The Let's Play Archive

Civilization 2

by Melth

Part 2: Mechanics: Methods for preventing unhappiness/civil disorder in the early game

Squalitude posted:

Is there really no way to avoid the civil disorder when you grow (other than happiness benefits, I mean)? I know I heard the civil disorder moaning noise a lot when I played so there probably isn't really a way...

There are several potential ways, but it depends a lot on your situation. I haven't gone into the relevant mechanics in detail yet, but I'll try to outline how it can be done.

First let's look at the default situation. On Deity difficulty, the first citizen in every city is initially content but every citizen after that is unhappy. This means that once your city hits size 2, it has 0 happy citizens and 1 unhappy citizens and therefore goes into civil disorder.

Now it actually gets much worse from there. For every government type there is a threshold number of cities beyond which citizens in random cities are made unhappier for every new city you build. I don't have the threshold number memorized for every government type, but it's much higher for the good governments like Democracy than for the terrible ones like Despotism. The upshot is that if you have a large number of cities on Deity difficulty and are still a Despotism or Monarchy, many or all of them will start to have their FIRST citizen be unhappy instead of content. Which means the city is immediately in civil disorder upon creation. Which means the city is completely non-functional.

In principle you can combat unhappiness in many ways. The trouble is that most of them are entirely unavailable at the beginning and the rest suck for various reasons. Also, which ones are available depends on your government.

1) As a Despotism or Monarchy or Anarchy (or Communism, but friends don't let friends even research that horrible tech) you can enforce "martial law". Every military unit in a city (up to 3) makes one unhappy citizen content. Thus if you build a military unit in a size 1 city before it grows to size 2, the city will not be in civil disorder at size 2. But it will go into disorder at size 3 unless you build yet another military unit and so on.

The advantage of this tactic is that you can use it right from the beginning of the game. Additionally, military units are useful on defense. At first glance it's the smart approach.

However, this can eat your civilization alive if used improperly. The first problem is that at the start of the game the only military unit you can build are Warriors. Warriors are so amazingly bad in a fight that SETTLERS will crush them.

That problem is mitigated if you luck out and start with Bronze Working or Warrior Code or maybe Horseback Riding for free. However, then the second problem is even worse: it takes a substantial number of turns to produce this military unit, during which time you're not progressing toward building a Settler. And the thing you need most at that point in the game is more Settlers. Every city you build is another 2 tiles you can work, greatly increasing your Science gain and capability to expand still faster in the future. The faster you expand, the bigger your country is going to be and the sooner you're going to be functional.

The third problem is that the military unit(s) drain your Production with their upkeep. That slows your Settler building down even further. There is basically no production to spare in the early stages.

The fourth problem is that this is a treadmill. All you do is put off the size at which your cities go into disorder slightly, but only by spending a bunch of turns building the military unit- which means you're going to be closer to the next size increase.

The fifth problem is that you CANNOT use martial law as a Republic. Also your upkeep costs will rise. So suddenly your cities will be in disorder everywhere after you transition. And you can't then use your martial law troops as an army either since fielding your troops makes your citizens even angrier as a Republic. So you have to disband a bunch of units and use one of the other techniques to reduce unhappiness. This is very wasteful.

2) Once you have Ceremonial Burial, you can build Temples. Each Temple will make 2 unhappy citizens content in that city. So a city with a Temple can go up to size 3 without going into disorder.

The advantage of this is that it will continue to work when you switch to Republic- and you'll definitely want Temples in lots of places later in the game, so building them isn't a waste.

But this is arguably even worse. I mean, first of all you can't even get started until you have the Ceremonial Burial tech. Which is NOT part of the chain to get to the Republic. So your big priority is delayed a bunch unless you either luck out and start out with the tech for free or are going to go Monarchy first, in which case you need to research it anyway. But I don't generally recommend ever going Monarchy. Too much of a delay.

The second problem is similar to the second martial law problem but even worse: Temples take a TON of turns to build. So you're not getting your Settlers out, so you aren't expanding fast enough.

The third problem is that your Temples each drain 1 gold per turn. This isn't as bad as 1 Production per turn for soldiers, but it's still pretty bad when your income is like 1 gold per city as it is.

3) Other city buildings. Cathedrals, Colloseums, etc. These do the job of Temples even better but cost more and can't be built at all at the beginning, so this is not possible.

4) Wonders of the World. The Oracle, the Hanging Gardens, Michaelangelo's Chapel, J.S. Bach's Cathedral, Women's Suffrage as a Democracy at war, Cure For Cancer, etc. A lot of these are awesome and 100% necessary to get later. But they're not available at all at the beginning. We're talking like 50 turns before it's even conceivable to have the Hanging Gardens.

5) Fundamentalist government. This is the big one. No one is EVER allowed to be unhappy. All unhappiness problems are completely solved forever and you can focus on slaughtering your enemies. Sweet. Too bad you need half the techs in the game to get this government. We'll talk in 4000 years or so.

6) Dedicating part of your Trade to Luxuries. This is theoretically possible from turn 1 but not really. Later in the game when you actually HAVE Trade because your civ is big and you're playing as a Republic, this is extremely efficient and darned near necessary. In particular, this is pretty much the ONLY way to turn massive numbers of content citizens happy, which has its own advantages. At the start of the game, the best % you can get is 60%. Which would leave a terrible 40% Science and no gold. And there's no benefit whatsoever unless your city produces 3 Trade, which very few do. And there's no feasible way to make it work past size 2 like that anyway. The Science penalty alone means you should never even consider this early game.

7) Entertainers. Turn a productive citizen into an Entertainer instead when you're about to hit size 2. Each Entertainer generates 2 Luxuries (enough to make one unhappy person content). This option is available right from the start.

On the face of it, this is the worst option because having a guy be an Entertainer instead of working a good terrain square can cost you something huge (like 2 Food and a Production every turn for not working a Grassland with a shield). And you don't get the lasting benefit of having a soldier or a Temple or anything.

The reason it's good is that you only need to pay the price for a couple of turns with careful micromanagement. Instead of paying a small, grinding price for a hundred turns, you pay a high price for like 2. This is basically THE go-to measure for ending civil disorder in individual cities for 1-2 turns throughout the whole game. Just don't rely on it as a long-term fix.

A combination of these techniques is necessary, and which combination is best depends on your strategy. In standard play I prefer to use an occasional Entertainer or martial law Warrior at the very beginning, transition to Luxuries and occasional Temples the instant I get Republic, and then mainly rely on Wonders of the World as soon as I can build those

If you plan to go for early conquest or have another reason to stay Monarchy for a while, martial law becomes much more viable. But you'll still definitely want to transition to mainly relying on wonders like Michaelangelo's Chapel once you can.

CommissarMega posted:

You need to put in videos of the Civ 2 advisors!

Unfortunately, I can't seem to view them on this computer. I've seen the prompts to listen to them, but the video never appears. Nor do the wonder ones. But all the adviser videos are available on youtube for those who'd like to see them.

Cythereal posted:

Does this version of Civ2 come with the Fantastic Worlds expansion? That might be worth showing off below Deity difficulty at some point, some of the Fantastic Worlds scenarios are pretty entertaining.

It might. I'm honestly not sure since I've never particularly wanted to try one of the custom scenarios.