03 October 2010

CivV

Some thoughts.

The good.

I like the fact there's no slider for money and science (or anything else). If you run out of money, you start running out of units or eat into your tech (which is basically all the slider did before).

Building maintenance is far more appropriate than city maintenance based on size (or distance from capital).

Happiness from buildings or luxuries/wonders gives golden ages, and provides combat penalties if it gets down far enough and removes the micromanagement of unhappy citizens in a city and "war weariness" by abstracting it to the civilization level.

Combat without the stack of doom methods seems improved (if the AI was up to the challenge at least). Feels more like army groups moving around the continent and a little less city centered, but only a little less. Could do with being able to stack two units in a square, but otherwise, fine.

Abstracted research agreements rather than simply trading techs seems better. Diplomacy over all is a little more interesting conceptually than in Civ4.

Bombardment from ships and cities onto enemy units.

Civic tree is a lot more interesting than in 4. More choices as the game progresses than simple Free Speech, Representation, Emancipation, Free Markets, Free Religion/Organised Religion (depending on wonders you got).

Also receiving these choices mostly through culture based on empire size is an interesting twist. You can accumulate culture faster with a bigger empire, but you need more of it to win the game that way. Kind of points the way toward blasting everyone else to dust or the tech victories once the empire gets big. The changes might be too permanent between the 5 different trees to choose from for long enough game play, but in general there's a good enough advantage to one over another to stick with it. I'm not sure I'd have effectively excluded a bigger empire from using a culture victory, but there it is.

Cities tend to be more required to specialize, both through tile specific buildings (mints, stables, etc) and the general lack of production forcing you to economize on which cities are factories and which are banks or scientific.

The meh.

Not having to build and escort transports seems a little too abstracted, but manageable.

Got rid of religions and corporations? Corporations I could see (they could be a bit overpowered). But religion? Interesting...

Hexes instead of the old tiles is a change. But it's kind of a boring one.

Units per strategic resource limitation should decrease the mass cavalry/tank stacks and mass air forces.

City-states could have been executed better. Trade routes with them or some such. Maritime city-states are way overpowered I think and military ones seem relatively useless (with the possible exception that it was by design there be no production so you'd have to rely on free units).

Graphics are meh. Trading posts and rivers seem to draw the most ire. Hard to tell which tiles are being worked. An animation for Civ4 may be too much CPU, but a hut on the farm or some other object to indicate which is active and which is not would be useful.

Roads and railroads cost maintenance. This can be annoying if you want to have a network of roads and causes some of the micromanagement problems for moving "stacks" of units around.

Civilizations do not have unique leader traits, but instead have civ specific bonuses and a couple units or a building and a unit. These bonuses are often unbalanced completely. While the Civ4 traits were sometimes unbalanced, they were at least all useful.

Strategic view is pretty undetailed graphically. What exactly am I looking at here? Does have more filtering options, though, plus versus minus.

AI is generally pretty lame to terrible. This was only addressed in Civ4 for me with a mod however rather than with the original game, so it's pretty hard to complain about it. As an example, the AI has always had issues doing an intercontinental war. In Civ4 with the mod, I did occasionally see them drop a hammer down with carriers and stacks of transports and boats on me or others and back it up with follow up invasions or pick up dozens of stranded units that captured some puny island and move them to the mainland. As of right now, this AI seems pretty tame and unable to win the game.

The Argh.
Flanking enemy units bonus is too easy to get. Should have to attack from the rear rather than the side front.

Game feels unpolished (aka, not like a Civ release). Lots of minor features unrelated to game play are unimplemented (no autonamed save games, civilopaedia errors are plentiful and annoying) and some ingame play features appeared broken (no rush buying things in progress versus buying it straight up, some wonders did not match their descriptions in actual impacts).

Very little information on some game concepts (railroads/roads speed, unit bombard range, etc)

Can be hard to get some of the mid-to-late national wonders within normal game play (ie, conquests). The old system of needing to build a set number seemed adequate, especially with the production issues this game has. Either decrease their bonuses and make them easier to build or make other things easier to build so the national wonders are worth getting.

Diplomacy agreements when they expire should open the menu to renew them.

Culture warfare doesn't exist. Tiles once taken over, don't get switched back until you use a culture bomb. Being able to pick which tile you want to expand to next would be nice also.

I can't tell very easily if a city has a wonder in it when you capture it before razing it to the ground to build one of your own (or not). Given that I more or less burn them all to the ground with the happiness penalties that are imposed, I'd at least like to keep something useful around. Also, how strong is the city's HP value so I can tell if I can capture it with an attack?

Buildings are not balanced. Some are largely useless.

Units do not move through very well with stack limitations, wastes micromanagement moving them around if all a unit is doing is passing through to another hex. If not this, add a "wait" command or a "formation move".

Production seems for most of the game to be very slow, and then by the late game, to be faster (by contrast) relative to technologies. Units and buildings can be rendered obsolete by the time they are completed. Adding an additional resource to hills/mines or pastures (or to specials from either) could be useful to keep the game well paced. Or alternatively, decrease the cost to produce some less useful buildings significantly, or to production increasing buildings.

Most bonus resource tiles (non-luxury/non-strategic) are basically useless, they should add some more significant food, production, culture, scientific, or money bonus to make them worth having in a city radius or techs that should make them more productive squares if not automatically. Luxuries and strategic resources are only useful for the civilization bonuses in most cases (gold/silver can be okay, with a mint in the city).

Happiness could probably scale with map size with only a fixed number of luxury resources available in the game and larger empires in play, or happiness penalties for numbers of citizens or especially numbers of cities should alternatively scale downward with larger maps.


Great people are pretty lame strategically, not because they are underpowered but because they do not offer choices as they did in Civ4 that are meaningful. There's no reason to create an academy or a citadel instead of spam a tech or follow around the army and offer a combat bonus, etc.

No espionage? Sun Tzu is not amused.
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