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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!

Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby thegrime » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:02 pm

Reducing the one time bonus helps. In GT7, airports, rails, the default ruleset and vast distances made it very easy to generate trade routes that got a +1000 gold bonus. Then with this bonus, you could buy more freights to generate more trade routes -- exponential increases soon followed. In the end, one player at the extreme of the map was building tons of cities in the desert, just as a destination for trade routes.

I'm not sure that's what you want.

As for the routes themselves: there are ways to get rid of them. You can either replace them with trade routes that are better or you can destroy the city. The first, of course, is preferable but not always possible.

Caravans can be captured by enemies under the civ2civ3 ruleset. Galleons can be sunk, Ports blockaded, etc., which can balance the actual process.

Now, as for the presistance of routes -- I made my point in GT8. You can either build bunches of costly improvements to keep your population in line, or you can build trade routes. Trade routes often speed up the game. Without them in GT8, we'd still be flinging musketballs at each other. Some may like this, some may not. They probably would have been fine in GT9, if it were not for the default science rate.

And to really take advantage of trade routes, you need to build other costly improvements.

And the net result -- trade routes allow bigger armies and more action. Which is what you wanted, is it not?
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:41 pm

Well my posts somehow end up being overly long, so here is short answer: NO. :) If you are not too lazy read further;)

One thing to note, I'm abstract thinker and like to talk about general state of affairs, quote some of my ideas here come from "though games" (think though experiment in physics), concrete examples are there, well to be examples as my experience is that other people are less likely to be abstract thinkers. This note is here to maybe help you better see from where I'm coming from.

Everything what you say about capture is mostly irrelevant, because of very simple reason: you take tiny risk once and get basically unlimited payoff forever. Since trade routes never disappear. But there is more. Yeah you can replace routes with better ones, but if it is your enemies routes, you will not do that! What is more, suppose you are allied with distant player, you build trade routes with him. Now time passes, situation changes and you need to make war with that player, and need to ally with closer neighbors. But you can't do shit about trade routes, as your ex ally is further and thus routes are more lucrative, you can not help your current ally who is closer, and you are helping your now enemy! (mind you in some upcoming version there might be some limitation on civ statuses/state transitions).

Now, as for the presistance of routes -- I made my point in GT8. You can either build bunches of costly improvements to keep your population in line, or you can build trade routes. Trade routes often speed up the game. Without them in GT8, we'd still be flinging musketballs at each other. Some may like this, some may not. They probably would have been fine in GT9, if it were not for the default science rate.

And the net result -- trade routes allow bigger armies and more action. Which is what you wanted, is it not?

Building can and do get destroyed you can attack them, they have upkeep, they normally depend on land, which again can be denied access in many ways. You can do nothing against trade routes (again replacing enemies trade routes with better is complete nonsense, and if talking about taking the city, well that the plan anyways thus it does not count as doing anything against trade routes). You can have city in shitland, surrounded by glaciers, and then all its "workable" squares contain enemy units, thus under total siege in a middle of nowhere, and trade routes still are not affected!

As for GT8, au contrare, would be my guess. I'm not sure how much time did north spend on caravans, but we did spend a lot, as we have seen the disadvantage your shenanigans put as into. We probably had like ~30 building mostly caravans. Suppose north had higher production (likely considering terrain, so you spend) maybe 20-25, mostly on caravans (ofc maybe you did things differently, I don't know). All this time could have been used fighting real fights. (I don't know much about GT9 situation on such tings, I have 0 trade routes there, and very little info on other players) That "makes game faster" by allowing more buying is also incredibly disgusting to me, first you spend time not pushing game forward. Then everything gets amplified as everyone gets more gold, and supposedly things progress faster. But this amplification amplifies everything, including luck factors. And I find it very questionable that it even makes things faster, as if everyone leveled up equally, it does not give much advantage to anyone, thus I do not see how it makes stuff all that faster. Mind you I of course did not doe any of the "conventional" strategies in GT9, and that is on purpose. Cause I got bored of that, so now of course I'm at a severe disadvantage. And here another fallacy rears it ugly head: you have choice you can trade and do econ or you can do war. In most cases the outcome is quite clear (I have basically no hope of progressing significantly in gt9), thus the choices are limited, you if you want good chances you have to play "by the rules". Meaning there is less variety than there could be.

So far I actually fail to see those bigger armies too. I played gt6, it had no trade routes at all. Nimrod was my ally. And he showed me what big armies look like. There was no need for trade routes to get that. Mind you, that game kinda sucked and suffered most of the same, but that was probably mostly because it was island map. Again there was insane amount of time for econ buildup and then, whoever moved out with first with his sick army won (well a bit of oversimplification, but mostly). Also, don't know where you got the idea that I want bigger armies. I want more active armies. Not armies that only city hop mostly. Or armies that stand in homeland for half the game until huge numbers are amassed and then move out clearing everything. Any RTS'es I have seen such playstyle is hallmark of noob campines. Serious games have lots of raiding and skirmishes, small attacks to damage econ and similar. And anything like that is insanely hard to do in civ games, and also gives dubious results at best.

Reducing the one time bonus helps. In GT7, airports, rails, the default ruleset and vast distances made it very easy to generate trade routes that got a +1000 gold bonus. Then with this bonus, you could buy more freights to generate more trade routes -- exponential increases soon followed. In the end, one player at the extreme of the map was building tons of cities in the desert, just as a destination for trade routes.

Yes default one time bonuses are just retarded I know that, but they can be adjusted. But having trade based on one time bonuses would at least make trade have some cost (like warfare has some cost), would also enable real piracy/interception. You only gain gold as long as you build caravans, meanwhile your build slots are clogged. You switch to war, you stop trade stuff, no nonexpiring advantage from doing rather minor thing. You would have different episodes cycles, different nations having different strategies at different times. Now it much less possible, cause if you miss main wave of trade route buildup you'll be left quite far behind, so you better don't! And thus trade-route buildup likely mostly happens at the similar rate everywhere. As for rails and airports, civ2civ3 caravans do not use rails (at least my test indicate so), for airports it should be possible to disable airlifting for specific unit, maybe (my attempts at that so far failed), but that can be implemented. As for buying, well I think I said already, I do not like that concept much at all, and it does not matter what you are buying.

Also any experienced players are very welcome to point out what they see as being wrong with my reasoning. As surely lot of you have much more game experience.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby thegrime » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:15 pm

The simple flaw in your reasoning:
You refuse to use the tools available to you, then claim unfairness because other people do use them.

That's like saying "I don't believe in boats, and anyone who builds them is gaining an unfair advantage". Or "I don't believe in castling in Chess, therefore I'll never do it. But if you do it, you're cheating". Both are equally silly statements.. Trade routes bring fruit to those who know how to manage them.

Half the skill of FreeCiv is building and managing your empire. That involves knowing the rules, seeing their various avantages and disdvantages, and then adapting your strategy accordingly. The other half is, of course, war and its varying strategies. That is influenced by your skill at building and managing, along with luck and a whole heap of other factors. The third "half" is human relations, and your skill here is key to previous two halves. If you manage your neighbors, your allies, your enemies properly, you prosper. If not, they kill you.

The North in GT8 has never had a period where we built only caravans. We've always been bulding and doing other things. And we did create skirmishes, side missions, distractions for you, even while building trade routes. For me, building trade routes is an essential part of the development of my cities, and I intermix it with army developement. So, maybe it's you not actually playing the game correctly, and not other people gaining unfair advantages?
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:17 pm

The North in GT8 has never had a period where we built only caravans. We've always been bulding and doing other things. And we did create skirmishes, side missions, distractions for you, even while building trade routes. For me, building trade routes is an essential part of the development of my cities, and I intermix it with army developement. So, maybe it's you not actually playing the game correctly, and not other people gaining unfair advantages?

I'm really really wondering about those distractions for me, cause I really was not distracted at all.
Well to be fair I haven't built a single trade route in gt8 myself :P still almost maxed them out. So in a sense that goes for us too. But that is mostly irrelevant.

You refuse to use the tools available to you, then claim unfairness because other people do use them.

You are wrong (i.e. gt9 I knew full well what I was going into with my strategy, but I wanted to test thing to see how they work, and have a bit more interesting play/game). And missed the part about this not being about particular games. I talked about this with nimrod in chat. There is such thing as game balance. It is also quite hard to achieve, for game to prosper and live long life it has to be constantly tweaked and various overly powerful strategies should be handled in some way. If you do not do that, game becomes overly simplistic and bland. In civ games a lot of stuff is/can be masked by diplomacy. I again refer to Starcraft, which is probably a computer game that has longest living active community. And why is that? Because Blizzard kept pushing fixes, and yes even balancing fixed for like 10 years after release. Because when serious players start playing they find and see overly powerful and exploitable strategies that degenerate game. When at the begging costs and stats were so that zerg rush was like totally absolutely best thing, Blizzard did not just say to players oh man you can too play zerg and use rushing! Mind, I'm not saying that trade routes are as broken as that, but they have seriously negative qualities. And I really think that game can be improved significantly by altering their functioning.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby ifaesfu » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:02 pm

Trade routes should be disabled in this kind of game (many players), because they make stronger the bigger alliances. It's another factor to unbalance the games. They would be a little better if you only could make them with your own cities.
Also, I don't like them because they speed up insanely the game.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby Major Nimrod » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:43 pm

I just wanted to say the following:

It's my opinion that Thegrime has made the most coherent and reasonable arguments in this particular thread.

Period. In fact, I haven't read anything better or more conclusive than the following statement:

thegrime wrote:The simple flaw in your reasoning:
You refuse to use the tools available to you, then claim unfairness because other people do use them.

That's like saying "I don't believe in boats, and anyone who builds them is gaining an unfair advantage". Or "I don't believe in castling in Chess, therefore I'll never do it. But if you do it, you're cheating". Both are equally silly statements.. Trade routes bring fruit to those who know how to manage them.

Half the skill of FreeCiv is building and managing your empire. That involves knowing the rules, seeing their various avantages and disdvantages, and then adapting your strategy accordingly. The other half is, of course, war and its varying strategies. That is influenced by your skill at building and managing, along with luck and a whole heap of other factors. The third "half" is human relations, and your skill here is key to previous two halves. If you manage your neighbors, your allies, your enemies properly, you prosper. If not, they kill you.


I've grown particularly tired of hearing arguments for nurfing the game because this or that particular aspect of the game is "imbalanced". The game is quite balanced, after many iterations, and trade is an *essential* part of the game. Failure to leverage it to your own ends in order to win only brings about a weaker civilization (and likely death). And isn't that the game we're all playing, after all? Civilization... not Star Craft. Sigh!

/end of rant.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:24 pm

And I'll say that this is insanely louse argument basically equal to mine:
the way I like to play game leads to better outcome, so don't dare to change anything, all else does not matter.

So really totally not impressed. Of course I can understand the conservativeness of community. But nether that nor such weak (even if coherently put) argument change much. Also argument only sounds good as long as you ignore all mentioned shortcomings...
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby Corbeau » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:53 pm

morphles wrote:And I'll say that this is insanely louse argument basically equal to mine:
(...)

Maybe theoretically equal, on a certain level of abstractness, if it wasn't for one thing.

You are asking to remove aspects that are already there, to make the game less complex, to diminish it.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby morphles » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:59 pm

Corbeau you are repeating same stuff for fifth time. Having more stuff does not necessarily lead to more complexity, and this is so damn obvious (at least to me) it is very hard to understand why you keep repeating that. I have explained this many times, adding op unit will not make game more complex nor will it enhance it. It will make game simpler and more bland as everyone will be using only op unit. Converse can (and as you should understand is, in this case, in my opinion) true with removal, removing strongly dominant thing will help many other aspects to flourish much more as they will not be overshadowed by imbalanced aspect, thus leading to more complex and enhanced game.
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Re: Ponderings on trade routes/caravans

Postby Corbeau » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:08 pm

I am repeating it because you are repaeting it. Also, trade routes are not "strongly dominant". You can't win if you use only them.
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