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1st game at Emperor

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My last game was a Diplomatic victory at Monarch as Byzantines on a Standard map, with over 13K gold (at one point I was making a ridiculous nearly-800GPT!). The DoW by the Celts was perfect timing. I got China in against them, but then China double-crossed me and DoW on me after using my RR network (pursuant to its RoP) to get inside. Then Egypt got into the mix when I went into Celtic territory and attacked the Chinese (they had a MPP, but I wasn't worried about Egypt as it was pretty weak). I then got Inca, Maya and Japan in MAs versus the other three, and this was only a few turns before I finished the UN. Celts abstained, and poor China only got one other vote, while I walked away with it.

So ... having played a couple dozen games at Monarch, and won about half of them, I think I'm ready to go up a notch to Emperor. Any particular tips? I've read the "Monarch to Emperor" article in the War Academy, but was wondering what other ideas some might come up with that aren't in that (or another) article.
 
Main things to watch out for are your citizens' (un)happiness (I can't remember how many citizens are born content at Monarch, but at Emperor it's a grand total of one), and the AI's tech-pace, which will be relatively faster (due to your increased research costs, and the AI's increased inclination towards tech-trading with each other).

So your early game needs to be (even) more tightly focused, especially with respect to pre-empting riots on town-growth by adjusting garrisons, worked tiles, and/or the LUX%-slider, building roads on all worked tiles to boost commerce, and doing as much tech-trading as possible.

Even without food-bonuses near your immediate spawn-point, you've still got a fair to good chance of making the republic-slingshot -- but looking for a nearby food-rich town site(s) for Settler-pumping as early as possible should then be your highest priority, to avoid crippling research by shrinking your capital too frequently.

Best of British luck to you! ;)
 
What tjs282 said is right. No happiness, no empire. Hook up luxuries as soon as possible to keep your cities happy and productive. If your map doesn't have a close lux, or iron you can use, consider abandoning it and starting over. Also, to avoid unfortunate declarations of war, just give the AI what they want. Don't hook up extra luxes unless you are ready to trade - you could get a demand for horse or gems and you get declared on by a superior civ and lose a bunch of cities.

You HAVE to tech trade aggressively, pick techs the AI doesn't prefer and ride that Industrial era tech boost from the AI's being obsessesed with Communism, Fascism and Espionage while you get ToE and speed ahead.

Also, remember that war is almost mandatory at higher levels. Your true advantage as a human over the AI is that they can't run a war at all. Built cats/trebs/artillery in huge stacks and the AI cities will fall, giving you all the tech and gold you need and taking out their ability to out tech and out build you. If you aren't the bully on your continent, you will be bullied.
 
- play archipelago to increase your chances of survival until mid-medeval when the difficulty eases off. The AI is poorer at expansion and military on arcihpelago.
- pick a strong Civ that starts off with a strong UU that doesnt become obsolete too soon, say Celts or Iroquois.
- emphasise expansion, warriors (at your unit limit to dissuade enemy aggression) and Republic to the exclusion of everything else.
- suicide boats so you have earlier access to other Civs before the AI does, helping you keep in touch in terms of tech rate.

Alternatively play Monarch on large land mass Continent, with a weak Civ (e.g. Portugal) and average starting land. Then avoid the Republic slingshot and give yourself a challenge that way.

I find the game becomes more one-dimensional as the difficulty increases due to all the bonus starting units the AI gets. I often find a game on a lower difficulty but with a load of sub-optimum settings can provide a similar level of challenge but a bit more variety and unpredictability. That said, if you are winning half your games on Monarch you've possibly outgrown it (I usually play at a level where I win about 10% of the time).
 
{I}f you are winning half your games on Monarch you've possibly outgrown it (I usually play at a level where I win about 10% of the time).
That's about what I was thinking, especially having had a couple games where I was hoarding gold just because I could & didn't know what to do with most of it.
 
So ... having played a couple dozen games at Monarch, and won about half of them, I think I'm ready to go up a notch to Emperor. Any particular tips? I've read the "Monarch to Emperor" article in the War Academy, but was wondering what other ideas some might come up with that aren't in that (or another) article.
The step from monarch to emperor is a mild one. So there is little need for particulars.
I often find a game on a lower difficulty but with a load of sub-optimum settings can provide a similar level of challenge but a bit more variety and unpredictability.
Indeed. Personally i prefer good starting conditions at higher settings, but i fully agree with your point.
What tjs282 said is right. No happiness, no empire. Hook up luxuries as soon as possible to keep your cities happy and productive. If your map doesn't have a close lux, or iron you can use, consider abandoning it and starting over.
In my opinion neither near luxuries nor close iron are essential. Getting them somehow somewhen is helpful, but doing so by trade is perfectly acceptable in the mid run.

What is essential is starting at a river. This enables city size which is essential once you are republic and the extra commerce from rivers is essential for a good chance at the republic slingshot.
Also, to avoid unfortunate declarations of war, just give the AI what they want.
True. It may take getting used to that, but it often is the wiser course of action.
Don't hook up extra luxes unless you are ready to trade - you could get a demand for horse or gems and you get declared on by a superior civ and lose a bunch of cities.
This may or may not be helpful, but in my opinion it is not essential. Accepting demands is a good way of getting on the good side of AI.
You HAVE to tech trade aggressively
That is essential.
, pick techs the AI doesn't prefer and ride that Industrial era tech boost from the AI's being obsessesed with Communism, Fascism and Espionage while you get ToE and speed ahead.
This can be helpful at times. Most of the time it is no big worry, though. The mentioned period of the (early) industrial age is important, but also obvious. But then again many thing are obvious after you have understood them.
Also, remember that war is almost mandatory at higher levels. Your true advantage as a human over the AI is that they can't run a war at all. Built cats/trebs/artillery in huge stacks and the AI cities will fall, giving you all the tech and gold you need and taking out their ability to out tech and out build you. If you aren't the bully on your continent, you will be bullied.
Artillery can be helpful, but large numbers of them may not be the best course of action. Not using artillery or only in small numbers that donnot slow down your advance can be good alternative, if you create military alliances and simply use fast units like cavalry to annex an enemy fast after friendly AIs take the brunt of the initial assault.

If however you are faced with a presumably long war of attrition, then artillery becomes somewhat essential as the kill ratio tends to become more important than skimping on unit support. That is until you have won the attrition and are at risk of increasing the size of your military beyond reason. That may seem like an unlikely problem, but it can become relevant. Finding the right balance can be tricky.
 
Seconded on prioritising River*-sites, should have mentioned that!

*Lakes are a poor second-best, because you then only get Commerce from going fishing, which nets you no shields. But at least you can still water Plains tiles, and save yourself the 100 'Duct-shields...

(And turn off Accelerated Production!) ;)
 
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(And turn off Accelerated Production!) ;)
Did that 6 games ago (which is a long time ... I don't get to play very often). Funnily enough, I didn't really notice the difference.
 
Thinking Iroquois on a Standard map, random AI opponents (probably end up with the most super-aggressive...).
 
In my opinion neither near luxuries nor close iron are essential. Getting them somehow somewhen is helpful, but doing so by trade is perfectly acceptable in the mid run.

What is essential is starting at a river. This enables city size which is essential once you are republic and the extra commerce from rivers is essential for a good chance at the republic slingshot.
Yes, I think if you are an experienced player at a level, not having luxes or iron nearby isn't a problem. I think if you are just starting a level as a challenge, don't make it too hard on yourself.

Also, #1 thing is to have a victory condition in mind. Note that every level up, spaceship is harder since the AI gets tech and production discounts and its hard to keep up. If you play conquest / domination style, you can always conquer the world (or 65% of it) and play out whatever victory you want. If you can learn/master early war or early middle ages war, you can really beat the AI at any level. At higher levels, war against in the modern age...no bueno.
 
Yes, I think if you are an experienced player at a level, not having luxes or iron nearby isn't a problem. I think if you are just starting a level as a challenge, don't make it too hard on yourself.

Also, #1 thing is to have a victory condition in mind. Note that every level up, spaceship is harder since the AI gets tech and production discounts and its hard to keep up. If you play conquest / domination style, you can always conquer the world (or 65% of it) and play out whatever victory you want. If you can learn/master early war or early middle ages war, you can really beat the AI at any level. At higher levels, war against in the modern age...no bueno.
Yeah, I've generally been a Spaceship/UN victory type. Once in a while I go for Domination, which I might try if I play Iroquois.
 
I'll give some advice that I think applies to all levels and almost any variant on a pangea or continents map.

When you meet someone, see whether they have any luxuries or resources that you don't have hooked up or in your territory (warriors as scouts early can help). If they have some luxury or resource, then try to get one worker to start roading towards their empire so that you can trade for an extra luxury or resource soon. Also, that way you might start planning to conquer it later. If they don't have any, then keep checking on them or find another contact with a luxury or resource that you don't have in your borders.

Also, using goto orders with settlers to anywhere more a couple of tiles beyond your capital can backfire (o. k. maybe that's more of a demigod and beyond sort of thing). It ends up safer to walk settlers one move at a time in most cases.

The game also gives you more favorable economic deals with lower AI aggression levels. That includes the cost of workers from the AIs. So, one way to have an easier Emperor game would consist in having minimal/least AI aggression (and they start at Polite relations with on that setting).
 
I think that playing with anything from 3% to 40% extra Civs into the same sized map will also reduce difficulty as the AI is coded to not build settlemnents too near borders (whereas you can) and so struggles to maximise land usage. Any more than 40% and the game may struggle to find suitable starting locations.
 
When you meet someone, see whether they have any luxuries or resources that you don't have hooked up or in your territory (warriors as scouts early can help). If they have some luxury or resource, then try to get one worker to start roading towards their empire so that you can trade for an extra luxury or resource soon.
That's a good idea. I've occasionally done that, even gifting the tech so I make the trade. Been a while, though.
Also, using goto orders with settlers to anywhere more a couple of tiles beyond your capital can backfire (o. k. maybe that's more of a demigod and beyond sort of thing). It ends up safer to walk settlers one move at a time in most cases.
I've never given a go-to order except for exploratory warriors (or scouts, if playing an Expansionist civ). I try to be picky about exactly where I build a town, and I don't want to waste moves.
The game also gives you more favorable economic deals with lower AI aggression levels. That includes the cost of workers from the AIs. So, one way to have an easier Emperor game would consist in having minimal/least AI aggression (and they start at Polite relations with on that setting).
I often play at lower aggression levels so as to better control when I get into wars, but I didn't realize it affected trade relations.
 
The game also gives you more favorable economic deals with lower AI aggression levels. That includes the cost of workers from the AIs. So, one way to have an easier Emperor game would consist in having minimal/least AI aggression (and they start at Polite relations with on that setting).
I bought a worker for 100 gold in my most recent Tiny DG game and thought it was the best thing ever .... definitely low aggression level, didn't know it made a difference. An early game worker buy is probably the best trade in the game....buying 500+ gold in avoided unit costs + hundreds of gold in boosted commerce from roading + avoiding 5 shield opportunity cost (2 slaves to 1 worker) for 100 gold.
 
Well, the shields hardly matter for workers. Food does matter, as does gold. And having 100 gold to spent is not a given in the early game. But it does slow down AI, which may also favour such a deal.
 
That said, if you are winning half your games on Monarch you've possibly outgrown it (I usually play at a level where I win about 10% of the time).
Ok that's a thinking that I don't have right now. Maybe I'll consider about that
 
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