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1.16-China UHV Strategy Guide

Discussion in 'Gameplay Guides' started by Mxzs, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    The Chinese UHV game is RFC/DoC in microcosm. A very large microcosm, as it runs from 2070 BC until AD 1800. But with that kind of length and breadth, it doesn't challenge you to be extra good at one or two aspects of the game. It challenges you to be good and skilled at the whole thing.

    Launch a Chinese UHV game if you want to learn or practice every trick in the RFC/DoC/Civ IV playbook.

    Unlike many UHV games, there is no single strategy or box of tactics to use as China. How you play and win is up to you. That doesn't mean that any old strategy will work, though. The Chinese UHV game is very hard, at least at Normal speeds. (Consensus is that it's easier at Marathon.) So if you're going to tackle it, it helps to know what you will be facing, and what you need to be concentrating on.

    UHV Conditions
    1. Build two Confucian Guozijians and two Taoist Gongs by Turn 220.
    2. Be the first to discover Compass, Paper, Gunpowder, and Printing.
    3. Complete four Golden Ages by Turn 355.

    All three of these goals pull in different directions. The first pushes you to go wide, for you will have to control 8 cities in order to accomplish it. The second pushes you to go tall, because you will need lots of science and an economy to support it. The third, depending on your strategy for handling the first two, complicates those goals by forcing you to generate and hoard Great People.

    In lieu of a specific strategy, here are some of the things to watch out for as you're puzzling out your solution to the UHV game:

    Barbarians
    Starting on or a little after Turn 100, barbarians will start to trouble you. They will start small—Warriors on your north and northwestern frontiers. These can be easily handled with Chariots or Light Swordsmen.

    On or after Turn 125, Light Swordsmen will start to infiltrate from the Tibetan plateau. They will move through wooded hills, so they will be a challenge to defeat in an attack. Fortunately, that plateau has only two exits, and these can be bottled up with Swordsmen or Chu-Ko-Nus. Barbarian Elephants will also show up in the jungles of northern Indochina. A city here with two Spearmen will render these a mere nuisance.

    On or around Turn 140 you will start getting stacks of Horse Archers in the north and northwest, ramping up in strength until you are dealing with Keshiks. These will hit your northern cities, and if there is a gap between these cities they will pour through to devastate your inner empire. The Great Wall can degrade their strength, but you can keep them out by developing two or three strong cities in the north. Wall these cities and defend them with one or two CKNs, and the barbs won't even be a bother. (One CKN is almost always enough, but you might want to keep an extra unit inside these cities as insurance against ludicrously awful combat rolls.) If you develop a cavalry force, you can meet them before they even get to your cities.

    Mongols
    The northern attacks will culminate on Turn 240 with the greatest attack of them all, when the Mongols spawn with an enormous stack of Keshiks and Bombards. Sometimes the Mongols will spawn at peace with you, but usually they declare war. You need to be ready for them.

    Their unique power—the ability to terrify cities into disorder—negates the possibility of a defensive strategy. You must meet them with an army. A mix of 10 to 12 Lancers and 10 to 12 Firelancers will do it. (An army that size might even be overkill, but with the Mongols you don't want to take chances.) Prepare for them by building a road into the northwestern desert, then move out to meet them on flat terrain with Firelancers that have been upgraded at least to Combat I and Lancers with at least Flanking I. Attack their stack first with the Firelancers, which cause collateral damage, then with the Lancers. You'll be lucky if a third of your Firelancers survive, but they will have weakened the Mongol stack enough that each of your Lancers will have an 85% to 90% chance of victory in the subsequent attacks.

    Unless you have a stack of 20+ Lancers, you are unlikely to kill the entire Mongol stack in that one battle, but it will be so damaged that in subsequent turns you can mop it up.

    Tech rivals
    Barbs and Mongols aren't the only rivals to worry about. Rivals in other parts of the world will fight you hard for the techs you need for the second UHV condition.

    Compass and Paper are the first you will be able to research, and you should concentrate on them. Watch out for the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Persians, and the Vikings, who will also chase them. If you have not secured those two techs by Turn 180, there's an excellent chance someone will beat you to them.

    Gunpowder should be the third tech to secure, not only for itself but for the Firelancers it lets you build. (And on the way to Gunpowder you will research Feudalism, which you need to build Lancers.) Don't delay research on Printing after that. But if you got the other three techs first, you are much more likely than not to secure Printing as well.

    City Placement
    There is no best placement of cities in China. (Though there are some sub-optimal locations: Avoid Qingdao/Shanghai on the northeast coast, across from Korea; there are no resources there that can't be captured by other cities.) There are some standard city placements, though.

    * Chang'an at your starting location is a powerful production city.
    * Luoyang on the plains tile west of the Deer can scoop up massive food and luxury resources to make a super-city, and you don't need Alloys for chopping in order to secure most of the food.
    * Kunming in the south, 1 east of the Gold, has good resources and a defensible location once you pop the borders out.
    * Hangzhou (coastal city, north of Sugar) has good food and fair production, as does a city down Hong-Kong way on the south coast, where there is Copper, Bananas, and seafood.
    * Beijing (coastal tile west of Fish) is another standard city, though it can feel surprisingly constrained, considering the resources nearby.

    Where to found the other two cities? The choice is yours, but here are some options:

    A barbarian city (Simiyan-hoton) will auto-found northeast of Beijing, and you can conquer it for one of your cites. Alternately, if you build an Ancestor Shrine first thing in Beijing (and make Beijing an early city) you can pre-empt Simiyan-hoton and build your own Manchurian city in another location.

    Sanshan, 1 tile SW of the Korean Iron, is another reasonable spot, as it will capture Iron and Wheat in its BFC, though it will get squeezed from the south by Hanseong, and by Simiyan-hoton from the west if that city is also in play.

    Personally, I like to found Datong on the Incense in the northwest. It blocks barbs streaming in from the northwest, and with Walls and 2 CKNs it is impregnable behind its river crossing, and is a good staging area for striking the Mongols in the northern deserts. With access to Beijing's pig and to an Oasis in the west, it can also grow to size 6, which is not nothing even if it's not impressive, and it can work the Silk tile, freeing up Beijing to concentrate elsewhere.

    Techs
    Obviously you will have to research a ton of techs in order to meet your UHV goals, but here are the key ones to aim for. The order you research them in will depend upon your particular strategy:

    * Writing: For building the Taixue, which can hire three scientists and a statesman.
    * Calendar/Alloys: For chopping forests and developing Plantations.
    * Currency: For boosting your economy with Merchant Trade and Marketplaces.
    * Architecture: For building the cathedrals.
    * Ethics: For the Monasticism civic, which will boost your Great Person production.

    Other worthwhile techs include Blooming (for Iron and Swordsmen); Artisanry (for CKNs); Generalship and Nobility (for building up and sustaining an army); Literature (for tech trading and the Caste civic). The two techs that found Confucianism and Taoism (Contract and Aesthetics) are of course necessary, but they need not be high priorities. Confucianism founds in China when anyone discovers Contract, and the Phoenicians like to get Contract early. Aesthetics (which founds Taoism) you will get while beelining Architecture, and you will still probably be spreading Confucianism and building Confucian temples while aiming for Architecture.

    Note that you can save some on building Confucian Miaos by building Ancestral Shrines early, and switching to Confucianism as soon as it founds. In any cities it spreads to after that, the Ancestral Shrine will be converted into a Miao.

    Golden Ages
    There are three ways to trigger a Golden Age in time for the Chinese victory: By capturing the first two UHV conditions; by building the Taj Mahal; and by sacrificing Great People. You will get a Golden Age the first way. What about the other two?

    To get three Golden Ages with Great People, you have to generate nine Great People of diverse types. This is doable if you build enough Wonders and hire enough specialists, but it means that you can't use the Great People you generate to improve your economy or speed your tech rate. For this and other reasons (it is tricky to generate the right diversity of Great People, for one) it makes sense to build the Taj Mahal. To do this, though, Islam must be present in the city that builds the Taj, and Islam must also be your state religion. This will probably entail a short war (at a minimum) in order to conquer an Islamic city. Central Asia and Manila would be places to look. This will also be a late move in the UHV game, because the Taj requires the Urban Planning technology.

    Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
    The following list is far from exhaustive, and I give them in no particular order.

    1. China has great food production, and its unique power means that its cities grow fast. Despotism is a great civic for such a civilization, for the cities can quickly rebound from whipping. OTOH, such a tactic can play merry hell if you're running a specialist economy.

    2. Chopping forests will give your cities a temporary boost to production and will also clear luxuries for development. But China is born in a technological dead zone (credit Enyavar for the metaphor) with little that is worth building early on. Hence, a dilemma. Do you chop early, with little worth chopping for while developing the landscape? Or do you delay economic development until there is something worth investing the chopped hammers in? Your choice, and I don't envy you.

    3. Go wide early, or go tall early? If you build as many as four cities early, in locations that support specialists, you can get your science by hiring 5 to 9 to 12 scientists, even as your research rate falls to 30% or lower. Or you can restrict yourself to two cities early on, building them up while keeping your research rate relatively high. Each tactic has its risks. If you go wide early, you risk running your economy aground. If you delay, you risk waiting too long to build the rest of your cities, and failing to build the temples and cathedrals in time.

    4. Tech trading is a must for China. Build a unit early and send it down to India and through to the Middle East; build a road to India too, to ensure a trade connection. You will find India, Persia, Greece and the others to be relatively open to tech trading (once you or they have Literature). Build a second unit if your first unit is not able to keep you in constant contact with all the other civs. If you are good and lucky, your units can survive into the Byzantine era and then move west to contact Europe.

    5. The Great Wall is good for degrading barb units, but good city placement in the north and the placement of strong defensive units on the hills outside Tibet mean that you can do without it if your priorities are elsewhere. The Terracotta Army is mostly useful for the buff it gives to military production. If you build the TA in Chang'an, and use a saved-up Great General to build the Military Academy there, you can churn out a Lancer once every three turns after getting the landscape improved.

    6. To speed generation of Great People, run the Monasticism civic and research Statecraft for the Civic Square building. If using the Taj Mahal strategy, research Urban Planning and look for Muslim cities in Central Asia and Manila if Islam has not already spread to any Chinese cities.

    See this thread in the main forum for real-time discussion about the Chinese UHV game. Thanks to BaneFire, Enyavar, and others for comments and suggestions that I reference in this post.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  2. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    The UHV guide I posted above is necessarily vague at a lot of points, because there is no single solution to the Chinese UHV game. So here is one game I played, offered not as "the" strategy for playing China, but as one strategy illustrating some of the solutions (and some of the dilemmas) described above.

    This strategy breaks the game into five phases, each with a particular focus. This helps in a UHV game that is as long and as complicated as China's.

    Phase One: Foundation (Turn 31 ~ Turn 110)
    I started by moving my Settler east, to found the capital at Luoyang. This location can grow very quickly and has access to great resources that can be developed with China's starting tech. I built an Ancestor Shrine, then churned out three Settlers, two Archers (to go with my starting Archer; the Militia I kept in Luoyang) and four Workers. I settled, in order, Zhongdu (1W Fish); Chang'an (starting location) and Hangzhou (eastern coast; 1N Sugar). After that, a Taixue and a Granary.

    Zhongdu built an Ancestor Shrine, a Scout for visiting India, a Taixue, a Barracks, a Chariot and Archers. Chang'an built a Barracks, Chariot, an Ancestor Shrine, a Taixue, and Archers. Hangzhou a Taixue. I switched to Despotism + Slavery after discovering Masonry, and whipped Hanzhou's Taixue into being; the others built naturally. I capped growth at happiness levels, and hired 3 scientists in Luoyang, 2 in Beijing, and 1 in Hangzhou. Workers concentrated on improving the resources that didn't require chopping, and on connecting roads to the cities and to India.

    Techs I beelined: Writing, Construction, Contract, Calendar, Seafaring.

    My Scout moved into and through India after getting an Open Borders agreement, and came to rest in southern Anatolia, where it could talk to Persia, Carthage, Babylon, and Greece simultaneously. Initially I could only trade with India, but I scored several techs off them, including Arithmetic.

    During this phase I generated one Great Scientist, and saved him until he could research (Calendar + Mathematics), which saved me more than a dozen turns.

    Phase Two: Expansion (Turn 110 ~ Turn 165)
    Once I had Seafaring (which opened up trade with the Middle Eastern powers) I switched Luoyang to producing four Settlers; by this time I had founded Confucianism, and Beijing and Hangzhou running 3 scientists apiece could pick up some of the research work that Luoyang had been doing. Chang'an built the Terracotta Army and additional units, including a Swordsman to help guard the Tibetan frontier. Zhongdu and Hangzhou built Workboats. With Alloys and Calendar (the former traded for), Workers began to tackle some resources: Sugar, Iron, Bananas.

    I settled, in order, Haojing and Kunming in the south; Sanshan (northwest of Korea); and Datong (on the Incense in the NW). Some of these started with Taixue; others (if religion had spread to them) on temples. Zhongdu built two monasteries, then produced missionaries. I used the whip less than I anticipated; in future games, I will probably shift early to Monarchy.

    As I was building cities, barbs began to invade. My two Chariots easily handled the Warriors; a Swordsman feinted with the Tibetan units, forcing them to suicide against either him or the walls of Chang'an. Four barb Horse Archers got inside the northwest frontier before I could found Datong, and they did some damage before killing themselves against Zhongdu and Chang'an, but Datong and Beijing stopped the northern barbs after that.

    Techs: I beelined Currency, Artisanry, Guilds and Architecture. After getting Currency, I switched to Merchant Trade and Caste System. Once I had Artisanry, Chang'an churned out half a dozen CKNs. Two of these, with hill defense promotions, guarded the passes into Tibet, and I had no more trouble out of that quarter. Two more CKNs went into Datong; another into Zhondu; the last into Sanshan. With money from tech trading I upgraded my two Chariots to Horsemen. My research rate had fallen to 20% by this point, but with Luoyang, Zhongdu, Hangzhou, and eventually Haojing maxed out on scientists, I was producing about 60 beakers a turn while still running a surplus.

    As cities got larger I generated two more Great Scientists, but I saved them back. They could have researched Philosophy and Medicine, among other necessary techs, but other civilizations had these, and I gambled that I could trade for them eventually. I was proved right in the long run.

    Phase Three: Meeting Deadlines (Turn165 ~ Turn 240)
    With eight cities founded, I turned to temple building, and when I got Architecture I was ready to start building cathedrals. I started my first two in cities with middling production values, timing them to finish building a dozen turns before the deadline. As the last of the temples was finished, I put my two big production cities (Chang'an and Kunming) onto cathedrals, timing them to finish a scant five turns before the deadline. Chang'an was a production monster by this point, and I not only built a cathedral there but also the Great Wall in 12 turns.

    Tech: I beelined Machinery, another tech (like Guilds) that I could research while waiting for my rivals to turn loose of other techs. I generated two more Great Scientists, and during this phase I used them and the others I had saved back to win the tech race. My first researched (Scholarship + Alchemy); much later, after I had their prerequisites, I used another to get me Paper and Compass (though I had to finish up research on the latter). Then, after beelining it, I used a third GS to grab Gunpowder in one swoop; the last GS, after another switch in focus, got me Education and most of Printing in one turn.

    I continued to trade for techs, including Ethics. Once I had that tech, I switched civics to Monarchy, Monasticism, and Tributaries, though I should have switched to the first and third earlier.

    This phase also marked a transition period in the production of Great People. I still had to concentrate on running science specialists as part of the tech race, and most of my cities were still not set up to running anything but scientists and priests, but gradually I weaned off the science specialists and ran other types. My landscape was rapidly improving also, so that I could raise my research rate to compensate for the decline in science specialization.

    On or about Turn 210 (AD 900), after it had built its cathedral and I had Feudalism researched, I put Chang'an to work producing Lancers. It was boosted by the Terracotta Army and by a Great General I had won by fighting barbs, and which I had saved back until Commune could let me build the Military Academy. Other cities I put to work building Firelancers. My Golden Age gave me an additional eight-turn boost, and by the time the Mongols spawned I had a dozen of each. In the subsequent war, I only lost three or four Lancers, but I lost all but two Firelancers. They had done their duty, though, and I utterly destroyed the Mongol invasion stack in the desert north of Datong. I then pivoted west to take Dunhuang. With that, I made peace with the Mongols, and heard no more from them.

    Phase Four: Golden Ages (Turn 240 ~ Turn 344)
    The game becomes less intensely stressful after the conclusion of the Mongol war. I ran enough specialists -- four to five in Zhongdu, Hangzhou, Luoyang, and Haijing -- that didn't worry about generating four or five more Great People by the deadline. But I knew that I couldn't get nine, which is what I would need to set off three Golden Ages.

    So I went looking for a Muslim city. The nearest I could find was Samarkand, but I left it alone for the time being. After beelining Statecraft (for the Civic Square building to further boost GP production) and Heritage (which was a mistake) I beelined Urban Planning. I was starting on that tech as I sent my army westward, and I captured it at about the time I got UP. Samarkand was going to starve itself down to nothing anyway, so I did a quick switch back to Despotism and whipped the starving people into a Madrassa. With the 2 population left, I made an Imam in four turns and sent him to Xian. I introduced Islam to Xian, switched to Islam, and started work on the Taj Mahal, which would take 25 turns.

    At the same time, I sacrificed two Great People to make a Golden Age, and then another three Great People for another Golden Age. With the extra production from those 16 turns, I finished the Taj in 18 turns total, starting the fourth Golden Age. It ended on Turn 344, which was 11 turns before the deadline.

    Other Notes
    I fought only four wars. Two were declared on me, by the Turks and by the Mongols at their spawn. The third was a Peruvian colonial war, on accident, when my Caravel ran into the west coast of South America while trying to circumvent the globe. I took Chan Chan, then made peace with Peru and gifted it back. I made the mistake of conquering the Native city north of the Inca, which the Inca wouldn't take, and eventually gifted it to the Independents. I also fought wars against the Independent cities of central Asia in order to capture Samarkand. (The Turkmen had both re-spawned and re-collapsed by that point.) I got rid of my Central Asian cities after generating three extra Imams as insurance against shenanigans.

    The Koreans and Tibetans offered to vassalize to me; I accepted, and regretted it when I saw what it did to my treasury, even while running Tributaries.

    I was handicapped somewhat early in the game by the AI's incompetence. The Indians let the barbs capture Indraprastha, and the Persians let the same barbs capture Neh. This delivered the Indus valley into hostile hands, cutting me off from Persia and points west for almost forty turns, until the Turks swept in. Even then, it wasn't until the Turks made peace with me that I regained trade contact with the west. During this time my research rate fell to 0% a couple of times, and my bulbing rate fell to the upper 30s.
     
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  3. BaneFire

    BaneFire Warlord

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    The guide is excellent and anything I have to say regarding China in 1.16 can be found in the linked thread.

    Just for reference though I've attached my winning city clusters, which should show you an adequate set of clusters to get the 8 cities needed. I echo the sentiment of avoiding Shanghai/Qingdao, in favour of settling somewhere in Korea.

    Either settle next to Pyongyang, settle Pyongyang the turn Korea spawns so that they can't flip it, or conquer it. In this game I went even a step further, razing Pyongang and Hanseong, and resettling on the deer so that the fat cross included all the Korean resources.
     

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  4. Publicola

    Publicola King

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    I didn't realize that the new Mausoleum of Halicarnassus requires Zoroastrianism to build. That makes it a lot tougher to win the Chinese UHV, now that you actually need four golden ages rather than sneaking a win with three longer ones. I am somewhat wondering if anyone's had success with any of the early wonders. Parthenon seems like it might be a useful investment, given the long-term emphasis on specialists.

    I do like the strategy to 'conquer Central Asia, build missionary, spread Islam, build Taj Mahal' as a work-around. I'm wondering if it'd be possible to do so earlier in the game, before the Mongols, in order to pursue some of the earlier Islamic wonders (like La Mezquita). There's plenty of other wonders that might be pursued by the same method, whether Orthodoxy (Mount Athos) or Hinduism/Buddhism.

    Speaking of: @Leoreth, what are the religion spread-rates for any of these into China? During the Tang Dynasty, Chang'an was known as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with thriving Muslim and Christian (Nestorian, at least) communities, along with a hugely significant Buddhist population. These faiths spread largely thanks to the Silk Road -- would it be possible to tie religious spread to the Silk Road corporation, or to the same attraction criteria used by the Silk Road?
     
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  5. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    Now that you mention it, it would be worth looking at, that's for sure. I confess that in my games I've been switching over to Confucianism as soon as it appears, which is fairly soon, given that the Carthaginians beeline Contract. A lower population limit would almost certainly be an acceptable trade-off if it got you the Parthenon, though.

    Yeah! That's another idea worth investigating.

    Agree.
     
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  6. BaneFire

    BaneFire Warlord

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    The problem with an early game religion seeking strategy is that the clergy and happiness bonus from the natural spread of Confucianism are too good to let up (wrt to UHV1. I guess maybe in the brief gap from UHV1 to Mongols you could do it).
     
  7. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    On the Parthenon:

    I played two quick China games to try it out, one with a two-city set up (Chang'an and Luoyang) and a three-city set up (C and L plus Beijing). In both games I didn't get Math until ~Turn 115, which is just about when you can count on Confucianism spreading to China. It did, in both those games. In one game Greece built the Parthenon before I even researched Math, and in the other I would have had 20 turns to build the Parthenon (barring whipping) in one of my cities before Confucianism spread to it. (That's because classical wonders are blocked when a religion is in a city, not just when it's your state religion.) This makes it a hard race to build the Parthenon, and I'm not sure I'd try designing a strategy around it. But I'm not sure it's an out-of-this-world option either, given that Calendar must be got on the way to Math anyway. Only Alloys is off the beeline-for-Math track.
     
  8. freethink

    freethink Prince

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    I am still not doing well
    On marathon I was still trying to get Architecture in the 6th century AD. Unable to get Great Scientists with everything else going on.
     
  9. happysheep

    happysheep Chieftain

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    If I wasn’t trying to win a UHV, how many cities should I get
     
  10. freethink

    freethink Prince

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    An update: With Leoreth's rise of civilizations changes this option will no longer be possible
     
  11. Just an idea

    Just an idea Chieftain

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    I've been trying to continue China game into modern age after completing UHV. How do I keep up in tech race? There seems to be some hidden modifier that makes techs cost less for AI in later eras so if I try to research everything myself I fall behind. When trading AI seems to always want 2 to 3 tech of same tier or higher for one of theirs from renaissance onward. Inflation costs prevent China from expanding so commerce is difficult to increase. Any advise would be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
  12. HighFunctioningAlcoholic

    HighFunctioningAlcoholic Warlord

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    If you make essentially a cultural wall to the west of America's flip zone, that essentially knocks them out of the race and gives you massive amounts of production (i.e. Santa Fe) that you can use to build useful wonders / a massive military to knock out the European competition relatively easily.
     
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  13. Lzz

    Lzz Chieftain

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    You could also vassalize Japan, Korea and Thailand. Then you can direct their research and trade them and gift them technologies so that they stay on par with you. You can then trade 2 or 3 technologies for 1 of theirs and still do well because you aren't relying on the Europeans for trade. Also stealing techs is wonderful for China (especially if you have lots of cities by expanding into central Siberia and India). You can steal from your neighbours and vassals or you can settle a city in North America (something like Vancouver after the Canadian flip) and then steal techs from America.
     
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  14. Just an idea

    Just an idea Chieftain

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    When wanting to steal techs should continue putting my commerce to research or should I raise Espionage slider?
     
  15. Dracosolon

    Dracosolon Warlord

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    If you're a large civ who builds espionage buildings everywhere you should already have a decent progression per turn - more if you employ Statesmen, which as China you're encouraged to do thanks to wonders.

    Your spies also get XP per mission, which fills your Great Spy bar. So a succession of smaller missions (typically stealing gold) can help you pop up a Great Spy, which can then be employed against an advanced player to steal several techs. Stealing a tech through points that you've accumulated takes longer, so only do it if it's cheap and you can produce points fast enough.

    I'm not sure how efficient it is to put your commerce slider into espionage - that's commerce you're not putting into research, and researching a tech is better because it's reliable, you have more control over what you're getting and you can trade it.

    In the late game State Party works nicely in addition to its excellent maintenance bonus. Isolationism should in theory help but I've honestly never managed to make it work, the lack of foreign trade routes completely tank my commerce every time I've tried it.
     
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  16. Just an idea

    Just an idea Chieftain

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    Porcelain Towers effect allows you to have foreign trade routes even when running Isolationism, so it seems quite decent for China.
     
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