- Dec 14, 2019
1) Peace vassals
I don't have a problem with the vassal system through capitulations since the master has to "earn" it through time and resources spent, but there are many problems with peace vassals. They allow an already strong civ to "conquer" a smaller one essentially for free (either you or an ai). They can't easily be prevented besides just attacking the bigger civ, and it's not realistic to be constantly attacking any civ that gets remotely big. It also snowballs by adding the vassal's power to the master's, which makes further vassals/capitulations easier and faster.
Then there's the problems with peace vassals and war. Peace vassals can happen at any time and is especially annoying when an ai vassals to someone else right before you attack them. Another annoyance is that sometimes a civ that you just attacked will immediately vassal to a different civ once you make peace/ceasefire with them. This can get you stuck in wars that you don't really want to be in, but feel like you need to stay in so that they don't vassal to someone else. And finally there's possibly the worst mechanic in the entire game; peace-vassaling to a civ during war, and automatically declaring war on the new master. This is an absolutely awful game mechanic and I don't know why it's in the game. It's so out of place; with good diplomacy, checking diplo screens, and scouting armies, you can have a good idea of who's a threat to you at any time. But forcing you to declare on a third party you had no plans on fighting can seriously mess up your game.
To be honest I don't know how you could fix this, maybe don't allow peace vassals during a 10-turn peace treaty or something. The master requiring over 50% of the vassal's land and pop is a nice feature that offers some counterplay but regardless this is one game mechanic I hate.
Introduces more randomness, no way to opt out of the AP, proposals that pass are civ-wide (stop trading with x, declare war on y) regardless of if you have 1 or 20 cities with the AP religion, and a lot of proposals limit your options and are not fun to play around (assign city you conquered back to owner, stop trading with x, switch into y civic and not allowed to switch out of it).
There's 2 big problems I have with AP, one is that there's no way to know what proposal will be voted on in advance. You can't plan ahead and adjust your play for what proposals might be picked. I think a cool addition would be whenever you vote on a proposal, you also vote which proposal will be voted on the next vote cycle. Since this would make the resident pointless, you could give the resident 1.5x voting power when voting on the next proposal or something. Then you have 12(?) turns to plan ahead of the proposal you know is coming.
The 2nd problem with AP I have seems like a bug, but it's that you can't look at any advisor screens while the vote interface is open. How many votes do I get? Can my cities handle the defy unhappiness? How many Hindu cities do I even have?
This has to be a bug, I can't imagine that this was intentional. Because of this, you have to just guess how the vote will affect your game, which isn't good design. Easy fix, let me look at advisor screens when voting, similar to how you can look at them when the ai demands from you.
The only 2 things I see espionage used for is tech stealing in a dedicated EE, or the odd city revolt during a war. Otherwise Espionage is reduced down to "Put your points on Mansa" 9/10 games.
There aren't really any small missions that can benefit you in the early game. Spies are expensive early on considering there's a decent chance they'll just die either moving/waiting in an enemy city or from mission failure. Mildly inconveniencing a single ai by poisoning their water or whatever is just not worth the hammers.
I think there should be some more smaller spy missions that directly help the player. One idea I had was to steal beakers from a civ. What if you could steal just 200 beakers instead of needing to get the entire tech? Maybe there could be a small discount applied to stealing beakers vs the entire tech, which would be balanced by the need for multiple spy missions and more chance of your spies dying. Or what if you could steal a city's food and bring it back to one of your own cities? This sounds really fun in theory and would bring all sorts of cool strategy changes but it might be really overpowered or frustrating to play against. You could also just make spies cheaper, down to 20 hammers so it's not such a huge commitment early on.
Those are some of my ideas, obviously I love this game but these are some of the things I would change if I could