What do you think of adding attrition to the game?

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Ranger0001, Nov 30, 2021.

  1. Ranger0001

    Ranger0001 Chieftain

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    I had an idea for where if a military unit is on a tile which produces only 1 food (or zero food) for a certain length of turns without moving to one with enough they could start to lose a small amount of health each turn to represent attrition. What do you think of adding attrition to civ 7 and how would you implement it?
     
  2. Zaarin

    Zaarin Diplomatic Attaché to Londo Mollari

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    I agree; it would make Desert and Tundra much less appealing in the early game, which they ought to be. It would also make civs that could use those terrains more unique.
     
  3. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    There are some terrain/climate combinations that do not support large groups without advanced technology. That technology includes the ability to provide supplies from Far Away.
    So I would base 'attrition' on three things:
    1. Type of terrain. The obvious ones are Tundra, Ice, Desert. Less obvious is Rainforest (Jungle) - if your troops are not acclimatized, the tropics are deathtraps from disease. Look up what happened to the French Army on Haiti, or Chinese armies from northern China who tried to march into the semi-tropical south of China in the Classical Era.
    2. Size of force. We can assume that any military unit represents 1000 or more men, so all of them would be subject to attrition. Units in the Reconnaissance/Scout line would not, because they represent much smaller numbers of men in those units, and so should be able to 'scrape by' even in extreme terrain.
    3. Supply Technology available. This is going to have to be Implied, not Explicit, or we get into a very messy game of Supply Lines and Military Economics that will drive customers away in droves. Instead, starting as early as the Classical Era you can 'supply' units in attritional terrain as long as they are next to the coast and you have a ship adjacent to them on a coastal tile. That extra naval unit represents the investment required to keep the unit 'supplied' - and note that Every Unit in the bad terrain has to be adjacent to the naval unit at the end of the turn, or it suffers Attrition. Other 'supply' can be made available with the Combustion Technology, but for every unit in attritional terrain at the end of the turn, the Maintenance cost in Gold and Resources is doubled. Even today, keeping military or civilian units intact in the desert or the arctic is Expensive

    The result of a system like this would be to make it very, very difficult to exploit ice, tundra, or desert tiles early in the game with armies, and would also keep 'scouts' relevant for much longer in the game since they would be your only units that could trot through that terrain without attrition until late in the game.

    One caveat to Attrition: any tile with an Improvement, Wonder or District on it, regardless of other terrain, would not produce attrition in Units - the structures imply an infrastructure and population there that can support a unit there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  4. Leucarum

    Leucarum Emperor

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    If I remember rightly, Beyond Earth had something similar on certain alien tiles?

    Another approach could just to be to prevent unit healing on certain tiles - losing health every turn can feel kinda crappy for players even if it is more realistic.
     
  5. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    If something bad happens and there is nothing you can do about it - that's bad game design, pure and simple. If something bad happens to a unit because it ended its movement in an icy wilderness Tile and you could have kept it on the coast with a naval unit and 'supplied' or used a Scout instead - that's on you da gamer. It also provides an instant and emphatic reason not to keep on doing that.
     
  6. Leucarum

    Leucarum Emperor

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    I totally agree about giving choices being good game design. But with punishment mechanics it is still very possible to make game design choices which seem solid but aren't fun for players. I'm always wary of games with too many of them - if you're familiar with board games, look at the likes of Marco Polo or Euphoria. Both well designed games, but with a big emphasis is on limiting what the player can do, and (at least for me) it drains all the fun out of them. A few punishment mechanics are often necessary to prevent runaway victories, but I'd always be hesitant to introduce too many mechanics along those lines as they can easily become oppressive the more there are... or the more severe they are.

    That said, I'm not opposed to attrition, it depends on how many other similar mechanics are in there and my personal bias is always to go for the simplest solution rather than the one which models reality best... (I suspect this puts us at polar opposite ends of the spectrum here.) There are quite a lot of simple solutions for attrition too. Damage over time based on tile type, no healing on certain tiles, or scaling damage over time based on loyalty to represent supply. All simple and straightforward without having to go into the minutiae. I think Paradox games do that better than Civ anyway...
     
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  7. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I adore simple solutions, but I always start from the standpoint of What Effect Are We Trying to Reproduce? - and then whittle it down from there: complex to simple, rather than start with simple and try to go back and figure out what got left out.

    I started playing board games rom Avalon-Hill back in the 1960s, and so I say from experience: be very, very careful when invoking board game design in computer games, because they are not the same thing. In this specific case, 'simple' in computer games only has to mean what is presented to the player, not what the game engine has to calculate.
    I can remember with no fondness having to mentally calculate supply effects in much-too-complicated board games back in the 1970s, but that is never a requirement in computer games.
    In this case, you leave a unit on a tundra/desert/ice tile with no means of support (Improvement, adjacent naval unit) and it loses Health. Keep it there long enough, and it dies. All the mathematics required to tell how much it loses/turn and exactly how fast it goes belly-up is the computer's job - the gamer just has to watch the health bar on the unit and know that for much of the game Tundra/Ice/Desert tiles = Bad Places.
     
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  8. Leucarum

    Leucarum Emperor

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    While I was never much into wargames, the mental math from some old-school simulationist RPGs is something I remember well... and not fondly.

    I agree with what you're saying here, but simple does mean more than just math... Players will only have so mental space to dedicate to managing systems, especially the average player that is not part of these forums. How much would really be gained by a complex system of supply-chain management? I'm kind-of playing devil's advocate here, because I can see the advantages to having some form of attrition slowing down expansion, giving a nice boost to civs that exist within those terrain etc... But there only a limited amount of systems that it's a good idea to include before system bloat occurs. I'm not sure how high on the list I would put a particularly complex attrition system.

    Also Civ6 is very much a digital board game so I have to disagree and say I think it's completely apt to compare it to board games - almost moreso than a lot of other computer games. Especially when it comes to trying to work out ideas that might flow from one into another!
     
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  9. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    God Help Me, I have played (board)games with complex systems of supply chain management, and Never Again. I'll never get those hours back, and as a Learning Experience it left much to be desired - I mainly learned never to do that again . . .

    But that's why I was posting here strictly in regard to an attrition system for Extreme Terrain, not a general 'supply line' system. The reasoning I can see behind having a system for extreme terrain tiles like tundra, snow, desert is that now all three types are very 'over used' in Civ when in fact they could only be exploited 'around the edges' until very recently. Also, by keeping Scouts independent of any attrition system, as I proposed, it might keep scouts relevant until later in the game whereas now they are pretty much soft targets by the Medieval Era.

    I agree that Civ VI is a digital board game, but I have also stated and will keep repeating that I think that was a very bad idea, and has limited what was and is possible in the game because they failed to take advantage of the potential of the different medium. Board games are inherently limited in the amount of information they can convey and the number of decisions they can demand before they overwhelm the gamer. The 'paper system' of board games is also limited in the number of separate 'story lines' and variations it can present, and so the variations become too well known and predictable very quickly.

    This is one of my personal beefs with Civ VI: with 40+ different Civilizations and up to 5 - 6 special characteristics for each Civilization, and all the trivia of history to draw on, the game should present far more alternatives for development based on your decisions, neighbors, in-game events, etc. That it doesn't I blame on the starting assumption of the board game limitations in the game design.
     
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  10. Ranger0001

    Ranger0001 Chieftain

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    I honestly wouldn't mind seeing complex supply chain possibilities if scenarios get brought back in civ 7, I think we ought to have one that adds that. But yeah, I do think it would be too much to have in the game as players at the beginning would be way overwhelmed (my brain thinks back to learning my first Paradox game)
    Yeah, I completely agree. I feel like there needs to be way more diversity even if it keeps the same format which I do enjoy. I feel like civ does not have enough complex systems because of that and even if they are unneeded at the start (or in a DLC) so that it stays accessible to beginners there needs to be more possibilties for interactions and choices (as it is supposed to simulate guiding a civilization after all)
     
  11. Leucarum

    Leucarum Emperor

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    I guess I try and get different things from different games. Paradox games scratch my itch for in-depth simulation so I'm happy with Civ being a lighter board-game experience.

    One of my main modes of play also has also become multiplayer team games with friends I normally board game with anyway... That made it a lot easier to get them into it. So I guess I am happy with the board-gameyness of civ. But if there weren't paradox titles (or similar) I'd be more inclined to agree with you.

    The balance is gonna be a hard one for firaxis to strike though. Civ is the gateway 4X game so they need to keep things lighter, but at the same time it is a game people like because they want deep strategy. I personally think that means they should usually err on the side of simplicity and try to interconnect many simple mechanics to create complexity rather than having highly detailed simulations of individual systems. But that is likely harder to implement in practice.
     
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  12. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Not to quote myself too often, but I've said before: no two gamers will agree on what level of complexity, immersion, intensity, 'realism' etc is perfect. The best any commercial (un-Modded) game can hope for is to be close enough that the majority of the customers are satisfied enough to keep playing.

    You are dead on, though, that Civ has to strike a balance: on the one hand, it is a Mass Appeal game with a huge customer base of casual players. On the other hand, they are, according to their own definitions of the game, trying to simulate 6000 or so years of human history. That means the potential for complexity is enormous, and the potential to leave out something that some percentage of the customer base consider Important is also huge. I don't envy them their perch the tightrope they are walking, and I actually think that overall they've done a remarkably good job over the years.

    The devil, of course, is in the details of how they handle all that potential complexity and detail, which is really what we debate on these Forums . . .
     
  13. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    I disagree because it sounds like a very unfun micromanagement, especially within 1UPT.

    You could as well argue that it makes no sense how the same military units continue to exist for millenia and wander across the land for centuries. Well yeah, but it is kinda required by this scope of a game.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021

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