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Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Smallpox vs. largepox, early war vs. peaceful alliances... the AI is too tame? Discuss the best strategies!

Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:57 pm

I'm starting to have a very very strong dislike for trade routes. I though that decreasing bonuses significantly as we have would make them alright. But now after certain game I see that they are mostly ridiculous anyways.

First of they help alliances as talked about in other places, thus making them stronger while they already are overly strong (supposedly, I don't agree with that, I say main problem is that they never fracture).
However most importantly I'd say is that it allows quite ridiculous amounts of income without land. That means that there is much less pressure to expand. Also it seems that there are times where almost only thing that is built are caravans, this again strongly detracts from other aspects of games.
And a very bad part is that you cant really do much about them.

I would argue it would be much better to remove trade route ability from caravans while leaving one time bonus. One time bonus should need significant distance to give anything at all, and be quite sizable/increasing significantly with distance. That would at least allow some interception, would need additional investment of time, you would need to keep building them, thus it would not be that strong advantage, where you build up and have insane advantage, against players that had to wage war. Also if you are peaceful small nation that can't afford war you can still extract value from trade. (all that is provided payoffs are sized appropriately, they would most likely need adjustments depending on map size).

Though I don't think you can currently have one time bonuses without trade routes (please correct me if I'm mistaken). And also I think there is no way to decouple research bonus from gold bonus, and I think it's bad to give equal number of bulbs as gold. I would say would probably need to be at most quarter as much bulbs as gold.

What other people think?
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby Corbeau » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:33 pm

morphles wrote:However most importantly I'd say is that it allows quite ridiculous amounts of income without land. That means that there is much less pressure to expand.

Why should there be any pressure to expand? Why shouldn't people have more options available instead just one: conquer, conquer, conquer? There are many historical examples where this was a perfect winning strategy.

If some people prefer this kind of play, why prevent them from doing it? It adds to variety and increases the number of choices you can make through the game.

There is also a limit to this: only 4 trade routes per city available. This should be enough limitation.

Again, you are trying to push your personal preferences as general rules, imposing your preferable model of gameplay on others.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby Major Nimrod » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:25 pm

This reminds me of an aspect of various other online games that I've played over the years. That is the concept of "Nerfing".

For example, I used to play Guild Wars (original, not the sequel) quite a bit. A fairly notable MMORPG, with many similarities but also many important differences with WOW. I recall even being involved in the closed Beta tests. Anyhow, as is often the case, people discovered various ways to maximize their builds and become quite powerful. As a consequence, many popular builds were considered "too powerful" by the game designers. It became almost a regular routine to see "updates" where certain "too powerful" builds were "nerfed" in order to bring about "game balance". Sadly, the end result was to bring about a more boring game devoid of the fun flavours that the user community helped to bring about it the first place.

Anyhow, all this to say that I'm starting to get the same feeling from this Freeciv forum. Just my 2 cents.

P.S. A fairly good write-up on the concept of Nerfing can be found here on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerf_(video_gaming)
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby vidlius » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:14 pm

Limit options, limit audience.

I'm here to play civilization, not a bread and butter wargame. If I can't make trade routes, engage in diplomacy, buy and sell and build great cities than I have no interest in playing.

Though I do have issue with the exponential rate of research itself, it speeds up the game too much. The ancient ages are over too fast and the middle ages simply don't exist, having 4 cities from 4000bc instead of 1 isn't going to help with that situation either.

The research costs need to be tweaked, (I don't know exactly how they function). Major developments, such as ancient to middle, middle to gunpowder, etc, need to rapidly jump in cost, IMO.

As far as a going to war early, versus sitting and focusing on science and trade, that's a strategic choice, make it worth it and don't commit 2000 years to do it.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:44 pm

Again, you are trying to push your personal preferences as general rules, imposing your preferable model of gameplay on others.

Ditto for you, only you do it in reactionary way.

There is also a limit to this: only 4 trade routes per city available. This should be enough limitation.

Thats way too many, with numbers of cities people have it means over game you end up building sick numbers of caravans.

If some people prefer this kind of play, why prevent them from doing it? It adds to variety and increases the number of choices you can make through the game.

For at least third time: theoretical options do not translate to practical options. Trade routes are not optional, they are a must as they are currently so there is no variety and no options, you have to build that shit.

Why should there be any pressure to expand? Why shouldn't people have more options available instead just one: conquer, conquer, conquer? There are many historical examples where this was a perfect winning strategy.

If you read carefully my suggestion does not remove that option. It removes magical defense cheesy crap though. Wanna trade? Ok, I support such choices, but getting huge free bonuses (aka no way to eliminate trade routes) is just bullshit.

@nimrod:
apples and oranges. I can't speak about mmo stuff as I don't play them, and in general view them with derision. But strategy games are different. Maybe you heard of a game, was decently popular RTS, the company that made it kept tuning and balancing for like dunnno 10 years, many people agree that thats the reason why that game stayed (and still remains) active and with serious pro community while tons of games went through many iterations while not going anywhere. Starcraft it was called, might have heard of it.

Yeah I get that I complain about a lot of things. But thats because I want game to be better. But game balance is quite a real thing and strongly dominant strategies, even if you like them, do not make game better. And currently trade routes are very strongly dominant. Dem and Repub are also insanely dominant on default ruleset, a bit less so on civ2civ3. That does not really add anything to game, everyone is forced to take same path. Then everyone is limited in diplomacy department.

As for expansion, well basically all games, computer or board, are about expansion of influence, and its mainly done by territory, just like in real life (and not only applicable in war). There are some unique peculiar board games that might work in very different and weird games, and they are quite ok in fact (zertz is a nice example). But strategy games are mostly about territory logistics and diplomacy. Currently however there are many ways that push back territory game, push back not as into back seat, no push back as in time. Territory war has to come and does come, only later. But there is absolutely no point in that. Sitting on camels while going to spaceships looses ton of time and ton of game with it as ton of stuff is seriously underutilized, talk about loss of options...
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby Major Nimrod » Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:48 pm

vidlius wrote:Limit options, limit audience.

I'm here to play civilization, not a bread and butter wargame. If I can't make trade routes, engage in diplomacy, buy and sell and build great cities than I have no interest in playing.


Well said, sir. I couldn't agree more !
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby Corbeau » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:17 pm

Hey, I said this weeks before him!
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:22 pm

Ah such a nice false dichotomy. Having more active game-play in no way precludes those things. (well apart from current implementation of trade routes, which is imbalanced)
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby monamipierrot » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:43 pm

No time to read all comments, but I want to leave my 2 cents: as I said dozens of time earlier, trade routes income should be drastically reduced. This will lead to games with SOME trade routes, not with hundreds of.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:55 pm

It would be a compromise, maybe. But I still see my suggestion with need to shuttle stuff around to get income as better and more logical. More interesting also, in that it would allow for "piracy" and interceptions.
Also my understanding is that there really is no way to reduce trade route revenue? (please correct me if I'm wrong) It seems you can only reduce one time bonus, which is actually the opposite of what I would do...
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