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The Town Square
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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » The Town Square » What I want for Christmas
Topic Subject:What I want for Christmas
posted 12-06-10 16:13 ET (US)         
I have always enjoyed games that allowed you to build things and compete with other players( either directly or by comparing finished games) by being more creative at that game rather than by being more bloodthirsty or by the simple fact that Player A has better reflexes than Player B.

Don't get me wrong, I've had many enjoyable hours playing wargames, simulators, RTS, FPS, etc, ect....

But since the first Sim City release and the original Caesar, I have always come back to city building games at various points in my cycle of gaming. I can't really explain it other than by saying that it satisfies my need(?) to have 'Action A' give me 'Result B' each and every time I take 'Action A'. A good example of that might be in Zeus. Lay down an Onion Farm and have it fully staffed for 12 months and it WILL give you 8 loads of onions to use each and every year without fail. It's comforting.

Does this whole topic really have a point? Not so you would notice much but I would like to ask Santa for a re-vamp of Pharaoh.

Don't get me wrong, I think Pharaoh was (actually still is) about the epitome of city building games. On a scale of 1-100 they got about 99% of it right by the time they finished and I wouldn't want to see the underlying strength of the game sacrificed simply to turn out a game that looks nice, but sucks to play (see Railroad Tycoon and Railroad Tycoon 2 then compare those to RR Tycoon 3 and Railroads! and you will see what I am talking about. The first two were brilliant in my opinion, the last two, not so much).

What brought this on was a binge of playing older games. Of the games I seem to go back to (city building-wise) The Caesar Series, Pharaoh, Children of the Nile and Zeus are what I generally play. But that is not exactly the truth. Zeus is generally what I end up playing even though, in my opinion, it is probably the weakest of the Impressions games (although by that, don't get the impression I think it's a sucky game. I enjoy the hell out of it).

The shining jewel in Impression's Crown is Pharaoh. But man, there are parts of it that just drive me nuts and after playing off and on since it's release, I'ma finally sound off and give my opinions on ways I wish it was built, even though there may be other threads on this and obviously many player's may not agree with me .

1. Get rid of the age scaling in Pharaoh. Granted, in real life, people do get too old to work and retire and there may not be enough young'uns to take up the slack but that doesn't belong in the game. Keep the available workers steady or tie it to something that the player has some hope influencing. Like wages or something.

2. Go Zeus in some things. Make the house tiles 2x2 as a default with the option of going to the higher levels as the player decides it's needed. I'd much rather use a small statue or a shrine to keep a house a 'worker house' instead of becoming an elite house than to have to my initial worker housing dotted with small statues or isolated road tiles in order to ensure that I don't have to destroy an apartment that formed where it wasn't supposed to when the scribe makes his first pass. Also, Zeus' idea of being able to access the labor pool by simply having the building next to a road was a good one. If that would make Pharaoh too 'easy' then create a building that 1)Takes labor to staff and/or 2)Make it a requirement that all roads be connected to the Palace (ex. Zeus' Towers) in order for buildings along a particular stretch road to get staffed. But please, make it possible to access the labor pool remotely without having to build a 'suburb' or more accurately, a 'slum' in order to access labor. I could even live with having to create housing on separate sides of a river if the only way to get across the river was by ferry. There being no land connection and the river being too wide to bridge.

3. Trade centers. I'm not taking about the dedicated trade buildings of Zeus and some versions of Caesar but rather the ability to designate a storage yard as a "Trade Only" yard. Nothing ever gets delivered out of them just put in or taken out. If I need say, 4 Storage Yards to handle all the incoming and outgoing freight then I can designate them as such. Leave it up to the city storage yards to come get what is imported and the Trade Yards themselves to go out and get what is to be exported. The point here is to get those imbecilic trade caravans in and out as quickly as possible and stop the cycle of them going to Yard A to get 3 copper and then to Yard B to get 4 more then back to Yard A because Yard A just glommed all the copper out of Yard B and it's now on it's way to Yard A. Plus trying to deliver the 800 units they carry to ridiculously separated yards because Yard A accepts 800 but is currently at 600 and Yard B also accepts 800 so we will imitate Homer and go on an Odyssey to deliver this beer.

4. Entertainment Venues (the bane of block building) don't change them really, I understand the underlying idea behind them but I'd really appreciate it if it were possible to put them on a 'L' intersection (I know there is no such thing, its really just a 90 degree bend in the road) rather than having to do it at a 'T' intersection (although, keeping that functionality would probably be good).

I wouldn't want to see Pharaoh made easier. I do like a challenge. Those are the main sticking points that make me reach for a game other than Pharaoh when it comes time to spend some hours building a city. I never did become the fan of Caesar many people I know did. Pharaoh has, without a doubt, always been my favorite in concept but Zeus usually wins out, not because it is easier to play, because its irritation factor is much less.

"What are we going to do tomorrow Barak?"
"The same thing we do every day Joe....TRY AND TAKE OVER THE WORLD."
Lord Normanby
Venerable Old Codger
(id: Caesar Clifford)
posted 12-06-10 20:26 ET (US)     1 / 5       
While I will always love Caesar3 and Cleopatra I do think Emperor may be the best of the whole series. I really enjoy it these days.

As for OD, it's the home of both the most and the least intelligent forummers. The trick is being able to tell which is which as they're both doing their utmost to deny what they are" - GillB
HG Alumnus
posted 12-06-10 22:07 ET (US)     2 / 5       
I wouldn't want to see Pharaoh made easier.
Your entire post argues against that, which is fine. (There are things that I'd enjoy more if they were easier.) Many players agree with you--Impressions must have thought so when they created Zeus. But I'm glad that there are city-building games that emphasize strategy, such as Pharaoh and (even more so) Caesar III.
posted 12-06-10 22:51 ET (US)     3 / 5       
Point to you, Brugle. Re-reading what I wrote it would make Pharaoh a bit easier.

I guess what I was griping about mainly is that there are things in Zeus that I would love to see implemented in re-makes of their other games. Pharaoh (and to a lesser extent, the Caesar Series, although I have to admit I only played Caesar 2 to any great extent. Perhaps I need to give 3 and 4 a try) would have benefited greatly I think from simply not having the trade caravans and such bounce around so much trying to deliver/pick-up. I have worked around it a bit by micro-managing who receives what on the delivery end by selectively turning off SYs at the start of the year. And by over producing exports (where possible) so that all product to be exported was already in SYs in close proximity to each other before the year started.

Of the changes I listed, that one would please me the most as I think a little automation in that respect would have enhanced play rather than detracting from the difficulty.

By 'not making the game easier' what I guess I meant to say is that I like the single city concept and the challenge that gives over Zeus and its Parent/Colony/Vassal dynamic. Again, not to be taken as a slam of Zeus, I like that game immensely. But even though it is an advance over Pharaoh and Caesar in that respect, it made Zeus/Poseidon a less challenging game than Pharaoh/Cleopatra. At least in my opinion.

The other three or four points can be logged off to my OCD , especially the one about the entertainment venues. It didn't take me long, and from reading some of the old threads here it seems not many folks were thrown by that one either, to figure a work around on that one.

"What are we going to do tomorrow Barak?"
"The same thing we do every day Joe....TRY AND TAKE OVER THE WORLD."
HG Alumnus
posted 12-06-10 23:45 ET (US)     4 / 5       
Pharaoh ... would have benefited greatly I think from simply not having the trade caravans and such bounce around so much
Well ... you could try considering trade strategy when designing a city. Several approaches (over producing exports, when possible, is one of them) can improve trade efficiency without micromanagement, but some can affect the entire city layout. I could describe, from memory, the trade considerations and techniques that significantly affected my last dozen (fairly different) Pharaoh cities. What you consider improvements would greatly reduce my enjoyment. But that's just me.
posted 02-16-11 01:13 ET (US)     5 / 5       
I think you can do something you like in christmas.

According to the rules here at Heavengames, advertising is illegal if you have not contacted Heavengames and got a thumbs up for it. Besides that, Blizzard does not allow the sale of WOW gold for 'real' money.

[This message has been edited by PCDania (edited 02-16-2011 @ 02:59 AM).]

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