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Old Jan 03, 2013, 06:08 PM   #1
seancolorado
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A Beginner's Guide to Polynesia

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO POLYNESIA


Polynesia may appear one-dimensional on the surface but dig a little deeper and youíll find they are just as exciting and varied as any of the other civs. Research sailing early and dominate the high seas through naval warfare? Attempt the Terra Map Challenge and rule the uninhabited lands of far away? The choice is yours. Today, Iíll take a look at Polynesia at its most basic form Ė the UA, the UU, and the UI Ė and hopefully convince those who have yet to pick Polynesia to give them a serious go in future playthroughs.

As for game settings:

-Difficulty Level. A lot of this content is general advice/clarifications and most of it can be applied to whatever difficulty level you are currently at.
-Map type. Archipelago, Continents, Continents Plus, Large Islands, anything with water
-Victory type. Itís really up to you. I would say generally speaking keep in mind a Diplomatic Victory as you read this guide. Cultural and Science are possible. Domination is always possible on archipelago maps but elsewhere I donít recommend Polynesia unless you already have a firm grasp on them



Unique Ability


Wayfinding. Can embark and move over oceans immediately. +1 sight when embarked. +10% Combat Strength bonus if within 2 tiles of a Moai.

Key Notes: +1 sight stacks with Great Lighthouse wonder and Naval Tradition policy from Commerce branch.

Scouting with Wayfinding
On archipelago maps donít even think about building a monument or a scout first. Instead, build a Maori Warrior. With two early Maoriís, youíll be grabbing a ridiculous amount of ruins Ė you are almost guaranteed a ruin, a ruin, and a free technology or two. Along the way you will meet city-states and other civilizations before anybody else and you will incur zero diplomatic relations for protecting a for a good chunk of the early game. The +1 sight strongly aids these endeavors. On continents maps the oceans perk isnít as handy but itís still wonderful for establishing early diplomatic relations.

City-Settling with Wayfinding
With Polynesiaís UA you want to settle on the coast and only the coast. On archipelago maps itís easy. On continents maps itís not always as smooth food-wise and resource-wise but if possible try to keep it coastal. The reason? There are many.
1. 10% Combat Strength bonus. If youíre on the coast, youíre building Moais. If youíre building Moais, you get the bonus. However, in order to fully maximize this benefit that means one thing: play defensively. Sure, you can play aggressive and aim for a domination victory but the hard truth is Polynesia just isnít geared for that type of game. A coastal empire with the Moai strength bonus all but ensures that you never lose a city. 10% may not seem like much to some but it makes a significant difference when combined with Polynesiaís UU. More on that later.
2. God of the Sea pantheon. +1 from sea resources is a very necessary boost for a coastal empire. But donít pick it blindly Ė if you get a coastal start with few sea resources then you are almost always better off with something else. Nevertheless, with the pantheon if you are lucky enough to have oil then we are talking about a six tile production (with harbors and seaports).
3. Commerce. Shoot straight for one of two Social Policies: Merchant Navy (+3 per coastal city) and Trade Unions (Harbors and Seaports gain +1 ). Head straight for Merchant Navy in particular if your empire is low on production tiles. The money saved from Commerce and Trade Unions, the from coastal and ocean tiles, and the from the Moai that hits you at Flight makes Polynesia economically outstanding later in the game.
4. Wonders. The Great Lighthouse and The Colossus. Since Polynesia spawns on the coast your capital will have an immediate advantage in building these wonders. The Great Lighthouse gives all units +1 and +1 sight as well as a free lighthouse and 1 Great Merchant point. The Colossus gives +1 from all water tiles worked by the city as well as +5 and 1 Great Merchant point. You canít go wrong with either Ė both are very powerful and both provide the invaluable Merchant point. The Great Lighthouse is often overlooked but with its extra sight and movement it can truly be a game-changer on archipelago maps. The Colossus gives you enough gold to comfortably field and upgrade a Maori Warrior army in addition to a navy.



Unique Unit


Maori Warrior. Ancient Era unit that strikes fear into nearby enemies making them less effective in combat. Only Polynesia may build it. Replaces the Warrior. (The Maori Warrior is similar to a Great General; however instead of increasing the strength of friendly units, it decreases the strength of adjacent enemy units. Build plenty of these units early for their promotion, ĎHaka War Danceí, stays with them as they are upgraded.)

40
8
2

Key Notes: 5 Maori Warriors surrounding a single enemy unit will decrease combat effectiveness by only -10%, not -50% (in other words, -10% does not stack with each unit). Conversely, 1 Maori Warrior surrounded by 5 enemy units and the -10% is applied to all surrounding units.

Maoriís and Wayfinding
As a stand-alone unit the Maori Warrior does not get a lot of love. Well, it isnít meant to be judged on its own: the 10% combat strength bonus from Moai is an amazing defensive tool when paired with the Maori Warriorís -10%. Stacked together and we are basically talking about a 20% bonus. Thatís Ethiopiaís entire UA, with a coastal twist. UAs and UUs are paired together for a reason. Continents and continent-like maps: to get the full benefits of this 20% stack build a minimum of 4-5 Maori Warriors. Trust me, it's necessary.

Defense Tactics
Holding strong defensively largely depends on your terrain and borders but generally speaking Polynesia has an easy time fending off enemies. On archipelago maps its sickeningly straight forward. Ranged units + ships + a Maori Warrior or two to pick off anybody who tries to climb on shore. But what do you do to defend your cities on Continents maps if your cities are all on the coast? The answer is simple and effective. Surround your units around the city being attacked. Have a few Maori Warriors on the front lines taking the punches, close enough to the statues to receive the combat bonuses. Have a few healing up right behind away from harm. Rotate them and repeat the process. Archers are always a welcome and necessary addition, of course, but it's actually possible to fend off a bigger army (provided you are the same tech level) with just Maori Warriors and your city bombardment.



Unique Improvement


Moai. Moai can only be built on the coast. If built next to another Moai, it provides additional . After the Flight technology is researched it also provides extra .

Key Notes: What a Moai chain yields is often a source of confusion but it's actually quite simple: A single Moai yields 1 . Adjacent Moai grants an extra 1 . 3 Moai in a row will give 2/3/2 culture. (The same is not true for the Gold bonus Ė only 1 Gold per Moai tile no matter what.) It is possible to have a single Moai tile with four, five, or even the maximum six if the coastline is shaped properly. How is that possible? Best leave that to a screenshot:

Spoiler:


As you can see, this particular tile has 6 . It gets 1 automatically on its own. Each Moai surrounding it gives it an additional 1 . There are 5 Moai surrounding it. 1 + 5 = 6.

The Perks of Being a Moai Statue
The general rule of thumb: build a Moai statue on every coastal tile unless a luxury, strategic or bonus resource is present. If a resource pops up under a Moai, replace it immediately. I often hear that Food and Production tiles are sacrificed for Moais and that it's too much of a hindrance. Really, the difference should not be significant enough to affect your game. While I agree that more food/production is better I also know the culture and defense from the Moai more than makes up for it. Especially the culture Ė you can expand and keep up with Social Policies at a better rate than almost every civ.

Timing the Moai
The Moai statue requires Construction. You do not, in any circumstance, need to beeline towards it. At the same time make sure you research it early enough to have it available should an enemy civ attack. As always, prioritize building farms and improving resources. But if you spawn too close for comfort to another civ then itís a smart idea to build at least one Moai in a strategically situated location for defense. No need to work the tile, of course, but if you are attacked without having built a single statue then you are losing out on a key aspect of Polynesia.

So there you have it - Polynesia in a nutshell. If I've learned one thing about Civ V it's that there is always something new to learn no matter what. So, if anybody has anything to add I would love to know about it. Until then, cheers!

Mods
I donít use mods in my regular playthroughs but if you are a mod user I strongly recommend jpbar81ís Maori Warrior mod: Unit receives a 25 hp heal rate upon killing an enemy unit. This mod is great. It gives Polynesia the offensive flair it lacks and is conducive to early exploration when your Maori warrior gets in a sticky situation with barbarians far away from your capital. If you are somebody who finds Polynesia to be underwhelming then this might be the missing piece for you.
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Old Jan 03, 2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Hey Sean, nice written guide! Reading your Polynesian strategies makes me feel like playing as them, even though they aren't my cup of tea. Just wanted to congratulate you for your work, it is quite good!

About religion, do you have any specific picks? Do you usually focus on gold/culture/anything particular?

Besides Patronage and Commerce, any other social policy tree that you'd like to recommend?

Cheers!
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Old Jan 03, 2013, 07:53 PM   #3
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Ok, that was a nice write up but what does all of those early benefits get you? When I did Polynesia on Archipelago, all I got was about 16 ruins and after about 8 of them, they got diminished returns. It doesn't appear you don't get an advantage militarily (since Maori are weak), no science and no production advantages with the Moai. I can see the cultural bonuses but does the cost/benefit work out compared to what could be there?
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Old Jan 03, 2013, 07:57 PM   #4
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Great Guide! I've never given this Civ a try, but they seem much more interesting to play than I had once thought. Can't wait to try them out now!
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Old Jan 03, 2013, 10:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
About religion, do you have any specific picks? Do you usually focus on gold/culture/anything particular?
Really it's just like any other civ in that you have to take a good, long hard look at your land (as well as the land you plan on grabbing) and assess the pros and cons and trade-offs for each religious aspect. But generally speaking since the Moai compromises potential food and production tiles then I recommend:

Pantheons
-God of the Sea, wonderfully synergetic with Polynesia provided you have the work boats
-Messenger of the Gods, the go-to option for me a lot of the time
-Goddess of the Hunt, provided you have enough camps
-Fertility Rites, 10% faster growth is pretty self explanatory

Founder Beliefs
-Ceremonial Burial. Good for both short and long term
-Interfaith dialogue. Some people say the science is not enough but I disagree: If you are aiming for Science, every ounce counts. If you are aiming for Diplo then CS's typically want your religion already, so why not get a science bonus while you're at it?
-Tithe. You form a ridiculous cushion of cash to fall back on. This recommendation goes for any civ though

Follower Beliefs
-Religious Community. You need all the production you can get. Very solid option.
-Feed the World. Same reasons as above, except with food instead of production. Also very solid. These are really the only two you should consider for Polynesia.

Enhancers
-Itinerant Preachers. Some prefer Religious Texts. I'm not one of them.

Quote:
any other social policy tree that you'd like to recommend?
Not particularly. Just choose the SP best suited for the specific victory you are pursuing (e.g. Freedom for Cultural Victories). There are plenty of other threads discussing that in-depth

Quote:
Ok, that was a nice write up but what does all of those early benefits get you? When I did Polynesia on Archipelago, all I got was about 16 ruins and after about 8 of them, they got diminished returns. It doesn't appear you don't get an advantage militarily (since Maori are weak), no science and no production advantages with the Moai. I can see the cultural bonuses but does the cost/benefit work out compared to what could be there?
On archipelago maps you get an early jump on faith and have a great chance at founding the first pantheon even if other civs already have the pottery tech researched at the start of the game. You discover a free tech, sometimes two. These two aspects are pretty significant to me. But you're correct on the military advantage - you don't get one. That's why the Maori are only useful for early exploration and defending. The cost/benefit is a tricky one. You are losing out on other tiles with the moai but you are reaching social policies more quickly. But you're asking if the cost/benefit evens out overall? That's a really good question. I love stats, I might look into that
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 01:25 AM   #6
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Fantastic read, cheers for that.

Similarly, has anyone written a beginners guide for the Vikings? I couldn't find one using the search..?
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 07:34 AM   #7
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Ok, that was a nice write up but what does all of those early benefits get you? When I did Polynesia on Archipelago, all I got was about 16 ruins and after about 8 of them, they got diminished returns. It doesn't appear you don't get an advantage militarily (since Maori are weak), no science and no production advantages with the Moai. I can see the cultural bonuses but does the cost/benefit work out compared to what could be there?
Did you play them pre-G&K? I've found that one of the best benefits of the Polynesian UA is that you get a guaranteed early pantheon and a good shot at an early religion without building a single shrine. In essence, you almost get the Celtic UA on water maps plus other goodies.
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 07:40 AM   #8
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Sean, the one thing I disagree with is your emphasis on turtling and staying peaceful. On a water map, you can easily leverage early gold (ruins and CS gold), your UU, and your UA to mount a vicious early attack on your nearest neighbor. The diplomatic consequences are minimal (relatively), as your victim won't have any friends yet. The way I play Polynesia is to attack early, seize a worker, cripple or conquer my nearest neighbor, then look around and see who is building the Colossus and the Great Lighthouse. Once I make that determination, yoink -- thanks for the wonders, suckas. Most of your foes will be busy filling in the top of the tech tree, which gives you an opportunity to shock them with compound bows and later swordsman while they still have warriors and archers. The beauty of the Polynesia UA is that you can delay sailing, etc., until later without hampering exploration and your war abilities.
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 07:47 AM   #9
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Did you play them pre-G&K? I've found that one of the best benefits of the Polynesian UA is that you get a guaranteed early pantheon and a good shot at an early religion without building a single shrine. In essence, you almost get the Celtic UA on water maps plus other goodies.
You are correct in that I played them pre-G&K. However, I am still not sold on the benefits of an early pantheon/religion in general.
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 08:09 AM   #10
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You are correct in that I played them pre-G&K. However, I am still not sold on the benefits of an early pantheon/religion in general.
On a water map, an early pantheon is the only way to get God of the Seas, which can be a major hammer boost.
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 08:39 AM   #11
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The biggest advantage for Polynesia in my opinion, is finding all the players early.
Having access to all the AI players means huge amounts of gold from trading.
Not to mention research agreements, since friendships are much easier to make with civs that aren't close to you.
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Old Jan 04, 2013, 08:43 AM   #12
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Sean, the one thing I disagree with is your emphasis on turtling and staying peaceful. On a water map, you can easily leverage early gold (ruins and CS gold), your UU, and your UA to mount a vicious early attack on your nearest neighbor. The diplomatic consequences are minimal (relatively), as your victim won't have any friends yet. The way I play Polynesia is to attack early, seize a worker, cripple or conquer my nearest neighbor, then look around and see who is building the Colossus and the Great Lighthouse. Once I make that determination, yoink -- thanks for the wonders, suckas. Most of your foes will be busy filling in the top of the tech tree, which gives you an opportunity to shock them with compound bows and later swordsman while they still have warriors and archers. The beauty of the Polynesia UA is that you can delay sailing, etc., until later without hampering exploration and your war abilities.
I agree. I mostly wrote the defensive strategy with continents and other map types in mind. I did mention somewhere in the article that domination is always possible on archipelago maps but it wasn't stressed enough so you're definitely spot on about that: Archipelago + Domination + Polynesia = just as viable an option as any other victory type.

I also know that some people around here don't even delay sailing and instead use the early ships as part of their navy to attack other cities
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Old Jan 05, 2013, 10:00 AM   #13
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On reddit (r/civ), where I also posted this, someone wrote that they had trouble keeping up with tech and gold because they placed too many moai statues on their archipelago map:

To make clear, on Continents maps you want to place a Moai everywhere that is empty because you will have plenty of non-coastal tiles to work and you will be able to eventually work these Moai tiles (not immediately) and thus gain a huge chunk of culture

On Archipelago you often only have coastal tiles so it's smart to grow your city as much as you can, placing the Moai statues only where you can get the most culture for chain combos. Because you are playing archipelago you are more likely to have combos like the one you see in the screenshot, meaning other coastal tiles that don't give you as strong a culture boost can instead be focused on growing your city with farms or mines
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Old Jan 05, 2013, 10:31 AM   #14
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Are Moai supposed to connect resources in G+K? It didn't work in my last game, but I was already seeing some resource glitches when I tried, so I don't know whether it was meaningful.
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Old Jan 05, 2013, 12:03 PM   #15
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sounds like the civ for a sub 200t cult win
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 08:14 PM   #16
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I think it's definitely worth building the moai wherever you can. Remember you can set up a moai chain without having to work every moai. You can work the 4-5 culture tiles and then use your other citizens on inland farms or water resources.
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Old Jan 08, 2013, 10:29 PM   #17
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Great guide, I enjoy these types of posts. I've played Polynesia a few times, but I never realized that you could chain the Moais!
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 05:35 AM   #18
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I love Poly. Indeed, haka war dance + moai = unconquerable. However, for me, wayfinding means I can skip sailing for a good while and still out-explore the AI. I think still rushing GL (goes really fast on water maps with high level AI) is wasting its biggest bonus. I've won Deity OCC* with them not even on the coast! Wayfinding was literally all I needed navally, it is a strong UA.

*rambling story: I was on an isthmus between the Koreans and Incans (that turned out to have ZERO strategic resources -horses through uranium, not a one.) It looked good to start though, having lake-irrigated desert and gold hills, and fast/cheap embarked scouting got me an early pantheon of desert folklore.
A cultural victory that game would actually have been easy (moai+early religion), but I had challenged myself going in to win with science under harsh conditions (including settling flat land next to neither coast, mountain nor river as a civ with no science/growth edge). Things were hairy with korea until I bought a DoW between them and the incas in the Medieval era; a great deal as that war lasted the entire game and made them ignore me. Before that my +10% and their -10% stacked into lifesaving.
Not setting any records with a t267 launch (maaaybe in the narrow field of 'not babylon/korea+no observatory') but I felt accomplished. I love Poly.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 06:31 AM   #19
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Unfortunately, while fun, they should be played the same 4C trad game for best science as any other civ. And they are not really good for that.
Fun map for them is TERRA, but unlike Civ4 where 'America' always had uniqe resources that can only be found there, in civ 5 'America' is often a bit dissapointing. (nevertheless a full continent for you to expand before anyone else.

So you can start playing OOC def culture/sci game for fast start then mass expand into 'america'
Merchant Navy (+3 per coastal city) is really helpful in this, but you need a lot of culture to get this and also rationaism. I am almost sure you better not go there (If you plan to win asap, and not going to a big empire/score)

I find it a fun but weak civ to play. (honestly I find everyone weak except Babylon and Arabia )
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 07:49 AM   #20
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(honestly I find everyone weak except Babylon and Arabia )
Lol. That's a bit constraining, no? Maybe you're too hung up on science victories.
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