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[GS] Valuing Units & Buildings

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Sostratus, May 22, 2019.

  1. Sostratus

    Sostratus Warlord

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    This thread is to further an extant topic from this thread without derailing the OP.
    @acluewithout with regards to ideas on how to balance the costs of units & structures:

    Units:
    There was some thread a few months ago about how would we balance the unit lines, and I responded by taking a very high level approach of "balance the class attributes first, the promotions second, and the units themselves third."

    As far as determining unit costs, I think it would be helpful to first consider the unit classes sort of as characters in an RPG. {Melee, Anticav, Ranged, Light Cav, Heavy Cav, Siege, etc}
    In this world they all start the exact same as blank slates.
    Now we add class attributes. Give every class a "power budget" or fixed number of "perk points." Positive perks are offset with negative ones and vice versa until all the classes sit at the same level.
    This is where production cost and maintenance come in.

    For example, Let's compare melee vs heavy cav. Lets imagine our net power budget is zero - the positives should cancel the minuses.
    Melee is standard in most every regard except two (lets imagine) :
    Bonus vs anticav ++
    Cost strategic resources -

    A very simple "loadout" or "build."

    Heavy cav have a little more going on:
    Higher combat strength ++
    Faster movement ++
    Cost strategic resources -
    Higher Maintenance -
    Higher production Cost -

    So they have been saddled with some cost negatives to balance their strong upsides.
    Obviously some classes, like Anticav, could get "cheaper production cost" as a positive trait.
    Step 1 is laying out the unit classes in terms of these attributes as if it was an RPG or you're building a party. How much should some of these penalties be? Well, consider that technically, there's not a strategic difference between a unit that is 25% more effective in combat and a unit that you can have 25% more of. (This may not be true tactically but you get the idea.) So if you judge +5 strength to be worth 33% more combat power, you know how much more expensive to build it should be. Movement speed would also need to have a value judgement. But this is a methodology thread, not a particular final numbers thread. This makes UU balancing easy too. Give every UU some positive power budget- the extra power they get for free - and make anything above that require a drawback, like more cost or whatever.

    The second step is to then decide how much a standard unit (no characteristics) should cost in any given era. I think the bulk of the unit numbers for the first half of the game are pretty close to the mark - ancient is ~65 (warriors and sligners are proto ancient units and should be priced accordingly!!)
    and classical is ~85ish. Medieval units cost a lot at 180, which I don't know why it suddenly spikes like that (perhaps because of apprenticeship+feudalism), but renaissance units are close to 240-250. Industrial units are what, 330s? (It almost seems like the middle ages lads should be in the 120-150 zone, don't it?)
    But as mentioned in that district cost locking thread, costs keep rising continuously. I actually think this is pretty okay from the standpoint that units get +10 per era, and having eg tanks and modern armor too close to each other in cost would be very unbalanced for the science spammer. The standard unit just needs to be decently balanced in terms of power/cost with respect to his upgrades, since strength is relative - the bar moves higher every time your rivals upgrade! The actual ratio of delta power / delta cost determines how much stronger your military gets every era. You need constant cost inflation if you have constant power inflation. Obviously those numbers shouldn't be the same, or there would be no point in upgrading, but they should both be there.

    Once you're happy with that cost curve, then you need only apply the unit class attributes: some classes are specified to be X% cheaper or more expensive, boom. Done. (Obviously this would require fixing some outlier units to actually match their class attributes, like Pikeman not being so underpowered. But you already made the attributes, so this part is easy xml updates or whatever.)

    I personally think upgrades being so ludicrously cheap to begin with plus the 50% off cards cause a lot of the cost complaints. But you could address that as you like.

    Buildings:
    I'm just going to focus on buildings that sit within districts.
    If we accept that district cost scales (I will accept the fact that it scales monotonically positive as given; how it scales is not assumed) then I think the best move would be to tie building cost effectiveness to district cost effectiveness. The tech tree approach now already sort of focuses on tying costs together, since both things {districts, buildings} are tied to progress through the tech tree.

    I just think the scaling is wrong both compared to the building outputs as well as temporally - a library and workshop shouldn't be so wildly different in price. I think a good methodology here would be to lay down the baseline prices for each tier of buildings, then apply modifiers based on the specific yield or effect (obviously, a stadium is a little different from a stock exchange.)

    Tier one buildings-wise, I think we should pick a spot in the tree around the early classical, say, and then ask the following question: How much does a district cost for its average adjacency at this spot? 70 production for +2? (making up numbers.) Okay, what do the t1 buildings do: they give +2. So We could price t1 buildings at a baseline of 70. Perhaps you decide that players should pay more for amphitheaters and libraries, but less for the barracks. just apply the penalties to the base cost.

    Same idea for t2 and t3, although i think you could either choose between what that district would cost at that spot in the tree for what its yield is at that point (maybe they now cost 300 and yield +3 on average), or you could do it as a multiple of t1 buildings. I think t2 lies somewhere between universities now and factories (2-400) is the sweet spot, Probably biased onto the lower side of that. T3 is definitely too expensive.

    But the idea is that if you set your methodology of computing this as tied to district cost and yield, then you have a roadmap to buff and nerf things while keeping them balanced. Ultimately some modification based on playtesting a little would be needed, because there's just so many variables with buildings.
     
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  2. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    @Sostratus Good post. And thanks for starting this thread.

    I'll post some more later, but I had some initial thoughts.

    District v Building costs. I do think District costs should ride over time, partly to slow District spam, but also to create more opportunity cost from not building Districts early. I don't mind price is tied to techs and civics, although it could easily be done some other way.

    I generally agree with your comments on building costs. But I think building costs should be fixed, so your bottle neck is usually getting districts down not buildings.

    What I think Civ VI is getting wrong on Buildings though is:

    (1) Building bonuses should be much more tied to Governments and Policies. It shouldn't be enough to just build Buildings - instead, you should have to continue investing to get maximum use out of them (by using Policy Carda and ultimately Power). The game does this a little already, but not enough.

    (2) Maintenance costs should fluctuate a bit more. Maintenance costs are too low anyway, but it's the fact they are static that makes them so trivial. It's just too easy to budget for their costs. My suggestion is that they should ratchet up based on your techs and or Government tier. That way you'd have to think carefully about the future cost of spamming universities and or upgrading governments. Having Theatre Square and Campus projects cost gold to run would also help, and make balancing your economy much much tougher.

    (3) I'd also maybe remove great people from districts, and instead have Buildings and Projects be the main generators of GPP (with Policies and Wonders playing a secondary role). That would also weaken District Spam and little and, with the changes above, make the decision to build Buildings or run Projects much tougher.
     
  3. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Really interesting Thread!
    Even though it's late where I am, I want to throw in some comments on Units - I'll be back tomorrow on Buildings . . .

    First, Unit Attributes. All Units have the following basic attributes:
    Basic Combat Strength Melee/Ranged
    Modified Combat Strength (as in, Bonus versus Mounted, versus Anti-Cav etc)
    Basic Mobility
    Modified Mobility (now, mostly Recon Line, as in Ignores Hills or Woods/Rainforest movement restrictions)
    Production Cost in Gold and Resources
    Modified Production Cost (Policy Cards, possibly special Buildings, Civics or Governments)
    Maintenance Cost in Gold and Resources
    Modified Maintenance Cost (as in, costing more because it has Modified Mobility/Combat Strength)
    Upgrade Cost
    Modified Upgrade Cost (Policy Cards, possibly Civics, Buildings or Governments)

    Now, by Unit Class there should be some general similarities, if we want to base the units and their relationships on the historical reality. Some comments on them:
    Recon
    By definition, fast, few weapons, no armor, and in general fewer men than other units, so no staying power: will lose factors faster in combat because each casualty hurts more. In Ancient through Renaissance Eras, were frequently recruited from 'barbarians' - more primitive types more at home out in the woods on their own.
    Melee
    Close combat specialists, but the line varies wildly as it is designed now. The only constant is that they are troops with weapons that allow them to fight as individuals, so act effectively in rough or close country compared to other troops.
    Warriors, based on the existent archeological and pictoral evidence, should carry leather/hide/wicker shields and short spears or axes, not, as depicted now, big wooden clubs and no shields. Without shields, they aren't going to get close enough to use the clubs.
    Swordsmen, historically, always required a lot of constant training to be able to use their weapons well, so have high Maintenance Cost to the society, because they can't do much of anything useful (Production. Food) while they train all the time. On the other hand, they and the warriors can cut other troops to pieces in rough country, because the terrain protects them against ranged weapons and breaks up the required close formations of the Anti-Cav (spear-armed)
    Musketmen are a Fake Unit. Muskets were never used as a stand-alone unit, because the matchlock musket man had virtually no Melee Factor: he had at best a short sword he wasn't trained to use and, after he fired, a 20 pound clumsy club with a hole in the end. Early firearms were always combined with Pikes, Spears, Halbards, Swords, or all of the above (the earliest Spanish Colunelas, for instance, included muskets/arquebuses, halbards, pikes, and crossbowmen - and later added swordsmen)
    Anti-Cav
    This is a fake category. Sure, spears were handy against mounted troops, but not any more so than a close-ranked formation of swordsmen. Unless the mounted had lances, they weren't going to charge any bunch of armed men on foot with shields who knew how to use the formation and their weapons - at least not twice, because not enough of the mounted men would survive to do it a second time. What spears and pikes were is CHEAP. Long pole with a metal point, sturdy shield made of heavy leather, wood, metal, close, deep formation that pretty much required level ground, but using the weapon didn't require a lot of training, so the spearmen could be left to useful work until the war started: Greek Hoplites, early Roman Legion, the Medieval Fyrd - all were amateurs with spears, and it worked fine until they ran into Professionals with Spears (Spartans) or Professionals with Better Weapons ( Macedonian Pezhetairoi pikemen, Gallic swordsmen)
    So, Spearmen and Pikemen are Cheap to Build, and Cheap to Maintain, but except for a few Serious Professionals (Macedonians under Phillip and Alexander, Swiss Mercenaries in the Renaissance) have trouble in rough terrain (hills, woods, rainforests, marshes all break up their formations) and if anyone gets a Flanking Bonus on them, they are Dead Meat.
    Pike and Shot (see comments on Muskets above) are the Merged unit that combines early firearms with pikes, swords, and all the other edged weapons that might be useful. That means it combines the Anti-Cav and Melee classes into one Unit.
    Ranged
    Slingers, Archers, Crossbowmen all share two characteristics: first, they absolutely do not want to get close to anyone. Second, to help keep their distance, they don't wear much armor or carry a bunch of hand weapons, because that would slow them down when it comes time to Run Like Hell because the enemy swordsmen, spearmen, etc. are getting too close. Therefore, regardless of their Ranged Factors, their Melee Factors should be minimal.
    Light Mounted
    Light Cavalry is almost never intended to actually fight the enemy. Stand off and throw/shoot things at him or ride around and stab him in the back, but if he's facing you with a bunch of friends, you ride away - and raid, plunder, scout, and generally Raise Hell with the civilians. Most early Horsemen were armed with javelins or bows and a knife. The armored types that have to be included now in this category (Hetairoi, for instance) should really be in the Heavy Mounted category, because their purpose and combat were entirely different.
    Heavy Mounted
    Heavy Chariots, Knights, Cuirassiers all require bigger-than-normal horses, which means Horse Resource to build and Maintain and extra Building and Maintenance Costs. These are, barring specialized Siege Units, the most expensive Units to get and keep. They also can potentially ride down anyone, IF they are used correctly and against the right target. But Heavy Chariots against Spearmen, Knights against Pikemen, Cuirassiers against Pike and Shot, ALL got massacred. That is a basic relationship of Combat Factors and military history from 1500 BCE to 1500 CE and beyond (Waterloo Battlefield after the battle had lots of Cuirasses left lying about, each with a blood-fringed hole in it and a dead Cuirassier behind or under it)

    I'm not going to get into a discussion of the later units in the Categories here, because, frankly, the Categories don't apply in the same way after gunpowder/chemical-powered weapons appear. As mentioned above, for one critical example, the separate Categories of Melee and Anti-Cav Merge as both types of weapons are found in the same unit-type which uses them primarily to protect the arquebus/musketmen who are doing the killing.
    Crossbowmen do not become cannoneers, they become Musketmen. The new Field Cannon, Bombards and other types of gunpowder long range/support weapons are manned by an entirely new type of battlefield denizen: the specialist Gunner, who wasn't even considered a military man until the end of the 17th century, 250 years after he first appears marching along with European armies.

    More tomorrow morning . . .
     
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  4. Sostratus

    Sostratus Warlord

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    Oh, I meant to say they should be fixed, just fixed at a particular level instead of whenever they happen to show up.

    My biggest wrinkle with the civ6 economy is that maintenance - either for buildings or on units- simply never is a drag. I remember very clearly paying that 4gpt per land unit in civ5... One thing you could do is have building maintenance fixed (at a higher level if you want) and then have the 1gpt maintenance tied to districts escalate with the district scaling factor, so by the end game they cost more to build and maintain. Its auto scaling, keeps the desire to utilize newer infrastructure, and just slowly drags on things. (You might want to divide by a factor it though, because no one could afford 10gpt per district. )
    As an alternate, make the Rationalism etc cards give +50%/+50% science to buildings, but also +100% upkeep of those buildings regardless. After all, it is a societal focus area. You would expect large grants to the arts, or huge research funding, and so forth, so why not show it off? Side note: I've been misinterpreting CH buildings for years. They are +4/7/10. It's just that the upkeep is factored in already.

    The reason I framed it the way I did is because I think a lot of unit discussions get bogged down focusing on individual units right away. But ultimately every civ6 unit is just a 15+10*era strength, 2 move unit with some bonuses tacked on. As far as balance goes doesn't matter what a 35str, 2 move unit looks like. It matter when it unlocks and how much it costs.
    Although it was really fun in 5 to watch my little longswords walk around and belligerently shake their zweihanders...
    I'm quite curious, Boris: would a group of say, 15th cent plate armored Knights armed with swords (not necessarily zweihanders - those are freakin huge!) fare well against a mass of pikes, like swiss mercenaries?

    If you set up things well at the outset, the individual units will fall into place. This is especially true at the cost level, because otherwise we end up in bizarro land where pikes cost 200 and knights 180. (Glad they at least made pikes cheaper!) They have some really clever design principles behind how they set up the units. Somewhere along the line they strayed from the sacred path.
     
  5. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    @Boris Gudenuf Good points and good post.

    For what it's worth. I tend to think the fun of these things - and the most interesting discussion - is what are the least changes you can make to make mechanics work better.

    I'm okay with the current unit spread, albeit there's a couple of gaps (ahem. Trebuchet.) I think the main issue with units at the moment is really just pricing and (for later units) some resource requirements.

    That said. Seige are a problem. I don't have a problem with their pricing, including the fact that you usually can't get bonuses to build them and they're slow. Their problem is that they aren't currently worth the additional cost and hassle to build. I think the solution is to give them more defence v ranged attacks and nerfing Rams, so Seige would be both actually and relatively better at taking cities.

    (I've also previously suggested changing walls into one level wall, and then having level 2 and 3 walls replaced by Medieval and Renaissance Castle. The two cast levels would provide+1 housing and +30% production bonus to anti cab and Seige , so would also buff Seige.)

    Slingers also have to go. I just don't see the logic of these units. All they really do is allow for archer rushes. I'd rather have an ancient era Spearman type unit, so early game you'd have a choice between punchy but more expensive warriors or cheaper but weaker anti-cav. That would also allow pre-building Spearmen which would be a good buff for them.

    And Light Cav should have a -17 v Cities before we start looking at their pricing.

    I'd agree to all that.

    Buildings having a fluctuating maintenance would be fun and wouldn't require too much micro. I'm not a huge fan of policy cards having gold costs, just because I think that can get fiddly. But something like youre suggesting - ie +50% yield but +50% maintenance would be intuitive and would work. I do think projects should also have a gold cost although maybe that would be a bit hard to implement (could you keep running projects into negative gold?).
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  6. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Several possibilities:
    1. Governments could offset the increase in Maintenance Costs for Buildings and Districts. A Totalitarian/Communist/State-Run Economy requires that all Maintenance Costs be paid by the Government, so all such costs would be explicit. In a Capitalist economy, the costs are paid by the individual or individual Corporation as a drag on their Profits, so at least part of them could be Implicit and not shown in-game - a natural Bonus for a Capitalist economic type which is completely realistic and could off-set the Bonuses the game keeps giving to Totalitarian/Communist economies/governments in other areas.

    2. IRL, Maintenance Costs of units in the pre-Renaissance Era were usually not paid by 'governments' at all: most of them simply called up men as needed for a given war (Rome and some Chinese states were too great exceptions, and they both had immense problems paying for their military). As mentioned in previous Post, most armies were composed of a small percentage of Professional/Aristocratic Warriors who had nothing better to do than fight and a mass of farmers/herders with whatever weapons they could dredge up who really wanted to be Anywhere Else But a Battlefield. When mercenary armies and expensive military toys like Bombards became necessary in the Renaissance, the governments borrowed to the hilt from the new Banking families to pay for them, and reneged on their resulting debts on a regular basis. It was only with the Bureaucratic, Nationalist states of the Industrial Era that the governments got the ability to collect enough money from the people and economy to afford their own armies, sort of: the cost of the French military in the War of the Spanish Succession, Seven Year's War and American Revolution essentially bankrupted France and set up the monarchy for the French Revolution. IF the game could implement and integrate Military with Economics, the real Maintenance Costs of units would hit home with a vengeance.

    Whether this is a Good Idea from a Game Play perspective is another question. . .

    At present, and a simpler, "quick and dirty" solution, would be to jack up the Maintenance Costs for Professional Units while designating a Militia Unit for each Civ. For most this would be a Spearman, for some it would be Light Cavalry/Horse Archer (Mongols, Scythians) - for some it would be their Unique: Greek Hoplites, Hungarian Hussars. A Militia Unit would have very reduced or even 0 Maintenance Cost BUT they couldn't get any Promotions - they go home when the fighting is over, there are no Lessons Learned by the unit. IF you want a Professional, tactically proficient army, you will have to pay to have them "in the ranks" learning all the time.

    Agreed. Adding that the Cost is two-fold: Gold and Resources, and Additional Cost of Maintenance (in Gold and Resources) should be much more of a factor than it is now: early in the game because the governments are too inefficient at extracting Gold from their population to afford them, and later in the game because in the Modern Era and later, Units get very expensive in technology: masses of infantry, aircraft carriers, fleets of tanks and heavy bombers, ammunition by the 1000s of tons, all became impossible to get and maintain without a major Industrial Base and efficient Government administration.

    We have a couple of specific Historical Examples, and they both indicate that the key was not weaponry or armor, it was whether the pikes were standing still or charging. Men on foot can walk up to a bunch of standing pikes and simply hack the metal points off with swords, axes, halbards, or English bills (a spear with an axe blade attached, basically) and then slaughter the pikemen now holding long sticks. That's what happened to the Scots at Flodden, where the English billmen "disappointed the Scots of their long spears". The English were infantry with metal or reinforced leather cuirasses and helmets, but armored knights on foot with swords could have done the same thing.
    A few years earlier, at Morgarten, Swiss pikes charged - and charged so fast that the plate-armored knights on horseback and their infantry armored and unarmored didn't even have time to get into battle lines, and were butchered. Pike formations that charged, like Alexander's Pezhetairoi or the Swiss, were very nearly unstoppable unless you had a pike block of your own, or lots of heavily-armored infantry in close formation like the Roman Legions (and even then it was a dicey prospect) or you put barriers in front of them - a trench, forest, or river was nice.

    And by the way, the Swiss threw away more and more armor so they could charge faster, and Alexander's pike phalanx was armored only with leather and canvas until after he left India: speed of the charge was more important than armor. Also, the Swiss started out with a percentage of their men armored with halbards or two-handed swords, and dropped them later on because a fast-moving block of pikes could do everything that had to be done without them. The Landsknechts, formed in response to the Swiss, had the "double pay men" with the big swords in hopes of getting into the Swiss ranks and chopping up enough of them to break the formation up. If you were on the receiving end of a Swiss charge, though, you never had time: if you didn't break their momentum, you'd have several pike points rammed through you before you could use your sword.

    And they are still straying. After Gathering Storm, any semblance or Order to the Unit progressions has pretty much been trampled by Knights to Cuirassiers, Coursers to Cavalry, and Pikes to Pike-and-Shot.

    As to Cost, Nothing contemporary should be more expensive or as expensive as Heavy Armored Cavalry. You have to pay for someone to train constantly at riding while using lance, shield, and sword/axe/mace, AND you have to raise, feed and train an especially large Horse - and replacements, because you will lose horses faster than you lose men unless you charge a group of pikes - and then you lose horse, man, and battle. There's a reason Alexander had 2000 Hetairoi heavy cavalry in an army of over 40,000 men, the Tang Chinese in an army of 80,000 men (including, admittedly, a lot of 'semi-military' supply and support folks) had exactly 1000 heavy cavalry, early Medieval Knights paid for themselves with their Fiefs, and Napoleon I in an army with over 350 regiments of mounted and infantry had exactly 14 regiments of armored heavy cavalry (Cuirassiers and Carabiniers)

    Even Light Cavalry should be more expensive than most infantry, because you have to raise, feed and train the horse too. However, it doesn't have to be a good horse or a large horse, and in many Civs (all pastoral, and post-pastoral like Ottomans and Hungary) a large part of the population are already riders and will even bring their own horses. OR you can hire light cavalry from the "Barbarians", as Rome, Byzantium, China and Russia (Cossacks!) all did. These are 'cheap' but also fall into the Militia category: you cannot really control how good they are until you start paying them regularly and induct them into your regular army (as Rome did with their Auxiliaries, which included Sarmatian and Hun cavalry, or Russia did in the 19th century with the Cossack 'Hosts')

    What I'm getting at here is that there could be a lot more variation in raising and maintenance costs of Units, and those variations can be linked to things like the Civ itself (Scythia does not raise units or the same types of Units as Rome or Korea or Norway does) or access to people with Special Skills (riding, horse archery, but also familiar with rainforests, woods, mountains, deserts and other 'specialized' terrain), Policy Cards/Government Type (whether you have a Warrior Aristocracy, fo instance, or a 'regular' Militia/Fyrd system), Civics, etc.

    The 'framework' now in place for Unit Costs and Progressions, however Imperfect, should have been only a start. Not only do the basic costs for many units (Melee, Light Cavalry and Heavy Cavalry, in addition to the always-criticized Anti-Cav) need to be 'corrected', but there are always alternatives to expensive units, and that has to be more explicitly modeled in the system.
     
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  7. Sostratus

    Sostratus Warlord

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    I dislike that projects let you essentially get every single great person in several categories if you want. I would definitely, if made World of Civ Controller for a Day, can that and slap +GPP on specialists. Maybe even add in a new set of those wildcards where instead of +2 scientist points you get +1 point per scientist specialist.

    Perhaps it would make more sense to use the CivBE model for projects where they could convert production into yield at some %. They also had methods of boosting that ratio. So you could have something like owning the campus gets you a 12.5% science to production ratio, and rationalism, instead of boosting buildings, doubles the efficacy of the project to 25%. You are then communicating to players that boosting science etc must be done by sacrificing productive capacity. Its a rogue thought but outside the scope of building costs.
     
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  8. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Specialists need a whole set of Threads of their own. I really, really think they should be much more important and more useful in Civ VI. One way would be to provide Civics or Policy Cards that 'divorce' the number of Specialists from the general Population Points: Specialists representing that percentage of the general population that are involved in a given Yield, Building, profession or knowledge and so not constant in relation to the overall population. What price General Literacy, for instance? Or even, going back to the Units discussion, What Price the Gymnasium: a large percentage of the adult male population constantly 'training' in basic military skills like javelin-throwing, wrestling, and running in armor?

    For instance, mere number of Libraries should not, by itself, increase Science - it is the percentage of the population that has access to and is utilizing those libraries: the number of "Specialists" in them, in Game Terms.

    Yep. Need a whole separate discussion of Specialists and other Bonuses, Boosts and modifications to Yields, which should also include a major discussion of Districts and District Adjacencies and what could replace them as a system to encourage early concentration of cities and later spreading of cities and Districts when transportation gets more efficient.
    Another Thread for sure.
     
  9. Sostratus

    Sostratus Warlord

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    The primacy of swiss pike chargers was something I knew, I had always assumed it was because they could just beat down peasants and other semi pro soldiers. I once rowed with a Swiss man, his athletic demeanor gave off strong "pike charge until one side dies" vibes. I didn't think simple running speed would be enough to pierce plate with a pike. (Charging into one on horseback like an idiot, maybe.) Or maybe no one ever had enough full plate lads on hand to actually face a pike block.
    I did not know that they started dropping the armor to speed up their charges, i had thought it was due to firearms etc. What are these pikes made of? Infinity stones?

    In the context of the unit class methodology I laid out in the OP, I think the way most people who play civ6 build their armies would synergize well with 1) RPG esque roles of classes 2) promoting the idea of focusing on specific classes instead of all military units broadly. Part of that means playing up the class characteristics wrt cost. While one may designate some classes cheap and others expensive, the card support for them should then be to make cheap stuff cheaper and expensive stuff stronger. If you just read posts here and on civ reddit people are explicitly drawn to stacking more bonuses of a single type than trying to create well rounded stuff; in cities, playstyles, whatever.

    This might mean doing something like (in a world where heavy cav consumed horse resources as fuel but light cav needed a stockpile) having bonus production and reduced horse cost for light cav (for the nomad raider players like scythia) but a different card that makes heavy cav stronger - not less expensive. The idea is to get players to think "if I do this then i can go for that and then slot that card and I'll have unstoppable knights!" int he same way they see a desert location and immediately get excited about trying to work petra into their early game. In MP or vs the AI, a player who was facing a knight army could then say "better slot up my feudal levy card and get cranking out those pikes. Hold the lines, boys!" Vs now, any strat that boosts heavy cav creates an unstoppable juggernaut deathball that even zulu is powerless to stop.
     
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  10. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    What makes a pike phalanx charging dangerous is that 18 - 21 foot long pikes mean that for each man in the front line, you have 4 - 6 pikes projecting in front of him, so the fellow on the pointy ed of those gets hit by a half-dozen steel points each with a 175 - 200 pound man behind it and about 6 - 7 miles per hour of velocity: all the force of man and speed are concentrated on a single steel point, times 4 - 6: they still might not penetrate a steel breastplate, but hey will go right through the eye, nose or mouth holes on a helmet, or the lighter plates covering the joints of shoulder or knee, and if several impact they will knock a man off his feet, just like anybody tackled at speed by several men at once. And once he's on the ground, someone will stick a long thin dagger through his eye slots or throat and end it. Leaving body armor behind meant that the Swiss could cross any 'killing ground' from ranged weapons in a few seconds with a final impact multiplied by a higher velocity - and the impact is mass x velocity squared, so that's not insignificant.

    I suggest that by using the 'real' military history as a guide, we can come up with better numbers.

    First, almost all units can be divided into Militia, which as said before have lower Cost in Gold and Maintenance Cost in Gold, and Professionals, which have full cost in Gold for Building and Maintenance, but can get Promotions.
    Some units cannot be Militia, because to exist at all they need training and equipment that make them expensive, and no one's going to waste that on amateurs: Knights, Special Ops, All Siege Units (specialized skills in engineering, construction, etc), most Support (medics, Balloons, Drones, Military Engineers - all require special training and equipment, including University schooling or its equivalent).
    Then, the Maintenance Costs have to be 'corrected' to reflect the real cost of maintaining the unit at all.

    Take some examples from the early units.
    Slinger and Warrior don't need changes, I think: they both represent men with skills only semi-military, and don't represent any sophisticated unit tactics, drill or training.
    Spearmen and Archers are the first units in the game that have Maintenance Costs, and the Spearmen have a 55% higher Build Cost than the Warrior. the Archer a 40% higher Build Cost than the Slinger. Both are wrong. IF we assume Professional Spearmen require formation tactics and training, then the Maintenance Cost is justified, but perfectly good Spearmen can be simply 'called up' from peasants/citizens with spears and shields (the Greek Hoplites outside of Sparta, for instance) and so require little or no expense from the State: Militia Spearmen (and Archers), then, require no Gold Maintenance, and their Build Costs will be not much higher than Warriors.
    Chariots are always highly prized by their societies - they aren't going to give them to the amateurs, and nobody's going to show up from the farm driving his own chariot. They need large, strong horses to haul the Heavy Chariot, and skilled spearmen, axemen, archers and charioteers to use the weaponry and the vehicle to best advantage. Given all that, it makes no sense for a Heavy Chariot, 3 - 4 horses and 2 - 3 men to cost the same as a Spearmen Unit.
    Heavy Chariots should have higher Build Cost, and require Horses. In fact, ALL the Heavy Cavalry line should require Horses, because the requirement for big, strong, fast horses to carry men and armor or haul heavy chariots was a basic limiting factor on how many chariots/knights/cuirassiers you could field.
    Heavy Chariots will also wear out/use up a certain percentage of horses every time they go out, so their Maintenance Cost will include 1 Horse, and the Maintenance Cost in Gold should be 2, not 1 - you're maintaining men, armor, horses, a vehicles, and weapons in some quantity for a complete Chariot Unit, and none of them can be picked up from a shop just off the local marketplace.
    Swordsmen always require some training to be able to use their weapons effectively, so they will always have some Maintenance Cost, but swords and helmets last a long time - they get handed down father to son, if father survives long enough. So, 2 Gold Maintenance is right, 1 Gold if they are Militia OR if you have a Heroic Warrior Policy Card/Civic that means a certain percentage of the population will show up self-trained and with their own fancy named swords and blood lust. They require Iron to build, but no resources to maintain.
    Horsemen are light (by definition) so can use anything on four legs and did in practice: no Resource requirement to build or maintain. BUT if the riders are going to both fight and ride effectively, both men and horses have to be trained together, so they will have a +2 Maintenance Cost. The Build Cost should actually be at most the same as the Heavy Chariot, and although in game terms it's counter-intuitive (because they are from a later Era) they should realistically cost less to 'Build' than a multi-horse Heavy Chariot and crew.

    Within all this, some Civs will get Exceptions:
    Pastoral Civs have a large percentage of their men who have been riding since before they could walk, so for them (Scythians, Mongols, certainly) the Build Cost for Horsemen (and Coursers and Cavalry) should be less and the Maintenance Cost less. Scythia does this in-game already, partially, by giving them 2 Horsemen for the 'cost' of one.

    And among the cheap amateur Slingers, it would be a nice touch to somehow include (possibly from Militaristic City States) the Professional Slingers: Rhodians and Baleric Islanders that trained from boyhood with slings and fired streamlined lead pellets instead of stones - had almost twice the range of regular slings (outranging bows, in fact) and the pellets flew too fast to be seen, so they couldn't be dodged. These guys were extra deadly against enemy ranged units or scouts who didn't have any shields or armor.

    See above: we are thinking along similar lines.
    Knights, if the game won't allow more than one Resource per Unit, will require (big heavy) Horses to Build, and will consume Horses to Maintain. They are also not normally Militia Units, so they will require full Gold Maintenance, and maintenance will be expensive: essentially, Knights spent most of their waking hours training or practicing combat skills, even when they called it hunting or jousting. I suggest a Gold Maintenance of 5 or 6 per turn would not be out of line, BUT I also suggest that the true 'Fuedal' Knight would be a from a Castle, which is an Improvement, a form of Fort in the countryside with the following characteristics:
    Upon declaration of War, each Castle generates a Feudal Knight. This knight has no maintenance cost at all, but cannot be Promoted and disappears as soon as the Civ is at peace. To Maintain that Knight, the Castle removes all Yields from the tile upon which it sits. You cannot build a Castle on a tile with a total Yield of all types less than 3 - no Castles on the Snow or bare Tundra or Desert, thank you.
    Once Bombards are researched, all castles automatically become Ruins (the graphic artists could have fun!) which produce Tourism starting in the Industrial Era (Natural History Civic?). Or they can be torn down so you can build a Farm, Plantation, Mine, or other 'profitable' Improvement on the tile.

    Making Heavy Cavalry stronger could easily be an attribute of a Heroic Warrior or Warrior Aristocracy Policy Card back in the Classical or even late Ancient Era.

    Pikemen come too early now: historically, they showed up about 200 years after the Fuedal, fully armored couched lance-charging Knight. Also, the pike was not a new Technology (Phillip and Alexander's "Foot Companions" had been carrying the same kind of iron-tipped 20 foot long weapon a thousand years earlier) so possibly bring it in with the Civic Guilds, representing the pike-armed Guild apprentices and journeymen from Flanders that massacred Knights at the Battle of the Spurs. Earlier, a Fyrd Policy Card could 'stiffen' the hapless Spearmen, perhaps coming at Fuedalism or Civil Service Civic.

    IF Policies and factors are balanced, the result should be that Knights ride over Swordsmen and Spearmen but cost too much (or remove too many tiles from use with their Castles!) to be able to 'field' a horde of them, and Pikemen eat Knights for breakfast and spit out the rivets from their armor, unless you soften them up first with Crossbowmen or other ranged fire or maneuver to get substantial Flanking bonuses on them.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
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  11. DanQuayle

    DanQuayle Chieftain

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    @Boris Gudenuf
    Since you seem to be well-versed in history, could you tell me if each of these propositions make sense from an historical perspective?

    1-Coursers moved to the Stirrups tech (Were stirrups a requirement for coursers?)
    2-Knights moved to Castles
    3-Cavalry moved to Ballistics
    4-Cuirassiers moved to Military Science
     
  12. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    First, recognize that the Civ VI Tech Tree is an amphibian: It's a Croc, and most of the 'Techs' are just names slapped onto the Techs that were positioned to give an excuse to have the Units and other game mechanisms they needed at abut the right time. But specifically to your questions:

    Stirrups weren't a requirement for anything and the Tech is grossly misplaced: metal stirrups are attested in China about 300 CE (Classical Era), and appear in Avar graves in Europe before 700 CE - about 400 years before the first armored lance-wielding Knights appear in Europe - AND the lance-armed armored cavalryman was the main strike force of the Tang Dynasty Chinese armies a good 300 years earlier, and Sarmatian heavy (armored head to foot) cavalry are shown wielding long lances in about 100 CE, without stirrups. - But they were effective enough that the Imperial Romans added lanciarii to the Legion (spearmen) to fight off the heavy cavalry charge. In other words, both Knights and Coursers were not appreciably different from light and heavy cavalry that had already existed for almost 1000 years. The first real Technological 'Upgrade' was a couple hundred years after the first European Knights (appearing about 1100 CE) with articulated steel plate armor, which starts to appear about the end of the 13th century (1275 - 1300 CE). "Coursers" were on lighter horses, wore only (at most) a breastplate and helmet, but except for the steel plate, were indistinguishable from Alexander's Hetairoi and in function were doing pretty much the same scouting, pursuing, raiding jobs that light cavalry had been doing since the early Classical Era.

    Ballistics is another "Tech" that is grossly out of place. Niccolo Tartaglia's first book on exterior ballistics (Gunnery) was published in 1537 CE - no matter how you define it, at least 200 - 250 years before the Industrial Era got into gear. And the smoothbore black-powder muzzle-loading Field Cannon with trunnions and trailed carriage first appeared at the end of the Fifteenth Century, firmly in the Renaissance Era, and was an established part of every European Army over a hundred years before the Industrial Era.

    Since Cavalry represents the carbine and sword-armed unarmored cavalry of the 19th century, Rifling would be a better bet for a Tech for the unit.

    Cuirassiers were armored cavalry with swords and pistols, and they start appearing in the 16th century CE - the late Renaissance Era. The graphic depiction, though, is from the late 18th century, the Napoleonic Wars, at the beginning of the Industrial Era, which is probably the reasoning for using Ballistics as their Tech. Since Ballistics is grossly misplaced an Era too late (along with the Field Cannon), it's not too far off in placement, just utterly mis-named.

    I would keep the units approximately where they are except for Cavalry, which should move to Rifling.
    BUT if I had complete control, I'd drop the Courser completely (why they thought they needed a Light Cavalry one Era after the Horseman is a mystery anyway) and replace it with the Renaissance Era Dragoon Unit, available with Metal Casting. That was the mounted unit that took over (temporarily) the old Light cavalry tasks of scouting, pursuing, raiding, beating up civilians, etc. in the 17th and 18th centuries - end of the Renaissance to the early Industrial Era, after which just about all the mounted troops gt effective firearms and started resembling the Cavalry Unit of the Industrial Era.
     
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  13. The googles do nothing

    The googles do nothing Chieftain

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    This illustrates the problem with using a Tech Tree system - any technology instantly allows you do build that unit, and the knowledge is instantly disseminated across your empire. To be fair it's also a strength of the tech tree as a (more?) realistic system would require you to share the tech to a city by having a library or trade route before it could upgrade a unit in that city. Then you would need to have the resources available which were created there or shipped there with a trade route.

    There's a similar problem with Gold as well. You never build mints to create your gold, you never have to distribute it and you don't lose any to corruption.

    Moving to a system like that would push the complexity of the game past where fir axis is aiming for i'm sure. If the complexity could be handed off to the AI advisors it would be pretty cool..
     
  14. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Agreed. To try to mimic or represent explicitly all the internal processes required to make use of a new technology leads downhill fast. Especially since the actual "speed of transmission" of a technology is subject to a mass of almost always different factors: type of technology, complexity of the technology, need for a Solution offered by the technology, number of people involved, distance, education/literacy levels, materials or preliminary technologies required, and so on and on. It becomes like the military simulation I once saw (NOT a game, it was an attempt to gather data for DARPA) in which the trajectory of every bullet fired was to be precisely plotted by computer. It wound up taking three days of data gathering, input and computer time to 'simulate' a 2 minute firefight!

    Let's not go there, shall we?

    But, the ability of a Civ to respond to external and internal changes/requirements, and the efficiency with which it can apply and adopt new Civics, Technologies, Religions, and so on could be modeled in a more 'abstract' fashion. Perhaps divide the capabilities of the governments into the current mechanisms plus a separate 'Administration" which affects things like how much Gold from all the Buildings, Trade Routes, Resources, etc actually gets into the hands of the gamer/AI, or how fast a new Technology spreads to all your cities (and beyond: folks in this Forum have talked a lot about 'spreading' technology along Trade Routes like religion).
    The efficiency of the Administration would be composed of several factors: filling a slot at the Palace with an Administrative Specialist (with the number of Administrator/Bureaucrat Specialist slots increasing with the Government Types), for instance, or doing Policy Cards for taxation policies and training Bureaucrats (and, yes, China with its early Bureaucratic examinations and Confucian schools would get a potential Bonus out of this). Civ III or IV, I believe, had a Courthouse Building - change that to, say, a Governor/Magistrate/Satrapy Court with 'Extra" Bureaucrat Specialist slots to increase efficiency of Government influence far away from the Palace . . .
    There could be some very un-intuitive Interactions out of this, also: the earliest Scribes/Bureaucrats were trained in Temple Schools in Mesopotamia, so there could be a Religious "Belief" related to Education/Literacy which would boost the level of administrative competence in the Civ. Universities and a Wonder like Oxford University or Sankore could also 'train' Bureaucrats, and increase the effectiveness of the administration in its ability to 'realize' the maximum Gold from the economy and quicker utilization of new Technologies.

    Just some thoughts - I am not entirely certain we even need something like this, but if we want to add some 'grit' into the ability to use the Tech and Civics Trees and the Government types, it can be done without completely burying the gamer in trivia . . .
     
  15. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    This is my new favorite thread.

    I think the challenge for Civ VI is to add just a bit of empire management and make the finance / monetary aspects slightly deeper and more reflective of reality. Civ VI is not an empire management game, so I don't think it could bear too much empire management mechanics. But just a touch would help.

    I think one way to attack this is how buildings interact with Governments and Policies. So, for example, rather than having to actually have a complex tax system or having policy cards have gold costs (too much micro), you could have certain governments increase gold maintenance costs (representing higher taxes) and then make unique policy cards available to those governments (representing what you can do with the additional gold); similarly, you could have particular policies that boost late game buildings, representing how you nation invests in certain industries and endeavours.

    I think this is why we'll ultimately need a third expansion focused on ideology - because selecting and developing an Ideology would probably provide a good "hook" for various "economic" type mechanics - eg Communism makes factories cheaper and they also provide loyalty and growth; democracy makes Facotories more productive but lowers appeal even more.

    On pricing, I think @Sostratus is basically right re costs - both units and buildings should be priced against one increasing standard line - based on Era for units and Tier for buildings - which is then adjusted up or down based on whether the unit[0] or building is more or less powerful than the standard.


    [0] That said, I do think it's necessary to buck this a little. Specifically, I think Melee and Heavy Cav should always be slightly better value in terms of punch: production than other units, to provide more reward for getting the resources for these units and to favour agression over defence. However, currently the game favours these units way too much so it's really about just pulling them back a bit.
     
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  16. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    Governments, starting all the way back in the Ancient Era, change how economies work. Many early "God King", semi-theocratic government systems included a very directed economy, in that the God King/Palace/Temple took everything and then redistributed it. On the other hand, many 'economies' were simply Uncontrolled - 'Capitalist' if anybody at the time knew what the word meant, and that was true under governments as different as the Chinese Imperial Court, the Roman Republic or the Athenian Cleisthenian Reform Democracy.
    So, heartily agree: each government type from the beginning should have certain Policies that are peculiar to that (or several) government types/systems. - And, possibly, single Policy Cards that mean different things, or have differing results, based on the Government that is implementing them.

    Era is an easy delineator for Units, but unfortunately is almost completely inaccurate. While Resource and Gold costs to build and maintain units rises as the Eras progress, it is very uneven when applied to individual unit types: Spearmen were the 'dirt cheap' infantry of Ancient-Medieval Eras, but modern 'Anti-Cav' missile units are anything but Cheap - technically trained personnel, expensive specialized weapons and guidance systems - only 'cheap' in comparison to the Modern Armor they oppose, but more expensive, unit for unit, than the modern Melee (Mechanized Infantry) Units.

    That's why I lean more towards a division of Units into Militia and Elite. In all Eras, 'Militia' are men called up for the occasion on the cheap, requiring little Maintenance but also without any special Skills. 'Elite' are the Professionals - kept training constantly, learning more skills all the time, the best equipped - but as a consequence expensive to build and maintain, in both Gold and Resources. Because of the requirements of the weapons, Heavy Cavalry and Melee would almost always (at least after basic Warriors) be Elite and, therefore, Expensive. That also would give you more reason to use Anti-Cav, since Spearmen and Pikemen can be raised cheaply.

    As an example of the changes required by this change of Emphasis, Spearmen would be not much more expensive than Warriors to raise, and require no maintenance Unless you made them Professional Troops - most of whom would be UUs like Hoplites or Immortals. You could have a big, cheap army of Spearmen, but of course up against a Professional army of Swordsmen they would get (literally) chopped to pieces - but the Swordsmen would be a lot more expensive to raise and maintain, because swords require a lot more metalworking skills to manufacture than spearpoints and it takes constant practice to maintain swordfighting skills compared to "keep the pointy end towards the enemy and stay next to your buddies".

    And, as said before, some Civs and Civ types would get Bonuses for certain types of units - a 'built in' Policy Card, so to speak: Scythia's Cheap Light Cavalry would be a Pastoral Policy also applicable to Mongols, Huns, Comanche, and similar Horse Culture Civs, and (circling back to the Government-Type discussion above), an Oligarchy or Aristocracy with a Heroic Warrior Policy Card would get a dramatic reduction in the Build and Maintenance Costs for the 'Elite' Units: Heavy Chariots full of Homeric Warriors, Aristocratic Heavy Cavalry (Knights and Knight equivalent) or Swordsmen ("Comitatus" of the German tribes, Huscarles of the Scandinavians/Saxons, Gauls and other Celts) - but such 'elites' are hard to maintain in a more 'egalitarian' Classical or other Democracy or a money grubbing Merchant Republic, so the 'Card' could not be applied in those Governments.

    BUT there should be a real Mercenary Card that allows them to 'rent' Elite Troops somehow . . .
     
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  17. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    Lots of good stuff @Boris Gudenuf . I think Civ already does sort of split units into elite and malitia - it's just not hyper explicit about it. And it goes a bit screwy late game with the anti-tank units.

    As always, I'm interested in what can be done with these least changes. A few thoughts:

    - I really think the starting "warrior" unit should be an anti-cav unit, making swords the first Melee unit. It's a bit tricky, because I think that would hurt swords being competitive with heavy cav, which is already a problem. But getting Melee units first means anti-cav can never be "cheap" units because you can't build them from the start, whereas you can spam warriors them rush them into swords fairly easily.

    - I also think Slingers should go. They are a useless unit and that really only serve to incentivise archer rushes. Getting rid of Slingers might also help cost progression for archers.

    - Anti-tank should be a separate unit line, being a sort of ranged anti-cav unit. These guys could maybe have promotions which make them either better at sneak attacks (think eg Taliban) or defending v aircraft.

    - In the modern era, anti-cav should instead upgrade into something like a reserve army or national guard. They should lose their bonus against Cav and instead basically be like cheaper Melee units (with different promotions). There could also maybe be policies that specifically buff them.

    Are there any unit gaps that should still be filled? I think there are only really two - trebuchet (and really only for the meme) and some sort of industrial era Melee unit.
     
  18. Sostratus

    Sostratus Warlord

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    In my opinion
    The minimal changes to produce what i think would be "balanced"
    Heavy cav trait = +5 str, +1, later +2 move @ armored (this means chariots and knights to 30 & 50, cuirs would nominally be 70 although that is a special case**) (and probably get slapped with -10 vs cities, at least until tanks)
    All anti cav get set back to standard strength (pikes to 45, AT to 75, MAT to 85)
    Melee are likewise standard strength (swords to 35, infantry to 75)
    Light cav are standard strength, high move (+2, later +3 move at cavalry) (and the -17 vs cities) (and i would also give them innate +10 vs siege units, possibly also ranged. People would use them to flank instead of toss them aside as the "worse cavalry")

    You're going to immediately want to jump out of your screen and say "whoa, won't this make AC OP?!" No. This is just codifying that Heavy cav basically has +5 vs everyone all the time, but AC always hit them for +5, in exchange for otherwise offering not a lot, and getting gutted by melee & ranged units.
    All I did was set rules for those classes and apply them. This I think would actually balance the units as they stand. Its not perfectly historical but, oh well. Everyone has a role. Just need to find the costs that make things feel right.

    Class additions:
    Trebuchet (a base unit domrey)
    Rifleman (base unit redcoat/garde Imp.) Now in the industrial we might want to make cuirs just 65, so they are fast rifles essentially. 70str might be too much.
    Late game ranged unit (the civ5 bazooka upgrade for machine guns, pretty much. 75 is too weak in the info era. Make MG a 70/60 late modern unit and 'bazooka' or mortar a 80/70. )

    If you want to do another iteration I might add a couple extra class traits and consider playing around with anticav & HC more. (like making anticav actually weaker than standard, but +15-17 vs mounted; making armored units +10 but even more pricey.) And my goodness, some promotion tree reworks.
     
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  19. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    @Sostratus I like the changes to LC, particularly bonuses v Seige and Ranged. I'd also revert LC to having easier resource requirements compared to HC.

    I don't think HC need a negative to Cities - instead, I'd have HC not receive +% production bonuses. I'd also suggest getting rid of discounts on gold upgrades.

    I'd also consider making the starting warrior basically an anti-cav unit but without the bonus v Cav. You could then upgrade them via Spears. Swords would be your first proper Melee unit. But maybe that's a bit too radical.

    Okay. Here's my plan.

    Wait for the next patch. After that, maybe try to mod something along the lines of the Spring Patch Thread (don't hold your breath[0]). At which point, I might come back to this thread on costings (may need a Google spreadsheet at some point). I think I can mod most things in the patch thread, other than bug fixes.

    I agree promotions are a mess. But the unit lines need to get sorted first before dealing with that.

    Man. If they do a third XP, they should really consider overhauling the ancient era units and the late game units (particularly upgrades for anti-cav and ranged). The unit lines aren't broken, but there are definitely some wobbly bits.

    [0] And I really mean don't hold your breath. I said I'd do the same after RnF and that didn't happen. Although, given how much GS has improved the game, I think it's probably more worth the effort to Mod Civ VI now...
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  20. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Warlord

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    First, some general "historical" comments about Early Units. I got tired of looking at the game units and numbers and went back to some of my historical/archeological sources (never a bad idea, by the way).

    First, there are surprisingly few solid references to early warriors and weapons. By 'early' I mean pre-2500 BCE, the Start and early Ancient Eras of the game. Quite a few archeological finds of points, blades, etc. in stone, copper or early bronze, but less evidence on how many of these were Hunting versus Military weapons/tools.
    But, for reference, here are the early weapons for which we do have evidence:
    1. Bows - there is even a wall/cave drawing of a group of archers fighting another group of archers - earliest evidence of 'warfare', that dates to before 5000 BCE, so by start of game, bows are being used in warfare.
    2. Slings, throwing sticks, javelins - short range missile weapons, in other words, were in use since the Neolithic if not earlier: "modern" Stone Age tribes in South America and Southeast Asia all were observed in the early twentieth century using these weapons - in fact, they preferred them: there is very little evidence that any of them wanted to get any closer to a human enemy than they absolutely had to.
    3. The earliest depictions of 'warriors' (as opposed to strictly hunting scenes) are from Egypt and Mesopotamia (Modern Syria as well as Sumer). Both show men on foot using thrusting spears tipped with copper, stone or early bronze points, either wearing a heavy wool/leather cloak over their left shoulder as a pre-shield protection, or (Egypt, 3500 BCE) carrying a cowhide/leather shield about 2 feet in diameter. A little later, the "Standard of Ur" dated to about 2600 BCE shows men on foot with a long spear held in both hands, and an 'assistant' carrying a large wood/reed rectangular shield to cover both men. The Vulture Stele shows similarly-equipped men in a close, deep formation very similar to that of the much later Phalanx, except that the shields do not overlap.
    4. Also depicted prior to 2600-2800 BCE are men with maces - wooden clubs with stone or copper weighted heads, javelins, flint knives, and 'Kings" (early Egyptian Dynastic Pharaohs, kings in Ur and Sumer) shooting bows - implying, perhaps, that the bow (an early composite type in Egypt) was an 'elite' weapon.

    The only depictions I could find (as opposed to archeological evidence of weapons that could be either combat or hunting) from India and China are much later: 1000 - 500 BCE, so early Classical rather than true 'Ancient Era' in Game Terms, but they show men on foot with spears, shields, and bows. The infamous Chinese crossbows are Classical: no earlier than about 450 - 400 BCE.

    So, Tentative Conclusions for the Game:
    Starting Units could be Archers and Spearmen.
    BUT Many of the bows are simple short self-bows and many of the arrows are very light 'reed' types (especially in Egypt and Mesopotamia) so much less effective and shorter range than later Composite or even later self-bows with heavier metal-tipped arrows. Frankly, the 'Slinger' as a way of differentiating these 'early ranged' types is not inappropriate.
    AND There is plenty of evidence for a 'Warrior" type with a throwing spear, throwing stick/javelin, mace or an early copper/bronze axe - but those metals hold an edge so poorly that it's effectively a weighted club after the first couple of strikes.

    The biggest potential change that came to light is that not only the Barbarians should be fielding Spearmen from the Start or early Ancient Era. The question then is, how to differentiate these early Spearmen from the later Classical Spearmen like the Persian Immortals or Greek Hoplites with much better personal armor, stronger shields, iron spear points and other improvements that make them much deadlier?
    My first thought was the differentiation could be in the 'formal' rank and file close formations of the later spearmen, except that the pictorial evidence shows what amounts to primitive Pikemen in Sumer using just such a formation 1500 years before the Classical Era begins!

    The Swordsman is easier. The earliest 'swords' are bronze or copper types, dating as far back as 3200 BCE, and are sharply curved 'sickle-swords' (Khopesh) found all over the Middle East from Egypt to Sumer. BUT these are very short, 15 - 24 inches (less than .65 meters) long. About 1700 BCE (on Crete and in Mycenean Greece) meter-long bronze straight double or single-edged swords appear, but, as mentioned above, they don't hold an edge for long, so after the initial 'charge' they quickly become long bronze clubs.
    About 1000 BCE the first 'iron' (wrought iron) swords appear - and at about the same time, iron is also in use for arrow points and spear points. Right from the start iron is used (by the Celts) for meter-long straight swords - a length and type that remain a standard style/pattern for 'broadswords' for the next 2500 years, only the metallurgy getting better and better.

    To my mind, that makes the true 'Swordsman" Unit strictly a Classical Unit: a bronze swordsman just isn't that much better armed than a mace or clubman and, I suspect, against a spearman with a good wooden shield, he was worse off than another spearman, having much less reach and less chance of getting his bronze blade past the shield.

    Next: how to translate this into Game Changes for Units.
     
    f1rpo and steemroller like this.

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