The problem with production costs in Civilization VI

Leyrann

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They kind of come down to the same issue - however production costs are set, it's almost impossible to balance both having cities able to cheaply enough get going, while at the same time making sure that stuff isn't too cheap that it spirals out of control.

You mean that other thing that I addressed in my post?

By making districts all-important through locking nearly all buildings behind them and scaling district costs with game duration (it's the combination of both that's the issue here), cities that are settled later on (basically, Renaissance Era onwards, so including the colonization era) have a very steep curve they need to overcome. You either need to have more cheaply available buildings, or make it easier for a city to get a district up and start working on it's buildings.

I'm not saying all production costs need to be lowered significantly. I'm saying that new cities should be able to build cheap buildings, while at the same time there are expensive buildings available for the developed cities for which cheap buildings are trivial to build. In the system of Civ 6, some of those cheap buildings do exist, but they're locked behind the expensive districts.

Therefore, you need to either allow small cities to bypass the district production cost until the city is up and running, or you need to diversify district production cost so that small cities build cheap districts while big cities build expensive districts. There are various ways in which that can be done, and several have been mentioned in the thread already so I won't repeat them here.

Plus, making sure to balance the ever-reaching wide vs tall balance. Like, you could make it so that the first district you build in a city is like 25% of the normal district cost, and suddenly those exploration era cities will actually be able to get that first district. But if you do that, then suddenly you're going to find it's cheaper to build a settler and a first district than to keep growing your megapolis, and now you're back to planning out an ICS strategy.

Yes, if you go with a poorly thought-out, unimmersive band-aid solution, you get bad balance, completely correct.

That said, Settlers also have scaling production costs, and those are quite steep themselves, so even this example already has some asterisks.

I'm sure there's a balance that works better than the current system. I'd personally like it if instead of district costs simply scaling 10x from the start to the end of the tech tree, maybe if they scaled like 4X based on techs, but also had an internal multiplier for how many districts there are in the city. Or maybe if they made the current discount for under-built districts scale a little more, so it wasn't simply "cheap or not" but scaled more based on how many there were. So if you settle a late city and you're going to build the first holy city in your empire, it would be almost as cheap as if you built that as the first district in your empire. But if you want to build your 14th campus, well, you better make sure the city can handle it.

Yeah, I also like the concept of making them scale depending on how many of a district you already have, or indeed how big the city is. I would actually like a system that dynamically combines the following:
-Districts that are more spread out over the tech tree, with unlocks ranging from Ancient Era to Modern Era (with Aerodomes probably being the last one apart from Spaceports), and have base production costs depending on when they unlock; later districts are more expensive.
-Districts become more expensive for every district already in the city.
-Districts become more expensive if you already have many of that district.
-Districts are more expensive when built further away from the city center.
-Districts are more expensive when built further away from other urban tiles belonging to the same city.
And honestly, drop the increase with techs as far as I'm concerned.
 

ManoftheHour333

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Nicely put and very intuitive argument! This could also create a new game mechanic that can be further modified by certain "logistics" oriented improvements e.g. good old Mass Transit from last iterations of Civ. Certain civs themselves may be more "efficient" at cheaply exploiting more distant tiles.

The ONLY flaw here is that conscious choices will now have to be made to avoid having key work tiles in that cheap inner ring because placing districts renders a tile unworkable (though mitigated by virtue of still being able to collect the resource underneath a district).

That is very true and doesn't work with the "eternal" resource model we see in Civ now. I think it could very much work with a more robust tile improvement system (Which I think is more natural anyways) that could allow players to harvest all resources or, change how certain resources operate.

However, with 6 workable tiles around the city center, it is very, very likely that at least 1 of them would be a dud (i.e. not having a useful resource or high yield on it). So in that case, we could easily have a tile next to the city that is improved for higher yields, and the others could be used for districts. City planning could even be improved with later game improvements like I've said before (Plantations-->Estates, Mines-->Manufactories, Camps-->Trapping Outposts, etc.) so that even if a "resource" tile was next to the city center initially, it could have a higher purpose beyond just remaining a static source of strategic or luxury resources. Or if they don't want to develop/design that, we should just get the ability to remove those resources altogether to have more spots to put cheap districts on top. In this model, I wouldn't mind if we get more types of districts overall (A public health district, a "downtown"/tourism district (As opposed to the arts district of the TS), etc.) and if districts like the aqueduct/water-treatment district, and neighborhood districtwere required districts and easy to place in every city...with more available buildings in them.

But brining it back home, it would make for more thoughtful settling in the early game which may create early-game slog. However given hopeful new ways of improving/modifying cities (And hopefully new ways of getting around less-than-optimally-placed cities' issues), it would just be a matter of thinking about future tiles that this city could buy up while thinking less about how CC adjacent resource tiles would fit into things.
 
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