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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Global Domination

So I recently purchased "Civilization 5" the computer game (and popular series) which pits different civilizations in conquest (military, cultural, technological, economic, etc).  I used to play Civ 2 when I was a kid and loved it - was really quite good at it.  Civ 5 is more difficult, not because it's more difficult to conquer people or because it's difficult to advance new technologies - it's difficult because Civ 5 introduces a radical and in my view wholly unrealistic viewpoint of military conquest.

One of the ways you can win Civ games is to amass large armies (at the expense of culture, technology, etc) and try to take over other civilizations.  I like doing that - it's good for pent up aggression.   Who cares if you are the first civilization to reach space - that's not winning - I want to kick butt for the glory!

But here's the problem in the new game: every time you conquer a city, the 'happiness' level, not just of that city, but of your entire civilization permanently drops (until you spend game-decades building 'happiness' generating things like theaters, Colosseum, etc.).  Meanwhile, your production drops and your growth slows across the board.   You can't build things but you have a big army so you might think you could keep conquering and amassing more people and happiness that way, but the problem is, the more cities you conquer and the more population you add, the less happy your people are, the less you produce, and the less your population grows!

A couple comments from a gaming blog summarizes the problem:



A game where it's better to burn a city to the ground and slaughter the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants so you can replace it with your own settler just doesn't feel very Civ-like to me. It's one of my main complaints about the change to global unhappiness - I can see the citizens of THAT city being unhappy, rioting, refusing to work, etc... but why is it that just because I took over a city, everyone in my empire simultaneously decides to stop having kids?
KevinC is online now  Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2010, 02:18 PM  #2978

Ironically you can't replace it with your own settler, that's the whole point. You can't actually HAVE anymore people. It's like immigration reform run amok. It's Finland saying "there are too many people for us to govern!" and then slaughtering everyone in Sweden and Russia to the last man, because it's The Only Way.
This doesn't make sense. Typically, the cities you are able to conquer are the cities that are weaker from a technology / economic standpoint. So, you would think that by liberating them from their squalor they might eventually be happy. But ok, maybe it takes a while for them to warm up to you, but that shouldn't affect your entire civilization's unhappiness and production. When Rome conquered the Greeks, sure the people in the Greek region were upset for a time, but they eventually assimilated - and certainly Rome wasn't "unhappy" that they just won new land, new economic resources, glory, etc.
Military conquest has costs and benefits - the costs are obviously the cost of the conquest itself (life and resources) and the temporary localized unrest it creates as well as long-run diplomacy with other countries. But the benefits are new and unique resources, new land, new opportunity and new knowledge. Civ 5 captures all the costs PLUS some costs that are completely unrealistic described above- which means you can't reap the full benefits.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You probably missed the "Install Puppet Government" button just next to "Raze City" and "Annex".

This lets you continue your warpath by removing the happiness penalty at the cost of losing production control. It's just as well because who wants to micromanage cities while they are steamrolling their opponent?

Garth said...

yeah I saw that but then you can't really govern the city....and they won't make you an army.

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