Why "1 unit per tile" is the key to improving Civ V by 500%
All right, I posted this on CFC and elsewhere. Sue me. If I can get one Firaxian to see this idea, my day will be made. Of course, finishing my term paper may have something to do with it too.
Hear me out, will you? Keep reading.
I like to play on smaller maps. The lay of the land (or lack thereof, rather) makes it easier to read what's going on and get messy pretty fast. Things aren't as complicated...right?
Sure. In fact, that's the problem. City-states are a good way to counter this. The reason is that, when used well, city-states make a great presence on the map. Why are France and Greece mad at you? Well, there's Brussels taking up your land. Putting a conflict of interest like that on the map is a fantastic way to ramp up the tension. So I played another game with that in mind the other day. I chose Gandhi with a one-way trip to Alpha Centauri in mind. Steadily I went, attempting a balance of vertical growth with adding more cities.
And yet, something didn't seem right. This was a tiny map, but everything felt so...empty. It wasn't the other AIs; they were actually doing their best to expand as rapidly as I did. It wasn't the lack of units; there were plenty of spearman, settlers, barbarians, and war elephants marching around. But the overall gameplay still felt rather flat. It was a new feeling that I couldn't quite put my finger on... I popped a social policy and chose a free Great Person, a Scientist actually. I moved him over to the city to build an Academy...huh? You're supposed to build it on a nearby tile? Well...
That's when it came to me. The map felt empty because there really wasn't much to freak out over except for cities, city-states, and the odd weakling unit. What about taking buildings out of the city and placing them on the actual map? Or put another way, how about translating more infrastructure and game concepts into actual objects to protect?
Civ 5 does some of this already, actually. Civ 4's spaceship is no longer stationed safely at an abstract dock, the parts are literally on the map, just waiting to be gobbled up by Mongol hordes. The Great Scientist's Academy is also another building that can be destroyed, never to return if you let that idiot barbarian wander where it pleases. I'm sure there are a couple more Great Person buildings I'm not thinking about...
But what does this mean for the rest of the game? The point of 1UPT is that if there's a unit on a hex, it can potentially block other units from accessing other territory. Put more victory-crucial objectives on the map, and you have a warzone. As mentioned already, City-States are the diplomatic game translated into something that can be conquered. So you have that ally over there, huh? Too bad, my units are over there. Whatcha gonna do about it? My spaceship parts are over in Hong Kong but they need to get to Stockholm. How can I maneuver them around Hiawatha?
So let's throw some ideas out there. How can we best create more conflicts of interest on the map? Here are some implications for you:
City Slots Out Of The City: Civ 4 introduced the fun visual of seeing all your Wonders and buildings on the map without needing to go to a separate screen. With 1UPT, that could make things very risky. Suppose a tile could only hold so many buildings...say, 4 buildings on this marsh, and the Pyramids took up two. There they are, just waiting to be taken. How do you protect them? Can you expand the number of slots for one tile with research? You're not just showing more stuff for the AI, you're changing the terrain itself. This also makes the player more mindful of which buildings to construct if there is limited space, unlike the Infinite Bag of Holding that is the current city system.
Sorry, Civ 4 builders. Civ 5's 1UPT system is going to make it harder...is it? With more buildings on the map, you can literally see your civ grow with every turn. That leaves you more vulnerable, but at the same time, you can bask in the glory of your expanding empire, turn by turn.
Domination? On my culture and science? It's more likely than you think. Right now the Domination Victory is the condition in the least need of attention. This system simply makes it a lot easier for military civs to stomp around all over your stuff, and again, that's not a bad thing. The more incentive you have to protect yourself and do more things on the map, the more the other civs and players are going to take notice.
But here's where it gets interesting. A three-city empire is small, right? Wrong. Because it has more wonders and cultural buildings, a "tall" empire could be spitting out its crap all over its territory. If you're going to be the high-falutin' one, you might as well make other people notice by taking up their potential territory with your god-awful lawn gnomes. Sound familiar? Polynesia already does this with their Maoi statues.
And notice they will, if more keys to diplomatic success are tied to the map. Maybe that research agreement is represented by a couple scientists running back and forth between capitol cities. What if Germany had something to say about it and sent some tanks over? Or maybe that maritime ally has actual caravans of food parading down the road. There's actually a mod already out there that requires diplomatic units to be exposed to military action. While I'm not sure if there are consequences to killing diplomatic units, it's a great step.
Civ 5's map currently doesn't know which Civ it wants for work for. Does it work for Civ 4's city system, where all the buildings were in one tidy place? If it does, then there's a huge opportunity being lost by not cluttering the map with other people's stuff. With 1UPT, your units should be in other people's business, whether you want them there or not.
So it comes back to France's pet Brussels, sitting there like a rotten egg on my land. What do I want to do about it? After all, all our toys are spread out in the room. Let's stop thinking of production and improvements in terms of stacks and spread them out like units. This is a game of rapidly decreasing space. The more larger maps can resemble those tiny maps by becoming crowded over time, the more fun decisions that can be available.
I like the idea of seeing all of the building that you built...I don't know about having them be vulnerable to attack though...the other 'great people' buildings are manufactory by a great engineer, a landmark by a great artist, a customs house by a great merchant, and a citadel by a great gereral...
Thanks. It just seems like that this idea is already implemented halfway there. Let's ramp it up and take advantage of that.
Not all buildings, but I could go for having more interesting improvements, limited in potential number, much like the GP buildings.
Really, the idea is to just get more of the players' infrastructure and deals on the map. We already have abstract concepts taking up physical space on the game board and Firaxis' last two DLC civs use 1UPT as part of their powers. Push the concept further. It's what makes Civ 5 work.
I would welcome more unique improvements...
Originally Posted by Ciergan
I am all for additional improvement types for Tiles. I am the fan of adding canals, for example.
However, I am not sure about having Wonders and Buildings taking up tiles. I hold off on using a Great Person to improve a tile because I do not know for sure if an important resource will appear on that tile. What happens in the case of picking a tile to place a Wonder only to have a major source of Iron appear under it? Would a Player be able to build a mine where there is the Great Library?
Last edited by Edward_TC; 03-12-2011 at 05:28 PM.
I see no reason why improvements can't exist alongside buildings. It's just the fact that they're there, vulnerable, and visible to other players that communicates what you're doing. If you simply can't build a city where that building is squatting, that can be enough to induce ire.
This is actually how I thought buildings worked in civ5 until about September. I would suggest, though, that each tile be able to accommodate a few buildings, depending on their maintenance.
Originally Posted by Ciergan
e.g. Each tile can hold (for example) a total of 10 maintenance. That means that the maintenance of all the buildings you put on that tile can equal 10. So you could a have a Stadium (5) and a Broadcast Tower (5?) on the one tile. But on another you can have a Monument (1) Temple (2) Opera House (4?) and a Theatre (3?).
Although, they don't have to work by maintenance amounts, you could simply introduce another system (Tile Space?).
edit: Brilliant Idea. Although it may only be expansion worthy (although Firaxis has done huge overhauls with patches already, but this really would be huge).
I like the idea of Tiles having more depth. That is to say, I like the idea of a Tile being able to be improved multiple times. It would kind of like be like in Civilization II. That is, an irrigated area could be upgraded to a farm. It would be interesting to see something were certain kinds of improvements can be upgraded by workers. But then again, they kind of stream line that with technologies just boosting certain improvements.
However, it might be interesting to be able to "deploy" a Worker Unit on a Tile to improve the output of a Tile. But this is kind of getting away from the main suggestion.
I used to use a mod like that. It was really annoying to have to go back every few technologies over my entire empire and re-improve everything. I would not recommended that approach.
Originally Posted by Edward_TC
That's what I was thinking too. The only problem comes from unlocking techs for new buildings. Perhaps there could also be techs for increasing space or simply have only Wonders sitting out there.
Originally Posted by Black Gate of Mordor
The CFC thread brought up a couple interesting ideas:
With the ability to turn different victory conditions on and off in game options, you can substantially alter what units are produced. You could have all victories turned on for the full game, of course, but what if you turned off Domination Victory? The game could have nothing but diplomatic units running all over the place, making things especially interesting and visually complicated for the player. Think of it as Civ 3/4's diplomatic relations chart extrapolated on the map with built-in nuance.
Culture-only? Land grab with buildings. Maybe the buildings and Wonders could have special on-map effects (e.g. adjacent tiles gain double culture).
Science-only? Maybe it doesn't have to be only the Spaceship that can be built. Maybe other science projects can have different parts built like the Large Hadron Collider. Research agreements could even let two civs build a project together.
If buildings could be placed anywhere in your territory rather than only in your capital, they could have additional effects on the landscape. A late-game cultural building upgrade could radiate influence and act as a slow-motion culture bomb, flipping opponents' tiles if not counteracted. A late-game science building could have various effects from damming rivers to leveling mountains to enhancing military troops in its area. A late-game money building could extract extra gold from nearby resources. And maybe a late-game religious building (church, mosque, a Vatican wonder?) could try to "convert" foreign workers or settlers to your side if they tried to pass through its area of influence.
Allow only one of each type of building per city and upgrade them over time. This introduces a tension -- do I want the benefit of placing this building early or do I want to wait until my borders expand so I can place it where upgrades will effect the landscape later? Allowing one-building-per-tile would prevent small cities from spamming buildings -- you'd have space for only so many. Would placing a University on a Farmed tile destroy the farm? things to think about...
I'm 99% sure that they can be pillaged only, but not destroyed by enemies. Like any tile improvement, you can repair it with a worker.
Originally Posted by Ciergan
There are a total of 55 buildings, and usually in my capital and my production powerhouse I produce most if not all of these. Reducing the amount of buildings per tile to only one (as compared to, say, three-five) would mean that no city can produce all buildings.
Originally Posted by muddle77
I was imagining that you'd build your Culture building, the Monument, and then upgrade it over time to Temple, Opera House, Museum, and Broadcast Tower, so that's actually one building on one tile, not five on five tiles. Same for the Science building, Money building, etc. It wouldn't be the first time a Monument was torn down and a Temple built on the same site. I think there'd be space as there are only a handful of building "types".
Originally Posted by Black Gate of Mordor
The game needs more tension and complexity, so maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to not be able to build every building in every city. You'd have to decide whether it was a good idea to start a Market on a tile which might be vulnerable to invaders, with the payoff being that if you grew it into a Stock Market over time, you'd get a reward, like double output from resources within two tiles of the building.
Maybe a compromise? You build all your normal buildings in the Capital, but can place the late-game version on the map? I just love the idea of buildings actually affecting the landscape, and if you can build your Great People buildings and forts out there in the boonies, why not other buildings? And I'm not married to the one-building-per-tile, maybe two or three would be the way to go (same with troops, making them easier to move around)
Whoops. Forgot about that. But your idea of restricting the amount of buildings actually sounds better now. It would force you to prioritise your cities (although you'd still need to build happiness buildings everywhere).
Originally Posted by muddle77
Yes that is corect.
Originally Posted by Raethwyn
So what I am getting from this is that cities can take out multiply tiles or just that buildings turn into improvements. I am confused.
Kind of both. The city proper occupies one tile, so if that tile was captured, the whole city is taken. The city slots, however, take up the surrounding tiles. Improvements and buildings alike could conceivably share the same tiles.
But really, it doesn't have to be just city slots on the map. With this concept, any abstract concept in Civ V can and should be on the map and take up physical space.