Why does civ 6 feel so much easier than the older civ games?

aieeegrunt

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I think most of the pining for stacking is less about making the AI better and more about being averse to the big change in the series. Earlier iterations' SoDs were only a problem because the production bonuses allowed AI to massively outnumber you.

Civ VI's AI just does not build armies like IV or V's. It's easy to overcome their early number advantage and out produce them. Especially if you have the chops.

It’s the Sliding Tile Puzzle combined with LOS which is both incredibly tediuous from a mechanics standpoint and table flipping ahistorical immersion destroying from a historical perspective
 

SCBrain

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It’s odd to see 1UPT still debated after all these years. There have been so many analyses of the direct and indirect negative ramifications of 1UPT (most notably the cost of units and hence the cost balance of all other things) aside from the fact that empirically speaking, the two Civ games with 1UPT don’t offer the veteran player as much of a challenge. All this ought to be enough to allow a general conclusion: 1UPT had its chance, and there’s no reason to make it a central concept forever. It was just a choice for Civ 5 designers, no more and no less, and not a prophecy for all time.

The fact that other games use 1UPT and function well - chess is another example - doesn’t necessarily mean that Firaxis’s Civ, with its production schedule, limitations and priorities, could work with 1UPT.

I favor a stack limit of 5 or so, with combat penalties above the limit. Large convoys could travel together but would need to space out on the battlefield.
 
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Victoria

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Making the game easier would give more players the satisfaction of beating it at the highest difficulty?
and therefore the game sells better. Firaxis have many years of experience, the gaming world has matured and much has been learnt about what sells. V may have been an experiment as such but to repeat it in VI should tell you something. Most people want to feel good rather than struggle, the average IQ of this forum will be way above the general population so of course we find a popular and financially successful game easy.

There is one main strategy - spamming cities
In an RV you do not, 2-3 cities is fine, CV’s are similar. Both victories depend on time, the longer you leave a victory the harder it becomes.
There are optimum ways to do most things
Civ V had an optimum way to do thing much clearer, VI has way too much variation. I have played SV’s and ended up with 30 cities only to discover someone finished the same game in the same turns with 10 cities. It really is as others say, dependant on too many factors.

there’s no reason to make it a central concept forever.
Of course there is, because it is popular. To clarify, I hated IV for the doomstacks and stopped playing and am certainly not alone with 1UPT
There have been so many analyses of the direct and indirect negative ramifications of 1UPT
And this is the point I make, so many analysis are looking at the negative side by IV lovers. 1UPT has benefits, just not along the agenda of a difficult game.

Chess is a great example, it is not a mainstream game played by the average. Firaxis has been told to make a popular game. I do not feel 1UPT is over at all. I think they have learnt that hard games sell less. The shame is not releasing the dll stops people making a harder version like vox. Vox is a great example, of course Firaxis could have done the same, but did not, I have explained why I think this is, and feel it is an acceptable theory where few exist apart from claiming Firaxis is useless, which I somehow doubt.

If you want a challenge then get the lowest turn victory in a GOTM, play MP or find another game is my suggestions.
 
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Fippy

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I have no idea why some peoples think they should be rewarded with beating "high difficulty levels" if they don't put high effort in..
why not play on lower difficulty if they know it's better for them.
It's called difficulty level (at least in the past) for good reason, not sweet pony farm.
 

Mahi

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After many years playing Civ 6 on emperor I'm not so convinced Civ 6 is "much" easier than Civ 5. I'm still convinced Civ 4 gave me the best AI opponents but Civ 6 has its weird traps where you can get a bad game if you don't pay enough attention to the game. In Civ 6 it seems like the biggest oppenent is yourself rather than the AI.
I still have countless of games, where I drop the game at turn 100-150 because I somehow ended up in a "locked" game, where I just don't see me winning or the game will just end up with me clicking through a science victory, where not much interesting will happen for the rest of the game. It doesn't mean that I won't be able to build Bombers and GDR in the end and squash the AI in most end game scenarios (because the AI is just bad at handling late game units) but it's rarely that victory condition i set myself up to in the start of a game. In most cases you can cheese a victory in the end game with Civ 6 but reaching the goals you've set for yourself in the beginning of a game is somewhat more difficult for me in Civ 6 than other iterations.
 

Socrates99

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It’s odd to see 1UPT still debated after all these years. There have been so many analyses of the direct and indirect negative ramifications of 1UPT (most notably the cost of units and hence the cost balance of all other things) aside from the fact that empirically speaking, the two Civ games with 1UPT don’t offer the veteran player as much of a challenge. All this ought to be enough to allow a general conclusion: 1UPT had its chance, and there’s no reason to make it a central concept forever. It was just a choice for Civ 5 designers, no more and no less, and not a prophecy for all time.

The fact that other games use 1UPT and function well - chess is another example - doesn’t necessarily mean that Firaxis’s Civ, with its production schedule, limitations and priorities, could work with 1UPT.

I favor a stack limit of 5 or so, with combat penalties above the limit. Large convoys could travel together but would need to space out on the battlefield.
It really isnt what makes VI easy though. It just has nothing to do with it. If the AI produced units in the same numbers in VI as they did in IV we'd have very hard wars to fight just due to attrition regardless of how poorly they're handled. If it went back to stacking and produced like it does currently we'd stomp them even easier.

The game is just intentionally easier. They're not scripted to be as tough. Probably for the reason Victoria points out, making it more approachable for the casuals.
 

_hero_

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and therefore the game sells better. Firaxis have many years of experience, the gaming world has matured and much has been learnt about what sells. V may have been an experiment as such but to repeat it in VI should tell you something. Most people want to feel good rather than struggle, the average IQ of this forum will be way above the general population so of course we find a popular and financially successful game easy.

Chess is a great example, it is not a mainstream game played by the average. Firaxis has been told to make a popular game. I do not feel 1UPT is over at all. I think they have learnt that hard games sell less. The shame is not releasing the dll stops people making a harder version like vox. Vox is a great example, of course Firaxis could have done the same, but did not, I have explained why I think this is, and feel it is an acceptable theory where few exist apart from claiming Firaxis is useless, which I somehow doubt.

I think it depends on how you define "hard" and "easy" but the most popular games in the world are absolutely not all games that are easy to win. PUBG is the most played game in the world and by its very nature, most people will lose in any individual match. It's not an "easy" game but it is very easy to get into. Then you have other games like the Call of Duty franchise, or League of Legends that dwarf games like Civ in popularity and are far more challenging games to win. There are also other highly popular games such as Minecraft and Candy Crush which aren't exactly hard but are addictive for other reasons. One thing all these games do have in common though is being free to play or otherwise highly accessible.

I don't think the main reason Civ VI has sold more is mainly that it's easier. I doubt most people bought it is because they heard it was easy and said "oh ok I'll buy it then." Civ Rev was far easier than any other civ game ever and didn't sell as well. I think the main reason Civ VI has sold more is that it's more accessible, being on more platforms than any other Civ game ever has. I also think there's the fact that the gaming market has grown by leaps and bounds. The estimated number of gamers worldwide is nearly 2.8 billion in 2021. This number was 1.99billion in 2015. I can't find the data but I don't think it was even 1b in 2006 when Civ VI came out. Of course sales have grown over time when the market has increased exponentially between Civ games and accessibility has also increased.

The model for a hit game is pretty clear by now. Start with a free-to-play base game that's challenging enough so that people don't get bored with it but is highly accessible and clear cut so people don't feel overwhelmed when they pick it up. Have a strong social aspect in the game. Either competitive multiplayer like PUBG and League of Legends or cool world-building features that you can show off to your friends as Minecraft has. Civ can implement elements of both. Finally, make your single-player elements focus on personal challenges and accomplishments such as high scores and achievements and just a general feeling of "I can do a little better than I did last time I played." This is how a game like Candy Crush gets people hooked. Put all those elements into a free-to-play game, then start selling DLC and content packs that feed off of those elements. The rest just comes down to marketing.
 

aieeegrunt

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Unit stacking in a game isn’t a binary choice between 1 UPT and Stack Of Doom.

Civ6 is basically a hex boardgame. The heyday of these games was back in the SPI/Avalon Hill era, roughly 70’s to 90’s

Stacking in those games quickly standardized to 2 to 4 units as being the optimum sweet spot of flexibility and manageability. You took whatever situation you were gaming out, and adjusted your map, unit, and time scale to hit that target.

I have’nt been able to test it because I lack a PC, but I strongly suspect that modding Civ6 to that standard would remove most of the issues with the current system without ressurecting the scary boogieman of STACKS OF DOOM.
 

Victoria

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Stacking in those games quickly standardized to 2 to 4 units
You mean like a Corps or army with a support unit?
I think it depends on how you define "hard" and "easy"
The bottom line is there is one set of code and a lot of complexity.
At least I have come up with a reason why rather than just dissing 1 UPT. I personally love 1UPT and I am not alone in that view.
 
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aieeegrunt

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You mean like a Corps or army with a support unit?

Not really, like take away the fiddly LOS mechanics and allow you to stack three or four units a hex. The various rock paper scissors mechanics still apply, but they apply to the whole hex. Suddenly combined arms matters; if someon comes at you with pure cavalry stacks, add an anti cav unit to each of your stacks.

Combat gets a lot more interesting and complex without having to build and move ten thousand units like in Civ4.

Unlocking corps and armies allows you to now stack three or 4 of those in a hex. Those two advancements really should be tied to tech that improves logistics, mainly food preservation and transport.
 

Fippy

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Combat gets a lot more interesting and complex without having to build and move ten thousand units like in Civ4.
Why does this always come up :-/
I play deity only in IV and the average number of units i use should be around ~30. When planning war etc. Most of them combined so move with 1 click.
During peace i sometimes move ~5 units around..on some turns zero besides workers.

Stacks of Doom has become a massive misinterpretation, and i wish more peoples would realize this.
IV is based mostly around diplomacy, not SoD.
 

vorlon_mi

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It’s the Sliding Tile Puzzle combined with LOS which is both incredibly tediuous from a mechanics standpoint and table flipping ahistorical immersion destroying from a historical perspective

I agree with @aieeegrunt in that I don't find the "Sliding Tile Puzzle" (love that metaphor) to be fun. Managing more than 5 or 6 units in a Sliding Tile Puzzle is onerous, especially if hills or other slow terrain is involved. I played several hundred hours in Civ V; I never felt that the AI mastered the STP. I've played more hours in BERT, where quite a bit of combat takes place on the sea/ocean -- by definition, no hills, it's all "flat" and easy to move through. The AI conducts much better, much more effective, attacks on my cities with its ships than with its land units. This leads me to the conclusion that the Civ V / BERT AI never truly solved the STP on land.

I have more experience with CIv III (1500 hrs) than with Civ IV (few hundred hrs), and can attest that the AI effectively moves each unit to attack both cities and units in the field when it does not need to worry about the positions of other units. Each unit can be moved independently. They sometimes can be convinced to move towards the wrong target. But both the Civ III and Civ IV AI are able to produce stacks of units (each between 8 to 15 units), move them effectively, and pose a threat to the human player's cities. The key is not the size of the stack, but the ease of moving the units.

I need more experience with Civ VI before I can draw a similar conclusion about whether it is better at the STP than the Civ V AI.
I need to install the mod that corrects the AI science bug typo, to get a truer picture of how many units the AI will build and how it will use them.
 

Alaindor

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I think trying to find excuses as to why the AI is no good is like having the tail wag the dog... The devs have simply not put enough effort into it. Using Real AI strategy from @Infixo already brings some notable improvements, and that's without having access to the core mechanics.

1 UPT might add complexity and combinations as to what is the optimum pattern of attacks, but it can be done... When I was young, I wrote a chess "AI" based on trying multiple combinations for several turns ahead and scoring each move based on an (imperfect) advantage table minus what the opponent might do - it wasn't that bad, although it could not win against a human player in the long run. One of the main issues was the CPU power involved, making it impracticle to evaluate beyond three turns ahead - but that was like thirty years ago, on a computer which was litterally 10,000 times less powerful than today's consoles. I'm quite confident each "battle" could be modelized better and is less complex than chess, on its own battle micro-territory.

Anyhow, other improvements could easily be done without even talking about 1 UPT: avoid suiciding your units against urban walls when there's no chance you can assault the city; build units when at war; have gold to uphold your units; don't put a trebuchet in range of my city and do nothing with it for three turns (like I've seen); etc, etc.
 

Gedemon

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Unit stacking in a game isn’t a binary choice between 1 UPT and Stack Of Doom.

Civ6 is basically a hex boardgame. The heyday of these games was back in the SPI/Avalon Hill era, roughly 70’s to 90’s

Stacking in those games quickly standardized to 2 to 4 units as being the optimum sweet spot of flexibility and manageability. You took whatever situation you were gaming out, and adjusted your map, unit, and time scale to hit that target.

I have’nt been able to test it because I lack a PC, but I strongly suspect that modding Civ6 to that standard would remove most of the issues with the current system without ressurecting the scary boogieman of STACKS OF DOOM.
for civ6 you can only mod mUPT using stacking classes (ie 1 recon + 1 melee + 1 ranged for example) but you can't have mUPT with any combination (ie never 2 or more of a class)
 

aieeegrunt

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Why does this always come up :-/
I play deity only in IV and the average number of units i use should be around ~30. When planning war etc. Most of them combined so move with 1 click.
During peace i sometimes move ~5 units around..on some turns zero besides workers.

Stacks of Doom has become a massive misinterpretation, and i wish more peoples would realize this.
IV is based mostly around diplomacy, not SoD.

I played a ton of Civ4 and it’s still my favorite Civ, but my initial reaction to 1UPT (and I swear there may be a post on this very site to that effect) was Oh Thank God I’m not moving a zillion units

There IS a sweet spot between 1UPT and Stack O Doom, we already know because an industry making games with very similar mechanics to Civ already optimized it and it’s 2 ~ 4 units a hex.

Honestly, somebody mentioned having 5 archers as the default city garrison. Functionally there is no difference between this and a garrison of one if you cut the unit density down except less clicks building and moving them.

I agree with @aieeegrunt in that I don't find the "Sliding Tile Puzzle" (love that metaphor) to be fun. Managing more than 5 or 6 units in a Sliding Tile Puzzle is onerous, especially if hills or other slow terrain is involved. I played several hundred hours in Civ V; I never felt that the AI mastered the STP. I've played more hours in BERT, where quite a bit of combat takes place on the sea/ocean -- by definition, no hills, it's all "flat" and easy to move through. The AI conducts much better, much more effective, attacks on my cities with its ships than with its land units. This leads me to the conclusion that the Civ V / BERT AI never truly solved the STP on land.

I have more experience with CIv III (1500 hrs) than with Civ IV (few hundred hrs), and can attest that the AI effectively moves each unit to attack both cities and units in the field when it does not need to worry about the positions of other units. Each unit can be moved independently. They sometimes can be convinced to move towards the wrong target. But both the Civ III and Civ IV AI are able to produce stacks of units (each between 8 to 15 units), move them effectively, and pose a threat to the human player's cities. The key is not the size of the stack, but the ease of moving the units.

Oh totally. Civ6 has no stacking AND terrain AND low movement AND you can’t use fractional move points. It’s like they deliberatly “optimized” movement to be as frustrating as possible on purpose

As an aside, the “wasted” move points mean a ton of wasted clicks hitting “skip” on units that technically still have moves available but cannot actually move anywhere. Horrible. Just more ammunition for the case that this game either had zero playtesting, the playtesters were ignored, or were Vulcans or something.

I need more experience with Civ VI before I can draw a similar conclusion about whether it is better at the STP than the Civ V AI.
I need to install the mod that corrects the AI science bug typo, to get a truer picture of how many units the AI will build and how it will use them.

The base game BEFORE the science typo, and another aside; HOW THE HELL IS THIS NOT FIXED. And yes, this is a situation where all caps is justified.

Anyway the base game before that…situation the AI did build sizeable armies. Mind you because of the Literally Worst Movement System Ever Created it couldn’t use them effectively, but it did happen

Even now, if you use my custom game settings in the base game the AI will still wage wars in all eras, it just is horribly crippled by the Literally Worse Movement System Ever Created
 

Fippy

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Honestly, somebody mentioned having 5 archers as the default city garrison.
Doubt that i ever had 5 Archers as garrison.
Consider this: if AIs operate with "scary doomstacks", why would we put several units into all our cities?
If i attack their stack with my stack none of my cities should see defensive battles.
If i need to play defensive, one city (that actually gets targeted) holds all my units.

So this has nice strategic appeal. Know where units should be, spreading them out over all cities is how AIs play.
 

aieeegrunt

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for civ6 you can only mod mUPT using stacking classes (ie 1 recon + 1 melee + 1 ranged for example) but you can't have mUPT with any combination (ie never 2 or more of a class)

One of each class with move allowances bumped up by one and ranged units having a range of one would still be a dramatic improvement over Sliding Tile Puzzle. Pretty sure there is a mod already for Civ6 that does that.

You’d have an element of combined arms as well.

For Civ7 you make stacking three units per hex. This was the standard for 90% of hex wargames for a reason.

Doubt that i ever had 5 Archers as garrison.
Consider this: if AIs operate with "scary doomstacks", why would we put several units into all our cities?
If i attack their stack with my stack none of my cities should see defensive battles.
If i need to play defensive, one city (that actually gets targeted) holds all my units.

So this has nice strategic appeal. Know where units should be, spreading them out over all cities is how AIs play.

There is a happy medium between Sliding Tile Puzzle and Doomstack. The former is torture and frustration and the latter is pointless overkill
 

Fippy

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So if i kill ~15 units was that a Doomstack or a doomed stack?
How many units do i need for a Doomstack..10 15 20 or more?

If AIs have 20 other units & 1 catapult does that stack spell doom for cities?
If they move 3 Knights into my territory elsewhere, are they breaking the rules? I thought IV has only doomstacks..noooo you cannot do that, bad bad AI.
If i invade with 10 Cuirassiers here and 7 there, why didn't i form one annoying doomstack.
Doomstacks YAY
 

Socrates99

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So if i kill ~15 units was that a Doomstack or a doomed stack?
How many units do i need for a Doomstack..10 15 20 or more?

If AIs have 20 other units & 1 catapult does that stack spell doom for cities?
If they move 3 Knights into my territory elsewhere, are they breaking the rules? I thought IV has only doomstacks..noooo you cannot do that, bad bad AI.
If i invade with 10 Cuirassiers here and 7 there, why didn't i form one annoying doomstack.
Doomstacks YAY
I think when people talk about doomstacks they mean multiple stacks of 20 that greatly outnumber anything you've managed to produce crossing into your borders. It happened. Probably not as often as some make out but it happened.

It's about numbers. Stacked or unstacked, doesn't matter. What made deity feel like deity in earlier iterations was that feeling of "how on earth do I overcome those odds?" They could stack the armies AI make in VI and it wouldn't change the difficulty at all because given time players can easily overwhelm what computer opponents in VI build.
 

Gedemon

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One of each class with move allowances bumped up by one and ranged units having a range of one would still be a dramatic improvement over Sliding Tile Puzzle. Pretty sure there is a mod already for Civ6 that does that.

You’d have an element of combined arms as well.

For Civ7 you make stacking three units per hex. This was the standard for 90% of hex wargames for a reason.
at least 2 mods for civ6.

3 combat classes stacking and 1 tile range was in my overhaul, and I've seen a mod expending stacking for more classes (which was not possible until an undocumented change in one of the patches)

It's about numbers. Stacked or unstacked, doesn't matter. What made deity feel like deity in earlier iterations was that feeling of "how on earth do I overcome those odds?" They could stack the armies AI make in VI and it wouldn't change the difficulty at all because given time players can easily overwhelm what computer opponents in VI build.
it's not just numbers, it's also about combat rules, 1UPT and ranged combat on smaller maps is what truly kills the AI.

Unlimited stacks allowed the AI to convert its production bonus on one point of the map while 1UPT spread that bonus on multiple tiles which is much, much easier to handle tactically for a human exploiting choke points of cramped maps with ranged support.
 
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