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A Guide to Cultural Victory in Orbis

Discussion in 'Orbis Modmod' started by moshi, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. moshi

    moshi Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
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    52
    Hello!
    I was reading in another thread this afternoon and was surprised to find that some other players find it either boring or difficult to achieve a Cultural Victory in Orbis, so I thought I'd write up this little strategy guide and pass along some of my experiences. As with in BtS (which was the only version of Civ i played up until I discovered FFH a few months ago), I consider cultural victories oddly elegant, given that, from turn one (and before!), you must have a single focus on an objective that seems at first to be at odds with the usual expectations for what a victory looks like (i.e. domination or conquest). Focusing on a Cultural Victory will test all of a player's skills: you still need to be able to thwart an oncoming enemy advance, but the importance of diplomatic tact is multiplied and every tech you research needs to be focused on one ultimate goal. So enough rambling, on to the guide:



    Introduction and Early Game Expansion & Research Goals
    I'll mention this at the very top, but it'll become obvious enough as you read on: This strategy is based on the unique opportunities afforded by following Fall of Leaves. Once you research Guardian of Nature, you can essentially ignore health and happiness caps. Each of your three primary cities (i.e. the three cities you're trying to get up to 50000:culture: to claim your victory) will be running as many culture-generating artists as possible. These specialists, along with culture multiplying buildings (theatres, temples etc) and settled Great People, form the core of this strategy.

    So, which leader to choose? Areandrel Phaedra or any of the Balseraph leaders offer intriguing possibilities for a more aggressive hybrid style of play, yet if you want a cultural victory in the fewest turns, the only choices are Einion Logos (%100:gp: and an amazing worldspell) and Cardith Lorda (100%:gp: and sprawling, massive cities).

    Research-wise your first goal is to beeline Way of the Forests and found FoL. Next step on the research ladder: Drama. On the way there, if you're the first to discover Festivals and pop a free Great Artist, save him and use him to found the Globe Troupe, if not, run an artist specialist or two and found and spread this guild ASAP. You also should prioritizing build Sylvain's Lyre and it's +100%:culture: for one of your cities, though in my experience the AI doesnt much care for this wonder so it's not essential to build at once, as long as you don't put it off too long.

    If you've ever followed Fall of Leaves before, you know that forested tiles are key. Chose city sites accordingly, never chop to build a farm or cottage, build lodges everywhere and run Survival as soon as you research tracking.

    You only need three great cities for a win, but as military power is low on your priorities, having a buffer city or two on the outskirts or your empire makes a lot of sense; you simply cannot afford to have one of your main cities sacked or occupied. Still, even though a buffer is nice, it's better to have three perfectly situated cities that five or six mediocre ones.


    War and Diplomacy
    Any war is an unwanted preoccupation for you. Diplomatically, be a pushover. Give into all reasonable and semi-reasonable demands (but don't go switching to the Veil just to please Hyborem :))

    Early on, Fawns promoted to Woodsman II will be good defenders of your realm, and their Mesmerize Animal ability (a special unit-ability gained at level 4 and not mentioned in the -pedia) will provide you with some powerful animal units for free, just by standing next to them! 11 :strength: Elephants are great city defenders and bears and wargs make decent suicidal offensive units early on. Weaker animals like wolves, lions and tigers, can be sacrificed in your cities for the little cultural boost they provide.

    Casting the Mesmerize Animal ability affects all the units on a tile, so by exploring lairs and encountering pack leaders one can whip up a little army surprisingly fast, so if you feel the need to take a city from one of your pesky neighbors, now's the time to do it, before your foes become too powerful on the battlefield.

    Once you reach around tun 150 to 175, your rivals are going to be significantly outpacing you militarily. Longbows are going to be the mainstay of your army if you're playing as the Elohim, while Centuars are a good choice for the Kuriotates.
    If you must wage an offensive war, remember that the goal isn't to crush your foes, but rather it remains this: to achieve a cultural victory. Any :hammers: you spend on catapults and swordsmen could almost certainly be better spent on coliseums and temples, so stay focused and don't let wars drag on out of either spite or opportunism

    Finally, as the Elohim, don't be afraid to use your worldspell or even sacrifice Corlindale to force peace, and try to possess Seven Pines if possible, which will allow you to force peace a second time


    Mid-Game Proirities: Research and Civics
    Though it's tempting to try to beeline Currency--->Feudalism at this point to try and be the first to build Hall of Kings for the +4:culture: per specialist (with Caste System), i've never managed to beat the AI to HoK (on immortal). Instead, consider researching Priesthood and Arcane Lore to build Water Mages and Priests of Leaves to transform your land in to a forest paradise with their 'bloom' and 'spring' spells.

    Civic wise, Gaurdian of Nature and Survival are no-brainers considering the huge bonuses for all the forests in your realm. I also favor Aristocracy (+25% :culture: and a free specialist), City States (+25% :culture:) and Caste System (+2:culture: per specialist, and you're gonna have a lot of them). That leaves the Cultural Value line, and both Religion (+10% :culture: and +25%:gp:) and Scholarship (+2 :research: per specialist) seem like good choices, with Religion being the best option in most circumstances.

    Liberty and its 50% :culture: bonus also seems nice, but trust me, if you follow my guide, your game will be in the books before you get a chance to research Education ;)


    City Specialization & Great People
    One city, almost certainly your capital with its bonus starting-city resources and free :culture: from the palace, should be your primary Great Artist farm, this is where you build the National Epic and run early artist specialists. Remember that Song of Autumn, the FoL holy building, can be built by a great artist so don't worry about running a priest early on and contaminating your pool. Speaking of contamination, be conscious of the effects of building on :gp: points in your farm city. It might be tempting to build the Great Library or Heron Throne, for instance, but this will negatively affect you in the long run...

    Your Second city is going to be the headquarters of Globe Troupe, which will bring it a big culture boost once it starts to spread. Remember to trade for additional resources to convert into :culture:

    The third city will be lacking much culture in the early stages but that's fine, just build temples and early :culture: multipliers and when it's complete, move Sylvain's Perfect Lyre there, doubling the city's cultural output - it'll catch up by the late game when it matters.

    Once you switch to Guardian of Nature, happiness and health will no longer limit growth and you should be running as many great artists as possible in all of your cities. To facilitate growth, you should have smokehouses and granaries in all your primary cities.

    Your GP farm is going to be churning out a ton of great people during the mid-game thanks to the Philosophical trait, Civics bonuses and building multipliers, so the question becomes what to do with these Great People. In general, keep an eye on each of your primary cities' cultural output per turn and their total cultural value and settle them in which ever city seems to be lagging farthest behind in either area

    There are certain situations where it may be in your interest to use a GP's 'Create Great Work' ability instead of settling them:
    1) in the early game, when you're fighting for territory and can easily dominate a foe's city with a 4000:culture: burst
    2)in the final 20 or 30 turns before achieving victory, when a GP won't produce at least 4000:culture: before victory
    3: if one of your cities is significantly behind the other two in total culture and needs a shot in the arm to catch up


    Religion
    Even though you're going to follow the Fall of Leaves for the entire game, you still want to actively encourage the spread of certain religion in your territory. Why? Each temple is worth an extra 20% :culture:, so there a potential for a huge cultural.

    There are exceptions: the religions you don't want to spread are AV (raises Armageddon count), Cult of Dragon (lowers culture and increases chance a acolyte won't successfully spread a religion you want) and Council of Esus (a waste of time with zero benefits towards a cultural victory).

    Be grateful when a religion spreads into your lands naturally, but don't hesitate to trade for a rivals religious tech and get a free acolyte. If you can't find anyone to trade for a founding tech, given your single-minded focus on a Cultural Victory, it's not a bad idea to research a religious tech long after that religion's been founded.

    Once you have an acolyte ready to spread a new religion in your lands, remember that his success will be highest in the city with the fewest religions already present. During the coarse of a game, it's likely that your acolytes will fail to spread a religion or two, and that's fine, there is flexibility to any winning strategy and having any one religion fail to spread will only cost you a few turns at the end game, not a big deal in the scheme of things


    The Cultural Slider
    It's critical to your success, and I'll reference here an excellent tutorial that goes into details I never could:
    http://www.civfanatics.com/civ4/strategy/culture_victory.php

    Since it's written for BtS, some of the more specific details won't apply, but the sections titled "Basics," "Two Cultural Strategies," and "Brief Game Descriptions" apply pretty well to Orbis, with obvious exceptions (e.g. In BtS, you don't get a free acolyte so the focus is on founding religions rather than spreading them)

    Suffice it to say that research becomes less and less important to you the later in the game it becomes. Even though it goes against all your instincts, start turning up the :culture: slider in the mid-game, ignoring the tech gap your rivals will quickly widen on you. In the final stages, turn the :science: slider down to 0% and convert all available :commerce: into culture. Managing to turn commerce into culture is the true secret to a Cultural Victory, both in BtS and in FFH Orbis, and hopefully you find that article helpful in understanding why...


    Odds and Ends
    Keep in mind that you should always strive to keep the Armageddon count below 30. Your strategy is going to be dependent on large cities and blight will hit you especially hard. As the Elohim you will have more opportunities to lower the count thanks to the Hallowing ritual, if you're playing as the Kuriotates, it might be necessary to take more drastic measures, like declaring war on Hyborem or another Ashen Veil civ and razing some cites.

    Join the Overcouncil as soon as possible (potentially even gifting Way of the Wise the other Good civs for an easy diplomatic boost). If you happen to control the council, consider declaring war on a distant or otherwise non-threatening rival. War weariness is not a concern for you thanks to the massive happiness bonus from FoL, and it will keep your allies tied up and less likely to backstab you.

    Keep building acolytes well into the late game, spread FoL and bribe your allies to follow it. Then, once they convert, have a squad of exorcists ready to enter their territory and remove heathen religions from their cities, so they won't convert back. These exorcisms may also have the advantage of removing Ashen Veil from a city, which will help lower the AC (every bit counts!)

    If you're playing as the Elohim, remember you can get the Spiritual trait by completing the pilgrimage quest by visiting unique features on the map
     
  2. moshi

    moshi Chieftain

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    reserved, hopefully a guide to Cultural Victory with the Balseraphs will fill this spot soon...
     
  3. Imuratep

    Imuratep Cultist of the Old Ones

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    Your guide is very good. With it you should be able to win a cultural victory without any bigger problems.

    Concerning my thread: I don't consider it hard to win a cultural victory in Orbis concerning it's difficulty to do it, but the time you need to do it. I have done it several times before working with similar strategies to those you propose. But you don't have as much support as you have in BTS and as the AI is too dumb to lead war and units don't get obsolete as fast you don't have to prepare your army as well as you have in BTS. The best thing would be if the Cultural Victory offered you a task like keeping your spoiled cities happy like I proposed in my thread. This way you need to get luxury resources from other civs and have to try to placate your neighbours to get their resources you do not have. Would be more player interaction than it is right now. After a certain point it's just pressing enter for a long row of turns (at least about 60-70 turns) and especially if you have a slower processor these turns can be VERY long. But right now I tend to understand XML and this new mechanic would probably need Python.
     
  4. Wauthan

    Wauthan Inaniloquent Nihiliarian

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    It's really nice to see a guide like this for Orbis. Thanks Moshi! That said I must say that cultural victories are fairly easy to achieve at the current version of the modmod. With FoL I actually have to keep an eye on my culture level in order to not win by culture accidentally. You're right that specialists and Caste System is very powerful in combination. :undecide:

    Also, I find it handy to turn one of my early border cities into the last great city, especially if I manage to establish the Prospectors Guild. With the push from massive culture coupled with Ratcatchers nibbling away at enemy culture I can swiftly convert his border cities into my own. The only downside is that the "1 turn revolt" spy mission doesn't count when turning a city.
     
  5. Imuratep

    Imuratep Cultist of the Old Ones

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    I would like to see a cultural victory guide for Hyborem instead one for the Balseraph. That one should be interesting.
     
  6. moshi

    moshi Chieftain

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    I'll get to that right after I finish my guide to a cultural victory with the the Braeden the Laconic :lol:
     
  7. Imuratep

    Imuratep Cultist of the Old Ones

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    Hm why not :p? Foolishness as an universal cultural value always seemed interesting to me :p...
     

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