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Old Feb 11, 2013, 02:13 AM   #1
Wargizmo
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Opening build: Liberty NC Expand [G&K]

edit1: added note about construction tech.

What is it

This is a build designed to be used in conjunction with liberty opening tree on any difficulty including deity. With this build you quickly get the National College up and running and plonk down an additional 3 cities shortly after it finishes. This way you have both the National College and 4 cities up around turn 60-70, giving you an excellent platform from which to launch any strategy you like.

There are two variations on this strategy. The standard version, and the Great Library variation. The standard version can be used on any difficulty but is better used on immortal and deity since it allows you to get out a lot of early fighting units out before expanding, and also because the AI will likely grab the GL quickly anyway. The standard version I've used on two of the deity challenges as well as other immortal and deity maps to great effect. The GL version I have used very successfully on immortal and emperor, but it can be risky on immortal as there's a chance the AI will get the GL before you. Don't even attempt the GL on deity.

Standard version

Tech Order
Pottery -> Writing -> Mining -> AH (optional) -> Calendar -> Philosophy -> Archery -> Other luxuries -> Wheel -> research construction until 1 turn to go and then tech towards civil service.

Build order
Scout -> Monument -> Granary -> Library -> Shrine -> Additional workers/warriors as needed -> NC as soon as philosophy finishes -> Settler

Buy order
Tiles around capital as needed -> Settler -> Save for archers/archer upgrades

policy order
Liberty -> Citizenship -> Republic -> Collective rule -> representation -> meritocracy

So you basically want to use this build if you've got space to expand and feel like liberty would be a good choice on the map. I would not recommend this if you're surrounded by AI or if you have a jungle start, but it should be okay for most starts. Often you'll get your first rush bought settler and/or free settler from collective rule before you finish the national college, take each settler with a warrior to where you want to settle and wait.

When you get your first worker from citizenship, start improving farms first. On this version of the build you're not getting the GL, so you need to get your population up as high as possible to help you tech philosophy as fast as you can. I would suggest getting 2-3 farms and then improving a luxury. If you don't have a mining or Calendar luxury near the capital you're out of luck, but it's not so bad, your rush bought settler will just be delayed (from not being able to sell the luxuries), so you'll get one city a bit later. Once you start the national college, chop down a forest or two (if you can) to make it build faster.

A note on religion: I never have a problem getting a pantheon, even with such a late shrine, however if you want to delay the library and/or granary a little bit to get the shrine earlier this is also perfectly acceptable, and will not delay your NC by more than 2-3 turns.


Examples

I tried this out on a few random deity and immortal games. On a good start you'll get national college and 2 additional cities up around turn 55-60, with the 4th city around turn 65. On a poor start you'll get the national college and first few expansions around 65-70 and your 4th a bit later.

Here is a very good deity start with Greece. National college finished at turn 56 with two cities ready to settle, by turn 64 I have 4 cities with luxuries improving and some good troops, I've also used the warriors to kill barbs, getting favour with a city state:
Spoiler:





Here's an average immortal start with Siam. National college finished at turn 60, but due to slow culture have not got free settler yet, nevertheless I was still able to get my 4 cities up and running by turn 69 with a few warriors, workers and good defence on the way.
Spoiler:





Here's an example of a bad start with Polynesia (deity); no river, few hills and lots of tundra nearby, NC doesn't finish until turn 66, but will still have 3 cities soon. In this case I'm not building my 4th settler, as there aren't enough good spots. Instead I would likely churn out archers and attempt to take the Swedish satellite city above for control of the natural wonder, cows and luxuries.
Spoiler:




Great Library variation


Tech Order
Pottery -> Writing -> Mining -> Calendar -> (get philosophy with GL when it finishes) -> Archery -> Other luxuries -> Wheel -> tech towards civil service picking up construction when appropriate.

Build order
Scout -> Monument -> Granary -> The Great Library -> NC -> units (situational) -> Settler

Buy order
Tiles around capital as needed -> Worker -> Settler -> Archers

policy order
Liberty -> Citizenship -> Republic -> Collective rule -> representation -> meritocracy

If you think you can get the great library, then this version will give you a bigger tech advantage than the standard build, however it will leave you with a bit less defences, since your cap will be building the wonder instead of producing units. Also you won't be able to produce a second worker so you pretty much have to rush buy one, if you steal one as well this will give you 3 workers, which should be enough.

This build will get the GL usually around turn 35-40, which is pretty much when the AI usually gets it on immortal. The NC will come around turn 50-55.

If you have a good start with a few forests and an easy mining lux that you can sell off quick to buy an additional worker, then I would recommend giving it a go on immortal, because with chopping you should be able to get the GL before 35 which should be quick enough (although occasionally the AI gets it super early on immortal if it pops a tech rune with writing)

Example

Here is a game with the Celts on immortal. The starting location is okay but not brilliant; no wheat or deer, and jungle/marsh covering most luxuries. GL finishes at turn 36, a couple of turns later than I'd like but still got it. NC finishes turn 52, after the NC I produce one Pictish warrior for a bit of extra defence before cranking out a settler. By turn 66 I have my 4 cities up and running. I'm producing monuments in all 4 cities but will likely switch to archers and harass Korea with composite bows. I've rush bought a couple of archers already.
Spoiler:





Last edited by Wargizmo; Feb 11, 2013 at 03:52 PM.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 05:38 AM   #2
Pye
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Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by Pye; Feb 11, 2013 at 06:48 AM.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 06:04 AM   #3
Matthew.
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I've experimented with this before, but I've never been able to get decent times on NC consistently. It seems chopping forests is a must to be able to get below T70.

I'd bet this opening would be strong on Rome. The head start on the capital would likely result in always having the required buildings in capital for the UA bonus on other cities.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 06:06 AM   #4
budweiser
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I did a similar apprach last week in a bunch of cultural games where I wanted fast science except I took the settler 3rd. Nice write up!
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 06:09 AM   #5
BBMorti
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Very standard and very strong opening
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 06:15 AM   #6
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Thanks. Sounds good. Will try it next game!
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 09:26 AM   #7
JanghanHong
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This really is a strong start, I feel like moving free settler after +1 production per city made it much more sensible.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 10:48 AM   #8
Light Cleric
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Very interesting, my only question is how consistently does this work on Deity? I very rarely find myself in a situation where I can afford to forego Construction this long, let alone not crank out Archers. I know there's an element of evaluating the map, but I can think of very few times where this probably wouldn't get me horribly murdered Or does holding the spots but not actually settling those cities pacify the AI long enough to let you pull this off?
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 12:58 PM   #9
budweiser
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Light Cleric - I think the city locations themselves plus the number of cites you settle is what will make the AI want to kill you. Anything you place between you and their cap, they consider a challenge. Putting 1 or 2 behind you should not anger them as long as you aren't expanding too fast in their eyes.

Would you open like this in Diety Challenge #1 or go Tradition?
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:01 PM   #10
Light Cleric
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budweiser View Post
Light Cleric - I think the city locations themselves plus the number of cites you settle is what will make the AI want to kill you. Anything you place between you and their cap, they consider a challenge. Putting 1 or 2 behind you should not anger them as long as you aren't expanding too fast in their eyes.

Would you open like this in Diety Challenge #1 or go Tradition?
The AI wants to murder me no matter how many I settle. I go 2 cities sometimes in totally horrendous land and still get DoWed.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:06 PM   #11
Tabarnak
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Good idea to talk about this approach. Well explained!

If you can rush buy a granary you can get faster times too. You can regulary do 2 cities NC by turn 60 if you rush buy a settler(15 turns to build a library in your 2nd city). This let you the time to tech an extra lux due to higher population. If you have multiple mining tiles or calendar tiles a worker rush buy can be good too. 1 for luxs and the other for food/production.

This start is popular in MP. But dangerous if close from someone who CB rush you. You need a really strong capital to hard build archers in no time.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:38 PM   #12
BBMorti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabarnak View Post
Good idea to talk about this approach. Well explained!

If you can rush buy a granary you can get faster times too. You can regulary do 2 cities NC by turn 60 if you rush buy a settler(15 turns to build a library in your 2nd city). This let you the time to tech an extra lux due to higher population. If you have multiple mining tiles or calendar tiles a worker rush buy can be good too. 1 for luxs and the other for food/production.

This start is popular in MP. But dangerous if close from someone who CB rush you. You need a really strong capital to hard build archers in no time.
Yes and in MP, where this type of build is used a lot, it can actually be viable to go Great Library most of the time.. which makes the opening extremely powerful.
Diety is the only setting where great library shouldn't be done, imo.. or if you spot someone having far more manufactured good in the MP game at the time you plan to build it.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:43 PM   #13
budweiser
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On a side note - something should be done about the Great Library going on t30. It was built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC, that's like turn 100. Diety not withstanding.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:51 PM   #14
Johan^^
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Good description and write up. I think this is the default starting strat for many people and it is very good if people want to advance from lower difficulties and emp/Immortal/deity.

I have been playing alot with the tradition 4 city opening lately, but after reading this, i went back and gave this a shot again. Right now its looking very good in my current game.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 01:51 PM   #15
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Thanks for this. A couple questions:

1) Do you think France has any synergies with this strat?

2) How do you think this strat compares to full-blown ICS?
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 02:09 PM   #16
ense7en
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I often do this for MP, though usually i do two cites and rush buy a library in the second one.
As mentioned though, this very unwise if you have close neighbors as it leaves you little time for building up military, and also can mean you miss out on good city spots.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 02:18 PM   #17
RedRover57
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A nice write-up and good strategy to have in your arsenal. However, in your examples (particularly your 3rd example) a better strategy for that map would have been to skip libraries/NC and just build archers to upgrade to comp bows ASAP. When Sweden grabbed that faith wonder I would have immediately switched strategy to full warmonger mode in order to take Helsinki before it grows to 15+ strength. I probably would have done the same thing in the Siam game in order to take out Harald ASAP and secure my territory. But it is definitely good to have multiple strategies in your playbook when playing on the higher difficulties.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 02:57 PM   #18
sveint
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This is more or less how I play.

Well except that you need Archery much much earlier on Immortal or Diety.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 03:41 PM   #19
budweiser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sveint View Post
This is more or less how I play.

Well except that you need Archery much much earlier on Immortal or Diety.
The Maya dont need that and will reach Philo pretty fast with their pyramids. The Aztecs can maybe also defend with their Jags. I'm curious if the AI would target thier jungles or just expand elsewhere.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 03:45 PM   #20
Wargizmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Light Cleric View Post
Very interesting, my only question is how consistently does this work on Deity? I very rarely find myself in a situation where I can afford to forego Construction this long, let alone not crank out Archers. I know there's an element of evaluating the map, but I can think of very few times where this probably wouldn't get me horribly murdered Or does holding the spots but not actually settling those cities pacify the AI long enough to let you pull this off?
You MUST have room to expand in order for this to work. On Deity it works as long as you're not close to a 'hostile' AI (e.g. England, Rome, Mongolia) and you don't expand towards the AI.

If you do get attacked you have some options, you'll be able to sell luxuries and rush buy archers/walls. Construction will usually take 3-4 turns, I'll often research construction until 1 turn to go and then tech towards Civil Service. If I get attacked then I'll rush buy a couple of archers and upgrade to composite bows the next turn. In fact I'm going to add that to the OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by budweiser View Post
Would you open like this in Diety Challenge #1 or go Tradition?
I opened tradition on that one, but with all the mountains to defend I could see this working. I would not expand past the mountains though; with Japan and Songhai so close it's asking for trouble.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabarnak View Post
Good idea to talk about this approach. Well explained!

If you can rush buy a granary you can get faster times too. You can regulary do 2 cities NC by turn 60 if you rush buy a settler(15 turns to build a library in your 2nd city). This let you the time to tech an extra lux due to higher population. If you have multiple mining tiles or calendar tiles a worker rush buy can be good too. 1 for luxs and the other for food/production.

This start is popular in MP. But dangerous if close from someone who CB rush you. You need a really strong capital to hard build archers in no time.
Awesome, I'm going to try out the 2 city approach. I find I never have the money to buy a settler that early though. The AI rarely has 240 gold, so it's usually just trading for GPT and waiting. I can see it working if you're able to rush buy a settler quickly though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by budweiser View Post
On a side note - something should be done about the Great Library going on t30. It was built by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC, that's like turn 100. Diety not withstanding.
Haha, well in that case something should be done about everyone here launching spaceships in the 16th & 17th century.


Quote:
Originally Posted by futurehermit View Post
Thanks for this. A couple questions:

1) Do you think France has any synergies with this strat?

2) How do you think this strat compares to full-blown ICS?
1) France is perfect for this, I've actually used this with France quite a bit. With France you'll get your free settler quite early, and you can often time it so your 3 extra cities pop down just as you get your 5th policy (representation), which saves you a ton of culture.

2) When ever I try very early expanding I always end up having to stop at 4-5 cities anyway to consolidate my happiness and build the NC. I think the main difference between this and "ICS" is you have a decent capital here with good science instead of a 4-5 pop settler factory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRover57 View Post
A nice write-up and good strategy to have in your arsenal. However, in your examples (particularly your 3rd example) a better strategy for that map would have been to skip libraries/NC and just build archers to upgrade to comp bows ASAP. When Sweden grabbed that faith wonder I would have immediately switched strategy to full warmonger mode in order to take Helsinki before it grows to 15+ strength. I probably would have done the same thing in the Siam game in order to take out Harald ASAP and secure my territory. But it is definitely good to have multiple strategies in your playbook when playing on the higher difficulties.
Yes, I agree, especially with the Polynesia map. But I thought for fairness I would include all the games I played since I didn't want to just cherry pick the games where it worked well.
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