Category Archives: Civilization 5

[Civ6] Later Impressions of Rise and Fall

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Generic splash screen, becuz I didn’t take any screenshots in-game.

When I said I felt “done” with Civ6 in the last post, I kinda felt bad about that, so I created a new game — this time I went with Korea, as I’d seen somewhere that that civ is “overpowered.”  I did an Island Plates map and ended up with Pericles as a close neighbor that I immediately attacked his capital and took over in the Ancient Era, then finished exploring the island we shared and began settling it out.

And I have to agree — Korea is overpowered.  I was playing on Epic speed, so 750 turns instead of 500, but everything I did seemed to take the same number of turns as in a normal speed game, and tech came insanely fast due to their unique campus district.  So fast that I had actually completed the tech tree in 325-ish turns — not even halfway through the game turn-wise and I had the full tech tree.

Yeah.  THAT overpowered.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I did a science victory for that game.

The era score was still completely opaque to me, but I managed to be “normal age” for the 1st era change, and then “golden age” for the rest of the game, I assume due to all my fast advancement in science.

After that game, I decided to go to an old favorite with Indonesia, this time on an Archipelago map.  I hoped for Auckland as a city-state, but I hoped in vain.  On the other hand, Nan Madol was in there, which also synergizes nicely with Indonesia wanting to build everything in coastal tiles, so I ended up having culture coming out of my ears in spite of never building any culture districts.

This game was more of a see-saw on the dark vs golden ages.  Moving from a dark age to a golden age actually makes it “heroic” so you get to choose 3 of 4 dedications, which can be nice, but when you’re in a golden age, a dedication doesn’t give era score (unlike in a dark or normal age) so that’s why it’s so easy to fall back out of golden — even right back to dark.  I got to the point where I’d “only” see saw from golden to normal and back to golden, but it’s still an obvious design decision on the dev’s part that seems to punish you for getting a golden age, in spite of the (very small to the point of being unnoticeable) bonuses you get while in a golden age.

We’d gotten into the Medieval Era and I had some Jung units that I’d bought with faith (go go Indonesia cultural powers!) and I’d gotten a great admiral that had turned one into a full armada.  I’d just unlocked fleets, so I had a 2nd unit in a fleet and both these guys were out exploring, along with the caravels that I’d upgraded from my initial galleys.  I was suzerain of Armagh, a faith city-state, and was getting some really nice bonus faith from them each turn, so when Kongo declared war on them and my ships all happened to be within a turn or 2 of being able to move on Kongo… I declared a protectorate war.

Konga didn’t even have walls on most of his cities, so my Jung armada was 1-shotting their health to nothing, then a caravel could come in and take the city.  Since they were halfway around the world, I knew with the loyalty mechanic I’d never be able to hold the cities, so I just razed them instead.  I just did this to “outer fringe” cities, but this knocked him from 6 back to his 3 core cities.  These 3 did have walls, and I knocked one set out, then he sued for peace.  I accepted.  And then next turn he sent enough envoys to Armagh the he became suzerain, so of course he wasn’t going to attack it anymore.

I actually didn’t care.  Suzerain of Armagh can build a monastery improvement, is all — I only cared that I had 6 envoys there for all the faith that that gave me in my shrines and temples each turn that I could use to buy more naval units.

A bit later, my 2 nearest neighbors — Pericles and Amanti…  um… Nubia… declared a joint war on my.  Pericles was slightly closer, so I decided to go after him 1st, since Nubia didn’t even have any ships that I could see — plus all my cities had walls and bombards in them by then, so I wasn’t worried about needing sea units to defend them.

Since I forgot about loyalty for a bit, instead of going for Greece’s closest city, I went around to the far side of his island and took Athens, figuring that losing his capital would weaken him more overall,  but since it was in the middle of his empire, the loyalty from all the surrounding Greek citizens meant that there was no way could I hold it.  It said that I had 5 turns before losing it, so I tried to send the 3-turn military governor and get its monument repaired, plus immediately went back and took the city between Athens and my borders.  This slowed the loss to 7 turns, but it still turned independent on me.

From this I learned that if you’re doing a war across water, to have any hope of hanging on to your gains, you must steamroll the opposition to reduce their loyalty pressure.  No “take this city and consolidate my gain, then advance” anymore.  Nope, it’s “take them all as fast as possible so their loyalty becomes yours.”  So I swept through and took everything Greece had, then went back and re-took the independent Athens as well.

That meant I’d just added 6 new cities.  And I was still at war with Nubia, who was a little farther away.  I decided “sure, why not?” and went after that civ also.  Now that I knew I had to steamroll, I made sure I had units in place and ready to go, then swept through her landmass also.  She had built the Statue of Liberty wonder in one of her central cities, so taking that actually made the war a lot easier as that wonder makes all cities within 6 tiles of it 100% loyal to you at all times, so the loyalty pressure on the cities that I’d taken, but before fully mopping her up suddenly became a non-issue.

About at this point Kongo and Egypt declared a joint war on my, since they now hated me for my warmongering.  So they got the same treatment.  Egypt was closer, so she got sewn up 1st, then that took me close enough to Kongo to be able to maintain loyalty pressure there, so I could now take and hold cities on his landmass.

After this, Norway, who’d been my friend the whole game now hated me, though since I now controlled about 90% of the world, he knew better than to attack me, at least.  But since it’d been a long game, I assembled my fleets at his capital, then declared war and took it and got my 1st Domination victory.

I’ve not completed any other games since then.  I’ve started a couple as the Dutch, but haven’t gone past about 200 turns yet.  The games are saved, so I’ll get there sooner or later.

Overall, I think I prefer not having the loyalty mechanic, nor the ages, so I guess that means I still prefer “vanilla” Civ6 to the Rise and Fall expansion.  The new mechanics just force you to play a certain way, rather than let you make your own choices.

For what it’s worth, the Rock Paper Shotgun review of the game has noticed this same feeling in the game now, so I know I’m not alone in it.  From that review:  “Everything from the tech boosts that work like mini buffs and achievements to the focus on using the unique qualities of your chosen nation encourages a correct way of playing. There is so much feedback and positive reinforcement for ‘good’ choices that without even realizing it, I’m sometimes locked into a specific way of playing that’s defined more by the map and the city states around me than it is by my own choices.”

So anyway… I won’t say I’m feeling buyer’s remorse anymore, but I’m still not really seeing the expansion as an improvement on the original game either.

Happy gaming out there!

[Civ6] Rise and Fall 1st Impressions

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Generic splash screen, becuz I didn’t take any screenshots in-game.

I’ve only played a few hours, as Warframe was calling me back to it, but I played a little way in as Wilhelmina of the Dutch.  I picked the “True Start Europe” map which put me right next to France, and fairly near Poland, though at least I didn’t have Germany “right there” so I wasn’t too hemmed in.

As it was, I rush-built a bunch of warriors and took out Paris in the Ancient era so I avoided any warmonger penalties, then started worrying about settling my cities.  Oddly enough, the TSL map isn’t really ideal for the Dutch to be able to build their polders near Amsterdam — you actually need to settle up into Denmark and then you can “polderize” the North Sea pretty well, though.  For production you have to head southeast into the forested hills of Germany, and Philip of Spain is pretty well trapped behind the Pyrenees, though he can take out the Lisbon city-state for an additional city, and if you’re not careful (like I wasn’t) he can sneak a settler up into southern France as well, though he eventually just starts colonizing North Africa.  England and Scotland both were pretty well stuck in the UK, and the last 2 civs I got on my seed were Alexander of Macedon and Jadwiga of Poland.  Jadwiga’s spread out a lot as she had a lot of space to her east, and tbh, I’ve still not uncovered the map far enough to be sure of Alex’s holdings.  I’m allied with him, but that doesn’t give shared visibility anymore, so … whatever.  I’ve got some caravels in the Med, so I should be able to see at least some of it soon.

The governors seem kinda fun.  Toss “The Steward” in your primary production city as he bonuses that up nicely, and so far for all the rest I’ve sent them to the fringes to keep the loyalty points up, but otherwise haven’t really worried about their bonuses much.  The loyalty system seems designed to keep empires from forward-settling too badly, becuz if you settle far from your borders then they lose loyalty and can flip (without combat) to the civ that they’re closer to.

I don’t really like the Era Score mechanic they’ve added.  It seems pretty opaque — you don’t know what you need to do in order to gain more score, and sometimes things seem a bit random, like I threw down a mid-game city between Amsterdam and Paris (so I could grab a dye resource that was just out of reach of either) and that got me 4 points — 3 for “boldy settling” near London, and then 1 more since it was close to the Cliffs of Dover natural wonder.  Or sometimes you get a point or 2 for a certain tech or cultural discovery, but nothing indicates beforehand that this would happen.  It also seems designed to have you either “always be normal ages, else see-saw from golden to dark, then back again” which is just annoying.

And there’s still no way to disable that most loathsome espionage feature that I have always despised and always turned off in every prior Civ game that I’ve played becuz I hate it so much.

My beloved CQUI makes the game crash on launch right now too until it gets updated.  The default UI has some improvements, but CQUI is still vastly superior to it.  I especially miss my “overlap” lens that CQUI provides.  Much easier to use that to see the best spots for the “ranged districts” or wonders than to have to manually count out from each city.

Overall impression — meh.  The era score mechanic is too opaque to be engaging, and seems more designed to limit forward advancement “too fast” than it is to actually reward you for doing well.  In short, the game now feels like it’s “you will play it how the developers have decreed” rather than as “a series of interesting choices.”

I actually have a touch of buyer’s remorse for the purchase.  I don’t think that’s a good thing.  I don’t intend to play it again until the CQUI is available for it again either.  Too many of its amazing features aren’t in the default.

Happy gaming out there!

[FFXIV] Bonus Item Screenies

I did the Easter event back when it came out.  The way my Roegadame sits on it though… all of her outfits seem to have skirts of some kind, and the way she sits on the egg makes them “fly up” and look silly.  The only outfit that wasn’t too awful was my gathering gear, but even it had some of the skirt thing going on —

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Flying Easter Egg Mount

Frankly, I’ve not played much since then, mostly just an occasional login to say hi to the FC, but that’s about it.  Just waiting for Stormblood to come out…..

But I did buy a 60-day time card on Amazon in order to qualify for the promo, so here as some screenies of that:

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The new Dragoon glamour stick. and of course the MSQ outfit becuz it’s pretty kewl looking too.

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I glamoured my monk gear to be the new eastern garb. Dalamud Red dye, in case you care. And yes, this is the new cloud mount. I reallllllly like it!

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Applying the time card put me over the threshold for the next veteran gear reward, so here’s the barding I got, this time on my daughter’s character.

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My daughter’s character in the Eastern Garb with the cloud mount also.

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This sounds like a fun game, just like it says

As to what I’ve been filling my time with….. still mostly Civ6 and Pillars of Eternity.  On this playthrough I’ve done the White March 1 and 2, plus I think I’m nearing the end of Act 3.  The group of 6 is all capped at level 16, so…. shouldn’t be much longer to finish, and then perhaps try again on a harder difficulty with a different group makeup.

I’ve also recently bought Stellaris, since it went on sale on Steam this past week, including the new “everything” bundle in the sale.  Haven’t gotten very far yet, but it seems fun so far.

I even reinstalled Morrowind — amazingly still had my disks from when I bought it back in 2002.  and of course I’ve done a bunch of graphics mods to make it not look so 2002-y anymore.  But after I got it modded, I haven’t really played it much yet.  But soon…. soon……  I played it almost exclusively for about 2 years after it came out, so I’m sure a lot of it will come flooding back to me once I get past Balmora.  Until then, I’ve got no problem taking my time getting back into that world.

And of course, watching tv with the wife, reading books, and my wife and I even saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last weekend, so….. always plenty of stuff going on, even when I’m not playing a specific MMO each day.

Happy gaming out there!

[FFXIV][CivVI] So….close……

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So…. close…..

My goal of getting every class/job to 60 is almost complete.  Maybe 3 more days of Moogle quests should see me through!

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i260 Warrior Axe get!

And beyond that… what’s exciting about “ran an expert each day to cap tomes, bought another gear piece for my tanking set, etc?”

Okay, sure — Little Ladies’ Day was cute, and you can see in the top picture that I got the outfit, but that took all of… 15 minutes?  And I eventually plan to craft complete sets of level 50-58 gear for both Monk and Caster so that I’ll have them available at Stormblood’s release for Samurai and Red Mage to use as they catch up to 60 and then can start sharing the “real gear” that I’ve already got, but that’s still a ways off.

So, since Civ6 just released their latest update,I’ve been playing a lot of that over the past week instead.  Information on the balance passes made on the game since the 1st few weeks is kinda hard to find, but I managed to suss it out.  The biggest change is that buildings that give a bonus to anything within 6 tiles don’t stack anymore, so clustering 3-4 Industrial zones in between your cities or mutual adjacency bonuses and then the massive production boost from having 4 factories and power plants is no longer a thing.

On the other hand, it means that if you build in a square like that, you only need the 1 industrial zone, so the other 3 cities can do the entertainment or culture districts (that often get left by the wayside) for a more balanced overall output.

Harbors and commercial districts still grant a trade route, but only the 1st district built in a city does, so no more annoyingly massive trade networks from building both.  And the current meta is to spam out commercial districts to get all the traders you can still, but only 1, maybe 2 harbors in your high-production cities for building your navy up.  They also made counterspy missions take longer so you’re not constantly having to re-assign the spies.  That’s a nice quality of life change.

Of the new Civs released, it seems Australia is the new Morocco — their Outback Stations make the desert give food and production.  Couple that with Petra and there’s your mega-city that Morocco could get with Petra plus Kasbahs.

Fun little quirk of the new “True Start Locations” earth map.  Egypt and Arabia start within 1 tile of each other, though Arabia’s settler is across the Nile from Egypt’s warrior, so it’s not easily reachable. But Arabia’s warrior starts literally on top of Egypt’s settler, so it means that Arabia can declare war on Egypt 1st turn and not only eliminate the AI player by taking its settler, but then also have 2 settlers on turn 1.  You can also select the civs you want to play against.  England, Japan, and Australia are trapped on their islands for quite some time (Japan tends to not really ever leave and just sit stuck with only 1 city on a small crappy island), plus you can pick Brazil, Aztecs, and US for the other 3 and boom — Arabia now has completely unfettered access to Europe, Africa, and Asia for as long as you can manage to keep pumping out settlers.  Or you could if you wanted to play as Arabia, anyway….

But yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to gaming wise.  And now for a slight screenie dump:

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I did Little Lady’s Day for my daughter’s character too. She loves the dress and the new dance.

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Lava Scorpion Arena pre-fight. You can see where the lava will come up and destroy the outer edges, so pre-positioning is easy.

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The telegraph that the lava is coming

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Lava in place

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Post fight the lava is gone again, but as a nice touch, the devs now have the ground being burned looking. I thought it a nice detail, anyway. Enough so that I took this screenie progression so I could share it…

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One of the NPC’s in the crowd watching the Songbirds. I did a double-take when I 1st saw her, and though some player was being tasteless and trashy. Somehow that it’s an NPC makes it worse in my mind. 😦

Happy gaming out there!

[Civ6] Putting it all together

On Sunday evening I started a new game of Civ6.  Now that I know everything from my prior “info-dump” post, I had a plan going in and just needed to execute it.

I chose Germany due to them having their industrial zone be a unique tile, which means it gets a discount when building it.  I got a starting seed with 3 city-states fairly close by.  1 is to my NW, 1 is to the NE, and the last one is to my SE.  This essentially forced me to look at building to the south and west of my starting spot.  There were a lot of rivers in that direction, though, so it all looked good.

Except France was there to the south and she took exception to me dropping 2 cities “on her borders” early on.  I don’t think she’s forgiven me for that, becuz she just declared a surprise war on me during my last play session.  After getting those 2 cities down, my scout also found a nice spot close enough to the west to be able to “finish a square” so to speak.  I also found that India was off that direction, so if I wanted to get a city there I’d need to work on that, so I rush-built a settler and tossed it over that way too.  Over time, I was able to build 3 industrial districts in a triangle with commercial districts adjacent for big bonuses, and the 4th industrial zone is 1 hex away from that triangle, so it’s still close enough to everything to spread its bonus to all 4 cities in the square, even if it’s a slightly smaller bonus (+10 instead of the other’s +12 when I checked).  Here’s what it all looks like right now:

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The red square shows all the industrial and commercial zones clustered in the middle so as to mutually bonus each other and all 4 cities.  And yes, I built the Ruhr BValley wonder in there too.  I *am* Germany, after all 😉

 

As you can see, I’ve also built a city off to the north now.  I had to do that to pick up some niter.  And I’ve got a settler headed over to the south of Amsterdam there as well since once I finished researching Steam Power some coal popped up down there.  My only “problem” right now is that I’m still landlocked, but once I get that city up on that coal resource it will be coastal so I’ll be able to build a harbor there, so that will be taken care of soon.  Of course it’ll be right on France’s border again, so that will make her mad too, but she’s using warriors and spearmen against muskets and field cannons.  I’m not worried….

My scouts also found China and Egypt pretty early on and they both declared war jointly almost immediately.  I ‘d put an Archer in each city, and I thought I’d built walls around all of them, but overlooked one (Mainz on the SW corner), so of course that was the one closest to Egypt and the one that got attacked by a bunch of warriors and archers.  Fortunately for me I had already built roads from my other cities so I was able to bring down a swordsman and some more archers to drive her back even without the city being defended by walls.  Though oddly enough after I’d killed off all but one of her warriors she used her archers to take my city HP to nothing, then instead of attacking with the last warrior and taking the city she sued for peace and withdrew.  Whew……  I never even saw China before they sued for peace.

Other than that early scare the game’s been going very well for me.  I’m completely dominating in Tech and Civics.  Although I’ve started to be spied upon and I can’t build spies yet, and I’m not sure what I need to do to get them.  More to look up how to do…  But anyway, I’m a powerhouse this time due to knowing how the bonuses stack now and making sure to build in a way to take maximum advantage of the bonuses.  How well?  Well, check out this screenshot showing the horrible reporting UI and see how much production I have in my capital and the “worst” of the other 3 cities in “the square:”

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Yes, 110 production in my capital, and 81 in another city.  The other 2 cities in “the square” are doing 84, and 85 production.  I wish I could collapse the city view on that report and just show overall totals, but… bad UI is bad.  The 5th city up north that isn’t part of “the square” also has 45 production, which isn’t bad at all, just not quite as insanely good as the 4 central cities.

But yeah… I finally feel like I’ve got a handle on the game.  Time to start branching out and trying other civs and playstyles…

Happy gaming out there!