Wars and later game challenges


Jan 13, 2023
I'm trying to make AI civilizations more competitive in late games, and convinced that the problems aren't due to AI but arbitary game setup that makes them mentally crippled.

The main goals to achieve are:
  • Continuous expansion by conquest - more cities mean more yields, thus in the later game there must be far less but much bigger civilizations to pose as real challenges. It also means no alliiance or friendship should be safe, since they can't share victory.
  • Continunous development: AI must be building stuff and improving tile all the time, non-stop. Any production wasted is a turn lost for long-term race.
  • Continunous military build-up

To achieve these, I'm going to try:
  • AI agendas for all: Cyrus' surprise attack, Trajan's expansion policy, Chandragupta's hating neighbors
  • No alliance, no friendship, declare war one turn after denounce
  • Trade deals with enemies at war
  • Production for buildings only, so AI must keep building
  • Population per district is reduced to 2 from 3
  • Gold and faith for units only. Reduce all unit cost to 1/5.
  • No walls until steels
  • No district projects until modern era, so AI wouldn't waste production on useless great people or short-term yield boost.
  • Unlimited builder charges, auto road whenever improvement is built
  • Faster unit movement, less terrain penalty
  • Units heal every turn and after victory. Together with lack of walls, it should help stronger civs steamrolling weak ones.
  • All strategic resources are consumables only and thus optional
Also units should require related districts, such as knights depending on stables. Not sure if AI could plan that.
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Doesn't work as expected. Wars are a lot more common but AIs just can't expand as fast as they could, seems to waste too much time picking good location. In ancient era I already wiped one civilization with warriors and became the most powerful, 8 cities vs the next strongest's 4.

Will play until modern era to see how it goes.
I changed all their agendas to Cyrus' (can't give all 3 or they get confused) and it works quite well for ancient era, where weaker civilizations are destroyed quickly and a few big ones emerge. But as soon as remaining civilizations build up their military, even with 1:2 difference in military strength, the agenda ceases to be useful and everyone go back to peace-loving neighbors again.

Disallowing unit production and cheaper unit purchases screw up mid-games as commercial zones and holy sites become much more useful than industrial zone and encampment, but neither are prioritized by AI. While all of them seem to have much stronger and fully upgraded military, it doesn't make the game any harder as it's also much easier for player to mass-purchase units whenever needed.
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