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A peaceful strategy for OCC space race

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by uberfish, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    This strategy is valid for more or less all difficulty levels below deity, and does not rely on an amazing start position. I won't really make comments on specific difficulty levels much, as the map type and settings heavily influence the true difficulty of the game, and people have varying degrees of tolerance for regenerating the map to get a good start. I'm going to ignore Deity though, because I do not think OCC can be won consistently at that level without rigging the map (via playing islands or repeatedly regenerating for an incredible start) or using non-standard settings such as Permanent Alliances. And trying to build Pyramids on deity can be pretty frustrating too.


    1) Pre-game show and overall strategy

    First, let's consider the main difficulties in an OCC game.

    Health cap: Unhappiness quickly goes away after the opening of the Globe Theatre. Health, however, is a constant issue as an OCC player can only control resources near her city. Forge, ironworks, lab, factory and coalplant cause unhealthiness too.

    Research and production: How can we beat out opponents with ten cities when health stops us even growing to maximum size ourselves? The answer is in having free citizens that cost no food and don't contribute towards health. Enter the super specialist. A great engineer provides as much production as a citizen working a railroaded lumbermill, and provides as much research as a river town under representation! Tempting as it may be, you should NOT rush wonders with them, except maybe for the Space Elevator right at the end of the game. In a dedicated space race game you are taking a long term view to accumulate a certain amount of beakers towards the end of the game.

    With this in mind we can evaluate the various traits. Philosophical is clearly very good getting you ~5 more super specialists throughout the course of the game. Industrious helps you build wonders (including national wonders, but not spaceship parts.) No other trait approaches these two. Unfortunately you can't have both together because the combination would be overpowered. Expansive tends to increase your population cap by 3 for most of the game and I think it's a very good choice for the second trait. Financial is decent, but there is a lot less space in OCC to use cottages as you want to keep a lot of forest for health and also to run Specialists. It works out well if you started out in a heavy calendar resource area. Unfortunately this isn't very common so I have to give Expansive the nod in general. Spiritual is really a diplomat's trait and diplomatic victories are outside the scope of this guide. The rest of the traits are pointless for OCC space race, and there's no need to dismiss them one by one.

    Therefore the two leaders I recommend are Bismarck (Ind/Exp) and Peter (Phi/Exp). Lately I have been preferring Peter, because the pyramids are relatively easy to get on OCC without industrious or stone anyway as you are not slowed down by building a settler. In Warlords, the Russian unique lab with 2 free scientists is also a rather nice bonus.

    Either way the game tends to flow in similar patterns, although there are a few branch points where you can go down different paths. The most important thing to have at the start is NOT gold or stone as most people believe, but food. Ideally you should have two food resources or at least 1 + flood plains. If you have anything else in addition to this, it's a bonus. Being coastal, preferably on an inlet where not too many fat cross tiles are taken up by water, is always nice for harbours.


    2) Ancient era and Wonder strategy

    Grab the worker techs to improve your local resources, then Masonry for an early start on the Pyramids and Wheel/Bronze so your worker has something constructive to do. Forests outside the city radius can be chopped to speed the pyramids, try to save some forests within the city radius for health and lumbermills later though. If you're missing both horses and bronze, a common OCC problem, go ahead and get archery so you can defend against barbarian pillaging. Both Bismarck and Peter start with hunting anyway so it's not much of a detour. Guerilla Archers on hills are a good defence against barbarian axes.

    Pyramids are much better than Oracle/CS slingshot for this strategy. Bureaucracy doesn't work on specialist research, and great engineer points are a lot more desirable than prophet ones. I would not try to get the oracle in addition to the pyramids once you go past prince, it's too unreliable to try for both. Parthenon should be avoided too, even if you are industrious. +50% GPP until chemistry isn't worth polluting the gene pool with more great artists until the end of time. Just wait for the greatly superior national epic.

    Normally I go for:

    Pyramids
    Great Library
    Hanging Gardens (health + GE points)
    National Epic
    Globe Theatre
    Oxford University
    Ironworks (because we can trade for iron and coal)
    Broadway (for resource trades)
    Rock and Roll (for resource trades)
    Internet (might not be as useful on low difficulties)
    Space Elevator

    I build Hagia Sophia and Pentagon for the GE points if I have nothing more important to build when I trade for their enabling techs.

    I avoid parthenon, heroic epic (this is a peaceful strategy) and Taj Mahal like the plague, their effects are simply not worth the extra great artist pollution for this strategy. Broadway and Rock and Roll are tolerable because they come in the late game. I avoid the merchant and priest wonders too, as gold is fairly useless.


    3) Diplomacy

    I often stay agnostic and don't adopt a state religion in order not to antagonize neighbours. Being invaded and pillaged is not usually fatal, but is very disruptive. If all the neighbours are the same religion and it spreads though, Org Rel and Pacifism are useful civics. I would not recommend founding a religion yourself because in an OCC game that makes it very difficult to acquire neighbours' religions.

    It's ok to give in to early game tribute demands and cancel them after 10 turns to keep relations up with future potential trading partners. That's what I view the other civs as. Trading partners to get the resources you're missing.


    4) Into the Medieval

    As previously mentioned you want great library and if you can get it, Hanging gardens. Gardens are often built late by the AI, and in addition to the immediate +1 health benefit act as another GE source. You'll be getting alphabet en route to literature. Resist the temptation to trade for every missing ancient tech, as this will make the AIs reluctant to trade more valuable techs with you later. Trade for mathematics and iron working to save time, maybe sailing or something. Research things like meditation yourself, it doesn't take long.

    Civil service (for production) and Drama (for happiness control) usually become priorities after literature at this point. Usually I would go for civil service first unless stuck at size 6 due to lack of happiness resources/trades. Note, there is no big rush to build the globe theatre, as it adds extra artists to the gene pool early. It is OK to just build a regular theatre and run a bit of culture slider, as the vast majority of your research will be coming from specialists at this point anyway. I often build great library, hanging gardens, national epic first before coming back to Globe. Once Globe is done, all happiness resources can be traded away for health ones allowing the city to grow.

    The research order is not set in stone, and if there are some useful resources in the 5th ring it's quite reasonable to take a detour to Music to get the artist for a quick culture bomb. Likewise philosophy for Pacifism can be useful - if you have religion AND the diplomatic situation allows you to run it. Being attacked by AIs is a pain, it's very disruptive even if not fatal.

    After these are done, it's best to run straight to education and watch your research beakers shoot up due to Oxford. If no one has the liberalism prereqs you can switch from liberalism to something else with 1 turn to go to try and squeeze as big a tech out as possible. Trade for the Guilds side of the tree if possible and run an Engineer specialist once you have a forge, to increase the number of GE sources.


    5) Industrial age and the Scientific Method dilemma

    Don't put off scientific method too long. It's true you can research a lot of techs while avoiding scientific method to preserve the great library for a while more, but often these techs can also be traded for and thus obtained for free. If production looks like it might be a problem though, go ahead and get replaceable parts or steel early. It is likely that you are approaching the point of diminishing GPP returns by now anyway.

    Going scientific method early will ensure a free great scientist at Physics which somewhat makes up for the loss of the great library.

    Biology can be somewhat tempting at this point if you're running several farms, and medicine one tech away from that will solve all health problems. The main trouble with medicine is it takes 10+ turns to research a tech that isn't on the spaceship path which can come back to bite you in the end. So I prefer to build both Broadway and Rock and Roll to get plenty of resources for trading. Trading both hit resources as a package will also generally get a strategic resource such as iron, coal, aluminium or copper in exchange and I've found it to be the most reliable way to ensure you can get access to these (Short of blatant cheating by peeking in the map editor.)

    And all these techs (physics, electricity and radio) are on the way to computers giving you the last research enhancer. Great if you're playing Peter under Warlords.


    6) Building the spaceship

    Towards the endgame the AI will typically refuse to trade anything above rocketry because 'We'd rather win the game, thanks', and their large land area combined with Biology/Representation begins to pull them ahead of the player in research beakers per turn. The endgame techs are very expensive and research is usually the bottleneck - it's quite common for fusion to take up to 15 turns for a cottage-light OCC. You can still get some techs free via the Internet, so after Computers I'll generally head for Fibre Optics via Rocketry/Apollo, and try to trade for Assembly Line along the way. In a close game the Internet will often pull in techs like industralism, plastics, robotics saving many turns of research, as the computer usually takes this path while I research fusion. Definitely worth taking a break from spaceship parts for a bit in most games as research is the bottleneck. The computer never builds internet so don't worry about being beaten to it.

    If open I'll then build space elevator using the Fusion engineer to finish it. It doesn't save many turns because a lot of Casings and things have already been built, but it's usually worth keeping it out of AI hands anyway.

    The last two techs are typically genetics and ecology, giving the AI maximum time to give biology and refrigeration for free via the internet.


    Enjoy. I've been mainly testing at emperor and you don't need gold or anything like that. 2 food is enough, and fairly common. Immortal requires some luck as there are often runaway AIs and you may need to stir the pot a bit more by starting inter-AI wars. Just try not to antagonize civs to the point where they won't trade with you, you never know who's going to have the coal/aluminium.
     
  2. Cort Haus

    Cort Haus Chieftain

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    Good post, Uberfish. :b:

    In my OCC games I've sometimes avoided Shake's in favour of HR + units to deal with happiness, to keep the Gt Artists away. I've even had problems with the National Epic polluting the pool.
     
  3. Cort Haus

    Cort Haus Chieftain

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    In Warlords, the Gt Wall is nice for OCC too. No barbs + Pyramids from GE and more GE points. :D
     
  4. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    Ooh thanks Cort, knew there was something I'd forgotten. The great wall is pretty useful, especially if you are lucky enough to have stone and can build both GW and pyramids by hand. If the production at the capital is not so great though, I tend to go directly for pyramids. It's really annoying that they randomized the great leader names though, Imhotep is SUPPOSED to build the pyramids.

    I find the 1-2 artists from NE and globe to be tolerable, they can help contest resources on border tiles and they arrive in the midgame so the important first few GPs are pollution free.
     
  5. Cort Haus

    Cort Haus Chieftain

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    Do you usually get Maths for the Hanging Gardens before Literature for the Gt Lib & NE? I used to build the NE quite early, and ended up with a lot more than 2 Gt Artists, but maybe I was unlucky.

    I'll definitely be trying this strat soon - the last OCC splurge I did was a religious strat aimed at a diplo win, but I never really got it working. I converted everyone to my religion, but they all liked each other just as much (more in fact, with the inbuilt love that certain AI's have for each other). I like the look of this scientist & engineer focus.
     
  6. Cort Haus

    Cort Haus Chieftain

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    Another question, do you focus on cottages or farms & specialists? I suppose a PHI civ will do better with specialists.
     
  7. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    With Pete I usually do GL first, then HG if it's still available, then NE, then globe fairly late. I build a total of 4 artist wonders with my strat so it's best if htey all come fairly late.

    I try to run more specialists in the early game, but that's balanced out by the need for hammers to build wonders and the inherent weakness of grassland farms. I will usually build cottages on all open grasslands that don't have forests on them. Theoretically specialists post-biology are better, but they take up 2 population space instead of 1, and once you get bureaucracy it helps the cottages out.

    I have to try diplo sometime, I tried for domination when Warlords was released but I can't seem to get vassalage to work in OCC unfortunately.
     
  8. Cookie Crumbs

    Cookie Crumbs Emperor

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    Very nice article. I tried it today on my first Monarch game and it does work rather well. However, I doubt you could get any victory earlier than 1900 -my spaceship was finished in the 2000's. I had a continent full of absolute nutters -Izzy, Monty, Napoleon, Mao, Genghis and Asoka.

    Because of my late victory I'm doubtful that this will work on maps larger than Standard, given the longer research times that is compensated by having more cities, so you won't be teching so quickly.
     
  9. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    I'm not sure if it is really feasible to win before 1900 at standard speed. There is some luck involved in fast wins, since in order to get them you need the AI to be quick enough to get a lot of free techs from the internet yet not quick enough to beat you into space. For reference, the last two games I played were on emperor/standard fractal and continents, and both finished at around 1950.

    There is a lot of variety in the play depending on the AI personalities, map types, resource availability and so on. I highly recommend trying OCC to anyone who wishes civ4 games were quicker and hasn't tried it yet.
     
  10. Cort Haus

    Cort Haus Chieftain

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    I played through a Prince game on a small map using this and it's an excellent OCC strat, though I was lucky to be surrounded by Hatty & Gandhi. I'll try a standard map next, as on small maps there can be too few civs to trade with or get Internet techs with. The Internet is probably stronger on Monarch, as I only got a couple of techs from it, and my bottleneck was production, not science.

    I used a mix of cottages and specialists, though I was wondering near the end whether State Property could be worthwhile for the endgame if tech is ahead of production. With plenty of settled GP's driving tech, replacing towns & farms with watermills and workshops could speed up the SS builds considerably.

    Russia's UB is basically a Gt Library plus a Research Lab, so a beeline to there from Scientific Method is pretty cool.
     
  11. 50_dollar_bag

    50_dollar_bag Imitation Louis Vuitton

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    Nice Article:goodjob:
    Settled GPs are great. I've tried 0cc before and settled my GPs but your thread gave me the direction on how to actually win.

    Just a question though, wouldn't it be better though to build the NE as early as possible to get your GPs settled as early as possible to maximise their benefit? Sure it pollutes the pool earlier but it's probably worth the gamble.
     
  12. Cort Haus

    Cort Haus Chieftain

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    I'd rather get the Hanging Gardens first, as no-one can take the Nat Epic away from you.
     
  13. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    Building the NE is generally a positive thing, but it's better to go for stuff that you can be beaten to first (GL and HG) and then you'll probably want a theatre to fix the happy cap.

    Also if production is a bottleneck (translation: can't get aluminium, or didn't spawn enough GE) what works well for me is to switch to universal suffrage near the end. Or go Robotics early. You can also trash a few towns, but you don't need SP, regular workshops are good enough since you have biology to feed them and losing an 8+ trade route hurts.

    I also recommend giving away steam power and industrialism to all the backwards civs as soon as the AI leaders have them if you need their resource.
     
  14. Eshnunna

    Eshnunna Chieftain

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    Excellent strategy, tried it this morning with Bismarck, works very fine. Ended with sth like 9 engineers and 5 settled scientists + academy (thanks to pyramids, GW, GL, HG and Sankore) : 650 beakers/t and 300 shields/t with multipliers on the SS parts.
    I played it on monarch w standard settings, and won in 1990, about 15 turns ahead of my opponents.

    I used the internet variant : post factories, beeline to hospitals (badly needed : 2 health resources and one happy in territory :cry:), then factories, broadway => computers path, then climb up the artillery => fiber optics path.
    The internet yielded 14 techs till the end of da game (half of oldies, but several critical ones, like robotics). I would therefore highly recommand this beeline.

    Good point about giving everyone access to their coal and aluminium in order to increase trade possibilities.
    About this, I found very usefiul to settle the free Great Merchant from economics, in order to have some excess cash (round 20 at 100% science w. wall street). AIs sold me coal and copper for 1 happy + 5-10 GPT, quite interesting since I couldn't have afforded to give 2 happy for each of those resources. Of course the free food doesn't hurt either :D.

    So :goodjob:, was really an excellent strat, and a fun game
     
  15. Pogel

    Pogel Chieftain

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    Nice strategy. I've tried it a couple of times now. The first was a success, the second failed (I hit the time limit). As I play Warlords I aim for the Great Wall and then use the first engineer to pop the Pyramids to give more GE points early.

    In the first game I won in 2008 and had only lost 3 units all game (all scouts, lost to barbs).

    The second game was much tougher - I didn't get a metal resource at all (only getting Iron when I traded Hit Musicals & Hit Records), had direct borders with 4 civs and was regularly attacked. Not having any real anti-mounted defense until Rifles was a real challenge.

    One thing I did learn was that with the Great Wall and the Globe Theatre you can really cripple an opponent that attacks you by simply not decalring peace. Once you've broken the back of their initial assault, you can just pick off their occassional raids and let their war weariness build up and up (not a problem for you with the Globe Theatre). With the Great Wall you'll also get double Great General XP. The longer the war goes on the more keen the AI will be to end it and the more you can get by suing for peace. Get a friendly AI to declare and your aggressor can be destroyed.
     
  16. Twiglet

    Twiglet Chieftain

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    Just won (in 2009, playing Bismarck) on Monarch using this strategy. A few highlights.

    I missed out huge swathes of the tech tree - basically I went:

    - initial worker techs
    - writing -> alphabet -> literature (GL)
    - education
    - liberalism, chose printing press as my freebie
    - astronomy (for the observatories)
    - physics (for the GS)
    - computers (for the labs)
    - fission (for the GE)
    - fibre optics (for the internet)
    - other SS techs
    - future tech

    i.e. I didn't bother with chemistry, rifling, industrialism...let alone democracy (I'm not going to get the -happy problems as I have my nice shiny Globe Theatre - those beakers are better spent on my rocket ship...)

    At the time I hit the 'net I had no aluminium, no factory, no nothing (because I hadn't researched industrialism at that point). The internet got me absolutely shedloads of techs.

    Micromanagement of the city was very important - but only having one made it less of a bind. Basically every time you gain/lose a pop you have to reassign. Giving in to all the AI demands was important too - only got declared on three times. Joining wars on the winning side where someone was about to be eliminated is something I like to do anyway for the mutual struggle bonus and it helped here too.

    I only built one worker but when my fat cross was fully improved I had him improve every single tile within my borders. Every hill got a mine. This bore dividends later as when aluminium and then coal appeared (I was lucky to have both, though I had to trade for copper) I already had a mine in place to pull it up. After CS I farmed every available square too (my thinking was: if I get invaded the AI will stop to pillage, giving me time to get an army together).

    Worried at one stage I was going to run out of time but powered factory soon sorted that out. Ended up with Izzy, Vicky dead; Monty and Alex both loving me and Cyrus being cautious; Hatty was still alive but barely. A feature was that I built the casings last of all. Another feature was I really used a tip Sisiutil gave me some time back (one of many): overwriting towns with workshops in the late game can give awesome production, and in this game I was ahead on tech but worried about my prod capability. Overwriting the towns (and plantations too) made a big difference there. Going for both Broadway and Rock'n'Roll was incredibly useful. Basically I traded the +happy for +health and then copper for a short while (for internet/SS parts speedup - I was lucky in that I had aluminium in my fat cross).

    I'm a builder at heart but really can't win on Monarch or higher without warring a lot - but this was a pretty peaceful/diplo-intensive kind of win and I really enjoyed it. Thanks again for prompting me to give it a go!
     
  17. pixiejmcc

    pixiejmcc Chieftain

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    Great article and very readable.

    It's certainly good to avoid prophet and artist sources, but don't you think it's also good to avoid engineer sources? Having almost only scientist sources = mega science = fab. I play short MP games so I'm not particularly concerned about winning via space race (where the hammers come in more handy), however I would have thought that by making only scientists you will reach the space part techs significantly earlier, even though you won't be able to build them quite as quickly. Therefore perhaps it makes sense to put less emphasis on the pyramids as democracy isn't all that far away (he says ^^) and the hanging gardens (I'm not convinced that this is an important wonder in OCC anyway). Also I've heard someone say they won't make the national epic until they've managed to push out a few scientists (scientist super specialists and of course the initial academy being so crucial).

    Having said all that (assuming representation) an engineer super specialist gives 3 hammers and 6 beakers, where as the scientist super specialist gives 1 hammer and 9 beakers. In very general terms IMHO the engineer SS is giving the greater return. And if you choose to build science, which is never a bad tactic in OCC, the engineer will actually only give 1 less base beaker.

    Finally some early scientist specialists give some crucial techs, for example philosophy, paper, education and liberalism. But not adding them to your city means your beaker output will suffer late game. Any thoughts about this? I wonder if it's best to always add scientists no matter how tempting those free techs might seem.
     
  18. siggboy

    siggboy Monarch/Epic

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    I've just finished a Quick/Small OCC Space Race, playing as Victoria [Exp/Fin] (so I didn't take the specialist approach but a mixture of specialists and cottages).
    The difficulty level was Prince, but I used the latest version of Blake's Better AI so this was actually closer to Monarch.

    A really nice start with two gold hills in the fat cross and lots and lots of floodplains, balanced by lots of forests (which I kept almost until the end).

    My early tech rate was insane, so I could take many detours and muck around a lot trying to squeeze the most out of Liberalism: I was almost ready for Physics but actually I picked Steam Power because Fred was knocking on the Liberalism door and I panicked; this was OK since a test showed that he would have beaten me for Liberalism by two turns if I had finished Astro/SciMet before Lib. However, I could have built Monasteries earlier and then it would have worked (I founded three religions, a mistake, especially since I forgot to build the monasteries early enough for their research boost to make sense). So, as you can see I toyed around a lot with the tech tree, this shows how much leeway I had regarding teching with my Financial trait.

    I did make the mistake to build the Parthenon so ended up with awfully many Gt Artists. Yuck. I also forgot to actually build the Gardens after I had already prepped for them with an Aquaeduct :hammer:. The Oracle was used for a CS slingshot and no try was made at the Pyramids (I didn't value Representation a lot after seeing the starting location and deciding against running many specialists). So the only three wonders I built were Oracle, Parthenon and Gt Library. BTW I think the Oracle is tolerable, since Prophets are useful (they net two hammers + 5 gold when settled) -- not as good as Engineers or Scientists, but still OK, unlike Artists and Merchants. The Oracle gave me an easy, and early, CS (around 1400 BC).

    My opponents were Frederick, Mansa, Kublai and our Japanese Wackojack to add in to the fun :lol:. Kublai attacked twice, first time with only a few chariots (which I could easily handle because I had both Copper and Iron), but the second time he came with a bigger stack. Not really life threatening but it would have been a nuisance; would have, because I bribed Mansa to declare war on him when I saw the attack coming. That worked splendidly, as he didn't even finish to approach my fat cross :D.

    The AI fought several wars amongst themselves later on, with Fred almost dying but somehow he managed to survive. I later subsidized him with techs to get access to his coal and aluminium, but to no avail (he did not have any workers where the aluminium was, as he was almost dead at this point, already). I did want the coal to build railroads for better yield of the lumbermills. That turned out to be of minor importance anyway.

    One very important point: I did not have aluminium and did not get any in trade until the very end. So you indeed can win without aluminium.

    During the endgame I used Sisiutils Riverside Ironworks tactics by deleting all towns in favour of Watermills and Workshops. I also chopped the forests (with Lumbermills on them) in favour of Workshops. I should have left a few more towns in place however, since my tech rate was the limiting factor afterwards. Even without aluminium I was building ship parts a lot faster than I could tech. I should have intertwined the casing builds with the rest, as that would have streamlined everything -- not enough planning ahead at this stage of the game.

    After reading your article, uberfish, I think your strategy will probably work better, though. Thanks for the good writeup.

    --Sigi
     
  19. regoarrarr

    regoarrarr Chieftain

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    Thanks for the guide - I just took Peter (Warlords 2.08) (Exp/Phi) to a 1954 win on Emperor difficulty.

    The one thing I'd stress is the importance of building some military. Don't be tempted to just build research when there's nothing to build - at least build your "free" units - they can save your bacon, especially if you're put next to a wacko.

    Louis XIV declared war on me twice. The first time it was a bit hairier, but I was able to beat off his maces / musketeers / knights with my similar military (though at the end of the war I got Rifling) and the 2nd time I beat off his tanks with mine, though of course this delayed me several times as he really pillaged me quite a bit.
     
  20. ocollard

    ocollard Chieftain

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    Excuse my newbie question, but how do you build Globe Theatre and Oxford University with only one city ?
     

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