of your city range attack. (2 tiles) But you can send your citizen to work infinitly far tiles too. First here first served, but you have more choice since there, that would have more casus belli that we cruelly lack now.

    For example, without an army, you could send a citizen to fight another citizen with their tools. Those attacks first made would nearly always be surprise attacks, more or less, eventhough you can foment a dedicated surprise attack specifically, firstable or after your first attack. You can choose to kill all enemy citizen for letting no word escape from them (if you have no iron anymore, it's maybe because of barbarians hehehe), but for that you have to mount an ambush. That requires more organization and possibly a technology or great general. (or great citizen in that case)

    Or simply make a deal with the local chief in exchange of "cohabitation" (or even with the king himself), with shared yields and resources sums. Natural wonders would become more attractive also.

    You can also send actual true military troops, flagged or not. You can unflag any troop anytime, but that make them less efficient against flagged enemy troops. Then, you can pretend it's not you, etc... this opens up for infinite trickery.

    Also, if there could be several level of war, not always total, like you cross my territory then I fabric bombs with women in all my cities, it would be cool. We could invent a rule when the attacker or the defender can't increase the number of engaged units without consequences. Let's say i enter a civ territory with 5 units just after my war declaration. The defender can't engage more than 5 units without triggering bonuses for enemy alliances. (a more honest and direct "denounciation" mechanic) So he can reply on his turn with 5 units max. If not, if he does uses more than 5 units, then the opponent can engage reiforcement on his turn, and have a little bonus with a neighbour possible reinforcement for this war. (city-states ? Because it feels odd with actual civs, unless they are not forced to declare if they are too weak for example, abandonning the fewer impact on relationships)

    This triggers another type of topic : trades. For example, the main purpose to not enter total war would be to preserve trades between the civs. Either deals or trade routes. But trade routes does not benefit from the two the same way, so I believe that now in Civ declaring war for the only purpose of killing all your trade routes is often used by the AI. But, the trade route maker wasted hammers to build it, so wouldn't it be ok if he would get a little bit more of it ? Probably. But only a little. (trade routes mid game cost 1 turn basically... maybe scale the benefit balance on time to recruit them ? For example late game you could choose to "examine, elaborate and prepare" with a cabinet in a small city in order to gain more from a trade route)

    Or we could change the nature of trade routes : if they do not give the same to both sides, just because trade routes go where there is something to buy too, to save a travel, then we could make so they make pay some different kind of thing to both sides : for example give happiness out of nowhere, against the gold they pay. Anyway, both being in both sides at equal rate (or not...) or only one way around. (that can be choosed ?)

    Civ2 had a list of 3-4 goods per city, so caravans could catch them. But i don't remember how it worked, only remember people found them overpowered.

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