#1 2020-07-01 09:52:38

Hans_Lemurson
Player
From: Silicon Valley
Posts: 182

Reflections on the LT51 ruleset

The LongTurn ruleset has undergone slow improvement and modification over the years, changing things to improve balance and flow of the game.

My thoughts on some things that need improvement in the ruleset as I experienced it in LT51:

Economics

  • Gold-multiplier buildings come too fast too early.  Markets are good as they are, but Banks come rather soon afterwards, and Stock Exchanges come WAY too soon.  Why is this a problem?  It means that nations experience an "Industrial Revolution" of sorts long before Factories and Power Plants.  Gold buys gold multiplier buildings, which buys more multipliers and happiness buildings to support max-food growth, which then finally culminates in a mass-purchase of Libraries and Universities to begin a massive tech rush.  This greatly enhances the powers of Farming, and of sacrificing everything in the name of food, and the trade that results from the population growth.  Early Stock-Exchanges also make it too easy to Celebrate.

  • Democracy is a very powerful government.  Not only do you get a strong celebration bonus, but you're immune to Bribery and Incitement!  I scarcely saw another government this game besides Fundamentalism and Democracy.  Both, not coincidentally, are immune to Incitement.  The one notable example I saw of a player not using one of these governments switched from Monarchy to Democracy after I bought all the cities on one of his islands.

  • The Great Lighthouse small wonder is badly overpriced for what it does.  Although getting veteran Triremes is nice, at 200 production it costs nearly as much as 7 triremes!  If you're fighting an early battle for control of the seas, you can't afford to build it.  By the time you CAN afford it, the age of Triremes is over as anything but a specialized river-boat.  And the movement bonus?  +2 movement is nice to have, and it gives it to all of your ships...except Triremes!!!.  Those only receive a +1 bonus unless they are feeling brave enough to actually sit around on the open ocean for a turn.  Reduce the price of this wonder, and remove that ridiculous exception for "not starting on the ocean".

  • Unit Upgrades are too cheap.  I know they still cost a lot of gold, but it can be mathematically proven that it is better to rush-buy a mass of Warriors or Horsemen and then upgrade them to Muskets or Cavalry later.  This does lead to an interesting strategic gambit of "how long should I invest in obsolete units before I upgrade them into a modern army?", but it comes at the cost of being totally stupid on one critical point:  It gives you a dis-incentive to research modern weapons!  When you research Feudalism to build Pikes, you say "oh no, I can't build warriors any more!".  When you research Chivalry to build Knights, you say "Oh no, I can't build horsemen any more!".  This is stupid.  Technology should help, not hurt.

Warfare

  • Knights are useless.  By the time you can get them, Pikemen are available, and gunpowder is just on the horizon.  Knights aren't even a strength upgrade over Chariots, just more flexible.  A pity that they are obsolete as soon as you discover them.  Made worse still by the fact that researching Chivalry denies you the ability to build cheap horses for upgrades, and you have a unit that you're literally better off without.  Give them 5 or 6 attack.  Give knights teeth.

  • Island warfare is pretty boring in the early/mid game.  If your opponent has their rivers protected from your Triremes, and has covered all of the mountains/hills that you could try to unload on, your options for attack and harassment are basically non-existent.  There should be at least SOME "can attack from non-native tiles" units available in the early game.  They don't have to be powerful, but there should at least be the option to attack weak targets and seize landing points.

  • Transport ships are very very powerful.  Not sure if this is a problem, but their extremely high movement speed allows for powerful actions of strategic surprise.  Warships are nearly useless in comparison.  If a stretch of water can be covered by a Trireme/Caravel/Galleon/Transport in a single turn, then all of the navies in the world won't be able to save you if your opponent has a way to unload an attacking army in your land.

  • Siege Units are nearly useless on islands.  Certainly so for attacking cities.  They were mainly used for sinking ships foolish enough to wander close to shore.  Why can't they help attack cities? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T TRANSPORT THEM.  Not until the modern era, at which time they are nothing more than cost-effective ammunition for grinding down cities in an invasion.  The fact that Galleons can't carry Cannons is a bit ridiculous.  At least let Galleons be useful as more than just "bigger faster caravels".  Now, granted, this will turn Transports into "Bigger, Faster Galleons" by taking away their qualitative difference, but you need siege transport ability sooner in order to make the game interesting.

  • Frigates are Ridiculous.  They are very nice units in the power they open up to raid coastlines and murder pre-gunpowder units, but their 4 attack is paired with an absurdly low defense strength of 2.  TWO!!!!  And there's no defensive terrain to offset this.  This means that naval warfare with frigates becomes purely a matter of who attacks first.  Can you imagine fighting a land war on pure flat plains with nothing but Horsemen?  yeah, that sounds pretty terrible.  And yet that's what the entire Age of Sail is.  One giant game of "rocket tag".

  • Ironclads are useless.  Their stats are identical to a slow Frigate except they are provided with a luxurious 4 defense.  Wow!  That's what a Frigate should have had in the first place, but now you have that in a unit that: Comes later, Costs more, Moves slower, and will soon be obsolete.  And they're not any stronger!  A Frigate vs. Ironclad battle is a 50/50 fight.  Ironclads can't attack any better than a Frigate, and can't defend well enough to be able to protect shipping.  Both ships upgrade to Destroyers.  If they came from the same tech, I'd prefer the Ironclads to the glass-cannon frigates, but as it stands, there's basically no reason to build Ironclads.  Raise their Attack and Defense to something higher.  5A/5D?

  • Artillery is underwhelming.  Sure it's better than Cannons.  But not by all THAT much.  10 attack power for 60p vs. 8 attack power for 50p.  That's only a marginal improvement, and hardly the level of benefit I would expect from a unit so high on the tech tree.  If it didn't lead to other techs, I might not even bother.  Give it 12 Attack, make it be a real upgrade.

  • Cruisers have 2x Defense as their Attack!  I'm not complaining, I like this.  Imagine the possibilities...being able to actually defend things on the open ocean.  Is it too much to dream?  Or was this a typo and they were supposed to have 8 Attack instead?

  • Forts are extremely powerful.  Preventing stack-kill is good, but also doubling the defense of the tile (multiplying with all the other defense bonuses) makes units in a fort nearly invincible.  Their only weakness is that as a form of Static Defense, they can be bypassed, any if the supporting cities of the units die, the fort is abandoned.  I'm still uncertain how I feel about them.  Overpowered or Inconsequential?

That's all the thoughts I have for now.

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#2 2020-07-07 12:26:44

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,835

Re: Reflections on the LT51 ruleset

Thanks for your analysis for LT51. There will be some changes based on it. Actually many changes.

The gold multiplier buildings have been discussed for a while and the issue was known but nothing was really done to it. Except some late game changes. Here is what will be changed for the next game:

- while marketplaces will remain as they are now, banks will only give 25% bonus and there will be a new building "Trade Center" that will also give 25% bonus. The Trade Center will become available with economics and both bank and trade center will cost slightly more than the old bank used to cost.
- stock markets will be available with corporation, making them effectively available only after industrialization.

This is not a massive change some people maybe expected and it will not change the game too much. Instead it should only slow down the economy and make it slightly harder to follow the old path for a killer economy.

Democracy will have a smaller empire size and empire size step. Both will be 16. This may delay people from switching to demo.

The Great Lighthouse will remain costing 200 shields. It has been very useful in some of the past games and getting that bonus should come with a high price. We can evaluate this again later.

The unit upgrades are now more expensive until late game. The discovery of invention will reduce the upgrade cost by 20% and later with robotics the players will get a 30% cut to the cost of upgrading units.

Now those changes that will really change some upgrade strategies:

- cavalries will not be obsoleted
- horses will be obsoleted by chariots
- riflemen are obsoleted by a new unit called infantry. This unit will not have the ability to attack from the sea

Also not only related to upgrading units, fundamentalism will become available with feudalism. Warriors will be obsoleted by pikemen that will also become available with feudalism. This means that players can still use the warrior upgrading strategies but may need to choose monarchy or republic if they want to do that.

Knights will get a boost but with a slight penalty. Knights will have attack of 6 and defense of 3 but with only 4 moves.

S-R Caravel is not changed for now but maybe it should be slightly more expensive and not unique for the island games. The island games should have slightly different ruleset compared to continental games. This would also help with siege units.

The frigates used to have the traditional Civ2Civ3 A and D values but now they have A4 and D3.

Ironclads will have A6 and D5 but they will lose one move with this change so that they now have 10 moves.

No change to artillery at this time. This needs more thought.

Cruisers indeed have D8 and A4 on purpose and it's definitely intentional.

Also no change to the forts. Forts are powerful but they are not always that useful.

Comments and feedback is welcome. I think we should test this on the next game and revert back if this stuff doesn't work.

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#3 2020-07-08 08:52:04

Hans_Lemurson
Player
From: Silicon Valley
Posts: 182

Re: Reflections on the LT51 ruleset

wieder wrote:

Thanks for your analysis for LT51. There will be some changes based on it. Actually many changes.

I apologize in advance for my very long reply

wieder wrote:

The gold multiplier buildings have been discussed for a while and the issue was known but nothing was really done to it. Except some late game changes. Here is what will be changed for the next game:

- while marketplaces will remain as they are now, banks will only give 25% bonus and there will be a new building "Trade Center" that will also give 25% bonus. The Trade Center will become available with economics and both bank and trade center will cost slightly more than the old bank used to cost.
- stock markets will be available with corporation, making them effectively available only after industrialization.

This is not a massive change some people maybe expected and it will not change the game too much. Instead it should only slow down the economy and make it slightly harder to follow the old path for a killer economy.

"Trade Center" sounds a bit too generic.  Maybe... "Mercantile Exchange"? "Commodities Exchange"?  "Emporium"? "Trading Company"?

Also perhaps the bonuses to Gold and Luxury production from these buildings could be separated too.  The Stock Exchange's real power was to tip cities over into profitable celebration rather than that last bit of gold bonus.

wieder wrote:

Democracy will have a smaller empire size and empire size step. Both will be 16. This may delay people from switching to demo.

The Great Lighthouse will remain costing 200 shields. It has been very useful in some of the past games and getting that bonus should come with a high price. We can evaluate this again later.

"Very useful" how?  Did somebody make a major naval push with veteran Triremes that defeated a larger navy of non-veterans?  Did the +1 movement become a critical factor in attacks? 
The Lighthouse costs more than the Pyramids and Colossus combined!  (And the Pyramids are totally OP) It costs more than Sun Tzu's, and delivers less! It only enhances a one single unit, and one whose only power is as a troop transport (or to fight other troop transports).
So...I disagree. wink

wieder wrote:

The unit upgrades are now more expensive until late game. The discovery of invention will reduce the upgrade cost by 20% and later with robotics the players will get a 30% cut to the cost of upgrading units.

That should reduce exploits, but my only puzzlement here why Invention should reduce upgrade costs.  Prior to Invention, there's almost nothing to upgrade in the first place!  That just sets the default upgrade price at 0.8*rush-buy.  Which isn't a bad thing (most upgrades will still be very expensive), just odd.

wieder wrote:

Now those changes that will really change some upgrade strategies:

- cavalries will not be obsoleted
- horses will be obsoleted by chariots
- riflemen are obsoleted by a new unit called infantry. This unit will not have the ability to attack from the sea

-Cavalry never goes obsolete?  Was there a problem with it becoming Mech Infantry?  I'm asking because I truly don't know, having never fought in that era.
-Chariots obsoleting Horses I suppose is reasonable (though historically odd), since they already do in practice.  And where the Chariot's inability to cross mountain and swamp or board a ship becomes an issue, the Elephant can do that instead.
-I approve of defense units not upgrading into attack units.  Be cautious that you don't raise their defense too high unless you're prepared to give a serious buff to Artillery to compensate.  Maybe make them 5A/5D like the old Alpine Troops used to be in Civ2?

wieder wrote:

Also not only related to upgrading units, fundamentalism will become available with feudalism. Warriors will be obsoleted by pikemen that will also become available with feudalism. This means that players can still use the warrior upgrading strategies but may need to choose monarchy or republic if they want to do that.

Interesting.  Is this move just to buff Feudalism?

wieder wrote:

Knights will get a boost but with a slight penalty. Knights will have attack of 6 and defense of 3 but with only 4 moves.

Wow...useful knights!  That's strong enough to fight Muskets on flat ground.  I worry it might make Pikes vulnerable.  Actually, it might make Pikes obsolete, since Knights would have the same defense!  But Pikes are much cheaper, so it will probably all work out.  But in any case, Knights deserve to be strong given their position in the tech tree.  Will be interesting to see the consequences.

wieder wrote:

S-R Caravel is not changed for now but maybe it should be slightly more expensive and not unique for the island games. The island games should have slightly different ruleset compared to continental games. This would also help with siege units.

Square-Rigs as a weird Attack-Ship/special transport hybrid?  It's a little odd, but I have no problem with this.  Assuming that you actually give them the ability to transport siege (which they could not do in LT51), then this could open up more possibilities for warfare on islands.
Also, don't let them go obsolete by Galleons unless Galleons are actually given superior abilities.  It is sad to see a Warship suddenly lose the ability to Attack because of Leonardo's Workshop.

wieder wrote:

The frigates used to have the traditional Civ2Civ3 A and D values but now they have A4 and D3.

Ironclads will have A6 and D5 but they will lose one move with this change so that they now have 10 moves.

Attack should never exceed Defense at sea.  This just makes the winner of battles the one who attack first.  The only reason for high attack strengths in the game is to overcome defense bonuses.  But at sea, there ARE no defense bonuses.  If anything, Defense should be higher than attack so that naval victories require superior concentration of forces, and transport ships could actually be protected on the ocean.  Ships need to be able to leave harbor once in a while!

At the very least, the Ironclad should have higher Defense than Attack, because they historically represented a great leap in Armor over Firepower, and it would be funny to see Ironclad stand-offs.  But I would also be glad to see them gain more coastal attack power, so I'm torn on this.

Maybe 4A/4D Frigates, 6A/4D Flagships, and 5A/6D Ironclads?

wieder wrote:

No change to artillery at this time. This needs more thought.

Siege Units in general need rethinking.  Their specific anti-city attack bonus is a bit odd (they are useless against forts), and makes them nothing but the "ammunition" you expend when conquering cities.  Which maybe is ok.

wieder wrote:

Cruisers indeed have D8 and A4 on purpose and it's definitely intentional.

This is the sort of thing I'd like to see in other eras too.  Can you imagine it? Being able to defend the seas?  It's such a beautiful dream.

wieder wrote:

Also no change to the forts. Forts are powerful but they are not always that useful.

It's true, they are static defenses which can be bypassed.  Only capturing cities truly matter.  But there will always be some situations where forts create a ridiculously unbeatable defense that cannot be bypassed.

wieder wrote:

Comments and feedback is welcome. I think we should test this on the next game and revert back if this stuff doesn't work.

I think a re-evaluation of the Attack/Defense values of many units is in order.  One big issue is the silly doubling of HP in the Gunpowder era. 
It greatly limits your ability to fine-tune Attack and Defense values when adding +1 Attack is actually adding +2 to the real combat power.  Also it makes no sense that Gunpowder doubles HP, rather than Firepower or something like that.  The only reason something so silly is in the rule-set in the first place is because "Civ2 did it", and it didn't make sense then either.  But perhaps a discussion about the "Total overhaul of the combat system" belongs elsewhere... smile

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#4 2020-07-08 20:03:28

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 1,835

Re: Reflections on the LT51 ruleset

Trade Center is a generic name that shoud be changed. It's more like a working name for the effect.

The Lighthouse is maybe not for everyone because of the high cost but the idea is that it will allow some strategies that will really need the extra move. It's not supposed to be a wonder that everyone must build. Actually, in the future, many of the small wonders will be obsoleted sooner and should be built if the player really needs the effect. This is instead of everyone needing to build them.

Invention has been the traditional tech for less expensive upgrades but maybe we could do that at a later time? That would actually make sense so that there would be need to rush for some other tech after gunpowder has been invented. How about Theory of Gravity?

Cavalries used to be obsoleted by armors and then mech inf and the problem is that this allows the players to get some really powerful units really really fast and this is a problem in the late game.

Moving fundamentalism to feudalism is definitely intended as a way to make feudalism more interesting. There is now a downside to switching to funda so let's see how this works out. It's also intended to make funda slightly more tricky to handle.

This strong knights should make pikes almost obsolete. Maybe not quite but they should be useful. In the past crusaders were supposed to be kind of early alternative to gunpowder but now the new knights are supposed to offer an alternative to pikes while making pikes less useful as defensive units and making the invention of gunpowder more important.

Sq cara could be more expensive and also able to carry all the units maybe but only one of them. The question is if it should be obsoleted by transports or the galleon? Maybe transport. The galleon could also move all the units sq cara but without the attack capability. And the galleon should also be able to carry all land units.

I feel that the frigates should have less D compared to A because they are made of wood and surprise is kind of the thing with them. For ironclads we could do the opposite so that it would be tricky to attack them with another ironclad. How about A6 D5? I'll add that now. The prime feature for the flagship frigate is the fast speed and more attack but it can't really have too good defense because it's still a product of the sailing age and made of wood. It however has HP22 so it's not that bad.

We used to have the citybuster flag off for catapult and cannon... Should we turn those back off?

I wonder if there would be a way to turn on the citybuster flag or similar for the siege units - against the forts?

Doubling the FP instead of HP would be a big change...

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