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Most of time I try to add up on ideas with the consequence my designs end up crammed and op, so I greatly appreciate your feedback. :)

The nerf/change of the three UCs is fine and having the Zvigidi in the 'scout' line would solve the awkwardness of having an UU as upgrade of the other.
However I would like to keep the cattle gimmick somewhere, most likely in the UA given cattle was a symbol of wealth and influence as well as used as "currency" for tributes.
Kutema ugariri is an established tradition that at time of Mwenemutapa kingdom was used to establish feudal ties between lord and nyai together with the kuronzera custom whereby a cattle owner lent some units to another person who benefitted for his livelihood.
Finding a clever gameplay feature to represent those cultural aspects would be nice, like a way to spawn cattle and tying to it a trade bonus. It would be pretty unique imho.
As to the UA I am a bit lukewarm, it is fine but it looks a bit anonymous. And the name is the least convincing element as it mostly represents a western myth.

As to the Njelele shrine, when the Rozvi came to power they used the Mwali religion adopted in the area as mean of political control, whereby each chief or institutional figures had to make a pilgrimage to Njelele and pay a tribute gift in order for their position to be recognised.
But I agree that a religious element in a kit focused on trade and production is an eyesore and more a sygnal of cramming.
However, rather than having a safari UB that could apply to other southeast African realities I prefer to exhume the vaShambadzi merchant UGP, who were the trade intermediaries between the Rozvi polity and foreigners, mostly Kilwa and the Portuguese.
 
I support the push to add more sub-saharan civs. I have an Idea for alternative design.

I think the current design, posted in the OP doesn't offer much identity. It's really, really strong, but achieves this with raw yields on mines and pastures. It doesn't push players in an interesting way or form a novel playstyle. It's also just.... really complicated.
Spoiler :

  • A UA that places luxury resources undercuts Indonesia
  • The vaNyai as described in the OP is super-strong. It's like a 2x power Impi
  • The Kutema Ugariri ability is feels bad, because it incentivizes you to delay improvements until you get your unique pikeman, who can make stronger versions of the pasture and mine.
  • The Zimbabwe does a little bit of everything. It has specialist slots, it gives 2 different stacking bonuses and lots of yields. It's all over the place. TR range isn't a bonus worth giving since it can actually make your TRs worth less.
  • I'm opposed to adding :c5faith: components to civs unless they have a really good reason to be there. They need to be on a civ that is guaranteed to found, and with a unique Grand Temple that is very dicey. Also, Zimbabwe has lots of other things that are noteworthy about their culture besides their religion, and we need to be very careful about adding new faith-centric civs. Zimbabwe is not Israel or Tibet, they aren't a civ where I feel there is no other way around the faith aspects of the civ.
  • The Zvigidi is in the same upgrade line as the vaNyai, and also has some really powerful abilities. Too many things going on, and making the two units stackable, and only 2 units apart to boot, is going to result in some insanely powerful UUs.

Spoiler design :

Zimbabwe
Leader - Nyatsimba Mutota

UA - Legend of Ophir
Cities gain +1 :c5production: for each unique improved resource nearby, scaling with Era. This bonus is increased to by +1:c5gold:Gold for each :trade:International Trade Route from the City.

UU - vaNyai (Pikeman)

Unlocks at Steel
135 :c5production:
20:c5strength: (up form 17)​
2:c5moves:
Formation I​
'Rozvi' promotion - Gains 25% base :c5strength: CS when standing on a pillaged tile. (old Viking ability)​

UB - Dzimbabwe (Castle)

Unlocks at Chivalry.
300 :c5production:
1:c5gold:1:c5production:
+1 :c5strength: City defense for every :trade: Trade Route to or From this city.
+1:c5science: Science for every 3 :c5strength: City defense
+1 :c5production: Production to Quarries and Pastures near this city (up from quarries only)​
+2:c5gold: Gold to International :trade: Trade Routes to or from this city
+8 :c5strength: Defense, +150 HP​
Military Units Supplied by this City's population increased by 10%.​
Contains 1 slot for a :greatwork: Great Work of Art or Artifact.​
:c5citystate: Empire Size Modifier is reduced by 5% in this City.​
Spoiler 4UC :

UU2 - Zvigidi (Commando)

available at Acoustics
400 :c5production: Production Cost
34 :c5strength: CS (up from 32)​
3 :c5moves: Movement​
Ignores Terrain Costs​
+25% when Attacking​
'Chimurenga' promotion: +30% Combat Strength and +10 HP healed in friendly territory.​

UB2 - Game Reserve (Zoo)
available at Scientific Theory
Requires a Circus in the City
900 :c5production: Production Cost
+5:c5culture:, +5:c5science:Science
+2 :tourism: 1:c5culture:Culture, and 1:c5science:Science to Forests, Jungles, and Camps
-1 :c5unhappy:Unhappiness from Boredom​
500 :c5science: Science when completed​
Whenever a :trade:International Trade Route is completed, Receive a :tourism: Tourism boost with the target civilization​
25% of the :c5culture: from World Wonders, Natural Wonders, and Improvements is added to the :tourism: Tourism and :c5science:Science output of the city.


Spoiler explanation :

The main mechanic and playstyle stresses Resource Diversity.
There is only 1 other civ that manipulates resource diversity right now: Carthage. However, Carthage is locked to coastal, so the RD bonuses are a secondary concern. Zimbabwe only cares about maximizing it, because all of his UA abilities are boosted by making his cities diverse w.r.t. resources, which also makes them attractive to trade with. This in turn gives them Science from their UB. So they have a small edge pushing towards SV, and major bonuses towards infrastructure.

I largely kept the UUs the same, but toned down their abilities.

I couldn't think of what else to put on the Safari, except to double down on the SV potential by co-opting tourism mechanics.
The UA sounds interesting and more specific. On the other hand, I find recon UUs mostly useless as combat units. Just played as Brazil. While Bandeirantes gave good yields, they sucked in combat. I thought they could be viable with the heal every turn. I still wished I had not sold my horses and gotten knights instead. And after they upgrade to a regular recon unit, they become even weaker.

Anyway, I would like to try the civ first in the way the creator designed it before suggesting changes. I do support the idea of streamlining the design to fewer bonuses that drive the civ to a specific play style.
 
I like the UA proposed by Pinappledan but by including Cattle spawning (in one way or another) with a Faith and Culture bonus (for example), you can keep the Njelele. Building which seems more interesting to me historically and in terms of gameplay than the Safari.
 
However I would like to keep the cattle gimmick somewhere, most likely in the UA given cattle was a symbol of wealth and influence as well as used as "currency" for tributes.
The cattle gimmick already shows up plenty with the Zulu (Ikanda)
I even gave the Zulu an UGP that spawns cattle underneath its unique Isibaya improvement (ie. a kraal). There is relatively little else to do with the Zulu, but with Zimbabwe we have a lot more to their history than just the cattle thing.

At any rate, my proposed kit does preserve a bit of that, with a bonus to pastures on the Dzimbabwe
As to the UA I am a bit lukewarm, it is fine but it looks a bit anonymous. And the name is the least convincing element as it mostly represents a western myth.
sure. Can come up with another name. That's easy enough.
For all we know 'Ophir' might be the actual name of the Zimbabwean kingdom that existed in the time of Solomon.
Kutema ugariri is an established tradition that [...]
I looked it up and my searches came up with Kutema Ugariri being the bride price for a man who does not own cattle. It's specifically the ABSENCE of cattle that characterizes this practice.

In fact, this indicates how the culture is more flexible around the use of cattle as currency as you seem to want to indicate. Cattle were merely the resource that was readily on-hand to be used as a currency. Civ plops cultures randomly on a new world, and I think it's to the culture's credit if we can portray them as unique on their own merits, and not contingent on their surroundings.

If you can show me another source indicating that the Kutema Ugariri is a practice that, in the feudal Shona culture, DID involve a cattle tribute, then maybe that's a good candidate for the UA name.
As to the Njelele shrine, when the Rozvi came to power they used the Mwali religion adopted in the area as mean of political control, whereby each chief or institutional figures had to make a pilgrimage to Njelele and pay a tribute gift in order for their position to be recognised.
But I agree that a religious element in a kit focused on trade and production is an eyesore and more a sygnal of cramming.
You're saying that a religious hierarchy was in place, but that describes pretty much every pre-Enlightenment society. Religion was omnipresent in earlier cultures. It’s like making the Roman kit about the Imperial cult. It's just not particularly interesting or meaningful, because it’s a way in which Rome was like every other pagan culture, not something that set it apart.

Furthermore, if you are going to give a civ a religious component they have to be a religious civ. That's just how the game works. If you give a single weak component too late then there is a good chance they never founded and their design has a dead component.
However, rather than having a safari UB that could apply to other southeast African realities I prefer to exhume the vaShambadzi merchant UGP, who were the trade intermediaries between the Rozvi polity and foreigners, mostly Kilwa and the Portuguese.
The Safari thing is pretty much exactly as widespread as the cattle thing.

I like the idea of having a post-colonial component. This civ is specifically Zimbabwe, it spans several iterations of Shona/Zimbabwean political organizations. It's not specifically a Mutapa civ, after all.

We don't have many unique zoo replacements, just Spain's bullring in 4UC. We have modmods with unique GPs everywhere though. I have made 2, and almost every single one of Gwennog and Hinin's civs has a UGP. I believe they added 2 different Unique GMerchants, in fact. As previously mentioned, the Zulu 4UC also is a UGP, and it even places cattle resources. Giving Zimbabwe a UGP would intensify the overlap.
The vaShambdzi didn't look very interesting to me, and from your description they basically sounds like merchant specialists. Nothing particularly special about them.
On the other hand, I find recon UUs mostly useless as combat units.
I think recon UUs are perfectly fine. Whatever your feelings about them, having 2 (extremely strong) UUs upgrade into each other is a problem. The alternative would be to make the Zvigidi a Gatling Gun replacement. That doesn't seem too bad, but it's not as good of a fit as the Commando.
 
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and almost every single one of Gwennog and Hinin's civs has a UGP. I believe they added 2 different Unique GMerchants, in fact.
This is very highly exaggerated and no unique Merchant in any case :).
That doesn't mean I generally agree with you, particularly on the postcolonial component and sorry, I had forgotten the Cattle generated by Ikanda.

On the other hand, I find recon UUs mostly useless as combat units.
However, the commando is really an interesting unit, and in no way weak in combat.
 
This is very highly exaggerated and no unique Merchant in any case :).
Louisiana - GMusician
Ireland - GWriter
Norway - GWriter
Basques - GAdmiral
Ainu - GGeneral
Benin- UGPTI (built by general and engineer)
Corsica and Catalonia - No UGP, but a massive bonus towards making GPs
No UGPs: Hisatsinom, Imazighen, Vietnam, Brittany, Tehuelche, Kievan Rus

Yeah not most of them. Still a lot though.
 
Yeah not most of them. Still a lot though.
I can't say otherwise but the two merchants are already at @jarcast2 (The Etruscans and Amalfi), not at Gwennog or Hinin ;).
In fact you are right but with bad arguments.
There's no need to rely on what you don't like about other people's work to help Jarcast create good design. That will be the case anyway.
 
More bad examples than bad arguments, I think.

I don’t find anything particularly wrong with UGPs, but I’m getting the impression they are becoming a crutch.

Furthermore, I don’t see a strong thematic basis for one here. Of the three groups listed by Jar — the Portuguese, the Swahili/Kilwa Sultanate, and the Zimbabweans/Shona — the clear standout to me for best UGMerchant candidate is Kilwa.
 
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I think the original UA sounds a lot more fun to play with. I'm a big fan of civs that can thrive in desolate parts of the map and stack their UA with pantheons, policies, etc. Maybe it should be just cattle though? Otherwise it seems like this civ would be able to get every mining resource monopoly with enough cities and border growth. The producing extra trade slots part would also have to be balanced very carefully. I also agree that the UUs are too strong. The vaNyai is very similar to an impi with the buffalo horns promotion and the Zvigidi is pretty much a Fusilier with 49 strength that avoids terrain costs (49 = 1.35*36 rounded up, assuming you have 7 trade routes at that point).
 
I made some further research and I found a good compromise for the forth UC.

Rambatemwa (literally "trees forbidden to cut") is a word defining sacred forest/groves in Shona traditions. Custom associates the sacred groves as abode of the mhondoro, the spirits who guard the land and the tribe living in the area.
While Njelele/Matonjeni is THE sacred place for Zimbabwean Shona/Karanga (and afterwards also the Ndebele) worth of a national wonder, rambatemwa were more diffuse and fits both pre-colonial and post-colonial contexts but from a native/conservation perspective rather than a colonizing/exploitation one.
The best solution would be to have it as a standalone UTI alternative to the lumbermill (with a model that could be just a simple fence because they are to be left pristine) where the player designates forbidden-to-cut jungle/forest tiles in exchange for some bonus (I was thinking something related to culture/border growth and maybe some other yield like faith before Industrial era and science afterwards).
However I'm also fine with having the rambatemwa as a Zoo replacement that boosts jungles/forests.
 
I can't say otherwise but the two merchants are already at @jarcast2 (The Etruscans and Amalfi), not at Gwennog or Hinin ;).
In fact you are right but with bad arguments.
There's no need to rely on what you don't like about other people's work to help Jarcast create good design. That will be the case anyway.
OT, but some feedback about your mods in general: there is lots of diplo and culture civs, and few warmongers and science civs. While there are plenty warmongers among the basic civs, science civs are rare. That might be something to go into with a new modded civ though.
 
OT, but some feedback about your mods in general: there is lots of diplo and culture civs, and few warmongers and science civs. While there are plenty warmongers among the basic civs, science civs are rare. That might be something to go into with a new modded civ though.
Yes, I completely agree with you on the orientation of the civs in which I participated.
I don't make civs to fill gaps in the civs of VP or other modders but because I enjoy playing them (This is why I do not adhere to the term "becoming a crutch" since I am not trying to fill anything but to express as best as possible what I feel about a civ).
I in no way want to dissuade Jarcast from going in the direction of Pinappledan's proposals, I'm just giving my opinion (since we talked a little about Zimbabwe's design with Jarcast some time ago).
As far as I am concerned, there are still The Basques which are a strongly scientific civ and which stand out a little from the culture/diplo style but still with diplo all the same, incorrigible :mischief:.

I will stop polluting the Zimbawe thread and I apologize to @jarcast2 for this interference.
 
UB2 - Rambatemwa (Zoo)

Available at Scientific Theory
Does not require a Circus in City
900 :c5production: (-10%), 4 :c5gold: Maintenance (-1)

Upon construction it places and connects a copy of the Wildlife luxury resource on an unimproved Forest or Jungle tile.
Every turn there is a 3% chance Wildlife spreads to an adjacent unimproved Forest or Jungle tile.
Spoiler Wildlife Resource :

+1 :c5science:Science, +1 :tourism:Tourism, +1 Border Growth.
Monopoly bonus: +5% :c5culture: Culture, +5% :c5science: Science in all owned Cities.

Wildlife dummy improvement (no graphics):
A Wildlife tile adjacent to another Wildlife tile gains +1 :c5culture: Culture.
Fertilizer: +1 :c5gold: Gold
Biology: +1 :c5food: Food, +1:c5science: Science

Constructing a Lumbermill removes the Wildlife resource (and its dummy improvement).

+500 :c5science: Science when completed.
Nearby Jungle and Forest tiles gain +1:c5culture: Culture, :c5faith: Faith and :tourism: Tourism.
Completing a Trade Route originating here and targeting another Civilization triggers a (or strengthens an existing) Historic Event.
-1 :c5unhappy: Unhappiness from Boredom.
-1 :c5unhappy: Unhappiness from Urbanization.

@pineappledan (and anyone interested): how about this?
The new resource would trigger your proposed UA and give more production to the City.
 
My supervisor went on holiday this week and finally had a bunch of free time (and desire) to mod.
So it happened.
Download link in the first post.
 
Can the wildlife resource be improved?
Can it spread to a tile with only roads?
Can it spread to a tile with a partially built improvement or to a partially chopped forest?
 
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Can the wildlife resource be improved?
The wildlife is automatically improved by a dummy invisible improvement.

Can it spread to a tile with only roads?
Can it spread to a tile with a partially built improvement or to a partially chopped forest?

This is the function.
Spoiler relevant function :
Code:
function Jar_ZimbabweWildlifeExpand(iPlayer)
    local pPlayer = Players[iPlayer]
    if not pPlayer:IsAlive() then return end
    if not HasTrait(pPlayer, traitZimbabweID) then return end
    if pPlayer:CountNumBuildings(iRambatemwa) <1 then return end
    for pCity in pPlayer:Cities() do
        if pCity:IsHasBuilding(iRambatemwa) and pCity:CountResource(iResWildlife) >0 then
            for i = 0, pCity:GetNumCityPlots() - 1, 1 do
                local zPlot = pCity:GetCityIndexPlot(i)
                if zPlot and zPlot:GetOwner() == iPlayer and zPlot:GetResourceType() == iResWildlife then
                    if zPlot:GetImprovementType() ~= GameInfoTypes.IMPROVEMENT_JAR_WILDLIFE or zPlot:GetFeatureType() <0 then
                        zPlot:SetResourceType(-1)
                    end
                    local draw = GetRandom(1, 100)
                    if draw <= WildlifeSpawnRate then
                        for direction = 0, DirectionTypes.NUM_DIRECTION_TYPES - 1, 1 do
                            local pAdjacentPlot = Map.PlotDirection(zPlot:GetX(), zPlot:GetY(), direction)
                            if pAdjacentPlot and pAdjacentPlot:GetOwner() == iPlayer and pAdjacentPlot:GetResourceType() == -1 and pAdjacentPlot:GetImprovementType() < 0 then
                                if pAdjacentPlot:GetFeatureType() == GameInfoTypes.FEATURE_FOREST or pAdjacentPlot:GetFeatureType() == GameInfoTypes.FEATURE_JUNGLE then
                                    pAdjacentPlot:SetResourceType(iResWildlife, 1)
                                    pAdjacentPlot:SetImprovementType(iImprWildlife)
                                    -- Notification
                                    if pPlayer:IsHuman() then
                                        local sTitle = "Wildlife expands in " .. pCity:GetName() .. "!"
                                        local sText = "+1 " .. GameInfo.Resources[iResWildlife].IconString .. " " .. Locale.ConvertTextKey( GameInfo.Resources[iResWildlife].Description ) .. " in " .. pCity:GetName() .. "!"
                                        pPlayer:AddNotification(NotificationTypes.NOTIFICATION_DISCOVERED_LUXURY_RESOURCE, sText, sTitle, pAdjacentPlot:GetX(), pAdjacentPlot:GetY(), iResWildlife)                                 
                                    end
                                end
                            end
                        end
                    end                 
                end
            end
        end
    end
end
if g_IsTraitActive then GameEvents.PlayerDoTurn.Add(Jar_ZimbabweWildlifeExpand) end;

Basically every turn if the city has the Rambatemwa UB it checks the city plots, then if it finds the Wildlife without its improvement or with Jungle/Forest feature removed then it removes the resource.
In the same loop also draws a random number and checks adjacent plot for forest/jungles to place and connect a new Wildlife resource.
You can build roads and railroads on wildlife forest/jungle and the resource can spread to a forest/jungle tile with a road/railroad (in the game database they are listed as routes and not as improvements).
 
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The wildlife is automatically improved by a dummy invisible improvement.



This is the function.
Spoiler relevant function :
Code:
function Jar_ZimbabweWildlifeExpand(iPlayer)
    local pPlayer = Players[iPlayer]
    if not pPlayer:IsAlive() then return end
    if not HasTrait(pPlayer, traitZimbabweID) then return end
    if pPlayer:CountNumBuildings(iRambatemwa) <1 then return end
    for pCity in pPlayer:Cities() do
        if pCity:IsHasBuilding(iRambatemwa) and pCity:CountResource(iResWildlife) >0 then
            for i = 0, pCity:GetNumCityPlots() - 1, 1 do
                local zPlot = pCity:GetCityIndexPlot(i)
                if zPlot and zPlot:GetOwner() == iPlayer and zPlot:GetResourceType() == iResWildlife then
                    if zPlot:GetImprovementType() ~= GameInfoTypes.IMPROVEMENT_JAR_WILDLIFE or zPlot:GetFeatureType() <0 then
                        zPlot:SetResourceType(-1)
                    end
                    local draw = GetRandom(1, 100)
                    if draw <= WildlifeSpawnRate then
                        for direction = 0, DirectionTypes.NUM_DIRECTION_TYPES - 1, 1 do
                            local pAdjacentPlot = Map.PlotDirection(zPlot:GetX(), zPlot:GetY(), direction)
                            if pAdjacentPlot and pAdjacentPlot:GetOwner() == iPlayer and pAdjacentPlot:GetResourceType() == -1 and pAdjacentPlot:GetImprovementType() < 0 then
                                if pAdjacentPlot:GetFeatureType() == GameInfoTypes.FEATURE_FOREST or pAdjacentPlot:GetFeatureType() == GameInfoTypes.FEATURE_JUNGLE then
                                    pAdjacentPlot:SetResourceType(iResWildlife, 1)
                                    pAdjacentPlot:SetImprovementType(iImprWildlife)
                                    -- Notification
                                    if pPlayer:IsHuman() then
                                        local sTitle = "Wildlife expands in " .. pCity:GetName() .. "!"
                                        local sText = "+1 " .. GameInfo.Resources[iResWildlife].IconString .. " " .. Locale.ConvertTextKey( GameInfo.Resources[iResWildlife].Description ) .. " in " .. pCity:GetName() .. "!"
                                        pPlayer:AddNotification(NotificationTypes.NOTIFICATION_DISCOVERED_LUXURY_RESOURCE, sText, sTitle, pAdjacentPlot:GetX(), pAdjacentPlot:GetY(), iResWildlife)                                 
                                    end
                                end
                            end
                        end
                    end                 
                end
            end
        end
    end
end
if g_IsTraitActive then GameEvents.PlayerDoTurn.Add(Jar_ZimbabweWildlifeExpand) end;

Basically every turn if the city has the Rambatemwa UB it checks the city plots, then if it finds the Wildlife without its improvement or with Jungle/Forest feature removed then it removes the resource.
In the same loop also draws a random number and checks adjacent plot for forest/jungles to place and connect a new Wildlife resource.
You can build roads and railroads on wildlife forest/jungle and the resource can spread to a forest/jungle tile with a road/railroad (in the game database they are listed as routes and not as improvements).
Thanks for the clarification.
 
Just one thought: if there is a wildlife resource around a city and a new one would be placed, does it have to be adjacent to the first wildlife? If the birds spawn in an isolated forest tile on land or on a one tile island, they would be stuck and can't spread to a new tile around this city.

As it is now, you would have to clear single forest tiles, but leave large forest intact and not improve them in order to max wildlife spread. Is this the intended mechanic?
 
The initial idea was to just give only one wildlife and that's it, then I thought about adding a chance of spreading to adjacent unimproved forest/jungle tiles (and adjacent only) as a sort of reward for not improving tiles with a lumbermill and choose to preserve nature instead.
I didn't have maximization strategies in mind when I devised it, in the sense of choosing as first plot the one with the most forest/jungle tiles around so to maximize spreading possibilities; it was not the point and it isn't worth the effort of coding it imo.
From an economic point of view lumbermill should be still the more convenient improvement because its construction hence its yields are a certain outcome depending on the player's decision making (you send a worker there to build it) while wildlife diffusion is as exogenous as it should be (depending on a random draw). So strategically speaking you can choose to maximize wildlife resource diffusion but still it would be a less optimal choice than having carpets of lumbermills as it is in reality (destruction of Amazon rainforest enters the chat).
However one can technically exploit the reforestation mod to put forests/jungles next to a wildlife and affect the resource spread more directly.
 
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