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Unique abilities vs. "Geography is destiny"

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Phobetor, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    That's pretty much what I mean -- Rome was overpowered (in the Classical era) in a totally appropriate (and fun) way.
     
  2. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    I get what the Op is saying and appreciate that cultures and nations have been greatly influenced by their environment and geography. Jared Diamond has written a number of books on this subject. :)
    England became a great naval power because they were on an island and the Swiss did not for obvious reasons. In a way, they are locking England in a certain type of game play with their unique abilities even if the geography that is rolled in the game doesn't support that kind of development.

    Still, I don't think I would like a total sandbox for a game. I'd like the Civs in the game to act at least vaguely historical. Start biases should help with that.

    As far as all the Civs being being balanced, that is not a big deal for me. I don't mind asymmetrical game play, at all. :)
     
  3. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    Also, this is part of why they have starting terrain biases for the various civs. An England that starts too far inland is kind of pointless.
     
  4. Ivan Hunger

    Ivan Hunger Prince

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    I don't think Civ would be as fun if you didn't have any control over what kind of strategy you would be pursuing from the outset.

    There have been plenty of times were I've thought "I want to spam wonders this time" or "I want to spread my religion to every city in the world" or "I want to have only one city". Civ specific UAs let me play whatever strategy I'm in the mood for. If all bonuses were terrain based, I would be at the mercy of RNG. The map would just choose my playstyle for me every single time.
     
  5. Thormodr

    Thormodr Servant of Civ Supporter

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    Yes, indeed. That is the reasoning for the mechanic. :)
     
  6. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Unfortunately, in my experience, the mechanic works sporadically, or not at all.

    Worst Case Scenario: I once restarted a game playing as Morocco 18 times (it ended up being an experiment - after the first 6 restarts, I'd lost interest in playing). Morocco's Uniques Require trade partners and desert to take advantage of them. In 18 starts I got exactly 5 desert starting positions. In 3 of those, there was just enough desert for 1 city - everything else would either have to be far, far away or founded on grassland/plain/jungle terrain. The remaining 2 desert starts had Not One City State or other Civilization within 20 tiles - so, no trade routes until I or they settled something closer, some time later in the game.

    None of the starting positions were completely unplayable by any means, but none of them were appropriate for Morocco and its Hard Wired Uniques.

    That experience and others like it made me stop playing ANY civilization with a terrain -dependent Unique for a while, and to be very suspicious of any Game Design Decision that tries to stuff any civilization spanning centuries into a single 'snapshot' set of Uniques covering a small portion of that history, regardless of the map situation in the particular game you are playing.

    That Civ VI has obviously made the decision to stay with Hard Wired Uniques indicates to me that certain civilizations will wind up being playable only on certain maps ...
     
  7. ftl

    ftl Warlord

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    Well, the trade route bonus for Morocco is relevant with any starting position... after all, it doesn't take that many eras for civs to spread out and be close enough to trade with. I'm not sure I've had any games where there were no trade routes available by the renaissance! That's a unique that really doesn't depend on the map much at all!
     
  8. Schuesseled

    Schuesseled Deity

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    That's something they have definitely toned down in civ 6. By splitting up uniques into a leader ability and civ ability, UU and ub. They can make more flexible uniques that don't force a specific style of gameplay.
     
  9. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    It would be manageable to develop map scripts which focus completely on the player's civ like a Marokko small continents map script where Marokko starts on a desert continent and has other civs as trading partners around ... however if the player chooses a certain map-layout, having 10-42 other civs in the game will make it impossible to give all of them a balanced good start in regard of UU, UA, UB, ... e.g. play a Great Plains map with Inca and England or Archipelago against the Mongols ...
     
  10. kamex

    kamex Emperor

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    My favourite civ in V is Venice, not because its particularly strong, but because it has a very unique play style.

    There is a big balance issue in civ UA's however. Some are disgustingly strong like Poland, Korea and Babylon. Others are garbage like Denmark and Indonesia.
     
  11. JtW

    JtW Prince

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    That's not what the OP said and you know it. Why the uncalled for harshness?

    I am probably in the minority on this topic in that I dislike uniques. They are hard to balance, they force you down a specific path, the AI doesn't know how to use them. I used to play with random civs before Civ5 - now I don't because so many of the civs are unfun to play with because of their uniques.

    And on the argument that uniques=replayability let me just say this: I know several people who still play Civilization II. They don't seem to see the problem.

    I liked the notion somebody had here that Wonders were supposed to fulfil the role of unique abilities in earlier instalments of the series. This worked, well, wonderfully. :crazyeye: There were few of them, and you fought for the ones that supported your playstyle. I have been playing Civ since the original instalment and the increasing number but diminishing uniqueness of wonders was one of the trends I hated. But I guess having a gazillion wonders is a foregone conclusion these days.

    I liked the idea posted in this thread that uniques should be earned in-game. The problem with it is that it would duplicate what a lot of other systems already do: wonders and religion are already a way to acquire unique bonuses for your civilization.

    On the other hand, going too far down the "geography is destiny" route would make Civ an unenjoyable game. Start in Australia? You might just as well restart because you will never discover agriculture. Start in the Americas? Restart as well, because your Mexican crops won't work in the jungle so you can't expand. Civ is never going to be a Guns, Germs and Steel simulation, and I'm fine with that. But I like the fact they are trying to include some of the related ideas in a way.
     
  12. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    I think every civ should have the possibility to use Polands UA instead of their own ... the extra policies allow to adopt better to geography, e.g. have a coastal start and go liberty and exploration and rationalism
     
  13. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

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    Yeah, mine is Inca for similar reasons. They're strong but but the strongest, I know people are saying they just play the strong civs but I find a lot of them not that fun.

    Actually, now that I think of it, most of my favorites are ones with unique improvements that make you want to look at (and work with) the geography a bit more. Hopefully that means I'll like the new city placement/district system . . .
     
  14. Stilgar08

    Stilgar08 Emperor

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    Why? If you wanna have Polands power - well: Play as Poland! :p

    I understand you promote a sort of "evolving Unique" depending on geopgraphy. But geography already IS a big thing and doesn't need more power IMO. It will even be more of a game-deciding asset in CivVI from what I saw and read...

    You always have a choice to proceed along the advantages the UA,UUs and UBs give you or you can ignore them and play a "one gamestyle fits all" sort of game. And for your AI-opponents it's great to have uniques since they add flavour to the ganme. In CivVI I know I'll be in trouble meeting Cleo if my military isn't sufficient - I'll have to adapt. FLAVOUR! ;)

    In CiV I sometimes ignored the benefits of the civ I played because circumstances made me do it (raging barbs don't help setting up early wonderbuilding or going for culture). Somtimes I got back on track sometimes I just continued ignoring them and proceed the way the game brought me on. My choice. And choice is good.

    Personally I try to take benefit from using the uniques and they force me to adapt my playstyle! And IF I would play as England without coastal start or on a pangea-map I wouldn't reload: I would adapt, e.g. seeking for the coastline for my second or third city. Or ignoring naval development as a whole...
    Playing as Teddy Roosevelt in CivVI I wouldn't really care. So I'm in the "uniques add flavour"-party.
     
  15. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    Pish and tosh... I think the OP was saying exactly what you're saying: that you don't like uniques and every civ should act the same (given the same geographic start). And I'll repeat the same objection: if the only thing unique about a civilization is a set of teamcolors and a leader graphic, then there's no need to even give them historical names... a randomly generated string of gibberish will do. Beyond Earth made exactly this mistake, and I don't see that it's "harsh" to say so. (And is the very mention of Beyond Earth now considered an insult?)

    How do uniques "force" you to do anything? With only a few exceptions (Venice being the one that comes to mind), uniques offer only bonuses and no penalties... if the AI is incapable of using them, as you claim, then you should be able to completely ignore them if you like.

    I know several people who still play Atari 2600 games, but I don't think this proves any point other than that I know some weird people.
     
  16. boghog

    boghog Warlord

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    I don't know if you play multiplayer a lot, but I believe that at least until now MP and therefore balance have never been too high on the devs' priority list. The AI doesn't need to make good use of its uniques (it also doesn't need to be terribly good at playing the game) because it isn't there to provide the strongest possible opposition - it's there to provide some flavour, some challenge, some roleplaying opportunities.
    Soren Johnson explained the philosophy behind Civ's AI here: https://youtu.be/IJcuQQ1eWWI. And I doubt much has changed in that department.
    Ergo: Uniques are there for the players to enjoy a bit of variety. They don't force you to do anything because you choose your civ according to the kind of game you feel like playing. Feel like going for a cultured game? Play France. Feel like that's not enough of a challenge? Play the Huns. Ignore the battering ram.
     
  17. Hail

    Hail Satan's minion

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    with every iteration after two, the civ franchise leans more and more toward replaying history instead of rewriting it.

    one can add a game mechanic to allow investing beakers into building/unit types to strengthen them. :goodjob:
     
  18. Seek

    Seek Deity Supporter

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    If by "tech web" (not a huge fan, myself - so difficult to balance) you mean adding (possibly mutually exclusive or succeeding) leaf techs then I fully agree.:) It would be great to diverge off the main tech tree path to get powerful bonuses to nearby resources, or strengthen military units with unique promotions, etc.
     
  19. Plus Ultra

    Plus Ultra Conquistador

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    I'm very glad the developers understand the importance of unique elements in giving each Civ a different flavour and personality. So much so, in fact, that adding more unique elements for Civ VI is probably the feature I'm more excited about.

    The OP has a good idea, for a different game.
     
  20. Eagle Pursuit

    Eagle Pursuit Scir-Gerefa

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    That is true. It could definitely work for an Endless Legend type of IP with made-up factions.
     

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