View Full Version : Dr. Strangebudget or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Revolution

May 03, 2006, 07:55 PM
I learned today that extended revolution (caused by changing civics or religion) can be your best friend in some cases.

I played an Immortal game. Settings were small-pangea-marathon, to make it easier and shorter. Chose Cathy (my favorite -- too bad I can't see her when I play as her!), and got my best start ever: 2 elephants on a river, gems on the river, corn, copper (soon discovered with BW), and the rest forest/grass plains or forest/grass hills, often by the river. Sweet! :D

Researched BW, made worker, and choprushed settler (not sure if this is still the best in the new patch... but it's not bad anyway). Soon I have 3 cities total, but I'm all out of room to expand! Monty to the the southwest and Elizabeth to the northwest, with ocean to the east. I gear up for war with axemen and a few spearmen, following the advice from the excellent warmongering article by The-Hawk ( to go to war sooner rather than later. I give Monty a tech-treat and send him after Isabella (next door), while I demolish Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has a lot of cities, so it takes a while to finish the job. When it's finally over, I have tech at 10-20%, and a big army. I kept all her cities except one, because I'm going for an early domination win with this sweet capital city of mine and I want the land area. Monty and Issy are both Jewish now, while Hayuna (my new neighbor) is buddhist... let's use those troops! I convert to judaism to be sure my back is safe, and head off to crush the Incan. I start cranking horse archers to supplement my axemen regulars and patrol the borders to protect my land from pillaging.

A few cities later, my budget is running negative. It is sustained only by capturing new cities every few turns. Soon Hayuna's cities are all gone, except one hiding somewhere. I get a peace tech, and immediately move on to Issy to support my fat army. By this time, my tech is completely stalled, 0%. I have cottages everywhere and I micromanage the cities to maximize commerce, but the city distance costs + unit costs are just too much.

I grab most of Issy's land, but I lose some units to a strike, because I'm broke. What to do? I ask my pet dog to give me all his cash ("could you help an old friend?"), and amazingly he does. 230 or so. This buys a few more turns. I finish almost all of Issy's cities off, and I check the vitory conditions: I have 64% of the land area (need 68 for victory). I'm hemmoraging troops. Every turn I'm losing 3 or 4 units. Ouch. I still don't have currency or code of laws, or even construction (for cats & elephants). Monty is pulling way ahead in tech.

There was one last city I needed to take. It had big culture, so if I took it down I would certainly win the game... however it was on a hill and there was no way my troops would walk over there without pay. I asked Monty again for cash -- no go this time. I considered disbanding all my troops and building up tech, but even with zero troops I would still have a negative budget.

I wracked my brain for what to do... and then I realized that when you are in revolution, you don't lose any money! Instead of -92 per turn, I could have a balanced budget and happy troops. I pulled all of the city defenders out of my cities accross the continent (mostly archers) and sent them to the target along with a few remaining troops from my stack of doom.

I switched around all my civics (even went from slavery back to tribalism to get another turn of freedom). Got 5 turns of revolution from that. Then I changed my religion to get another 2. This was enough to get most of my troops to the city gates... then it was one last glorious battle and victory! 772 AD. Ironic that my first immortal win was also my fastest win ever.

I realized that when warmongering and running a budget deficit, revolutions should be used as often as possible, to save money (and troops!). This works especially well on Marathon, as a lot of troop movement can happen during each revolution. You can build up cash from conquering cities, and then go back to science during peace time perhaps when your people are happy and productive. This actually make the spiritual trait a disadvantage!

I hope you find this useful next time you break the bank on early wars.

May 03, 2006, 08:54 PM
Welcome to the board!

Are you using patch 1.61? This "strategy" you are talking about is actually a well known exploit, it's called the anarchy exploit and was used to snag some of the top hall of fame spots before the latest patch was released.

Since the patch, you now have to wait a few turns before changing civics or religions after a revolution.

One obvious reason why this should be called an exploit, and not a strategy, is that it not only negates the spiritual trait (no anarchy), it makes it an actual disadvantage to have.

Hope you don't take this to be harsh or mean, as it's not intended that way. This topic has been pretty heavily discussed on the forums, and the majority of players agree that this strategy doesn't belong in the game.

Anyway, don't let me discourage you from coming up with new ideas. For short tips like this, I'd recommend you use the Civ4 Strategy and Tips forum rather than the Strategy Articles forum.

I really like your title though, very creative. :)

May 04, 2006, 01:57 PM
sorry man :)

May 05, 2006, 05:11 AM
what a yarn - loved reading it :)

May 05, 2006, 07:27 PM
that is the best title for a thread I have seen in a long time.

May 07, 2006, 03:02 AM
love the title man

May 07, 2006, 07:21 AM
it is a good title and well written.

May 09, 2006, 10:39 AM
I always find it interesting when in-game strategies end up mimicing Real Life unintentionally: Case-in-point: This article vis-a-vis The French Revolution.

After a while, some of the more radical leaders of the French Revolution (Robespierre et al) began to formulate the philosophy of the perpetual revolution. The revolution was not a means to an ends (that is, its purpose was not, as had been the American Revolution, a means by which to effect government change) but was itself an ends. The revolution would be maintained in-perpetuity, even being exported to fellow nations as the revolutionary government invaded and conquered in the name of itself. This very mindset carried over into Napoleon's reign as emporer. The Revolution/Napoleonic period could be thought of as a result of world domination via domestic revolution.

Keep the government in constant flux, keep the people in terror, and wage war across the land with the army. It worked in France for 30+ years. Nice to see it works in Civ IV too.

Jun 14, 2007, 02:24 PM
Since the patch, you now have to wait a few turns before changing civics or religions after a revolution.

Actually what he's doing is switching several civics at one time and this will give you several turns of anarchy. This is indeed an effective strategy in his particular case, where it buys you a few turns. And you can go back into anarchy immediately by switching religions because that is a separate anarchy system, so it works even better. Obviously you can't go around in perpetual anarchy but it did save him several turns of losing money.

I would look at it as a military junta overthrow of the government, suspending all research and progress but also not losing any commerce and making your current military units useful for a few turns, rather than losing them to the pressure of other economic factors.