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  • Are civ-specific abilities racist?

    In Civ 1 & 2, the civilizations differed only in their starting locations and their AI properties.

    In SMAC the factions had several different properties. That made sense since they consisted of people with different backgrounds, values and equipment.

    Civ 3 came up with special advantages for each civs and a unique unit for everyone. I have several objections to these features.

    1: Many of the unique units are dependent on a specific kind of terrain. For instance, the Man-of-War and the Berserker are of little value if your empire is land based, and the Keshik is not very useful if there are no mountains nearby.

    2: Since the traits and unique units differ a lot in strength, they make the game unbalanced.

    3: You lose the opportunity of leading a civilization against its real history. I want the possibility to make the Zulu a peaceful civilization.

    4: The featues suggest that the people of the included civilizations have natural attributes that do not change during 6000 years. This is not only unreal, it can also be called racism.

    5: The game would be nicer if the entire unit gallery was available for all civs.

    Can these features be edited away?

    Well, you can give all specific traits to all civs. If you don't want to make golden ages harder to achieve through wonder-building, you could add more traits to the wonders.

    The unique units could be available to all civs if you have the right techs and resources. Probably you would have to add some extra resources and techs to give all units their right place.
    Last edited by Optimizer; February 16, 2003, 16:12.
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  • #2
    Good points. However, the game also uses real historical military units, so it IS very much predetermined.

    It's just a game though, and I don't think that any damage is done.
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    • #3
      The game just reflects the national attitude that nation had in its height of power, and the UU represent the areas of military power those countries possessed. True you cannot always use them, but that just adds randomness (and for me the fun) of the game.

      Since the attributes are civ-specific, not race-specific, I don't see labeling this as racism.
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      • #4
        You can still play the Zulus as a peaceful civ, if you want to do so.

        Civ traits and UUs were added to give the game a little variety. Civ 2 civs were pretty boring. The extra spice that Civ 3 has brought makes it much more exciting. Personally, I always hated having English War elephants and Sioux Legions. I don't find this racist at all. Different civs were stronger in different areas. This is just a simplification of their historical strengths, added to differentiate between and make the civ choice a significant one.
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        • #5
          The only problem I have with civ traits is some choices make no sense. For example Rome should be Religious - The city of Rome contains the Vatican - The Vatican is the centre of the Catholic Religion - The Catholic Religion is one of the most major Religions in the world.
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          • #6
            All the issues raised in the first post could be resolved by modability. I don't think its racist either.
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            • #7
              Re: Are civ-specific abilities racist?

              #1: Man-Of-War is never useful for the same reason that the Frigate is never useful. Iron Clads would need to be pushed back in the tree to make Frigates / Man of War useful.

              Bersker would stilll be of great use without the ampehous assult. It's attack factor is 6! Escort them with Pike Men initally and upgrade the escorts to Musket Men later.

              Isn't the Keshick cheaper than the standard Knight? This makes for a cheaper upgrade from Horsemen than normal at first and faster builds of new Kehicks later.

              #2: Difference in starting terraigns is far more unbalancing than the traights in SP.

              #3: You can still do so if you wish. See in the stategrey forum the thread Military Traight: It's Not Just for War Monglers. The AI is going to play the Zulu warlike, but that has more to do with the AI flags set for this race that the raw charestics.

              #4: The traights are based on the civs at a specific time frame.

              For instance, prior to what is now known as the French & Indian war, there was no American civ; virtually every Colonial saw themselves as Englishmen. And in their inital protests against the King & Parliment, they appealed to their rights as Englishmen. It was only later that they appealed to universal rights.

              Egypt is clearly based on the first dynasty that built the Pyraimds dispite the poor choice of leader.

              The Irqouis civ even has a UU that historically, they never used.

              #5: That's editable; athough I note that the simplestic approach will result in several not being around.
              (In Classic Civ III, Swordmen upgrades to Legionary which upgrades to Immortals. This was done to permit both Rome and Persia to build Warriors and upgrade to their UUs)

              You'd also want to remove the trigures the GA flag.

              Originally posted by Optimizer

              1: Many of the unique units are dependent on a specific kind of terrain. For instance, the Man-of-War and the Berserker are of little value if your empire is land based, and the Keshik is not very useful if there are no mountains nearby.

              2: Since the traits and unique units differ a lot in strength, they make the game unbalanced.

              3: You lose the opportunity of leading a civilization against its real history. I want the possibility to make the Zulu a peaceful civilization.

              4: The featues suggest that the people of the included civilizations have natural attributes that do not change during 6000 years. This is not only unreal, it can also be called racism.

              5: The game would be nicer if the entire unit gallery was available for all civs.

              Can these features be edited away?

              Well, you can give all specific traits to all civs. If you don't want to make golden ages harder to achieve through wonder-building, you could add more traits to the wonders.

              The unique units could be available to all civs if you have the right techs and resources. Probably you would have to add some extra resources and techs to give all units their right place.
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              • #8
                The Roman civ is clearly based Rome at the time of Julius Ceaser & Augustus.

                The way Civ III uses the Religious traight, the Roman civ at the time clearly doesn't belong with them.

                What Rome has known for was:

                1. Best Military in the Known World. (Represented by Military)

                2. Building numeous roads, and placing their cities in the road-network of Rome. (Represented by Commercial)

                Their UU makes sense, Rome used Legionaries as both their main line attack unit and their main line defense unit.

                The bigest thing from history left out about the Roman UU in Civ III is that their Legionaries built Roads where there wasn't any.

                I'm fairly sure that the ability was left out of Civ III for balance reasons, and I agree with leaving that ability out.

                Originally posted by Elden
                The only problem I have with civ traits is some choices make no sense. For example Rome should be Religious - The city of Rome contains the Vatican - The Vatican is the centre of the Catholic Religion - The Catholic Religion is one of the most major Religions in the world.
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                • #9
                  Hmm... they are commercial, because they built roads? Hitler built a lot of roads for his military too (again with as a positive side effect: economic advantages). I think a better representation for this point would be industruous.
                  More important: ancient economies did not really trade over roads: they traded over sea. Sea transport was five times cheaper than river transport, which was five times cheaper than road transport. In the Paxa Romana a lot of economic gain was made by specialisation, because there was little piracy, peace and one ruler in the Mediterrean. Yet again, the peace was not established because the Romans wanted a better economy. The possibilities of expanding the Roman empire into the north and south were simply not profitable. The attempts of war with Persia sometimes were and in fact this was the only place in which the Romans engaged war (in the first two centuries AD)
                  My point is: the Romans were not commercial. I have pleaded before and I will plead again for a new trait that would fit the Romans: universal. The Roman army system made it possible for everybody to become quickly integrated into the empire and gain a Roman feeling. They did this by toleration to religion and integrating the new people into their army.
                  The practical outlook in Civ3 would be: conquered people more rapidly turn Roman, non-Romans are less likely to resist your rule.

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                  • #10
                    Let me say this before you bring it up: the wars with the German Barbarians were because Germans violated the Roman borders. In the first two centuries AD these wars were not numerous (except in the end.)
                    Oh and then there is Traian who conquered Daccia, which was not really profitable, but that was merely a prestige matter.

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                    • #11
                      Pomans IMHO opinion should be Militaristic and Industrious.

                      As for the racism thing i think it is not a valid argument.

                      Racism would be if the Zulus had one trait and the Engilsh f.e had three.
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                      • #12
                        Maybe it is a bit racist. I mean Germans are not fundamentally different from French. And they only became very scientific after the French occupation. The militarism is the Prussian influence in the German civ and is in fact not at all of applicance on present day Germany (with all the pacifism). But in fact we would like the game to ressemble the way the civilizations did work out to be. The idea of Civilization 3 is like: hey, wouldn't it be cool if Hannibal and Alexander allied up against the Romans which would seek support from the Zulus. The civs simply do have to apply to a certain image we have from them. If they don't we might as well add 16 fictuous non-meanful civs. (Like the Frectadorians, the Hallians, the Callians, the Nathusians or something like that).

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                        • #13
                          Maybe you should be able to choose one civ trait, and only be allowed to change it at a great cost. That would be something for a future civ game.
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                          In an information society you take a shower before leaving for work.

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                          • #14
                            A religious Rome is a nonsense, as the Roman Empire became a Christian Empire in the last century of its history, causing its fall as well
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                            • #15
                              I wonder, can you un-check "Civ-specific abilities" at the start and not get their UU? Never tried this.

                              I for one, do not think it is racist and give the same a little spice. Makes civ-selection a little more thoughful. Coming back to Civ2, it looks bland with all civs the same.
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