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The Japanese

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Keirador, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    Thanks for the kind words, guys. But dexters does bring up a pretty good point. The best way to review a Civ is simply to play with it, even if only for a little bit. You might find some surprises. These reviews are meant to help formulate strategies to win with your chosen Civ, not to discourage people from playing Civs that are rated lower. France, Germany, Korea, America- they're not really first tier civs, but you can have just as much fun playing with them as with the Celts or Iroquois. Sometimes more. Isn't the game all about challenging yourself? If you feel like you need a bit more of a challenge but you don't feel ready to move up in level, just try playing a game as a Civ you wouldn't normally choose.
     
  2. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    That's a red herring. You're basically asking me to write a review in opposition to yours just to state my opinion. I have no interest in doing that. Despite what many of your supporters and cheerleaders (who obviously have never played Japanese to any depth as they've not really even tried to rebutt what I've said) I actually have a big interest in helping you write a more objective review of the Japanese, having played the Civ in many games and I felt a lot of the wording and tone of your review seems rather dismissive of the Civ.

    Hence my very first comment noting that you didn't give Japan enough credit as a Civ.

    BTW, if you want to see Civ reviews done right, based on solid play experience and making admissions there is a lack of experience where it is appropriate, check out Sulla's review of the first 16 Civs and the new Conquests Civs in his website.

    Not to knock on your reviews or Isions, as some are truly very well done, but Sulla's work show a degree of cool objectivity and humility (as in - I don't know all the answers so I won't even bother ranking them) that is truly lacking in some of these reviews. He justs reports how each Civ handles and does so in short paragraphs. And this is from a guy who clearly plays this game a heck of a lot more than all of us combined.

    Those interested may want to check out his review of the Japanese, which touches on exactly the same points but came off as being less dismissive of the Civ than the review in this thread, neither is it promoting it. Just objective reporting.


    Links below.

    Original 16 Civ review (based on Vanilla Civ)
    http://www.kalikokottage.com/civ3/sullla/strat3b.html

    C3C Civs
    http://www.kalikokottage.com/civ3/sullla/CQ_civs.html
     
  3. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    From the sounds of it those are 1st impressions from about a year ago. You don't have to like the tier system and yes its just opinion but some civs are just plain out better than others. Also I don't dismiss 3rd tier civs. Many of them have a niche and one of my favourite civs is a 3rd tier civ and I'm partial to the Romans as well.
     
  4. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    Zardnarr, tiers have nothing to do with this. Although I felt it was a flaw in these collection of reviews as well. Considering there's really no way to rank any of these Civs objectively (even between each review) and seems more like subjective 'feelings' each reviewer has on where each Civ stands.

    Sulla's reviews may well be first impressions, although I doubt it (especially his stuff on the first 16 civs) but they show a depth and clear reportage that I find missing. Part of the problem I had with Kriedor's review was not what he didn't say, or that he ranked Japaned as a 2nd tier (I don't care and as I said, the rankings is deeply flawed anyways) but how he said it, just was very dismissive, and the tone of it just came out bad. Hence my subsequent attempts to steer his review to a more positive light, which to my surprise was met with intense resistance and accusation that I'm a naysayer by people in these boards (apparently the Bush Doctrine of either you're with us or against us has migrated here as well).

    Read Sulla's review of Japan. He touches on many of the points Kreidor touched on. Superficially there is no disagreement. But the tone is entirely different. It came off as being straight to the point and objective.
     
  5. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    So you don't object to the actual analysis, you just don't like the wording? When you said I didn't give Japan enough credit, I thought you meant in absolute terms of worth, not as far as connotation goes. Anyone else honestly feel this way? I don't want to put a bad spin on it and discourage people from playing a game as Japan; their color is so nice and their UU so nifty-looking. I made a conscious effort to balance the good comments with the bad. In fact every time I criticize Japan, a positive view of the Civ can be found just before the criticism. Except, perhaps, in my summary. That is a bit lack-luster.

    And I hardly think Sulla's review is objective. Its not neutral, its glowing. Rather than acknowledge its good points while keeping a poor general opinion of it, as you say I did, Sulla grudgingly acknowledges its weaknesses while trying to put as much positive spin on it as possible:
    "another civ that everyone seems to love"
    "excellent combination to have"
    "excellent civ to take into a violent kill or be killed game "
    "great combination"
    "Samurai is extremely popular"
    " very strong civ. . . reflected in their great popularity"
    Keep in mind, folks, that this review is about a paragraph long. Read it for yourself. How many things can be excellent? If everything is excellent, what are the excellent things excelling compared to? I have no problem with, in fact strive towards, a neutral analysis, but I am not going to hype a Civ that doesn't deserve it simply to avoid stepping on toes.
     
  6. Mr. Hyperbole

    Mr. Hyperbole understated cynic

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    Kierador: I thought that your review was on-the-money, unbiased and as clinical as possible; as balanced as possible, IMHO.
    And I, personally, did not see it as discouraging people from playing as the Japanese; you described how one could play to its strengths but were quite honest in writing that there are some 20+ other civ's that are EASIER to play.
    As for the tier system...it in no way reflects that one civ is BETTER than another(except in respect to trait synergy or UU)but is only a "scale" describing the ease with which one can play them on various(or random)settings.
    BTW...I agree that the Japanese have one of the coolest UU's in the game. And some of my best games have come from playing difficult civ's. I love being the Koreans(awesome color and interesting UU)but will be the 1st to admit that they do lend to a easy or forgiving game.

    edit: I too, am eagerly awaiting the Zulu and Russian reviews.
     
  7. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    Hyperbole, you certainly are full encouragement. Thanks much, but I didn't say there were 20+ Civs that were easier to play than Japan, that would put them in the third tier. I'd say there are roughly 10-15 civs that are easier to play.
     
  8. Mr. Hyperbole

    Mr. Hyperbole understated cynic

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    Keirador: you're correct, of course(that should teach me to post while at work while suffering sleep deprivation and still in the throes of a drunken stupor and ;) ). Tier 1 - 11 civ's. Tier 2 - 10 civ's. Tier 3 - 10 civ's... :blush: ...my math usually is not that bad!

    As for the encouragement: I just believe that you have a knack for writing good reviews(your style closely matches that of Ision, Zardnaar and Scoutsout; which was one reason I thought they should be stickied w/Ision's reviews)that would benefit newbie & veteren alike. For instance, I never played as the Hittites because they looked so difficult and unwieldy. But then I read Ision's review on them, took the path that he suggested would be most successful...and kicked AI @$$.
    These reviews, obviously, have encouraged healthy debate and - in my case at least - opened up new playstyles.
    :goodjob:
    Here's looking forward the the Zulu & Russians...
     
  9. yankees

    yankees Chieftain

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    They already are.

    Y
     
  10. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    Hyperbole, were you the one to get me into the stickied thread?
     
  11. Mr. Hyperbole

    Mr. Hyperbole understated cynic

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    Keirador: I PM'd a mod to suggest it(I believe it was after reading your Portugal review); again, I thought your writing style matched the others on the thread closely enough that it would find the sticky a comfortable home. :goodjob:
     
  12. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    thanks. . . I was wondering about that. I thought I would have been alerted, I didn't know about it until dexters said something about it.
     
  13. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    It's all in how you say it. Someone of your apparent intelligence should have figured it by now. A review can be skewed any which way by how the facts, observations and the 'reviewer's' feel of something is presented to the reviewer. I felt that while you superficially touched on all the right points about Japan, you never GAVE THEM ENOUGH CREDIT because your wording was full of negatives, and borderline arguable opinions about how well Japan's trait jives (you claim its not synergistic, I and Sulla among others believe otherwise).

    The whole business about Civ rankings is a big circus of distractions from what my main criticism has been. I've said time and again its irrelevant and the way its implemented is meaningless here.

    You did, and in my sincere opinion unjustly. Probably because you never played Japan in the way you described it and you're now unwilling to accept criticism.

    I suppose this is in line with FOX news' claim of 'fair and balanced'. Each side gets their 20 seconds at the soundbyte but the anchors make it clear where their bias lies. That's how it comes off as really. Your review is superficially ok. It touches on the right things, but never really gives Japan the credit it deserves because you have made it clear you don't think its that good of a Civ. Certainly worse than what I think it is.

    It's not glowing. It's more positive than yours. I suppose if you call it glowing compared to yours, yes it is glowing. But compared to what he had to say about the other Civs he liked, it was average at best.
    From talking with you in this 'discussion', I've not seen any hint of real understanding of Japan. You've only increased your negativity by knocking on Japan even more, perhaps in an attempt to illicit an angry response from me.

    Comments like "their UU so nifty-looking" as if its the only thing going for it is uncalled for. Japan's UU is not game winning but its certainly much much more than a nifty looking unit. It's quite powerful and as Sulla noted, mass upgrades to Cavalry can be game winning.

    Oh yes. In case you've never played Japan here's some news for you.

    -Japan is popular.
    -It works in a killed or be killed game
    -Samurai IS a popular, strong and well liked UU
    -The traits is a GREAT combo
    -Japan IS a strong Civ. If you bothered reviewing outside of Chieftain or Warlord, Japan under a human player is one of the handful Civs that can actually do well and is EASIER to play when the AI gets massive production bonuses and happiness is a big issue in Monarch and above game.

    Basically everything you thought was wrong with Sulla's review is more or less correct. I really question how much you've played this Civ.

    Just want to say you brought it on yourself by pointing this out. I've avoided mentioning this but Sulla's one paragraph review of Japan covers about as much ground as your 5 paragraphs. He's just very efficient with his words.
     
  14. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    I have no idea how many times you've played Japan, or how many times you think is necessary before you get the proper feel for them, but I've played them over half a dozen times over a course of three years, and also at varying difficulty levels as I improved. I did notice their usefulness on the lower levels at utilizing enemy cities; barracks and temples are always the first thing I used. However, at higher levels corruption starts to kick in, and the half-priced buildings matter less because enemy cities, which are typically far from the capital, experience too much corruption to ever be productive cities. If your enemies are NOT very far from your capital, this implies that you have a small, underdeveloped nation and as such are still not in an advantageous position.
    I never claimed the Samurai was a "nifty-looking" unit in my actual review, I noted its good qualities. I have heard many times that an extra defense point was useless for offensive units, usually in reference to the old Cossack. I disagreed, and did give the Samurai credit. Its second to none for its age for pillaging and total war; and I gave it credit for that.
    You're still misunderstanding what I mean when I say the traits are uncomplimentary. They are both good traits. Religious is one of my favorites, and Militaristic has been vastly improved in Conquests. But, the Religious trait does not make the Militaristic trait function any better to any significant degree, and the Militaristic trait does not make the Religious trait function any better to a significant degree. Compare this to say, the Mayan's Agricultural and Industrious combination. Industrious allows workers to improve terrain much faster, and to improve MORE tiles in a shorter amount of time. Agricultural creates more citizen laborers to work those improved tiles, and the increase in population allows a player to build more workers faster without sacraficing as much population. More irrigated squares means the population growth is even faster, and the cycle continues. The value of each trait taken together is greater than the value of each trait individually. Synergy. Religious and Militaristic are both good traits. But how does the Militaristic trait make Religious more valuable? Religious make Militaristic more valuable? The best I can say of the traits taken together is that at lower levels they are effective in taming newly conquered territory, but I consider this too minor to grant the two traits a significant amount of synergy. If you think they *directly* improve on each other to any greater degree, please tell me, and I will include it in the review.
     
  15. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    I think you need to play more of it. For the sake of the community. I think your heart is in the right place and this is a noble project. But it is increasingly clear to me that our differences is no longer an issue of differing opinions as people normally experience in the course of debate, but because you arrived at your opinions due to insufficient play.

    For the record, I have played Japan no less than 10 times in the last year. This is purely from PTW and C3C games. All of which on Monarch and above.

    If you put it in that light, most trait combos are mutually exclusive anyways. Very few actually directly or indirectly improve on each other and if they do, that does not neccessarily means its better than another set of traits that don't. Besides you miss the big picture.

    The big picture is basically how these traits help your game as a player. To deny Militaristic/Religious as a good combo and to mistype it as uncomplimentary because of what you've described is a great error in judgement and understanding of how you review traits. The fact of the matter is, Militaristic/Religious is a great combo generally, but it really shines with the builder-warmonger playstyle as Sulla so accurately described and it becomes even stronger when you play the harder levels when warmongering is often the only way to weaken the AI and the religious trait keeps you competitive in culture, allows for fast happiness improvements and gives you 1 turn anarchies. No one is claiming it is THE best combo. But the way you've put it makes it sound like its not that powerful of a combo, which is patently false.
     
  16. Boleslav

    Boleslav ... the cruel

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    It's great that these civ-by-civ reviews are provoking this debate... I find that I always play the same old civs and these reviews are encouraging me to try some other civs for a change.

    I do agree with dexters that the militaristic/religious combination is synergistic and effective - I used to love playing as the Aztecs when those were their specific abilities. However, I also really enjoy reading these civ-by-civ reviews and I hope that this turbulence in the Japan thread won't discourage you guys from finishing off the remaining civ reviews. I'm hanging on for the Scandanavian review here!
     
  17. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    The only trait combination that I consider mutually exclusive is Portugal's. A good majority of traits enhance each other in some way: Industrious, Agricultural, and Commercial influence just about anything because they all provide some benefit to pure production power (be it by increasing the amount of laborers to produce, increasing the amount of worked tiles, or by decreasing corruption to save more shields). The power these traits exert over and with other traits is one of the main reasons that the "top tier" has only two civs that do not have one or more of these traits, and is saturated with Civs that have two of them. One finds that the lower you go on the tiers, the fewer the amount of Civs that have these traits.
    I recognize that traits do not need synergy to be effective, but I believe synergy to be probably the most effective way of determining the effectiveness of trait *combinations*. Because no trait is valueless, and one could make a very strong case for each of them valuing a Civ by its individual traits is bound to cause much more dissent than valuing them by synergy. To do that would be tantamount to blatantly listing which traits are best, something I am not prepared to do.


    As for how much I have played as the Japanese, I am curious as to how much you play Civ total, and what percent of that time is spent of the Japanese. A typical game lasts upwards of 30 hours for me, and I only have about one free hour a day. I have played the Japanese (mainly, I will admit, because I like their color) more than I have played many other Civs, but they are not in my top 5 most frequently played Civs. I just don't have the time, I don't imagine anyone has the time, to play over 10 games a year of every civ.

    Perhaps I should have left a Japanese review, therefore, to someone who makes Japan their main Civ. It would be ideal if those who play a Civ the most could write a review for it, but months after Ision quit, no one was writing them. I thought they were a helpful and necessary series. I had read that Ision, scoutsout and Zardnaar thought that playing two games was appropriate to make a decision, so I went ahead and wrote a Japanese review based on my 6 or 7 games ranging from regent to deity; not because I thought I had the most experience, but because I have pretty good analytical skills and because there wasn't one already in existence, and it didn't look like there would be one in the future.

    I will be the first to admit that my review is not perfect. In my first review on Portugal, I overvalued the Carrack, and after I was thoroughly disproved, changed the review. The thing there, though, was that I was given specific criticism. The only specific strategic criticism you've given me (that I did not already agree with) was Japan's ability to build cheap temples and barracks in newly conquered cities, but I believe this to be a minor advantage because conquered cities should be too corrupt to become powerhouses of production without sinking money into them for police stations and courthouses; in which case if a player is determined to ramp up the production of these cities, a barracks and a temple are relatively cheap even without the Religious and Militaristic traits. I really don't know how to respond to a dislike for the tone of my passage- yes, I didn't rave about them, but I am not inclined to get excited about things I do not feel very strongly about. Just my personality. An analytical reader should be able to see through the tone of my article to the actual strategy points, most of which I believe you have stated agreement with.
     
  18. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    And I think people in general should look up the word "synergy". Not just here, it seems like everywhere, other places on the forum, the workplace, the news, "synergistic" has just become a synonym for "good". Wonderful. Another word stripped of its useful meaning and given a new designation as an overused and bombastic way of saying a common word.
     
  19. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    LOL evil Keirador clone. Can I point out just because a civ in "2nd tier" doesn't make it a bad civ. And Keirador is right about the Agriculture, Commercial, Industrial traits- these are the big 3 traits IMHO for the above reasons.
     
  20. Longasc

    Longasc Chieftain

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    I think actually that Religious and Militaristic have synergetic effects:

    - You need to "switch" to War? 2 turn issue with Religious. Basically 1 turn IMO, as you usually start the revolution at the end of the current turn.

    - cheap temples are great to rush in recently captured cities, calm the people and those cities start to produce culture again faster

    - cheap barracks are great to rush in front cities, too
     

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