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Why not both stacks and 1UPT? Lessons from other games

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by futurehermit, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. futurehermit

    futurehermit Chieftain

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    Just put my first 20 hours into civ6. It's ok so far, but some disappointing things carried over from 5. Rather than simply revisiting the stacks vs. 1UPT debate, which has its own threads, I wanted to suggest a different, blended take on the matter.

    I love stacks. I've played cIV for the past decade and still play it.

    I'm not really a fan of 1UPT -- on the strategic level map -- but I logged over 1000 hours in ciV, though I don't play it anymore.

    I do see the virtues of having a tactical element of combat, but I think it is misplaced on the strategic (i.e., continent-level) map, and results in some bizarre behaviours like slow production, because the map would become full of troops early, or archers shooting over entire cities and being better than melee units for taking cities, stuff like that, which I really, really dislike about combat in V and VI.

    VI lifts a modified version of districts from Endless Legend, which is a great game in its own right. Why not lift another great feature from that game? There are stacks on the strategic level map (i.e., continent), but when a battle is initiated, a new map-within-the-map opens up and 'zooms in' on the battle, which unlocks 1UPT tactical combat. IMO this is the best of both worlds. While I personally had no problem with stack-based combat, I also really enjoy the combat in Endless Legend and think that, that could really be the best of both worlds in the civ series. I am quite disappointed that the combat is so similar to V. No evolution there at all, really, at least in the early game.

    Other games have a marriage between strategic and tactical level maps as well. I played a lot of Rome: Total War and Medieval II: Total War back in the day. Same kind of deal -- stacks on the strategic map and 1UPT (admittedly in a more intense way than is warranted in the civ series) on the tactical map. One of my fav games, Mount and Blade: Warband also takes this approach.

    I think where 1UPT goes wrong in V and VI is having it on the strategic level map. If 1UPT is desired by the fanbase (which clearly it now seems to be, since V), so be it, but introduce a tactical level map and leave "armies" or "stacks" on the strategic map. I'm not arguing for realism > gameplay, but I do find it a bit disheartening when some of my friends have said they get annoyed when a large stack snuck through their line of ships, which they had attempted to use to cover the ocean from the north to south pole essentially...I was like why not just have a few scouts out to spot the stack and then counterattack with your own prepared stack?

    But, yeah, don't get me wrong, I really love the tactical aspects of Endless Legend, the Total War series, Mount and Blade: Warband, and other games. I hate it in V and VI. Why? It's misplaced on the strategic level map and gives rise to bizarre effects, both in terms of gameplay and realism.

    I think a similar concept could also be introduced for city building. Why does a wonder have to take up the size of a province or small country of the continent? Would love to see a 'tactical' map for cities where you build up your cities, but they only take up one tile on the strategic map. Leave the surrounding area for resources, farmland, etc. I really miss cottages from IV and wish something similar was brought back. They were a really great mechanism. By end game, having a bunch of towns around a great city made sense.

    I think IV is a better overall game than V and VI, but I don't think that IV was perfect, and I think there was still room for improvement. Indeed, I think some aspects of V and VI are superior to IV. Specifically, I think religion is done better in V and VI. I am also open to social policies and civics being better in V and VI, though I don't mind the civics in IV. Not a big fan of vassals and espionage in IV. Corporations not that great either. Not a fan of some of the traits, like protective, imperialistic. I think Harbors in VI are a great idea for being able to settle "1 tile away from the coast", which was always annoying in IV. Always going up the liberalism path to rifle spamming gets kind of old after a while in IV. Or spamming cuirrs.

    However, IV shines in terms of using maintenance to offset growth, and needing to develop a robust science infrastructure in order to progress through the tech tree. I was looking for what I needed to do to develop my science infrastructure in VI and just shook my head...the inspiration system is garbage imo.

    Anyway, not to get off track, I just wanted to say that I think that VI has some interesting innovations, but I think that it really would've benefited from having 1UPT moved to a tactical level map, and that, that same notion, combined with districts and such, could've been capitalized on for city-building as well, potentially. Kind of a shame that 1UPT was just kind of ported over from V with very little change, at least in the early game. I mean, didn't they remember at all how broken horseman rush was on release of V? I just shake my head to see it back again now upon release of VI. Build horsemen, conquer everything. Don't even have to worry really about happiness restrictions. Just go to town. Sigh. If you haven't tried Endless Legend to see what I mean about the tactical level map, I suggest checking it out. It works pretty well imo.
     
  2. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Interestingly the Civ board game has limited stacking--you create "army figures" (flags) which can move around the map and attack--and they are each filled with "units" (randomly drawn from your hand of created units). For each extra flag you have in a space, you get more units to draw in battle, increasing your odds of winning the battle. The normal stacking limit is 2 flags per space, but you can upgrade that via Printing Press and other technologies. Russia also can stack one extra flag in each space (probably to represent the large military they had).

    I think a similar model could work in VI--have stacks, but have techs upgrade how many units you can have in each space, etc, and create catapults and raiding horsemen that can inflict damage on multiple units in each stack. IV had catapults and horsemen that could do that.
     
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  3. futurehermit

    futurehermit Chieftain

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    Yeah, good call. I've played the board game, but forgot about that. Definitely along the same line of thinking.
     
  4. Jarms48

    Jarms48 Chieftain

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    This, in a sense, is what Corps and Armies are. You invest more production, and units, to make a more powerful one.
     
  5. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Not quite the same--corps and units are basically just two units of the same type mashed into one. That's not the same as stacking.
     
  6. Jarms48

    Jarms48 Chieftain

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    I understand that, I feel like a good compromise is to expand upon the current Corp/Army system. Allowing melee/anti-cav infantry to also combine with range/siege units, as well as each other, would be nice. I'd only let cavalry combine with their own type.
     
  7. TomKQT

    TomKQT Chieftain

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    The ideas of two separate "layers" are interesting and already used in many games (including for example the series Heroes of M&M). I just don't think it fits Civilization. This game has always had just one layer.
    I'm not strictly agains the idea, but I wouldn't ask for it. There would be problems with implementation, IMHO. The basic and quite natual and intuitive design would be to allow stacking as in CivIV and when such a stack is moved to a tile with an enemy stack, a separate screen with detailed battlefield is shown - and here every single unit takes one tile. That's exactly as in MoMaM and this has the good side-effect of removing the scale problem where one battle takes place on the area of half a continent in CivV/VI.
    But - other units or stacks located on adjanced tiles would not take part in the battle? Would this force you to let your city with 1 weak defending unit fall to an enemy stack even if you had a very strong stack runing at the attackers from behind, missing the attack just by one turn? Etc....
     
  8. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    I am not a 1 UPT fan but am 100% a civ 4 stack of doom hater. It damaged my view of civ and I still have a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth after all this time.
    However I agree that a tactical drilldown would resolve a lot of the headaches of a blended map... But not religious ones.
    There are also quite a few skirmishes... In fact most battles initially are skirmishes where its just 1v1... In these cases it coukd be resolved without the drill down.
    The implementation of this woukd be good in civ 7, I doubt they would do it in 6 but I would love if they did.
     
  9. UWHabs

    UWHabs Warlord

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    To me, the wasted opportunity would be to move unit classes around:
    -Religious units and the religious combat is cheesy, and should instead follow the same mechanism used for spies. You assign a missionary/apostle to a city, and have them try to "convert" it. You can place apostles/inquisitors as a "counter-religious" mission that can prevent opponents conversions. Maybe they get treated as a system where you have a limited number of apostles that you gain through the ages, but each religious mission costs an amount of faith to perform.
    -Ranged and siege units should be classified as support units, but be allowed to fire. They would have 0 melee defense, so you would have to protect them. That way, you couldn't have an army that was all archers and one melee unit, since an opponent unit could easily mow them down without any real effort.
    -Anti-Cavalry (spears) should also be a support unit, that simply provides +10 or +20 to whatever unit is on the tile. You'd have to fix the combat so that benefit would also apply on the offensive. Spears can give a bonus to ancient and classical units, pikemen maybe give a bonus to medieval and renaissance units.

    This way, you can also get archers back to being a 1-range unit, as they could stack on a melee/cavalry unit for "protection", and maybe have them also give a defensive bonus to the unit on their tile as well. And then you basically have the choice for how to siege a city - do you use siege towers, battering rams, catapults, trebuchets, etc... with each potentially giving different bonuses to the units on their tiles for how to take down a city.

    I'm also fine with cities stretching out onto the map. Sure, it's weird to basically have one "city" take up all of France, but I enjoy the mix of tactical and strategic balance that has always been at the core of the civ series. I do wish maps would be larger, and there was some way to better manage larger empires (once you get past maybe 5-6 cities, I tend to not pay attention as closely to them anymore), but again, I kind of treat this as an abstraction. Maybe according to the map, I don't build "Hamburg", but essentially treat the real life Hamburg as the commercial district of Berlin.
     
  10. Markus5

    Markus5 Code Monkey

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    I would argue for stacks of un-matched types. A stack of warrior+archer+horseman+siege makes some sense.
     
  11. Deuce

    Deuce Chieftain

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    I have played Civ IV and Civ V (only had Civ V for about a week now) and I definitely prefer 1UPT personally. I never much liked the idea of doom stacks or the general lack of tactics required for combat in Civ IV.

    That being said, I am also a fan of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series (in particular RTK XI) and I think it has a better 1UPT system than Civ V does overall. RTK combat definitely has elements and eccentricities that I don't much care for, but the combat system is a lot more refined than Civ V (to be fair they have a lot more experience with a 1UPT system as well). I can definitely see why people would prefer the Civ IV doom stack system considering Civ V is basically the same combat with the 1UPT limitation and it definitely needs refinement if it wants to stand out.

    Of course the Civ series as a whole has a lot more depth outside of combat.
     
  12. futurehermit

    futurehermit Chieftain

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    This is essentially what I was suggesting in my original post :) Endless Legend lifts the HoM&M combat battlefield (as I understand it, I've never played HoM&M, but that is what others have said). I think it would be the perfect compromise for getting 1UPT in the game, but off the strategic layer map. Stacks on the strategic map, 1UPT on the tactical/battlefield map.
     
  13. Gub

    Gub Chieftain

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    Basically you want what Total-War series does, only in turn base. Couple of things to consider,

    * It would make strategic map terrain and position less important.
    * it would change rules\balance completely, allowing units several movements in a turn and making unit retreat less plausible.
    * you would still need to limit stacks in combat. HoM&M was designed around armies of up to 5 units, and in total-war you can only bring several units to bare. --btw I played a mod for civ4 which solved the stack problem differently, by forcing you to build supply units to support your armies on the march.as well as other penalties.
    * It could add a lot of extra overhead especially in early game. Instead of just attacking a scout, you'd need to position your unit on the tactical map, close in for several turns until you can finally attack it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  14. Simo

    Simo Chieftain

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    I would disagree. I much prefer the stack the 1upt. You say there is no tactics in Civ 4 due to stacks, there is no tactic in 5 or 6 either --> build tonnes of ranged units, stand around a few turns bombarding and then capture. Repeat repeat repeat. At least with stacks you can move faster, more intelligently and dont have a tangled mess.

    Carpet of doom or stack of doom its the same principle, build a big army and conquer just one is a pain to move units around.

    I have mentioned this in other threads but Civ 1&2 already solved this, make the stack if its outside a fort or city die should it loose combat i.e. when you attack a stack the best defender is chosen against the attacker and if beaten all units in the stack die. Risk v Reward. Reintroduce zone of control (againas per civ 1 &2) against civs at war and you create key bottlenecks on the map for tactics and strategy as opposed to stack/carpet just attacking cities.

    Even call to power had limited stacks (9 I think was max), worked better than the mess that is 1up which not only makes movement terrible but also cripples the Ai to the point the game is useless.
     
  15. Gub

    Gub Chieftain

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    As long time player of many TB games, I would say that despite the clanky 1UPT implementation people write about, in my experience it offers FAR better tactical options.

    I don't recall that, but good residence, that is a silly mechanic.
     
  16. Simo

    Simo Chieftain

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    As a long time player of Civ I would say it was by far the best alternative to the stack. 1UPT has crippled the games AI and what are these far superior tactical options? Its effectively the same a carpet of ranged doom v a stack of doom, just makes moving units akward and annoying.

    The Civ 1&2 alternative added a vulnerability to the stack and ensured combined arms to survive*. Combined with ZOC and the map and tactics was far more complex than what we have now.

    * an example in Civ2 (albeit a naval which had no ZOC) is a carrier is vulnerable to a battleship which was vulnerable to submarines and cruise missiles which were vulnerable to destroyers and AEGIS cruisers. You needed a stacked fleet of all to safely navigate enemy waters or you would be obliterated.

    In civ 6 I can sail right past a submarine, destroyer, guided missile cruiser and hit a carrier....in theory since the crippled game means the AI cannot build aircraft!
     
  17. Simo

    Simo Chieftain

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    Interesting idea and could be quite interesting. So long as the battle map did not become real time I think your idea could work well although I think via limited stacking and other map constraints it could be done without the need for the battlemap at all but what you propose sounds a lot better than the current state.

    Would the battle map be an expansion of the tacticle map i.e. can you zoom in at see the battlemap in peace time to plan or are you proposing a static battlemap as in call to power where it expands to a large map and the units sequentially fight each other without any extra depth from the battlemap?

    I agree with your argument with your friends, if you are attacked by a stack, prepare your own!
     
  18. RealAntithesis

    RealAntithesis Chieftain

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    A separate tactical battle map would definitely be an interesting idea, one that could work well if implemented properly. The civ series never really needed realistic animations and graphics because it was more at the strategic scale than in-your-face tactical.

    If Civ 7 goes to a tactical map for battles, then it will have to be similar to the Total War series in terms of graphics and presentation, otherwise it would seem like a game from the 1990s (but it could still be turn based).

    For Civ 6, this will probably never happen (too much work, too radical a departure for the series and Firaxis probably doesn't have the in-house experience to this right now). Once the modding tools are released though, I would like to see a limited stacking concept implemented - there's been a few good ideas thrown around here. We'll also need a good way to see all units stacked on a tile - the current symbolic icons and plain text menu (eg for aerodromes) don't cut it - an actual panel with all the units presented as proper pictures would probably be best.
     
  19. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    I'd prefer something like Age of Wonders III to the Total War series. (Which is also turn based on the tactical map)
     
  20. Stringer1313

    Stringer1313 Chieftain

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    is the Civ 1 / Civ 2 model (which I now remember, it's been so long) able to be duplicated with a mod in Civ 6?
     

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