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At the Gates => AtG - General Discussion => Topic started by: Bossman on January 18, 2019, 08:16:48 AM

Title: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Bossman on January 18, 2019, 08:16:48 AM
Interesting game but there is one big balance issue with food production. Currently you can only lose a maximum of 1 food per turn. Even if you completely stop all food production activities, you will still only lose 1 food per turn. That's why it's a lot more effective to just skip food production chain completely and focus on more valuable resources. You can then just buy all the food you need from caravans.

My other issue is with game difficulty. I have played a bunch of games already and haven't felt threatened at all because the AI factions seem to be really passive and the bandits don't attack me at all even though my military is tiny. Maybe in the future give us an option to tweak the AI aggressiveness.
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Hunter on January 18, 2019, 11:00:32 AM
You can only lose "1 food" because the amount of food you have in storage is expressed in units of "the amount of food I need to feed everyone for 1 turn". So yes, when you have no food production, it drops by 1. If you hover over the food it will show you the detailed calculations. You can certainly buy food from caravans, but buying it all is normally not a winning strategy.

Bandits generally only attack quite local to their base. Sometimes they do come in and attack for real though, or steal your outlying units (explorers, prospectors, etc). They are quite weak, so even an archer can generally fight them off.

The other tribes are usually quite passive, I agree. I think it needs more work to make them more dynamic.

Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Bossman on January 18, 2019, 12:04:51 PM
Buying all the food is actually a winning strategy if you think about it. 1 unit of food only costs 2 gold, so with zero food production you lose 2 gold per turn but you free up many clans to do other things. Just 1 clan assigned to digging, for example, easily produces more than 2 gold worth of good per turn. so I don't really understand why would anyone want to produce any food. It just isn't worth it.
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Hunter on January 18, 2019, 07:10:27 PM
There often isn't enough food in the caravan to feed all the people for the period before the next caravan. Internal food security remains an issue.

p.s. I don't think you've understood my first comment. In my current game, my tribes require 143 food per turn. This is "1.0 turns of food", NOT 1 food. In order to feed them for, say, 15 turns between caravans, you would need to buy 143 x 15 =  2145 food, at 2 gold each = $4,290 gold. And in any case, there isn't that much food to buy (although, if you have an efficient process of slaughter, for example, you can often buy 'live exported' animals and butcher them for quite a lot of food.)
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Bossman on January 19, 2019, 03:06:15 PM
Maybe it worked differently in the older versions but in the newest version 1 food from the caravan equals 1 stored food turn so even a large tribe only needs to buy 15 food from the caravan to survive for 15 turns. That cannot be right.
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Hunter on January 22, 2019, 02:38:14 AM
Right at the beginning of the game when your combined clans are eating about 1 unit of food per turn, this is true, but not later on
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Arlekin on January 22, 2019, 02:49:17 AM
Hey Bossman, maybe you could post a ss of the issue?
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Bossman on January 22, 2019, 05:12:46 AM
It's weird that your game doesn't function like this. I have tried it out using 2 different PCs and both have the same issue. Here are some pictures:

In my current game I got 10 clans and food consumption of 4.4 food per turn. As you can see I got 2 stored food turns.

(https://i.imgur.com/xZQlbTs.jpg)

Then in the same turn I buy one single unit of fish that costs me 3 gold.

(https://i.imgur.com/UiqOrIZ.jpg)

Voila! My stored turn counter increases to 3.

(https://i.imgur.com/BQysQaH.jpg)
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Arlekin on January 22, 2019, 07:32:50 AM
Huh... Hunter?
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Hunter on January 22, 2019, 08:58:14 AM
I checked and can do the same thing. You are right. I apologise.

I think it is a bug.

I could have sworn I have tried it and found it working properly.
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Metalize on January 25, 2019, 08:59:13 AM
This can't be intended.

Reproduced this. I can buy one unit of any sort of food item from Caravan for 3g, and get a whole day's worth of food stockpile for my 40 clans.

Please fix L:(
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: carewolf on January 25, 2019, 09:25:41 AM
This can't be intended.

Reproduced this. I can buy one unit of any sort of food item from Caravan for 3g, and get a whole day's worth of food stockpile for my 40 clans.

Please fix L:(

And since the confusion is caused by the confusing way of showing food stocks. Please just show the REAL food stock and not how many turns you have left. That is how everything else works, and I could argue this is confusing users, but I don't need to. We already have solid evidence it even confuses the developers MAKING the game. So just stop it, and make it sane.
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Culthrasa on January 25, 2019, 05:14:45 PM
You get used to it imho...

It does allow for stuff like spoilage. With an absolute amount of food that would be more difficult.. From what number on should it spoil? End game food usage is about 100 times more then early game... So set the bar too low and end game winter becomes a problem, set it too high and early game food won't be an issue in the winter.

Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Diquillis on January 27, 2019, 09:54:29 PM
Even ignoring the caravan food exploit, the food calculation is a bit nonsensical.

Expressing food stockpile as (turns-of-food-to-feed-everyone) is an interesting idea, but it doesn’t work with the changing number of families/tribes:

On turn 1, the Goths start with 15 turns-of-food to feed 3 families. They are producing 0 food, so will lose 1 turns-of-food at the end of the turn, with 14 turns-of-food remaining for those 3 families the next turn. Makes sense.
Except that next turn they have a new clan join, and so now have 4 families to feed – but still apparently have 14 turns-of-food in the stockpile.
Shouldn’t it now be roughly 10 turns-of-food due to the 33% increased consumption?

Also, the spoilage system seems fairly strange.
Late game I had about 100 turns-of-food stored thanks to a few wheat farms and a glassblowing warlock (and purchasing 2 years’ worth of cheese from the exploit merchant), so any surplus food was lost to the ~99% spoilage.
I realised I could toggle off grapes as an optional food source at that point, so suddenly had an income of about +200 grapes/turn, with food/turn unchanged (again due to spoilage).
I guess the grapes were only going to rot if I planned on eating them?

Really interesting mechanic, it just seems a bit off as currently implemented.
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: ToXeye on January 28, 2019, 11:34:31 AM
I talked about this in another thread. Supposedly, all the food becomes "turns of food" at some point. This is a problem.

Foraging doesn't give its value in food to the amount of turns of food except after a huge reduction of value. Then when a new clan joins, the same amount of turns remain in the "stockpile". It would be much better if turns of food was not a hard value, but rather a calculated soft value.

Also, the caravans give turns of food for each food item. The caravans should give a hard value in food rather than a hard value in turns.

This problem involves cattle and things like honey. If they can be consumed as food, they now automatically become turns of food (except, as I said earlier, not proportionately to what a hassle it is to gather that food).

A few more screens where you can control how much is used and how, would be nice. Just an advice.
Title: Re: Major Issue with Food Production and Game Difficulty
Post by: Lincoln on January 31, 2019, 04:57:02 PM
I'm gonna post this in a couple of threads because it address several issues people are talking about.

I believe I am playing my first game after the new update. I played the Franks and had the Goths and Lombards next to me and the Romans to the South. I'm somewhere in the middle game about 14 years in.

For the first time my neighbors really tried to harass me! I was lucky to be near several mines including a stone quarry so I was able to go to permanent structures very early. I had a nice little kingdom going about two years or so in when all of a sudden the raiders showed up. I assumed it was because I had left myself with no army in my building frenzy. Regardless, they started pillaging their way toward my settlement. I was surprised to find that I could rebuild anything that was pillaged in just a couple of turns. The only reason this was easy for me was because I already had a lot of stone blocks. Still, it was a close run thing. The two countries hung around pillaging in the good months and trying to survive the winters for three or for years. I eventually had to be careful in choosing when to repair things. During this time I had and average of 4 turns of food with a depreciation ranging from .01 to .04 percent of a turn. Eventually I had to eat from my herds during lean months.

(Note: this was the first game I have played where I did not purchase any food. I have decided that until this aspect of trade is fixed that the only exciting way to play is with this house restriction)

At first I was attempting to turn new tribesmen into spearmen but I realized that would just take too long. So eventually I just switched to a war footing and drafted about 8 spearmen out of about 14 to 16 clans not working resources. This was necessary because the Goths had a force with a power well over 100. I had to keep my recruits inside the settlement to avoid combat. However when I eventually met that force it so depleted by the weather and its moral so low that I beat it easily.

By the time I met the Lombard skirmishers it appeared their army only consisted of 3 archers. I believe this force was as strong as the other at first. Either they died from exposure or were attacked by the Goths or ... and this is my hope; at a certain point the Lombards left off pillaging for about half a year and then returned. I believe they switched forces. This is interesting and important. I have found after numerous games that the other kingdoms tend to have two forces. A strong one and a weaker. In some cases like the Huns I have seen two strong forces. Nevertheless, once this strong force is destroyed only the week force remains to protect their settlement. This is in fact what happened with the Goths this game. I have yet to find what the Lombards have waiting for me when I go after them. In fact, prior to this, the only time I have found a strong force in an enemy settlement is when I have declared war on them and in most cases I have also bungled something so they have some time to bring their strong force back close to their capital.

At this point I believe that the AI strategies consist of the following:

One or two STRONG forces and one week force.
All strong forces eventually go out pillaging and are often far from home.

I have never seen the AI react to events and start building a new strong army after losing that army. I have seen middle sized armies hanging out on the periphery. This is interesting and makes me very hopeful for the following reasons.

There has been a lot of confusion about how warfare works. Often you find that you can't attack enemy armies even after you have declared war and ravaged their settlement. However, sometimes after declaring war and doing a little damage the enemy will send a message, "Lets settle this on the battlefield" It appears this is the only time you can attack an enemy force unless they are in your territory and pillaging you. 

I have to ask: "Isn't this exactly what I did as the Franks?"

So it seems the game has a buffer in it allowing a nation to choose when it will risk its precious fighting force. This is why those middling forces on the periphery make you nervous. There is no wiping out or ending a nation as a threat unless you keep units in the settlement hex ... I think. And it took me years to build up a force of sufficient strength to drive out the ravaging armies. So when we are trying to panzer push our way across the map we find this inability to immediately destroy our foes as incongruous. To me it seems like a much better way of handling the matter within the time scale of this game.

I am thoroughly enjoying this game. I have had the Huns attack me before but this is the first time I have been serious mauled by neighbors. I think it was because of changes in the first update. I too can't wait for more diplomacy options, more random events and such. Be patient!