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Unit Stacking

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by michaelkottler, May 4, 2010.

  1. weakciv

    weakciv Prince

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    A balance might be to allow stacking for 1upt of each type. For example: 1 Infantry Type (2 legs), 1 Ranged Type, 1 Mobile (4 legs/wheels) Type could all be on the same tile. Of course an Air type could fly overhead as well. And that would limit the SOD issue and the "tactical" aspect.

    Although I could see where EVERYONE now moves around with a semi set "stack". oh well, just an idea.
     
  2. Woodreaux

    Woodreaux Prince

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    I agree Civ V with 1UPT will be a quantum leap backwards. Hopefully, like :espionage:, random events and barbarians could be turned on and off in [civ4], 1UPT will be optional in Civ V.
     
  3. chongli

    chongli Prince

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    Did you even play Civ 3? It did not have 1UPT.

    I doubt it. 1UPT will be the central defining feature of Civ 5. To turn it off would completely unbalance the game.
     
  4. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Absolutely. I wish people would realize that not every design feature can just be made an "option". Designers have to make design decisions.

    There has to be a core set of "intended" game mechanics, that the design and testing and balancing and AI strategy etc. is all built around.

    A game design isn't a bag of trail mix; you can't just pick and choose individual feature mechanics without affecting the nature of the whole entity.
     
  5. Cthorssen

    Cthorssen Chieftain

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    I do not think that one unit per tile is so unrealistic. Unlike the last games, these are full armies, not just a few warriors. Last time I checked, armies can't stack on top of each other in reality. In history, the Romans only could have one army in a set area. If you really want realism; do not stack five units in the same area.
     
  6. Nicolas10

    Nicolas10 Warlord

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    Just a few thoughts:

    1) The "realism" debate is mostly nonsense... For the reasons many posters have already listed. Those advocating for more or less realism or already ignoring their own biases and simply asking for "selective realism" as they, themselves, would prefer in Civ.

    2) I'm INCREDIBLY excited not only for 1upt, but for limited military size. It's been stated by developers and forum-posters alike, that 1upt only exists as a feasible option if they are less units. Otherwise we have rugby scrums. Units will have higher survivibility for combat, can promote and retain bonuses, and will add a tactial dimension to the game.

    I am really surprised that so many people are not really, really fatigued of stack warfare. It's ridiculous. It's like playing WWI-style attrition battles constantly. War is sheerly about production, and hardly anything on tactics. Also, if you stack a decent unit, you don't even need to diversify: Diversification will help, but all you need is lots of seige units and lots of good attacking units and it's point and click. Drafting only adds to the massive listing of units. Also, the AI doesn't respond well to stacks, because it doesn't create similar stacks... it keeps its forces relatively spread out. So an AI might outnumber you 2:1, but you've got one elite stack and you'll never be stopped.

    For all those reasons, I've never enjoyed being a warmonger... it's point-and-click warfare.

    3) I'm a chess player, and I'm really excited to finally have the opportunity to look out on a "board" in civilization and plan for attack. There are going to be an incredible amount of options.

    For instance: Fog of war will truly matter. With a stack, if you get ambushed by some units, it doesn't really matter; the most they can do is take out some of your numbers before having to withdraw. But with individual units? Everying changes. If you plan on swinging around the back of an army with a flanking attack, and dont' have a scouting unit ahead on some hill to see what the enemy is doing? You could 1) Get annihilated, or 2) completely surprise the other guy.

    That's a world-altering possibility. As you could be even on numbers, or even ahead of an opponent, but still lose a war decisively if you're a risk-taker or simply not good at warfare.

    Secondly, you'll actually have real chess pieces: Archers, Spearmen, et al. Will be really good at one thing, and very vulnerable to another. You will need combined arms, just as you have in chess: pawns, knights, bishops, etc.

    Position on the board will mean a lot. If you have a lead scout or two seeing an army coming at you, you can jump on the opportunity to put Catapaults on the hills, Spearmen on the other side, and then have a line up melee units to absorb and funnell they other army into being blistered by ranged combat.

    Conversely, if you just go after an AI without good scouting of the terrain, you could find your powerful army ready to be ineffective against a strong line of defense.

    Lastly, the opportunity for boat warfare is immense. If you don't build a navy, you will run the risk of being CRUSHED by a rear-guard flotilla coming to your capital when your whole army is out on the lines. That is awesome.

    The player will have so, so many strategies for what to do with his forces. He can throw a strong army at an opponent, and then tactically sit in the middle and re-position his forces so that he destroys an enemy army at at 3:1 ratio before marching in to take cities.

    Conversely, he can build a strong defensive position, i.e. pawn defense with bishops/knights peaking through to counter-strike, baiting the other side to attack... all the while planing on dropping a small attacking force in the rear, 10-12 hexes away and ready to raze a city.

    I'm so, so happy to no longer have it being a straight production race, where my 45 riflemen and cannon will beat your 30 riflemen and cannon.
     
  7. Woodreaux

    Woodreaux Prince

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    I frequently see 1UPT advocates stating that it will add a "tactical element" to [civ5]. I won't argue about whether or not this is a valid claim. However, I will state that Civilizations is not a tactical game, it's a strategic game. Tactics help you win skirmishes and small battles. Tactics are for battle simulations and RTS games (which is misnomer, because these games are 95% tactics and only 5% strategy. They should be called Real-Time-Tactics). If the game designers are truly attempting to make the game less about wars and military action (I'm not debating if this is good or bad thing, but it has been suggested by many in this forum), then introducing tactical considerations into a strategy is exactly the wrong direct to go in.
     
  8. Nicolas10

    Nicolas10 Warlord

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    I will follow my chess analogy. Strategy and Tactics are not independent of one another; increased tactical choices often increase one's strategic choices.

    What "strategy" is available in a game where stacks are the only viable military tactic? The strategy of producing the largest stack. Now, there are differing ways to obtain a large stack (drafting, commerce-buying, mass production cities, etc.). But the strategy is the same. Even if you are defending against an aggressor, you'll need a stack. Otherwise you'll be picked off one smaller stack at a time (often the AI's fate against a solid player).

    Now, with 1upt: The increased tactical dimension also allows for increased strategic choices. In the examples I gave above, one can be strategically defensive, offensive, or in between... and those are all viable strategies. I.e. they can all succeed so long as the player has a decent understanding of tactics.

    The "strategy" element is only enhanced by city states. You could create certain Expeditiary forces to map roam and help out/ally with a multitude of city states. That would offer lots of benefits to your civ. In turn, that may or may not force an AI to come after you. That, in turn, may allow you to ambush the AI, or merely draw him into a long-drawn out war where he will focus on war while you will fend him off with a defensive force, all the while winning in tech. Since the AI won't be able to tech trade (cheat) and catch up, he'll be punished for rushing headlong after you.

    That's a strategic play. You develop a strategic plan and then set about executing it.

    So I really have yet to see any rational argument about how you "lose" strategic choices with an increased emphasis on "tactics."

    Obviously, we all need to see how the gameplay works, but that's separate from what we can expect/react/argue about when discussing the concept of 1upt.
     
  9. Dale

    Dale Deity

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    Strategic planning is overall planning, long term goal setting, planning the path to final victory. Tactical planning is operational planning on army composition, unit movements, combined arms balancing, logistics, etc etc. When conducting a war in Civ4 what do you think you were doing? Tactics. Though very basic tactics.

    1upt does not destroy any strategic layer of Civ. You still need overall planning, long term goals and paths to victory. 1upt and more Panzer General style concepts increases the tactics of Civ. In effect increasing the tactical component of Civ4 whilst retaining the same strategic level in Civ4.

    Thus, the strategic layer in Civ5 will be the same as Civ4, and the tactical layer will be much more in depth, better and fun. Sorry if you don't think this will provide a better game. :)
     
  10. Aussie_Lurker

    Aussie_Lurker Deity

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    I think some people are also still locked into a Civ2-Civ4 mentality. To my thinking, a Civ5 unit will represent a *much larger* number of individuals-in part because of the fact that units won't automatically die when attacked. So rather than having tons of units that you simply throw into the meat-grinder, you'll instead have a smaller collection of units with perhaps 20-30 turns of previous combat experience under their belts. Thus the need for lots of units, spread over a large front, will usually not arise. Similarly, as certain units will fill more specialist roles (like mounted units for flanking attacks, ranged units to soften up defenders etc) you won't spread them out in a single line, but probably have them spread *back* about 2-4 rows deep.

    Aussie.
     
  11. Woodreaux

    Woodreaux Prince

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    I honestly hope [civ5] is awesome and 1UPT is a contributing factor to its greatness. I just can't break myself out of the mindset of Civilizations titles should be upgrades to :bts:. Stacking is an integral part of why [civ4] is great, and stripping out an essential feature is lethal blow. Of course, people will remind us [civ5] != [civ4]. I admire Firaxis for having the courage to make a brand new game, instead of going the safe route and just refurbishing the platinum standard.

    However, I disagree with premises of the design decisions which motivated the 1UPT rule. Many have said SoD's ruin the game. I never had a problem with them. Stacks dominate [civ4] battlefields because they are the optimal configuration. This phenomenon isn't unique to [civ4]. Many situations have optimal techniques which far more successful than others. In Football, recruiting strong, fast and dexterous players works better than to taking on weak, slow and clumsy players who are handsome, and good at mathematics and playing guitar. It's nature of the beast.

    Also, effective SoD building and usage isn't a mindless exercise (there's a least one stack building question thread per week in the strategy forum). You have pick the optimal composition and promotions, and decide how many SoD's to use and when & where to use them. If you're fighting an enemy at tech parity, building homogenous stacks won't work out well because of the rock-paper-scissors mechanic. You make a SoD too big, pay an opportunity cost. Make it too small, you'll fail to achieve your objectives. But to even get to this point, you need to setup your mighty empire with the technology, funding and production capacity to create it. That's good planning and logistics and one of the funnest things in Civilizations games.

    Obviously, not everyone sees unit stacking in this light. So the solution is to ban it completely. I have two major issues with this. First, it is too extreme. Why not give tiles varying unit capacity values? Or give units size values which limit the number that can fit in a tile. If Over 9,000 is too many, why isn't 1 too few? Surely there most be compromise somewhere between. The other problem I have is, what sort of problems are we trading for? Just like most things in life, gameplay issues cannot simply be solved with a simple rule. You might get rid of one problem, but in the process you create new ones. How am I supposed to mass my troops to rapidly overpower an enemy if my army is spread out all over a continent because of a geographical bottleneck? If, as a result superior gameplay, I've achieved a significant production advantage over an a rival civ and levy a mighty army I will be penalized by way of throttling on account of 1UPT. This prospect bothers me. In short, 1UPT is flawed solution to a problem which doesn't exist.

    Aussie brings up another point of support for 1UPT: unit size. [civ5] units are brigades or divisions instead [civ4] units being companies or battalions. My counter-argument is: what if I want to put a division or a corps or an army group in one tile? If there's [civ5] has a feature that allows X number of single units to merge into a single unit the next echelon up (hence gaining more firepower, hit-points whatever), and subsequently allowed to breakup until the smaller units then I have absolutely no problem with 1UPT (as long mixed unit type task-forces are allowed... combined arms is essential). I'm under the impression this has not been announced, but I don't know why Firaxis would be saving that for a surprise.

    Now, to directly address the tactical/strategic aspects of 1UPT... Dale, I acknowledge it won't destroy the strategic layer of the game, but it will drastically alter it. I don't fear change for the sake of fearing change, but I fear changes from awesome to not as awesome. Unit stacking resonates well with me because the player has more freedom of action. I've never played Panzer General, heard great things about it. Until I play [civ5] and enjoy or hate 1UPT I have no experience basis to go on. However, I know have a new restriction in place which is a negative modifier.

    Nicolas10, I appreciate the chess analogy. I like how Civ games abstract history inspired entities (like military units) into pieces like a board game. Chess deserves the high esteem in which it is held. But I prefer a history inspired game to be more akin to Axis & Allies and Risk than Chess. As for 1UPT increasing options, unless units have a greater selection of actions available to them I strongly disagree. In [civ4], units can move, stay still, attack and perform specialty operations and occupy any tile within their range. In [civ5] their movement will be restricted to tiles unoccupied by other friendly units. The only way [civ5] provides more options is if the merging/splitting is allowed or if there are larger number of special actions and new basic actions are introduced. At the point it becomes an apple vs orange comparison.

    I'm not saying strategic choices are reduced in favor more tactical emphasis. I'm saying (with the caveats above) strategic choices and tactical choices are reduced on account of movement restrictions.

    About the greater emphasis on tactics, it's a separate issue. The impression I get from players who are unhappy with [civ3] and [civ4] is the game is so heavily military focused. It seems to me that peaceful players and builders want warring to take a less prominent role. My point is, the player is the president/chancellor/emperor who logically should be involved in strategic decisions. Heads of state and military high commands handle strategy and logistics. Tactical decision making is the job of the Colonels, Captions, Lieutenants, Sergeants, Petty Officers, etc. Since NCO's and Company/Field grade officers greatly outnumber Secretaries of Defense and Presidents, tactical decisions outnumber strategic decisions. Thus, if the player has a hand in tactical decisions as well as strategic choices he is making more military decisions, thus warfare takes on an even bigger role... to the angst of builders and diplomacy-oriented players who want less of that.

    Personally, I love micromanaging wars so getting into the tactical layer won't bother me. However, facilitating this tactical focus by restricting movement doesn't sit well with me.

    Agree. This post will also be available in paper back & hard cover at fine bookstores near you.
     
  12. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    You never like Civ 3, where the SoD was most powerful, yet you dislike 1UPT? Maybe you're saying its too extreme, but the bit about Civ 3 seems contradictory and makes me fail to understand you're post.
     
  13. Nicolas10

    Nicolas10 Warlord

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    Laugh, I really don't mean to be insulting (since these May discussions of a Fall release are all in good fun) ... but are you going stream of consciousness in your reply, which, I agree with you, could be a bound hardcover?

    The clumsy, good-looking mathematician? Is this a Romantic Comedy analogy?

    Look, the only way the football analogy makes sense is actually counter to how you mean to use it. In football, we play 11 v. 11. If both sides have 11 players, the sides with the better talent should win (i.e. cornerbacks who are very extremely quick, D-Lineman who are strong and fast, Offensive Tackles who are massive and agile, etc.). In other words, if you keep the 11 v. 11 rule, then the team that wins is the team that is SPECIALIZED in its Tactical lineup.

    Stacks of Doom is about NUMBERS (albeit with some combinations of units). If you play football with 16 v. 11, then the side with 16 will have a massive advantage, even against better tactical players. Make that 22 v. 11, and it grows even better. Tactics mean even less, provided the 22 have some athleticism and understand the game (i.e., in the Civ World, you don't have 22 Classical units against 11 Industrial Units)

    In short the football analogy does not support stacks of doom; it supports equal playing fields and better TACTICS (There's a reason why professional playbooks are 400 pages thick: tactics).

    As to your fear of being production heavy but unable to win: Learn tactics! If you have such a massive production bonus, then make a lot of siege weapons and boats to compliment your ground troops. Even in bad terrain, an overwhelming number of ranged units will (we assume) be effective against a side without the units to match. Put Melee units first, march into position, and then soften the other side up with ranged attack before plunging ahead.

    Also, a production advantage spent on boats will wipe out any rival navy. If the AI puts all his military away from his capital to be defensive in some distant mountain range, then use the open seas to drop a few city-killers behind him.

    Look, I hear you that you want to keep Stacks of Doom. You like it, you know it, and it's been 20 years of Stacks. I see that point and preference.

    But your counter-points seem a bit odd, in my opinion.
     
  14. Rusty Edge

    Rusty Edge Deity

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    There were lots of discussions here before Civ V was even announced about how to solve the SOD issue. Arbitrary limits seemed to detract from realism. Supply lines seemed to add to micromanagement. I liked the idea of increasing collateral damage with the density of the stack- fewer places to hide and less room to run, as opposed to the existing limits we have now.

    That being said, a decision has been made and a different direction has been taken. While I'm concerned about the change risking my enjoyment of Civ by making it too tactical and less epic,
    I trust in the team to give us something great. I also have faith in our community to make the utmost of the modding tools.

    I think the real key will be the replayabillity of the battles. Sometimes one unit/tile combat games can feel as redundant as playing chess against the same opponent game after game, day after day. I hope that there is enough variety and variabillity in theses battles to keep me saying
    ''One ...more... turn. I gotta know what happens next!"
     
  15. Dale

    Dale Deity

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    Also too, the football analogy solidifies the 1upt discussion. In Civ5, all 11 players will be adjacent to each other, since they are not able to occupy the same spot of turf as another player. In Civ4, all 11 players would be on each others shoulders, on top of each other. Adjacent means they cover more surface area and can create more opportunities (when on the offense) and cancel many more enemy moves (when on the defense). On top of each other simply means they meet the enemy team (who is also on top of each other) and simply smash heads together.

    Which is the better strategic and tactical method of play? ;)
     
  16. Thyrwyn

    Thyrwyn Guardian at the Gate

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    Ask the Persians how they dealt with the Spartans. You are not being penalized, the other civ is being rewarded for defending the bottleneck.

    It's not like the bottleneck suddenly "appeared" to thwart your superior production capabilities. The bottleneck would have been there all along - it's a feature of the map. You have to account for the map when planning your cities; you have to account for the map when planning your wars.
     
  17. plasmacannon

    plasmacannon Emperor

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    They are overcompensating. They found flaws in the "Stack of Doom" and decided to reduce it to only 1 unit per tile.
    I don't like the 20+ units per tile either, but, 1 is too low.
    I already had problems building enough units in Civ4.
    Once walls, castles and fortified, city defense 3 Longbowmen on a hill were in place, cities became, very difficult to conquer.

    I would think 2 units pet hex would be a good number. One could have a spearmen, and a swordsmen, but, be vulnrable to an axeman, for example.

    I am worried about the lameness to come.
    The English blockaded the entire US east coast at one time.
    Will the English 1000 Naval vessel Fleet be reduced to just 4 boats, because, of cost restrictions?
    If they change too much, they could create a dismal MOO3 failure, or almost as bad, spend alot to make a so-so game, that doesn't get picked up for a Civ6.
     
  18. Nicolas10

    Nicolas10 Warlord

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    That's an excellent point. And to remind everyone of the history:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Persian_Wars

    The Spartan stand operated in conjunction with the Greek fleet which fought the Persian fleet attempting to outmanouver the Greeks and avoid the mountains. The Greeks record that around 200-300 Greek Triemes fought viciously agasint a larger Persian fleet.

    Without a competent navy, Greece gets destroyed by the Persians. Historians credit Themistocles, who used Fearmongering to ensure that a new silver mine was used to build ships, rather than be distributed amongst the populace. In other words, Greek long-term strategy (fearing a coming invasion) defeated the Persians. Assisted, of course, by excellent tactics, both on land and on sea.

    Oh, and people forget that even after Thermopylae, the Persians marched on Athens and burned many of its structures... which in Civ V, will likely be a knock-out punch.
     
  19. Snorrius

    Snorrius Le libre-penseur

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    Well, does Civ IV really has problems with SoD? Personally I've experienced disadvantages of stacking too much when enemy deals collaterate damage, so it is necessary to move stack of doom in smaller stacks of terror :).
     
  20. kiwitt

    kiwitt Road to War Modder

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    The One unit per tile rule is good, but when I finally get around to modding for Civ 5, I will have units of differing strength, much like my RtW re-write. In my mini-mod a unit can represent a battalion, a regiment, a brigade, a division, a corps, an army, an army group.
     

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