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Game strategies: peaceful vs. aggressive and getting (un)lucky with your neighbours

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:48 am
by Corbeau
As a Longturn (so, multiplayer) ruleset meddler, I am being unable to solve a problem that has its core far beyond the games of Free(or any other)civ, but it is definitely emphasized in this game. Namely:

When starting a game, you choose your level of aggression and adjust your development path accordingly. If you are going to play peacefully, you will go for constructive tech that will allow your nation to grow stronger, more advanced, more efficient. You are going to build more settlers, eventually Granaries and keep only a bare minimum of defence. If you are going to play more aggressively, you are going to go for the military techs and build attack units.

Naturally, if an aggressive player meets a peaceful one, it is clear who will win, this is why nobody will - or should - ever play 100% peacefully. If two aggressive player meet, they will probably be very happy, maybe they will form a coalition or they will kill each other, but either way, this is what they signed up for.

The problem is that how your neighbours will play depends exclusively on luck. If you don't prepare heavy defences and end up with an aggressive neighbour, you're dead. However, if you spend resources to build defences, military units, build walls, build your cities on more defendable locations that yield less resources, and ended up with peaceful neighburs, you will also handicap yourself compared to other players who haven't been doing this, were going for maximum growth and, as a result, will end up more developed than you.

Someone may say that you are the one who should level the playing field and attack those players and gain resources from them, but, realistically, you can never know who they are or even if you do, it is more likely you won't be able to reach them.

So in other words, there are a few possible situations:
- if you prepare your defences and don't get attacked (don't have aggressive neighbours), you are at a loss
- if you DON'T prepare your defences and DO get attacked, well, you're at an even greater loss

Which of those two things will happen basically depends on luck.

So, when messing with rulesets, I'm looking for ways to not so much equalise the playground, but to remove or decrease as much as possible this element of luck. But I'm not sure if it's even possible or, to be honest, fair, because making peaceful players more easy to defend will then actually handicap aggressive players and the aggressive path will be completely unfeasible.

Do share your opinions and thoughts.

Re: Game strategies: peaceful vs. aggressive and getting (un)lucky with your neighbours

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:23 am
I think there should be options for a peaceful game. Like for example ... Caravans) After removing the caravans from the third original Civ, I did not want to play it. Since one of the favorite things I had to trade. It's so cool - to equip a caravan, send it to a faraway city... Especially to the city of your friend.

And if there are no have peaceful units - what else is left for man?

Re: Game strategies: peaceful vs. aggressive and getting (un)lucky with your neighbours

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:36 pm
by Ignatus
It's a general problem of strategy games without full information - there are several strategies that cyclically have advantage over each other (typically, zergrash>development>defence>zergrash), each one may be played better or worse but selecting the right one is crucial and it is mostly just rock-paper-scissors. If you know something about gaming style of your opponents, using it is yet another skill; you will not always guess right but the game is not supposed to be 100% sure. When there is more than two players, things are less unbalanced here, since e.g. several "scientific" neighbours may form mutual protection pact and if one of them is attacked another ones hit the rears of the agressor with a good chance of destroying him. Of course, rashers can ally too, but meseems less likely, so things in Freeciv are not that bad. Of course, the operativity of the possible counter-strike is important, and it depends on the rules (e.g. how much early attackers are dangerous to the defenders in cities and how quickly the technology tree gives military advantage while just moderately targeted to defense) as well as the map (if the rasher is on a peninsula bordering only you and all possible allies are behind mountains, you can only go defense). Also, intelligence helps to predict things. But generally, your luck already matters when the registration is opened.

In fact, civ-games are not supposed to be won in multiplayer without striking a blow, the stats are not a reliable skill indicator then, your advantage must be tested by at least some military pressing. So, the question is how likely some of your neighbours is going to attack you earlier rather than later (and how wise for you is to do so).

Re: Game strategies: peaceful vs. aggressive and getting (un)lucky with your neighbours

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:56 pm
and in general, if players are given the same strength, then it will no longer be Civilization, but chess.