3 City Crush

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Melvinho, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Melvinho

    Melvinho Chieftain

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    Hi, all!

    This is my contribution to the Civ4 gamers who want to have more fun with this game.

    Introduction
    This strategy minimizes the need for micromanaging workers and scouts. Yes, there are drawbacks to this, but the game goes a lot faster.

    The purpose is to beat up one neighbor early in the game, take his land, and then REX to twelve or more cities.

    Basics
    These are the basic things you should be doing to win the early game.

    Concentrate on production. In an early rush, hammers win, coins don’t.

    Scout, scout, scout. My first unit out of my Capital is usually a scout. Research Hunting while you’re waiting for your first settler to pop, and then insert a scout at the top of the queue. Grow your Capital to 2. This boosts production and research. Then, run around your Capital to find a good location for your next two cities.

    Iron, iron, iron. Research Iron Working. By the time your first or second settler pops, you should be able to find iron. If not, look for copper or horses.

    Workers. In the opening REX, you should get 4 to 6 workers going. You can build a granary in each city to boost your growth, but only if an aggressive enemy is not too close. If there's a bad guy next door, skip the granary.

    Opening
    REX to three cities, and then stop. The initial plan is to turn your first three cities into war factories, rush one opponent, take his stuff, and make him cry. Here’s what you do.

    Find territory with lots of hammers. Experienced players will tell you to look for bonus food tiles. Yes, and… In an early rush strategy, your first target is always iron. By the time you pop your second settler, you should know where the iron is. A location with iron and food is best, but always choose iron over other resources. If you can’t get iron, you can still rush with copper or horses. When you find iron, always defend it with an archer or two until you get gunpowder, and then defend it with gunpowder units.

    The absolute best spot to settle your first two cities is the two-hammer hill. The two-hammer hill is any hill with plains. Your new city will start with 2 hammers instead of the usual 1 hammer. This is a tremendous boost to production in the early game, but it will cost you over the long run. Settling on elephants or horses has the same effect.

    FYI about automated workers: They are idiots. They will mine an iron patch, and then fail--FAIL!--to build the road you need to have access to the iron. Idiots. Watch this closely, and make sure your idiot workers build a road on your iron patch.

    Techs
    Research these techs for the opening rush in exactly this order:
    Archery - gives you Hunting (Scouts) and Archers
    Iron Working - gives you Mining and Bronze Working
    Mysticism - build Stonehenge or monuments
    Wheel - you need to build roads from your iron mine to your cities
    Pottery - build a granary in every city before any other buildings
    (Note: If your opponent is very close, skip the granary)
    Writing - gives you Alphabet and libraries
    Metal Casting - get forges ASAP
    Agriculture - boost your population
    Animal husbandry - reveal horses
    Masonry - lets you build Pyramids and other Wonders
    Construction - get catapults ASAP
    Monarchy - Hereditary Rule helps with happiness early in the game
    Currency - gives you Mathematics, and you can build markets
    Feudalism - Vassalage helps your war effort
    Banking - Mercantilism gives you one free specialist per city
    Drama - helps with happiness
    Gunpowder - muskets beat maces every time
    Steel - cannons win

    Backfill techs that you don’t already have:
    Sailing - gives you Fishing
    Horseback Riding - Horse archers are great for scouting and pillaging
    Meditation
    Priesthood
    Polytheism
    Monotheism

    Initial build order in the Capital
    Scout
    Settler
    Settler
    Stonehenge

    Buildings
    Build these buildings in this order in each city:
    Monument (if you don’t have Stonehenge)
    Library
    Granary (unless your opponent is right next door to you)
    Barracks
    Forge

    The Library trick
    Once you build a library in your Capital, turn off Citizen Automation and switch one or two citizens to Scientists. This boosts your research and helps pop Great Scientists. This really helps to keep you from falling too far behind in the tech race.

    Wonders
    In the opening game, the only Wonder I build is Stonehenge. Don’t be tempted to build Pyramids, Great Library, Oracle, or any of the others. Your goal is to build an army, take enemy cities, and dance the happy dance.

    Strategy
    I recommend you follow this strategy to beat up your first victim:
    Attack only one opponent.
    Make peace with all others.
    Attack small, weak cities first. You can attack small cities with only melee units. While your victim has been spending his resources REX-ing, you have built an army. Now you can take away his new, weakly defended cities. Yummy.
    Get catapults and melee units together and attack the larger cities.
    Pillage enemy tiles. Use your chariots and horse archers to pillage. Cash in on his stuff, and then use that money to go beat him up. Heh.

    If you have been developing your territory, then money won’t be a problem. The secret is to have six or more workers developing your tiles. Together with the early granaries, your population should be large enough to sustain a potent army.

    Watch your money. Switch to money mode when you have to (turn on Emphasize Commerce). This kills production, but it lets you keep going long enough to end the war on favorable terms.

    Attack the enemy Capital. The enemy Capital generates huge culture points, and often has one or more Wonders. The enemy culture from the Capital can quickly swallow up the cities you have captured. Besides, captured Wonders are sweet.

    Finishing the rush
    After you beat up one neighbor, stop the war on your terms. Either finish him off, capitulate him (open the negotiation screen, select “Would you like to make a trade proposal”, and then select Capitulation), or get a peace treaty.

    If you bog down, stop the war. This is the tricky part. Sometimes you can wipe out your victim right away, but other times they fight back pretty hard. When it looks like you can’t make any progress, or when they have gunpowder and you don’t, make peace on good terms.

    Mid game
    After the initial rush, you will need to boom your economy and race to Gunpowder, Rifling, and Steel. This will prepare you for round two.

    Backfill cities. Build more cities in the areas you now control. Sometimes, I double the number of cities I have during this time. New cities should start to come online by the time you are ready for the next war. Add workers as needed.

    At this point, you may choose to adopt a State Religion and switch to Organized Religion. This boosts production of buildings in all cities with the State religion. Also, temples and monasteries add to culture and research, and are fairly cheap to build. You also have the option of switching to Theocracy when you go to war. This gives you +2 XP per unit created in any city with the State religion.

    Build up for the next war. Run your research slider to 100% and let it auto-adjust. As you build markets, courthouses, grocers, and banks, keep increasing your research rate.

    The following techs will let you make war for a long, long time:
    Drama - Build theaters and increase your culture rate to help control unhappiness
    Code of Laws - Courthouses help you expand without breaking the bank. In new cities, build the courthouse first to reduce maintenance costs while the city population is still at 1 or 2.
    Banking - Banks boom your economy
    Civil Service - Irrigation will boost your population
    Theology - Theocracy gives you +2 XP per unit created in any city with the State religion
    Gun Powder - This is quick to get (Guilds lead directly to Gunpowder), and Gunpowder units beat the snot out of melee units
    Steel - Cannons -- boom, baby, boom!
    Rifling - Riflemen kick booty
    Industrialism - Factories and Infantry, woo hoo!
    Artillery - Artillery blasts enemy defenses
    Fascism - Mt. Rushmore and Police State reduce war unhappiness to almost 0%
    Police State, Nationalism, and Emancipation are the three civics that stop unhappiness during war. You may have to adjust your culture slider up a few notches to keep unhappiness down and war production up, but it’s worth it.

    If you can get them, the following Wonders will give you an edge in war making:
    Stonehenge - expands your borders and gives you Great Prophets for the entire game
    Colossus - this can give your economy a boost, also helps generate Great Merchants
    Great Wall - gives you Great Engineers for the entire game
    Great Library - +2 scientists booms your research
    Great Lighthouse - helps generate Great Merchants
    Pyramids - Police State - +25% military unit production in all cities and -50% unhappiness in all cities due to war weariness
    Notre Dame - +1 happiness in all cities on the continent
    Taj Mahal - starts a Golden Age
    Statue of Liberty - +1 extra specialist per city
    Pentagon - +2 XP per new unit produced in each of your cities

    National Wonders are always good. I prefer Ironworks, National Epic, Heroic Epic, and Scotland Yard.

    Great People rock. I use Great Prophets to boost hammers and coins either in the Capital or in weak, outlying cities. I use Great Engineers to instantly build Wonders or to boost production in weak, outlying cities. I use Great Scientists for Academies in cities that need a culture boost, or as super specialists until around 1700 A. D. After that, I use them to boom research. I send Great Merchants out to foreign cities to scout and to bring home truckloads of cash. With all that extra cash, I can keep my research rate elevated and still run a deficit. I add Great Artists to a city to boost the culture rate until around 1800 A. D. After that, I have them create a Great Work for an instant culture boost. I use Great Generals to build Military Academies after I get Education. Before that, I use them to add +2 experience points per unit created in that city. When I do this, I put all Great Generals in the same city. Put Heroic Epic and a Military Academy in the same city and watch your military production boom.

    In mid game, I usually switch my cities to empahsize production. This helps boost production slightly, and helps generate more Great Engineers.

    End game
    Production wins. All others just support your production. Always keep the highest production rating.

    Keep an eye on your score, your production, and your power rating. Watch for opponents who have Rocketry. They are trying for a Space Race win. Build an army and go squash them.

    Keep an eye on culture numbers, also. If you see an opponent with 3 cities that are getting close to going Legendary, attack them, take one or more of these cities, or raze them. Your victim can’t recover from that.

    If you don’t have quite enough land for a Conquest victory, but you don’t feel like having another war, build United Nations and go for a Diplomatic victory. Just vote yourself a victory. It’s hilarious.

    The 3 pillars of victory are:
    Manufactured goods - Most hammers
    Power - Largest army, you get to keep your stuff and take away their stuff
    Crop yield - Biggest population

    As I mentioned in the intro, 12 or more cities virtually guarantees victory. But, the formula is:


    L + 10%

    L = total number of cities owned by your largest opponent

    If you have 10% more cities than your largest opponent, you should win.

    You can boom your population and your overall score late in the game, especially after you get Biology, by switching your cities from production to food (emphasize growth). Watch your total score climb. Hear your neighbors whine and cry and cancel treaties with you. Bunch of babies.

    Conclusion
    In a 3 city crush game, hammers win. When settling, choose hammers over bread or coins. Build troops. Beat people up. Take territory. Win. Enjoy.

    Melvinho
    Knowledge is life; ignorance is death
     
  2. slobberinbear

    slobberinbear Ursine Skald

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    At higher difficulty levels, waiting to rush with swords is sometimes too late. If you have other reasons to research AH, you may find horses, which allow chariots -- an excellent rushing unit if produced in quantity and quick enough. Similarly, you may have a forested location and want bronze working for chopping and thereby find copper nearby for early axes.

    I would also disagree with taking the weaker cities first. In an early rush, the AI's best hammer city is almost always the capital. There is a fair chance that it has a strategic resource as well allowing the AI to produce strong units. Knocking out the capital first makes the remainder of the conquest relatively easy.

    Lastly, Stonehenge is going to slow down your rush. Detouring to Mysticism (if you don't have it) plus sinking the hammers into it are not optimal. Why not get AH or BW sooner and use the hammers to build settlers or military units? I like Stonehenge as much as the next guy but if you are advocating it as part of a rush strategy I disagree.
     
  3. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    First off welcome to the forums.
    To be brutally honest many of the things you have written in this guide suggest you are very new to civ 4.
    When you intend to research an expensive tech early on then :commerce: is very important, hammers are far easier to come by. A major problem you can land yourself in by focusing on :hammers: too much is to run up too much military maintenance before you can pay for it.
    Food is the root source of your production (and entire empire in fact!). Specifically for early game :hammers:, :food: allows you to grow to work mines, it contributes production to Workers/Settlers directly AND can be converted to :hammers: by Slavery.
    Delaying your food techs till after the extremely expensive and highly unnecesary rush to Metal Casting is suicidal, if this actually works try playing 3-4 difficulties higher!
    Without food you will seriously struggle to get any reasonable hammer output.

    I'm sure someone will give a more lengthy run down of your article sooner or later.
     
  4. henrebotha

    henrebotha proud Fender owner

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    Your settlers are going to get eaten.
     
  5. King Pluto

    King Pluto Emperor

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    I agree that there are a lot of problems with your guide, but the biggest problem is the hammer vs food comment. Metal Casting before Agriculture, Animal Husbandry AND Fishing means you aren't improving ANY food for at least a hundred turns. That just doesn't work, even at Noble.
     
  6. Jerrymander

    Jerrymander Epistemologist

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    ... is this a guide for Warlords or the Warlord difficulty?
     
  7. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

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    Kick ass!!
     
  8. Melvinho

    Melvinho Chieftain

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    Thanks to everyone for the outstanding commentary.

    First, this article is for Noble. On any level higher than Noble, this strategy will get you creamed.

    Second, this is also for playing a quick, relatively simple game. Civ4's complexity makes the game less than enjoyable for me. I want to build fast, kick butt, take stuff, and then drop extra cities to fill in the gaps.

    I win about 2 out of 3 games this way. The ways I lose are:
    My settler gets jumped
    I run out of money
    I lose the war (yes, this happens)
    I don't find any iron or copper
    Someone else wins Space Race because I was asleep at the wheel

    Happy Civ-ing, all. And thanks again.

    Melvinho
    If the sign says, "No Smorking", I must be in Japan.
     

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