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Old Oct 25, 2010, 01:46 AM   #1
UknowsI
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Civ5 UknowsI's beginner's guide to Civ 5

UknowsI's beginners guide to Civ 5 version 0.1.3

December patch first impressions:
This patch changes the game drastically. The basic strategy has not changed so much, but tactics have to be changed. These are the things I'm planning to cover after I get more experience with the new patch:

-Research can now be improved both by improving your infrastructure such as National Collage, or by expanding.
-City buildings in general much more powerful, especially National Wonders.
-Warfare now requires combined forces. Swordsmen+catapult most obvious choice.
-Honour social policies are much weaker, tradition much stronger.
-Very few specialists available, which can also make Rationalism weaker, although trade post bonus is still strong. Slingshots much harder.
-AI more capable in general.
-Cultural victories seems much easier because of the tradition boosts.

Any feedback on points to improve after the patch?


The rest of the guide is currently outdated and will be updated later.



Changelog:
December 20th, 0.1.3 Added first impressions from the new patch
0.1.2 Expanded victory condition part and added a note about using great scientists for researching military technologies
0.1.1 Added separate strategies for horsemen and infantry

Introduction
While most guides on this forum are specific guides for a tactic such as horseman rush or infinite city sprawl, this can be quite confusing and not very helpful for new players. I will instead try to give some tips for basic game play for new players so they can understand the game better and later learn specialized strategies. I am not a top player, but I have a basic game style which keeps me in the lead technologically and militaristically throughout the game on Immortal without using cheese such as rushes, wonders, spamming cities or abusing faults in the game. It seems to work quite well on Deity too, but requires more aggression and might not be as reliable. By writing this guide I might help a few new players and also improve my own game if I get any feedback.

I would also advice new players not to rely on a specific unit, civilization, wonder or tactic. While it might give them easy victories it may hinder them in gaining a broader understanding of the game and the ability to adapt to different situations. I have mainly focused on the early part of the game because this is where new players spend most of their time, and simply because I’m not experienced enough to give good advice about the late game.

Beginning
A good basic play style can be used with any Civilization. Picking the Civilization should therefore not be your main concern, but you should of course take advantage of your Civilization’s special traits. If you chose China or Japan you can play more aggressive while you should make extra scientists if you’re playing Babylon. But do not rely on their special ability too much. Certain maps will be a clear disadvantage for the AI, especially maps with islands, so try to not play those exclusively. Dual maps should also be avoided as they give little training for real maps.

When you first start, move your warrior a little around to scout. It is usually ok to settle your settler on the first turn, but if you can move it next to a river or can see some luxury resources right out of reach you might use 1 extra turn before you settle. Starting possession is much less important than in earlier Civ games and you should be able to do well from pretty much any start. I haven’t done extensive research on the opening, but starting with making a warrior and then a worker is a sound start. Your warriors will be fighting barbarians to gain experience and gold so it’s important to have at least 2. Unless you are stealing a worker from a city state, making one second will be very beneficial for your infrastructure, but making a scout is also especially useful on large maps.

Research
In Civ 5 you have relatively little impact on the speed of your research. As a new player you should focus on getting a strong empire and the research speed will increase automatically. The order in which you chose your techs is however very important. Whenever you chose a tech to research, have clear in mind which advantage you are aiming for. There are two main types of research, infrastructure research which improves your cities, research or economy, and military research. This is not a complete list of goals, but some of the technologies I would consider goal technologies:

Infrastructure goals: calendar, writing, trapping, civil service, sailing, currency, education, archaeology, fertilizer
Military goals: horseback riding, archery, iron working, mathematics, steel, machinery, rifling

You will often alternate between military goals and infrastructure goals. The game may for example go like this:
  1. Archery -> gives you basic defence
  2. Writing -> improves your research
  3. Iron working -> secure iron and launch an attack with archers and swordsmen
  4. Calendar -> improve the happiness by making plantations on luxury resources
  5. Steel -> use great scientists from your libraries to research steel and attack with longswordsmen
This is just one example of a sound research sequence, but you have to choose the techs depending on what you need. The main point is to always research towards a goal, and when you reach that goal take advantage of the benefit it gives while you while researching towards your next goal.

Cities
Your city strategy is especially important in the beginning of the game. Your happiness will plummet rapidly if you build too many cities and your social policy cost will increase. In the beginning of the game locate a few key locations to found new cities. The most important things to take into account are luxury resources, defensive position and iron or horses if needed. Rivers are also a nice bonus. Your first new cities should all be close to at least one new luxury resource. This way it will contribute with as much happiness as it takes and you can continue to expand. If you found your cities close to the enemies, you will be attacked. This is not always a bad thing, but be aware that it will happen. Your cities bordering the enemies should therefore value a defensive position more. You will often not be able to have more than 2-4 cities before the enemy has surrounded you. Don’t prevail; the enemy is also an excellent source for new cities.

When you hit a military advantage it’s time to expand. Mark which cities you would like as a part of your empire and attack. As always your main focus is new luxury goods. I generally prefer to capture new cities as puppet states. If you need new production cities you can annex the city, but this will cause more unhappiness, you have to build a courthouse and your social policies become more expensive. Otherwise puppet the city and make trade posts around it so it will generate as much gold as possible. If you really need the city later you can annex it at any time. If you happiness is getting too low or if the city’s location is too bad, just raze the city instead.

Don’t build buildings you don’t need. Most cities can have a library and a colosseum, but only a few cities need advance science building. You don’t need any military buildings, and if you want to build them only build them in one city. The maintenance cost will grow too large if you try to build all buildings in all cities. While wonders give substantial bonuses, don’t rely on them too much. Stonehenge, the Great Library and the Oracle are all good wonders, but you usually have to sacrifice too much of your military advantage to get them and if you are beaten in the race you will have a large setback. To focus on a reliable play style it’s better to capture wonders from the enemies.

Gold is very important in Civ 5 and it is therefore often better to make trading posts than farms. It is more efficient to get more gold and then befriend maritime city states to convert the gold into food. Try to have at least one city which produces great scientists. You do this by assigning people to the library in the city. Great scientists can make timed attacked with new technologies much more powerful because you can rush expensive technologies such as steel or rifling. When you only have 1 or 2 techs left until you have researched a strong technology such as rifling, you can use saved up great scientists to instantly research the last few technologies. The same turn you can upgrade all your longswordsmen and pikemen to riflemen. Your military strength will suddenly double in a single turn and you can make a very strong attack. This can be done with all units that can get a strong upgrade, but riflemen is a prime example. While it is very important to produce some great scientist, it is not important to focus too much on scientists because each new scientists requires more than the last one to acquire giving it diminishing returns.

War
If you have a militaristic advantage on your neighbours; wage war. There are very few disadvantages of war in Civ 5, so get used to fighting. Picking the right moment to attack is just as important as how you attack. Right after you unlock a new military tech, upgrade or rush buy new units as fast as possible. You should have saved up some gold to upgrade your swordsmen to longswordsmen as soon as steel is unlocked. Then it’s time to attack. Make sure you have a good unit composition. Examples of good unit compositions are:
  • Horsemen
  • Swordsmen and archers
  • Longswordsmen and archers/catapults/crossbowmen
  • Riflemen and trebuchet/cannon/artillery
If you have a large lead you won’t need the ranged units, but if you are facing strong opposition they will be necessary. Unique units will of course give you an even larger momentum.

By upgrading your old units your army will automatically be experienced and you can field them as soon as the technology becomes available. It is therefore important to hold on to your early warriors. Barracks and military academies are generally not worth it since you can train your units against barbarian’s early game and during peace time.

Actual combat in the game is heavily flavoured by the bad AI. There are two main tactics when attacking. You either use mobile troops such as horsemen or knights or you use infantry. The strength of horsemen are the flanking bonus and their ability to retreat after you attack. Position multiple horsemen around a unit to get maximum flanking bonus before you attack. After the attack try to move your horsemen back out of range of enemy cities and counter attacks. The instant heal promotion is especially powerful with horsemen and you might want to save up promotions for later. Try to catch one city the same turn as you declare war. This might be possible if you have 4 or so horsemen, and will be especially effective if you can catch their capital.

Good infantry units are warriors, swordsmen, longswordsmen, riflemen and so on. The reason why I list warriors are because they are cheap and easy to upgrade. Spearmen and pikemen are generally not as powerful. If the enemy has well defended cities it might be necessary to back up your infantry by ranged units. Before you engage the cities kill the enemy unit with your ranged units and by defending in rough terrain. I therefore prefer the rough terrain promotions for your melee units. Try to get it up to rank 3 and then get March for more healing. Only attack an enemy unit in open terrain in melee if you know that there will be no counter attacks. If your melee unit is caught in open terrain they will most likely die. It might however be worth it to have one melee unit with shock promotion. This unit will fortify itself in open terrain to provide protection for your ranged units. 2 points in Shock will pretty much cancel out the disadvantage of open terrain, but the unit also need to fortify as soon as possible.

Siege weapons are very powerful both for attack and defence. If you are defending your city, always have a siege weapon garrisoned. They can deal heavy damage each turn to the enemy, while a melee unit would do almost nothing. Keep the melee units fortified in rough terrain around your city to block the enemies and to pick off wounded units. When you attack it is vital to defend your siege weapon. Do not let any melee enemy with more than 2 HP be in range of your siege weapons. You therefore have to learn how your units blocks of the path of the enemy. If the enemy unit walks by your melee units they will lose all their movements points and your siege weapon will be safe.

Social policies
While most social policies tracks can be used efficiently, I have my preferences. Patronage is possible the most versatile social policy and will be beneficial for almost all play styles. The tradition tree has one defencive policy giving 33% bonus defence in friendly territory, but I would not recommend the rest of the tree because it focuses on a specialized tactic of improving your capital and building wonders, which is not a well balanced play style.

I usually start up by giving one point in honour. That one point makes your start much more robust and less vulnerable to bad luck. You will be able to train your warriors well against barbarians and earn a good deal of gold by automatically seeing barbarian encampments. By having one point in honour it’s also much easier to boost your military by giving additional point into honour when you want to wage war. A single point more will give you the 15% bonus when using multiple units or an early great general. This can be well timed with an attack.

As I mentioned earlier patronage is good for almost everyone. The points which are not needed in honour for war is therefore well spend in patronage. This is again a balance between infrastructure and military and how many points to give to each depend on the specific game.

The later policies such as order and rationalism can both be very good, but comes at a later stage in the game. I try to focus mainly on the beginning/mid game as I consider it most important.

City states
Since I already mentioned that Patronage is a very strong social policy, city states are of course also important. By gifting gold to city states they will often give you bonuses which surpass the cost by far. However, in the early game they will be too expensive and often not worth it. About the same time as you get your first policies in patronage might also be the right time to start investing in city states. If you can do some quests for them, that is of course good, but count on spending some gold. Cultural city states are good early in the game while maritime states far surpass them later. Military city states can also be strong if you lack the production to make a large enough army. When choosing a city state to ally, consider the type of city state it is, which resources it will give you, and their strategic position. If the city state is between you and an enemy you are pretty safe. City states usually have a good defence and will be a buffer between you and the enemy. With your help they will fight back most invasions.

Victory
I believe all the victory conditions in Civ 5 can be mapped on a scale according to how strong your military and infrastructure are as follows:
Most militaristic – Domination – Diplomatic – Space race – Cultural – Most infrastructure

If you have a basic play style as I have described in this guide you can pick any of the three first conditions based on how strong your military is compared to your infrastructure. At any time you can assess which one you are closest to achieving and if it is within reach make a last leap to finish it. There are a few tips on how to finish of the different victory conditions:

Dominations: This one is quite straight forward. No enemy is allowed to keep it's original capital. This means that you only have to capture the enemy's capital's and not conquer everyone else. This condition is easier if no enemy become too powerful. It can therefore be useful to always support the weak AI's against the strong ones. After you have captured the enemy's capital you can go to peace with them again. If there is one very strong enemy left, consider sniping it's capital. Instead of killing the entire enemy army you only have to capture the capital and hold it for one turn. Even if your army is much stronger than the enemy it wont matter after you've achieved your victory.

Diplomatic victory: This victory condition mainly focuses on gold. You'll need a lot of gold to bribe city states and this also makes the patronage social policy more important. If you go for this condition, do not conquer any city states since conquered city states will be unable to vote for you. If the enemy conquer any city states it's a golden opportunity to liberate them. If you capture the city you get the option to liberate them and they'll be eternally grateful and always vote for you even if you fall out of grace and make them angry. If another civilization is vanquished, you'll also get the possibility to liberate AI players who will also vote for you. Try to focus your research on the upper part of the tech tree to get to the UN. If you need military units try to focus on infantry and mechanized infantry since they are close to the technologies you need. After you build the UN spend your access gold to gift gold to enough city states. You can see how many city states will vote for you in the victory tab. Every few turns (or 10) there will be an election, make sure to vote for yourself. If you don't have enough votes to win just try to get a few more city states on your side before the next election.

Space race: For the space race, you obviously have to focus on science. Rationalism as a social policy is very useful. Focus on the top/middle part of the tech tree. Try to get science labs and rocketry early. This will boost your science and also make you able to start building your spaceship earlier. The spaceship takes a significant amount of production to build, so get started as soon as possible. If your production is too weak, hammers will become more important than science in the end. Golden ages may improve your production, and factories are of course a must in your main production cities. Forges has also been reported to increase space ship production (not confirmed by me).

For cultural victory you have to finish 5 social policy branches and then build the utopia project. Popular policy branches are Piety and Freedom. Piety will give you some extra culture and two free social policies in the end, while freedom will boost your culture production significantly. Try to get the freedom policy that increase the culture of cities with wonders and the one that reduces policy cost as soon as possible. You might even want to save up some policies to wait until freedom is available. Mandate of Heaven in the piety branch is also popular to get early. Since every additional city increase the culture cost of new policies, it's easiest to do a cultural victory if you have between 1 and 3 cities. You can however have as many puppet cities as you would like since they don't increase the policy cost, but they do provide you with extra culture. Since the Freedom policy doubles the culture in all cities with wonders you should build at least one world wonder in each non-puppet city. Also research Archeology early and build the available culture buildings. Before you finish the last policies aim for Cristo Redentor for the reduced cost. If you are still far from victory go for the Syndey Opera house. Just as for the diplomatic victory you can largly ignore the bottom part of the tech tree after rifling or artillery.

Please come with feedback if there is something you would like added or something you disagree with.

Last edited by UknowsI; Dec 19, 2010 at 10:43 PM.
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 01:47 AM   #2
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for the well written thread. I am new to CiV and this being the first game in teh franchise that I have played its hard to learn how to do something right.

I am having a tough time with figuring out why the cost of something differs from City to City. For example building a certain unit/building costs twice as many turns in my later cities than it does in my Capitol or second/third cities. Why is that, and how do I make it cost less?
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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I haven't written about game mechanics in my guide. What decides the production of your city is the number of "hammers" which are produced by the city. Each citizen in the city works on one of the tiles around the city (unless you assign him as a specialist). The tiles generally produce food, hammers and gold. Basically the more citizens you have and the more forest and hills they work the faster you will produce. In addition you will produce faster if you build mines on your hills and saw mills in your forest. There are also some buildings you can make to increase the production in your city, such as windmills or factories.

In the upper right corner on your city view you can assign citizen allocation focus. You can here either make the AI automatically focus on for example production, or you can assign which tiles the citizens work on manually.
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 10:03 AM   #5
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You can also auto assign as well. Double click on the city and look at right hand pane.
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 11:41 AM   #6
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Great write up

Quote:
Originally Posted by UknowsI View Post
UknowsI's beginners guide to Civ 5 version 0.1

Try to have at least one city which produces great scientists. You do this by assigning people to the library in the city.
I must have missed this ^ option somewhere. How do you assign people to buildings? Are the educational buildings the only ones where you can assign people?
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 12:25 PM   #7
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Great write up



I must have missed this ^ option somewhere. How do you assign people to buildings? Are the educational buildings the only ones where you can assign people?
No. Engineers can be assigned to workshops; artists can be assigned to temples; and merchants can be assigned to banks, and markets -- to give a few examples. By staffing a specific type of specialist, you can specialize each of your cities, increasing the speed with which a Great Artist, Engineer, or Merchant is born.

Last edited by asix79; Oct 26, 2010 at 12:31 PM.
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 01:06 PM   #8
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Thanks, I didn't realize that it had to be a great person. I thought you might be able to assign a regular citizen to a building. I guess there is always more to learn with this game. I have been burning my great scientists to snag techs.
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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Thanks, I didn't realize that it had to be a great person. I thought you might be able to assign a regular citizen to a building. I guess there is always more to learn with this game. I have been burning my great scientists to snag techs.
I think you misunderstood what I said. By filling one of, or both of, the specialist slots associated with the buildings I mentioned, citizens become either artists, engineers, or merchants. There is a difference between individual artists and a Great Artist, for example. Furthermore, by having a temple fully staffed, you temporarily maximize the speed with which a Great Artist is born in that city.

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Old Oct 26, 2010, 02:19 PM   #10
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Thank you, I'm sure that little tip will greatly improve my game.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 10:03 AM   #11
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Thanks for a nice well written article.
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Old Oct 30, 2010, 01:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by walls99 View Post
I am having a tough time with figuring out why the cost of something differs from City to City. For example building a certain unit/building costs twice as many turns in my later cities than it does in my Capitol or second/third cities. Why is that, and how do I make it cost less?
If I understand your question, note that your early cities will tend to have higher hammer production than later cities, so a given item can be produced more quickly. Each item has a cost in hammers. As the later cities develop further and gain more hammers, the turns will equalize.

Yes, it is very hard to get your head around a Civ game the first time. You have come to the right place. Other good choices are WePlayCiv and Apolyton.
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Old Oct 30, 2010, 08:48 PM   #13
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Thank you

This is a guide written by a master and one of the best I've seen for Civilization. The absence of acronyms was particularly helpful for me. (ICS DOW DOWed OCC REX ROP SOD)
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Old Nov 03, 2010, 10:47 PM   #14
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Is this still a WIP?
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Old Nov 04, 2010, 09:54 PM   #15
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Is this still a WIP?
Sure, but if I am to make any big progress it would be nice with some feedback. My main problem is that so many tactics seems to work that it's hard to give more definite tips on specific tactics. The easiest way to expand the article would be to recommend opening moves, units and so on, but I don't want to lead new players to follow my tactics exactly because even though my tactic works fine there might be other strategies that works just as well or even better.
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Old Nov 05, 2010, 08:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UknowsI View Post
Sure, but if I am to make any big progress it would be nice with some feedback. My main problem is that so many tactics seems to work that it's hard to give more definite tips on specific tactics. The easiest way to expand the article would be to recommend opening moves, units and so on, but I don't want to lead new players to follow my tactics exactly because even though my tactic works fine there might be other strategies that works just as well or even better.
I'd like to see development of the victory conditions idea. It seems to me that the game style you suggest would tend to produce a militaristic civilization. Under what circumstances do you get infrastructure; is it produced or gained by conquest? If by conquest, is it an accidental or deliberately planned? Perhaps a clear definition of exactly what you are including in your use of the term 'infrastructure' might be helpful.

I don't understand your statement, "
Great scientists can make timed attacked with new technologies much more powerful because you can rush expensive technologies such as steel or rifling."

The value of your guide for beginners is that it is short and does not try to cover every possible strategy and exploit.
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Old Nov 05, 2010, 09:58 AM   #17
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Great Article
Although I have been playing for many years. I have always taken a well rounded approach to the game rather than the specialist strategies that are dreamed up in these forums. I think it just makes for a fun-er game.
I usually make a Scout then a Warrior then a worker if I have not found one to steal by then. I find that early on, before you have any tile improvements, unless you are playing with "Raging Barbarians" turned on, you can send both your Warrior and Scout (or both warriors), out exploring and not have to worry about Barbarians. (King Level). Once you have improvements you are going to want to protect them with 2 units generally.
Advice on building improvements would be to start with unique Luxuries, then move on to Strategic Resources then other resources followed closely by Trading posts. But within those guidlines build whatever it is your worker can build based on current tech, and base your current tech on what you have available. If you have Marble, Gold and Silver available you should probably go for Mining and Masonary before you go for Calander.
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Old Nov 07, 2010, 10:17 PM   #18
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Thanks for the feedback. It's much easier for you guys to see where the guide is lacking than for me as the author.
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I'd like to see development of the victory conditions idea. It seems to me that the game style you suggest would tend to produce a militaristic civilization. Under what circumstances do you get infrastructure; is it produced or gained by conquest? If by conquest, is it an accidental or deliberately planned? Perhaps a clear definition of exactly what you are including in your use of the term 'infrastructure' might be helpful.
Good points. The part about victory conditions is indeed very short. By infrastructure I mainly mean population, science, production, gold, happiness and so on; anything that makes your empire stronger which is not military. But for a new player I think all these things will be rather closely related. Gold might be singled out as a bit different since it also gives a strong military advantage, but I wanted to keep it simple.

I don't think it's necessary to plan which victory condition to aim for from the beginning unless you are going to do a cultural victory. That's why I'm emphasizing on adapting to the victory condition throughout the game. But I'll add some tips about how to reach the different conditions such as handling city states for diplomatic victory and focusing on production for space race.

Quote:
Originally Posted by photophor View Post
I don't understand your statement, "
Great scientists can make timed attacked with new technologies much more powerful because you can rush expensive technologies such as steel or rifling."

The value of your guide for beginners is that it is short and does not try to cover every possible strategy and exploit.
That line refers to doing a "sling shot". I will add an explanation in the guide. It basically means that if you have longswordsmen and a great scientists or three you can make a very strong attack by researching towards rifling and then use the great scientist(s) to research the last 1-2 technologies. The same turn you can upgrade all your longswordsmen and pikemen to riflemen. Your military strength will suddenly double in a single turn and you can make a very strong attack. This can be done with all units that can get a strong upgrade, but riflemen is a prime example.
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Old Dec 19, 2010, 10:40 PM   #19
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I plan to rewrite the guide with respect to the latest patch. The main points I have noticed during my first two games after the patch are the following:

-Research can now be improved both by improving your infrastructure such as National Collage, or by expanding.
-City buildings in general much more powerful, especially National Wonders.
-Warfare now requires combined forces. Swordsmen+catapult most obvious choice.
-Honour social policies are much weaker, tradition much stronger.
-Very few specialists available, which can also make Rationalism weaker, although trade post bonus is still strong. Slingshots much harder.
-AI more capable in general.
-Cultural victories seems much easier because of the tradition boosts.

Are there other things I should cover? There are probably many things I haven't noticed yet since I've just played 2 games. I will play a bit more before I come up with any conclusions, but it would be helpful if I could get some help with which areas to focus on.
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Old Dec 22, 2010, 07:11 PM   #20
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I like the guide, there are a lot of things in there I learned by making mistakes on my first n-hundreth game that would have saved me a little sweat and tears. I disagree on a couple playstyle points, especially post-patch- Aristocracy (Tradition) is immensely useful for an early wonder rush, especially if you have a lot of room to expand. And it's useful for the whole game- you have an edge on any other civ that doesn't have aristocrats fopping around.

I've noticed that relying on Maritime CS's to sustain a city is much harder now; I usually end up farming river bottoms and/or around lakes. It's sort of nice that the new patch forces you to do this, though, for realism's sake. I never liked the look of trading posts sprawling everywhere. One thing I've learned is to not be afraid to switch from farms to trading posts to mines and back again as the situation calls for it. The land is pretty flexible, and I've dragged myself out of some recessions by putting trading posts up over farmland.
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