All You Want To Know About REF, Rebel Sentiment and Revolution

I’ve seen a lot of confusion on the forums about how the REF, rebel sentiment and revolution works, and I’ve been confused by it myself. I did some research on the exact rules for these, both by looking at the game’s actual code and by playing the game, and I thought I’d write up a little guide here.
First, let’s talk about rebel sentiment.

There are two types of rebel sentiment: rebel sentiment % in each of your individual cities, and overall rebel sentiment % in your nation. [B]The overall % is NOT the sum of the % in each of your cities. You do NOT need 50% rebel sentiment in each city to allow for revolution.[/B]

[U]Rebel sentiment in cities[/U]

The ONLY thing affecting rebel sentiment is the [B]rate[/B] at which you generate bells – the cumulative numbers of bells generated over time does NOT matter. Here’s the way it works.

The rate of bell production is used to compute a target rebel sentiment value. [B]Each bell/turn will ultimately produce 25% rebel sentiment in one citizen.[/B] Thus, if you generate 10 bells/turn and have 5 citizens in your city, you will eventually get 50% rebel sentiment.

The rebel sentiment does not change instantaneously to that “target” rate however. [B]The game will slowly “drift” the rebel sentiment from the current value to the target value using a logarithmic type of curve.[/B] What it means is, if the current rebel sentiment is 0% and the “target” rebel sentiment is 50% and the game is set to normal speed, rebel sentiment will roughly grow as follows:

– After five turns: 33% of target value (33% of 50% in this example, so 16.5%)
– After ten turns: 60% of target value (60% of 50% in this example, and so forth)
– After twenty turns: 85% of target value
– After thirty turns: 95% of target value
– After fourty turns: 99%

However, as the rebel sentiment increases, you get bell rate production bonuses. So in reality, as rebel sentiment grows, it picks up speed from itself, and the eventual rebel sentiment grows a bit faster than I gave above.

The bigger the city, the more rebel sentiment you need to get a higher percentage (one bell = 25% of ONE citizen). In fact if the city is enormous (pop 25-30) I suspect high rebel sentiment is impossible without serious bonuses from founding fathers.

In practice, I’ve found a size 12 city with three elder statesmen and a newspaper should reach 50% rebel sentiment in about 10 turns on normal speed. Add +50% for epic and +200% for marathon.

[U]Overall rebel sentiment[/U]

As I explained before, overall rebel sentiment is not the sum of each city’s rebel sentiment.

[B][B]City[/B] rebel sentiment percentage is equal to 25% per bell generated per turn divided over the number of citizens in that city (not counting units stationed outside).
[B]Overall[/B] rebel sentiment percentage is equal to 25% per bell generated per turn divided over the entire population [U]including all units outside cities[/U].[/B]

So you could have 100% sentiment in all your cities but if you have a massive army you’ll find you may still not have enough to get a revolution going. Personally I don’t like idle soldiers bringing my percentages down so I stash the guns and horses in warehouses and wagon trains and keep those citizens working inside the cities until I need them to fight.

Here is another important fact:

[I][B]For purposes of computing the overall rebel sentiment, individual cities could be generating more than 100% rebel sentiment.[/B] [/I] What it means is, say you have three elder statesmen in a city with just one other farmer. There’s a newspaper in there, so this city is generating 36 bells per turn. 36 bells is enough to turn 9 citizens to 100% rebel sentiment. But there’s only four citizens. The city’s rebel sentiment and rebel sentiment production will show up as 100% and be capped at 100% – but the extra “wasted” rebel sentiment generated will count towards making five other citizens [I]elsewhere[/I] count as independent for purposes of declaring independence. These five extra “rebel” citizens will not show up anywhere as city rebel sentiment or as city rebel production bonuses, but in the overall % needed for revolution it will count.

So let’s say your goal is to ramp up bells to declare independence as quickly as possible and you have large cities everywhere. It’s a viable strategy to actually start a bunch of new, smaller colonies with only elder statesmen and newspapers in them to ramp up your overall rebel sentiment. Because those cities are small, they will get rebel sentiment production bonuses, and thus bells will be produced faster. You could have several large cities with 0% rebel sentiment yet this could be fully compensated by having many smaller cities with 100% rebel sentiment. If declaring independence is the main goal, then prioritizing your best statesmen in the smallest cities will produce the best results.

36 bells for these elder statesmen with a newspaper will bring 18 citizens to 50%. You probably don’t want to wait 40 turns to reach 99% of this value, and the elder statesmen themselves need to be “convinced”, so three elder statesmen with newspaper for each 9-12 citizens would be a good rule of thumb.

[U]The Royal Expeditionary Force[/U]

The REF is [B]all[/B] about bells – and for this it’s the amount of bells accumulated in all your cities that counts. [B]After 75 bells the King will increase the REF, reset the bell “counter”, and the next REF increase will require 10% more bells.[/B] There’s a bit of a twist though, in that [B]the next REF increase will also add 10% more units to the REF[/B]. The game always rounds down AFAIK, so you won’t get 1.1 units added. But over time, if it takes 10% more bells to trigger each REF increase, but each REF increase in turn generated 10% more units, [B]a good rule of thumb is each 65-75 bells generated will hit you with 1 extra REF unit.[/B] Game speed affects this, so epic requires 50% more bells, and marathon 200% more.

The type of unit that gets added is entirely random – everything has an equal chance to get generated, except for ships which have half as much chance of being added to the REF. So over time, you can expect the REF to generally have half as many ships as of every other unit type.

[U]Strategies from all this[/U]

I don’t think the game is all about minimizing REF, so what I’m going to say here doesn’t mean this is the “best” way to play. Keep in mind the King having huge REF isn’t that much of a problem if he only has a small flotilla of ships to carry troops around while you have decent military production capacilities. You certainly don’t need one soldier for every soldier the King has. If you do want to minimize REF, though, here’s some tips.

Realize that REF depends on [B]accumulated bells[/B] from the start of the game, while rebel sentiment depends on [B]bell production rate[/B]. So to minimize REF, you want the highest burst of bell production in the shortest amount of time.

[*]One way to do that is to generate no bells throughout the game until you are ready to declare independence. Declare indepedence the minute you have your 50% overall rebel sentiment. REF doesn’t grow during revolution.
[*]Prepare everything in advance: build newspapers, hire your statesmen, but don’t use them until ready.
[*]Small cities get their rebel sentiment faster. This generates bell production bonuses, so you get a higher bell rate. Thus, either found new colonies solely for bell production or migrate statesmen to your smaller newspaper-equipped cities to boost your bell rate.
[*]Founding father bell rate bonuses will help quite a bit.

All things being equal, a higher population will require more bells for revolution, and will in turn generate a larger REF. There’s a tradeoff between large cities with high base production but lower rebel sentiment and smaller cities with lower base production but high rebel sentiment.

Understand that every population point you add to your colonies eventually translates into some increase in the REF, there’s no way around it. If you want a quick, easier to manage revolution, keep your population and colonies small. If you want a massive war of historical proportions, build a large empire :king:.

[U]Some rules of thumb[/U]

Assuming an average of size 12 cities, and assuming we want revolution to be possible after 20 turns, you will need about 2.5 bells per population unit (including units outside cities) and will generate about 0.75 REF per population.

1.9 bells per population will achieve revolution in 40 turns, generating 1.1 REF per population.

About 4 bells per population will achieve revolution in 10 turns, generating 0.5 REF per population. The more leisurely the march to revolution, the better prepared the King will be.

Thus, if bell generation is well optimized to minimize REF (aka 3 elder statesmen with newspaper in all cities and revolution ASAP), you can expect to get roughly 0.5 to 1 REF unit added for each unit of population. If bells aren’t managed you will get much larger numbers.

Overall, the REF/Revolution rules are a bit quirky in that all I’ve explained is kinda hard to know intuitively, and to be honest there does seem to be a bit of imbalance here. I wouldn’t have figured this stuff out without reading the code. The rules do keep the spirit of Civ, though, where each turn you have to make tradeoffs and choices between wasted opportunities and your other needs. Colonization does seem much more punishing if you take a more leisurely approach to micro-managing some aspects of the game.

I think that about covers it – tell me if you have any other questions and I can see what I find. Also, keep in mind I could have made mistakes here, though anyone is welcome to verify any of the assertions I’ve made here. If I’ve made any errors I’ll be happy to correct them.

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