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Vassalage.

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Greywulf, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    I posted this up in the 2K games forums some time ago, but really want it to get attention, as this is very important to me (Link on 2K games forums: https://forums.2k.com/showthread.php?4281037-Please-consider-Vassalage)...

    Civilizations IV had a cool feature that I still sorely miss, where you could literally make another civ your vassal...Instead of writing out the entire thing myself, I found, copied and pasted something on the subject from the Civfanatics Forums. Credit for this write up goes to the Civfanatics member Crighton. Here is the link, which I encourage you all to read because it covers a lot more information than what I cut from it: http://www.civfanatics.com/civ4/strategy/vassals.php

    ***

    The Warlords expansion (Civilization IV) introduces a new diplomatic option called Vassal State. Vassal states are like an "asymmetric alliance" between two Civs. Basically, one civilization serves as the master in the relationship and collects tribute from the weaker, vassal nation. After the discovery of Feudalism the Vassal State option becomes available in the Diplomacy menu.

    There are two ways to acquire a vassal state, voluntary Vassal-ing, and Non-voluntary (Capitulated) Vassal-ing. The second acquisition method is more common, basically consisting of skull-thumping another Civ until it cries “uncle” and begs for mercy. At which point the losing Civ Capitulates to the winning Civ sacrificing it’s independence for mere survival and a chance (usually small) at one day regaining independence. A Vassal State that has Capitulated does not get the option to voluntarily end the Vassal agreement unless certain conditions are met.

    The less common method occurs during peacetime where a relatively small and weak Civ tries to partner up with a much more powerful Civ, and in exchange for protection agrees to become a Vassal State. A Civ which becomes a Vassal State during peace time is given the opportunity every 10 turns to end the agreement. Throughout long and turbulent games some states may routinely enter into and out of being a Vassal State frequently. When a Voluntary Vassal decides to secede the Master Civ is given the option of simply allowing the Vassal State to become independent, or can choose to protest this decision, in which case both states then become locked in a state of war.

    In both cases, a Vassal State may choose to break the Vassal agreement when any of the three following conditions occur:
    Condition 1: The Vassal State looses more than half of it’s territory that it owned at the time it became a Vassal State. For example: Monty become your Vassal and has 4 cities when he becomes your Vassal. Over time Monty grows his Civ to 8 cities total. If Monty looses 4 of his cities through war or culture flipping, he still has 4 cities left and cannot break the agreement. If he lost 6 of his 8 cities he will then have lost 50% of his original lands and can then choose to end the agreement (usually with some terse statement about “not being able to protect us.”) It should also be noted that if your Vassal looses cities, etc. to YOU through culture flipping THAT also counts towards the loss of territory condition.

    Condition 2: The Vassal State grows in size AND population to a point where it has more than 50% of the Master Civ’s size AND population. It’s important to reiterate that this is a two part condition. BOTH have to be met in order for this option to become available to the Vassal.

    Condition 3: This is a minor possibility which can occur, where the Master demands a particular resource and the Vassal refuses the Masters request, in which case the two states are at war. This does happen, but it hasn’t happened to me since I try to eliminate any potential escape route for my new pets. Since the Master can demand any single resource from the Vassal and the Vassal can’t refuse this single / first demand it’s best to choose the resource carefully, i.e. a strategic resource of some sort. Let’s say you’re in the classical or medieval era and need your Vassal’s horse resource so you demand and take. But later on you somehow lose your source of iron and demand it from your Vassal, he can refuse and break the Vassal agreement. So plan ahead when it comes to your resource requests. And by the way there is nothing to stop you from selling the horse back to your Vassal.
    Should a Vassal choose to break the agreement due to the above conditions listed above, the Vassals Master may not agree to peaceably allow the Vassal to become independent, in which case a state of war exists between the two Civs.

    Regrettably, there is currently no method to Release a Vassal from your control, so weigh your decision carefully before accepting a Vassal. [This statement is true as of and up to the v2.08 patch, you’d think this would be an obvious feature to include in the game considering it would make things more logically consistent AND reflect actual history, but whatever]. Theoretically it is possible to actually aggravate your vassal into refusing a resource demand at which point the Master could then decide to let the Vassal go or go to war with the now ex-Vassal IF the Vassal refuses the resource demand.

    Some basic pro’s of acquiring a Vassal:
    *The master enjoys complete freedom of movement in the vassal's territory, including the ability to heal normally in the vassal's territory and use fortifications owned by the vassal. The master can also investigate any vassal city. And as of the v2.08 patch the Master can now Airlift units directly into a Vassal’s cities. The Master no longer has to pay supply costs for units inside of the Vassal’s lands. However, the Master must agree to an Open Borders agreement with the Vassal in order for the Vassal to move units into and out of the Master’s territory.

    *The master can demand any SINGLE resource from a vassal, even one that the vassal is using. The vassal has the right to refuse the SECOND demand but if they do the two states are immediately at war. This can come in handy if your Vassal has the only strategic resource available to you: i.e. Copper, Iron, Horses, Oil, Aluminum, etc. Just remember to plan ahead if the resource will lose it’s strategic value (cough horses cough).

    *The master's people enjoy increased happiness. Those in the vassal empire suffer decreased happiness (but frankly who cares about that bit, it only acts as an incentive for the Vassal to purchase luxury goods from the Master to placate the populace and so long as you keep your Vassal under heel then it’s his problem).

    *The vassal can't make war or peace on its own. It immediately adopts the master's war and peace relationships.

    *Half of the vassal's territory and population count towards the master's domination victory AND score. Which can truly speed up a Domination or Conquest win.

    *You can rehabilitate your relationship over time with the Vassal Civ through normal diplomatic means, i.e. Open borders, Shared State Religions, Mutual Military Struggle (if battling another Civ), occasional gifts, etc. Also, after the v2.08 patch the Mutual Defense Pact bonus is now added into the diplomatic modifier between you and your vassal.

    The Downside of having a Vassal(s):
    *Having vassal cities will incur higher maintenance cost for your own cities. And if someone could find me the actual formula so I can provide a clear example of this I (and anyone else who reads this) would greatly appreciate it. Regardless of what the formula is put some extra thought into your economy to counter any uptick in maintenance costs.

    *Other civs may like you a little less when you have a vassal. You will most likely see a -1 Diplomacy Penalty in you relations with other Civ’s as they “Fear their Rivals becoming your Vassal.” This penalty is somewhat relative to the power of the Vassal-ed Civ. But regardless, if you have 3 Vassal’s of even modest power expect a -3 penalty with every other Civ left.

    *Similarly, a Vassal who has gone around the continent stirring up trouble is not going to be a good choice to become a Voluntary Vassal as the other Civ’s will view your patronage as if you were allies. The AI hatred of your Vassal may override their friendly feelings towards you.

    *Although you can direct what your Vassal researches the Vassal’s Master doesn’t share in the discovery. So if your vassal somehow manages to acquire some technology you don’t have, he doesn’t have to share it with you, nor can you compel the Vassal into sharing the tech. This is the complete opposite of the same occurrence during a Permanent Alliance, where the two allies can research different techs and the discoveries are shared between the two.

    ***


    This really needs to be discussed, and it is the number one feature I wish most to see added to Civilization VI. There should be a few slight changes as well, such as being able to release a vassal without provoking them into demanding their freedom, which is a good reason why we should talk about this in a focused discussion so we can both fit it for Civilization VI as well as maybe making it even better than how it is in IV.

    - Please note that "Vassalage" is absolutely nothing like the "Puppet City" option already in Civilization V.

    Potential idea for discussion: Your vassal provides you with uniques from their civ, such as unique units and unique buildings (real life example: England received longbowmen from their vassal Wales).

    Gedemon suggested the following awesome idea: Hegemony Victory, where you win by dominating via use of the Vassalage function. Please feel free to discuss this as well!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  2. magha77

    magha77 Chieftain

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    I miss this function as well.
     
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  3. Kyro

    Kyro Chieftain

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    This function would be completely redundant in Civ 6 currently. Why create Vassals when you can conquer?

    What is tribute compared to readymade cities?
     
  4. magha77

    magha77 Chieftain

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    Because you don’t want to deal with the additional cities. Kind of like puppet cities from civ 5.
     
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  5. DWilson

    DWilson Where am I? What turn is it?

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    This sounds a lot like much of the Mongol empire.
     
  6. Kyro

    Kyro Chieftain

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    Not wanting to deal with additional cities* is bad for victory unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  7. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    Hegemony could be an additional victory.
     
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  8. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    It was a lot of fun in Civ 4, which I played a lot of (and perhaps the sole reason why I kept wanting to go back to it after Civ 5 was released, as it was about the only thing I missed from Civ 4 when I had moved onto Civ 5). It was nice having another option when trying to dominate the world, and it had significant advantages, such as the ones listed in the OP. I'm sure that one could have also argued that it would be completely redundant to add it to Civ 4 before they did, but as it turned out it was quite enjoyable, and added another layer to diplomacy. Many players are grateful that they did choose to add it to Civ 4, and now that we have tasted what it is like to have such a uniquely cool function, we want it back again.

    Oh I like your thinking! I hope you don't mind, but I want to add that suggestion to the OP...
     
  9. Gedemon

    Gedemon Modder Moderator

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    of course you can, but the idea is not mine, I've seen it mentioned a few time in this forum.
     
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  10. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    I'd love to give credit to who came up with this idea, if you know who it was? It is a very cool idea.
     
  11. Sostratus

    Sostratus Chieftain

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    This comes up a lot- so I'm curious what people think about it.

    Given that R&F intends to revamp the alliance system (multi tiered Research, Military, Economic, Cultural, and Religious alliances) how would you like to overlay a vassal system on that? (Isn't vassalage essentially a one sided alliance?)
    We also have the new trade, City State, and Great Person systems that Civ4 didn't have. Would it be fair to demand great people from your vassal as tribute? Should there exist an effect in the trade dimension? Should vassals cede CS suzerainty to their master?

    In Civ4, city and civic maintenance was the brake on empire growth. In Civ5, gold was something to be carefully balanced to stay in the black, because there wasn't too much of it around early on. In Civ6, gold is a much more liberal resource and maintenance is much less prominent. Are maintenance penalties still the way the best way to introduce a downside to vassals (for example, increasing the district upkeep cost by 1 gold per vassal)?

    We'll have to wait until february, but let's not forget the loyalty system either. Should dark/gold/heroic ages figure into vassal play? Perhaps as a severance condition, perhaps as part of the cost of vassalage?

    And as a tool of victory: how much would we want the Ai to act historical and submit vs playing to defeat the human? (We don't want humans to collect vassals and cruise to victory on EZ mode, nor do people want to face an AI that just juggernauts a snowballing civ, with them collecting all your rivals as vassals and steamrolling you midgame)

    If R&F alliances can be forced as a war settlement, is that enough of a mechanic? What is the gameplay area that vassals would fill?
     
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  12. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    These are great questions, thank you for bringing them up. I think it would be good to discuss these...

    There would be an ideal balance for each of these things, and it simply be a case of finding that right balance. What kinds of benefits and how much of those benefits should the host civ gain from this alliance system? That would be good to work out. I'm not sure, for instance, what would be the most balanced way to have a penalty for having a vassal, but it would be great to talk about this and find out what would be best for Civ 6's set up. A penalty of some form would be necessary of course.
    I think it is essential to understand that the vassalage system is not a one-sided system either, as the vassal does gain some noteworthy benefits as well. Take for instance in Civ 4 when a weak civ that has fallen far behind everyone else realizes that they are now vulnerable to imminent invasion from one of their powerful neighbors that surround them. Sometimes a civ would actually ask to become a vassal without needing to be prompted, as a way to find a deterrence from those who plan to invade, as becoming a vassal to a powerful civ suddenly would make them a force to be reckoned with, and no longer so vulnerable to invasion.
    Other benefits could be also provided. Perhaps they gain some science, or profit in some other way where they are deficient? That does seem likely in such a relationship with a more powerful civ.
    Becoming a vassal could mean that you would win with the host if they were to achieve a victory. This would add to the value of becoming a vassal when things are not going so well...And would also give a player a reason to play on if they were in a game where they were the one who had fallen far behind.
    That being said, becoming a vassal does not mean the civ will remain a vassal for the rest of the game. The civ may be using this as a way to catch up. If they are weak and vulnerable to invasion, having a protector could allow them to focus on catching up while not worrying about being vanquished. Later, they would become liberated (possibly still keeping a positive relationship with the host afterwards, depending on how they liberate themselves), and would then be working independently once more.
    Now, being that the ability to catch up should still be on the table, I do think it would be unfair for great people to be demanded as tribute from the vassal. Such boosts may aid in becoming more independent again, and one would not expect that a host civ would automatically be getting all great people from the vassal, unless it was a much harsher form of dominance. Perhaps if the host had gained the vassal by conquering them and forcing them to submit, they could then ask for harsher terms, but otherwise, like if the vassal asked to become a vassal due to their weak situation, then I don't think the host would put such harsh terms onto the vassal. As you can see, vassalage would also have an appeal to new players who join in matches with advanced players. They would likely soon find themselves falling quite a bit behind, and be able to then, if they so choose to, take advantage of the vassalage system.
    Should vassals and hosts be able to trade with eachother still? I don't see why not. Civs can basically trade with themselves, sending trade-routs to their own cities, and trade is a normal part of life within the population of any civilization anyway, so it makes sense to continue to allow this function...Maybe it could be altered a bit, but should be allowed to continue.
    As for CS relationships, I think they could continue as before, but their relationship with the host may be altered. If the civ became a vassal under peaceful terms, then perhaps the CS should become friendlier with the host, or even prefer the host. If the host conquered the civ and forced them into vassalage, then the CS may become angry with the host, or become afraid of them.

    I think the loyalty function could make vassalage even more interesting, as one would expect vassalage to have an effect on loyalty. If it is a friendly and willing vassal to host alliance, then that should benefit loyalty, while if it is an unfriendly and forced vassal to host alliance, then the loyalty would become an issue between these two civs, and perhaps affecting other relationships that are onlookers. Other civs may likely have opinions about a vassal and host alliance, which might play as a factor with loyalty as well.
    I would like to better understand the loyalty function to see how it may affect vassalage, but I think this could be interesting, and create further depth to in-game relationships.
    I'd also say that Dark/Golden/Heroic Ages should, like great people, also affect vassals, giving them a chance to regain their strength.

    For the Hegenomy Victory, again a balance is needed for making it both effective, but not over powered. It shouldn't be easy, however hosting lots of vassals would amount more and more penalty, which in turn would make it considerably more difficult. This would be an entertaining and challenging way to win the game.
     
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  13. halfhalfharp

    halfhalfharp Chieftain

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    I see it as a way to reduce war diplomatic penalty, which is still ridiculously unbalanced in Civ 6. Capturing cities makes the world hate you more. But using intimidation will not trigger such a thing
     
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  14. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    I agree. Thank you for your support.
     
  15. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    Quick question: How will we know if the Devs have considered this idea or not? That's really all I ask for. I really want vassalage in the game, but I respect that it is their game, so it is up to them...I just really hope that they sincerely consider this idea. It would be nice to know if they did so whatever they end up deciding...At the very least we will feel like we are being heard if we find out that they have put it into consideration.
     
  16. dunkleosteus

    dunkleosteus Lieutenant Commander

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    I think if Vassalage is added, I would like to see it also implemented as an in-between stage for loyalty. If one of my cities (or a group of cities) is becoming too hard to control, I can offer to split them off as a vassal. They'd count as a second instance of the same civ without the leader bonus. Later, if I got my act together, I could re-assimilate them or if things truly went to s**t, they might declare independence from me. This might help mirror the colony mechanic that Civ 4 also had.
     
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  17. Vasire

    Vasire Chieftain

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    I am not smart enough to propose a meaningful way of implementing vassalage in Civ6. Plus, I never finish my civ games - I mostly play for fun and not to win. But this mechanic was my single favourite feature in Civ4. It just added character to every game I played and every empire I built. And I really don't understand why the community is not more vocal on this subject. I would defintely consider this feature worthy for the next expansion.
     
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  18. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    Oh I agree, it's the one thing I truly miss about Civ 4. They had it in the game before, so there is a chance they will have it again, especially if us fans push for it. Thank you for your support!
     
  19. Cagarustus

    Cagarustus Chieftain

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    I also find vassalage quite interesting. Another thing I would like to see is a ‘force conversion’ option, perhaps? Instead of conquering cities and converting manually, you can ask the civ to convert all cities to your religion. ??
     
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  20. Greywulf

    Greywulf Chieftain

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    Historically, forced conversions were always quite messy. It should be something that could actually happen, however there should be consequences for such an option.
     
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