A Learning Game (Help me with Monarch)

Joined
Apr 2, 2013
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Location
Oklahoma City
Lately I've been struggling to become competent on the Monarch difficulty setting. As a returning player, this was the level that I never could quite get comfortable with in the past (albeit I did win on it a few times). I was told that starting up a learning game like this where I post my game, as well as my thoughts and plan of action, and wait for advice from experienced players before going on, was the best way to learn. Thank you all for your time investment and advice.

Initially I had a problem with taking screenshots in fullscreen mode (it would only capture my desktop behind the game). To remedy this, I will run the game in windowed mode which seems to result in worse text that's sometimes hard to read. Until I can figure out why I can't capture screenshots in fullscreen, this is my only option. :(

I will be posting this in short intervals (and not necessarily fixed ones, as I'll probably stop and update when I'm faced with an important decision or situation, rather than specific dates).

Turn 0:

Spoiler :
--

As can be inferred from the title ;) I'll be playing on Monarch, and here are my map settings:



The only other modifications to the game setup (besides random leader) beyond defaults are no huts or random events; (I'm trying to take luck out of the equation as much as possible).

The Leader:



I got a much better leader than I would have expected for having chosen random, although his advantages favor a play-style contrary to my own, so this may be a helpful opportunity to familiarize myself with strategies and methods of play that I'm currently uncomfortable with.

Fin/Org is arguably one of the strongest trait combos in the game, which may not be helpful for me here, seeing as how this is a learning game. This is not helped by the fact that the UU is OP as well. An Immortal Rush might be too 'cheap' if I'm trying to figure out how to play the game solidly without special situations and strokes of luck. It's up to you to advise me, though. I'm for learning, not exploiting.

The Start:



I was also 'blessed' with a (perhaps) incredible start (however it looks somewhat short of production). 4 food bonuses, fresh water, riverside grass (and some plains) covered in trees, as well as settling on a hill for extra production and defense seems to be a very powerful start IMHO. However, I know virtually nothing of the surrounding land, and the game tends to combine very poor surroundings with strong starts in my experience. We'll have to wait and see.

My initial thoughts are: SIP, Scout 1NE, and research Fishing ---> Mining ---> BW, and build a Worker.

I do have a concern with going Worker first. Even though I have corn, seafood starts are usually hard to develop quickly enough, and if I take the orthodox route and go Worker first, once my corn is improved, it won't have anything to do until I get BW, and that seems rather wasteful. I suppose it's less wasteful than waiting to build the worker. The only other alternative that I can think of that might also be feasible is to maybe build a warrior while Fishing is being researched, and then build a Work Boat afterwards, then finally a Worker (with a larger capital). The question is, does the extra yield from being able to work more tiles account for the lost time in waiting to build the worker (especially considering that it wouldn't be able to do much if I went for it right away). I would get 3 extra food from improving the corn, and 2 extra for improving the clam, and I have a better chance at fogbusting if I build a Warrior first. I have a feeling that I'll still be advised to start building a Worker, but I'm sure most of you know what you're doing far better than I do.

Another idea is to scout to the west, and if the land is favorable, settle 1W and build a Worker first, researching mining so that my Worker can mine the hill after the farm is done, but that leaves food too far out of the equation IMHO, and it would take even longer to get my seafood developed (although I'd build the Work Boats faster that way with the mine). However, at Monarch, it may be too risky to not SIP.

Thank you once again!

Here's the save:

View attachment Eli BC-4000 (AspiringScholar).rar


EDIT: Improving the corn should give 2 food, not 3, IIRC since it's not irrigated.
 
This looks like fun AS. I will play along in parallel as I have never played Darius.

I have also started playing NHNE to take out luck, and frankly, another AI advantage once I move up to emperor since they will scout all the huts.

Spoiler :
I will scout first, but then SIP (though a grassland hill and not plains hill, and one of our only hills). Then likely do fishing and one WB (too much food to use before happy cap I think, and will put turns into worker before the WB can start). I too would be interested in what the senior players would do. We'll see. Starting now.
 
(Fishing) Coastal starts are tricky, I can't advise you here much. Fin makes it maybe better to work water tiles. You can start by building worker until Fishing is done and then switch queue to wb - altho wb's will be slow to build without chops, whips or 3 hammer tile. Corn is still best food tile and I'd improve that first. With all those forests in BFC, early BW is a must.

Probably move scout 1W to see if it'd be better to settle 1W of settler, grasshills are too valuable to be settled upon.

Some info:
  • 1W of corn is probably strategic resource
  • Clams count as 1/2 food
  • You can attach save by going "Go Advanced" (next to "Post Quick Reply") - "Manage Attachments" (down in Additional Options)

Edit: Edits
 
1W of corn is probably strategic resource

Is this because everything else in BFC has forest? Can't resources lurk under forests?

Spoiler :
Spoiler Resource info :
There is definitely neither copper nor horses there at 1W from corn...interesting game so far. More to follow.
 
Yes, the game seems to do that on non-forested tile in BFC of starting position. So I heard :)
 
Is this because everything else in BFC has forest? Can't resources lurk under forests?

Spoiler :
Spoiler Resource info :
There is definitely neither copper nor horses there at 1W from corn...interesting game so far. More to follow.

Nope, you won't uncover resources by chopping forests. In fact, the absence of forests on tiles in the bfc often means copper/iron/horses will appear on them once the tech is discovered. So that bare plains tile all by itself can be a good indicator of something good to come if the rest of your BFC is less than spectacular.
 
This looks like fun AS. I will play along in parallel as I have never played Darius.

I have also started playing NHNE to take out luck, and frankly, another AI advantage once I move up to emperor since they will scout all the huts.

Spoiler :
I will scout first, but then SIP (though a grassland hill and not plains hill, and one of our only hills). Then likely do fishing and one WB (too much food to use before happy cap I think, and will put turns into worker before the WB can start). I too would be interested in what the senior players would do. We'll see. Starting now.

Disable huts. The AI will benefit from them too much and gameplay will be artificially hardened by it. For a true taste of equality, there can be no huts.
 
1W of corn is probably strategic resource

I only make that assumption if a tile is either surrounded by forest or in some cases the forests look odd. That tile does not look odd to me.
 
Well it is surrounded by forests, from what we can see in screen - but that's why I said probably. And if I see correct, 2E of settler is grasshill also, right? Then it'd be better to SiP and gain 2 grasshills, while settling 1W would gain 1 but loose those 2...
 
Well it is surrounded by forests, from what we can see in screen

Nope..it's not

I'm not saying your wrong. There could be something there, but there's clear no forest in 2 adjacent to the west, plus 2 to the east. Only saying that I would not make an assumption about strat resources there.
 
:D Ok, maybe not completely but it is only non-forested tile in BFC. No, it's not as well! :D

I'd go like I said, Fishing - Mining - BW, build worker until Fishing then change to wb and time to finish worker when BW is done (or 1 turn before). Then chop or whip more wb's. EDIT: And settler. And some warriors. Or worker out sooner so he can improve corn before BW. Ughh, I dunno. I'd have to play to be sure..
 
Retracted
 
Let me know if I'm not posting enough screenshots. I don't want to be minimalistic, but for the sake of time and efficiency, I'll try to explain with text most actions that would be pointless to post a screenshot for, but I'll try to put an image in for things like demographics and of course, the map. Let me know if I'm taking it too slow/fast, or giving too much/too little detail.

To 3440 BC:

Spoiler :
I decided to move Scout 1W in order to decide if settling there would be a decent consideration. All that was revealed were two riverside plains with forests on them, but I still don't know what's beyond that to the west. However, seeing as how those plains can't be carrying strategic resources, and aren't that appealing in themselves (not to mention the fact that it looks like I'd be giving up two grass hills to my east) I decided to SIP.



The outskirts of my capital are promising, revealing more riverside grass (and grass hills!). Production won't be as much of a concern as I had initially thought, with these two hills (that can be chopped) to my east.

I agree with Dubioza, in that an early BW is essential here. My tech path is going to look like: Fishing ---> Mining ---> BW, and I'll also take his advice of booking in 6 turns on the Worker and then switching to a Work Boat.

Either the grass hills or the riverside plains forest are going to be the best means of production for a Work Boat, and I can produce on this way in 10 turns before I grow again and can work another.

Since I'm going for an early BW, slavery is always a promising option for such a food-rich start like this one. Combined with chopping would effectively result in - dare I say it - an Immortal Rush (of course given that I get horses and find a ripe target) otherwise, I think a horizontal expansion is in the bag, especially since I have good tiles for cottaging, and good coastal tiles to work.

This is without a doubt one of the most interesting maps I have ever seen in the game. After some more scouting, we run into Shaka, a very dangerous neighbor, who happens to be frighteningly close to some of the best land I have ever come across randomly generated the in game.



The river that we started alongside winds its way through the known world, to our west it cuts through a mixture of grassland and plains, with a fair amount of jungle and hills. Settling alongside it here would give access to marble and silk, as well as a very strong production city (maybe for a rush against Shaka) if we decide to farm that grass.

As the river winds its way north, we see more fertile grassland (and settling around here would block off another decent spot of the same landscape in a short peninsula to our immediate east). Beyond this lies some very prime land, that I must either beat Shaka to, or take from Shaka should he get there first, at all costs... A workable 4 gold due to the immense food input from twelve revealed flood plains, even with several standard hills for production. Placing a city in the circled-out spot and being able to hold it would put me in an incredible position, with the GPs and raw commerce (plus being financial) from cottaging all of that, I could afford to REX and still keep a fair research rate if, in fact, REXing is the appropriate plan. Once again, I'll need more intelligence of neighbors and surroundings, but the possibility is definitely there.

I'm not going to make a move until consulting you all, but I think finishing the Work Boat and and Worker, then chopping a Settler+escort and getting to that land up north ASAP would be the best route.

In any case, BW for slavery and chopping is essential IMHO, whether for land grabbing or rushing.

This is going to be a very interesting game to say the least. Upon settling the land to my west, marble opens up some opportunities for powerful wonders. I'm thinking Parthenon for the GP farm/commerce city up north would be a very promising combination.

The biggest concern is Shaka, and what to do with him. Given that he's aggressive and has one of the highest unit builds in the game AFAIK means that I'll need to be very cautious if I decide not to rush him, but in any case, he's there and he's close.

I intentionally made this update short just so I could throw out some thoughts on settlement and an early strategy before I spoiled anything by playing further.


View attachment Eli BC-3440.rar (@Dubioza, is this a correctly uploaded save?)
 
3 hours isn't a lot of time for your audience to chime in with comments...

Also - I don't think you need to put your own ideas in spoilers. Large pictures, yes, as a courtesy to people who have cramped screen real estate.

Let me know if I'm not posting enough screenshots. I don't want to be minimalistic, but for the sake of time and efficiency, I'll try to explain with text most actions that would be pointless to post a screenshot for, but I'll try to put an image in for things like demographics and of course, the map.

I like that answer - we already know what the portraits of the other leaders look like, and so on.

My tech path is going to look like: Fishing ---> Mining ---> BW, and I'll also take his advice of booking in 6 turns on the Worker and then switching to a Work Boat.

Not a fan of that sequence -- if taking a "workboat first" approach, it's likely better to concentrate on growing first, so that you can then switch to a food neutral combination of tiles at size 2.

As a rule - initial workboat builds want to be working a 3H tile immediately (fastest boat, because all of the tile yield is hammers), or a 3F tile to grow to exactly size 2, so that you can then work two 1F/2H tiles (again, all of the net yield is hammers). Here, you don't have a 3H tile, so growing is normally going to be the right answer.

Trying to build a boat on a single 2F/1H tile or a single 1F/2H tile is a little weak in comparison.

Since you need time to research fishing anyway, it makes sense to grow (throwing the early hammers into a barracks, perhaps) as quickly as you can, and then switch to building the boat as soon as you discover fishing.

Alternatively, finish the worker completely first, and get the corn on line as quickly as possible.
 
3 hours isn't a lot of time for your audience to chime in with comments...

I apologize. I'll be more careful about waiting for a sufficient amount of time, and just generally exercising patience.

Also - I don't think you need to put your own ideas in spoilers. Large pictures, yes, as a courtesy to people who have cramped screen real estate.

Okay, so you're suggesting that I don't put my entire game in spoilers, only the full-sized pictures? Wasn't exactly sure whether or not I should have done this. With parallel games, advanced players perhaps playing up to a certain point for comparison, etc., I thought it would be best to do this, but I suppose you're right.

Not a fan of that sequence -- if taking a "workboat first" approach, it's likely better to concentrate on growing first, so that you can then switch to a food neutral combination of tiles at size 2.

As a rule - initial workboat builds want to be working a 3H tile immediately (fastest boat, because all of the tile yield is hammers), or a 3F tile to grow to exactly size 2, so that you can then work two 1F/2H tiles (again, all of the net yield is hammers). Here, you don't have a 3H tile, so growing is normally going to be the right answer.

Trying to build a boat on a single 2F/1H tile or a single 1F/2H tile is a little weak in comparison.

Since you need time to research fishing anyway, it makes sense to grow (throwing the early hammers into a barracks, perhaps) as quickly as you can, and then switch to building the boat as soon as you discover fishing.

Ah, that makes a lot of sense. If I'd have been a little more patient, I would have seen this and done likewise, but alas, I was not. I will make sure I am in the future.

Alternatively, finish the worker completely first, and get the corn on line as quickly as possible.

I took the interface off for that last screenshot, but I was only 2 turns away from finishing the work boat. Do think it would be a bad idea to finish it, improve a clam and work it while I'm building my worker since food counts as yield in this case?

Also, I'm usually not too particular about this, but I'm unsure of whether or not units, techs, buildings, etc. are to be capitalized in the context of conversation about the game. The uncertainty is kind of getting on my nerves... :mischief:

EDIT: Accidentaly put spoiler tags instead of quote. Edited to remedy this.
 
I must admit that I'd have gone for SIP, build warrior to pop 2 working corn and then switch to 2 Ghill tiles at pop2 with fishing (5h=6t WB).

Immortal rush v Shaka is dubious if he's got copper for impis.

Marble doesn't have any visible food tiles nearby making it a dubious early city. FP/gold city is an obvious one, however if you've got nearby copper settle that first and let Shaka build the gold/FP cities for you.
 
Good choice settling in place. Sorry if I misguide you, I said I'm unsure on coastal starts. Map looks good however more food resources would be even nicer. Scouting is good too, circular around cap.

Those FP & golds are amazing, just be careful with unhealthiness - every FP = 0.4 unhealthiness; and every 2 forests are + 1 healthy. So best would be maybe to combine those facts and get, for example 7 FP's in one city (for 2.8, rounded down = 2, while 8 FP's would get you 3.2 = 3.)

Definitely scout out Shaka for copper before planing chariot rush.

EDIT: Sorry, didn't see about save. It is, it's downloadable :D You don't have to pack it, just browse in ...\Beyond the Sword\Saves\single and/or ...\single\auto for .CivBeyondSwordSave files.
Spoiler :
 
My view on that start, based on your 3440BC screenshot. There are people on this thread who are much better at this game at me so take this how you will.

1. Shaka isn't a problem right now..there's plenty of land to settle between you and him.
2. That second city site is too greedy. It'll suffer a huge health penatly (-.4 per floodplain in the city's BFC) and so you'd never be able to work the 4 gold. I'd settle it 2S 1E of your current planned site (on the hilly wine) and cottage the floodplains as your main commerce city with the single gold giving you the +1 happy bonus you really need.
3. You need a production city. There's a lot of hills to the west of your cap, I'd settle round there for my third city but it needs a bit more scouting first though.
4. You're right to go for BW first (not just for chopping but also because you'll be much safer with Copper against Shaka's Impi's). After that, your cap needs fishing. Your second city needs Pottery for cottages. These are tech's I'd focus on after BW based on your current screenshot.
 
Good choice settling in place. Sorry if I misguide you, I said I'm unsure on coastal starts. Map looks good however more food resources would be even nicer. Scouting is good too, circular around cap.

Those FP & golds are amazing, just be careful with unhealthiness - every FP = 0.4 unhealthiness; and every 2 forests are + 1 healthy. So best would be maybe to combine those facts and get, for example 7 FP's in one city (for 2.8, rounded down = 2, while 8 FP's would get you 3.2 = 3.)

Definitely scout out Shaka for copper before planing chariot rush.

EDIT: Sorry, didn't see about save. It is, it's downloadable :D You don't have to pack it, just browse in ...\Beyond the Sword\Saves\single and/or ...\single\auto for .CivBeyondSwordSave files.
Spoiler :

Oh no, you didn't misguide me at all! As Voice said, I should have been more patient and waited for more feedback from other advanced players. His method is probably better from what little I know, but you were earnestly trying to help out and there's nothing at all wrong with that. The fault is mine for being impatient.

Thanks for the save guide. I forgot about packing them, and it looks like you spent a considerable amount of time writing up that little screenshot tutorial. Many thanks!

And...
Spoiler :
I'm unsure how to reply to personal messages (else I would have earlier). I don't mind too much on the issue you brought up, but I didn't want you to get the wrong idea and thought I was ignoring you.


My view on that start, based on your 3440BC screenshot. There are people on this thread who are much better at this game at me so take this how you will.

1. Shaka isn't a problem right now..there's plenty of land to settle between you and him.
2. That second city site is too greedy. It'll suffer a huge health penatly (-.4 per floodplain in the city's BFC) and so you'd never be able to work the 4 gold. I'd settle it 2S 1E of your current planned site (on the hilly wine) and cottage the floodplains as your main commerce city with the single gold giving you the +1 happy bonus you really need.
3. You need a production city. There's a lot of hills to the west of your cap, I'd settle round there for my third city but it needs a bit more scouting first though.
4. You're right to go for BW first (not just for chopping but also because you'll be much safer with Copper against Shaka's Impi's). After that, your cap needs fishing. Your second city needs Pottery for cottages. These are tech's I'd focus on after BW based on your current screenshot.

I am not trying to be disputatious here (though I do largely disagree). I am all the way open to criticism though (and also discussion of the viability of proposed methods). Please note that I am not at all trying to be difficult or argumentative, and only seek to question things here for the sake of learning.

1.) I have to consider him a serious threat. I have to grab that prime land or he will and also gain the subsequent advantage that it yields. He is also a very aggressive AI, and I can't ignore the possibility of him attacking me. In fact, the chances are very high that he would attack me either way, in time, either through gaining the advantages conferred through that FP+Gold cite to finish me off, or to take it from me. War with him, as I see it, is inevitable.

2.) I don't think so... Perhaps you're right, but Shaka's not creative, so I don't need to worry about cultural pressure too much (his capital is going to have a Palace which may be problematic culture-wise, but not to the point of rendering that land 'too greedy'). I will build a library there anyway since it is a great cite (site? spelling) for specialists. I'm open to correction, but that cite is just too much of an opportunity to not jump at right away.

3.) That land to the west is certainly hammer-rich, and I think it might be a good third city, (but I'm considering the third city to connect the first and second and seal off that eastern peninsula as a small backyard).

4.) I hadn't given too much thought to the second research queue, but pottery IMHO is of pretty high priority. Another thought would be sailing for a lighthouse in capital (and thus higher food yield from seafood for more production from whipping and when training settlers/workers.
 
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