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Subject: The Most Fun you can have with Civilization rss

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Richard Crawshaw
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This text is based on the rules supplied with the Gibsons Games UK version of Civilisation. The copyright is dated 1980 and 1988.


For me the most fun I can have with Civilization is a game where everybody gets to the end of the Progress Chart (AST) together.

This is most easily achievable with a five-player game, but still possible with six- and seven-player games. Obviously it is also possible with two-, three- and four-player games but as one uses less of the map in those they are less satisfying overall.

So how does one achieve this universal situation? By co-operation and NO WAR. It also has the side-effect of finishing the game in the least number of turns.

The "no war" condition does have a caveat, sometimes when one player has had a Civil War another distant player ends up having to take the opposing side and thus has units on the far side of the board that can't be easily or quickly moved to join his own. (Note that the Gibsons Games version doesn't employ the Avalon Hill variation of forcing the nominated player to be the one with the largest stock, so in most cases the affected player can choose a close neighbour, which is more realistic.)

This is most likely to happen when the player with the Civil War holds Philosophy. "15 units secede, all chosen by the nominee who, in this case, must be the player with the most tokens in his Stock." If there is a token or city shortage then "The player with the most Tokens in his Stock takes over any excess Tolkens." (I assume this goes for Cities too.) This implies that two or more players could end up with disconnected units.


[I'll try and do an article on the differences between the Avalon Hill version and the Gibsons Games version of Civilisation at a later date.]


The initial solution is to try and use these units as the losses in any subsequent Calamities that turn. Epidemic won't totally eliminate them as no zone may be de-populated. Civil Disorder, Iconoclasm & Heresy and Piracy only affect cities. This means that in most cases some units will remain until the next turn and if they are tokens they are then liable to be increased in the Population Expansion phase.

I have not observed Piracy being an effective Calamity very often; usually it is traded by a player who has no ships, or his ships aren't' connected to anybody, or it is traded to a player who doesn't have any costal cities. For example, Egypt with only ships in the Red Sea can only really affect Petra, or possibly the One-Zone below it (if a twelve-city had been built there). Likewise, Babylon and Assyria are unlikely to affect anybody as their ships frequently don't connect with other players. The nation that is likely to do the most damage trading Piracy is Crete, but then they are also the nation who is most likely to have damage done to them it they get piracy traded to them. I guess what goes around comes around.


If possible don't expand disconnected tokens; this only makes the situation worse. However, that requires the player to use all the tokens in his Stock for Paying Taxes and Population Expansion of his native zones. It is possible that he may not wish or be able to do this.


The next possible oppitunity of dealing with the situation is during movement. This can be slow. If they are in the Susa, Lagash, Ur part of the board, for example, and the player wants to get them to Italy it will take many turns; between three and five just to get them to the coast!

If possible convert them to ships in phase 4. This can eliminate up to eight tokens, but only if they are in a coastal zone. In the previous example this works, but if there were some at Babylon then it doesn't. Also it requires that the ships aren't required elsewhere. If Italy is wanting to build a 12-city on the island north of Olbia then he will need at least one ship there as well as having Agriculture, which will reduce the available ships to three and thus only dispose of six tokens.


We are now at the oppotunity of removing these tokens by Conflict. This has the disadvantage that another player also will have to lose one or more tokens. Ideally the disconnected tokens will have been moved to a low capacity zone. This will make the conflict easier, shorter and less painfull by using less tokens.

In some situations it may be best for a neighbouring player to attack (if they are adjacent) and the notional owner of the zone might take over a zone of the neighbouring player. These zones could be swapped back again the following turn if desired.

This table shows the minimum number of attackers needed to eliminate the defenders if they don't have Metalworking and not leave the zone unpopulated. Remember that Agriculture is not used when more than one player co-exists in a zone.

Capacity Interlopers Natives The progress of the conflict
-------- ----------- ------- ----------------------------
1 1 2 -> 0,2 with one removed at phase 7
1 2 3 -> 1,3 -> 1,2 and so on...
1 3 4 -> 2,4 -> 2,3 and so on...
1 4 5 -> 3,5 -> 3,4 and so on...

2 2 3 -> 1,3 -> 1,2 -> 0,2
2 3 4 -> 2,4 -> 2,3 and so on...
2 4 5 -> 3,5 -> 3,4 and so on...
2 5 6 -> 4,6 -> 4,5 and so on...

3 3 5 -> 2,5 -> 2,4 -> 1,4 -> 1,3 -> 0,3
3 4 6 -> 3,6 -> 3,5 and so on...
3 5 7 -> 4,7 -> 4,6 and so on...
3 6 8 -> 5,8 -> 5,7 and so on...

4 4 7 -> 3,7 -> 3,6 -> 2,6 -> 2,5 -> 1,5
-> 1,4 -> 0,4
4 5 8 -> 4,8 -> 4,7 and so on...
4 6 9 -> 5,9 -> 5,8 and so on...
4 7 10 -> 6,10 -> 6,9 and so on...

5 5 9 -> 4,9 -> 4,8 -> 3,8 -> 3,7 -> 2,7
-> 2,6 -> 1,6 -> 1,5 -> 0,5
5 6 10 -> 5,10 -> 5,9 and so on...
5 7 11 -> 6,11 -> 6,10 and so on...
5 8 12 -> 7,12 -> 7,11 and so on...


If the defenders have Metalworking, but the attackers don't then more tokens are required.

Capacity Interlopers Natives The progress of the conflict
-------- ----------- ------- ----------------------------
1 1 3 -> 1,2 -> 0,2 with one removed at phase 7
1 2 4 -> 2,3 -> 1,3 and so on...
1 3 5 -> 3,4 -> 2,4 and so on...
1 4 6 -> 4,5 -> 3,5 and so on...

2 2 4 -> 2,3 -> 1,3 -> 1,2 -> 0,2
2 3 5 -> 3,4 -> 2,4 and so on...
2 4 6 -> 4,5 -> 3,5 and so on...
2 5 7 -> 5,6 -> 4,6 and so on...

3 3 6 -> 3,5 -> 2,5 -> 2,4 -> 1,4 -> 1,3 -> 0,3
3 4 7 -> 4,6 -> 3,6 and so on...
3 5 8 -> 5,7 -> 4,7 and so on...
3 6 9 -> 6,8 -> 5,8 and so on...

4 4 8 -> 4,7 -> 3,7 -> 3,6 -> 2,6 -> 2,5 -> 1,5
-> 1,4 -> 0,4
4 5 9 -> 5,8 -> 4,8 and so on...
4 6 10 -> 6,9 -> 5,9 and so on...
4 7 11 -> 7,10 -> 6,10 and so on...

5 5 10 -> 5,9 -> 4,9 -> 4,8 -> 3,8 -> 3,7 -> 2,7
-> 2,6 -> 1,6 -> 1,5 -> 0,5
5 6 11 -> 6,10 -> 5,10 and so on...
5 7 12 -> 7,11 -> 6,10 and so on...
5 8 13 -> 8,12 -> 7,12 and so on...


In the situation where there are many interloper tokens and if more than one adjacent zones are occupied by them then that player should move all but one of their tokens into the lowest capacity zone and allow the natives to attack the token in the other zone. Then the excess tokens in the lower capacity zone will be removed, hopefully only leaving one, which can then be dealt with next turn. The two players should discuss which zones should be used for the battle. Of course it may be advantageous to them both to eliminate many tokens in a battle. However, if this is the case then it usually indicates that they don't have adequite control of their population and economy.


As can be seen in the tables above, war is not an efficient way of removing a disconnected city; particularly in higher capacity zones. The best way of doing this is to reduce it during the Calamity phase, then move the resulting tokens to the lowest capacity zone possible and then eliminating them with Conflict.


If all the remaining disconnected tokens haven't been removed by conflict they will be another opportunity with Calamities. This time the lower Calamities will also be usable.

Volcanic Eruption or Earthquake is not a particularly good Calamity for this purpose as usually it is too awkward to affect the disconnected tokens. Also if they could be affected by a Volcanic Eruption then they could usually be removed by ship to their native zones. Earthquake also only Reduces cities, rather than eliminating them.

Flood can be good at dealing with disconnected tokens as it can get in some of the places that are can be difficult to get tokens away from: the Babylon flood plain, the Po valley (north Italy), the Istrus flood plain (eastern Black Sea) and the Nile flood plain. However, it does require that the right player gets the Calamity. If a player without units on a flood plain gets flood then nothing happens. Similarly, if a player without the right flood plain gets flood then the disconnected units can't be affected.

Famine is often a better Calamity, particularly if the player with the disconnected tokens has Pottery and a couple of Grain cards as then their damage can be limited to the necessary numbers. Note that the rules says "Any player with Pottery MAY reduce his loss by 4 units for each grain card he holds." (My emphasis.) This implies that the player has the option not to reduce his loss if he so choses.

Civil War, if carefully orchestrated can work, but unless somebody is hoarding Cloth then it is unlikely to occur again so soon. However, it could well end up making the whole situation worse...


The co-operation element really comes into Phases 2, 4, 5, 9 & 11: Population Expansion, Build Ships, Movement, Trade, Resolve Calamities. The first three really go together. All the players need to agree which zones their tokens are going to occupy and how they are going to get there, as well as what they are going to do with any left over ones. Usually in this type of game left over tokens are simply removed as surplus population in Phase 7. However, they are an indication that the player doesn't have their population and or economy properly managed.

Co-operation doesn't mean that a player needs to gain other players permission before committing to a course of action. Rather he should choose a course of action that is unlikely to adversely affect other players. And if he is considering such an action, which will often happen in Civilisation, he should discuss it with his fellow players. He should also be willing to give up something that he has to the other players in exchange for such a course of action. Usually this will be territory, but it could be the opportunity to build a city, or indeed the promise to build a city and thus potentially go later in the collection of Trade Cards.

In a co-operative game Trade can be managed in one of two ways; either as normal or completely open. I would recommend handling Trade as normal as this gives the most fun and is actually easier to do.

In the latter all trade cards are laid face up on the table, nothing is hidden including Black-backed Calamities. Trading is operated according to the rules, except for the secrecy element. Players agree between themselves who will receive which Black-backed Calamities. Alternatively the Black-backed Calamities may be not traded and might be able to be returned as part of Phase 12 (Return excess Trade Cards). Frequently, however, it will actually be in a players interest to receive a Black-backed Calamity. They might have a city in the wrong place, or they don't have Coinage and know that they won't be able to pay the tax on all their cities next turn: having one or two reduced is better than losing them altogether to somebody who probably won't actually want them where they are.

A lot of co-operation is needed when Resolving Calamities. A bit of Famine, Epidemic and Iconoclasm & Heresy can go a long way to trimming the edges of an empire. Not doing that trimming can actually cause more problems later on. With nine cities a player without Coinage needs 18 tokens in his Stock to pay tax on them. He will also need 18 tokens on the board to support them. That is 36 tokens; if he has 20 or more tokens (or 12 or more in a 7-player game) in his treasury then he's in trouble. As has been observed elsewhere, it is easy to get tokens into the Treasury, but more difficult to get them from the Treasury to the Stock.


I hope that people find this useful or interesting, if not both!

Richard Crawshaw
 
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Steve Bachman
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Why would you want to turn such a beautiful and competitive game into one of cooperation? The scenario you describe would seem to result in the game becoming purely a trading game as the only competition is who can trade the best. Not my cup of tea at all, but if that's what you enjoy than by all means play it cooperatively.
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Ron K
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'80' maxlength='250'> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="15%" align="right"><b>Avatar OverText</b></td> <td width="85%"> <input type="text" name="overtext[avatar]" value="Train Game anyone?
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Train Game anyone?
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This is how ALL of our Civ sessions go -- well, at least at the start. We're all friendly and eager to enter into long-term non-aggression pacts (all non-binding according to the rules, of course).

Then things get a bit crowded and someone gets a calamity that down right ruins their entire plan. This brings on some mean-spirited trading and the occasional border conflict and cross-sea nuisance raids. arrrh

This, in turn, leads to something akin to modern civilization - everyone distrusts everyone and postures left and right to keep everyone at bay. Those that don't buy into the posture or threat, take what they can and force terms. devil

The only question has been how long the initial peace lasts.
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Richard Crawshaw
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Ward wrote:
Why would you want to turn such a beautiful and competitive game into one of cooperation? The scenario you describe would seem to result in the game becoming purely a trading game as the only competition is who can trade the best. Not my cup of tea at all, but if that's what you enjoy than by all means play it cooperatively.


Because it is a challenge.

I realise that I didn't make it clear that part of the challenge is to pip your fellow players to winning purely on points and not by leaving them behind on the progress chart. I should have made that more obvious, sorry.

Richard
 
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Richard Crawshaw
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RaDiKal wrote:
This is how ALL of our Civ sessions go -- well, at least at the start. We're all friendly and eager to enter into long-term non-aggression pacts (all non-binding according to the rules, of course).


The only question has been how long the initial peace lasts.


I have seen it last the whole game, on several occasions; frequently two days worth of gaming. We didn't put any limits on trading, so trading sessions have lasted two hours or more. Interestingly nobody really got bored, they'd just go to the kitchen and get more food or drink or read a bit of a book if they'd finished trading.


Off topic a bit, but the longest game of Civ that I ever witnessed took almost 36 hours straight! I can't really remember why. The biggest problem though was that I then had a 200 mile drive home... I did arrive safe, but utterly shattered.

Richard
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