View Full Version : Monarch strategy--condensed


eben
Jan 16, 2006, 02:47 PM
hi all,

ok, i'm feeling all validated from the quick responses to my new threads (i'm new to the forum) so i've decided to try something a bit more extensive. i spent the entire day at work yesterday working my way through all 14 pages of this forum and gleaned everything i could pertaining to monarch- or similar-level games. (you can tell how much my job motivates me. fortunately my boss is in another city). the results are below, with a focus on the early game and a special mention for cultural victories. all of this material is entirely other people's...i came up with nothing on my own, i only interperated it. i'd love to hear feedback, critiques or rants.


1. Early expansion
2. City planning
3. Early wonders
4. Religeon spread
5. Diplomacy
6. Island games
7. Cultural victories

BONUS: the Killer Kremlin

--------------------------------------

1. Early expansion

One no-brainer here is forest chopping. I don't think anyone will dispute that at Monarch and higher some chopping is necessary. The big decision is how far to take it: go for the big land grab and end up with a lot of tiny cities and high maintenance cost, or stop after setting up a core 3 to 4 and concentrate on building your heavy-hitting cities. I found that chopping heavily with 2 to 3 workers per city until 3 or 4 good starting locations are settled worked extremely well. I saved a few forests for wonders, and because I chopped them in my core cities i was able to start out with a very strong triumverate of production, commerce and Great Person farming. The one thing to prioritize, of course, is resources. If you're going to stay relatively small at the beginning, you need bronze or preferably iron for expanding further into enemy territory when your economy and production's going. Stone and marble make a huge difference as well, as they usually determine whether you'll go for the early wonders or not.

Once the core cities are in place, I prefer to settle 2 to 3 more in an "outer ring", leaving room for further cities in the middle. This way you push the borders out as far as possible and then back-fill the space that's left. This is assuming an ideal starting area--it rarely pans out exactly that way. I rarely chop rush expansion at this stage, but will if I'm racing for a critical spot. Maintenance cost is the decision-maker here. I believe it's a judgement call, based on where your tech is at and how well you need to defend your border cities. If your army is significantly weaker or out-dated compared to the enemies on the border, holding back is probably wiser until you have a stronger military/tech position.


2. City Planning

The biggest thing I learned from all my post-crawling is the value of specializing cities. I belive a good general ratio is: 1 GP farm, 2 production cities, 3 commerce cities. The GP farm needs heaps of food to allow for specialists, and ideally a couple of hills to allow ongoing production--little else. Production citicies should have several mined hills and enough farms to keep them going. Commerce cities focus on cottages, of course--ideally on tiles that already have a commerce point if you're a Financial civ. I like to lay out enough farms to keep the food level at +3.

Once you've decided on these, build national and great wonders in them accordingly. Add great people to boost finance and research (and culture, if you're playing for that victory). Use great engineers to build wonders.


3. Early Wonders

It's all about stone and marble. If you don't have either of these, the value of building early wonders at this dificulty level becomes questionable. Conversely, if you have both, you're set for some big advantages.

Stonehenge is so easy to get, even without stone, it's crazy to pass up. The AI doesn't seem to make it a big priority, but it's invaluable in blocking off your territory and keeping the expanding enemy at bay. It also means you can access the juicy land tiles in your newest cities very early, without having to spend time on obelisks; this is a big, big advantage in those last-built, vulnerable border towns.

If you have stone, the Pyramids are hard to pass up, even with a lot of chopping. I always save forest for this, as it's big and easy to lose to the AI. The benifit of switching to Representation once you get it is huge: the added happiness means your core cities will grow unimpeded throughout the early game, allowing you to beef up production and, consequently, research and military. The added science bonus for specialists (and you should have some in your GP farm by now) also goes a long way to gaining a strong tech foothold. If you manage the Great Library down the road, and/or the Mercantilism civic, it really takes off.

Finally, another favourite is the Oracle. Marble makes it easy to build in your production city, hopefully with a few forests to chop held for the occasion. Oracle gives you a free tech and, depending on where your opponents' tech is at, possibly the founding of a religeon. You're given the opportunity to choose the most expensive bonus tech as well, so you can't lose.

In my last game I managed to build all three of these before I settled my third city. I was extremely lucky, and had marble and stone close by. I started alone on an island, so this might have something to do with it (I believe the AI compensates you for island starts with better starting resources/map tiles). I was wary of sacrificing so much expansion to building these, but the results more than paid off. By the time the other civs found my island, I was in first place.


4. Religeon Spread

Spreading religeon is good for a bunch of reasons:

- if you found your own, it means big money. even if you didn't, you may capture a holy city (or two, or more!) and still get the cash bonus.

- diplomacy! alliances almost always stack up along religeous lines, so plan to be pals with at least one of the strongest opponents. Switching religeons to match an opponent is painless if you spread it first to all your own cities, and they'll love you for it.

- espionage: successful missionaries provide a view of the city's forces and the surrounding area. (they may also allow you to view the city screen--I've actually forgotten to try this! somebody help me out, here).

- culture: spreading three religeons within your borders is key to a cultural win (see the Cultural Win section below).


5. Diplomacy

There aren't a lot of surprises here. Align your religeon with the heavy hitters, keep trades going continuously (even at a loss), give them what they want in tribute as often as you can (without giving away important techs) and try to build up a heavy cash reserve for instigating wars and other deviousness. My impression is that a diplomatic victory at monarch or higher is extremely difficult, but I'm starting a thread on this to find out.


6. Island Games

I used to restart whenever I found myself alone on an island. No more. Being alone on an island gives you two big advantages: you don't have to spend money or research on military, other than to defend against and eventually conquor the barbarians, and you don't need to expand quickly. I didn't realize how advantageous it is to expand slowly until i tried it. It means you can keep your tech level at 70-80% until your entire island is filled. This goes a long way in making up for the lack of early tech trading.

The disadvantages are (as I just mentioned) a total lack of early tech and resource trading with the AI players, and hitting a brick wall expansion-wise when your island's filled.

For these two reasons, I think islands are custom-made for cultural wins. You can specialize your technology to focus on culture, civics and key wonder building since you don't need any military defense, and you don't need to be a contender in the tech race since you'll switch to 90-100% culture 2/3rds of the way through anyway. Which brings us to the next section:


6. Cultural Victories

I didn't think cultural victories were even feasible at higher levels, and had no idea how fun they are to play until I came accross an excellent post on the strategy behind them. Sorry to the author...you deserve heaps of credit for this one. In a nutshell:

- plan on having nine cities or more. some can be crap. more on this later.

- go for Drama early so you can start out with theatres quickly for a big long-running bonus.

- gear at least one GP farm to spit out almost nothing but great artists (building 1 or 2 appropriate wonders there will accomplish this).

- choose three cities from the beginning that will be your cultural winners, and build national/great wonders to maximize their culture. My three winning cities were production, commerce and GP-oriented, respectively. My GP farm had heaps of cultural specialists--you need the specialists here anyway to pump up the GP output. My production city built wonders to raise the culture rating, and I money-rushed and great-engineer-rushed wonders in my commerce city to raise ITS culture rating.

- join a few great artists to your culture cities early on to even out the rate at which they climb, but hold back at least half a dozen or so for endgame culture-bombs. They provide less culture overall, but it's not always easy to predict which cities will need the boost.

- spread at least two other non-state religeons to all 9 cities. there is an "advanced" religeous building for each religeon that gives a 50% bonus to a city's culture. the trick is that you can build 1 for every 3 temples of the corresponding religeon you own. This is why 9 cities are optimal. 12 is likely too high in maintenance. A couple of the nine can be paltry, and settled late. All they really need to do is build a temple! Nine temples of each religeon will allow you to build all three advanced religeous buildings in each of your cultural cities.

- once you get to riflemen, set your research to 0% (or 10%, if you have to) and max out the culture. If you're at a decent spot in the tech race, by the time the AI players have infantry and tanks it will be too late. If you're on an island, it's even safer. Build wealth in as many of your other cities as is feasible to help keep the culture slider high.

This formula worked perfectly for me in an island start on monarch. I finished around 1950AD, while the AI was still several big pieces away from finishing the spaceship. A couple of the weaker AIs attacked me, but I easily repelled their landing parties until I could sue for peace. (Interestingly, the only civs to declare war on me were Jewish and I was the founder of Islam. Coincidence?). The biggest problems I had were gearing the GP farm to spit out only great artists (there were a few scientists, prophets and engineers before I could get a culture-generating wonder built there), and my inability to spread non-state religeons until the other civs found me.

Elizabeth is tailor-made for a cultural win. Financial means you can get the techs you need at a decent rate and get massive culture when you max out the slider in the endgame. Philosophical means heaps of great artists (and other GPs to ramp up the tech level and rush cultural wonders). And her UU is redcoat (rifleman). Perfect--it's the last and best unit you need!

I really loved playing a game with minimal war and no ulcers over the mid to late game tech race. It was fast because there were no military units and wars to contend with, and it wasn't boring because the building, research and GP placement is so strategic. The score is abysmal--because you stop researching 2/3rds of the way through the game--but there's nothing wrong with being the underdog!


BONUS: The Killer Kremlin

I had to include this in the post, just because it sounded so cool. I've never tried it, but the original poster used it consistently on Emperor level.

Make a bee-line for Communism as soon as you can. Make sure your bank account's fat by the time you get there (keep the slider down a bit the last few turns to make sure you have heaps of money when you get the tech). Rush the Kremlin when you get it, and set your research to 0% the next turn. Set all your cities to start building financial buildings, and on the following turn rush those too, taking advantage of the new cheaper cost. Keep the tech slider at 0% for as long as you're comfortable to maximize your cash and buy, buy, buy!

---------------------------------------


Well, that's my epic. I'd love to hear feedback on it, and anything critical I may have missed. Hope you enjoyed it!

suspendinlight
Jan 16, 2006, 11:42 PM
Thanks for the condensed tips. I'm still trying to win a Monarch game, 18 civs, standard map but using some custom rules and map generator. Hopefully some of these will help me out. One thing I've learned is that cottages are absolutely essential to keep up in tech.

colony
Jan 17, 2006, 05:37 AM
There's some good tips there, especially on island starts. One thing I didn't see though (correct me if I was wrong) is any mention of the Great Lighthouse. I've come to really like this wonder when starting on smaller continents, or even an island. 2 extra trade routes in all coastal cities is a massive boost, especially if you have foreign trade routes those new cities can almost always pay for themselves virtually straight away. It's also relatively easy to get before one of the AIs.

eben
Jan 17, 2006, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the condensed tips. I'm still trying to win a Monarch game, 18 civs, standard map but using some custom rules and map generator. Hopefully some of these will help me out. One thing I've learned is that cottages are absolutely essential to keep up in tech.


18 civs on a standard map! you must be at war from day one...

Indiana
Jan 18, 2006, 08:22 AM
1. Early expansion

One no-brainer here is forest chopping. I don't think anyone will dispute that at Monarch and higher some chopping is necessary. The big decision is how far to take it: go for the big land grab and end up with a lot of tiny cities and high maintenance cost, or stop after setting up a core 3 to 4 and concentrate on building your heavy-hitting cities. I found that chopping heavily with 2 to 3 workers per city until 3 or 4 good starting locations are settled worked extremely well. I saved a few forests for wonders, and because I chopped them in my core cities i was able to start out with a very strong triumverate of production, commerce and Great Person farming. The one thing to prioritize, of course, is resources. If you're going to stay relatively small at the beginning, you need bronze or preferably iron for expanding further into enemy territory when your economy and production's going. Stone and marble make a huge difference as well, as they usually determine whether you'll go for the early wonders or not.

I am sorry...I must be a complete noob :( I have a question around this...
How do you "chop" at the start if you can't "chop" until you have Bronzeworking?? :confused:

I have found that chopping for wonders works well as long as you have enough forest but you need to pick carefully, because it doesnt grow back very fast.

Though I do agree that Stone and Marble are key resources very early on. I usually always go for those with my second or third city.

Indiana
Jan 18, 2006, 09:05 AM
4. Religeon Spread

Spreading religeon is good for a bunch of reasons:

- if you found your own, it means big money. even if you didn't, you may capture a holy city (or two, or more!) and still get the cash bonus.

- diplomacy! alliances almost always stack up along religeous lines, so plan to be pals with at least one of the strongest opponents. Switching religeons to match an opponent is painless if you spread it first to all your own cities, and they'll love you for it.

- espionage: successful missionaries provide a view of the city's forces and the surrounding area. (they may also allow you to view the city screen--I've actually forgotten to try this! somebody help me out, here).

- culture: spreading three religeons within your borders is key to a cultural win (see the Cultural Win section below).

I have been playing on Prince lately with little success until now but even though I am not 'dead yet", I am pretty far behind tech wise even though I have maintained 80 to 50% tech for most of the game. I didnt expand too much. The problem is that you just cant generate the income to avoid dropping even with cottages because those have to be "worked". The city population generally isnt high enough to sacrifice doing this many times.

Now in playing the "religion spread" game, here is what worked and didnt work for me so far and some things to note....
Game setup: Prince, Huge map, Continents, Temperate, Marathon
1) I found I can generally get Hinduism right away since the AI goes for Buddhism and gets that....this is important. Then I settle another city closer to where the nearest AI is and try to get Judaism and normally get it. By this time I normally have 3 cities and start building a missionary in the Judaism city and switch religions. The closer founding religion to an AI (if you have 2) is the best one to be, it will spread faster. As quick as you can try to get open boarders with the more central or closer AI and spread your religion. If they havent found one yet, then it will spread pretty fast and also to your neighbors.

2) After finding Judaism, make a beeline for Priesthood and the Oracle. It is CRITICAL to build the Oracle. Why? Well for example....The current game I am in I am on a continent with 5 other AIs and EACH one has my religion but I lost the Oracle race (I didnt try getting it...I went for Bronzeworking...dont do this). Right now because I do not have Oracle and that first Great Prophet when building it (you can build a shrine with and get LOTS of cash in the position I am in now) I had a lot of cash problems, not huge but enough to slow my city spread down and research between 40 to 70% until I got calendar for my resources. This was enough to get pretty far behind even though everyone likes me.

Summary of Strategy......
1) Beeline for Hinduism and Judaism. (both because you deny the other AIs from one of them and huge later)
2) Beeline for Oracle after step one.

Pitfalls....
You are basically screwed if you are next to someone with Buddhism. Why? Because you are basically under a different religion they will not like you thus about impossible to "open boarders" to spread your religion and good luck getting them to switch if you manage that. Plus if a neighbor of your finds that first, generally other neighbors will convert to that first before yours. You "might" be able to just convert to Buddhism to get "open boarders" and easy relations and spread your religion to the AIs that didnt find Buddhism but getting them to switch after will be difficult. Not saying it cant be done...but with out that extra income from people under your religion (assuming you did the first 2 steps with success) you not have any extra income, and people will not like you and likely war soon given you still have only Warriors.


Food for thought... :)

EDIT:
I guess Stonehenge would work instead of Oracle...I think I missed that. Assuming you can complete it and wait the 150 turns for a Great Prophet ....oops ;)
Though I agree with another poster...Stonehenge should be fairly easy to get. I failed to move on it quicker that I should have and was with in about 10 turns of completing it....it was kind of late.

Jonezee
Jan 18, 2006, 12:49 PM
I am sorry...I must be a complete noob :( I have a question around this...
How do you "chop" at the start if you can't "chop" until you have Bronzeworking?? :confused:

I have found that chopping for wonders works well as long as you have enough forest but you need to pick carefully, because it doesnt grow back very fast.

Though I do agree that Stone and Marble are key resources very early on. I usually always go for those with my second or third city.

Bronzeworking should be one of the first techs you research. If I start with Mining, I go for it after I get my appropriate worker techs for my starting location (camps for deer, agriculture for corn, etc).

As for chopping, chop forests that are outside your "fat cross" first. You get fewer shields, but you can't work those tiles anyway, so you don't lose the ability to work a forest.

I've gotten pretty good on Prince, and plan on jumping a level pretty soon. These sound like good tips.

suspendinlight
Jan 18, 2006, 01:59 PM
Playing with raging barbs, I've noticed that it is worthless to get an early worker. All of your improvements will be destroyed anyway. Therefore, I usually just build up archers and settle a couple cities before I put out workers. After a while the barbarians seem to settle down and form cities instead of continually attacking my capitol.

Also, I am becoming more and more fond of founding a religion. On Monarch, if I miss the first 3 religions and none are spread to me immediately then I am usually able to chop rush the Oracle to pick up Confucianism. Since the maps I play on are usually pretty packed, the religion quickly spreads and I have a nice set of allies and a huge source of income. Right now I am able to run my science at 100% and still make profits due to Confucianism.

My final tip is: cottages, cottages, cottages

joasoze
Jan 19, 2006, 03:28 AM
I play marathon, monarch and raging barbarians. In the start I will produce warrior, worker, warrior (and then a lot more warriors) After a while I get a settler and another worker. This settler goes for a city with bronze and then I hurry to get axemen for protection. I dont get archery using this strategy. I focus on getting warriors with cover upgrade for better odds against barbarian archers and later I get upgrades for protection against axemen. When barbarian axemen appears I should have axemen myself.

Mahatmajon
Jan 19, 2006, 10:13 AM
Good tips. The only things that I've found to be different in my games are:

1. I think expanding slowly (like your isolated/islands start) can work just fine in 'normal' games, too. I usually chop 1 forest for my first settler and use most of the other early chops for wonders (stonehenge/pyramids).
2. I never build the oracle...it's probably because the AI likes this one and I forget to...I need to get better at this.
3. With non-spiritual or financial civs I almost always miss the first 3 religions and often miss the first 5 as I'm going towards bronze working, then currency, then drama.
Drama is the best..the AI never seems to get this tech so it's a nice one to pick up and trade. Also good because the AI usually is slow to Music and the free Great Artist.

IMO the most important thing with higher level games is city placement and city specialization. I think chop-expansion, religion, and early wonders are all insignificant compared to finding ideal city locations, settling them, and specializing the city ASAP with proper buildings, land improvements, & worked tiles.

pigzy
Jan 19, 2006, 12:14 PM
I thought I was half decent at this game having won at the other levels convincingly. Monarch seems to be a large step up from Prince - all the rivals are so much more aggressive. Playing duel against Frederick he was pleased towards me and so I was building up my culture when all of a sudden he declares war and kicks my sorry ass for no reason.

Sharing a continent with the Romans is equally unrewarding. It seems there is no way of avoiding war. If I try and build a large army from the beginning will this stop the AI from attacking me?

Screw Flanders
Jan 19, 2006, 03:17 PM
Sharing a continent with the Romans is equally unrewarding. It seems there is no way of avoiding war. If I try and build a large army from the beginning will this stop the AI from attacking me?

If you are sharing it with them and others it is not always all bad. Playing a monarch game right now where I'm using the romans to fight the other civs I dont like, like tokugawa and isabella. All I did is send my first missionary to them and they havent been a problem since, and since they like to fight everyone one tech later theyre at war with my rivals.

eben
Jan 19, 2006, 06:17 PM
I have been playing on Prince lately with little success until now but even though I am not 'dead yet", I am pretty far behind tech wise even though I have maintained 80 to 50% tech for most of the game. I didnt expand too much. The problem is that you just cant generate the income to avoid dropping even with cottages because those have to be "worked". The city population generally isnt high enough to sacrifice doing this many times.



i've found that i can build the population fairly well if i start by laying down farms in my new cities, rather than cottages. i research agriculture and sometimes animal husbandry (depending on the tiles i have) before wheel and pottery, so i can take advantage of any special food tiles. i make sure my food income is at least 3 in the early stages of the city before laying down cottages. i start out with little income, but at the point where my core 4 cities are down and are at pop 3 or 4, the cottages catch up and i can keep my tech at 70 to 80%. this is all on monarch.

also: queue-swapping will grow your cities faster, while only slightly delaying your chopping rate. essentially, you have your city's queue set to warrior (or something else other than worker or settler), then right before the chop comes in you place a worker or settler at the beginning of the queue. note that your choppers will complete their chop at the end of the turn, so if you want to be able to switch at the very last minute on the turn they chop, you have to have some other unit (like a warrior sitting in the city) that ISN'T automated or fortified. this way, this unit will prompt you for an order BEFORE your workers finish their chops. you can go and change your queue before you give your active unit it's order and the chopping workers finish the job.

eben
Jan 19, 2006, 06:22 PM
I thought I was half decent at this game having won at the other levels convincingly. Monarch seems to be a large step up from Prince - all the rivals are so much more aggressive. Playing duel against Frederick he was pleased towards me and so I was building up my culture when all of a sudden he declares war and kicks my sorry ass for no reason.

Sharing a continent with the Romans is equally unrewarding. It seems there is no way of avoiding war. If I try and build a large army from the beginning will this stop the AI from attacking me?

my impression is the border cities' armies are the most important for avoiding attacks by your rivals. this also applies to coastal cities. i believe these cities are "visible" to the ai's, so you should keep decent modern units in them. i've had a friendly ai attack me by dropping a small army next to a city whose defenses i hadn't bothered keeping updated. i reloaded an auto-save game, fortified the city, and he never attacked. i think this happens as well to coastal cities, but reloading and fortifying hasn't worked for me. i think this is because the ai is too far away to know you've changed the fotification...the boat's already on the way. even if the coastal city's fortified when the boat gets there, he seems to land anyway--even though the odds may be hopeless.

Indiana
Jan 20, 2006, 10:55 AM
i've found that i can build the population fairly well if i start by laying down farms in my new cities, rather than cottages. i research agriculture and sometimes animal husbandry (depending on the tiles i have) before wheel and pottery, so i can take advantage of any special food tiles. i make sure my food income is at least 3 in the early stages of the city before laying down cottages. i start out with little income, but at the point where my core 4 cities are down and are at pop 3 or 4, the cottages catch up and i can keep my tech at 70 to 80%. this is all on monarch.

also: queue-swapping will grow your cities faster, while only slightly delaying your chopping rate. essentially, you have your city's queue set to warrior (or something else other than worker or settler), then right before the chop comes in you place a worker or settler at the beginning of the queue. note that your choppers will complete their chop at the end of the turn, so if you want to be able to switch at the very last minute on the turn they chop, you have to have some other unit (like a warrior sitting in the city) that ISN'T automated or fortified. this way, this unit will prompt you for an order BEFORE your workers finish their chops. you can go and change your queue before you give your active unit it's order and the chopping workers finish the job.

Great advice! :) Not sure why I didnt think of that ...perhaps because I havent been playing too long :lol: That should give me a big leg up next game :)

Chillaxation
Jan 25, 2006, 12:50 AM
Walker's thread (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=138647) has a lot of similar information about the cultural victory, and he's doing some research now on the cutoff point for great artists becoming super specialists or doing great works in fully augmented culture-cities.

But this guide did talk a bit more specifically about how to manage religion, and I credit this article also with my 2d victory on Prince.

Captffej
Sep 28, 2009, 03:52 PM
One thing that is missing, as I have also been crawling around the posts/articles lately, is a prescribed starting build queue. Worker/worker/settler has been a game changer for me. I typically built worker/warrior/settler or warrior/worker/settler. But I could never get a jump on adjacent Civs. Having enough workers to get the infrastructure down to keep up with a growing city is imperative. I still cant win Vanilla, Standard, epic, 7 civs, monarch on a regular basis, but this latest game was great by starting this way, taking out a neighbor early, and passing on many techs that are crucial. I had Chemistry from popping scientists before I knew and domination in hand.

That's the other big key that nobody really states clearly is that you dont need to research everything (esp if you have pyramids), get ahead on a tech and trade for others.

now I need to upgrade the Mac so I can actually play at full speed. The G4 is barely cutting it.

Doviello
Oct 08, 2009, 10:31 PM
I just jumped to monarch and i started my first game on a terrible spot; 2 mountains, desert tiles, 3 jungle tiles, only 1 resource in the fat cross! Still, I'm ahead in techs and espionage (spies die on my cities all the time), but i just cant keep with the military production. How can the Ai pump so many units? Its crazy! I clean one army, at heavy losses, and BAM, another one. Im not very good at specializing my cities, thats my weak spot probably.

This guide was helpful. Ill see what i can improve.