This post is a compilation of ideas I have to revamp two of the game’s economic mechanics to make them more varied, dynamic and historically authentic.
Herdable management might be one of the dullest tasks in the game. It’s rarely practical or worthwhile, requiring much more micro than simply farming or hunting. But some of the new DLCs have introduced unique ways to make them more interesting, the Mexican Haciendas automate much of the process and the African Kingdoms have an unique buying and selling mechanic with them. This proves that herding cattle doesn’t need to be boring and superfluous for most other civs. It just needs a rework…
My proposal for Cattle starts with completely reworking the Livestock Pen building. The new Livestock Pen should be a large fenced area(about the size of a Hacienda) where cattle can roam and graze, with a covered barn near the edge of the fence. The new Pen can train, by default, three types of animals: Sheep, Cows and Pigs. Each new animals spawns inside the fenced area, moving around automatically(sort of like native american villagers do in their plazas). Each Livestock Pen can stock up to 30 animals and each player can only have up to 2 Pens at the time. Animals will serve two functions:
1)As a food bank. Each animal starts with a certain amount of food and gradually fattens up to a maximum amount. This means that any food investment you make early on by buying cattle will have much greater returns later in the game. At any point, the player can click on an animal in the Pen and press a button to slaughter it. The food amount that animal had will be instantly converted into food crates outside of the pen, where villagers can quickly gather later.
Be aware that this food bank can be lost in an instant if you’re careless. Once a Pen is destroyed, all animals within will panic and scatter around, making it easy for your opponent to snatch your meaty investments.
2)As continuous food and coin generators. All Livestock Animals also generate smalls trickles of food and/or gold automatically. The trickle size is proportional to how fat the animal is. This creates a micro light source of income and is supposed to represent secondary animal products like milk, cheese and wool.
Different animals have different costs and yields, allowing for some variety in strategies. For example:
Pigs: Cost 100 food, can fatten up to 350 food. Fatten very quickly, but generate only a tiny 0,10 food per second trickle once fully fattened. Ideal for when you are short on food and need large short term returns.
Sheep: Costs 75 food, can fatten up to 200 food. Fatten slowly, but generates a solid 0,15 food/s and 0,15 coin/s trickles once fully fattened. Sheep are better for longer term investments, providing a steadier flow of income.
Cows: Cost 200 food, can fatten up to 500 food. Fattens at an average pace and generates larger 0,20 food/s and 0,20 coin/s trickles, however they occupy two slots instead of one inside the Livestock Pen. Cows are more expensive and occupy more space, but are good as both short and longer term investments.
Other animals like Llama, Goats and Yaks will also have their own values, the should also have new technologies to improve fattening rates and trickles. As well as some new unique cards to give each civ some flair.
Mexicans, Japanese, Indians, Incas, Hausa and Ethiopians already have unique mechanics concerning herdables, so they don’t need to be changed much, perhaps just adjusted for balancing. For the following civs, some changes will be made:
Americans: They get a new unique building, replacing the Livestock Pen, the Ranch. Ranches function very similarly to Pens, but have two unique abilities. They can train Cowboys, in addition to all the usual animals, and can use Cowboys to improve all animals fattening and trickle rates. Cowboys tasked to work in the Ranch only occupy one population slot and improve the animals rates by 5%. Each Ranch can have up to 8 Cowboys working on it.
Also, Cowboys now have a new passive ability: They can steal enemy cattle more efficiently. Herdable animals caught in the open can be stolen as normal, but animals stolen by cowboys gain a 5 second immunity aura, making then impossible to steal back while the aura is active. This aura ignores all enemy buildings and units, except for enemy Cowboys.
Chinese: For China, it’s pretty simple. Each village acts like a mini Pen, being able to stock 8 animals each and train animals.
Native Americans: Farms also function like Pens, being able to train animals and gather trickles from them. Up to 10 animals per farm.
As of now, Banks are just a coin trickle building. It’s pretty simple, but it makes sense. So I wanted to make it a little more interesting without changing too much. I also wanted something distinct from the Italian Lombard, which already works very well as a bank with an unique mechanic. I will list my proposals for the Banks in bullet points:
Banks are now available to ALL western civilization by default. Each civ can build only 1 Bank per game, Banks are unlocked at Age III. The Dutch will still be allowed to build multiple banks, starting from Age I and have unique improvements making their banks considerably better than the generic ones. Italians don’t get Banks because they already have the Lombards. Also, since everyone gets a bank now, Taverns will no longer generate coin, or at least, not as much coin.
Banks will still have their coin trickle, but it will be smaller. To make up for it, they will have a new “savings” mechanic. As the game progresses, you can make 500 coin deposits into your banks. This coin will be unavailable to you, but as long as it is in the Bank, it will generate you a 0,1 XP/s trickle. You can deposit more coin to increase your XP trickle, capping at 5000 coin for a 1 XP/s trickle.
If you need the coin again, you can choose to withdraw your coin from the bank, all the deposited coin will return to you in the form of coin crates outside your economic drop-off site.
Banks can now also be looted. If a bank is destroyed, all deposited coin will be spilled outside as crates, allowing your opponent to steal some of your hard earned cash if you’re careless.
A new “Advanced Economics” Card will be available to all western civs(except for the Dutch, because they already start with it). This card makes Markets and Banks 20% cheaper, improve Market buy/sell rates by 15% and adds a 0,05 Coin/s trickle for every 500 coin deposited at your banks. Each civ can have their own unique bank related cards for flair and balance.