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[GS] The battering ram scandal.

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Whistled Blues, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

    Aug 19, 2012
    This is imo. a very central part of the problems of unit imbalance in Civ6. I know it was a conscious design choice by the developers to make it so that some eras would favor certain civs and/or resource starts, but that also caries an inherent element of imbalance.

    On a sidenote, but sort of in extension of what you say, I'm starting to grow more and more tired of the unit system of Civ, where you train either a cavalry unit *or* a melee unit *or* a ranged unit. It would be interesting to play with a system where you train just "a unit" and then you give the unit equipment, which will modify its strengths and properties. So you can give it heavy armer (-1 movement, +10 defending combat strength), horses (+2 movement, +5 attacking combat strength, -5 defending combat strength), polearms (+15 combat strength when defending vs. cavalry), ranged weapons (+1 attack range, -10 combat strength when defending), etc. Base unit combat strength would then increase at certain points in the tech tree (iron, steel, gunpowder, etc.).

    This would also solve some of the problem of unit upgrades, because it becomes a question of upgrading the equipment rather than the unit itself, and you can have dedicated promotions (+5 combat when mounted, +5 attack with melee weapons, +5 defense with polearms, etc.). It could also add a fun element of capturing equipment, either through actual equipment or through resources (iron, horses) when defeating enemy units. And it would give us something to actually make in our workshops ...
    Duuk, acluewithout and Victoria like this.
  2. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

    Dec 1, 2017
    @kaspergm That was sort of what I was getting at with my “roll Pikes etc into Melee”.

    Civ doesn’t actually feel like a war game to me. It feels more like a skirmish game. I can’t help seeing my Melee or Cav unit as a single unit rather than as groups of soldiers. I guess a bit of it is not having supply lines, morale etc., and not having any control of men within each unit.[0] But part of it is also this RPS model and these units that are so distinct and disconnected.

    I think having a core Melee unit you can sort of shape in different directions, and then having other units that support and augment those units (eg Cav, Ranged, Seige) would work. Promotions already let you do that a bit, but of course you don’t have a free hand with promotions because you need experience; and Policy Cards (eg Oligarchy) and GGs and GA play a role too, but it’s very limited.

    If you got rid of AC as a “defensive unit”, you could probably give things like encampments, Walls, Forts etc. a more critical defensive role, and maybe give ranged even more of a defensive niche and reduce their offensive power without making them lame.

    There is also maybe a role for the tech or civics tree to play more of a role or maybe have another layer of unit classes. eg you could maybe have Melee units buffed by unlocking gunpowder (even if they aren’t necessarily muskets) or give gunpowder units combat strength against non-gunpowder units. Just something to shake things up a bit.

    I don’t know. I’m just finding the wargame aspects of the game very dull. Partly it’s that most of the land units that actually feel historical are kinda lame, so that’s a bore. Partly it’s that I also think that the game throws up many interesting tactical decisions (although it has its moments, and some of that is maybe more about the AI than game design).

    I don’t really want to pick at the underlying combat mechanics. First, I’m not sure people on this forum really appreciate lots of spitballing. Second, I’m not sure I actually have better ideas. And third, you know, it is what it is. FXS have massively improved how combat works tactically from previous versions, so there’s a lot to be said for just optimising the current model rather than massively re-working mechanics.

    I just wish Spearmen and Pikemen were more fun.

    BTW, what is FXS thinking with AC? I find it weird AC are so rubbish at offensive wars - obviously so - but then they get the benefit of Oligarchy (just like Melee) and they benefit from Rams (just like Melee). They also benefit from GGs, but that’s everybody right?

    BTW (again). Is it a bit odd every unit can fortify? That just seems like such an obvious way to differentiate units - those that can fortify and those that can’t. I mean, while we’re at it, I’m surprised none of the units have any unique tactical options - ie everyone can fortify, and that’s it. The only exception is Immortals that of course can Attack or Shoot, and some late game units (eg Recon).

    Even more BTW, speaking of RPS, anyone notice that Naval, Aircraft and Religious Units don’t have a RPS structure? Religious units don’t even have unit upgrades! Naval combat is a real bore, but I don’t think that’s because of the game design but rather the AI. Dunno - one reason I like Naval is I like the units - two ranged and one Melee. It’s kinda cool.

    Even more BTW (again). I assume Rams don’t work with Naval Melee now? Has anyone checked? That’s a small buff for Coastal Cities. I assume Naval Melee also still benefit from Oligarchy. I don’t know why, but I always liked the idea that they do.

    [0] and I’m not saying Civ should have those elements necessarily, because man that could be a lot of micro.
  3. oSiyeza

    oSiyeza Prince

    Sep 27, 2013
    Of course you are right. One cant over simplify too much, the Mongol history is quite complex, but mostly Mongols were feared for their hit and run tactics. The used feigned flight, surprise attacks, hostage taking, psychological warfare and human shields tactics quite efficiently.

    Only in some periods of time the tribes were unified and they used very large armies, the horde. In these periods, they indeed attacked large fortified cities, like Kiev. Using Chinese siege engineers.

    Most Mongol troopers were light cavalry horse archers; Mongol cavalry was very mobile, since each soldier maintained more than one horse, up to four horses per soldier. So they could travel efficiently faster than any other army of the time. But they also used heavily armored lancers.

    In field battles the Mongols typically showered their enemy with armor-piercing arrows paving the way for a lancer charge. A favorite military ploy was feigning retreat and luring the enemy into a prepared position and surrounding them with mounted archers or suddenly turning on the pursing army and raining them with arrows.

    Mongols used siege weapons, The siege engines were not disassembled and carried by horses to be rebuilt at the site of the battle, as was the usual practice with European armies. Instead the Mongol horde would travel with skilled engineers who would build siege engines from materials on site. Also, they were probably among the first armies using gunpowder in battles.

    In the siege of cities in wooded areas Mongols sometimes built stockades for protection against enemy arrows and bombarded the city several days with catapults until the walls were breached.

    Secondly, they used terror tactics in the cities and fortress they were approaching. They were famous for giving their victims a choice: capitulation or death by strangulation with a string. Many cities and fortress capitulated before his army even showed itself on the horizon.

    During sieges, another commonly used tactic was the use of what was called the "kharash". During a siege the Mongols would gather prisoners captured in previous battles, and would drive them forward. These "shields" would often take the brunt of enemy arrows and crossbow bolts, thus leaving the Mongol warriors safer. The kharash were also used as assault units to breach walls.

    They rarely assaulted fortified positions with cavalry, and they did not use the cavalry to break walls.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
    Troy Bruckner likes this.
  4. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

    Jan 26, 2008

    Mounted has a resource-less counter that was finally made an actual counter for them.

    Also, historical accuracy arguments in this context are necessarily incoherent*.

    Gameplay argument is more reasonable, but there's a problem. Cavalry have counter units, and it's their counter units that should counter them. Previously they didn't, which was why cavalry was busted. Making them inept at taking cities calls question to their value. Of course, in Firaxis fashion there IS a use for them...itself a bit degenerate (noting your conversation with LillyLancer).

    Why not take the city with the melee units you brought along anyway? Or even just a scout?

    The point of walls is to buy time and block units that don't bring siege. If you're under siege, it's reasonable to expect the defender to have units.

    Actual archers in the city would still have 2 range.

    Historical Mongols had access to siege that outranged cities, just like most civs in eras after the early ones. But one of the single most common ways to take cities historically, including to the Mongols, isn't represented in the game at all.

    Historical accuracy arguments in this context are necessarily incoherent*.

    * The reason historical accuracy arguments are incoherent is due to self-inconsistent acceptance of how Firaxis abstracts. On the one hand, crap siege early game and/or inept cavalry taking cities is "okay because it's historical". But we can't have sieged cities surrender after a few turns regardless of walls because...reasons. That reason must be gameplay, not history. That brings us back to the historical justification of nerfed cavalry vs cities.

    From a cost proposition standpoint, cavalry don't make sense for taking city ops at all now, especially because they have a proper harder counter that previously didn't exist. If you use them to chain pillage they are at least out of the way of combat troops and siege units.

    The most cancerous thing, however, is that defenders have had a very significant advantage in Civ 6 since the game was released. They have more vision of enemy troops by default, can stack more attacks/province due to city defense, and have better movement logistics due to city/encampment ZoC. Against a competent defender winning an attack on same tech/military investment is impossible. Even if the defender is weaker it's still a major uphill fight to take cities when your opponent doesn't throw units away.

    And that was before the random wall superbuff, before any nerfs to rams, and before nerfs to knights. The one defensible change in this fiasco is that knights were too good against their counter units, so their counter unit saw buffs (as did other anti-cav, sorely needed). This got rid of the mounted centralization problem, but it's comical to see defenders get buffed over and over when defenders have had a large advantage since day 0 game release day...and that people think this was somehow necessary or good for the game.

    Nations need military to defend themselves, and they've *always* been able to do so if they have it in Civ 6. Reducing the amount needed to defend further is not healthy for the game. I get it, they can't make the AI decent. That doesn't mean the actual mechanics should be gutted.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  5. S1AL

    S1AL Warlord

    Jun 17, 2018
    A few historical points:

    1) The Mongols absolutely did siege fortified cities. They used Chinese Engineers for that specific purpose.

    2) Cavalry regularly fought dismounted when necessary, including during siege. A more accurate change would be a combat penalty representing the loss of power caused by dismounting.

    3) A bonus to defenders, especially with anything fortified, is historically accurate... If anything, the game severely underrepresents the force multiplier of later fortifications. In many cases, attackers had to have a 10:1 advantage to even consider attacking a fortified city, much less an actual fortress. That didn't change until the advent of heavy artillery, circa the US Civil War. Even then, the attacker tended to need 3:1 forces and suffered much higher proportionate losses.
  6. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

    Dec 1, 2017
    AC are bad thrice over. First, they’re bad at their RPS role, because they’re generally not a great counter to Cavalry because of cost v power and era unit gaps. Second, they’re bad at their “niche” which is (ahistorically) defence, because other unit classes defend so much better. Third, they’re not good at the core thing players generally use all units for - capturing cities or at least pillaging them - because they are super slow (even v melee) and get chewed up by ranged.

    You can, but swords are slow, hard to replace (bc iron) and get tired (take damage). I usually find it easier to have horses and swords, then save my lumbering swords for taking down walls, and leave my horsies to run around taking cities and killing units because they can manoeuvre better and heals faster (via pillage).

    Normally my Horsies arrive first and kill everyone. Then the swords arrive and take the walls down while the horsies heal (pillaging farms). Then horsies move to the next city, and more swords heal naturally in the captured city.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    Victoria likes this.
  7. Troy Bruckner

    Troy Bruckner Prince

    Jan 26, 2019
    I think each level of wall should be the range distance of the wall's attack.
  8. toni10001

    toni10001 Chieftain

    Jul 11, 2019
    The battering ram effect is a welcome change actually. I do appreciate mixing the units to gain full effect.

    As I see it, there are still ways to win with cavalry civs even with the nerf.
    However, the problem lies with the theme and uniqueness of a civ. I dont want to play several civs with the same strategy afterall.

    Im fine with scythia since their approach for me was always storm and sustain with all the healing they get and the double cavalry. So the play style didnt change much just the unit composition.

    Mongolia on the other is a different story. Their bonuses scream move fast and conquer. +1 movement, a uu with a free escort, an extra bonus to cavalry and a chance to capture when fighting cavalry vs cavalry?

    I can win with mongoliaon deity no problem from just the extra diplo visibility alone but it doesnt feel right.

    Look at norway, they were mindful enough to still give them the science and culture from pillage because they dont want to damage how that civ is unique. They even said ao on their stream.
  9. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

    Jan 26, 2008
    Cities outranging siege is degenerate, unless they do basically no damage to siege.

    Early in the game there isn't time to build all this stuff, and light cavalry rushes have been functionally patched out of the game for high difficulties, too risky that opponent builds walls and then you can't progress. Early sword rushes are likely to look similar to before because early sword rushes on high difficulty lost out waiting for production of cavalry of any kind aside from chariots.

    Knights were the obvious sweet spot...but mixed forces in the timeframe where knights first arrive is still not functional. Swords, even with GG boost and promotions, aren't going to smash ~50 strength cities. Now knights aren't either, but at least MAYBE by early renaissance your assertion of using knights to kill units then muskets to take the cities starts working better, because knights require earlier/easier resources compared to muskets then.

    If counter-units don't counter the unit they're stated to defeat, the solution is to alter the counter-unit until it works. The solution is not to arbitrarily buff/nerf other things. If knights were such a problem, why not buff AC sufficiently? An alternative solution would be to lower knight strength, but since the broad concensus seems to still be that "AC sucks", that's the most obvious place to look for an answer.

    Speaking of counter units not functioning, AC is straight up valuable against cavalry right now compared to catapults vs cities. Even with a GG, catapults are pretty terrible, which is a large part of the reason why battering rams were so popular to use. Where's the built-in -17 strength against catapults from cities/archery units?

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