Approval is seriously underwhelming and the effect it has on Population (Crusade 2.6)

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

(Playing Crusade with Terrans)

OK, I'm to the point where I'd like to start building cities.

However, approval is a HUGE problem here - there's not a lot of ways to get your approval up, and most of them are pretty terrible even if you do get them.

It's QUITE hard to keep even 1 additional city's worth of people happy (i.e. 75% or better approval), even with entertainers, approval relics, and approval improvements.  All of them provide far too little bump to the approval level, whereas it's trivial to get a city placed that gives 8 or more population bonus.

Also, it appears that the approval modules for starbases have vanished, and aren't available anymore.

How on earth (no pun intended) am I supposed to keep a world of 10 Billion happy, let alone one of 15 or 20?  I realize that super-population worlds can be game-breaking, so I expect the 25+ population planets should be very rare, but really, 10 billion ones should be pretty common once you're well into the Age of War.  Since population drives Raw Production and the overall value of the entire world, obviously a City should be significantly harder to build than several "specialty" improvements, but it's kinda ludicrously difficult to place a city now.

Right now, if I want a City on a planet, I have to dedicate AT LEAST 6 tiles to it:

  1. Bare minimum of 3 Farms triangular (this can be on any other planet, of course)
  2. An Approval Improvement
  3. Either another Approval Improvement, or a Ideology Improvement adjacent to the one above. Tile bonuses aren't enough by themselves.
  4. The City itself.

And, in the average case, this only keeps the City 75% happy, and costs a bare minimum of 217 production (double that if you're building a Ideology improvement).


  1. Basically, Celebrities are only useful if you dedicate them to a planet (3% civilization wide is pathetically insufficient).  These folks need a serious buff:  I'd suggest a +5% per level bonus, so that it pays off to keep them long-term in your big population places. The +1% is for all intents and purposes completely irrelevant.  And I'd give them +10% if kept at the civilization level.
  2. Morale Relics also need a serious buff. Like maybe double or even triple their current bonus; getting one needs to make a significant impact, and they don't now, FAR less so than the other kinds of relics.
  3. Improvements have a much harder time, for several reasons: 
    • Not a lot of things provide an adjacency bonus to them - the Colony Capital doesn't anymore, and really only other Morale improvements or the Ideology Improvements do. At a minimum, I'd have most Influence improvements provide a +1 Morale adjacency (it's culture, and entertainment is a natural fit next to cultural buildings) bonus, and I'd seriously think about providing a +1 from the Colony Capital and maybe a +2 from a City - once again, logically, these are the places that you should be wanting to building entertainment facilities next to.
    • The "base bonus vs level bonus" for the Approval improvements is pretty broken. Right now, it's +1/level, and the base is either +1 (basic improvement) or +3 (top improvement).  Which is why - far, far, far more than any other improvement - Approval ones absolutely have to be put in place with level additions. Without levels, Approval improvements are not worth the tile they occupy.  This has to be fixed.  I'd suggest +2.5/0.3 and +4.5/0.5 as the values instead.
    • Morale tile bonuses are FAR less common that any other kind, by an order of magnitude.  That's made worse by the fact that MANY worlds have little in the way of adjacent tiles, and since the Morale improvements desperately require adjacency to be effective, that rules out a large number of worlds from having a city on them, ever.
    • Many Upper-level Morale improvements start costing resources, and tend to be one-per-planet.  I'm kinda OK with this, because it enforces resource desireability, but it can be really mean to civilizations that simply can't find or trade for it.
  4. A basic Morale module for Starbases is really necessary. Maybe it shouldn't be upgradeable (or very little), but I should at least be able to build a module that provides a +1 Morale Bonus on my Starbases with reasonable technology (say a mid-Age of War one like Population Diversion).
  5. There's very little tech that provides good Morale bonuses. I count TWO of the "pick 1 of 3" places in the entire Terran tech tree that provide Morale bonuses.  Whereas there's all sorts of places that Wealth, Production, and Research get bonuses.  There should be significantly more of these bonuses available via tech, and the easy thing to do is make them modest +X% ones, rather than straight +X ones.  I'd suggest at least 3 techs somewhere that give a +10% or +15% morale bonus.
  6. The On-Colonization event when a planet is first settled needs to have the bonus/penalty for Approval increased significantly. Really, a +5% or -5% is so trivially insignificant that it's a non-factor when deciding which ideology to pick.  Any Morale factor should be a bare minimum of + or - 25%, and there should be 50-100% ones not to rarely.

Once again, the whole point of this is to make it FAR less of a struggle to put cities around. Right now, Morale is so much more of a limiting factor to cities than Food is, that it's almost to the point where Farms are pointless because I can't put up a City and keep the people happy.

In fact, increased population should be the PRIMARY way to boost a world's productivity in the initial phases of the game, and better specialty improvements should only dominate in Mid-to-Late game. To whit, I'd suggest a two-stage housing improvement concept:

  1. A "Megapolis" improvement available as a early Age of War tech (say after Xeno Biology, but before Population Enhancement).
    • 120 build cost
    • 2 maintenance
    • +3 base Pop cap
    • +0.5 Pop cap per level
    • +1 adjacency to Pop
    • +2 adjacency to Wealth, Research, All Production, Influence, and Approval
  2. A new "City", available right after Planetology in a new tech (which, in addition should provide a +10% Morale bonus).
    • 67 build cost
    • 1 maintenance
    • +1 base Pop cap
    • +0.3 Pop cap/level
    • +1 adjacency for Wealth, Research, All Production, Influence, and Approval
    • City should upgrade to a Megapolis

 I'd look at the other tech-tree civs too, but I suspect the problem is the same (and really, Terrans should be one of the races that doesn't have much problem with high-pop worlds. Maybe not to the same extent as Torrians, but still...)