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Old Oct 06, 2010, 04:44 AM   #1
pi-r8
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ICS, Civ V style

I was tired of slow wars of attrition against the AI using just a small group of elite units- I wanted to make a massive army and crush them instantly. That's what this strategy is designed to do! This game demonstrates Civ V style infinite city sprawl (ICS) quite well. The settings are France/immortal/continents/standard speed and size, no ruins.

I was alone on my continent, so I could focus completely on development while ignoring my military. I settled about 6 cities, using the French special culture to take policies in liberty and commerce (cheap settlers, faster workers, 1 culture per city, extra gold in the capital, faster ships, and +3 hammers in all coastal cities).

Then, I stopped expanding, and just saved up all the culture and scientists that I could. I was lucky enough to be on a continent with wine, so I could build monastaries for massive culture. I also built the Hagia Sophia for faster great people, and the forbidden palace for 50% less city unhappiness. My tech target was steam power and railroad.

Around 1300 I reached that target, and entered the industrial era. I then spent all the culture I had saved up to head down through the order policies: faster buildings, 50% less city unhappiness (which made them free), 10% less building maintence, and +5 hammers per city. I had prebuilt a bunch of settlers (super cheap with liberty) and had them sitting in place, waiting for this. Now I was ready for some sprawl:


Spoiler:

This was the result of packing in a city everywhere I could find a space. The AIs all told me how worried they were by my expansion after I did this.

each city produced 0 unhappiness except for its population, and a suprising amount of production. Here's what a coastal city looked like:

Spoiler:

16.25 hammers and +7 food in a size 1 city- not bad. And as soon as that harbor finishes it'll get the railroad bonus (+50% production) too.


As a result, my production grew from 100 to 800 in about 35 turns, despite being last in population. 800 hammers/turn is a really huge number in civ 5, much higher than I've ever been able to get before. By the time this game ended I was up to almost 2000! In these turns, I also went from 0 military, to the largest in the world, and the most advanced as well.
Spoiler:


I was producing at least 2 new foreign legion infantry every turn. The small cities still needed at least 10 turns to build one, but with so many that turned into a good rate of production. I had to stop after a while, because I had so many that was losing money despite being in a golden age. No problem, I just switched to making markets/banks and did some trading post spam:
Spoiler:

Who needs anything else?


When the fighting happened, it was over very quickly. If you have the AI outnumbered and outteched, you can pretty much kill their whole army in 1 turn and grab all their cities the next. Mech infantry foreign legions are strong enough to kill cities in one blow.

Spoiler:

This was about 1/3 of my army


If you're feeling frustrated by the low production yields and small army sizes of Civ V, I highly recommend this strategy. It's a little slow getting off the ground, but once you reach the industrial era it's unstoppable.

edit- My opinion about this strategy has changed since I originally wrote this. At first I was excited to win the game so convincingly, and to finally get the kind of production values that I wanted. Now I've realized that this strategy represents a huge flaw in the balance of the game. You shouldn't be able to massively outproduce deity AIs, or to completely ignore terrain when settling cities, and yet this strategy allows both those things. They need to completely rework the economic rules for this game, to give some sort of reward for having fewer and larger cities, and nerf the ICS strategy.

Last edited by pi-r8; Oct 15, 2010 at 07:37 AM.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:01 AM   #2
bobbyboy29
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Really cool! I knew that the more people played this game, the more cool and interesting strats we'd see. This one is much less gimicky than others and much much cooler. Great job, looking forward to giving this one a go!
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:13 AM   #3
bluedevil99
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Very nice. If I understand correctly the core of your strategy is:
Forbidden palace, -50% # of cities unhappiness
Order, additional -50% # of cities unhappiness (total of -100%)
Order (communism), +5 production in all cities
Commerce, +3 production in coastal cities

Other than that it's a matter of accumulating enough culture to adopt 4(?) Order policies immediately on reaching the industrial era. As a side benefit, if you hit the industrial era with biology, you know the location of coal and oil resources when your mass wave of settlers deploys. Nice job!
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bobbyboy29 View Post
Really cool! I knew that the more people played this game, the more cool and interesting strats we'd see. This one is much less gimicky than others and much much cooler. Great job, looking forward to giving this one a go!
Thanks! I really like the economic system for this game. I think the social policies and happiness system allows for a lot of interesting strategies which will take a while to figure out.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bluedevil99 View Post
Very nice. If I understand correctly the core of your strategy is:
Forbidden palace, -50% # of cities unhappiness
Order, additional -50% # of cities unhappiness (total of -100%)
Order (communism), +5 production in all cities
Commerce, +3 production in coastal cities

Other than that it's a matter of accumulating enough culture to adopt 4(?) Order policies immediately on reaching the industrial era. As a side benefit, if you hit the industrial era with biology, you know the location of coal and oil resources when your mass wave of settlers deploys. Nice job!
Yeah, that's a good summary. Although I don't think Commerce is really necessary- the +3 in coastal cities is nice but I would have beeen fine without it. And, oddly enough I did get biology before steam power in this game, purely by accident from research agreements. However I couldn't get any oil, and only one source of coal, which is why I had to attack with pure infantry.

Side note- did you know that battleships require oil, but destroyers don't require anything? What's up with that?
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:40 AM   #6
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Liberty plus Order is definitely really strong, but I think you're missing something pretty key.

You need to make a choice between Rationalism and Piety, with the latter only used for one policy (-20% unhappiness from population - would work out to be roughly 1 extra happiness per city). Rationalism on the other hand will give insane insane tech boosts, as a large empire usually has an obscene number of trade posts.

If you're not trade post spamming, or using any puppets, then I really really recommend Piety. Piety turns bad the moment you get any puppets, because you can no longer control your population growth. However if your entire goal is to city sprawl with a large population using those other civics, then golden ages can be quite obscene for you. Going Piety and purposely gaining 10+ happiness per turn would make your empire a monster.

Last edited by Celevin; Oct 06, 2010 at 07:47 AM.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:44 AM   #7
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Awesome strat. Far better than the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse strat in that this requires a lot more thought.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:56 AM   #8
EscapedGoat
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Given the way the social policies and not least maritime city states work in this game it is inevitable that ICS will be strong - you basically want as many city squares as possible, because it is the best usage of land possible.

This is very similar to SMAC, which had exactly the same "feature." (crazy city squares)

maybe it's even possible to use either an ignore happiness strategy or some other happiness compensation so that you don't have to wait for forbidden and order, which would make the strategy even stronger.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 07:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Celevin View Post
Liberty plus Order is definitely really strong, but I think you're missing something pretty key.

You need to make a choice between Rationalism and Piety, with the latter only used for one policy (-20% unhappiness from population - would work out to be roughly 1 extra happiness per city). Rationalism on the other hand will give insane insane tech boosts, as a large empire usually has an obscene number of trade posts.

If you're not trade post spamming, or using any puppets, then I really really recommend Piety. Piety turns bad the moment you get any puppets, because you can no longer control your population growth. However if your entire goal is to city sprawl with a large population using those other civics, then golden ages can be quite obscene for you. Going Piety and purposely gaining 10+ happiness per turn would make your empire a monster.
Tech rate was never an issue for me. I burned through most of the renaissance with research agreements and great scientists. In fact, after getting to the industrial era I still had to wait a few turns before I founded any cities, because I needed a little more culture to unlock communism. Then, before I could go to war, I reached electronics for mechanized infantry. The tech rate in this game is just so fast, that's why I wanted to do a strategy that maximized hammers.

Piety would help. I actually entered a golden age that lasted for the rest of the game from there, because I got one form happiness, than another from the taj mahal, then 2 from great generals, and I captured the chitzen itza at some point. But I struggled with unhappiness from conquered cities, and piety would help with that.

Given a choice of extra social policies, I think I'd rather have autocracy (too bad I can't get it with liberty!). The unit costs from my army were crippling. Also, I never got the "Meritocracy: +1 Happiness " civic from liberty, which would have been nice too.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:08 AM   #10
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That policy's key for a France sprawl in the early game! You should definitely try it again with that, I outpace the Deities in number of cities. If you get that, Piety, and Garrison from Honour, your cities just expand and expand and expand.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Celevin View Post
That policy's key for a France sprawl in the early game! You should definitely try it again with that, I outpace the Deities in number of cities. If you get that, Piety, and Garrison from Honour, your cities just expand and expand and expand.
Yeah I'll try. I was just worried that if I took that policy, I wouldn't have enough culture later to get both 3 commerce policies and 4 from order. I'm not even sure that taking the +1 culture really paid for itself, since I was sitting on only 6 cities for a long time. Maybe I'll take the happiness instead of the +1 culture next time.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:14 AM   #12
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Go both and ignore Commerce
You're buying 2 policies that are mediocre to get at them, so you might as well grab both by that point.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Celevin View Post
Go both and ignore Commerce
You're buying 2 policies that are mediocre to get at them, so you might as well grab both by that point.
Yeah that's an idea. You would even be able to fill out the liberty tree entirely, and get the +1 hammer in all cities.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:43 AM   #14
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In my last few games on Emperor, I find Piety and Autocracy to be superior to Liberty and Freedom.

The why:

Piety
+2 happy
2 free policies (huge)
50% of excess happines added to culture (not unusual for me to have 20+ extra happy)
25% reduction in golden age happy requirements
6-turn golden age (never a bad thing)
-20% unhappiness in your own cities (basically, -1 unhappy per 5 citiens per city)

Autocracy
33% less unit maintenance is the single largest income boost in the game
Police state is also noteworthy for its -50% unhappy in captured cities
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:51 AM   #15
pi-r8
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Originally Posted by Bibor View Post
In my last few games on Emperor, I find Piety and Autocracy to be superior to Liberty and Freedom.

The why:

Piety
+2 happy
2 free policies (huge)
50% of excess happines added to culture (not unusual for me to have 20+ extra happy)
25% reduction in golden age happy requirements
6-turn golden age (never a bad thing)
-20% unhappiness in your own cities (basically, -1 unhappy per 5 citiens per city)

Autocracy
33% less unit maintenance is the single largest income boost in the game
Police state is also noteworthy for its -50% unhappy in captured cities
You need to explain more why these are better. In particular, why are these better than liberty and order for a game strategy designed to produce as much production as possible?
+2 happy and a 6 turn golden age is nothing, +10 culture isn't much either. police state is ok, but order gives -50% unhappy from all cities, not just captured ones.

I do agree with you though, that the freedom line is a lot weaker than I would have expected. There's so few specialists, that reducing their unhappiness and food consumption doesn't really help much.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:55 AM   #16
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Thanks for posting this. I was looking for kind of a different way to play next game especially without leaving big chunks of land available.

Question though: you said you saved up your culture. Does that mean you waited on building more cities or that you actually skipped adopting policies until later?

Dumb question I know, but then again I'm kind of a dumb player.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:58 AM   #17
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I must thank Firaxis for making ICS so easy in civ V ... it was so hard to mindless spam cities in civ IV ... [/sarcasm]

Probably firaxis should get back to the drawing board on this ... the happiness as the new maintenace is clearly not working as intended ... and the OP result is just a consequence of that ( without taking merit to the OP , OFC )
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:59 AM   #18
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Well for an earlier ICS, I'd probably go Liberty (all) ->Commerce $ part, and only build Happiness/Gold buildings outside the capital..TP spam, and Buy units in the capital. (which would also have a Barracks/Armory and be building useful Wonders)

and the mechanic IS working as intended, there is still an 'incubation time' for cities to become useful/net bonus to happiness.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 08:59 AM   #19
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Freedom is mainly used for really tiny empires. If you can manage a wonder in 2-3 cities, then Freedom is definitely for you. All my culture wins involve Freedom, obviously.

France is more meant for Liberty, Commerce, and Order.
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Old Oct 06, 2010, 09:04 AM   #20
pi-r8
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Originally Posted by waytofailself View Post
Thanks for posting this. I was looking for kind of a different way to play next game especially without leaving big chunks of land available.

Question though: you said you saved up your culture. Does that mean you waited on building more cities or that you actually skipped adopting policies until later?

Dumb question I know, but then again I'm kind of a dumb player.
I meant that I did both. I waited on building more cities, because every city increases the cost of social policies. I skipped adopting policies and saved my culture, so that when I reached the industrial age I had enough stored culture to immediate adopt 4 policies.
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