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  • Civilization 4: Gameplay Concepts Introduction

    Civilization 4: Gameplay Concepts Introduction

    The basic gameplay concept of Civilization IV is the same as that in all other Civ-like games: you take charge as the leader of a band of wandering people and set out to found an an empire of cities, armies and scientists with as goal to eventually rule the world. Compared to Civ3, Civilization IV will introduce some new concepts, such as Religion and Great People, change some existing ones, such as combat and technology, and leave others pretty much the same, such as diplomacy and Wonders. Civlization IV: Warlords adds in addition to that the concept of Vassal States.

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  • Civilization 4: Overall Design

    Civilization 4: Overall Design

    Civilization IV is part of the Civilization franchise, and a franchise can usually only be successful if it makes conservatively changes between iterations. So Civ4 is not extremely different from Civ3 -- it will be a conservative sequel. According to Soren Johnson, a good rule of thumb for a franchise is "1/3 old, 1/3 improved, 1/3 new". He believes that the best way to improve on Civ3 is to choose a focus and really improve the game in only a single (or a few) area(s), rather than trying to change a little bit of everything. That doesn't mean that Civ4 will play the same as Civ3, while the essence of previous games has remained, many details have changed and the step from Civ3 to Civ4 is the biggest and most ambitious one the series has made to date....
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  • Civilization 4: Combat

    Civilization 4: Combat

    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Promotions In Civ III, unit promotions involved rising in level from green to veteran to elite and each level added a hit point and a small combat bonus. For Civ IV, we decided to build on this system and make promotions much more intricate and customizable by allowing players to choose from over 20 different bonus types (many with multiple levels, for a total of over 40 available promotions). The numbers and types of available bonuses differ per unit type and only land and sea military units can acquire them (air units are different). Here’s how it works: Units can gain experience points in several ways. Successful combat is the primary means (note: you get more points from attacking than you do from defending) and the units must be victorious in a unit-to-unit combat, therefore there are no XPs (experience points) from bombarding fortifications or if the opposing unit withdraws. Units can also gain experience from a Barracks (land units), a Drydock (sea units) or a goody hut. In addition, some wonders, civic choices, and leader traits can give units extra experience or even certain promotions. As you might expect, the first promotion comes rather quickly, while each subsequent promotion requires more XP. The promotions take on many different forms. Some are simple like Combat (5 levels), which gives progressive strength bonuses with some extra healing at the top levels, or City Raider/City Garrison which gives the unit bonuses only when attacking/defending a city. Others give bonuses against a certain type of unit. For instance, Cover gives a bonus against Archery units and Formation gives a similar bonus against Mounted units, while Shock does the same against melee units. Some promotions give bonuses based on the type of terrain in which the unit resides. If your opponent has a lot of woods or jungle, you might choose Woodsman, or if your opponent is surrounded by hills you might choose Guerilla. All in all, the new promotion system in Civ IV offers players a plethora of interesting new decisions, excellent customization options, and an extra layer of strategy. That’s how we spell fun at Firaxis Games. The final aspect of gameplay is for many players also the most important one: combat. If diplomacy fails, or if you're just feeling like kicking some arse, you can declare war on an opponent and take what you want from him/her by force. To do so, you need to build an army of Units and use those to attack enemy Units and Cities, or to pillage his/her Improvements and as such damage his/her economy. But even if you don't want to go to war, you'll still need to build an army: if someone else declares war to you, you'll need to be able to defend yourself. And even if other nations don't declare war, Barbarians might invade you. Posting sentry guards along your borders and fortifying Units inside your Cities to guard them is a wise precaution. When expanding your empire peacefully, you will need to explore the lands around you to find suitable locations to build new Cities, and you'll need to send out Settlers to actually found those Cities (along with escorts to protect them). You need to build Units for these purposes as well. And of course, in order to expand to other continents (either peacefully or aggressively), you will need a navy. Units in Civilization IV function by and large in the same way as in Civ3, but there are some notable differences as well. Most Units still have the basic commands: move, attack, fortify, pillage, disband, sentry, (un)board transport, skip turn. Civilization IV offers one additional standard command: explore, which lets the Unit automatically explore the map. Another minor change is that Units now get a bigger defensive bonus the longer they are fortified. After two turns fortified, the bonus is 10%, after five turns it's 25%. That is also the maximum fortification bonus. A bigger difference is in Unit stats: in Civ3 Units had both an attack and a defense value, in Civ4 they only have one generic Strength value. This Strength value is used both to determine the chance that a Unit hits its opponent in combat (similar to the attack/defense value in previous Civ games) and the amount of damage that is done when a hit is scored (similar to firepower in Civ2). This makes the classic Spearman vs Tank problem much less of an issue, as a Spearman not only has a much smaller chance of doing damage, it also does much less damage. Despite the single Strength value there is still plenty of variation in the combat model, as many Units have much more unique special abilities: Spearmen have a bonus versus Mounted Units, Archers have a bonus defending Cities. Chariots and Cavalry don't get defensive bonuses, but they do have a chance to withdraw from a battle if it's going badly. With this system, every Unit has a specific role in the game and every unit ...
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  • Civilization 4: Diplomacy and Espionage

    Civilization 4: Diplomacy and Espionage

    Diplomacy

    The final type of global activity that takes place in Civilization IV is diplomacy: as leader of your empire, you can sit down with the leaders of other empires and exchange technologies, trade resources or sign treaties. Diplomacy works pretty much the same as in Civ3:

    When you first encounter a civ, its leader is added to the list of known contacts (visible in the bottom-right of the screen). At this point you can always contact him/her for one of three actions: negotiate a new deal, declare war, or view (and renegotiate) existing deals [see image on the right]. When negotiating a new deal, or renegotiating an old one, you're taken to a negotation table [see image below]. There you can negotiate a composite deal that is as complex as you'd like: you can offer Gold for an Advance, a City for a World Map, two Resources and an Advance. You can exchange a Resource for an amount of Gold per turn, sign an Open Borders treaty so your Units can pass through each other's territory, demand a City lest you declare war, etc. You can ask a player to declare war with someone else (even if you're not at war with them yourself), or request them to stop an ongoing war.

    Diplomacy Opening Screen

    While you are compiling a proposal, the animated leaderheads will show you with their facial expressions what they think of your proposal. The general attitude they hold towards you, based on both personality and past behaviour, is also visible (Gracious, Polite, Cautious, Annoyed, Enraged, etc). Of course, you're not the only one who can initiate discussions: rival players can make proposals or demands to you as well, including requests to switch your State Religion or Civics to their personal favourites.

    Each AI leader has a distinct personality, this is a major area of focus for development for Firaxis. This personality has a major impact on how they behave in diplomacy: Gandhi will be receptive to peaceful players and generous to relatively weak ones, but he will get angry at aggressive players. Genghis Khan on the other hand will shy away from diplomacy altogether, but when he does engage in it he'll be most receptive to warmongers.

    This personality does not only cover their behaviour in terms of what they may demand or how active they are in diplomacy, but also in their facial expressions. Each leader has their own set of expressions: they smile when they are happy, frown when they are upset. Some are very expressive while others are constrained. E.g. Hatshepsut is flirtatious, Louis XIV is vain and arrogant. They will be visibly excited when you make them a good deal and they react upset to less favourable proposals. For others, such as Qin Shi Huang, you can only judge their mood by the elevation of their eyebrows. Julius Caesar litterally gives you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down when responding to a proposal.

    Civilization IV: Warlords will introduce a new concept to diplomacy: Vassal States. It's not yet known how this will work.

    Diplomacy Bargaining Table

    Espionage

    Espionage also exists in Civilization IV and it works pretty much the same as in Civ2: you can build Spy units and send them around the map to infiltrate enemy territory unseen, spy on enemy troop movement, investigate cities, sabotage things, etc -- or use them to expose enemy spies.

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  • Civilization 4: Technology

    Civilization 4: Technology

    Besides sliders and Civics, research is another thing that happens on a global level in Civilization IV. All the Research Points, or Beakers, that every City collects are put together and used to research Advances. These Advances enable new options for the player, such as new Units, Buildings, Civics, Religions, etc and also open the way to new Advances. As such they move game forwards, from Stone Age to Space Age: the technology tree, which determines the relationships between the Advances and what new options each Advance enables, forms the backbone of the entire game. Once the whole tech tree has been researched, a player still has so-called Future Technologies to pursue: each of these gives a bonus to both Health and Happiness....
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  • Civilization 4: Civics & Global Policies

    Civilization 4: Civics & Global Policies

    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Civics

    Choosing your government has been an interesting part of playing Civilization since the original. In Civ IV, our team at Firaxis has really ramped up this feature and given players many more choices, which bring with them a whole new set of interesting decisions to make and strategies to employ. The new Civics system will allow players to customize their government to fit their current situation and style of play.

    In the game, when you first open the Civics page you will see 25 options divided into 5 categories. The categories are: government, legal, labor, economy, and religion. Initially, you will be limited to the lowest levels for each (making you a barbaric, decentralized despotism with tribal labor and practicing paganism), but you will unlock more of the choices based on your research. Changing to new Civic forms will have a dramatic effect on the character and success of your civilization. You’ll be able to boost or cut productivity, wealth, and happiness, make choices to increase/decrease the spread of religion, and even affect your ability to produce and maintain a large standing army.

    Of course, it’s not just as simple as picking all the highest level Civic options. A monarch needs to make the tough decisions. Every choice has an upkeep level assigned to it and you could end up with a really great government that puts you in the poorhouse. In addition, your current circumstances might make it impossible for you to use some of the higher-level choices. The good news for all the leaders out there is that you will be able to play around with all the choices and get an idea of the costs and benefits before you have to “Start the Revolution”.

    So, the choice is up to you. Will you be a despot or a king? Will your people respond better to a democratically elected ruler or a theocrat? Will you have a free market or is everything state property? Make the best choices and lead your people to their rightful place in history!

    Most of what was discussed up until now had to be managed on a City-by-City basis. There are however also settings that apply on a more global level to an entire Civilization, such as Civics and tax sliders. Tax sliders determine how the Gold income of Cities is distributed after fixed costs such as Unit support have been deducted: some of it can go to the treasury, where a player can spend it on things like diplomacy or rush-buying items, some of it can be devoted to research to obtain new Advances, and some of it can used to generate Culture and Happiness. The science tax determines what percentage goes to science, the Culture slider determines what goes to both Culture and Happiness. The remainder goes to the treasury.

    Civics are a new feature in Civilization IV and replace the governments feature from earlier games. It works somewhat similarly to SMAC's social engineering. Rather than having fixed government types such as democracy or communism, Civ4 lets you set individual policies on five different terrains: Government, Legal, Labor, Economy, and Religion. Each of these categories will have a total of five different Civic options (for a total of 25) which all have different effects on gameplay and which are unlocked by researching certain Advances. Any combination of Civics from the different categories is possible, effectively creating a total of 3,125 theoretical 'governments'.

    Some Civics are very oppressive, such as Slavery (which allows you to rush-build items with population) or Theocracy, while others are very enlightened, such as Emancipation (which causes unhappiness in nations which don't have Emancipation: oppressed people will get jealous of the freedom and civil rights your people enjoy) or Freedom of Religion. So you can be as cruel or kind to your people as you want to be. Every Civic also has an Upkeep Cost associated with it, so you may not always be able to afford every (combination of) Civic(s). Leaders with the Organized trait only pay half of this cost. AI personalities will all have their own preferences regarding Civics options and will try to convince you to implement the same ones, much like with Religions.

    Which Civics are available in Civilization IV you can see in the Civilopedia.

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  • Civilization 4: Terrain and Resources

    Civilization 4: Terrain and Resources

    Terrain

    A Worker working next to a Fresh Water lakeTerrain in Civilization IV works largely the same as in Civ3: every tile has a base (immutable) terrain type (Grassland, Plains, Desert, Tundra, Hills, Mountains, Ice, Coast, Ocean) and on top of that Jungle or Forest may exist. Rivers flow between tiles (and not through them, as in Civ2, SMAC and the CtP series) and give any bonuses they may give to all tiles that border on it (but they do not give movement bonuses as in aforementioned games). Attacking across a river gives the defender a bonus. Civilization IV also features single-tile fresh water lakes [see image]. Proximity to fresh water (lake or river) gives cities a Health bonus. Certain terrain types give a bonus to defense or offense (Forest, Jungle, Hills) though not as many as in Civ3 and as in all Civ-like games the speed of Unit movement is affected by terrain as well. Spread throughout the map are 31 different types of Resources (Civilization IV: Warlords will add a few more), from Wheat to Iron and from Incense to Whales -- these have a major impact on gameplay [see below]. How these Resources are distributed over the map has been improved compared to Civ3, it's more balanced this time.

    ...
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  • Civilization 4: Religion

    Civilization 4: Religion

    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Religion Religion has always played a critical part in human history. Through religion, man has sought to make sense of the universe around him and to determine his place in it. Religion has inspired, enlightened and ennobled man; in its name men have erected beautiful buildings, written books of great wisdom, and made music of surpassing beauty. In its name men have also murdered and enslaved their fellows. Given the importance of religion throughout history, it seemed fitting that we should try to address it in Civilization IV. Through our tests, it was determined that the optimal number of religions for gameplay purposes was seven (a number that seems to come up quite often when designing versions of Civilization). We then set about making a list of seven important and recognizable religions. After a lot of deliberation and more testing, we narrowed the list down to these: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism. If you are the first to discover the technology associated with a religion, the religion is founded in one of your cities. Religion can spread passively throughout your cities and even into neighboring cities belonging to your opponents. Establishing trade routes can help spread your religion faster and farther. Certain religious buildings can also help this passive spread but if you want to move the process along, you will want to create missionaries. Missionaries are units that you can move to another city (your own or an opponent’s) and attempt to directly convert that city to your religion. In addition, having cities that have converted to your state religion can give you monetary and happiness bonuses. You can also get some line of sight benefits, and provide yet another interesting decision in a game already filled with interesting decisions. A completely new feature in Civilization IV compared to previous Civ games is Religion. Religions spread through the world on their own, but of course there are ways in which players can influence this. Religions offer players a myriad of bonuses and tools to control their people. Note that different Religions don't have unique bonuses, they are all generic in ability. The game is about having Religions, it doesn't matter much which ones there are. This is of course to prevent controversy regarding this sensitive subject. Religions are founded by being the first to research certain Advances. The first player to research Polytheism gets to found Hinduism, the first to discover Meditation founds Buddhism, etc. When a Religion is founded, one City in the empire of the player who founds it is converted to this Religion and becomes the Holy City for that Religion. Holy Cities can be recognized on the map by an icon representing the Religion with a yellow star in the top-right [see image]. From the Holy City, Religions gradually spread to other Cities throughout the world. Players can build Missionaries to help the spread of a Religion. There are no restrictions on where Religions can spread: one City can have multiple religions and it's also possible for a City to be the Holy City for more than one Religion. The Religions that are present in a City are visible on the map, by means of icons near the City name [see image]. Since Religions spread more or less independently from Civilizations, one Civilization can have several Religions in its borders and one Religion can be spread over the territory of several Civilizations. However, every Civ can choose only one Religion as State Religion. Other Religions that may be present in a Civ's territory then become Minority Religions. Depending on the Civics choices, the State Religion and Minority Religions have an impact on various aspects of the game [see Civics]. Regardless of Civics choices though, every City that has the State Religion gets a +1 Happiness bonus. The State Religion also has an impact on diplomacy: opponents may attempt to convert each other tot their State Religion and Civs who have share the same State Religion get along better (but the AI players do have a memory, just switching Religion for the sake of closing a deal will not work). One can change State Religion at any point in the game, but at the cost of 1 turn of Anarchy. Other advantages that Religions give is that they allow a City to build Religion-specific Buildings, such as Temples, Monestaries and Cathedrals. It also allows the construction of Missionaries, which can be used to spread a Religion further. Specialising a City towards Religion can generate Great Prophets, which have the ability to establish a religion-specific Shrine in a City. A Shrine is a World Wonder which helps spread its Religion faster and which generates Gold depending on how wide-spread the Religion is. Controlling the Holy City of a Religion has some notable advantages: the player who controls th...
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  • Civilization 4: Great People

    Civilization 4: Great People

    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Great People Throughout history, men and women have emerged to perform great deeds, thus having profound and lasting effects on the world around them. They are people whose genius, vision, and perseverance set them apart from the rest. The development team at Firaxis wanted to recognize the integral role these visionaries have played throughout history, so we added a new feature in Civilization IV called "Great People". There are five types of Great People in the game: Artists, Engineers, Merchants, Prophets, and Scientists. Each can have a profound impact on your Civilization, just as in real life. Great People are created at the city level, as each city can generate "great people points" based on conditions and structures in the city. You can affect the amount of people points generated in several ways. One very dramatic way is through the creation of a great wonder. For instance, building the Pyramids will make it more likely the city will generate a Great Engineer, while building Stonehenge will make the city more likely to generate a Great Prophet. You can also generate more great people points by taking city population away from working the land and turning them into specialists. Certain Civics choices can work to make your specialists more productive and that can also have a positive effect on your great people point production. All Great People share certain common abilities that differ somewhat based on the type of great person. All can be used to immediately research a new technology with the type of technology determined by the great person – Prophets would give you a religion technology like Priesthood, Artists may give you a technology like Literature, and Merchants would perhaps give Banking. All Great People can also settle in a city for a period of time and give a constant boost to that city’s production, based on their type. Finally, all Great People can be used to trigger extra golden ages for your Civilization, with each subsequent golden age requiring more Great People. Each use of a great person consumes that unit and it is removed from the game. In addition to their common abilities, all Great People can also do one "really big thing," for lack of a better term. Each Great Person type has a specific ability and their effects can make an indelible impact on the game. Great Artists can make a great work of art that automatically gives that city a huge culture boost. Great Engineers can "hurry" the production in a city, giving you the ability to build a Great Wonder in one turn perhaps. Great Merchants can conduct a trade mission to a far away city and give you a quick and sizeable boost to your treasury. Great Prophets can create a religious shrine, but only in the city in which the religion was founded. Finally, Great Scientists can construct an Academy, a building which boosts a city’s scientific research and culture. When Great People show up in the game, they are represented by a unit that is only visible to the player. For all but one (Great Prophet), there will be an ancient and a modern representation of the unit. To add flavor, each Great Person will be named after a great person of that type from history. So you may find yourself with the likes of: Shakespeare, Nichola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci, Marco Polo, Marie Curie, J.S. Bach, or Chuang Tzu, to name but a few! The Firaxis team has been playing Civ IV for over two years now, and we’re all really happy with the new level of depth the Great People feature brings to the game. We hope you’ll like it too!! Depending on how your Cities perform, they may also generate something else: Great People. Great People come in five categories: Artists, Engineers, Merchants, Prophets and Scientists. They are regular units, but with a few differences. They are invisible to all units and have a movement factor of 2. The most important difference with regular units is that Great People cannot be built: instead they are automatically spawned in Cities, depending on what those Cities are organised. As the player uses Specialists they gain Great People Points in the city that is utilizing the Specialists. These points determine which Great Person is created. Wonders also contribute Great People Points. Cities that specialise in science will generate Great Scientists, Cities that specialize in Culture will generate Great Artists. In the same fashion Gold leads to Great Merchants, Religion to Great Prophets and Hammers to Great Engineers. Research in specific directions can also influence what kind of Great People are generated. Another difference with regular units is that Great People are not generic units: they actually represent important historic persons, such as Plato, Michelangelo, Newton, Einstein, etc -- they all have a name. There are 165 unique Great People in total. Each Great Person you can use for one of ...
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  • Civilization 4: Culture

    Civilization 4: Culture

    Besides Food, Production and Gold, your Cities can collect something else: Culture. Culture in Civilization IV is generated somewhat differently than in the game's predecessor: the Culture tax slider and the number of Artists in a City determine the base amount of Culture that it generates. Some Wonders add to it as well, but some other Buildings, Wonders (e.g. National Epic) and Civics (e.g. Nationhood) act as multipliers for this base value. Great People can also boost the culture value of a City. Culture has three main effects on gameplay. The most straightforward is that it helps you to accomplish a Cultural Victory: if you manage to get three Cities over 100,000 Culture, you win the game. Another advantage that comes with Culture is Borders. Without Culture, the Borders of your empire extend only one tile around each City. But when the Culture value of a City reaches a certain threshold, the Borders expand. When they reach the next threshold, they expand again. Rinse and repeat, eventually connecting all your Cities into one large empire. This has a number of advantages: it allows your Units to move freely and it blocks all enemy Units (including Settlers and Missionaries) from moving near your Cities (unless they declare war or sign an Open Borders treaty) or at least slows them down (when at war). When used near chokepoints, this can be used to cut opponents off from entire subcontinents. Resources also need to fall inside your borders in order for you to be able to claim them, as do the tiles that a City can work....
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  • Civilization 4: Gameplay Concepts Introduction
    by Martin Gühmann

    The basic gameplay concept of Civilization IV is the same as that in all other Civ-like games: you take charge as the leader of a band of wandering people and set out to found an an empire of cities, armies and scientists with as goal to eventually rule the world. Compared to Civ3, Civilization IV will introduce some new concepts, such as Religion and Great People, change some existing ones, such as combat and technology, and leave others pretty much the same, such as diplomacy and Wonders. Civlization IV: Warlords adds in addition to that the concept of Vassal States.

    August 9, 2012, 15:54
  • Civilization 4: Overall Design
    by Martin Gühmann
    Civilization IV is part of the Civilization franchise, and a franchise can usually only be successful if it makes conservatively changes between iterations. So Civ4 is not extremely different from Civ3 -- it will be a conservative sequel. According to Soren Johnson, a good rule of thumb for a franchise is "1/3 old, 1/3 improved, 1/3 new". He believes that the best way to improve on Civ3 is to choose a focus and really improve the game in only a single (or a few) area(s), rather than trying to change a little bit of everything. That doesn't mean that Civ4 will play the same as Civ3, while the essence of previous games has remained, many details have changed and the step from Civ3 to Civ4 is the biggest and most ambitious one the series has made to date....
    August 9, 2012, 15:51
  • Civilization 4: Combat
    by Martin Gühmann
    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Promotions In Civ III, unit promotions involved rising in level from green to veteran to elite and each level added a hit point and a small combat bonus. For Civ IV, we decided to build on this system and make promotions much more intricate and customizable by allowing players to choose from over 20 different bonus types (many with multiple levels, for a total of over 40 available promotions). The numbers and types of available bonuses differ per unit type and only land and sea military units can acquire them (air units are different). Here’s how it works: Units can gain experience points in several ways. Successful combat is the primary means (note: you get more points from attacking than you do from defending) and the units must be victorious in a unit-to-unit combat, therefore there are no XPs (experience points) from bombarding fortifications or if the opposing unit withdraws. Units can also gain experience from a Barracks (land units), a Drydock (sea units) or a goody hut. In addition, some wonders, civic choices, and leader traits can give units extra experience or even certain promotions. As you might expect, the first promotion comes rather quickly, while each subsequent promotion requires more XP. The promotions take on many different forms. Some are simple like Combat (5 levels), which gives progressive strength bonuses with some extra healing at the top levels, or City Raider/City Garrison which gives the unit bonuses only when attacking/defending a city. Others give bonuses against a certain type of unit. For instance, Cover gives a bonus against Archery units and Formation gives a similar bonus against Mounted units, while Shock does the same against melee units. Some promotions give bonuses based on the type of terrain in which the unit resides. If your opponent has a lot of woods or jungle, you might choose Woodsman, or if your opponent is surrounded by hills you might choose Guerilla. All in all, the new promotion system in Civ IV offers players a plethora of interesting new decisions, excellent customization options, and an extra layer of strategy. That’s how we spell fun at Firaxis Games. The final aspect of gameplay is for many players also the most important one: combat. If diplomacy fails, or if you're just feeling like kicking some arse, you can declare war on an opponent and take what you want from him/her by force. To do so, you need to build an army of Units and use those to attack enemy Units and Cities, or to pillage his/her Improvements and as such damage his/her economy. But even if you don't want to go to war, you'll still need to build an army: if someone else declares war to you, you'll need to be able to defend yourself. And even if other nations don't declare war, Barbarians might invade you. Posting sentry guards along your borders and fortifying Units inside your Cities to guard them is a wise precaution. When expanding your empire peacefully, you will need to explore the lands around you to find suitable locations to build new Cities, and you'll need to send out Settlers to actually found those Cities (along with escorts to protect them). You need to build Units for these purposes as well. And of course, in order to expand to other continents (either peacefully or aggressively), you will need a navy. Units in Civilization IV function by and large in the same way as in Civ3, but there are some notable differences as well. Most Units still have the basic commands: move, attack, fortify, pillage, disband, sentry, (un)board transport, skip turn. Civilization IV offers one additional standard command: explore, which lets the Unit automatically explore the map. Another minor change is that Units now get a bigger defensive bonus the longer they are fortified. After two turns fortified, the bonus is 10%, after five turns it's 25%. That is also the maximum fortification bonus. A bigger difference is in Unit stats: in Civ3 Units had both an attack and a defense value, in Civ4 they only have one generic Strength value. This Strength value is used both to determine the chance that a Unit hits its opponent in combat (similar to the attack/defense value in previous Civ games) and the amount of damage that is done when a hit is scored (similar to firepower in Civ2). This makes the classic Spearman vs Tank problem much less of an issue, as a Spearman not only has a much smaller chance of doing damage, it also does much less damage. Despite the single Strength value there is still plenty of variation in the combat model, as many Units have much more unique special abilities: Spearmen have a bonus versus Mounted Units, Archers have a bonus defending Cities. Chariots and Cavalry don't get defensive bonuses, but they do have a chance to withdraw from a battle if it's going badly. With this system, every Unit has a specific role in the game and every unit ...
    August 9, 2012, 15:49
  • Civilization 4: Diplomacy and Espionage
    by Martin Gühmann

    Diplomacy

    The final type of global activity that takes place in Civilization IV is diplomacy: as leader of your empire, you can sit down with the leaders of other empires and exchange technologies, trade resources or sign treaties. Diplomacy works pretty much the same as in Civ3:

    When you first encounter a civ, its leader is added to the list of known contacts (visible in the bottom-right of the screen). At this point you can always contact him/her for one of three actions: negotiate a new deal, declare war, or view (and renegotiate) existing deals [see image on the right]. When negotiating a new deal, or renegotiating an old one, you're taken to a negotation table [see image below]. There you can negotiate a composite deal that is as complex as you'd like: you can offer Gold for an Advance, a City for a World Map, two Resources and an Advance. You can exchange a Resource for an amount of Gold per turn, sign an Open Borders treaty so your Units can pass through each other's territory, demand a City lest you declare war, etc. You can ask a player to declare war with someone else (even if you're not at war with them yourself), or request them to stop an ongoing war.

    Diplomacy Opening Screen

    While you are compiling a proposal, the animated leaderheads will show you with their facial expressions what they think of your proposal. The general attitude they hold towards you, based on both personality and past behaviour, is also visible (Gracious, Polite, Cautious, Annoyed, Enraged, etc). Of course, you're not the only one who can initiate discussions: rival players can make proposals or demands to you as well, including requests to switch your State Religion or Civics to their personal favourites.

    Each AI leader has a distinct personality, this is a major area of focus for development for Firaxis. This personality has a major impact on how they behave in diplomacy: Gandhi will be receptive to peaceful players and generous to relatively weak ones, but he will get angry at aggressive players. Genghis Khan on the other hand will shy away from diplomacy altogether, but when he does engage in it he'll be most receptive to warmongers.

    This personality does not only cover their behaviour in terms of what they may demand or how active they are in diplomacy, but also in their facial expressions. Each leader has their own set of expressions: they smile when they are happy, frown when they are upset. Some are very expressive while others are constrained. E.g. Hatshepsut is flirtatious, Louis XIV is vain and arrogant. They will be visibly excited when you make them a good deal and they react upset to less favourable proposals. For others, such as Qin Shi Huang, you can only judge their mood by the elevation of their eyebrows. Julius Caesar litterally gives you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down when responding to a proposal.

    Civilization IV: Warlords will introduce a new concept to diplomacy: Vassal States. It's not yet known how this will work.

    Diplomacy Bargaining Table

    Espionage

    Espionage also exists in Civilization IV and it works pretty much the same as in Civ2: you can build Spy units and send them around the map to infiltrate enemy territory unseen, spy on enemy troop movement, investigate cities, sabotage things, etc -- or use them to expose enemy spies.

    August 9, 2012, 15:48
  • Civilization 4: Technology
    by Martin Gühmann
    Besides sliders and Civics, research is another thing that happens on a global level in Civilization IV. All the Research Points, or Beakers, that every City collects are put together and used to research Advances. These Advances enable new options for the player, such as new Units, Buildings, Civics, Religions, etc and also open the way to new Advances. As such they move game forwards, from Stone Age to Space Age: the technology tree, which determines the relationships between the Advances and what new options each Advance enables, forms the backbone of the entire game. Once the whole tech tree has been researched, a player still has so-called Future Technologies to pursue: each of these gives a bonus to both Health and Happiness....
    August 9, 2012, 15:46
  • Civilization 4: Civics & Global Policies
    by Martin Gühmann
    Barry Caudill, Civilization IV Senior Producer on Civics

    Choosing your government has been an interesting part of playing Civilization since the original. In Civ IV, our team at Firaxis has really ramped up this feature and given players many more choices, which bring with them a whole new set of interesting decisions to make and strategies to employ. The new Civics system will allow players to customize their government to fit their current situation and style of play.

    In the game, when you first open the Civics page you will see 25 options divided into 5 categories. The categories are: government, legal, labor, economy, and religion. Initially, you will be limited to the lowest levels for each (making you a barbaric, decentralized despotism with tribal labor and practicing paganism), but you will unlock more of the choices based on your research. Changing to new Civic forms will have a dramatic effect on the character and success of your civilization. You’ll be able to boost or cut productivity, wealth, and happiness, make choices to increase/decrease the spread of religion, and even affect your ability to produce and maintain a large standing army.

    Of course, it’s not just as simple as picking all the highest level Civic options. A monarch needs to make the tough decisions. Every choice has an upkeep level assigned to it and you could end up with a really great government that puts you in the poorhouse. In addition, your current circumstances might make it impossible for you to use some of the higher-level choices. The good news for all the leaders out there is that you will be able to play around with all the choices and get an idea of the costs and benefits before you have to “Start the Revolution”.

    So, the choice is up to you. Will you be a despot or a king? Will your people respond better to a democratically elected ruler or a theocrat? Will you have a free market or is everything state property? Make the best choices and lead your people to their rightful place in history!

    Most of what was discussed up until now had to be managed on a City-by-City basis. There are however also settings that apply on a more global level to an entire Civilization, such as Civics and tax sliders. Tax sliders determine how the Gold income of Cities is distributed after fixed costs such as Unit support have been deducted: some of it can go to the treasury, where a player can spend it on things like diplomacy or rush-buying items, some of it can be devoted to research to obtain new Advances, and some of it can used to generate Culture and Happiness. The science tax determines what percentage goes to science, the Culture slider determines what goes to both Culture and Happiness. The remainder goes to the treasury.

    Civics are a new feature in Civilization IV and replace the governments feature from earlier games. It works somewhat similarly to SMAC's social engineering. Rather than having fixed government types such as democracy or communism, Civ4 lets you set individual policies on five different terrains: Government, Legal, Labor, Economy, and Religion. Each of these categories will have a total of five different Civic options (for a total of 25) which all have different effects on gameplay and which are unlocked by researching certain Advances. Any combination of Civics from the different categories is possible, effectively creating a total of 3,125 theoretical 'governments'.

    Some Civics are very oppressive, such as Slavery (which allows you to rush-build items with population) or Theocracy, while others are very enlightened, such as Emancipation (which causes unhappiness in nations which don't have Emancipation: oppressed people will get jealous of the freedom and civil rights your people enjoy) or Freedom of Religion. So you can be as cruel or kind to your people as you want to be. Every Civic also has an Upkeep Cost associated with it, so you may not always be able to afford every (combination of) Civic(s). Leaders with the Organized trait only pay half of this cost. AI personalities will all have their own preferences regarding Civics options and will try to convince you to implement the same ones, much like with Religions.

    Which Civics are available in Civilization IV you can see in the Civilopedia.

    August 9, 2012, 15:44
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