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Old Aug 20, 2012, 12:51 PM   #1
Tich
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In-Depth Guide: Mayan/Arabian ICS strategy.

Introduction

Having played a lot of infinite city spawn (ICS) games in G&K, and not having seen much discussion of it going on, I thought that it might help to provide an overview on how to best tackle it. The two best ICS civs in the game, in my opinion, are the Mayans and the Arabians. While their opening builds vary slightly due to Mayans not needing to rush Archery, they're close enough that I still feel like I can talk about them almost interchangeably. The following strategy overview has been tested on Emperor-Deity difficulty games on Standard sized+ maps (Pangea, Pangea Plus, Continents, Continents Plus) at Standard speed with "normal" settings. While it isn't infallible, it seems to work out fairly out well on average.

This guide will be broken down into 2 parts. The first part will be the build-order overview and explanation. The second part will be an in-depth discussion of the overall strategy and how to best make it work. If you just want to learn about ICSing build orders and gameplans, it's all at the forefront.

Part 1: The General Gameplan

Capital Build Order:
  1. Scout
  2. Monument
  3. Worker (skip if you can steal one from a nearby City State or plan to open with Citizenship)
  4. Shrine
  5. Settler
  6. Settler
  7. 2 Archers
  8. Granary
  9. Settlers, military units* and buildings (such as Stables for Arabia) as needed
  10. Library when possible
  11. Market when possible


Subsequent City Build Orders:
  1. Archer (only on your first expansion and only on Deity, ignore it otherwise)
  2. Shrine (work a production tile to build it faster if possible)
  3. Archer* (ignore once your standing army is 6 or more units strong, not counting units that are currently scouting)
  4. Library
  5. Circus (if possible)
  6. Monument
  7. Coliseum (if needed)
  8. Market

*Note: As Arabia, you should aim to produce ~3 Archers tops early on and have the rest be Chariot Archers. They'll upgrade into Camel Archers later on, which is a unit that you should actively be massing. Build as many Chariot Archers as you can and sit tight until Chivalry.

Key Purchases:
  1. 1 Worker
  2. 1 Settler
  3. 1 Worker
  4. Composite Bowmen upgrades

I would call this an "ideal" purchase order, but the dice won't always break your way. The key is to meet as many civs possible early on in order to sign Embassies for a free 25g per player, trade luxuries for 240g, sell early Horses for 225g/5 units (keep them later if you're Arabia), etc. City states and ruins can both help too, as can Barbarian camps. Do you best to steal a worker from a City State to put off buying them for as long as possible. Steal 2 if you can get away with it; you're probably not looking to play a peaceful game anyways. You may need to purchase Composite Bowmen upgrades before you even purchase a 2nd worker or even a 2nd Settler, so keep that in mind as well. Computers can be fickle and treacherous at times. Hopefully you can stop buying Settlers and start producing them after the 1st, but you may need to buy more.

If Greece or something is near you, I would just accept your fate and sell him as much as possible, make a declaration of war (DOW) him to get it all back, and sell your resources again to another computer. Early wars are actually much easier to hold off than later wars, so I'd rather DOW him on turn 30 than wait for him to DOW me on turn 50 for example. Your early archers will crush his army, and you can always rush buy walls if needed. ICS typically isn't for people who want to play peacefully anyways, so don't worry too much about the Diplomacy hits.

Policy Tree Order:
  1. Liberty Opener
  2. Republic
  3. Collective Rule
  4. Citizenship

Alternative opener:
  1. Liberty Opener
  2. Citizenship
  3. Representation
  4. Republic
  5. Collective Rule

Your opener should always be based on your needs, but these are the 2 generic ones that you should be aiming for. In general you should try to nab Republic and Collective Rule first, since it's much easier to build/buy/steal a Worker than it is to build a Settler early on. You also won't be producing much culture, so going from Citizenship directly to Collective Rule takes a very long time relative speaking. In fact, it takes so long that you're better of going Representation second for the Golden Age (which gives a culture boost) and the reduced culture costs. Still, in those games where you don't foresee yourself being able to squeeze out a worker, the latter opener works just fine. You won't get the bonus settler production for a long time, but it's not that bad all things considered. It's always an option, and that's all that matters really.

Moving past that, you'll probably be looking to finish Liberty and maybe move into Commerce. The right side of Commerce and the opener are fantastic gold bonuses, and are often sorely needed (as Mayans more so than Arabians). Your gold per turn (GPT) should be quite low given your army size/worker count in proportion to your low citizen count, at least early on. Trade Routes and Trading Posts (TPs) will quell that in time, but you're often struggling for gold early on. Your army and workers aren't free, and you can't lean on Tradition to alleviate some of your early gold woes. Also, the bonus gold per TP from finishing the Commerce tree is amazing. It makes it an extremely viable pursuit nowadays.

Mayan Tech Order:
Pottery--> Animal Husbandry (AH)---> ~3 nearby luxury resource techs---> beeline Construction (Immortal+ only, stop at The Wheel on lower difficulties)---> Currency---> beeline Physics or Steel (prioritizing Iron Working)---> Guilds, Steel/Physics (whichever you didn't get earlier)---> Education (prioritize Theology)--> Industrialization, Dynamite

You'll want to rush Pottery since you'll want to get a Pyramid up asap. After that you should grab AH to check for horses and start working on your luxury techs. They may require Mining, Masonry and/or Bronze Working, so some starts are better than others in that respect. You'll have to acquire all of those as needed. Once you get all of that in order, your focus should be on defense. If you're playing on Deity, someone has probably already denounced you. Mongolia, Greece, Aztecs, etc. By turn 40 or so you want to be working towards Construction so that you can upgrade your Atlatlists into Composite Bowmen and have Walls available if need be. Your forward bases will want them. On lower difficulties, including Immortal at times, you can skip Construction and stop after The Wheel. Your Atlatlists and a pair of Warriors or so should be enough to keep you alive. Moving on, you'll want to start improving some Iron so that you can get working on some siege weapons and Swordsmen to ultimately prepare for full-scale war. Currency should be acquired if money is starting to get tight, and it usually is. Beyond that you'll want Guilds for TPs, and from there you should just grab Education to boost your beakers per turn, keep hitting key Military techs (Rifling, Industrialization, Dynamite), Printing Press if you need it for your religion, etc.

Theology is put off for a long time since the Long Count bonus is somewhat underwhelming. Mayans have an early tech lead over most civs but that quickly falls off as the game progresses. You'll want to hit key military techs ahead of the other civs and use that advantage to take them out.

Arabian Tech Order:
Animal Husbandry---> Pottery--> 2 nearby Luxury resource techs---> Archery ---> another nearby luxury resource tech---> beeline Construction (Immortal+ only, stop at The Wheel on lower difficulties)---> Writing---> Horseback Riding---> Currency---> Iron Working---> Chivalry (prioritizing Guilds normally, but Civil Service can be researched first if needed)---> Education

While similar, the Arabian tech path is slightly different. You'll need to pick up Archery early on so that you can be prepared to hit Construction past turn ~40 or so with Archer backup if you've already been denounced. Beyond that you just want to hit Bazaars and Camel Archers so that you can start taking over the game. The same general concepts apply, so I won't bother restating them.

Managing City Size:
In a perfect world you want your cities to sit at 3 population until you're ready to plant a University on them (at which point you want them to hit 5), but that's not always an option. You will often be required to hit 4 population in order to keep the 3 follower minimum that cities will likely need for their religious perks. If you chose Tithe, then you'll probably need 5 population just to maintain the 4 follower minimum. A random external religion will almost inevitably convert someone from your cities after all. Once you hit 5 population, you'll want to stagnate your city if possible. Working hills and low-food tiles is a great way to do this, since you only care about production and gold at that point. Work TPs for as long as you can, but you'll probably want to throw those citizens into a University when you get the option to. Stagnating growth won't always be possible since you'll have nothing but 2+ food tiles to work with at times, but those are great cities to generate beakers and gold from TPs + Library + Market. Just spam TPs and mines on every available tile and watch the gold and production roll in.

General Gameplay:
Plant your first few cities directly on luxury resources if you can afford to so that you can sell it immediately for 240g. This is especially true for mining-based luxury resources such as Silver and Gold. Look for hills to plant your cities on otherwise. Above all else you want production at this stage of the game. Not only do they provide a defensive boost, but they also help you power out your key early game buildings and defensive units. If you skipped straight to Settler production, use that gold to buy Workers instead of building them early on. You want to have at least 4 and you want to get them out as possible. Don't worry about perfect city placement (i.e. 4 tile disbursements) early on. You need to keep your wits about you and produce ~4 "semi-real" cities before you start throwing random "nothings" up. Once you've bought a few Settlers and Workers, you can consider not selling resources that you acquire/start to get back (i.e. keep at least 1 luxury resource of each type for happiness purposes). Your capital probably has Collective Rule by now, so it's much easier to produce Settlers rather than to keep purchasing them. Keep your happiness above -10 and keep churning out cities whenever you can, at least during the early stages of the game. Horses and Iron can both be sold for a lot of gold at this stage, so as long as you're expanding on to some type of resource then you should be able to buy or production focus out some form of happiness if needed (Coliseums, mercantile CSes, Circuses). Keep whatever luxuries you're required to in order to keep the engine moving. It's only a matter of time before religion kicks in and starts eliminating all of your happiness needs.

No one can tell you how many cities you should have up by turn X using an ICS strategy. Your goal is to stay above -10 unhappiness, so the answer is typically "whatever keeps you at -8 or so unhappiness" for the first portion of the game. You want a bit of a buffer, your cities do still grow after all, but you can always stagnate them if needed. It really depends on how bountiful the resources on the map are. Still, in general, you should be shooting for roughly one city every 10 turns. If you have 10 cities by turn 100 then you're probably looking ok, but that number is lower than what you should be aiming for. Ideally you'll have something closer to 12 by then, at which point you should be completely out of space. That will always vary based on map size, but if you're aggressively expanding at choke points and whatnot you should be able to secure enough space for a dozen or so cities on a Standard map. Getting more tends to be difficult since computers also expand fairly aggressively, and you'll often find yourself pinched between many of them.

Rough guidelines would be: 4 cities founded by turn 50, 8 cities built or almost built by turn 80, 12 cities prepped (i.e. the land is ready, you just need to wait on happiness) by turn 110.

Mercantile City States are your lifeblood early on. Eventually your religion will kick in to solve your happiness troubles, but that's a long ways away. You need to diligently scout for them and go out of your way to appease them. If a Barbarian camp is harassing one halfway across the map, don't hesitate to send something over. If money isn't too tight, you can always try and buy some up, which is what you should be looking to do once you've stopped worrying about purchasing settlers and workers. This is a temporary fix until you can get your religion in full swing, and it should be treated as such. Don't worry about keeping them all happy in the long-run; you've got something better planned.

The National College (NC) is tricky. There is no good time to build it. By the time that you could, you're often in a position to whip out 2-4 more cities over the next few turns. While you could take the time to build it, it's going to cost you a lot of time and hammers since you'll have at least 4 bases at that point. By the time it finishes you could probably have 8. Taking the time to build it sets your ICS plan back by a significant amount, and will often allow computers to encroach on your territory. As such, I typically avoid it altogether. I don't think the long game favors the ICSing player to begin with, especially on higher difficulties, and so I typically go all-in on the Domination plan and see how it goes. Pyramids and Messenger of the Gods can both offset the early science production lost from not building the NC, allowing you to keep pace or even stay ahead for the first part of the game. That obviously falls off later on, but hey, with any luck there won't be a later on. Hopefully you can take some civs out in the late-Medieval and early-Renaissance era and finish the game with Artilleries, Bombers, Gatling Guns and some form of Infantry.

ICSing isn't for the feint of heart. You will spend most of the early game unhappy, but as long as you stay above -10 unhappiness then you're doing fine. If you are happy before your religion kicks in then you're just plain not expanding fast enough. Your goal should be to spam Settlers and military units out of your capital to the brink of bankruptcy, while preventing your cities from growing beyond a few citizens. After you've started working all relevant luxury and strategic resources, have 2 workers building roads and start improving tiles. You may have had 1 worker doing roads previously, but at some point you need to get them all online for your free bonuses. The sooner the better. Eventually you should have a sizable army of Composite Bowmen and (Long)Swordsmen, which will eventually be supported by Trebuchets or Camel Archers. That should be your queue to commence your assault on all nearby threats. Raze or puppet them all and start planting your own cities in their wake if needed. If your happiness is high, which it often can be at this point (assuming that your religion is in full swing), then just keep them as puppets for the much needed GPT. Otherwise, just wipe them out and throw up your own. You're going to lose units in the process, but that's fine. That's why we built so many of them.

Part 2: A Look at ICS

What is it good for?
ICS can be a potent warmongering tool when employed correctly. Unfortunately, it doesn't lend itself particularly well to anything else. The number of cities created while ICSing, paired with the stunted population growth due to unhappiness and settler production, means that you'll be hard pressed to win via science or culture. Science is especially difficult since you generally won't be making many friends to sign RAs. Furthermore, obtaining a diplomacy win is extremely difficult at higher difficulties. Not only do many civs DOW you at first sight (more-or-less), but their insane gold advantage and spy coup-d'état spam makes it easy for them to gobble up every City State (CS) as an ally later on.

As bleak as this sounds, all hope is not lost. ICS is great for warmongering since it allows you to turn the AI's greatest strength against them. In Immortal+ games the computers are given a ridiculous gold advantage, and your goal should inevitably be to use that against them. By ICSing you can easily cover a lot of land and grab up every Luxury and Strategic resources within ~12 tiles of your capital by the 75th turn or so. You can then sell those resources to every available computer and turn that gold into more settlers, more workers, and a massive standing army. Winning via conquest is achievable from there.

Why Mayans and Arabia?
Arabia has one of the most overpowered advantages in Immortal+ games. If you manage to found a pantheon with them, which I'll admit can be struggle on Diety, the game becomes much easier than it should be. Why? Desert Folklore. Simply put, Desert Folklore is the most absurd bonus imaginable early on. While a Desert start was a death sentence in previous versions of the game, it's the stone-nuts in G&K. When you're spamming cities that only figure to hit 4-5 population tops anyways, and each one of those cities is getting 4-5 faith for free, and you have 10+ of them before turn 100, the game gets out of hand. Remember, faith is linear, not cumulative. A Missionary/Pagoda costs the same amount of faith whether you have 1 or 100 cities. As such, the Arabian desert start bias, coupled with their UA and UB, makes them one of the most fearsome civs in the entire game. Bazaars are utterly stupid since the computers will be rolling in gold to throw at you for your plethora of luxury resources, and the extra gold from trade routes goes a long way to ensuring that your empire has a stable GPT. Their UU is also incredibly powerful, and perfectly supports a warmongering gameplan. You should be actively looking to amass them and to conquer the world before they become obsolete.

When playing as Arabia, it's important to remember that you'll have to work for your Pantheon on Deity and sometimes even Immortal. Shrines will only take you so far, and you may need to pursue other sources of faith generation. City states, natural wonders, ruins and more can all help speed you along. You will have to fight tooth and nail for it, so be prepared to jump through all the hoops that are presented to you. Your best bet is probably to play on Immortal though, since founding a Pantheon on Deity is quite brutal if you don't have a faith bonus. It's far too luck based; you don't have enough control over it in my opinion.

Mayans are similar in nature but have a different set of strengths. You're still praying for a Desert start, but a lack of starting bias means that those will be few and far between. Your next ideal start involves a mining-based luxury nearby, namely Gold or Silver, so that you can hopefully found your capital directly on it for the production boost. I actively dislike naval starts as Mayans, since it takes way too long to get your luxury resources connected so that they can be traded away. If you want an "ideal" ICS start, your priorities should be Desert start > mining luxury start > any start where you can settle on a hill > anything that isn't naval. I don't actively endorse re-rolling for the perfect opener or anything, but I still think it's important to know what to look for. Anyways, what Mayans have over Arabia (and most other civs) is an early tech and faith boost. Pyramids are, cost for cost, easily one of the strongest buildings in the game. Whereas other player trade 1 gold for 1 faith, you trade 1 gold for 2 faith and 2 science. This is where your advantage comes from. Your ability to consistently found an early pantheon (to get Messenger of the Gods/Desert Folklore) and to create an early game tech lead is what will allow you to beeline key military techs before civs can adequately prepare for them. Atlatlists, unlike Camel Archers, are unimpressive but "fine." You're going to be building a lot of them anyways, especially on higher difficulties, so the saved hammers and tech saved from putting off Archery helps. You're not going to conquer the world with the them, but eh, they get the job done. You can always build a couple of them early on and park them near barb camps to farm influence (from nearby CSes) and promotions. This will make your defenses formidable should you be attacked by an aggressive civ early on, but wont be wasted hammers if that doesn't happen. Their Long Count bonus is a mixed blessing. Free GPs are nice, but not all GPs are created equal. Being forced to take Merchants and Artists and whatnot, which all increase the cost of producing future GPs, means that you'll almost never beat a "normal" civ to a Culture or Science win. Whereas they can solely focus on producing 1 specific type of GP, you cannot. This is a big reason why the Mayans are a better ICS + Domination civ than they are a Tall + peaceful civ.

The Role of Religion
Religion, as I've previously eluded to, is probably the best reason to ICS. While any civ can warmonger, not every civ is well equipped to crusade. Civs with powerful, early faith boosts have the means to found a religion and spread it like wildfire, which will give them a big advantage at every stage of the game. The key here, again, is that faith is linear and not cumulative. Units and buildings cost the same amount regardless of how many cities you have. This, again, makes a bonus such as Desert Folklore overpowered as all Hell. Your civ can literally outproduce the faith of multiple other civs, to the point where your religion should almost always dominate the world.

Pantheon preferences:
Desert Folklore > Messenger of the Gods > God of Craftsmen > everything else.

I will always take Desert Folklore if it's a legitimate option (i.e. a desert start) and I feel like it would be a horrible mistake to choose otherwise. Messenger of the Gods (MotG) is the clear choice otherwise, and is likely what you'll be taking as Mayans. If you're unlucky and don't get a desert start as Arabians, it's annoying, but you'll just have to hopefully grab MotG and soldier on. Still, if someone beats you to it, God of Craftsmen or even Sacred Waters can suffice. The others are all situational and good at times, and should all be picked accordingly if MotG isn't an option. I want to stress that as good as MotG seems, it's still worse than Desert Folklore. Do not trick yourself into thinking that ICS always wants the former.

Founder beliefs:
Safe and easy: Ceremonial Burial, Church Property
"Fine" but not desirable: Tithe
Requires work but well worth it: Interfaith Dialogue

If you want to pick something easy and mindless, go with Ceremonial Burial (CB) or Church Property (CP) and otherwise hope that Tithe is still available. I typically opt for CP over Tithe since I like having my cities to stay as small as possible, so hitting 4 followers per city can be tricky at times. You pretty much need to have 5 population cities at that point, since a random religion is probably going to steal a follower from most of your cities. CB vs CP is going to depend on your current situation and what you foresee needing more of; gold or happiness. Mayans usually need gold and Arabia typically need happiness, so I often roll with that, but your situation can always vary.

Now, if you want to have a real game, pick Interfaith Dialogue. It's going to take some time and work to get it going, but it can be brutally overpowered at times. This, again, mostly goes back to Desert Folklore and how it can enable missionary spam very early on. You can easily pump out a Missionary every ~7 turns or so once you get a handful of cities up and running, at which point you can create an insurmountable science lead. Still, this can be tedious and tiresome, so I wouldn't blame you for just opting for something easier.

Follower Beliefs:
Initial belief: Asceticism > Pagodas > Guruship > everything else
Secondary belief: Pagodas (if not taken already) > Mosques > Cathedrals > Monasteries (or Guruship if Pagodas were taken first)

Pagodas are your ideal faith sink since the 2 happiness just puts it a cut above everything else. If you can open with Asceticism, you probably should, but if you miss out on it then hopefully you can snatch Pagodas up before anyone else can. Beyond that you don't have much in the way of good beliefs to grab. You don't want extra food and you're not going to be building Temples and whatnot in most of your cities. Guruship can be "ok," but the problem is that it's tough to get a worthwhile specialist slot in most of your cities. It's pretty much always going to be from your Market (until you hit Education for Universities that is), which isn't too bad all things considered. Gold can be rough at times with ICS (as Mayans more so than Arabians), so boosting it never hurts. Amphitheaters and whatnot are too expensive to maintain, so it's not like you'll have any of those either. Holy Warriors can be very powerful, but it's not ideal if you plan on Missionary spamming to support Interfaith Dialogue and whatnot. Acquire it as the situation calls for it. Ideally you'll get 1 "passive perk" and 1 "faith sink," but that's easier said than done at times.

Enhancer beliefs:
Safe and easy: Religious Texts, Itinerant Preachers
Situational: Just War, Holy Order

If you want to keep it simple, just grab Religious Texts or Itinerant Preachers and call it a day. They're pretty mindless and incredibly powerful. Still, if you're looking for something more interactive, take Just War, or Holy Order if you rolled with Interfaith Dialogue. At that point you can spam missionaries for a massive science or combat bonus, which should enable you to seize control of the game.

Last edited by Tich; Aug 31, 2012 at 08:28 AM.
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Old Aug 20, 2012, 07:40 PM   #2
ifinnem
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What size are most of your cities typically and how many larger than this do you have?
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 02:07 AM   #3
Tabarnak
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Well written guide

Have you some pictures to spice it a bit?
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 06:14 AM   #4
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I would be interested in some number examples for comparison. Demographics screen at turn 100/150/200 would do nicely

I'm still trying to get ICS to work reliably and playing around with different starts @immortal. I agree on the NC, it slows you down too much and it's actually not so great anyways as your capital will be churning out settlers instead of growing. Building it in another city is just way too slow to even be considered. I tried two city, three city and four city set-ups but none of them could beat a pure expansionist approach in science @ turn 100. One of the problems is that if you have to focus on libraries, you can't focus on faith, so miss out on a religion.

I found that one of the major science problems is the lack of RA. You can maybe sign one or two at a time but most enemies are gonna hate you because of your expansion. I always take messenger of the gods - it's awesome to offset the early science problems of ICS. I don't think Desert Folklore can compete.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 06:59 AM   #5
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I think you can still produce the Mint. It'd just give you +2 gold to your city automatically. I've produced a stone works once since I settled on stone (didn't improve the other stone yet) and I could make it, so that's another + for settling on luxuries, I suppose.

But yeah, a few screenshots would be nice.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 08:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpaca View Post
I would be interested in some number examples for comparison. Demographics screen at turn 100/150/200 would do nicely
Agree would be nice

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpaca View Post
I found that one of the major science problems is the lack of RA. You can maybe sign one or two at a time but most enemies are gonna hate you because of your expansion. I always take messenger of the gods - it's awesome to offset the early science problems of ICS. I don't think Desert Folklore can compete.
This is what I've found - lack of tall science monsters plus no friends for RAs means you will fall behind science unless you are stomping most AIs by turn 150-200ish
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 08:59 AM   #7
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This is what I've found - lack of tall science monsters plus no friends for RAs means you will fall behind science unless you are stomping most AIs by turn 150-200ish
I recently played a game where I was getting plenty of RA's with 9 cities... but not at first - only when I stopped growing. I agree that this is generally crippling to a high Science score. And that's the problem I see with a "pure" ICS approach like this one. As Tich says, it's pretty much only for Domination, and it's a lot of work for something that can be achieved more simply in other ways. (See Tabarnak's four-city G&K guides.)

The version of ICS that would work for science as well is probably be equidistant to REX - maybe a dozen cities built asap, followed by a serious effort at pop growth an diplomatic cultivation of other civs, particularly those on other continents.

S.K. Ren wrote about this sort of approach elsewhere.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 09:08 AM   #8
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Thank you for this usefull guide

Dance of the aurora is quite fine also (same purpose as Desert Folkore) and toudra tile yields +1 ! However, I don't know which civ get a bias for it (maybe Russia ?) and toundra area are harder I think than desert one (flood plains are as good as grassland...)

Have you tried to play ICS-style with Cartage on Archipelago ? It seems OP also, at least on the paper ...
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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Nice guide indeed

Btw quite similar approach could be used (and even better than for arabia) on arborea land maps (or general hi forest coverage) with Iroquois (the main idea is very close do perfectly described above)
Things like Feed the World, though also worth mentioning, since you get serious shrine/temple spam abuse, this will allow you to work extra hill tile, so FtW and pagodas would be perfect match, and will mean you can get 3 hills worked with 1 farm tile at later game (ie +4 hammers per hill tile, so +4 hammers with +1 pop compared to guruship)
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 04:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tachii View Post
I think you can still produce the Mint. It'd just give you +2 gold to your city automatically.
This is true.

I was trying this out, after watching some of madjin's latest LP wit maya, and to me it seemed alot hard to hold of all the DoWs, that come after turn 80, I had 3 Civs DoW me on turn 110ish, saying that I had entered a war with France around turn 40, and was pressed to capture his cities to add to the ICS empire. Perhaps it would have been better to accepted his peace agreement, and continue with the plan.

I had ended up with 8 cities at turn 100, 1 being a French puppet.
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Old Aug 21, 2012, 08:07 PM   #11
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What about the Inca? Doesn't their UA end up saving you more money on roads than the extra gold from the Arabian UA? The only difference I see is the bazaar, which I admit is very useful for selling luxuries to the AI, and the desert start bias, which I suppose if you can manage it, is very good with desert folklore and therefore helpful for your religion and the benefits from that. But do those differences plus the camel archer make the Arabs much better?
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 03:49 AM   #12
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What about the Inca? Doesn't their UA end up saving you more money on roads than the extra gold from the Arabian UA? The only difference I see is the bazaar, which I admit is very useful for selling luxuries to the AI, and the desert start bias, which I suppose if you can manage it, is very good with desert folklore and therefore helpful for your religion and the benefits from that. But do those differences plus the camel archer make the Arabs much better?
The saving is almost the same as arabia as you can connect two cities with a minimum of four road pieces and therefore save maybe about 1.5 gold per city rather than 1. Selling to the AI is not so great because of the diplomacy problems outlined above. The Camel Archer is quite useful, though. I like the movement through hills bonus so I'd probably also choose Inca.

Apart from that, there's China to consider. The paper maker is really nice. One can also make a strong case for Korea or Babylon. If you can run two scientists in every city that somewhat offsets not having the higher-tier buildings in most of them.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 05:18 AM   #13
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Have you tried your ICS strategy in MP?

I want to play using ICS strategy in my future hotseat game with humans.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 06:25 AM   #14
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Have you tried your ICS strategy in MP?

I want to play using ICS strategy in my future hotseat game with humans.
Good luck if you try this in MP !
No gold from trading ressources, week city defense will be smashed by a well prepared human and the conquered cities used against you (or razed with little annoyement due to low pop)

IMHO, there should be a well balanced style between ICS and OCC that fits MP-games
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 07:16 AM   #15
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Nice guide!
Have you got any ratio between tall and small cities? For instance, how much time and resorces is needed to grow one city up to 15 comparing to 3 cities of 5 pop?
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 07:35 AM   #16
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I would also consider Ethiopia as fitting this guide. Sure you will pretty much negate the UA, but the UB will get you through the policies faster and into a religion as fast as the Mayans without needing the shrine. With the shrine still in the mix that's 3 faith per city so you'd be more likely to be the first to found a religion and possibly even the first pantheon.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 12:19 PM   #17
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Agree about Ethiopia. And also Egypt, with the legalism trick for his free UB at a right time of the game.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 12:40 PM   #18
meteo63
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Agree about Ethiopia. And also Egypt, with the legalism trick for his free UB at a right time of the game.
In G&K, burial tombs are a temple replacement that gives no culture, so legalism wouldn't work with that. Do you mean Songhai's UB, the mud pyramid mosque or whatever it is called?
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 12:55 PM   #19
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Agree about Ethiopia. And also Egypt, with the legalism trick for his free UB at a right time of the game.
All of this is only in pursuit of a domination victory, right? Because otherwise you're cherry-picking from Tradition and Liberty, and winding up with fewer choices in the later policy trees.

I would have also added Carthage with its UB, although it couldn't be built in every city.
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Old Aug 22, 2012, 01:08 PM   #20
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Honestly, Pagodas are very bad in ICS, as are those other faith buildings. No matter how many shrines and temples you spam you simply can't afford one in every city and as you progress into each era they become even more annoyingly expensive. Welcome to the modern era where every pagoda costs something like 800 faith, when you should be saving up for a G-something.

Anything that improves shrines and/or temples - asceticism, religious center, etc. are the best ICS follower beliefs.
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