A Guide to Playing “Small” on Deity (feat. Piety)

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by adwcta, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Justice1337

    Justice1337 Sofa King

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    Sure, if you do two things, both tech and military at the same time are probably the most secure. But if you do one thing right, it better be diplo.

    I don't have a problem if it's phrased like that. What that camp does though is give itself credit for both military AND tech, and at a pace where it's really only possible to get that much tech by sacrificing literally everything else, at least outside of Mountain/Jungle/Etc ideal start. Because if you really only do tech, you will get multi-DoW'd off the map in the way I described. But at the same time these players claim to have never lost a war because 3 of their Artillery can defeat an army of Rifles, or they're never in that spot because they rush Frigates every game, and so forth. If you give them credit for every claim they make, which is hard to do, really what they're doing is Tech-assisted Domination. They're claiming a break-neck Tech pace anyway, likely never getting to Turn 200+ where low city count starts to slow you down even in tech, and then also, they apply that same break-neck tech rate to all other VC's, including Cultural. Claiming to win Internet-assisted CV by Turn 200, and so forth.
     
  2. hr_oskar

    hr_oskar Deity

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    Adwcta and Justice, you're both making an interesting point here. As I understand it, it's the point that science is an overrated resource by the community of Civ5 players (as represented on this forum at least) and thus that the various tech "benchmarks" (e.g. NC by T90, Education by T120, or whatever they are) have no particular value for determining a game's chance of victory.

    I'm quite open to this argument. I already started up a game exploring the strategy outlined in this thread (picked the Byzantines just for fun) and can already see how prioritizing faith over beakers logically leads to delaying NC to somewhere around ~t160 (I expect to have it built around then in my game too), since you're too busy building shrines, temples and of course the Grand Temple before getting around to libraries.

    "An oppressive cult" you say. Yes, agreed, though perhaps it's more generally an oppressive cult of "musts". You must do this and that to win. Fail that and you'll probably lose. Before my first attempts at a cultural victory, I read the guide on this forum (by Deau), and while it was informative it was also full of emphatic musts. You must get an uber-powerful and large capital and work all the culture specialists in it, you must build this and that wonder, you must beeline that tech, you must hoard 5k faith and then spend all of it on musicians to finally win the game. My actual in-game experience was that I could divide those musts by half or even by three. Yes you need some mix of those musts to win but I would be prepared to win a CV without, say, building any wonders, or perhaps without using any great musicians.

    But still, aside from this particular strategy for a diplo victory, I'm not much of a fan of religion strategies, though it can be fun to explore them once in a while. Seeing as the AI loves to go piety and spam missionaries, I'm happier to go with the flow and accept whatever religion the AI brings me, typically fully reformed, enhanced, and diligently propagated, all without me having to make any investments in it. I'd rather earn my faith to spend it on GP's or religious buildings if possible.

    Thinking in terms of various "empire metrics" as Justice explained, I'd say that my own experience from recent games has been that both hammers and gold are enormously important. For example, having researched Education does you no good if you don't have the hammers or gold to actually build/rush the Uni's. I find myself caring more and more about how much hammers a potential city site will offer rather than being so crazy about food all the time. Likewise I've realized how a steady gold flow enables you to be in control of the game by funding war bribes and other important aspects of diplomacy.
     
  3. adwcta

    adwcta King

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    Yeah, there's a lot of leeway in this game. I used to go hard for sub-250 tradition science wins, and when I started doing it regularly, on bad starts, I gave wide peaceful liberty a shot (dropping 2 difficulty levels to unlearn my tradition habits). I realized just how behind you can fall and still win the game. Liberty's endgame science is really an embarrassment of riches. Thinking I can push this further, I started playing around with Piety and the WC, and realize you can push being "behind" to absurd degrees and still win, as long as you maintain good diplo and don't go for CV. It is always important to remember that every point in science you generate after hitting your last helpful tech is absolutely 100% wasted. That's not a theory, its a tautology.

    To Deau's credit, CV is very different than the other VCs, in that you actually need early-mid game science to get wonders (which are disproportionately useful due to NVC, and/or world religion). Since its almost impossible to win on Deity pre-NVC/Internet... Deity eliminates several more "behind" options. Wide exploration play works (no need for wonders pre-radio), but not as secure as tall wonder-mongering unless you are France/Poly (or, at least I haven't been able to get them to work that well). So, while Deau explicitly says he's not considering wide, but that it may be better, exploration is only significantly better for two civs if you reliably get renaissance wonders otherwise. Semi-Wide science-focused until archeology aesthetics is still IMO the best play (whether with Liberty or Tradition). I think Deau's guide is the best way for CV for a civ without bonuses, and its narrow because peaceful CV is narrow.

    Small CV works in theory with planted prophets, especially if you semi-wide and small, but the bonus is not enough for deity, and I haven't managed to get it to work outside of Brazil/France/Poly.

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  4. tommynt

    tommynt Emperor

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    The problem is just that it isnt true.

    Its maybe not important to reach soem tech at some point but as:
    bakkers = pop = everything
    a good base science and bakker value mean u r doing good overall

    also it doesnt matter if u go "wide" or "tall" as long as u achive high overall pop.
    Pop can be converted into everything making it THE base for being flexible and doing whatever is needed to win.

    Even when u can exploit brokken some game mechanics to still win (mainly just cause didnt teach ai how to do) above is just true.
    And every1 who ever jumped into mp will figure that lead to succes isnt playing bad, but exploiting to still win, but just to play good.
     
  5. hr_oskar

    hr_oskar Deity

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    I don't agree with that. My very first Deity CV was a T224 win pre-NVC/Internet (with Greece, standard pangaea, 3 city tradition). It wasn't peaceful though, I did wage some war and took the capital of my top culture competitor.

    My CV strategy is something like:

    Build Oxford early (easy theming bonus)
    Get the Sistine Chapel cause it's fairly safe
    Consider going for Globe Theatre/Leaning Tower (most of the time it's not possible)
    Try to get the Uffizi (I often lose it and don't worry too much about that)
    Open exploration and build the Louvre (hard to fail this one)

    And most importantly:

    Hire the warmongers to hurt your culture competitors! Make the world a dangerous place for builders.

    The last point is crucial. The way I see it, CV isn't just about building up my tourism. You can approach the problem from the other end simply by reducing the amount of culture built up by the top culture civs on the map. In that way you can ultimately win even without NVC and the Internet and other fancy stuff.

    Granted it doesn't always work out - depends on the map and the civs that are around (more warmongers makes it easier).
     
  6. Justice1337

    Justice1337 Sofa King

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    If Religious strats are not your thing, I've also followed an eerily similar Gold-oriented early-game strategy as Austria, pointed at either Space or Domination. Essentially, you build an economy of Gold tiles, and a bit of Hammers, through a combination of staying to few cities, building few buildings, and prioritizing Gold techs (Philo/Currency). The goal is to trade as many luxuries/strategics as possible, build DoF's, and just build extremely efficient outer cities. I am talking about 6-pop, 8 pop with Circus, mostly working luxury tiles. Coastal tiles are desired due to the Gold on them.

    The reason this worked well is obviously because Austria's UA. If you can buy 4-5 CS's before Turn 150, that's your "sweet spot" where you slingshot ahead just on Empire size. Before then, Cultural/Faith/Maritime CS's are stellar, but after they start to fade, you just buy them up. Your Happy and Gold are so good at that point that you can really do anything. You inherit a ton of free units, some of which you promote, others of which you donate for Influence. Infrastructure is already built, terrain improved, and population is high. This is about the point where you get Banks, Coffee Houses, Factories, Hussars, and are unlocking powerful mid-game SP's like Mercantilism/Scholasticism, as the case may be.

    Other civ's I've been thinking can do the same thing are Poland, Germany, Morocco, Portugal, and so on. The common theme there is Gold. Poland's Ducal Stable is an essentially maintenance free building of the kind you're building almost exclusively in this era. Germany really wants to build Hanses (Banks) and use CS TR's, both of which this strat does plenty of already. Germany also doesn't mind building units because it saves maintenance. Morocco and Portugal, obviously, have their strengths in regards to Gold. China and Egypt have their free UB's, Persia and Celts have free Happy on maintenance free buildings, and Arabia and Russia are both good from the Trade screen. I have also wanted to try India doing this.

    The thing I've noticed that this guide affirms is that Pop costs Happy which costs Gold. That is the one reason an economic/diplomatic empire wants to stay small. The funny thing is that luxuries are a "bad deal" in Maintenance relative to Colosseums/Circuses, and even Zoo's/Stadiums, netting 4 for 7'ish Gold versus 2 for 1 Gold, after Hammers have built it. You want to build first and trade for luxuries later. That's the exact opposite from opening Wide-Liberty, where the net effect of your expansion is to get Hammers in exchange for Happy. Here, you crave per-city happiness the cheaper it is, you trade luxuries, and you limit your builds to things that cost little or no Gold. Guilds, Markets, National Wonders, a few core buildings. No Granaries or Water Mills early game, except for maybe a Granary in Capital. Economic openings also don't want to pay Unit Maintenance. That in addition to keeping the trade screen open are the two reasons you stay peaceful.

    With this strategy, I think it's possible to go either Tradition or Piety. But make no mistake, the reason you go Piety is because it's an extraordinarily strong Economic tree, not because you're intentionally gimping yourself, you're proving a point, or because you're role playing. Theocracy is a phenomenal policy. It's the single best Policy outside of Commerce for game-long Gold output. The only opening policy that competes with it is Tradition's Monarchy, which is about even on Gold early but is outdone late, depending on how much you're paying for your Happiness. The big question between Trad and Piety here is what your religious picture looks like w/o Organized Religion and Mandate of Heaven. Because you will want to found a Religion to have the best economic opening, and you will definitely want one if you are going Diplo. First, the buildings and some beliefs are the cheapest $$ source of Happiness in the game. Religious buildings cost no Maintenance. So, sometimes you are ok with not founding if you've got a good religion spread to you. But what you really want as well is the Founder belief. The Gold-related ones are superb, and they've become a favorite even among those players who don't often go Religion. So if you are playing a Religious civ or are near a Natural Wonder and can still found, then the tradeoff's of paying a bit more Faith than normal for your stuff might be worth opening Trad. But just opening Trad as normal, not founding, and trying to follow an economic strat anyway is cannibalizing the principle.
     
  7. adwcta

    adwcta King

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    Yup, theocracy would be balanced at 15%. At 25% it is pretty insane!

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  8. hr_oskar

    hr_oskar Deity

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    BNW's trade-route system is a significant factor here: it doesn't scale with population, number of cities or any other measure of an empire's size. It does of course scale with tech, so to speak. But it contributes a lot towards keeping a small empire profitable.

    I remember doing some math on the "economics of happy" ages ago. Yes, in terms of maintenance the basic happiness buildings are better than luxuries; but the hammer cost has to be accounted for. In my math I simply settled for having the purchase price of the building as its base cost and then adding maintenance. If a Coliseum is built on T100 in a game that lasts until T250, as an example, it's overall cost is 500 gold + 150 * 2 = 800 gold or 5.3 gpt for those 150 turns; which is slightly worse than a luxury. With a longer lifespan of 180 turns it would be a little less than 4.8 gpt for 2 happy, which is still worse than a luxury. Of course you don't actually rush buy everything in your cities so it comes down to how you evaluate hammers vs. gold. The possibility of building the Circus Maximus also helps improve the value of Coliseums. How much would it cost to ally and keep a mercantile CS for those 150 turns? Assuming 1 influence lost per turn, so that you'd need to buy 210 influence in total, that could amount to something like 3500 gold (assuming you can buy 60-70 influence for 1000 gold every now and then), or 23.3 gpt for 11 happy; even that is just about on par with a basic luxury, so it comes down to situational stuff like luck with quests. All in all I've played with a base assumption that Circuses are great, while Coliseums, luxuries and merc CS's are about equal until something tips the balance towards one thing or the other.

    But basically I agree... pop costs happy which costs gold. And while pop is great cause it creates beakers, hammers and sometimes gold too, it can be economically straining to run a large and growing empire. And gold is uniquely valuable as the currency for diplomacy, where it can often help you to control the game, undermining the stronger AI's chance of winning and eventually leading to your own (by diplo or whatever).
     
  9. TLHeart

    TLHeart King

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    Actually it is true... a person can win the game without the elitists benchmarks.... instead of just playing for the earliest turn win, many of us actually enjoy different aspects of the game, and enjoy exploring those aspects...

    Pop is a double edged sword. There are other ways to play the game, regardless of what some here think.

    And tommy you exploit a broken game mechanic with your strategy, so criticizing others for exploiting other game mechanics is the pot calling the kettle black.

    The AI does not KNOW how to exploit the tech tree to its advantage....your statement, and you exploit it to gain science quicker than the AI....
     
  10. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Deity

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    I remember my first two BNW games where I stayed small (albeit on Immortal) - cap size less than 15 and other cities less than 10. I didn't go Piety and was pretty low in Demographics but I still won both games because as Tommy said, they dumbed-down the game. For those games, I just wanted to try out the new mechanics. Here was the example I put up before - did they really intend for someone to win with these end-game Demographics?
     

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  11. kb27787

    kb27787 Deity

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    On immortal, possible... and especially if you went for the cheap-ass diplomatic victory
    I mean some AIs despite being at peace the whole game still don't have ideology on t260 on immortal :lol: or don't have philosophy at t130 or so.
    It is almost impossible to lose on immortal unless you really suck.
     
  12. adwcta

    adwcta King

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    Pre fall patch diplo victory was a different animal. You can have no delegate source besides CS, and lose 4 CS (or have 8 die) and still win on first vote. SVs would all accidentally win DV. There's also a huge jump in difficulty from Immortal to Deity, that's not new to BNW. If you had the game mechanics down, you never had to do much or have a strategy for Immortal (besides CV).

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  13. NeedaNameUser

    NeedaNameUser Chieftain

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    What is the viability of using this strategy in MP?

    Also, adwcta, I've seen some of your other posts on these forums and have noticed you talking a bit about wide play in general; I was wondering if you had any intention of making a wide guide in the future?

    Also (again), regarding Reformation beliefs and staying in the Medieval era:
    -Would stacking the Charitable Missions reformation belief along with the Philanthropy social policy be a good idea, or would you suggest going for only one?
    -We stay in the Medieval era so that Missionary spam is easier, right?

    ETA: Would also like to know what beliefs you recommend for founder/follower. Papal Primacy?
     
  14. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    Diplo wins are the hardest on MP.
     
  15. adwcta

    adwcta King

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    I have never seriously played MP, only screwed around with it with friends (co-op). I imagine it won't work at all for competitive play (not even a little), because at least a third of the guide is about how the AI will react. You will likely be invaded because you have zero army. I really don't know what people do in multiplayer, but I imagine "peaceful" play does not exist.

    I may make a peaceful (or semi-peaceful) wide guide. It would be much shorter than this, because it still generally requires the same skillset that playing tall does, only it adds more stuff on top of it. It's less easy to see the value of peaceful wide, as compared to "small". The value of this style is obviously that you can fall behind, and in cases where it would be difficult not to fall behind, "small" becomes a very viable alternative in terms of game security. You also have to do less work than tall/wide in terms of the basics (the work you do is religion/diplo work, which is very different than squeezing out resources each turn).

    For Reformation Beliefs, I don't find myself using gold that much (your spies level up very quickly, and you're generally only worried about science from leaving Medieval to hitting Industrialization, so you'll have two high leveled spies to pay around with, and you can always train replacement spies in 10-15 turns because you're behind in tech). I coup-blitz as much as possible, and wait for the "lost" CSes to recover. Charitable Missions is most useful early on in the game (go left side Patronage, ignore Consulates) for gold savings. So, if you aren't expecting any religious competition, then sure. I have yet to find it better than Unity of Prophets though, because the AI WILL convert civs that don't found their own religion, so you would need to counter-prophet spam them to keep up (usually takes two prophets at once), once they start, unless you have Unity of the Prophets (and that has opportunity costs in gold and culture). I might do it if the key civ I need to hold as my religion is non-expansive (4-city tradition) and I get there first, and I pick the Prophet savings/conversion strength Enhancer. Unity of the Prophets relies on pressure, and 4 cities won't generate enough natural pressure to automatically convert cities back. So, a Prophet/missionary combo might be necessary anyway.

    Think of it this way, Unity/Evangelism saves you faith (a LOT of faith, significantly more than 30% is a contested area). Charitable Missions saves you gold, 30% on whatever you dump into the CSs. You'll have enough gold/spies to get all the CSs by endgame anyway (remember, our endgame is very very late), so saving gold will only benefit your final delegate count to the extent that it is the difference-maker between being about to king-make your ally, or being about to buy a CS from being eating up by war. My preference is always to go for Evangelism/Unity (and they're almost always there) depending on which one is applicable for my purposes, with Charitable Missions as a backup.

    And yes, the only benefit to staying in Medieval over Renaissance is faith costs (and research costs, but you're so far behind that you can safely enter Renaissance without raising RA costs for 95% of civs). Now, the only benefit to getting Renaissance earlier is to be able to open up Rationalism (which is fine, but not very important in the big picture timing of things), and gold from Banking (which is very nice). Again, the tradeoff here is really faith vs. gold. As you can see from my reasoning, I almost always prefer faith to gold. It's the more scarce resource, and the bump is +50% faith costs vs +20%gold (trade route plus banks, on an existing +50% city-gold modifier). This is why I recommend only hitting Banking after you won't be making faith purchases anymore.
     
  16. Carch

    Carch Chieftain

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    Great writeup. I don't play anywhere near Deity, but I can't wait to try it out!
     
  17. NeedaNameUser

    NeedaNameUser Chieftain

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    Thank you for the response!

    It is hard to find a peaceful MP game, you are right there; but what if you were playing a game as say, Ethiopia, and got the +20% bonus to defense enhancer? That is a whopping +40% base to your defense, and you also get the benefits of the Stele (UB) throughout the early game. Since we have a lot of gold income, how terrible would it be to buy/hard make some defensive units?

    Also, I'm not quite sure I understand the appeal of going for Unity of the Prophets. Isn't the point of this guide to have religious supremacy? Why then would you want to go for a reformation that halves the ability to wipe out enemy religions in your own cities?
     
  18. adwcta

    adwcta King

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    It only affects your religion. You can still wipe enemy religions. You will also not need to wipe enemy religions in your cities in the first place. If you are playing your diplo game well, no one will ever send a prophet your way (it is an aggressive action, like stealing your land with a GG), and between you and your converted neighbor, you should have enough pressure to fight opposing pressure.

    About all of religion's benefit in spread is in AI diplo control. That's why I don't think this would be a very good strategy in mp. It is a very AI-oriented strategy.

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  19. NeedaNameUser

    NeedaNameUser Chieftain

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    AH! I see where I made the mistake with Unity of the Prophets (mis-read it; thought it was for your inquisitors, not the enemies xD).

    Would still love to hear your thoughts on army, as well as what specific beliefs you believe to be the best.

    Thank you for answering all of my questions thus far :D
     
  20. Ninakoru

    Ninakoru A deity on Emperor

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    Yes and no, after all here adwcta states an strategy that works. He's not ignoring growth and tech out of the schemes, just delaying the catch up after religion is fully developed.

    Optimal? Of course not. Viable? Legit? At game's current state (IE: Complete), yes!

    Great strategy! I don't think is an abuse of game "issues", is impossible to play deity and actively avoiding all the game "issues". At the moment you enter a war to any other civ, you are abusing for instance, your ability to not throw units to embark for nothing, or your ability to move and shoot on the same turn ;)

    After all it's all about winning, and even it cannot be used on MP for obvious reasons, on SP is just as valid as the usual science/growth/whaterver strat.

    Gratz fot the guide!
     

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