1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Were "stacks of doom" really that bad?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Blitzscream, Feb 25, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Shaka II

    Shaka II Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    30
    What's wrong with "tactics-lite?" We need some tactics, right? We can't be all or nothing in regards to strategy and war. Civ has always been heavy on the strategy and building and light on the tactics, or perhaps non-existent in your view. There are some like myself who think they may have struck the right balance, or are close to that point. Maybe a few more tweaks, but I think it's almost soup.

    Besides, it's what we've been given and it plays pretty well imo.

    My own gripe is that I don't care much for the modern air wars/nukes. I find it a little grating, too close to real like perhaps. I much prefer the previous eras. But, it seems that it's necessary to deal with on the highest level. Otherwise a drop down in difficulty to emperor allows finishing up a conquest before flight. I guess medieval chess play is really more my kind of game, and 1UPT serves that very well. :)

    BTW, I'm impressed with your knowledge of tactics. :cool:
     
  2. Fabien

    Fabien Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    133
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I hated stacks in civ4, because moving units to my stacks ate around 95% of my playtime when I didn't win before the modern era - at that point I just wanted to finish the game and be done with it.

    Also, Stacks didn't require any special unit combinations, whoever says that obviously doesn't know how people use stacks against the AI. There are not many things you have to tailor for; if you've got enough Siege you're usually fine. The AI is completely incapable of waging war against stacks since they 1.) hide in cities which ironically give your siege the greatest attack power 2.) the AI never builds enough siege units to make its stacks viable. I don't get it why people tend to think the AI in Civ4 was capable of ever winning a war when the player follows some general guidelines.
     
  3. Mathalamus

    Mathalamus Emperor of Mathalia

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Messages:
    6,608
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Calgary.
    the AI usually wins the war because i make some very stupid mistakes. like forgetting the other side has nukes, or not providing enough naval power.

    i sometimes intentionally start a war, then try to lose.
     
  4. Fabien

    Fabien Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    133
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Ah well, that happens to everyone, no ;)? Also, the AI can of course get you unprepared and still win; the point I was trying to make is that the AI does not understand the concept of a stack of doom; it just builds many units and puts them on the same tile, while the player specifically builds a stack that is tailored to beat other stacks with few losses.
     
  5. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2003
    Messages:
    13,579
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    I think the most annoying thing about Civ4 stacks was that the best unit defended (in a city). That destroyed the whole concept of countering units and requiring combined arms. Sure, if they had a lot of something, I'd probably go with a lot of something else, but it generally just meant lots of siege and numerical superiority (and once I had my stack, building more siege to continue the assault against other cities). Battles consisted of cycling through units to check the battle odds or see which unit defended to try and take out the unit that wasn't weak to my units so I could get to the easier fights.
     
  6. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2002
    Messages:
    523
    1.) Who said anything about being all or nothing on strategy and war? The Civ games already did a fine job handling war at a strategic level. Or pseudo-strategic, anyway. They weren't tactical, though, that's for sure.

    2.) We didn't need tactics -- lite or otherwise -- IF it wasn't going to be properly implemented. And that, as I see it, is the real problem. The map doesn't fit the tactics-lite approach to gameplay. I'd have had no problem with a Master of Orion or Heroes of Might and Magic approach -- namely, move your huge-ass army to point X, and then switch to tactical map to duke it out. Or hit autoresolve and hope for the best. But to try to shoehorn tactical movement into a map scaled more towards the strategic creates problems -- which the devs are now trying to back out of. I guess we'll see how well that goes. I remain dubious, though.

    Well, that's fine, but I think the problem is that while the game can mostly handle warfare (well, AI issues notwithstanding), it can't -- or hasn't, anyway (I haven't tried since the patch) -- handle peacetime and building. With the slower build times for everything, the game is pretty slow between, well, anything happening. So, while it's cool that you're having fun, there are a lot of people out there who aren't, and I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to have as much fun (of their own kind) as you. There's no reason the game has to sacrifice the "peaceful builder" experience in exchange for warmongering. You can find a balance between the two, and I don't think the game is there yet. Certainly not as someone who tends to skew more towards the "peaceful builder" side.


    Thanks. :) I can see why, if you dig chess, this approach to the game would be more entertaining. I enjoy a game of chess now and then as well. But I also think that the chess board is perfectly designed to allow the game to be played. Imagine, though, that you had a board 3/4 the size, with the same number of pieces. Pretty congested, no? That, I think, is what the devs were trying to avoid by nerfing the hell out of the building elements. (Again, haven't played since the patch, so I don't know how the game plays now.)

    Like I said, I have no problem with tactical combat, wargames, etc. My issue is in mixing that cheese with the peanutbutter of a 4x game. Ew. You got cheese in my peanutbutter. Chocolate might've been cool, but not cheese.

    Well, there's tedium to be found in any approach, really. I usually found that there were ways to deal with the "best unit" issue by sending in cannon fodder to wear 'em down. Whether that was a siege weapon or a city raider would depend, but there was usually a way. You couldn't just steamroll cities, though, the way you can now.
     
  7. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2003
    Messages:
    13,579
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    I found wearing them down less entertaining than watching paint dry. Maneuvering is interesting to me because it forces me to stop and think about the position and, if necessary, adjust on the fly (and by adjust, I mean adjust to what they did, not cycle past the unit to another unit to see if the combat odds are better). Granted there are negatives (mostly related to the AI, but moving units to the area is more time consuming), but I think the actual war plays out more interestingly.
     
  8. Mathalamus

    Mathalamus Emperor of Mathalia

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Messages:
    6,608
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Calgary.
    i recently declared war on japan, a fairly well settled nation about an era behind me. it was going too well, so i decided to nuke myself, just for the heck of it.

    the 1upt is getting better, but still tends to be annoying.
     
  9. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11,244
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    really? Wars in civ4 were so much faster than civ5. Granted, I don't have much experience with civ5, I'm thinking about trying the game again. But civ5 I spent so much time trying to jumble my units to get them into position. It was so annoying. Civ5 you could group your units, and move them all as one. It required no time at all.

    I agree stacks were bad, but 1 upt is much worse. It's overkilling the problem. Limiting stack size was the obvious solution, but they went too far the other direction.
     
  10. Fabien

    Fabien Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    133
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Yeah, but you had to redirect all units built this round to the next stack and so on. Moving the stack once it was in place didn't require much time at all. Also, once at War you had to cycle units to get the best odds and you typically had to do so after every siege attack to see if you did enough collateral damage to his units so that you could start to mop his units up.
     
  11. Shaka II

    Shaka II Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    30
    I guess we are thinking of tactics in different ways. My definition is rather simple. I see Civ as a big chess board with lots of pieces, and many civs and city states. Many of the tactics on a chess board apply to Civ in my opinion. I think one can see lots of similarities, yes?

    In addition, Civ has some tactics that chess doesn't have like flanking (but, I'd say that chess has flanking too), boosting morale with use of a general, ambushes, using terrain bonuses and promotions effectively, ... These have been important part of Civ, though the promotions and general are more recent additions.

    Yes, we do have to limit the number of pieces, otherwise we can get the “carpet of doom.” That requires a careful feedback control system of unit costs/maintenance to prevent that from happening. Whether they are there yet, or more tweaks are required remains to be seen. There has to be a balance to allow a reasonable number of units to take a city several turns, with some bombardment support. But I think part of the fun is studying the map, terrain, defenses, planning a siege and all.

    I think that the Civ board is also perfectly designed for chess, but on a grander scale. We have pieces, we have squares (or hexes), we have one turn each. It is chess, but a much more interesting version. :)

    I don’t see that 1UPT is any more of a wargame than SOD. It does require you to pay more attention to battles of course.

    Was the peaceful building of past Civs more exciting? Which aspect was more exciting?
     
  12. Becephalus

    Becephalus King

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    725
    Yes stacks of doom were horrible and drove me crazy. Fighting was always by far the weakest point of previous Civ games. Now it could be a strength if they take the time to teach the AI.
     
  13. apotheoser

    apotheoser Prince

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    336
    This is the only acceptable solution. Pretty much every other game series, besides Civilization, had tactical combat. Why Civ never moved over I have no idea.

    Master of Magic - tactical combat
    Master of Orion - tactical combat
    Total War series - tactical combat (including the King Arthur ripoff Paradox made)
    Call to Power - pseudo-tactical combat with automated stack fighting
    Gratuitous Space Battles - ironically started with tactical combat and then they recently added a strategic campaign mode

    You cannot have a strategic map game like Civ and just totally abstract away the tactical layer. The combat just doesn't work anymore and players are less and less willing to accept it.
     
  14. apotheoser

    apotheoser Prince

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Messages:
    336
    Fall from Heaven 2 (and its modmods) fixed this by having units that, as a special ability, targeted the weakest unit in the stack, relative to them. Which sometimes meant the assassin would kill the Pikeman, who would have been the strongest against your Knight.
     
  15. rbj2001

    rbj2001 Warlord

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    188
    LOL, that's how Civ 5 makes me feel.

    No decent games to play... I'm reduced to trolling forums... :mischief:
     
  16. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2002
    Messages:
    523
    Ah, see, I disagree with that (that Civ is a big chess board), but I'll explain why in a minute.


    I agree, but I also think that Civ focuses on a great deal more than just that. Am I correct in supposing that you are, primarily, a "warmonger?" (That is, you use warfare most often to achieve victory -- even in cases where you don't win via conquest or domination.) If that is the case, I can see why you'd view Civ as close to chess. In terms of combat, it can be. Although I'd say that chess is far more detailed in terms of the types of maneuvers and overall strategy required. Civ has (up until this version) never really been that, in my opinion.


    Ok, so a few points to address here.

    1.) Re: avoiding the carpet of doom. The carpet of doom issue only becomes an issue IF you impose limitations on the amount of units that can occupy a hex/space. It is precisely this that I think the designers tried to do by slowing down production and making units generally more survivable. This is actually the problem I see with the game. IN ORDER to achieve the "no carpet of doom" thing, they had to "nerf" production heavily. They're backing off of that, apparently, so we'll see what happens next...

    2.) If you dig the approach to attacking the city, the positioning, etc., and if you dig chess, again, I can see why this new approach appeals to you. I got enough of that out of the stack system (IE: which unit do I attack with first, what tile do I stick my stack on, etc.), but that's just my tastes. I think, however, the problem is a bit different.

    More on that below.



    Bear in mind, however, that chess is a perfectly circumscribed, balanced system. You have a finite number of pieces on a finite number of squares on a single board. You can move in a finite number of ways, and your opponent's pieces do the same. Civ, however, is different. There are far more variables at work in any single game of Civ. You have more opponents, more space (and randomly laid-out space at that), more "pieces", more ways each piece can operate (with upgrades and such), etc. You also have a functionally limitless number of units that you can make. Which means, as soon as you start limiting the number of units that can occupy a space, you have PROBLEMS.

    The solution the devs took was to limit production as well, and to essentially "cap" your units. Although, in doing so, they didn't quite go whole-hog in that direction. I mean, they COULD have said "Each civ can build no more than X number of this or that type of unit." But they didn't do that. I think they recognized that would've created different problems, so their solution was to just....slow everything down. This effectively solves the potential for "carpet of doom", but it makes the rest of the game rather...slow. It leads to the "next turn.....next turn.....next turn....>sigh<" issue.

    As I've mentioned, they've apparently sped stuff up now, so we'll see how that all goes. I don't think it'll make a TON of difference, although it might help the "GOD this is boring...I just keep clicking 'next turn'" problem that the peaceful builders have. I don't think it will make a lot of difference for 1UPT itself, so in that sense it may be a net gain.


    That said, I still think you have a problem with 1UPT and scale that cannot be rectified by anything save either returning to stacks, or by switching to a two-tiered map system. The Civ map is a large scale map designed to be, in some sense, representative. Using 1UPT places a far more definite sense of "scale" into the game than previously existed, but not in a way that seems to bear any relation to what the map represents. "You can only fit one unit per hex." Ok, but...what's a hex represent? In a game like Squad Leader or Steel Panthers, a hex = appx. 15m or somesuch. In Civ....nobody knows. Your hex could be....the width of the Italian peninsula. Or it could be the straits of Gibraltar. Or it could just be some no-name island that's less than 1 mile in any direction.

    Basically, what 1UPT has done is to take a game that -- while it certainly had certain gaming conventions -- at least seemed to TRY to be a bit more about pseudo-simulation (or perhaps representation through game mechanics) and tossed them out the window entirely. Nobody questions what a square on a chess board "represents." It's chess. It's a square. Whaddaya want? But in Civ, we're dealing (at least on Earth maps) with the real world...and coming up well short. We're dealing with odd abstractions that have no real consistency among them, and the question becomes WHY is the game this way. Civ 5, to me, seems very much a step back in this regard. In previous games, there seemed to be a drive towards the representational. Yes, these are gaming conventions but they stand for SOMETHING. They're trying to represent some real-world thing, in however abstract a fashion. With hexes and 1UPT and the rest of the game, though, that's all tossed out the window. It doesn't "represent" anything. It's a hex. You put a unit on it Whaddaya want? That's the game!


    This is what people mean when they call Civ 5 "gamey." Whereas prior entries SEEMED to be trying to be more representational, Civ 5 is actually TRYING to be more "gamey." Some folks don't mind that, and that's all well and good. Personally, I view it as a step back. I don't require a "world sim", but I do like it if the parts are at least more or less internally consistent. They aren't in Civ 5, to my way of looking at it. They're discrete game mechanics used for the sake of a game mechanic, instead of using a game mechanic to approximate some real-world phenomenon. If you ask "Why is this like this?" in Civ 5 for ANY element of the game, chances are the response will be something to do with how the GAME works, rather than what the mechanic represents. I guess that's where I see the problem with 1UPT and the Civ map, even after they "fix" production speeds and such. That'll be a big help, of course, but it still all just seems very...gamey.
     
  17. Nekator

    Nekator Master of Desaster

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    Old Europe
    I didn´t care about this "stacks of doom", i liked the possibility to have large armies and real wars. With the Civ 5 one piece it just feels tiny, boring and not like a whole civilization at all..

    So no, not even this change could appeal to me.
     
  18. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Messages:
    714
    Basically, no one would design a wargame with the rules and dimensions of Civ 5. It is not challenging, it is not mechanically smooth, and it doesn't even give you the suspension of disbelief that can allow you to ignore tactical failings.

    People act as if flaws in a prior game somehow excuse bigger, or different, flaws in a new version. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it.

    I didn't like the endless stack model in Civ 4 - and there is a long, long laundry list of things that they could have done (or have been done in other games) to fix it. Stiffer maintenance costs; limits on building units based on population; supply limits; rock-paper-scissors units which can damage too many pieces in one place. You could also choose a lot of options to improve stack combat. I could go on, but there is absolutely no reason why you need to abolish stacking to design a better combat system than Civ 4 had.
     
  19. Arsenic Steel

    Arsenic Steel Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    155
    Late remark...
     
  20. lord_graywolfe

    lord_graywolfe Wolfman

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    717
    Location:
    Washington
    i was not a fan of the SOD, and while the UPT has made the game a bit more challenging its still not quite what i was hoping for. ideally id like to have small stacks 4 or 5 units, this would be more important early on with siege, spear, swordsman, archer and horse units. this would, to me, be a better representation of a army on the scale of the maps. Call to Power had one of the best combat systems, the number of units to a stack was limited and when your forces clashed then they fought in a separate screen. i think it would work better if the gunpowder units were ranged too, like the archers are now. anyway just my thoughts
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page