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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Let's Play Civilization 5 on Tamriel as the Khajiit - post-campaign retrospective

Biting the brother in the neck! by Tambako the Jaguar from flickr (CC-ND)

Unfortunately due to changing circumstances my Youtube channel is probably going to be somewhat less active for at least first half of the year.

My most recent and so far the only series on it was Let's Play Civilization 5 on Tamriel as the Khajiit, which is now slowly coming to a close, so it's time for some retrospective.

Balance between civilizations

I've chosen civilization based on a quick look at who seemed to have interesting gameplay potential - and also because I haven't played as cats before. I thought other civilizations are gonig to have comparable power level, but it's not ever close, and Khajiit are insanely overpowered. Here's what they do:
  • caravan range doubled
  • land military units (but not workers, settlers, great generals etc.) +1 movement and +1 sight
  • workshop replacement with +2 happiness, +1 culture, +2 science/jungle (stacking with University for +4 science/jungle), on top of the usual bonuses
  • caravansary replacement with +2 happiness, +1 culture, double trade range bonus, and the usual gold bonus
In other words:
  • ridiculously powerful happiness bonus (+4 per city), all available fairly early in game, making happiness maybe not quite irrelevant, but a secondary consideration even for highly expansionistic empires
  • ridiculously powerful military bonus (+1 movement and +1 sight is stronger than most UUs - and Khajiit get it for every land unit in every era.
    • To make it even more extreme, Tamriel map is almost all land, so lack of bonuses for ships matters little - and extra movement and sight is still quite effective at shooting ships with your missile units
    • Early game the Bosmer whom I was fighting built Great Wall - possibly the most obnoxious wonder in the game - that extra movement point more or less invalidated their wonder
  • fairly strong science bonus - requiring access to a lot of judge would make it somewhat situational, but guess what - that's precisely the kind of terrain Khajiit start with in every direction
  • fairly strong gold bonus - it's not that huge, mostly it lets you use caravans where others would use cargo ships, which on some maps would be fairly inconsequential, but Tamriel is basically Pangea, so it's especially strong on this map
  • modest culture bonus - +2 culture / city is very good value
  • and all of that requires very little effort - you start with military bonus and you'd be building workshops everywhere anyway - so now you just need to build caravansaries in places you wouldn't otherwise
This is all "way above Korea and Poland" tier.

It would be all right if everybody had comparable bonuses, but as far as I can tell, everybody else's are rather mediocre.

Back when I was playing Ravnica civs, half of them were really overpowered, but they matched each other reasonably well, and I don't think any of them were Khajiit tier.

This unfortunately means I'm not so inclined to give Tamriel another try. Other civs seem not only underpowered, but also rather boring.

Truce Breaking Bug

Civilization 5 won't let you break truces no matter how much you'd like to do so. However I ran into this bug:
  • I wanted to attack Orsimer, but they were a bit strong, so I asked Skyrim to attack them together
  • Skyrim said yes, but give us 10 turns
  • Well, I couldn't wait, so I attacked Orsimer on my own
  • They offered far less resistance than expected, so I took what I wanted and peaced them out
  • Next turn Skyrim came back to me with "10 turns is up, let's attack Orsimer together" dialog, and war started.
  • As far as I can tell, there were no negative diplomatic consequences of this truce breaking, because game didn't even consider truce breaking to be a possibility

Playing with 13 civilizations

The game had 13 civilizations on Standard sized maps (as opposed to the usual 8), so I expected a bloodbath fighting for what little land there was available. Three civilizations (Bretons, Orsimer, Hammerfell) had their capital so close I'd expect them to DoW each other before getting Composite Bowmen.

It turns out that number of tiles is Standard sized, but amount of land is much bigger, so there was plenty available for everyone - and map had a lot of strategically places mountains to slow down early warfare as well.

Unfortunately 13 civs on Immortal meant it was completely pointless to go after wonders, religions, or domination victory, while making research agreements and science victory a lot stronger.

I think I had 8 research agreements at one point, with +50% science from research agreement thanks to Porcelain Tower stacked on top of +25% from relevant Rationalism policy. That in addition to all my science bonuses, funded by my gold bonuses.

I think 13 civs is generally too many, and it would be better to play with a smaller subset.

Minor mods

I'm increasingly thinking that I should uninstall all promotions mods and just play with vanilla promotions. There's really very little value in it, and it replaces one optimal formula (accuracy/barrage 1-2-3, logistics, range) with another (unlock 1-3, range, unlock 4, logistics).

I'm less convinced that I should be playing with captureable settlers, as that makes things a bit easy with AI stupidity. I still enjoy capturing other great people a lot, so I'd need to customize that.

Other issues

Science victory is a bit boring, so I spent far too much time fighting completely pointless wars late game. I could have finished the campaign a lot faster if I just ignored everybody else and built space ship.

I only just realized I misspelled "Khajiit" as "Khajit". Oh well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you a hacker?