Are tall empires viable anymore?

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gigabytemon

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The only tall strat I respect is homeworld-only single-system gameplay. Anything else is wide and chonky to me.

I'm joking, don't quote me. :)
 
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Tamwin5

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The real detriments to going wide and conquering should be internal politics and instability. Far away colonies and sectors wanting independence, conquered populations being unhappy, basically all the stuff that hasn't been added to the game yet.

Something that I think might be an interesting way to buff playing tall/small, is if your core sector gave a significant reduction to administrative capacity. This is effectively the same as nerfing the admin cap every where else, but it feels better for the player. I'd also pair this with a global reduction of bureaucrat efficiency, so non-core stuff is more expensive admin cap wise. I'm also a fan of either limiting admin buildings to sector capitals, or making them give significantly reduced admin cap when not in a sector capital/empire capital. The capital should be the best spot to have your empire's administration, the fact that it's actually the worst just makes no sense.

The reason people go over admin cap early is that the bonuses are all slow longer term things, tech and tradition cost. Slap a starbase influence cost and colonization speed penalty on there and suddenly you need to keep your admin cap under control in order to pull off that rapid early expansion.
 
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HFY

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The only tall strat I respect is homeworld-only single-system gameplay. Anything else is wide and chonky to me.
(Gigastructures mod) Birch World + Carrying Capacity mod gotchu fam.

I'm joking, don't quote me. :)
Too late!

======================

Regarding "tall" play, in Civ4 you often don't stay small. If you get boxed in, you can go for a Cultural victory or whatever (and never expand), but usually you'll want to break out and conquer a bunch of land.

The timing for when you break out is key to higher-level play in Civ4.

It would be super interesting if Stellaris took notes from that dynamic, and didn't think about "tall play" as if it meant staying small forever -- but rather thought about it as an empire building towards a window of opportunity to expand.

To emulate that facet of Civ4, the game would need are some asymmetric techs with slightly later counters, similar to how Civ4 Cuirissars can usually be brought online before their counter (Riflemen).

Not sure how to reconcile that dynamic with the game's freeform ship builder, but that's someone else's job so yeah. Git 'er done, PDX.
 
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Mastikator

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The real detriments to going wide and conquering should be internal politics and instability. Far away colonies and sectors wanting independence, conquered populations being unhappy, basically all the stuff that hasn't been added to the game yet.

Something that I think might be an interesting way to buff playing tall/small, is if your core sector gave a significant reduction to administrative capacity. This is effectively the same as nerfing the admin cap every where else, but it feels better for the player. I'd also pair this with a global reduction of bureaucrat efficiency, so non-core stuff is more expensive admin cap wise. I'm also a fan of either limiting admin buildings to sector capitals, or making them give significantly reduced admin cap when not in a sector capital/empire capital. The capital should be the best spot to have your empire's administration, the fact that it's actually the worst just makes no sense.

The reason people go over admin cap early is that the bonuses are all slow longer term things, tech and tradition cost. Slap a starbase influence cost and colonization speed penalty on there and suddenly you need to keep your admin cap under control in order to pull off that rapid early expansion.
Member when being far away from the capitol imposed an ethics divergence?
I member when.

Member when being opposed to government ethics made the faction want independence and civil war was inevitable?
I member when.

TBH the second thing was a bit much :p
 
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Millbot

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Another elephant in the room, is that it's a bit problematic that always keep growing is the absolute best strategy. This just leads into the player running into a ton of issues that the game hasn't handled well. Planet micromanage hell. Gateway spam becoming mandatory, unless you don't mind it taking forever to get to certain spots or building stuff to manage those areas. There really should be a point where more systems and stuff are nice, but you kind of hit a point where the advantage starts dropping off. Granted, a ton of this really comes down to admin capacity needs to matter because it doesn't. For example, one way you get past it is just have enough researchers and unity income to offset it. The other issue is, we do need actual victory goals to go for and those actually would led themselves to adding in additional narration.
 
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Incompetent

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The reason people go over admin cap early is that the bonuses are all slow longer term things, tech and tradition cost. Slap a starbase influence cost and colonization speed penalty on there and suddenly you need to keep your admin cap under control in order to pull off that rapid early expansion.

Even purely in terms of tech/tradition costs, back before bureaucrats were introduced, the sprawl penalty wasn't really punitive; at worst, it cancelled out the benefit of blobbing in terms of science/unity production (because a bigger blob had that many more pops, so could make that much more science/unity). In the end, being able to pay science/unity costs *independent of your size* (for an investment in bureaucrats that is merely proportional to your size, so no more onerous for a mega-blob than it is for a medium-sized empire) just means that being twice as big lets you advance twice as fast, which means you are producing more *per pop* on top of having twice as many pops, and so on, and in very little time, on top of your "wide" alloys/month output, you have an absolutely crushing tech lead and can effortlessly run all the unity ambitions simultaneously.
 

TrotBot

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I'm currently outteching and outfleeting and outmegastructuring and outeconomying a human player literally five times my size. He has half the galaxy, and we're playing on large, but I'm one of the powerhouses in our federation and we will win.

I'm not QUITE small enough to call myself tall, but I'm literally the smallest I've ever been this late, 2400. I've never taken so little territory.

I suppose having good admin capacity and 100% stablity/100-200 amenities on every single planet and habitat and ring segment has made me punch far higher than my weight. Two ecumenopoli, a dozen mining habitats, and a matter decompressor, probably don't hurt either.
 

Tamwin5

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Even purely in terms of tech/tradition costs, back before bureaucrats were introduced, the sprawl penalty wasn't really punitive; at worst, it cancelled out the benefit of blobbing in terms of science/unity production (because a bigger blob had that many more pops, so could make that much more science/unity). In the end, being able to pay science/unity costs *independent of your size* (for an investment in bureaucrats that is merely proportional to your size, so no more onerous for a mega-blob than it is for a medium-sized empire) just means that being twice as big lets you advance twice as fast, which means you are producing more *per pop* on top of having twice as many pops, and so on, and in very little time, on top of your "wide" alloys/month output, you have an absolutely crushing tech lead and can effortlessly run all the unity ambitions simultaneously.
I'm talking about early game stellaris, not early like years ago XD

Honestly though I do think Unity should be changed back to total admin sprawl (with an additional penalty for being over ofc). Being a massive empire should make it harder to keep unified, and it would help prevent the current "Oh I just get all the unity perks and keep all the unity ambitions running 24/7" you end up with in endgame.
 

TrotBot

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I'm talking about early game stellaris, not early like years ago XD

Honestly though I do think Unity should be changed back to total admin sprawl (with an additional penalty for being over ofc). Being a massive empire should make it harder to keep unified, and it would help prevent the current "Oh I just get all the unity perks and keep all the unity ambitions running 24/7" you end up with in endgame.
i do like the idea of easier unity production being a meaningful benefit of utopianism and introducing something in to punish larger slavers harder than larger utopians
 
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Tamwin5

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i do like the idea of easier unity production being a meaningful benefit of utopianism and introducing something in to punish larger slavers harder than larger utopians
I wouldn't be opposed to making Utopian Abundance make all pops produce 0.5 unity or something along those lines. I think it'd be better served through a mechanic involving internal politics though.
 
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TrotBot

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I wouldn't be opposed to making Utopian Abundance make all pops produce 0.5 unity or something along those lines. I think it'd be better served through a mechanic involving internal politics though.
I think they already do produce some. I mean that if unity and admin cap played off of each other as you were kind of suggesting, that would provide utopians an interesting edge because of the unity. I like that.
 
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Tamwin5

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I think they already do produce some. I mean that if unity and admin cap played off of each other as you were kind of suggesting, that would provide utopians an interesting edge because of the unity. I like that.
They produce 1 unity and 2 research if they are unemployed. No bonus for normal pops besides the +20% happiness.
 
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TrotBot

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They produce 1 unity and 2 research if they are unemployed. No bonus for normal pops besides the +20% happiness.
Weird I had no idea. Yeah, there needs to be more benefit and some unity for normal pops would be cool.
 

Maethendias

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Considering past updates alongside how industrial districts will be reintroduced making more planets better, as well as the ring world nerf, I can't see tall being good in the slightest sense anymore, which is a real shame to me because I prefer tall over wide by a long shot.
they are with mods

especially things like expanded traditions and such
 

Bezborg

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I only ever want to play a 1-planet (ecumenopolis) xenophile megacorp that welcomes all species, buys and frees all slaves, produces nothing but trade value and buys everything off the galactic market.

It can dominate the galaxy in 50 years.

I only need ecu commercial districts. Which the devs refuse to give me.
 
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scriptkiddy

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The only tall strat I respect is homeworld-only single-system gameplay. Anything else is wide and chonky to me.

I'm joking, don't quote me. :)
Done that once (feudal civic, remnants origin), ended up with half of the galaxy vassalised. Definitely fun.
 

HFY

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I think they already do produce some. I mean that if unity and admin cap played off of each other as you were kind of suggesting, that would provide utopians an interesting edge because of the unity. I like that.
There's also the Trade Value produced -- and Trade Value can be converted into Unity.

Utopian Abundance seems to have higher per-pop TV than most others, though not enough to self-fund its CG consumption.

Might be cool if lifestyle standards had some sort of Unity buff for like-minded pops -- e.g. Egalitarians would produce a bit of Unity if they lived under Utopian Abundance, and would consume Unity if they lived under Stratified Economy -- and of course Authoritarian pops would do the converse.
 
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TrotBot

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There's also the Trade Value produced -- and Trade Value can be converted into Unity.

Utopian Abundance seems to have higher per-pop TV than most others, though not enough to self-fund its CG consumption.

Might be cool if lifestyle standards had some sort of Unity buff for like-minded pops -- e.g. Egalitarians would produce a bit of Unity if they lived under Utopian Abundance, and would consume Unity if they lived under Stratified Economy -- and of course Authoritarian pops would do the converse.
i feel like utopian abundance needs a special trade policy of its own the way that the trade league has tho perhaps not the same policy.
 

GOLANX

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It would also make tall viable at the cost of making wide impossible.

First the game needs to have a way to identify you're playing tall. Then it needs to reward you with some sort of buff that is only for tall empires. Maybe there could be a playing tall ascension perk.

The buff in my opinion should be to have some sort of techs to keep raising district limits without new sprawl. There should be requirements you can break to lose the benefits.

This would make tall REALLY viable. Without making ultrawide impossible.
There shouldn't be A ascension perk, the devs need to divide all of the ascension perks up and decide which ones they want to cater to tall and which they want to cater to wide. Tall empires can't make full use of wide perks, wide empires can't afford (influence/unity) or benefit from substantially the Tall perks.
 

Wonoz

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to make a "tall" empire truely viable versus a "wide" one you would need to provide something REALLY appealing that has diminishing returns.

What comes to mind could be one of the new tradition trees we apparently get. Containing something in the Ballpark of
-Ruler Jobs on Core Sector Worlds +100% Ressources and Tradvalue. Ruler Jobs +100% Ressources and Tradvalue.
-Finisher: +1 Edict Capacity; Edict: Core Sector goes WHEEEEE

could also, even though artificially, enable this super rich and prosperous core with a somewhat trashy rim-sector fantasy without actually beeing forced to play horribly