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The game badly needs a mechanic against super expansion

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by SupremacyKing2, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. Depravo

    Depravo Siring Bastards

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    Civ 3 style corruption should never be reintroduced in any way, shape or form.

    It didn't even deter ICS, you just ended up with dozens of crap cities with near-zero production. Civ 5's global happiness and blunt instrument penalties for expansion beyond the first few cities were hardly the answer, but puppet cities weren't a bad concept.

    Not that I have a solution, mind you.
     
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  2. man_in_finance

    man_in_finance Chieftain

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    When an AI civ becomes too powerful what happens? Usually you realise as the only human player its up to you to do something. The AI civs are useless. If you are too far behind thats it - game over.

    There needs to a be a mechanic where even the strongest Civ cannot actively oppose the rest of the world without penalty. And in order for the AI to be able to utilise this it needs to be somewhat passive (requiring little AI planning). Here is where I believe multinational trade agreements can help. If you are at War you cannot form trade routes with other Civs and you cannot be part of agreements. If routes and agreements provided a strong fundamental part of your economy then going to war against the world would be highly costly. So much so you might not be able to support your army or your cities - losing happiness and loyalty.

    Additionally this involves needing to manage your relationships better to perhaps maintain some of your trade agreements, and also targeting disrupting enemy civs trade routes to impact their trade agreements. So it would add strategy, and a form of multi-cooperative strategy which I think Civ is lacking in every area (the new diplomacy system might improve this though).
     
  3. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Deity

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    I would have no issue with bringing back the Civ4 method, as long as we could build things to help us overcome the worst effects.

    Another possibility is to increase the Era Score needed to avoid a Dark Age or enter a Golden Age as your empire gets bigger.
     
  4. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    I've been playing a lot of Stellaris recently and that game has a nice mechanic to slow down overly wide empires. Your empire has an "empire sprawl" value (measured by how many systems you have) and an "administrative capacity" value (determined by your government and increased through techs and traditions). As you spread out and settle more star systems, your empire sprawl will increase. If it exceeds your administrative capacity, then you start incurring ever higher penalties to things like science, production and leader costs. So you can spread out above that value, you just start getting some penalties. I think a system like that would work great in civ. Your government would give you a base administrative capacity, increased through certain civics and policy cards and the number of cities you own (either settled or conquered) would determine your empire sprawl. If your empire sprawl exceeded your administrative capacity, then science, production and maintenance would become more expensive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
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  5. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    I too have recently been playing stellaris. Translating for civ veterans:
    What they have done is essentially come up with a tally of how much stuff your empire needs to manage-you have to manage your colony planets, and your space outposts, etc. In a space based 4x game, it's an equation of territory + cities + districts, weighted to favor having cities and districts more so than simply controlling lots of territory. (Imagine if you could claim territory without having to build a city, but could still build improvements and extract yields. Rural v urban economy.) Notably this tally does not include population because they assumed more pop is better. That tally is compared to a number based on your government and features of it. It's linear- so if you have 50 sprawl but 30 capacity then the penalty is for 20 points of overage. It's the same as if it were 40 vs 20 or 220 vs 200. The penalty isn't binary either, it's a linear addition: so 10 points of overage means 3% more expensive techs and social policies and government upkeep, 20 points means 6% more expensive, and so on. It is part of the game design that virtually everyone will exceed their cap and incur varying degrees of penalty. It's meant to be a brake on a zerg swarm playstyle eating the whole galaxy. Sound familiar to civ?

    It would need tweaking for civ but what it tries to do is create a system where you can choose to build condensed or spread out, and the goal is about having a well running civ - not about staying under a cap or limit. This is the kind of basis I've hopefully advocated for before. The image of a logistics curve is a good one:
    Spoiler :



    We don't want runaways to succeed by virtue of being runaways (exponential) but we also don't want players with plenty of spare resources to be locked out of a great opportunity - say settling an amazing Mt Kilimanjaro city on your border- just because it would net slow them down due to arbitrary limits. I think the answer is to make the empire-wide return (science and culture) on more and more infrastructure start to drop but never go negative (like a logistics curve.) And as supremacyking2 mentioned, the need for such a slowdown changes over time: we expect that a classical era civ shouldn't be able to govern 2 continents at full efficiency, but an end game empire locked in a cold war should be able to do better. Pair this with adding some content to allow more +% yields in big cities and I think it's near the money zone.
     
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  6. Imaus

    Imaus Prince

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    Tech will doubtlessly ease the problem of having far-flung or wide empires, as well. In particular, Roads, advanced Sailing/Optics,The Printing Press, Radio, Mass Media, Television/Telecomms, Flight, Internal Combustion Engines - all these things allow a polity to wield hard power far more efficiency across a larger area.

    There can be downsides to this, too, particularly vis-a-vis communications, which can divide people/allow alternate cultures, governments/civics, and religions to expand at the expense of the 'official' one.

    Trade routes, direct ones as well, strengthen ties, while a cut-off city or colony loses them - and maybe quickly. This allows for, say, Roman-esque empires to still form but if they get too big and cut apart you see the fringe going their own way, like Britain did.

    Surely something like this can be useful to balancing out wide empires. Corruption from Civ3 was perfect, as that's a real problem. Even just focusing on countering Corruption - up to and including having bona-fide civil wars - should be a thing. Internal affairs can become paramount monsters, and maybe some civics/techs encourage it or can fight it, at the expense of say, production internally or geopolitical capability externally.

    Civ4 was good on paper but I never really had a problem with loyalty? That might had been due to my play style, however....
     
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  7. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    Thank you and 100% YES!
     
  8. Gronaz

    Gronaz Chieftain

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    I fully agree with you guys and with this logistic theory but now: how to include it in-game, in respect for both History and gameplay? Some mechanisms already exist but I feel that they are just not sufficient enough or AI never use them.
    One common weakness for huge empires is that they need more military forces to defend from more attack directions, but AI are weak with planning joint attacks, so as using border expansion cassus beli or foment spy unrest.
    Some super-expanded countries exist in real world and most of them seems to require more authoritarian governments to unite peoples. This could reflect in-game with some government more wide oriented (classical republic is so in tier1 governments but there are none in tier2 and 3).
    One big issue with huge countries is separatists and loyalty system should simulate that but this is too easy to deal with even far away from capital, with conquering more cities and having only one garrison unit.
    Some balancing solutions could be a returning need for tribunal building in occupied cities and new management of ethnicity (or at least part of conquered population with former customs) requested in other threads, affecting loyalty.

    But finally I like this threads original idea of fading loyalty far from the capital. Here is an easy way to add it: The government plaza currently gives an internal +8 loyalty to only its city. It would change a lot if this was instead a +8 internal and external pressure. This would allow a strong core 9 tiles radius loyal empire and help when deity AI build theirs 3 first cities in players direction. This would be more difficult to conquer and keep cities near a foreign plaza. And players with expansion plans would have to postpone this plaza and benefits to place it further away.

    Another simple idea that could change everything: What about a new mid-game military policy card giving +1 loyalty pressure for each military unit around (with the same fading radius as cities)? This would force wide empires to spend more production on military force and just only for domestic security. It would improve roleplay with no more population stupidly revolting with 10 units around ready to kill them and reconquer city. This would also create new cold war situations with two countries massing standing armies to both sides of frontiers for decades, and direct conflict with both forces ready if a city revolts anyway.
     
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  9. killmeplease

    killmeplease Mk Z on Steam

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    the ratio of perimeter to area diminishes as the size of the country increases, so bigger countries need relatively smaller armies than small countries.
    its also more likely that a big country will grow to natural barriers covering it from most directions
    e.g. the roman empire had only a few borders to protect from invasion (hadrian's wall, rhine, danube, euphrates)
    but it doesnt help in case of civil war
     
  10. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    I definitely feel like governments should be tied to whatever anti-expansionist mechanic there is. After all, government goes directly to how you administer a territory. So some governments will be better at administering a larger territory than others.
     
  11. Depravo

    Depravo Siring Bastards

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    A simple tweak - and I don't know how enthusiastically this would be received - would be to go back to the Civ 5 model where a captured settler converts to a worker. As compensation, perhaps it could instead (as well?) add 1 population to the nearest city if there is housing for it.

    Finding an underescorted AI settler - or better yet, a barb camp with a captured settler in it - is like dropping a difficulty level in the early game. In my last run as Brazil, without using gamey tactics, I think I built two settlers and captured three cities. The rest of my 15+ cities had all been founded by captured settlers. It broke that game - I became unbeatable by the end of the Medieval Era, and quit.

    Depriving your enemy of a settler is reward enough.
     
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  12. man_in_finance

    man_in_finance Chieftain

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    The common denominator with a super expansion is that it is usually one-civ, either AI or human. The problem for me is the lack of conviction of the rest of the world to oppose that. A standard game theoretic response is teamwork on the part of lesser civs, but the AI cannot dependably plan this, in fact they seem useless to me.

    This is where I think Diplomacy and Trade (Economy) should be a much more potent factor. If a warring civ relies on economy for happiness and units then trade route embargoes and/or other resolutions should be more impactful to severely limit that expansionist civ. This forces active cooperation between lesser civs, and in my opinion, makes for a more strategic and interesting game. Even when all civs are equally powered it should be a strategic consideration. The scope for passive aggression here is wide and even concealed passive aggression, like very subtle tactics can probably be introduced - which again I quite enjoy.

    Importantly this is probably far easier to code since trade route planning is probably a much easier decision tree to implement - who to include? who to exclude? This of course assumes that trade routes become much more integral than their current form, which is something I am working on..
     
  13. spouter

    spouter Chieftain

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    i would suggest using gold, cost to treasury as the largest impediment to an empire sprawl. thinking Roman and British empires... however and this gets complicated we never address food, thinking Napoleon and his quest for canned food or better food preservation to extend his reach, and would be super intrigued by a food correlation to an army. soon as i say army though the single stacking in civ6 doesn't put armies into mind... ugh, need armies then to need food? what if any unit a certain distance from home has a cost to your civ's food, maybe not individually but perhaps simplified from the total food of your own empire. not enough food then one is unable to sustain a long distance sprawl... like the good old days in civ4 you can watch your farthest away units die from hunger, or flip into barbarian units.
     
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  14. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    This might be too radical but I thought it would be fun to discuss since this thread is all about brainstorming ideas.

    Here's a possible way to represent the difficulty of managing large expansive empire:
    - have a value called "political authority" or just "authority" which would determine how many active things you can have in production in your cities at the same time. Governments would give a base value which would be modified by tech, civics and policy cards.

    You could also do interesting things with governments or policies giving you "free" authority. For example, a "martial law" policy card would eliminate the unhappiness due to excess authority in cities that have a military unit in them. A military government might even allow you to build 1 thing in a city that has a military unit in it without costing an authority point allowing you to build things without using authority points if you garrisoned your cities with military units. This would allow you to get a very expansive empire through conquest and use military units to exert your authority to get things built in your cities.

    - Each thing in production in a city would cost 1 authority point.
    - If you have less cities than your "authority", you could assign up to 3 authority points to a single city to speed up its production.
    - If you have more cities than your "authority" then some cities might need to go idle and produce nothing.
    - You could exceed your authority but every point you spend above your authority would cause extra unhappiness in that city based on distance from capital. Too much unhappiness in a city could lead to revolt.
    - Once a city finishes production of something, you could idle its production to free up authority to produce something in another city that was previously idle.
    - Governments in ancient/classical era would give less authority. Governments in latter eras would give more authority.

    So if you get a large empire of say 20 cities and you only have 10 authority points, some of your cities might need to go idle in their production for a few turns or you could build stuff but cause some unrest. This would represent that you physically don't have the political authority to fully control all the cities in your empire.

    What this idea would also do is create more decisions for the player. Instead of the player always picking something to build in every city, the player would actually need to think about can they afford to build something at all in that city and if so, is it a wise use of an authority point. Players would need to decide how to use their limited authority. Do they spread it out and build 1 thing in every city or do they concentrate it by assigning more authority points to a few cities but let other cities go idle? If the player were in a situation where they have more cities than authority points, they would need to prioritize some cities to build things that they deem important and idle some cities that are less critical. Or they might exceed their authority a little bit if they feel it is an emergency and they can afford some unrest (ie they need more units built fast in a war).
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019

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