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Subject: Diplomacy and war in Advanced Civilization rss

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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
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"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
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I've played a few games of Advanced Civilization versus AI opponents (thanks to the old PC game), but have never played human opponents. I recently asked in this thread (here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/692705/the-glory-that-wa... ) about how 'establishing borders' works, and got some great responses. I don't want to hijack that great review-thread, so I figured I'd start a new one here with some new questions.

So I understand that players 'establish boundaries'. But it seems that calamities and wars sometimes eat into those. Do players typically make 'alliances' in games where they won't attack neighbours throughout the entire game? Is there 'treachery' (ie: in terms of breaking these alliances or boundaries)? Are wars ever fought just to take a city or two? What are some of the typical 'triggers' for starting conflict between players?

I ask because, when playing the PC, conflict is near-constant. I'm always defending one city or another from attack, and then attacking one enemy or another to take a city, but from what I've read many seem to play a fairly 'peaceful' game where they focus on trading, and where calamities are the only real 'enemy' eating into players cities.

Basically, I'm trying to get an idea of how the 'diplomacy' aspects of Adv.Civ work.

I understand people may play differently, but any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
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Daniel Hammond
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Conflict is bad. If you can make borders it is better for you both. Usually calamities will force you to be flexible, but the worse thing you can do is spend your time fighting massive wars. Start with city site equality: "I need those 2 sites otherwise you will have 9 and I will have 5." With war also comes arms races (which means you aren't getting more useful techs to spread your empire and mitigate calamities). Ugly wars also usually mean less trading partners (although not always).
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Chris Shaffer
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I agree with Daniel, conflict is bad. The computer AI fight much, much more than a rational in-person player should do.

However, there are times when it is necessary or even good.

I would never promise someone a permanent alliance and peace throughout the game.

Good conflicts include:

1) I have dominating military technology and can use it to steal territory from my neighbor with impunity. Metalworking, Road Building, Military and Monotheism are on this list, though Metalworking by itself is obviously not sufficient. I sometimes follow this technology path if I'm obviously losing, in the hopes that this will put me back in the game. It is a risky business, especially because Road Building and Military are expensive technologies with significant negatives, and Theology is a better technology than Monotheism.

2) A distant opponent has taken a city from my neighbor by treachery or civil war. I can destroy the city to collect a plunder trade card and then either keep the site or return it to restore balance.

3) It is nearing the end of the game, and an attack (often in concert with another player) will prevent the leader from meeting the requirements to advance on the AST.

There are probably other examples. You'll note that these are not common circumstances. Conflict should be rare among self-interested players. Players who are regularly in conflict will lose versus players who are not.
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Daniel Hammond
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TheCat wrote:

There are probably other examples. You'll note that these are not common circumstances. Conflict should be rare among self-interested players. Players who are regularly in conflict will lose versus players who are not.


4) You have more people than room to feed them with or without metal working you can push into your neighbor's borders, especially if they don't need the land as badly as you do (conflict is bad for them too).
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Jonas Lundqvist
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There are probably other examples. You'll note that these are not common circumstances. Conflict should be rare among self-interested players. Players who are regularly in conflict will lose versus players who are not.[/q]

5) If you move last and any opponent has forgot to keep tokens in stock meaning that when you attack their city with seven tokens (+/- for engineering) there won't be any defenders left. You will then be able to build a city on the ruins immediately. + you get a trade card.

In my gaming group these kind of attacks are generally not seen as major deal breakers. If you forget to keep tokens in stock you are "open prey" and have no one to blame except yourself. Off course, in other gaming groups the culture might be different and these kind of attacks might cause some excitement.
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Thanks folks, those points will make good 'advice' to give to my friends as I teach them the game. I'm going to print off those five points (and any others to come in) and share them as I teach.
Cheers!
 
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Jonathon Keller
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One of the fellows in the group I belong to is a former navy officer. He is very good at setting up treaties that last X number of turns. They usually only involve the pieces on the board and have not, to this point, explicitly limited the trading of calamities between treaty partners.

We understand the borders can get fluid, but having some concept or mutual agreement of what is yours and what is theirs helps prepare your civilization for the vagaries that inevitably arise.

I would add to military or at least militarily useful techs, Cloth Making and Astronomy, essential for some civs, but very helpful later in games to anyone who needs to reach that city square the other guy just isn't using properly. arrrh
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Travis Hall
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jonasgrenna wrote:
5) If you move last and any opponent has forgot to keep tokens in stock meaning that when you attack their city with seven tokens (+/- for engineering) there won't be any defenders left. You will then be able to build a city on the ruins immediately. + you get a trade card.

Likewise, don't leave exactly one token in an area that can support exactly two. That's just begging for your neighbour to bring in two tokens. Two tokens makes for more efficient use of the land (in that both can grow, if you are trying to grow tokens quickly) and impose a cost on an attacker (perhaps not as great a cost on the aggressor as the defender, but some cost anyway). Put up at least a little defence, as your neighbour is more likely to respect both you and your borders if you do.

However, putting two tokens in an area that supports 3 or 4 is good. That invites peaceful co-existence. If your neighbour puts enough tokens in to take it up to the limit, then you are making full use of the high limit between you, and you can both expand population maximally and shuffle the extra tokens outward to feed your need for tokens on less peaceful borders.
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