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Old Feb 18, 2012, 05:06 PM   #1
Tortfeasor
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Thoughts and questions about Monarch

I've been reading up on some of the more advanced strategy threads for awhile now and I finally beat Monarch for the first time today. A 1959 space race victory on Earth 18 with Cyrus. However because it's a map I know and possibly my best leader/civ in the game it still feels like this wasn't the jump from Prince it's supposed to be. Before jumping into a random map/leader, maybe even putting it up on the forum to get advice as I go along I wanted to put up some thoughts and questions I had from this last game and see if there's any more wisdom to be gleaned that might help me next time.

Thoughts:
1. Maintenance got expensive! I've read in countless threads that Monarch is where this starts to really jump but just reading does not prepare you for it. On Prince I was able to immortal rush Arabia, India, Egypt, and Greece before my economy put a stop to it. This game I rushed Arabia and India before running at 10% science. Likewise the cities I set up to make money were far less effective at this and I have to say it really cramped my style. I settled my cities closer and ran merchant specialists but I made far less money than I'm used to, so can I do anything more on this?

2. AI mobs = experience. Catherine did not like me in this game, to say we went to war a few times would be putting it mildly. I could have crushed her earlier than I did but I had her forced into a chokepoint and it got routine to hit her with siege and then total her stack before milking her for gold to make peace. I could be mistaken but I thought I read somewhere that the AI starts getting some combat bonuses on Monarch and that did not seem to be the case. Am I smoking something there or were my perpetually upgraded immortals just that good?

3. Great people are my new best friends. I've heard that specialist economies are the way to go on higher difficulties. At least in this case I can believe what I read on the internet. I popped 3 golden ages from great people and a great merchant gave me the gold to upgrade those immortal knights to cavalry. However I am also a fan of the whip and PG farms not withstanding how do I balance the use of great people and the need for population points to run the specialists with getting needed infrastructure and units out with the whip?

Questions:
1. AI aggressiveness. Does the AI go *bleeping* crazy on higher difficulties? I had quite the diplo headache because the Buddhist bloc I joined was not very bloc like going after infidels but delighted in intra-religious conflict with constantly shifting alliances. I've not seen a definitive answer to this question and would love to know if this was just a one off.

2. Espionage. I believe that I read the AI weights the human very heavily for espionage point spending but is too stupid to do anything with that at lower levels. Security Bureaus proved worth their weight in gold this game, there were turns where I was catching 5 or more spies in a turn. Yes Catherine hated my guts and we spent a lot of time at war where she would want to mess with me in every way possible but is this something I need to start paying more attention to?

I realize specific examples would be better but by the time in the game these occurred to me I knew I was going to win and they didn't seem that important.
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Old Feb 18, 2012, 05:56 PM   #2
Ghpstage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tortfeasor View Post
1. Maintenance got expensive! I've read in countless threads that Monarch is where this starts to really jump but just reading does not prepare you for it. On Prince I was able to immortal rush Arabia, India, Egypt, and Greece before my economy put a stop to it. This game I rushed Arabia and India before running at 10% science. Likewise the cities I set up to make money were far less effective at this and I have to say it really cramped my style. I settled my cities closer and ran merchant specialists but I made far less money than I'm used to, so can I do anything more on this?
Pretty much the same as is done on all levels, get either pottery or writing before a crash, limp to currency and make use of building research and wealth. I don't think the idea of using merchants to generate gold is going to be very effective as the gold they produce is just 3, even with modifiers it doesn't compare well to a grass mine building wealth (3, 1). The reason merchants are popular among many high level players is that GMs become very useful from the midgame onwards as trade missions at this time offer both the ability to upgrade fast or provide more potential than a GS bulb.
Quote:
2. AI mobs = experience. Catherine did not like me in this game, to say we went to war a few times would be putting it mildly. I could have crushed her earlier than I did but I had her forced into a chokepoint and it got routine to hit her with siege and then total her stack before milking her for gold to make peace. I could be mistaken but I thought I read somewhere that the AI starts getting some combat bonuses on Monarch and that did not seem to be the case. Am I smoking something there or were my perpetually upgraded immortals just that good?
AIs get no combat bonuses ever, well aside from keeping the noble bonus against barbs. The only advantages they have over you come from other things such as production and science bonuses leading to more and better troops.
Quote:
3. Great people are my new best friends. I've heard that specialist economies are the way to go on higher difficulties. At least in this case I can believe what I read on the internet. I popped 3 golden ages from great people and a great merchant gave me the gold to upgrade those immortal knights to cavalry. However I am also a fan of the whip and PG farms not withstanding how do I balance the use of great people and the need for population points to run the specialists with getting needed infrastructure and units out with the whip?
I think this is one you need to learn through experience as everyone will handle the balance a bit differently.
Quote:
1. AI aggressiveness. Does the AI go *bleeping* crazy on higher difficulties? I had quite the diplo headache because the Buddhist bloc I joined was not very bloc like going after infidels but delighted in intra-religious conflict with constantly shifting alliances. I've not seen a definitive answer to this question and would love to know if this was just a one off.
Aggresiveness only changes indirectly, AIs won't consider war until they have a certain number of offensive units compared to something stupid, I think its their own city count, with more production it reaches this more often and much sooner making them more likely to war before diplo modifiers get large enough to prevent it.
Its also important to realise that not all AIs care about religion very much and quite a lot of them are willing to declare at Pleased so intra religious wars, while less common than attacking heathens do happen quite often, especially when the likes of Shaka, Monty and Genghis are involved.
Quote:
2. Espionage. I believe that I read the AI weights the human very heavily for espionage point spending but is too stupid to do anything with that at lower levels. Security Bureaus proved worth their weight in gold this game, there were turns where I was catching 5 or more spies in a turn. Yes Catherine hated my guts and we spent a lot of time at war where she would want to mess with me in every way possible but is this something I need to start paying more attention to?
Defensively I generally ignore it even at Emperor/immortal, if they want to waste their commerce destroying a farm i can rebuild in a turn or two why bother stopping them? I only start taking defensive action if i'm building a space ship, AIs sabotaging those parts are very annoying.
Its handy to integrate into offensive strategies though. Even in small quantities (such as those built up by courthouses), it can provide enough to steal a few techs through the game or incite some revolts.

Last edited by Ghpstage; Feb 18, 2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old Feb 18, 2012, 06:00 PM   #3
cseanny
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My preferred playstyle is a combination of a FE (food)/ SE (specialist)/ He (hammer) so I'll try to help out!

1. TBH, Maintenance is still very cheap on Monarch. Prioritize techs like Alpha (build research) and Currency (build wealth). After writing, even with an early rush I like to squeeze a library (pre chops) because it adds 3-5 beakers per turn which is pretty huge and with chopping it comes very quick. Plus after your war you can run 2 scientist (settle GS if you have too, i.e., 0-low slider) and build research/work river cottages to help you recover faster.

2. Immortals are just that good, plus the AI's pretty much suck at war until Immortal+, and even then you can abuse war.

3. With TGL/NE set up somewhere, often times your Capital, you simply switch civics to Pacifism/Caste/Religion during a GA, 1st usually started from the GA from Music which will quickly generate 2-4 GP (Philo gets more). Outside of GAs building research/wealth and a couple scientist in cities with libraries is adequate (w/ or w/out the Mids). With enough food you can do the above plus whip infrastructure. Without enough food you are forced to remove the scientist and build wealth/research while growing so you can whip the infrastructure you desire. However, if you have some forest around, keep the scientist while building research/wealth and use chop/que, and when you have chopped enough, que the building you want then simply switch back to wealth/research.

Alternatively, if you're spiritual you can use slavery/caste cycles to do the same thing.

1a. Yep, diplo is more difficult on higher levels. Frequently check your diplo screen and how well the AIs like you and each other so you can react accordingly. Spiritual comes in handy here not to mention it makes switching civics between slavery/caste an option. Take a look at how your power rating is achieved here...it should help out with diplo (higher rating!): http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=163098

2a. I never pay much attention to espionage. Perhaps a flaw of mine. It's just once I've whipped a huge amount of Cuirs and start taking over new cities whipping CHs everywhere usually catches me up and gives me more than enough points.
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