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Thoughts on the Borg

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Star Trek Mod' started by Tenketsu, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Tenketsu

    Tenketsu Chieftain

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    First of all, I'm having a lot of fun with this mod. It actually pulled me back into playing after a long hiatus. Big thanks to everyone who's worked on it.

    Secondly, I was thinking that in addition to converting FF to Star Trek, we should consider how to alter mechanics to give things a more uniquely 'Star Trek' feel. The Borg seem to me to be the faction that should differ the most from all the rest, and the only way to accomplish it would be via code. So here are my thoughts and suggestions.

    1. Borg can't found new systems--instead, when they conquer a system, after the resistance period, the populace becomes 100% Borg instantly and the system is renamed from the Borg system name list. Also, when non-Borg factions conquer Borg systems, the system must be razed. This shows how the Borg can only assimilate to grow, and once assimilated the only way for non-Borg to use the system again is to wipe everything out and start fresh.

    2. Borg cannot build military units--instead, when they defeat an enemy unit in combat, they get a free ship. Spheres for defeating an Exploration, Cubes for defeating a Light, Tactical Cubes for defeating a Heavy. Also, Borg vessels will be stronger for the same level than other factions.

    3. Borg are always at war with all non-Borg factions.

    4. Borg don't research--instead, they get a free tech everytime they assimilate a system. Also, Borg start out one Era ahead in tech beyond everyone else.


    I think these would make the Borg feel much more 'Borg-like', both to play as and against. Also, I believe the code shouldn't be particularly complicated to implement, and it should be mostly transparent to the AI, although they might need tweaking to take full advantage of them.

    Thoughts or comments?
     
  2. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    I like your ideas, except for one thing: if the Borg cannot colonize, even with 1 tech ahead of the rest, I fear they will fail to become a thread. (I may be overly pessimistic here, but I think it's a definite possibility; 1 tech ahead isn't that much.)
     
  3. jfby

    jfby Chieftain

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    I've played several games now and the Borg always steamroll all the other computer players. It seams that there needs to be a 'tipping point' where the Borg go from moderately powerful to obscene. This could be at the Light IV or V point. They could grow at an OK pace, keep their territory with their moderately powerful ships, then break out and require multiple races at the same time gang up to hold them back.

    Just my .02. Great mod!
     
  4. TC01

    TC01 Chieftain

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    I don't think your changes would work for Jeelen's reasons, basically.

    Rather than destroy the Borg ability to colonize, or the Borg ability to research, or the Borg ability to build ships (which is everything except buildings), it should be exponentially harder to do all of that- forcing you to assimilate others.

    So the Borg can research, and shouldn't start an era ahead, but their research rate tapers off mid-game. They then need to assimilate others' techs , and should, instead of gaining "1 free tech", gain a tech that the people they assimilated have. They can build ships, but more advanced ships cost so much more that they need to start assimilating other ships instead of building them, which give them a free ship.

    Thus, they get to the point where they have built up a reasonable-sized empire, at a certain tech era, with a large fleet, and can't go any further without declaring war.

    Colonizing, however, should always be enabled. The Borg assimilate worlds- I don't think they shouldn't be able to assimilate ones without sentient life. There's no real reason why that should be the case... is there?
     
  5. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Actually, there is a tipping point; if you're the only human player, you have to realize that the Borg are the ultimate threat if allowed to grow beyond that point (the AI won't recognize it, so it's up to you). Ideally, in a MP game, the human players must indeed gang up to prevent the Borg from assimilating them; since AI civs won't realize this, this will be a very challenging game.
     
  6. jfby

    jfby Chieftain

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    I understand, it just gets frustrating because every game I played the other civs where reduced to 1-2 system 'empires' before we reached TNG era, despite my aide of extra ships, and direct intervention. I guess I prefer a more 'balanced' approach. This is still by FAR the best mod I've played.
     
  7. Tenketsu

    Tenketsu Chieftain

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    Well first of all, my thinking is that I want the game to essentially simulate the Star Trek universe, even at the expense of balance. The Borg should be the biggest, scariest enemy out there, followed by the Dominion. The Kazon should be chumps and pushovers. I want to see stuff like the Federation getting a flat bonus to science, and the Klingons getting extra score for every combat (won or lost). I think FFH has shown that civs can have big differences from the baseline, and still make for an engaging and fun game.

    And I think the Borg are the best example of a race to really showcase this. I think it would make for a better experience if the Borg were a radical departure from the rest of the factions. The Borg are unlike any other race in Star Trek--so they should also be in a Star Trek game.

    I think they should function as a virus--powerful, virulent, consuming. The Borg have no culture, no science, only conquest and expansion. They should be immune to many things--espionage and maintenance costs, for instance. While on the other hand being completely unable to do others, like research and colonizing. I think a balance can be found that makes them powerful but not invincible, and very fun (and frightening) to play against. I think all the races can be made unique like this, but only the Borg should have such big and sweeping changes, which in a way makes them also the simplest to do.

    In my opinion.

    One specific suggestion I forgot to make, is that Borg units should also heal very quickly.
     
  8. Tenketsu

    Tenketsu Chieftain

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    One other possible thing to do is to add toggles for different tastes. Say, a choice between playing a FFH-style heavy departure game, or a more vanilla FF-conversion.
     
  9. deanej

    deanej Chieftain

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    I will be adding unique wonders and civ traits in 3.0. The Borg trait will be a chance to assimilate defeated enemy units. As of right now I'm not really satisfied with them so I'll be posting theads about it.
     
  10. Pablod

    Pablod Chieftain

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    dont change the borg make a scenario for borg fans
     
  11. deanej

    deanej Chieftain

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    By "them" I meant the civ traits and unique wonders. That said, you just gave me the idea to create a Borg scenario for 3.0.
     
  12. nutz4dos

    nutz4dos Chieftain

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    I'm just going to completely disagree. I realize that's a purely taste thing, but I consider a game above all that: a game. Each faction should be balanced, different, but balanced. (Before counting the Kazon out, for example, recall Voyager took two years to get through space that they colonized in less than a generation. That's a lot of, admittedly poorly governed, space.)

    You may note that the races in FFH are, for all their differences, balanced. No one is inherently stronger.

    Oddly, I will agree here. To make the Borg what they should be is simple: they can't be playable. Once this is done you can introduce a mechanic where the Borg ignore a region until its biological and technological distinctiveness is adequate to warrant assimilation (i.e. tech level and population get high enough: the Borg appear) They can build only ships, but suffer neither unhappiness nor sickness. The Borg are AI controlled but are always at war with everyone. They do not research but are powerful enough not to need to as their ships will be expensive but unique and overpowered, supplemented by assimilated ships.
    To prevent the Borg from being too powerful a wonder, Unimatrix Zero, would eliminate their immunity to unhappiness. With no buildings this would cripple their production.

    As long as I'm making suggestions, I love the idea of unique traits. Far more than unique units just in general. I've always hated that the supposedly noteworthy thing about a faction vanishes after just a short time. In regular civ this makes some sense as that was the nation's golden age, but in this kind of mod it's ridiculous. And as long as we're talking about special civ traits, I'd like recommend for the Federation increased ship experience gain. Our Starfleet heroes always manage to learn and adapt faster than anyone else, even the Borg. Why not reward a Federation player in kind?
     
  13. volbound1700

    volbound1700 Emperor

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    It sounds like the Borg fit better as the Barbarians then as a real civ. A barbarian faction taht would raze cities and get units out of thin air and cause problems.

    However, in that scenario there would be no way for the Borgs to conquer the entire galaxy, they would just be a nuisance. I do like the OP's advice of making the borg special... However I think the not build ships option is not viable because I do think their planets built ships.
     
  14. clearbeard

    clearbeard Chieftain

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    Having just started my first star trek game, I was interested to see the Borg as a playable race, so I picked them. WOW are they powerful! I don't know what "tipping point" people were talking about earlier in this thread, but as a human player, anyway, that tipping point seems to be warp 5 ships (cube I's). Researched warp 5 first off, built 2 cubes, and eliminated the Romulans, who had 2 warp 5 ships defending Romulus, their only planet. By the time I got to the next nearest civ, cube I's had been joined by cube II's, and my absurdly fast spheres that I teched from a friendly space junk rapidly explored the galaxy to find the rest of my victims. Granted I'm playing on Commander, lower than I do in vanilla civ to get used to new mechanics. But when what amounts to a warrior rush is nigh unstoppable, I don't think the difficulty setting is to blame.

    Ships need to be slower across the board. Base FF ships are slow for a reason: scale. It may not jive too nicely with canon, where warp 7 ships should be faster than warp 5, etc., it seems necessary for balance. Combat ships with movement as low as 3 are extremely powerful invaders, unless cultural borders are quite large.

    An alternative would be to greatly increase both the scale of the maps and visibility range of all ships. If star systems were three or four times as far apart as they are on the current "sparse" settings, and base visibility ranges were doubled, that might do the trick.

    The Borg are just silly as a playable race in their current form. If people are playing against them, the only reason they don't lose is the AI is a complete bonehead. Playing as them, you barely have to try.
     
  15. deanej

    deanej Chieftain

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    I could increase the cost of Borg ships further. Believe it or not, people actually wanted to dominate as the Borg back in 1.0, so for 2.0 they were redesigned pretty much as they are today.
     
  16. clearbeard

    clearbeard Chieftain

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    That would certainly help. They're certainly at least twice as powerful (in the early game, I never made it past cube IV's in that game) as comparable units, so twice as expensive would certainly be in order. Though with the movement bonus they have too, 3 or even 4 times more expensive might be closer to balanced. I certainly understand the desire to dominate as the Borg. That's why I picked them as my first civ to play, after all!
     
  17. TC01

    TC01 Chieftain

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    What about setting up a system where after every ship destroyed, the Borg ships become more powerful, as the technology is assimilated and integrated into the cube or sphere (or whatever geometric design of ship is being used)?

    So Borg ships could start weak, but if they were able to kill enough ships they would become more and more powerful. You wouldn't have to spend the resources building a Cube (though eventually, later in the game maybe you could), but rather could build a smaller, less powerful Cube, and build it up to the extremely powerful Cube by assimilating ships.

    Sort of similar to suggestion #2 in this thread's opening post. Except without taking away the Borg's ability to build ships.
     
  18. clearbeard

    clearbeard Chieftain

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    Another, tangential bug comment: it appears that when Borg ships capture in combat, it (sometimes?) duplicates the enemy ship, with a damaged one on the tile the attacking ship started on, AND a full strength one stacked with the attacker on the target's tile.

    edit: apparently only happens with probes, which I take it are capturable, like workers?
     
  19. deanej

    deanej Chieftain

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    I've never noticed that in my testing, but I never tested with probes either. What's probably happening is the game captured the probe, and the assimilation code also runs. Should be easy to block assimilation if a unit can already be captured.
     

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