View Full Version : Guide to Single-City 20k Cultural Victory


T-hawk
Jan 21, 2004, 01:31 PM
This is a guide for how to achieve a single-city 20,000-culture victory in Conquests. It is geared towards high-difficulty play, generally for Emperor through Deity. The purpose of this guide to explain not just how to get a cultural victory, but how to accumulate enough culture reasonably quickly that you can claim a victory without seeing your opponents threaten a space or even histogram victory. This is all about single-player play against AI opponents; nobody in their right mind tries to reach 20,000 culture in multiplayer. :)

This assumes a fairly typical game situation, and is not meant to be a guide to offbeat plans like militarily stomping all the AIs so your city can clean up on all the wonders.

Understanding this guide requires knowing what a "prebuild" is in terms of Civ 3. A prebuild is when you have a city start production on an expensive item that you have no intention of building to completion, such as the Pyramids or a new Palace. You set production to this item solely to hold and accumulate shields in the city's production box until you can acquire the technology needed for whatever you actually want to build, such as the Great Library.


PICK YOUR CIVILIZATION

Here is my assessment of the relative usefulness of civilization traits for a 20,000 culture victory.

1. Religious. The best trait, completely undoubtedly. Shorter anarchy directly translates into an earlier victory date, both of the cheaper religious buildings leave more shields for wonders, and you start with the tech for a temple. Finally, you can often time a Golden Age very well with the Sistine Chapel or Bach's Cathedral.

2. Scientific. The free technologies can go a long way towards retaining economic parity on higher difficulties. Cheaper buildings are helpful, as is starting with Bronze Working for the Colossus, and a scientific Great Leader is a great boon. And the Great Library can score a decently timed Golden Age.

3. Industrious. It'll depend on the terrain, but it's a solid all-around trait, and you start with Masonry for early wonder availability. There aren't many Industrious wonders, though.

4. Agricultural. Early bonus food does help the city to grow faster, although this isn't extremely significant as you'll probably pick a site with food bonuses for the cultural city. Agricultural wonders for a Golden Age are also very few, though almost all the Agricultural civs have early unique units.

5. Expansionist. This depends on luck, but it's a big payoff to grab a free settler early so that your 20k city doesn't need to put out one. It'll also let you scout terrain quickly if you think you might plan on using a non-capital city for the culture. You'll need either the Colossus or Copernicus' Observatory for a wonder Golden Age.

6. Militaristic. This was very useful in Civ3/PTW for the enhanced Leader generation abilities, but it's mostly useless for a 20k win in Conquests, since military great leaders can no longer rush great wonders. All the Militaristic wonders are lousy for culture except the Statue of Zeus.

7. Commercial. Useless except for the fact that you start with Alphabet tech towards the Great Library. You can get half a Golden Age from the Colossus, which is nice, although it isn't so great if it fulfills both your traits by itself.

8. Seafaring. See Commercial. Better on an archipelago map of course.


Unique Units generally don't matter much towards a 20k victory. You shouldn't be pursuing military conquest. The only way a UU really matters is triggering a Golden Age if your wonders don't work out for it, and for that a late-ancient or early-medieval UU is best.

Best overall civs: Babylon, Egypt, Celts, Persia, Sumeria
Worst civs: Hittites, England, Portugal (these three have instant Colossus Golden Ages and two have late UUs), America (if you miss the Pyramids and Hanging Gardens, you won't get a Golden Age), Scandinavia, Zulu, Mongols


FIRST THINGS FIRST

Unless your starting terrain is absolutely excellent for a 20k city, you'll want to build at least a couple exploring warriors or scouts to see what terrain is available. A good 20k city site will have as many of these features as possible, roughly in order of importance:

* At least one strong (cattle or wheat on grass or flood-plains) food bonus, or multiple weak bonuses
* Fresh water access
* A supply of bonus grassland tiles and forests for ancient-era shield production
* Coastal access for coastal wonders
* A few hills or mountains for middle-ages shield production

If your capital site doesn't have a good combination of these, and restarting is off the table as in a tournament game, you'll likely want to look elsewhere for a good city site. Of course, if your capital has a coastal river with four cattle tiles, go for culture right there.

In the Capital:
Advantages:

* You know very early what terrain the city has to work with
* The Palace provides free culture
* Faster to get a wonder started
* No corruption

Disadvantages:
* Slow civilization expansion in the early game as your capital cannot be a settler farm
* Cannot use the Palace as a prebuild to start wonders early or carry over between them

In Another City:
Advantages:
* Can always use the Palace to prebuild or carry over between wonders
* Faster civilization expansion as the capital can build a granary and farm settlers
* Can build the Forbidden Palace, which provides more culture than the Palace in the long run
* May find location with more terrain potential than the Palace

Disadvantages:
* Slower start
* Must first explore to find good terrain to build city
* Will have a small amount of corruption

Both these plans carry significant advantages and disadvantages. On high difficulty, I usually prefer to use a city other than the capital. Having the Palace available to prebuild wonders is very important against steep AI cost discounts, and maintaing good speed on early settler expansion is also desirable.


OPENING MOVES

I almost always start with at least two warriors or scouts to start exploring. After that, I usually follow these build orders. For a game plan in the capital:

* Temple (research Ceremonial Burial right away if you're not religious)
* Settler
* At least two warriors for MP, plus an archer or spearman if barbarian activity is high
* Wonder

The second city should build:
* Granary (research Pottery if necessary; use a settler or barracks to prebuild it)
* Military as needed to defend against barbs
* At least two more workers, one each for this city and the capital
* Settlers


For a game plan outside the capital, the capital should build:

* At least one escort for the settler if barbs are Sedentary or higher
* A settler to go found the 20k city
* Another warrior or two as needed for MP and barbarian defense
* Granary
* Units to provide two MP in the 20k city
* Workers so that the 20k city has at least two (often the starting worker will improve 3-4 tiles at the capital and then migrate to the 20k city)
* Settlers

The second (20k) city should build:
* Temple
* Wonder

The capital must be dedicated to supplying the 20k city with military support and workers, before you start farming settlers. All these build orders are subject to changes and adjustments, but that's the general outline of what I've found to be the best moves. I have found in general that a granary is NOT necessary in the 20k city, as long it has a food bonus or two. Better to put the 60 shields towards a wonder instead.

Of course, you want to follow standard micromanagement principles in the early game, adjusting food and shields to complete growth exactly, micromanaging the luxury tax to keep all your citizens working, and so on. You also want to manage your research choices to make sure you always have a wonder available when your city is ready to start building one. Masonry provides the Pyramids and Palace prebuild, so Industrious civs have an ideal position here, and scientific civs may have the Colossus available. Other civs need to make sure to get Masonry or Mysticism quickly. Then direct research as needed towards Mathematics and Literature for those wonders, and go for Philosophy too if you have a good chance at getting that first.

A key element of a 20k game is to keep the global research pace as slow as you can. The slower techs come in, the more time your city has to build each of the wonders. Especially on Emperor or lower difficulty, don't be in a rush to trade techs to groups of civs that don't have contact with each other. Don't be in a hurry to research by yourself, either. And nothing slows global research like getting some civs at war with each other.


OPENING WONDERS

There are three key ancient wonders for a 20k cultural victory. These are the Colossus, Statue of Zeus, and the Great Library. Not only do all of these provide excellent culture per shield invested, they also all have very helpful effects for a 20k victory game. Colossus commerce is nice - one hidden benefit of this wonder is that it goes a long way towards keeping the city happy via luxury tax. The Statue of Zeus gives you instant superiority over any remaining barbarian activity, and can provide all the military your entire empire needs for quite some time. Finally, we all know the Great Library gives you economic supremacy until the middle of the Middle Ages, letting you use your cash to rush buildings instead.

Which of these wonders and in what order you can get them is a skill learned with practice. On Monarch, getting all three should be quite possible if you can meet the eligibility requirements (coast and ivory) for the Colossus and Statue. On Emperor, you can get all three (a capital city has a better chance), although you'll need a bit of help with the eligibility requirements keeping strong AI cities away from the early wonders.

If you can't meet the eligibility requirements for the Colossus or Statue, the other options are the Oracle or Pyramids. I've played quite a number of 20k games, and I find that the lower shield cost of the Oracle - getting another wonder started sooner - is more important than the effect of the Pyramids. Of course, the Pyramids aren't a bad prize if someone does beat you to the Oracle or you don't get Mysticism early. And if your civ is Industrious or Agricultural with a late UU, you should definitely seriously consider the Pyramids, as getting them may be your only way to a Golden Age.

On Demigod, plan on no more than one of the early wonders before the Library, and on Deity, grab any wonder at all that you can get. On Demigod or Deity, if you're not using your capital for the 20k attempt, the best plan is very often just to start a Palace prebuild ASAP and go directly for the Great Library.

If you get lucky enough for a scientific Great Leader, save it until your city finishes another project, then use it for the best wonder available. Generally the Pyramids, Great Library, or Temple of Artemis. Do NOT waste shields - if your city has 100 shields accumulated already, don't "finish" the wonder with the Leader. Rather, build a cheap wonder yourself, then rush another. The Leader will wait patiently.

Keeping track of strong AI cities building wonders is also important, so you know when you won't have a chance at a particular wonder. I've gone so far as to write down the city and date anytime a rival starts a wonder. Establishing embassies gives you a peek at the capital, of course, and also lets you sign a Right of Passage to send exploring units to find their wonder-building cities so you have an idea of their power.

It depends on your city's terrain, but if your civ happens to get an early Golden Age from the Colossus or Statue or combination, it often isn't completely wasted in despotism. Much of the commerce boost will likely be lost, but if your city is up to a decent size working some 1-shield plains or mined grassland, or 3-shield mined hills, the GA will give a decent boost towards another wonder.

Continued due to post size limit...

T-hawk
Jan 21, 2004, 01:31 PM
MANAGING YOUR CITY

Rule One of managing a city trying for a 20k victory is to always keep it happy and all the citizens working. Go up to 50% or 60% or 80% luxury tax if you need to.

To build a powerful city early is to manage its growth. Dedicate at least two workers to improving this city's land; preferably three, or even more if it has a lot of hills to improve. First, get the city to the maximum food surplus that it can manage in Despotism - irrigate all food bonus tiles (including flood plains). Then, irrigate plains and clear jungle as necessary to make sure the city has a supply of tiles that produce two food so that its growth is not slowed. KEEP THE CITY GROWING - don't work forests when you could be working grassland or irrigated plains. Only when the city has enough food and will for some time do you start mining. Mine plains first (faster and the bonus is not lost to despotism), then hills and mountains.

Once your city reaches size 12, it must stay there and work maximum shields. You may want to merge in workers for the last 2-4 city growth increments, especially if the city can't make more than +4 surplus food. A worker farm nearby can help greatly.

DON'T clear forests on grassland tiles unless the city is really hurting for food. These are irreplaceable before Engineering, and are a prime source of shields once the city reaches size 12 and can shift to working sustenance food.


THE LATE ANCIENT AGE

If you get the Great Library, you're well on your way to a 20k victory. If not, your task is somewhat tougher. Either way, get into Republic; let the GL bring it in if you can, or somehow trade, scheme, steal, or research your way to the technology. Do not waste time flipping around between different governments. Anarchy is the direct enemy of both building wonders and accumulating culture. Even with a religious civ, you really don't want to do anything besides go to Republic and stay there.

Anyway, now is the time to think about any remaining wonders, after you build or cash-rush a regular library of course. The next best ancient wonder after the ones that have been mentioned is the Hanging Gardens, although in Conquests this can be VERY hard to get thanks to cascade from the Temple of Artemis. If Artemis is finished before Monarchy is researched, definitely start prebuilding for the HG however you can. The Mausoleum of Mausollos and the Great Wall are decent consolation/interim prizes (you can go for the Mausoleum even before the Great Library sometimes), although they usually tend to fall in cascades that come all the way from the Pyramids through the Oracle and Artemis.

Don't try to build Artemis yourself (except via scientific leader) - 500 shields for only 4 culture is not a great deal. And don't even think about the Great Lighthouse unless you've got absolutely nothing else to build. Building these in other cities is an option, though if you're going for the Hanging Gardens, you don't want to create cascade to it from Artemis.

As soon as you're in a better government is also the best time to get a Golden Age. If you haven't gotten it already, keep your civ traits and wonder plans in mind. If that won't work out - common for agricultural, industrious, or militaristic civs - you might have to plan for a war to trigger it with your UU.

And of course, build a Forbidden Palace somewhere when you can. If your 20k city is not your capital, build the FP there if the geography makes it any sort of a reasonable option.


THE MIDDLE AGES

Once all the ancient wonders are completed or you can see your city has no chance at them, it's time to think about medieval wonders of course. The rule from now on is to always, *always* have your city building or prebuilding a wonder.

Cash-rush the colosseum, cathedral, and university when you can. Cash rushing is very important to a 20k victory - without wonders from Great Leaders, that is the only way to generate extra shields for the city beyond what it can pull from terrain. Spending cash on a colosseum is fine, but don't have the city put 120 "real" shields into a colosseum that could go towards a wonder instead. Rush a courthouse too if the city is not your capital. Don't waste effort constructing or rushing other buildings (marketplace, harbor, barracks) unless immediately and urgently necessary. You want culture, culture, and nothing but culture.

Knowing how to efficiently rush such buildings in a single turn is important. Every extra turn spent on a mundane building is 20-30 shields lost towards building a wonder. An example is probably the best way to illustrate this. Suppose your city just finished a wonder, is producing 20 shields per turn, and now you want to rush the colosseum. First, disband an obsolete military unit or rush a 10-shield worker for 80 gold to get some shields in the box to avoid the double-cost penalty. Then, change production to the marketplace and rush the 100 shields. Finally, change to the colosseum, and let the city finish building the last 20 shields on its own to save 80 gold as compared to simply rushing the colosseum outright. If you do not have an item of the correct size to short-rush the building (this often happens with a 200-shield university), either actually rush the building to completion, or rush the best item you can (like a 160-shield bank), change production to the bigger item, and disband military until the city can finish the rest of the remaining shields in one turn.

This age is where using a non-capital city for the 20k starts to pay off thanks to having a Palace prebuild always available. If you're using the capital for the 20k, you'll have to be more creative. You'll always have a courthouse available that can hold 80 shields of prebuilding, and usually either a marketplace or bank for 100 or 160, but that's about all you'll have.

However big your prebuild is (even a Palace prebuild might not be bigger than 300 shields), you'll need to make sure to manage your economy to research or purchase a wonder technology when it runs out. This is a critical skill required to manage a 20k city in the middle ages, and it comes with experience.

If your city is still producing surplus food even when you've mined everything you can, plant forests on grassland tiles.

Anytime through the middle ages, you may want to consider starting wars. This is especially true if you haven't gotten a wonder Golden Age yet, don't expect to for a while (there are no medieval agricultural or industrious wonders, and the militaristic ones stink for culture), and can trigger it with your unique unit. Good goals include simply acquiring more land, knocking out an enemy wonder-building capital, and capturing other ancient wonders. And getting the world into war always slows the general pace of technology.


MEDIEVAL WONDERS

By far the most common medieval wonder you'll build first will be the Sistine Chapel. Get Feudalism as soon as you can to use Sun Tzu's Art of War to prebuild. Even if you have the Great Library, you may well have to research or (if held by only one civ) steal technologies to make the timing work out for these wonders. You must recognize these situations and do whatever you need to keep your city building a high-culture wonder. Your 20k city should virtually never build the low-culture medieval wonders of Sun Tzu's Art of War and Leonardo's Workshop.

After the Sistine Chapel, there's no one path that always works in the middle ages. Most often, the next wonder prebuild will turn into either Copernicus' Observatory or J.S. Bach's Cathedral. I usually try to claim Copernicus if I can, as the 400-shield wonder can easily be lost to cascade from the 600-shield militaristic wonders. You can get both, but if you do, Copernicus has to come first. If the cascade from Sun Tzu's and Leo's stops before anyone researches Music Theory, you can ignore Bach's for now and wait until someone gets the tech.

On Emperor or below difficulty, it can be useful to build Leonardo's in a city other than your 20k city, to stop the AI wonder cascade. Ideally, you'll start doing this right around the beginning of the middle ages, and complete it before Music Theory or Astronomy is researched. However, you must NOT build Leo's yourself if doing so will create cascade to the higher culture wonders. Again, this varies much game to game and you'll have to learn the signs and strategies. (On Monarch, you can probably build Sun Tzu's yourself too and keep ironclad control of the cascade permanently. Managing multiple wonder prebuilds can become very complicated, though.)

Once Copernicus is resolved and either Bach's is resolved or the cascade ends, it's time for you to get up to Free Artistry and prebuild for Shakespeare's Theatre. Before Conquests, this wonder could be ignored until the AIs got the tech, but with the new hospital effect, you want it right away as it increases your city's shield potential dramatically (assuming it isn't half full of water.) On Deity and maybe Demigod, you may want to conserve your economy to do tech brokerage deals instead and wait for the AIs to get Free Artistry, but on lower difficulties you want to research it and build the Shake right away. Once you build it, merge in workers to take it to size 20 (you can let it grow from 12 to 13 by itself if the food box is already full.) Have more workers standing by to optimize its terrain as needed. Get the city to 1 or 2 surplus food at size 20 (to allow for loss to pollution) and the rest for shields.

The late middle-ages cascade can go in many different directions depending on the shape of the earlier wonder cascade and when Music Theory, Economics and Navigation come into play. Get Newton's University if at all possible; Magellan's Expedition is okay too; Smith's Trading Company if you can't get anything else. You can also consider building Smith's in another city for its effects and to stop the cascade. It may take a few games, but eventually you'll learn how to manage the cascade; when technologies will appear and what cities will cascade to which wonders.

If you get any military Great Leaders, definitely make an army and have your 20k city build the Heroic Epic when it gets a break between great wonders. If you get spare Great Leaders beyond the first, rush the Heroic Epic if you haven't built it yet, or Military Academy once that's available, or keep making more armies. Once you get three armies, you can rush the Pentagon, or keep it available for the capital to use as a 400-shield prebuild item. Once you complete the Military Academy, the city will always have a 400-shield Army to use as a prebuild as well.

If you get any scientific Great Leaders, let the city finish what it's currently doing and then rush the best available culture wonder, of course. It's acceptable to rush Sun Tzu's or Leonardo's if no other wonders are available, especially if doing so will break the AI wonder cascade.


INDUSTRIAL AND MODERN AGE

Once all the medieval wonders are gone, the cultural destiny of your city is pretty much set. If you've kept pace economically, you should be able to collect all the remaining great wonders with good prebuilding.

As soon as the cultural city finishes with its last medieval wonder, I've found that the best thing to do is use whatever prebuild is available to start on a factory. Research to Industrialization at your best rate, change the prebuild to the factory, rush it if necessary, then rush a coal plant. Rush the coal plant next turn, then start on Universal Suffrage. Suffrage can come before the factory if you end up with enough time to prebuild 400+ shields, or if Economics comes late enough to carry cascade over from Smith's (but then you should build Smith's yourself.) If you missed Shakespeare's, sidetrack to Sanitation now and rush a hospital. Prebuild and research to Theory of Evolution, grab Atomic Theory and Electronics, then build the Hoover Dam (if you have a river.) Build stock exchanges and Wall Street when you get a chance, and fill in the rest of the small wonders as they become available. When no more culture is available is the time to start building the normal buildings like a marketplace and commercial dock.

You will also start getting a visible economic benefit from wonder tourism around this time. It's possible to build both the Colossus and Statue of Zeus by around 1000 BC, which by 1500 AD will have each wonder providing an extra 14 commerce per turn - totalling well more than the Colossus' basic effect!. This income is multiplied by any applicable buildings (including Copernicus and Newton) as well, providing a nice economic boost. With the science wonders, it's not uncommon to have the 20k city churning out as much research as four or five normal cities.

Keep plenty of workers around to clean up your city's pollution. Sell the coal plant once you build Hoover somewhere. Save any scientific Great Leaders for a 1000-shield modern wonder.

If you have a healthy economic lead and your 20k city isn't your capital, you can consider building an actual new Palace in the city (even if it already contains the Forbidden Palace) for the small cultural boost and elimination of corruption.

For the Modern Age, research Computers, Fission, Nuclear Power, Miniaturization, and Genetics in some order approximating that, and build SETI, the UN, the Internet, Cure for Cancer, and Longevity. This is easy stuff and really doesn't affect the cultural victory much. Cash-rush an Offshore Platform if applicable, and a Nuclear Plant. If you still haven't won yet, you can go for the Manhattan Project and Apollo Program.

Getting 3 or 4 ancient wonders and the five high-culture medieval wonders (Sistine, Bach, Copernicus, Shakespeare, Newton) should lead to a victory date in the middle 1800s, which should be before the AIs get too close to a space victory. 1820 is a very good date, 1750 is excellent, and 1700 is about the best achievable without military-GL wonder rushing or extreme luck on scientific leaders.

Click End Turn a bunch of times - try not to let the AIs get too close to nukes - and enjoy your victory. :)


COMMENTS WELCOME

Once this thread has been up for a while to collect comments, I'd like for this to be posted in the War Academy here. Comments welcome, of course. :D

mad-bax
Jan 22, 2004, 09:19 AM
I think this is an important post and is a candidate for the war academy. I have pursued many 20K games, both solo and in SG's including a double 20K and a 5CC 100K game.

There are a couple of things that I would add.

1. I would put more emphasis on merging workers at an early stage. Getting the city to pop12 ASAP is critical.

2. I believe getting the Heroic Epic quickly is extrememly important and so the first leader generated should build an army and win a battle. The number of leaders created will increase by about a third. Obviously, this only applies to vanilla and PTW.

3. Markets and harbours are more important IMHO than you give them credit for. The 20K city is your main powerhouse for the economy. My tactic (FWIW) is to switch a wonder build to one of these when a scientific leader becomes available, even if the loss of shields is substantial.

4. Leader generation. There is a good thread by DaveMcW (I think) that talks about leader generation. A link to this thread would be a good idea. Again, not relevent for C3C I know.

These are not criticisms, just MHO.

Good thread. I hope it gets the recognition it deserves.

shaddowkatmkii
Apr 02, 2004, 04:52 PM
I'd have to say Shakespeare's Theater is probably the MOST important Wonder to get:

1. Eight Culture: an instant boost (by roughly 10% considering at that time you should be about 80 culture a turn
2. Happiness factor: Less luxuries that you need to keep the city out of disorder.
3. Grants size 13 and up: The most important factor, it gives you a size advantage in the city half an era earlier than anyone else, and you can build wonders a LOT quicker with bigger cities. I'm in a game now where it's the mid-1800's and I'm at 16K culture with about 90/turn

Overall, an excelltnt treatise on 20K culture victories!

zagnut
Apr 02, 2004, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by mad-bax
Leader generation. There is a good thread by DaveMcW (I think) that talks about leader generation. A link to this thread would be a good idea. Again, not relevent for C3C I know.

I think the thread on Leader generation is by SirPleb and you can find it here (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=61506)

Really enjoyed the post. I have never gone for a 20K cultural victory, but with your guidance I can feel one on the horizon.

Ision
Apr 03, 2004, 09:46 PM
nice solid article - obviously a lot of work went into it -

good job!

Ision

Longasc
Apr 04, 2004, 04:09 AM
This is a very useful strategy guide - I might try it out in one of my next games. Right now I am always ending up conquering the world. :)

sorky
Apr 20, 2004, 12:18 AM
Hi :)
Thx for this nice technic, and very appropriate to my current game :D

I just wanted to know if the 20k win could be done in deity... (?)

I took the chinese people and have two leader in no time, rushing pyramid and GL. I thought about a conquest victory but i switch to cultural with those event in early age...

But... (always a but ^^)

The game is in 350 AD and I have only something like 3144 culture point in this city.. and the research is near Physic.. :rolleyes:

Here is the town:

Bombay

Temple (2070 BC)
Library (1625 BC)
Cathedral (430 BC)
University (230 BC)
Colosseum (210 BC)

Pyramids (2670 BC lol)
GL (1600 BC, good too :)
Sistine (370 BC)
Forbidden Palace (390 BC)
JS Bach (70 AD)
Heroic Epic (290 AD)
Smith trading (300 AD... too much elite unit, i take the risk)

3144 culture / 350AD / approximatly Physic research / 2-3 tech behind AI (I buy them when I need before research myself)
I can't see the future without apprehension but I don't know how I could do better :/

It's the first time I go for cultural win and I want to know if it's oki for now or if I re-switch to conquest win (a bite late now I think :/ )

ShaoKai
Jun 11, 2004, 07:23 PM
very good :goodjob:

Barker
Jun 11, 2004, 08:33 PM
This is a very well-written article. There are a couple of additional thoughts that I would like to add.

Since the benefits of cultural improvements improve over time, I always like to get my buildings built as early as possible. A library built in 3 turns followed by the Great Library in 20 turns (or better in 1 if rushing with disbanded units and/or cash) will have a much greater cultural influence in the long run than the Great Library built in 20 turns and then the library in 3 turns. The multiplying factor of ancient cultural buildings also rewards very early construction projects.

If I do not have a large investment in a prebuild, I will switch to a lower-cost improvement when possible. This, of course, will always depend on specific long term objectives and game conditions.

Doc Tsiolkovski
Jul 07, 2004, 09:32 AM
Well written, though I heavily disagree on one point:
Traits.

REL and SCI are the #1 and 2, no question. But SEA is clearly #3 for me. Why?
You start coastal -> Colossus
You start with Alphabet -> Writing/Philo/Lit
You start with Curraghs -> Contacts
You are either Spain or Byz -> Useful UUs for 20k (you won't conquer the opponents, but both UUs are great for preventing invasions, or pillaging/destroying improvements efficiently).

And I think (at higher levels, even Deity) the MoM is a great Wonder, due to allowing a huge city early on without running 60% Lux. That however, triggers a GA for Byz, and that is the reason I think Spain is by far the best Civ for 20k now.

Sir Bugsy
Aug 20, 2004, 02:08 PM
On civs, two factors to those already mentioned, India will have a Colossus GA and Egypt will have a Pyramid GA

DaveMcW
Sep 01, 2004, 09:57 AM
In Another City:
Advantages:
* Can build the Forbidden Palace, which provides more culture than the Palace in the long run

...

If you have a healthy economic lead and your 20k city isn't your capital, you can consider building an actual new Palace in the city (even if it already contains the Forbidden Palace) for the small cultural boost and elimination of corruption.


I think this deserves to be emphasized. In a recent demigod game ("http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=2122728) I used a leader to rush the Forbidden Palace in 330AD and jumped my palace the 20k city the same turn.

At the end the FP was worth 492 culture and the palace was worth 246 culture (738 total). If I had made my capital the 20k city, the palace would only be worth 640 culture.

Balton
Oct 06, 2004, 03:24 AM
This excellent article inspired me to start a C3C Monarch game with the Spanish, though I am in the middle of my COTM 5.

So far in Barcelona, I was able to build the Colossus, MoM, SoZ, GL, ToA and FP. HG due in 10 turns (still BC time). I also have a temple and a library.

Building the SoZ triggered my GA. Also, upon reseraching the last AA tech resulted in a SL, which rushed the ToA. However I did lose the Oracle to the Cascade and ended up with the FP, though now HG is safe.

My neighbour Aztecs just declared war on me, so hoping for HE and also plan to capture the Pyramids they built for me.

Thanks again for a very informative article.

killerkid
Aug 06, 2006, 06:34 AM
Excellent article T-Hawk!! :goodjob:

I just disagree with one point. I don't think it's better to have a coastal start,
because you have less tiles after first expansion that can produce a shield.

T-hawk
Aug 09, 2006, 09:49 AM
I don't think it's better to have a coastal start,
because you have less tiles after first expansion that can produce a shield.

As long as you have at least 12 land tiles within the city radius, a coastal start doesn't lose shields. Tiles beyond 12 don't matter until you build Shakespeare's Theatre or a hospital, by which time you're done with all the important cultural wonders.

The Colossus really is huge for a 20k victory. It's second only to the Statue of Zeus for culture-per-shield, and the economic production is second to none, exceeding even the Great Library over the course of the game. For losing access to the Colossus to be worthwhile, you'd need to be quite sure of building the Statue of Zeus instead, or be on Deity difficulty where you won't be able to get the Colossus anyway.

AutomatedTeller
Aug 09, 2006, 11:17 AM
Collosus *is* a huge production boost, no doubt. It's not so huge that it makes starting on the coast an absolute necessity - the extra shields you can get from having a couple more hills at size 20 once you get shakespears and rails can be huge to build those great middleages wonders - but it can really make a huge boost in ancient age research, especially after you get into republic - the 20K city can be providing 20% or more of all beakers, with collossus's bonuses and the tourism bonuses that start to kick in.

fstrick604
Mar 23, 2007, 10:32 AM
Great Article! But where can I read about the "cascade"? fs

fishjie
Jul 30, 2007, 01:29 PM
thanks for an excellent guide. ive completed two 20k victories on regent, but it took a while (i think 1950s). now i see what ive done wrong. ive been building the wrong wonders and not picking the right traits! blagh. i didnt even know it was possible to win at the harder difficulties. now i am inspired to try.

i would also echo the point that its better to rush the minor culture buildings first, then build the wonder, as opposed to build the wonder, then the minor culture building.

question:

can you explain how to manage these cascades by building wonders such as leos? is the idea to pre-empt other enemy civs by completing leo (because they will cascade to it), forcing them to abandon their wonder? wouldnt this only work if they didnt have the tech for researching the other wonders?

T-hawk
Jul 30, 2007, 03:13 PM
can you explain how to manage these cascades by building wonders such as leos? is the idea to pre-empt other enemy civs by completing leo (because they will cascade to it), forcing them to abandon their wonder? wouldnt this only work if they didnt have the tech for researching the other wonders?

That's right. If the other civs don't have any other technologies that enable wonders, you build Leo's yourself (not in your cultural city) to cut them off and force them to abandon any progress towards a wonder. But if they do have Music Theory and you haven't finished Bach's yet, then you _don't_ build Leo's. That way, if a rival does reach 600 shields, they get Leo's rather than switching to the crucial Bach's instead.

"Control of the cascade" in general means that you can build all the new wonders as they become available. This prevents the AIs from carrying over progress from one wonder to another. Since the AIs aren't as good at managing cities for shield production as a human player, and they don't prebuild wonders ahead of time, you will always beat the AI in a fair race to a wonder. The only way you can lose a wonder race is if the AI accidentally does prebuild it, which it will only do by cascading from an earlier wonder. So if you prevent them cascading, you can get every wonder.

NickyH
Sep 26, 2008, 03:29 PM
I've been playing an insane number of 20k games during the past year, and I disagree with a couple of things in this article. I haven't read everything in this thread recently, so I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse. (Hope I'm using the expression properly. English is not my first language.)

First, a thing that might cause differences in strategy between me and T-Hawk, who wrote this excellent article: I'm usually playing my 20K games on Warlord difficulty, and T-Hawk's article might be written with harder levels in mind.

One thing, that might make a huge difference to if you want to choose my strategy, or something more similar to T-Hawks': The way I play it depends on a great start, that gives you a really powerful capitol, and also gives you a powerful empire that puts you in the tech lead early in the game. Being powerful from the start will let you research new techs in 4 turns from from half ways through the medieval age and on. You might start lots of games and play them until the end of the ancient age, before you find yourself in a good enough situation to go on with the rest of my strategy! The best possible situation is if you build two or three warriors to explore the world with, an pop a settler from a goody hut with one of them. Settle in a good spot in relation to your capitol and with a food bonus for a decent settler factory, and you might make it to the hall of fame.

With that said, here's what I focus on:

If you want a decent finish date on warlord, you'll need get there in 1400-1500 AD. You can get Shakespeare's as early as the second or third century AD if you try to speed up the tech pace up as much as you can. I've actually managed to get Shakespeare's in 90 AD in my best game so far, and then I won by 1400 AD. (I might submit that game for the HoF.)

Shakespeare's Theater is the wonder that makes it or brakes it for me. Once you've got it, you will build the rest of the wonders so much faster. As T-hawk said, it's very important to have all the worker you need, and all the land improved in advance, so you'll get the full benefit out of the wonder at once.

The ability to finish wonders faster is not the only benefit from this. If you can get Shakespeare's as early as 90 AD, you'll get double culture from it once it's been there for 1000 years, so you'll get an extra 8 per turn from 1090. I guess you'd sacrifice your cultural adviser and many other things to have an extra 8 culture per turn for free at that time. :lol:

If you play on a low level like warlord, if you keep the tech pace up, and if you get Shakespeare's before 400 AD, you'll find that you'll be able to build almost all of the wonders along the way. You don't want to skip expensive low culture wonders like Leonardo's and Sun Tzu's, because if you do, you might end up without any wonder at all for a long time in the modern era. For example, The Great Wall or Knights Templars will give you lots of points, and even Sun Tzu will be great, when Hoover Dam is the only wonder you can build in the late Industrial age. By that time, the Wall or Templars will be obsolete, and Sun Tzu might be built by one of your rivals, along with Leonardo's.

Now don't go practicing this strategy too well, because you might make it harder for me when I decide to submit my best games to the Hall of Fame. :lol:

Edit: One thing that might make you question the sanity of my decisions, is wonder cascades.

You will possibly take some risks with Leo's and Sun Tzu's, but if you really get the good start that I'm talking about, there will be no competition to the wonders on Warlord.

Also, You want a capitol that makes 25 shields per turn in republic, before rail roads, but without golden age. Four times 25 is 100, and it makes a huge difference to 24 shields. Once I got the crazy amount of 31 shields per turn before Shakespeare's or railroads, and that's when I finished in 1400 AD. In that game I had far below average luck with scientific leaders.

Still, a sci leader in one of your first 3 techs makes a big difference. Start on a small Pangaea map with 3 opponents, and start with the Ottomans. Make sure none of your opponents are expansionist, and that none of them start with Ceremonial Burial or Alphabet. My suggestions are: China, Persia and Aztecs.

Your research will go: CB, Alphabet: and then on with the rep slingshot, unless you have good reasons to take another path. Then you'll be researching techs that gives you a chance at a sci leader. Good reasons for another path might be sci leaders leaving you without a wonder to build, or the possibility to build Statue of Z.

T-hawk
Sep 27, 2008, 08:04 PM
Good post, Nicky. Yes, we're writing along different paths. You talk about the minimum possible finish date, on low difficulty, with minimal AI competition, and restarting to find a good map. I wrote about high difficulty where simply beating the AIs is a substantial task, without start-farming.

Shakespeare's in time for 1000-year doubling? Nice touch, I never thought of that. :goodjob:

DWetzel
Sep 29, 2008, 08:05 AM
One of these days I'll get around to writing up my guide to winning OCC 20k games (around Monarch level, on large/huge maps; it is probably also doable at Emperor on standard/smaller maps).

I think that you do vastly underrate Seafaring--though it is very map-dependent. A Seafaring civ can very easily maintain tech parity (or better) early on by setting up a good tech brokerage.

Spoonwood
Oct 27, 2008, 07:57 PM
I read this a while back and there's a whole lot of good ideas in this article. But, right now I prefer Sanabas's article here http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=162674. I wish I knew what type of "fairly typical game conditions" T-hawk had in mind. Barbarians, amount of water, how many opponents, random or pre-selected opponents?

I do have one significant criticism of this article. It seems to assume you evaluate wonders by shield cost to a culture ratio. Instead, I'd recommend that you circle all ancient age wonders in your mind *at least* and maybe some medieval wonders also... if you have a really quick tech pace. Then for The Colossus, The Oracle, and The Pyramids multiple their *inital* cultural value by 1.75. 1.5 for the rest of the ancient age wonders. And if you have a quick tech pace maybe 1.25, 1.2, or 1.1 for some of the early medieval wonders. With this we get something like the following values
Wonder- Shield Cost- Overall Cultural Value
Colossus 200 shields 4.5
The Oracle 400 shields 5
The Pyramids 400 shields 5
Statue of Zeus 200 shields 6
Temple of Artemis 500 shields 6
Great Wall 300 shields 3
Great Lighthouse 300 shields 3
Great Library 400 shields 9
Hanging Gardens 300 shields 6
Museum of Mausollos 200 shields 3

My reasoning? The turns of the game go like this:
50 year periods from 4000-2750
40 year periods from 2710-1750
25 year periods from 1725-750
20 year periods from 730 BC-250 AD
10 year periods from 260-1250 AD
5 year periods from 1255-1750
2 year periods starting at 1752 until sometime later.

The 1000 year bonus can help a lot.

TheOverseer714
Oct 28, 2008, 04:13 PM
T-Hawk, why don't you put the first 2 pages in the updated War Academmy, if it isn't already. I'm trying to master 20K, and I find I need some work. This article should help me alot.

T-hawk
Oct 29, 2008, 09:47 AM
I wish I knew what type of "fairly typical game conditions" T-hawk had in mind. Barbarians, amount of water, how many opponents, random or pre-selected opponents?

By typical, I'd mean roaming or restless barbarians, 30% water, standard amount of opponents for the map size, and random opponents. But the guide should be applicable to any game conditions. Really, the process of a 20k game isn't all that sensitive to most of those conditions. Water content doesn't much matter; the 20k city doesn't care how many other coastal cities you have. The influence of opponents is also small; the Civ 3 AIs don't have drastically different personalities for building like they do in Civ 4. And barbarians shouldn't impact the progress of a 20k city, since it won't be building military anyway (another city will.)


It seems to assume you evaluate wonders by shield cost to a culture ratio.

I do, and in my experience that is indeed the single most important metric for choosing a wonder.


Instead, I'd recommend that you circle all ancient age wonders in your mind *at least* and maybe some medieval wonders also... if you have a really quick tech pace. Then for The Colossus, The Oracle, and The Pyramids multiple their *inital* cultural value by 1.75. 1.5 for the rest of the ancient age wonders. And if you have a quick tech pace maybe 1.25, 1.2, or 1.1 for some of the early medieval wonders.

Good thoughts, though I'd dispute that the age of the wonder is the meaningful item. If you're choosing between two wonders at the same date, then they're also going to double at the same time. If you can build either the Pyramids or Hanging Gardens in 500 BC, either wonder is going to double in 500 AD. Better might be to consider a multiplier based on the date you can get that wonder in this particular game. 1.75 for wonders built by 1250 BC (that will double by 250 AD), 1.5 for wonders built by 250 AD (double at 1250 AD), and so on.


T-Hawk, why don't you put the first 2 pages in the updated War Academmy, if it isn't already.

It is. :) http://www.civfanatics.com/civ3/strategy/singlecity20k.php

Spoonwood
Oct 29, 2008, 01:23 PM
But the guide should be applicable to any game conditions. Really, the process of a 20k game isn't all that sensitive to most of those conditions. Water content doesn't much matter; the 20k city doesn't care how many other coastal cities you have. The influence of opponents is also small; the Civ 3 AIs don't have drastically different personalities for building like they do in Civ 4. And barbarians shouldn't impact the progress of a 20k city, since it won't be building military anyway (another city will.)

Maybe not drastically, but from what I've seen of HoF games and my own games, I do think so. I once had a COTM going with I think roaming barbarians, had two warriors in my potential 20k city and lost both my warriors resulting in the barbies coming into my city and sacking my shields on The Colossus. I know that... well I guess s/he played it on Chieftain so it's not all that applicable to your guid, but it's worth consideration... the fastest Chieftain game used raging barbarians for ancient cavalry promotion to elites resulting in a faster Heroic Epic. On upper levels this sort of thing might not usually work... but maybe if you play as Greece or Carthage it might. An old Heroic Epic and Statue of Zeus... well I don't see how you can beat that for the cost.

I think water content affects tech pace in terms of how much territory the AIs have to research and how quickly they get contacts. For the same reason pangea vs. archipelago changes things drastically by affecting tech pace. The slower tech pace you have, the fewer wonder cascades you have, the more techs you research first, the more chances you have for an SGL. By the opposite token, the faster the tech pace you have, the faster you get to those juicy medieval wonders. I know you're surely aware that minimum vs. maximum number (according to the HoF rulebook) of opponents also influences tech pace.

On top of this, having or not having a seafaring and less so a commercial tribe also influences tech pace, especially on an archipelago maps due to them having Alphabet (the AIs build curraghs and galleys on pangea maps... so I would expect they make contacts this way). On upper level they also can get to Writing faster, which they'll almost surely trade with the other AIs soon enough. This also makes it more difficult to pop an SGL on Writing. Similarly, not having any Religious tribes and researching Ceremonial Burial gives you a chance for an early SGL. Rushing the Pyramids early this way can have a signficant effect as it will kill any possible cascade to the Oracle and it will soon get to 8 culture per turn. That also speeds up the growth of the rest of your empire, which almost means faster research for your empire. Additionally, if you want a faster tech pace and have all scientific opponents you can gift them all up and get their free techs. I think all of this subtelties compared to the points in your article, which gets the main point... but they can make a signficiant enough difference. Also, concerning a comment in your article, I know you can get The Colossus on Deity if you crank out a settler and some workers first... at least for some starts.

If you can build either the Pyramids or Hanging Gardens in 500 BC, either wonder is going to double in 500 AD. Better might be to consider a multiplier based on the date you can get that wonder in this particular game. 1.75 for wonders built by 1250 BC (that will double by 250 AD), 1.5 for wonders built by 250 AD (double at 1250 AD), and so on.

That's a much better idea than I had. Here's something I haven't figured out. Let's say you can build both The Great Wall and The Great Library with the Great Wall coming first, and the Great Library later... or you can just build The Great Library sooner. Which do you do, and why?

Spoonwood
Oct 31, 2008, 10:18 AM
Maybe I should make my own guide... but after having playtested and found a probability table around here, I actually think Portugal *can* make for one of the most powerful 20k tribes on Demi-god and Deity especially (they won't work on Sid... at least not quite as well). I will/have detailed some of the reasons why here http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=295828&page=2.

AutomatedTeller
Nov 02, 2008, 10:17 AM
Maybe not drastically, but from what I've seen of HoF games and my own games, I do think so. I once had a COTM going with I think roaming barbarians, had two warriors in my potential 20k city and lost both my warriors resulting in the barbies coming into my city and sacking my shields on The Colossus. I know that... well I guess s/he played it on Chieftain so it's not all that applicable to your guid, but it's worth consideration... the fastest Chieftain game used raging barbarians for ancient cavalry promotion to elites resulting in a faster Heroic Epic. On upper levels this sort of thing might not usually work... but maybe if you play as Greece or Carthage it might. An old Heroic Epic and Statue of Zeus... well I don't see how you can beat that for the cost.

I think water content affects tech pace in terms of how much territory the AIs have to research and how quickly they get contacts. For the same reason pangea vs. archipelago changes things drastically by affecting tech pace. The slower tech pace you have, the fewer wonder cascades you have, the more techs you research first, the more chances you have for an SGL. By the opposite token, the faster the tech pace you have, the faster you get to those juicy medieval wonders. I know you're surely aware that minimum vs. maximum number (according to the HoF rulebook) of opponents also influences tech pace.

On top of this, having or not having a seafaring and less so a commercial tribe also influences tech pace, especially on an archipelago maps due to them having Alphabet (the AIs build curraghs and galleys on pangea maps... so I would expect they make contacts this way). On upper level they also can get to Writing faster, which they'll almost surely trade with the other AIs soon enough. This also makes it more difficult to pop an SGL on Writing. Similarly, not having any Religious tribes and researching Ceremonial Burial gives you a chance for an early SGL. Rushing the Pyramids early this way can have a signficant effect as it will kill any possible cascade to the Oracle and it will soon get to 8 culture per turn. That also speeds up the growth of the rest of your empire, which almost means faster research for your empire. Additionally, if you want a faster tech pace and have all scientific opponents you can gift them all up and get their free techs. I think all of this subtelties compared to the points in your article, which gets the main point... but they can make a signficiant enough difference. Also, concerning a comment in your article, I know you can get The Colossus on Deity if you crank out a settler and some workers first... at least for some starts.



That's a much better idea than I had. Here's something I haven't figured out. Let's say you can build both The Great Wall and The Great Library with the Great Wall coming first, and the Great Library later... or you can just build The Great Library sooner. Which do you do, and why?

You build the GLib first. Generally, you pretty much always build the thing that gives the most culture first - you might build something that gives a better benefit. In fact, on many games, I never build the wall at all.

To illustrate, say you are doing 25 spt. If you build the wall first, on turn 12, you start getting 2 cpt and on turn 28, you get another 6, for 8 cpt and you have 32 culture in the banck.

If you build the GLib first, on turn 16 you start getting 6 cpt and on turn 28, you get another 2 for 8 cpt... but you have 72 culture in the bank, or 40 more. When and if they double, you'll get another 36-40 culture advantage by building the GLib first.

It's not uncommon for me to never bother with the wall, except on very low level games where I build everything or on very high level games where I take what I can get.

Spoonwood
Nov 03, 2008, 12:29 PM
No, I meant either Great Library sooner *only* or Great Wall and then Great Library later. With only the Great Library sooner, it produces culture sooner and it doubles sooner. With both, you end up with culture sooner and both of them doubling eventually, but the Great Library doulbes later.

AutomatedTeller
Nov 09, 2008, 12:44 PM
I guess it depends.

If it's a choice between the wall + glib, or Glib + nothing for a bunch of turns, then it depends on how many turns it takes until you can get your next wonder/culture thing built, which depends on your research rate and what sort of prebuilds you have going.

Plus, of course, there are the benefits of the wonder.

I'd almost certainly build the GLib first, rather than the Wall then the GLib, but I can see circumstances where doing it the other way around makes sense, generally as a way tokill off cascades.