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Old Dec 07, 2003, 04:35 PM   #1
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The 4 rules of Wonder addiction

Let me start by saying that I DO build wonders, and I think they are a wonderful part of this game. They create variety and lead to a myriad of different strategies. Having said that, had I not been a victim of ‘wonder fixation’ as a newbie I would have become a better player FAR faster. My learning curve to Monarch would have been reduced by months – my first Deity victory would not have taken over a dozen failed attempts.

New and inexperienced players (chieftain to regent) make certain common errors. High among these is “Wonder Fixation”. I too was not exempt from this common newbie mistake. In my chieftain/warlord stage I would feel angry and cheated if I didn’t pull the Pyramids or Great Library. My second city was ALWAYS a wonder city. Even in my warmonger games I would set aside 2 core cities to try and ‘hog’ the wonders. This habit has a negative 3-fold effect:

Firstly, new players struggle with worker management, happiness, military tactics, and quick city expansion. Wonder building significantly detracts from a player’s ability to master these areas. Consequently, this will lengthen the time it will take for a player to advance in level. For a new player - the time, effort, and shields it takes to build an Ancient Age wonder will never make up for the benefits of having used those 400 shields to build workers/settlers/troops. In the Ancient Age each and every city is VITAL.

Secondly, there is a ‘crutch’ effect to certain wonders that hampers your mastering the nuances of the game. Having trouble keeping up in tech? Ah, I’ll shoot for the Great Library – every time. Do your cities take too long to grow? Ah, I’ll shoot for the Pyramids – every time. Are your people always rioting and unhappy? Ah, I’ll shoot for Artemis or Hanging Gardens – every time. There’s just one problem here, the moment you go up in difficulty level, the strategy doesn’t work – and now your skill level is too underdeveloped to compete at the new higher level.

Lastly, certain CIV traits lend themselves better to building certain wonders. So once you have picked your ‘must have’ wonder(s), you find yourself picking the same 2 or 3 CIVs – every time. You convince yourself that they are the ‘best’ CIVs. But you have now cheated yourself out of 90% of the fun of playing this game. The game will bog down to - same old, same old.

My advice is simple: do not build a single wonder until you have mastered Regent level. Do this, and you will have your first Deity victory in a fraction of the time it took me.

Now it’s time for Ision to do a reality check. If 100 newbies read this post I would be surprised if even 1 were to actually take the advice. The appeal of Wonders to a new player is simply too strong. There’s something psychologically comforting about seeing that pop up window with a wonder that is ‘yours and yours alone’! That city screen just looks SO much better with that big fat building staring back at you. You just have to do it – you can’t help it – wonders are the heroin fix of all new CIVers. So if I can’t get you off the addiction the best I can do is offer a little methadone treatment.

Okay, here goes: the 4 rules of newbie wonder addiction –

1. The Great Library is OFF limits. Never, absolutely never build this wonder - not even with a SGL! The single biggest wonder crutch of CIV - is this wonder. Your skills at tech research, tech trading, diplomacy, and the use of the luxury slider will be TREMENDOUSLY hampered. This single wonder delayed my Regent to Monarch transition by months.

2. Limit your wonder building cities to just 1. This will hurt your soul. Later in the game you will want to scream! Because, you will have numerous core cities that could also be building wonders - and with a good shot at getting them. Don’t do it! Keep that heroin down to one shot (city) per Epic game. Hard to do – but doable.

3. Every time you start up a new game of CIV – purposely choose a different Ancient Age wonder to shoot for. This will help you avoid the, ‘this is the best CIV’ or ‘the best TRAITS’ crap. It also will help you avoid locking into certain strategies.

4. Lastly, repeat after me – THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BEST CIV OR BEST TRAIT. Get that in your head! Say it ten times daily – repeat it every time you stare at the list of CIVs to choose from. – Repeat it every game until you reach at least Monarch.

Well that’s it in a nutshell. Keep those wonders down in your learning stage and you will truly learn to properly appreciate them later.

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

Last edited by Ision; Mar 28, 2004 at 03:02 PM.
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Old Dec 07, 2003, 05:03 PM   #2
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Re: The 4 rules of Wonder addiction

Bravo. A concise statement of what experienced players have been trying to explain even half as eloquently for quite some time.

*misleading discussion snipped*

A well-written and thoughtful piece. Most importantly, all of your conclusions are correct.
Rally points in Civ4

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Last edited by JustBen; Dec 17, 2003 at 10:43 PM.
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Old Dec 07, 2003, 05:14 PM   #3
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Just Ben,

Thanks for your kind words and positive response.

As to your critism:

I stand corrected - you are 100% correct. I have edited my post to delete this statement.

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
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Old Dec 07, 2003, 05:32 PM   #4
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But every new city I build or capture instantly has

Research lab
Hydro plant

Easy... oh right. I see your point.
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Old Dec 07, 2003, 08:59 PM   #5
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I hardly ever build's much more efficient and effective to take them over from the AI.
Kamikaze Watermelons Pwn
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Old Dec 07, 2003, 10:31 PM   #6
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Very informative Ision. Newbs really should take this to heart. It will save them alot of trouble later on. I wish someone would have told me stuff like this when I first started. I wouldn't have taken me 3 months to move up from cheiftain.

@Superslug: I know what you mean. I now almost never build any wonders until the Industrial Ages.
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

"Inconceivable!" "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
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Old Dec 08, 2003, 12:55 AM   #7
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Well said, Ision. There are probably a dozen other common "beginner" crutches that are constantly mentioned in posts here. A lot of them include the word "Always".
"I always play the (fill in favorite civ)"
"I always play (favorite map type)"
"I always use this unit build order"
"I always start warfare in the Industrial Age"
It always seems to me that playing the game over and over the same way would be boring as well as obviously limiting the ability to learn more about the game from varying the experiences and challenges.
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Old Dec 08, 2003, 07:28 AM   #8
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Strange - I posted a very similar thread here recently - so needless to say I agree completely

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Old Dec 08, 2003, 03:45 PM   #9
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I think it is key (both for variety and to make yourself better) to have a goal in each game and go for it. For instance, since I haven't really experienced modern warfare in Civ3, in my current game on a huge map, Im going to try to do no wars of conquest before ALL techs have been researched. Silly me, I forgot to uncheck the other victories, so I plan to win by one of them and then give all the techs to all of the AIs and declare war on all of them.
Hopefully this will help me become familiar with modern military strategies, where everyone has modern armour and MI and stealth bombers, and yes, even nukes.
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Old Dec 08, 2003, 07:24 PM   #10
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I have to admit I have that habit, let's hope that I can eventually break the habit.
"To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race."
-Calvin Coolidge

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Old Dec 08, 2003, 07:35 PM   #11
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good advice
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Old Dec 08, 2003, 08:19 PM   #12
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Well, Ision, I took your advice, and I managed to achieve a Conquer win on Warlord (I moved up a couple days ago) without building a single wonder and only building needed improvements. I was surprised on how easy it was, since I was able to afford a ton more units because I didn't have every improvement in each city :P Thanks for the help!
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Old Dec 09, 2003, 01:57 AM   #13
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Great advice, thanks for sharing with us. Now I know why I always cannot get past chieftian level... lol. Thanks to all you guys out there too! I've learned a new trick, trade for tech, don't research for it!

You guys are great!!!
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Old Dec 09, 2003, 11:53 AM   #14
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I took this advice last night and its golden. I did build the Great Lighthouse simply because I was running out of things to make and started on an island chain. The big one was passing up the Great Library. Talk about a huge crutch, now I am learning how to wheel and deal for techs with the AI. I'm also seeing how being a Scientific civ might be a lot more advantageous than I thought before. =/

As a side note I'm starting to see possible merit in the Seafaring trait. Just having the lighthouse gives me a big advantage for getting around and meeting new people. I can't wait for contact and map trading, hopefully I can make some profits. Since I got C3C I've been playing the Maya every time, but now I'm starting to wonder about Seafaring...
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Old Dec 10, 2003, 07:22 AM   #15
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Very sound advice. I refuse to move up a level (currently on Monarch) until I can pull off all victory conditions (not all in one game like some of the posters here) with any of the civs. I tend to miss/avoid most (if not all) of the ancient wonders and my gaming has improved quicker than I thought it would.

I am trying a game I call "The No Wonder Blunder". I started this game when I was addicted to the GL and Sun Tzu's but stopped when I had missed both due to an unfortunate starting location. The other night i fired up the game and found that I was in a position to win the game without building a single wonder.
Give a man a fire and he will be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

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Old Dec 10, 2003, 08:40 AM   #16
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Nice post Ision.

Wonder fixation is one of the handicaps that the AI play under. If a wonder is available they'll try to build it in their most productive city. Getting away from this fixation is a big part of becoming better than the AI.

Slightly OT, I have held the view for some time that the Great Library is a dangerous wonder to build and normally ends up hurting you, rather than helping, for a variety of reasons I won't go into here.

Unless I and playing for a 20K game I rarely build wonders. Any wonders come from capturing or leaders.
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Old Dec 10, 2003, 12:18 PM   #17
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Very good, I agree.

I only use "always" to say: I always play Random !

Random Map, Random Terrain, Random Civs, Random Barbs.

Except when I want to pratice something more specific, like to use some UU.
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Old Dec 13, 2003, 01:00 AM   #18
Shaken, not stirred.
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Ision, this is an excellent post! I hope that every new player reads your advice here and takes it to heart. I want to underline the most important statements in your post, but that would mean repeating your whole post!

I want to add a comment about rule 1, re the Great Library: Please don't think that this rule is just to deliberately make your game harder. The Great Library can have a worse effect than just as a crutch - counting on it stops you from even thinking about getting ahead in tech and thus limits your gameplay.

Also a comment about how long you should apply Ision's four rules: If you want to keep moving to harder levels then keep on applying these rules! Apply them all the way to Emperor level. When you get to Deity level you shouldn't need rules 1, 2, and 3 anymore. That's because on most randomly generated maps at Deity you won't be building any Ancient wonders anyway (Most of the time at Deity it either isn't possible to beat the AIs to Ancient wonders, or when possible it isn't worth what it costs you, you have to give up too much in development to be first to the wonders. But it won't matter anymore because by then you'll have learned to survive without building wonders!)

And lastly, do keep using rule 4 even at Deity!
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Old Dec 13, 2003, 05:23 PM   #19
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Yeah, I've been playing on monarch now for a little while and could probably afford to try a higher difficulty level since I tend to find the nearest civ and declare war on him...soo much fun as the celts with those fast moving gallic swordsmen

Then have everyone else on the continent declare war on him as well. helps to slow down the tech pace for the area and keep the other civs busy from expanding too quickly while I make units and settlers.

Yeah, have to be careful with trying to build too many wonders, the wonders I do manage to get in are usually from a palace pre-build. This most recent game on monarch I managed to get in the pyramids, great library, and the statue of zeus (killed the dutch who had ivory ). Captured the oracle from the dutch...but it was obsolete quickly anyways.

I tend to play archipeligo maps with the most landmass option since it's a bit easier to go about doing things without other civs on every border, (although the last game was 2 continents) and not all the civs contact each other so soon to start trading with each other. just get everyone in a war on your continent then take them over one by one. Just the way I go about things...I don't really bother much leaving my continent since the forbidden palace and corruption is broken atm in conquests so I'll just wait for a patch to fix it to finish my other games.

Great library wasn't necessary, but aside from toying with the dutch for techs, it was nice leaving science at 10% for the gold.
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 09:51 PM   #20
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I recognise myself so much in the first post. I never stopped being a wonder addict, I just stopped having time to build them. The ai keep beating me to it anyway. Like two games ago when I was beaten by two turns once and one turn twice . (I had time to do it in that game and didn't want to go kill the AI yet)

Well, I end up conquering most of them anyway when the AI piss me off enough
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