Thoughts on vassal states

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by General Failure, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. General Failure

    General Failure Warlord

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    Hi everyone,

    It's been a while since I checked Civilization Fanatics, but I recently got a copy of Warlords for my birthday, and I love it. My Civ-addiction is back! :crazyeye: I thought I would offer my thought and feelings about the implementation of the vassal system as it currently stands, and I am very curious to hear what other players think about them.

    Yes, I know, it's not like nobody has ever written about it before on here... ;)

    First off, I love the idea behind vassal states. The idea that one Civ could become vassal to another is a great thing to have in Civ4. It also provides the player with more options on how to deal with other Civs and more interesting international diplomacy. I agree that human players should be allowed to become vassals to the AI Civs. And of course the AI should be made to understand and handle vassal states correctly, in addition to other problems with vassal states that need ironing out.

    One of the problems with the current implementation, is that it confuses two different concepts: vassal state vs. capitulated state. There is a huge difference between these two. A master - vassal relationship is based on a much more equal footing than an aggressor - capitulator (spelling?) relationship. In the latter situation, the capitulated state surrenders all rights to the state it capitulates to. Think of it as an unconditional surrender. In the first situation, the vassal has approached the master to accept it as a vassal. The vassal pays a tribute for this relationship in one way or another, while the master agrees to protect the vassal. It is much more like a business transaction. The vassal doesn't loose most of its rights. Warlords seems to have these things confused in terminology and implementation.

    Historically men, regions or states became vassals to stronger men, regions or states. There was mutual benefit. The vassal would benefit from the protection of the masters strength, while the master benefitted, usually in the form of tax or some service like military service from the vassal.
    Capitulation is an entirely different situation. In order to save the lives of their people, a government or head of state agrees to stop fighting the aggressor and basically accept their rule. There is little benefit for the capitulated side, other than continued survival of their people and hope for liberation in the future. For the aggressor, the benefit is much larger, because they now rule the new state, but at the cost of leaving an occupation force behind.

    What I would like to see, is that Warlords gets a different implementation for both of these situations, with different benefits and drawbacks for the master - vassal/capitulator.

    Vassal
    A Civ can approach another Civ to become its vassal (or ask it to become its vassal). Once accepted, the now vassal state agrees to pay tribute to the master, give the master free access to its territory, accept the master's diplomatic stance towards other Civs (war/peace) and fight on the side of the master in a war. The master in turn agrees to protect the vassal from the aggression of other Civs.
    The master does not have the right to order the vassal what to research (but can ask), can not order the vassal to switch to their religion, etc. The amount of control is limited. Both master and vassal can end the vassalage if they choose to, risking a war however. If the master chooses to end the vassalage, the vassal could declare war (but of course this would be rather stupid, since the master was already stronger). If the vassal chooses to end the vassalage, the master would be presented with a dialogue asking to declare war or to accept it. Vassalage can only be entered into during peace-time negotiations. 50% of the territory of the vassal state is added to that of the master for domination victories.

    Capitulation
    By nature, capitulation can only be entered into as part of negotiations to end a war. Once accepted, the aggressor gets shared access to all the resources of the capitulated state, can tell it what to research, can tell it what religion to have, can tell it to pay whatever the aggressor desires, etc. The aggressor can order construction of military units (forced military service) or workers (forced labor) in the cities of the capitulated state to serve in the aggressor's army or workforce. These units should however be less effective than units the master builds, to represent the hate they feel for their oppressor. In short, the aggressor can be as evil and controlling as they want. But there is a catch!
    For every extortionate demand, the aggressor takes a reputation hit. So yes, you can be evil and controlling but the way you treat the states you have conquered has consequences for the way that other Civs will view you. Treat them badly, and other Civs will be more likely to refuse you things or declare war on you.

    The aggressor should be required to leave troops in each city of the capitulated Civ, otherwise that city will not produce anything. Of course the conquered Civ can not have military units of its own. The conquered Civ can revolt against your rule. For instance, partisans or rebels (units) are spawned inside the cities of the conquered Civ, cities refuse to work for you, they stop paying what you demand.
    Other Civs can begin a war of liberation to free the conquered state or demand the liberation of the conquered state through diplomatic negotiations. Should another Civ start a war against the aggressor, the conquered Civ also revolts unless sufficient troops of the aggressor are present. The amount of resistance against the aggressor should slowly diminish, to signify the fact that the people are getting used to being conquered. After a number of turns, revolts should become less and less likely, depending also on the way the aggressor treats the conquered Civ. Heavy demands, lots of forced armed service and/or labor will increase the chance of revolt.

    Why not completely take over all the other Civ's cities? Well, for one, you won't have to pay maintenance for the buildings of the conquered Civ. Any units they build for you, will also be paid for by them. If you're ever tight on gold, just demand it from the capitulated Civ. You get automatic access to all their resources, and they can't refuse it like they can in vassalage. There is no danger of cities culture flipping back to their original Civ after being conquered. You'll have to deal with revolts, but they can't flip back. Need a few extra troops? Whip them in their cities, not in your own. Send in their troops first as cannon fodder then invade with your own forces.

    Well, these are just a few thoughts about how I think vassalage and capitulation might become even more interesting, once Firaxis irons out the bugs of the current system. What do you think?

    General Failure
     
  2. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    I like a lot of your ideas for Vassal states. As for Capitulated states, I have to compliment you on your ideas about resource sharing, tax collection, and possible revolt as well as how other Civs view you diplomatically based on ur capitulated state. However much of what you suggest for Capitulated states would be far overpowering. The military building and whipping would open up a can of whoop-ass that would be far too overpowering for your opponents. Plus with much of what you suggest, the player would get rediculous benifits while the capitulated state has virtually been eliminated. There is purely no chance for this state to even attempt ANY type of victory under these conditions. I understand that in your system the balance would be other nations entering in and trying to free the capitulated state, but then the entire game becomes focused on this capitulated state. While this might provide for an interesting game or two, it may end up turning any game in which you gain a Capitulated state into a world war for that state. The only way to avoid this would be to do a complete reworking of the vassal/capitulation system
     
  3. General Failure

    General Failure Warlord

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    Thank you for your response. I think you have a very good point. Capitulation should be very carefully balanced, so it does not become a shortcut to victory especially for the human player. Having your reputation influenced might be one way of doing this, but maybe it's not enough. I don't see a real option right now of how else to counter the benefits to having a Civ capitulate to you.

    I do think that the vassal/capitulation system should be completely reworked. Having this mix of vassalage and capitulation just doesn't sit right with me. They are two different things and I think they should be treated differently in the game.

    Besides, wouldn't it be great to see the leader of a Civ you have been at war with for quite some time, pop up and say: "We surrender to your military might and hope for your mercy. Please spare my people!" Or words to that effect... :cool:

    Perhaps difficult to realise what I wrote (and I'm not sure it's that good an idea...) so I am not holding my breath to see capitulation changed in a patch. Perhaps it should be taken out altogether? But it would be nice if they fixed vassalage, though.

    General Failure
     
  4. Periander

    Periander Chieftain

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    I accepted Catherine's capitulation, thinking that I'd finish her off later. To my horror, I realised that I could never quit the agreement, only she could.

    What a pain in the backside, I have to sit and wait, disbanding my units, for her to build up so that she can declare on me. :S
     
  5. Civ4rulesTH

    Civ4rulesTH Warlord

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    Or you could just keep asking her to give you resources for free. If she refuses BANG. Also i don't see how disbanding your units will help?
     
  6. General Failure

    General Failure Warlord

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    Yes, that's one of the things that's wrong with the current vassal system. I don't see the point of having someone capitulate to you, and then to find out that if you accept their capitulation, they are your vassal for ever unless they decide they have had enough of it. That's not how vassalage works. BOTH sides should be able to end the agreement.

    So yes, pretty much the only thing that you can do is keep demanding resources from them (if they have any left) and declare war on them if they refuse.
    Another thing you might do, if their territory is small enough and you have cities near their border, is to build lots and lots of culture in your cities. Your border will expand into their territory. If the area of their territory falls below 50% of what it was at the time when they became your vassal, you can also get out of the treaty...or so I've read. Haven't tried it out yet.

    General Failure
     
  7. Civ4rulesTH

    Civ4rulesTH Warlord

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    Yeh it's possible but very difficult to do without actually being able to take their cities.
     

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