Team Victories, or Why does history have to be a solo sport?

Evie

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Someone earlier mentioned the Civ IV vassal states in passing, and the way vassals were able to contribute to someone else's victory joined with some thoughts I was already having to form the question: why do we need to have a single winner to the game?

The idea of the single winner is pervasive across every iteration and every design of Civilization and nearly all of its rivals for most of game history. There is one winner, and many losers, and it's in the best interest - indeed, one might call it a prime directive - of every other civilization to drop everything and betray every alliance when it comes to stopping another civilization from winning the game, because even your closest' allies victory translates to your defeat. This makes alliance far less meaningful and far more fickle than they should by any right be, because the game has no means of accounting for allies working together rather than against each other.

But does it need to be that way? I'm not disputing that it should certainly be possible to win alone, but rather asking whether there could, in fact, be room in the game for multiple civs to collaborate - and win together. After all, "victory" represent achievements so great that they have never been managed at any time in history - and most of the greatest achievements of human history were the fruits of cooperation, not of one nation or culture going at it alone.

How this would be done I haven't thought at length about, though the existence of alliances of different levels and different types in Civ VI suggest an easy path where a maxed out alliance of a certain type comes with the ability (and commitment) between the two civilization to share that victory, if either of them win. EG, if two nations have a maxed out science alliance, then not only do they both get to count each other's pieces and great work toward completing a spaceship - but the moment either of them win a science victory, they are both the winner. Likewise military - if at any time the two allied civilization meet the conditions of the victory condition that match their alliance type, they win.

Of course, there could still be point ranking of the remaining civilizations, so people who really need to know who did best in all the game could still have an answer, with points granted to represent both civilization's contribution to final victory, and of course again, the possibility would remain to go at winning the game alone. But even that, in this version, rather than encouraging backstabbing and fighting, would encourage both civilizations to throw more energy toward contributing to their victory condition and thus score more points.

Just idle food for thought that I haven't had time to fully develop.
 
At least actual teams set up in multiplayer share victory. It’s a basic feature but for instance Humankind never even got a teams option, so I don’t take it for granted.
 
I mean, better to not have a team option than have a team option that don't share victories, because that would be a manure show, but I'm thinking there's so much more room here than this.

Thinking out loud, this could be spun into something that truly encourage the forming of power blocks in the late stage of the game with various alliances all pursuing their own victory conditions (and trying to undermine other people's victories). And heck, if you have a system that intertwine victory and diplomacy already, that would probably be a more interesting pathway to explore toward a true diplomatic victory than the silliness that have been one iteration of the world council after another.
 
It could be done but this need to be ballanced. For example "minor/non playable" civs could be added to your team freely but "main/playable" civs teaming up should be limited by the equality of their members. What I mean is that if a powerfull player just add other main civs to his/her team that would be just more snowballing, on the contrary if a group of not so well doing civs form a team they could overcome the global power changing the power ballance for a more interesting game.

Now I understand that one point is the "why everybody hate me just by doing well?", we must remember that this have a gameplay reason more than a realistic reason. Still it can be eased by victory conditions, actions and relations, for example a player going for a Militar Victory should be the easier to be hated and others players would be try to form groups against it when certain level of relative power is achieved by a warmongering superpower.
 
There could be something tied in with agendas that allows a team victory. I admit I don't really understand agendas - I tried at one point and forgot how they work. Presumably / hopefully it could be something the AI could take advantage of because they can share the second "secret" agenda.
 
Agree that it would be cool, and agree with @BuchiTaton that it would need to be balanced.

On the one hand, it could be super-challenging if the human player is leading toward a science victory and the 2nd and 3rd place computer players decide to team up and work towards a religious or cultural victory.

On the other hand, it could become predictable if the computer players consistently team up in the Modern Era (or whatever the new name is). The human player will be tempted to game the system, plan for the team ups. Whatever the diplomatic system is, it would need to allow for players to form such victory alliances, break them, or even backstab other players.
 
Historically, "Group" victories tended to come from several different types of Groups:

Alliances between 'equals'. - With Equals in quotes because that covered a wide range. In the War of the Spanish Succession (1702 - 1714) the Dutch and the British paid for almost everyone's troops, the British provided the overall commander in the major theater of war (John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough), ,but the Dutch and the HRE provided the bulk of the troops. Overall lequal, but not eual in all categories, so to speak.

The Seven Year's War saw Britain and Prussia against France, Austria (HRE) and Russia. Although Britain heavily subsidized Prussia's war effort, Prussian troops did most of the fighting, and the only British army in Europe was commanded by a Prussian general! Ther opponents were abut equal in their commitments, but totally uncoordinated.

The World Wars in the last century are interesting contrasts.

In World War One, the Western Allies (Britain, France, and USA) only had an overall commander in the last year of the war, and the Allies never had much coordination among all of them: Italy and Russia largely fought their own wars independently of the rest until things started going Horribly Wrong for them. Austria, Germany and Turkey also largely fought separate wars until Things Going Badly forced Germany to start supporting ("propping up") her allies, at which pont they largely became dependencies rather than Allies.

In World War Two, the Westerners (France briefly, then Britain and the USA) were very tightly coordinated - and argued about it constantly - but the Soviet Union ran its own war with whatever aid it could demand from the others, and among the 'allies' there was tremendous suspicion and distrust. Germany had no real allies: it ignored Japanese and Italian interests completely, each of the three tried to run their own wars and in the end all three went down separately while being, on paper, 'allied'.

So, just from those limited number of (European) examples, the concept of a Shared Victory can cover a wide range of 'equals' in a contest, with a wide variety of real 'alliance' or cooperation.
Likewise, they might share in a wide range of Victory conditions: The modern World Wars, being nationalist and ideological, defeat was near-total. In the 18th century, both the War of Spanish Succession and Seven Year's Wars, at least in Europe, ended with no major state seriously diminished: all the major losses were to overseas colonies and prestige rat her than resources, lands and borders at home.
 
Someone earlier mentioned the Civ IV vassal states in passing, and the way vassals were able to contribute to someone else's victory joined with some thoughts I was already having to form the question: why do we need to have a single winner to the game?

The idea of the single winner is pervasive across every iteration and every design of Civilization and nearly all of its rivals for most of game history. There is one winner, and many losers, and it's in the best interest - indeed, one might call it a prime directive - of every other civilization to drop everything and betray every alliance when it comes to stopping another civilization from winning the game, because even your closest' allies victory translates to your defeat. This makes alliance far less meaningful and far more fickle than they should by any right be, because the game has no means of accounting for allies working together rather than against each other.

But does it need to be that way? I'm not disputing that it should certainly be possible to win alone, but rather asking whether there could, in fact, be room in the game for multiple civs to collaborate - and win together. After all, "victory" represent achievements so great that they have never been managed at any time in history - and most of the greatest achievements of human history were the fruits of cooperation, not of one nation or culture going at it alone.

How this would be done I haven't thought at length about, though the existence of alliances of different levels and different types in Civ VI suggest an easy path where a maxed out alliance of a certain type comes with the ability (and commitment) between the two civilization to share that victory, if either of them win. EG, if two nations have a maxed out science alliance, then not only do they both get to count each other's pieces and great work toward completing a spaceship - but the moment either of them win a science victory, they are both the winner. Likewise military - if at any time the two allied civilization meet the conditions of the victory condition that match their alliance type, they win.

Of course, there could still be point ranking of the remaining civilizations, so people who really need to know who did best in all the game could still have an answer, with points granted to represent both civilization's contribution to final victory, and of course again, the possibility would remain to go at winning the game alone. But even that, in this version, rather than encouraging backstabbing and fighting, would encourage both civilizations to throw more energy toward contributing to their victory condition and thus score more points.

Just idle food for thought that I haven't had time to fully develop.
There is George Washington's doctrine of shifting alliances or Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic alliances policy. And, while those have defined names and are spoken by famous mouths, they are not nearly unique to them, or remotely innovations.
In World War Two, the Westerners (France briefly, then Britain and the USA) were very tightly coordinated
Charles de Gaulle would take issue with, and render correction to, the term, "briefly," here. He'd say to remember those who fought under the Tricolour defaced by the Lorraine Cross (which included a large number of colonial troops, one of the big things heralding rapid and timely decolonization of French colonies - save for the messes in Algeria and Indochina), and he'd say the surrender was not legal due to lack of a Parliamentary quorum, and Petain was not leader of France, legitimately, for a single second on the perpetual water clock in the den of the Versailles Palace that measured Louis XIX as the shortest-serving head-of-state in verified history at short of 20 minutes due to the separate abdication theory when the Bourbon Restoration gave way to the July Monarchy in 1830.
 
I mean, yes, shifting alliances should happen. But long-standing alliances necessarily breaking in the end game because "oh hey you're winning and only one of us can do that", not so great. "You're succeeding so the game must gang up on you to punish you" is rarely ever actually fun (or, for that matter, a meaningful challenge).

It doesn't benefit the game much at all, and really only make sense in a "there can only be one winner" logic. Which I contend is not needed.
 
I mean, yes, shifting alliances should happen. But long-standing alliances necessarily breaking in the end game because "oh hey you're winning and only one of us can do that", not so great. "You're succeeding so the game must gang up on you to punish you" is rarely ever actually fun (or, for that matter, a meaningful challenge).

It doesn't benefit the game much at all, and really only make sense in a "there can only be one winner" logic. Which I contend is not needed.
I think my point is, would you expect an alliance made in 1500 to be expected to hold to be the exact same alliance, or team one won with in the mid-21st Century?
 
I mean, yes, shifting alliances should happen. But long-standing alliances necessarily breaking in the end game because "oh hey you're winning and only one of us can do that", not so great. "You're succeeding so the game must gang up on you to punish you" is rarely ever actually fun (or, for that matter, a meaningful challenge).

It doesn't benefit the game much at all, and really only make sense in a "there can only be one winner" logic. Which I contend is not needed.
I remember this idea being touched on by a developer (Soren?) in a video shared here. The game mechanic of two or more entities teaming up to keep the human player from winning a single-player game is unfun. I agree.

I think that Civ games have tamped that down reasonably well. I recall no cases of a Civ3 AI enlisting one or more other computer players to attack me as I built my spaceship. The computer players DOWed each other, pursued cultural victories and their own spaceships, but did not seek to prevent me from winning. I've seen multiple AI build the end-game wonders in BERT, trying to win for themselves. I've seen Civ5 AI bribing lots of city-states to attempt to win a diplo victory; only indirectly did they work to keep me from winning such a victory. In Civ6 (admittedly Regent), multiple AI have spread their religion, hoarded their great works for tourism, and even built spaceports for science victory. And yes, they always vote against me as I approach the threshold for a diplo victory.

In each case, the computer player is aware that the game has a "win" condition in that they pursue it. They don't aggressively break alliances to stop another player (computer or human) from winning. I want this to continue in Civ7.

Having said that, I *am* intrigued by the idea of a joint victory condition, especially science or culture. If I didn't found a religion, it would be cool to partner with a computer player who did found one and -- jointly -- win a religious victory.
 
I remember this idea being touched on by a developer (Soren?) in a video shared here. The game mechanic of two or more entities teaming up to keep the human player from winning a single-player game is unfun. I agree.

I think that Civ games have tamped that down reasonably well. I recall no cases of a Civ3 AI enlisting one or more other computer players to attack me as I built my spaceship. The computer players DOWed each other, pursued cultural victories and their own spaceships, but did not seek to prevent me from winning. I've seen multiple AI build the end-game wonders in BERT, trying to win for themselves. I've seen Civ5 AI bribing lots of city-states to attempt to win a diplo victory; only indirectly did they work to keep me from winning such a victory. In Civ6 (admittedly Regent), multiple AI have spread their religion, hoarded their great works for tourism, and even built spaceports for science victory. And yes, they always vote against me as I approach the threshold for a diplo victory.

In each case, the computer player is aware that the game has a "win" condition in that they pursue it. They don't aggressively break alliances to stop another player (computer or human) from winning. I want this to continue in Civ7.

Having said that, I *am* intrigued by the idea of a joint victory condition, especially science or culture. If I didn't found a religion, it would be cool to partner with a computer player who did found one and -- jointly -- win a religious victory.
In Civ2, if you lauched spaceship for Alpha Centauri AFTER an AI player did (but before it got there), I recall all AI players declaring war on you (the only condition I recall that happening in the vanilla game of that iteration), but not if you launched a spaceship first. In SMAC, allied victories were a solid mechanic in the game.
 
In each case, the computer player is aware that the game has a "win" condition in that they pursue it. They don't aggressively break alliances to stop another player (computer or human) from winning. I want this to continue in Civ7.
I'd like to see Alliances made more 'active' to prevent them from breaking. In civ 6 terms you alliance level should be based on how many alliance points per turn rather than a total points.
 
While not every alliance made in 1500 should last to the twenty first century, having some alliances that endure mutliple centuries rather than being mere affairs of temporary convenience is fairly reasonable. While it's debatable how well Civ represent those specific form of alliances, the Auld Alliance and Anglo-Portuguese alliance readily come to mind.
 
Another bundle of ideas to throw into the Discussion Hat.

One idea that I saw frequently used in designing Miniatures (tactical) scenarios years ago was the Victory Conditions that were not exclusive. So, for example, one side might have the Objective of delaying the enemy advance from one side of the map to the other, while the other side has the Objective of inflicting as many casualties as possible. Therefore, in that scenario, the fact that Side A took heavy casualties results in a 'victory' for Side B, while the fact that Side B never advanced past the middle of the battlefield is a 'victory' for side A.

This type of thing is not at all unusual in historical battles or campaigns where the two sides have differing views of what they want to do.

Now translate that to the Civ Scale.

Say one Civ is strictly regional, hasn't built anything outside of its little corner of the map, may not have any great advantage in Tech or ability to build a rocket, but it has favorable Trade and Diplomatic agreements with all of its immediate neighbors, has high Happiness ratings and is at Peace. Properly defined in game terms, all those conditions together or separately can constitute 'Victory Conditions' even though the Civ in question doesn't dominate the planet religiously or militarily and doesn't see any reason to start over on a new planet.

Let the gamer define his victory conditions.
Each Definition has to include 3 different things, like the equivalent of the current Religious Victory AND a Cathedral in every one of your cities AND a Happiness level of X.

Achieve all three, you have a Strategic, or Great Victory. Loud cheering, fireworks, you are exalted in the Victory Screen.
Achieve Two out of Three, you have a Wonderful Victory, clapping and the occasional cheer, your wreath is slightly askew in the victory portrait
Achieve One out of three, you have a Modest Victory, you may be invited to the victory party, but you have to bring your own bottle.

An Alliance Victory means your Victory conditions have to coincide (2 out of 3?) with those of the Alliance. If you are the biggest power in the Alliance, you may get to set these, but Alliances can refigure their expectations as the game progresses. If you drop out of the Alliance without being forced (Forced as in, you lose a war and one of the conditions is to break the Alliance) you take a penalty, but you are back to setting your own individual Victory Conditions.

Victory Conditions, by the way, could be chosen from a list, with a requirement to choose at least one Global Condition so you don't sandbag by choosing all easy conditions - but that could be an option on lower difficulties rather than simply piling up bonuses vis-a-vis the AI opponents.
 
I'd like to say that I think because it is a game, it necessitates that there only be one winner. I mean sure, in real life, everybody could win at Monopoly, but the point of the game Monopoly is that there can only be one winner.

In the real world, actually, countries are self serving; it just so happens that in modern times, their agendas can be aligned and alliances are always more beneficial than being at war.

So I suppose it's not realistic, but on the other hand, if the winner wins with his team, then why wouldn't everyone team with the winner? And if they did - doesn't this basically denote this Civilisation as the "winner" even more so?

There are still gameplay ramifications for all of this, and Civilisation is not really designed for alliances because almost everything about it consists of competing with each other, and only occasionally getting into trade agreements and other deals.

It's a lot like Catan in that regard.
 
I'd like to say that I think because it is a game, it necessitates that there only be one winner. I mean sure, in real life, everybody could win at Monopoly, but the point of the game Monopoly is that there can only be one winner.

In the real world, actually, countries are self serving; it just so happens that in modern times, their agendas can be aligned and alliances are always more beneficial than being at war.

So I suppose it's not realistic, but on the other hand, if the winner wins with his team, then why wouldn't everyone team with the winner? And if they did - doesn't this basically denote this Civilisation as the "winner" even more so?

There are still gameplay ramifications for all of this, and Civilisation is not really designed for alliances because almost everything about it consists of competing with each other, and only occasionally getting into trade agreements and other deals.

It's a lot like Catan in that regard.
True but not universal.
The card game Bridge is won by a team of two players, not by any individual.

In the old board game Diplomacy the most common end was a stalemate between two teams or individuals, not a clear victory for any one player - and that was the first game I played (over 60 years ago!) which had a multitude of players - the standard game had 7 instead of the usual 'two sides', and so was my introduction to Civilization II's multiple opponents much later.

Chess, as originally formulated in India, was a 4 person game of 2 teams of 2 players each - which is why the modern game has 2 each knights, rooks, and bishops, they were originally run by different players.

So, there are numerous precedents for 'Team' or multiple victories, at least as an Option in the game. I don't think anyone is advocating that to be the only type of victory, because the competitive gamer, by definition almost, wants to Win not Share a Win, so that opportunity has to remain available.
 
Cooperative and team board games have existed and been popular for at the very minimum decades (edit: centuries to millenia if considering Boris' chess example), so I find the argument that "there must be one winner" quite poor. Heck, tabletop roleplaying games are an entire well-known family of games that not only don't require a winner, or need a winner, but don't even have any such things as a "win" condition. The argument appears questionable in that light,

It is poorer given that most board games ever have allowed for draws since long before any current civilization was born - so there certainly can be an outcome beside "one winner" where two or more players end the game equal in most every board game. Even chess, the elder statesman of gaming, and a game that (being two players) has really limited outcomes, still allows for draws as a perfectly reasonable outcome that is different from losing or having one winner.

Even yet poorer in the context that, board games being played by humans and not AI, they are ultimately governed by social interaction and agreements between players (hence how common house rules are) - the "rules" of a board game are suggestions that humans may or may not follow, not hard rules that the AI is bound by as in computers. I can say quite confidently that players agreeing to draw between the two of the, after defeating their other opponents (ie, a joint victory) rather than duking it out for a single champion has been happening for as long as there have been games, even where the strict rules of the game did not allow it.

To limit games as a whole to "there must be one winner" is simply not true.
 
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Apologies maybe my argument isn't very clear - I mean to say that some games lend themselves to more inherently competitive win conditions than cooperative win conditions (using some board games as examples)

Obviously, games exist where teams can win, but they tend to be designed for team gameplay or with team gameplay in mind.

Almost everything in "Civilisation" is competitive, from Religions to Tourism to Space Race to Land Grabs. So it doesn't lend itself to much cooperative gameplay except when it's convenient.

I understand that it's less realistic, but as it currently is, if they took a "you can win with your friends" approach to all the victory types, then it loses all the tension that it had, as all the players will eventually be Forced to join a team or lose. And if you're on the slightly worse team then you're just waiting for your death. Then the whole thing is going to be even less dynamic. And everyone teaming up against you to win a Victory would become even more atrocious.

Not against the idea, but the game would need to be designed for it.
 
And as I said, chess is the grandfather and epitome of competitive game, and even it does not require a winner and allow an end state where both players are equal.

The example of Diplomacy given by Boris is likewise an ultra competitive game that nonetheless only rarely end with a solo winner.

The idea that competitive games require a single winner is simply not supported by actual gaming. They can have one, but to say they must is just inaccurate.
 
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