Changelog and notes after the break. Please email any comments and suggestions you might have after playtesting to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks-
Movement, sight, range, combat: yawn factor
While I generally found the hex grid and the one-unit-per-tile system to generally be a large step forward in the fundamental combat system, I think the decision to give units a minimum base movement of 2 and a minimum base sight range of 2 severely constricts the tactical and strategic possibilities of the game. Just one instance of this is the baffling choice of giving warriors and scouts the exact same sight range and movement range; these sorts of minimal differences between the capabilities of unit types makes the game seem really flat and presents players with less interesting choices when it comes to unit production, and only a few clearly defined optimal paths to military victory. The accelerated move rates of basic units make the standard map sizes seem quite small, and is completely out of whack with the nation-building side of the game. It also makes the exploration and conquest of entire continents quite possible before 1AD, even at some of the more strenuous difficulty levels.
The movement rates for units has been pulled back to one tile in this mod, and the base sight has been pulled back to one tile for a lot of units. It’s my hope that this will slow down the pace of war-based play, widen tactical options, and re-introduce the concept of forward strategic planning into this game.
I, quite frankly, could give a crap if these changes stretch the game outside some sort of fundamental design choice made at Firaxis. It’s bloody apparent to me that they didn’t playtest this very broad change to the unit mechanics enough.
For instance, this change alone applied to Warriors and Archers creates a more robust relationship between the two than what existed prior, and makes it more advantageous for Archers to place themselves on ‘high ground’ than it did before. In Vanilla, Archers are relatively viable as standalone units, which is silly – they’re able to see, fire, and move 2 tiles. By reducing their sight and movement to one tile while keeping their range at two, it becomes more of an imperative to use Archers in tandem with Warriors for mutual protection, and to augment the Archer’s sight line.
I also think that a large part of the late-game bordeom a lot of players experience is because the combat gets far LESS interesting as the game goes on – completely counterintuitive. The interesting melee/ranged/siege dynamic present in the early game actually flattens out in the later game, since tanks get lumped in with infantry as essentially melee units, and the dynamic flattens to just melee/siege. You could also argue that the only effective siege in late vanilla games comes from naval units; the most effective positions to fire siege volleys from are easily overrun due to vanilla movement rates. By adding a ranged attack to heavy armor and AT guns, it expands the late game dynamic back out to an interesting early game feel with more powerful units.
Enough about this, my rationale for this change goes much deeper than just the Warrior-Archer relationship; you can see the full list of movement/sight/ranged combat below.
The Horsemen problem
Mounted units were far too easy to abuse, so much so that I’ve read many players have forgone the use of horsemen simply to make the game more enjoyable. To mitigate the effectiveness of a Horseman spam strategy, all mounted units now require two horses each instead of one; horse resources are just far too plentiful on most maps, but allows a horseman-heavy strategy to still be a possibility in the opening stages IF you have plentiful Horse resources around. It becomes more of a choice that becomes available based on immediate resources than a default e4-e5 sort of thing. I’ve also increased the cost of building a Horseman by 50%.
I found it backwards that Catapults and Trebuchets require Iron but Cannons didn’t. Siege weapons require no iron. Consequently, in playtesting I’ve seen some AI strategies make FULL use of the lifting of this requirement.
CIv V did away with the notion of health, making city growth a function of balancing happiness and keeping the food supply up. However, the key ‘food’ buildings were so weak that growing large populations proved nearly impossible for most civilizations, which effectively kills off any thoughts towards specializing cities. In order to have specialists, you need to have that excess food on hand to support them without needing them to tend farms. This creates an opportunity to make the food buildings worthwhile, and attempt to reintroduce the concept of building healthy cities by providing food bonuses. I tweaked the three food buildings to instead provide the familiar food reserve mechanic from the start in the Granary, with additional bonuses in this regard coming with the other two. These buildings also provide larger bonuses directly to the food intakes for each city. I tried a % yield buff, but it seems this only applies to the food -not- consumed by citizens. The last of these bulidings, the Medical Lab, provides a 100% yield bonus across ALL your cities. Researching Biology and Penicillin will both provide a +1 Food bonus to farms.
The culture bonuses from Wonders are weak as hell in vanilla Civ V, and makes cultural victories nearly impossible without doing some really cheesy stuff with puppet cities and holding all policy spending until the Freedom tree has been unlocked. Most wonders have been tweaked to give larger cultural bonuses, and they get progressively larger as the game goes on, making them the big deals they should rightly be.
Bismark’s special ability paid off way too often to consider it balanced. Pruned this back to 30% to see if it doesn’t make Germany a bit more manageable as an opponent, or a bit more difficult while playing it, by bringing their opening back into balance with other Civs.
Point-by-point list of game modifications:
Movement and Sight
ALL units: – movement decreased by 1 tile from vanilla rates. – base sight modified to 1 tile.
Scouts, Helicopter Gunship, Tank, AT Gun, Panzer, Modern Armor, Frigate, Ship of the Line, Caravel, Ironclad, Destroyer, Battleship, Submarine, Nuclear Submarine, Missile Cruiser, Carrier – base sight modified/reverted to 2 tiles.
Fighter, Bomber, Jet Fighter, Stealth Bomber – base sight modified to 3 tiles.
Tank, AT Gun, Panzer, Modern Armor – Added ranged attack of two tiles, attack power 66% of normal.
ALL ‘mounted’ units: – require 2 available horses instead of 1.
Horsemen: – production cost increased to 120[H].
Catapult: – No longer requires Iron.
Trebuchet: – No longer requres Iron.
Granary: – Yields +4 food. – Holds 25% of food in reserve when new citizen is born, for local city.
Hospital: – Yields +8 food. – Holds 15% of food in reserve when new citizen is born, for local city (stacks with Granary).
Medical Lab: – Holds 10% of food in reserve when new citizen is born, for local city (stacks with Granary and Hospital). – +100% food yield bonus (calculated on unconsumed food) for ALL cities.
Museum: – Yields +2 culture.
Colossus: – Yields +4 culture.
Pyramids: – Yields +4 culture.
Great Lighthouse: – Yields +3 culture.
Great Library: – Yields +3 culture.
Oracle: – Yields +3 culture.
Hanging Gardens: – Yields +3 culture.
Great Wall: – Yields +3 culture.
Chichen Itza: – Yields + 6 culture.
Machu Pichu: – Yields +6 culture.
Porcelain Tower: – Yields +3 culture.
Sistine Chapel: – Yields +8 culture.
Taj Majal: – Yields +8 culture.
Statue of Liberty: -Yields +10 culture.
Cristo Redentor: -Yields +10 culture.
Eiffel Tower: -Yields +6 culture.
Sydney Opera House: -Yields +6 culture.
Biology: – Farms yield +1 food.
Penicillin: – Farms yield +1 food.
Economics: – Trading posts yield +1 gold.
Railroad: – Trading posts yield +1 gold.
Steam Power: – Mines yield +1 production.
Bismark: – Trait in which Bismark has chance to convert a defeated barbarian unit in a camp reduced to 30% (from 50%).