A Returning Player: Refamiliarizing Myself to the Game

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Apr 2, 2013
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Hello forum, I am a veteran player, and although I was never good at the game (I could beat Monarch a few times), I played it ridiculous amounts of time while I did. In all honesty (and I'm sure most of you are familiar with this), it almost consumed my life during some binges, and most of the rest of the time, I would still play it consistently for unhealthy intervals of time for weeks at a time, off and on for a period of a few years at least. All in all, I'm sure I've clocked at least 1500+ hours on this game. I actually got the vanilla game the Christmas of the year the game was released, and since then have upgraded to Beyond the Sword. The reason I think I didn't progress to a level that that amount of a time investment would deem realistic, was because for the most part, at the time I was just a kid having fun with the game, and for the most part I wasn't taking the game seriously or playing to win.

That aside, I just wanted to let you know that I have prior experience with the game, and I am familiar with all (or at least most) of the rules and features, so relearning the actual mechanics and stats of various components of the game (such as units, buildings, promotions and such) is not my concern at all. My problem, of course, lies in the strategic application of them.

I keep most of the basic principles of a 4X game in mind as a general basis of play, but what has really struck me lately, is that everything is a trade off. These past few days, I've played (got to an un-winnable situation and then quit) about 3 or 4 games, and every time, I got punished for some minor lack in one or various fields. In one game, I'm ravaged by enemy spies because I've devoted my commerce to research instead. Or if I've focused my hammers to maintaining a sizable enough military to prevent getting run over, that usually comes at the cost of adequate infrastructure in my cities, and I fall behind in tech (or whatever else is the consequence of that), etc. In the event of one of these scenarios occurring, I tell myself, "Okay, I'll be sure to devote more energy to that field in my next game" and it usually comes at the cost of another inadequacy in the following game. If I go for complete balance (which I'm sure s feasible), it would come at the cost of gaining the lead over the AI in one or more fields whereby I could beat them down a little. I digress...

Negligence of one or more areas of advancement in exchange for a solid advantage whereby the player can exploit the AI suddenly for long-term gains sure is preferable to an even devotion of attention to everything, right? If so, what are the most prominent means of doing this?

I'm playing on Monarch (and my pride would be hurt if I stepped down a level). Keep in mind, that I'm not failing miserably (in fact, in most games I have a realistic shot at the win until something goes sour unexpectedly). I thought I would continue the trial and error, but upon thinking about it, getting solid advice from the forum (and thus, those that have already made those mistakes and have the practical knowledge) would be better.

I apologize for the length of this, and thank you for your help in advance.

--

Short Version:

I'm a returning player who's having a difficult time re-familiarizing myself to what strategies work and what don't, and finding that 'niche' where I can make decisions based upon a working knowledge of what needs to be done in a given situation.
 
Welcome to CFC! You came at the right place!

I progressed when I join this forum, simply by playing some forum games - Noble's Club, Immortal University, Sons of Monarchy and others I haven't mention simply cause I don't have time to play all of them, but are as good as those I mentioned. Play and post on regular intervals (some screens or saves included) so experienced players can guide you.

Reading War Academy articles is immensely helpful: http://www.civfanatics.com/civ4/strategy/

And if you have time for it, watch some Let's Plays on Youtube from players like Absolute Zero, TheMeInTeam (mostly Deity & Immortal games) and others - again, I mention only these cause they have the most LP's made and play fast.

AZ: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chris67132
TMIT: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMelnTeam

I played only 11 games so far and am playing on Emperor level already by doing this!
 
I'm a returning player who's having a difficult time re-familiarizing myself to what strategies work and what don't, and finding that 'niche' where I can make decisions based upon a working knowledge of what needs to be done in a given situation.

See "The everyone's guide..." in my signature.

The easiest way to get personalized assistance is to post a demo game. Play and report 15 turns a day, and learn from the commentary you get between turns.

Not quite so good is to play the various club game (Noble's Club, Sons of Monarchy, Immortal University) so that you can compare your play to the others that report. The Game of the Month (GOTM) series may also be good for that too; not sure. Or grab a save and shadow a succession game, and do your own comparison to the main line.



Speaking merely in generalities...

It's a strategy game; which means learning to plan.

Two plans are very commonly effective

WAR - the AI is given a big boost in unit production, but it's not particularly smart about using them. So the experienced human player has a huge advantage here.

LAND - "Land is power". Grabbing strong land early gives you a head start on the snowball. Good land early -> more than your fair share of land soon -> somebody else's fair share of land -> all of your neighbors' land -> cakewalk.
 
Hi, and welcome to CFC!!! :banana::banana::banana::banana:!! BANANAS ARE HAPPY WHEN THEY HEAR ABOUT OHTER CIVEERS! I'd suggest you to play Noble's Club games. You are gonna be much better player after 3 NC games- and its fun. When I joined the forum (in November 2012) I couldn't even beat warlord in my 1st NC game. Now I can beat Prince level mostly. So, join the Nobles' Club, learn and have fun :)
 
Welcome!

You've come to the right place. Listen to what Voice said above and you will get off to a good start here.
 
Thank you all for the advice and the warm welcome! :)

Believe it or not, I have actually shadowed this forum rather extensively in the past (hence my considering returning to join), and have read articles in the War Academy, as well as some player's guides. I am even familiar with some of your names, just from having read the forum in the past. That said, it's been a while, and it would definitely be worth my while to re-read these, and take careful note this time.

As for forum games, which series is the most consistent and frequently updated? I think I remember from my random browsing that the Noble's Club and (I think it was Immortal University?), were the more reputable ones, in terms of the number of 'members' and frequency of updates. The only reason I'm concerned with this, is the higher number of players posting their games gives me more comparisons and discussion over the game played.

VoiceofUnreason, I will definitely give the guide in your sig a read.

It makes me happy to know that Civ IV's forum hasn't been abandoned (which I was afraid of) given the immense popularity of 'V.
 
Welcome AspiringScholar

Your introduction sounds similar to the position I'm in, but you have logged more hours and are probably a better player than I am. But I'm aiming on trying an Emperor game soon after doing well in last few monarch games, though still learning the finer points of trade-offs and polishing the early game (e.g. this one)

I note there is no "Prince Club" and no "Emperor Club" (at least one that is active). Is that b/c most players go Noble->Monarch and Monarch->Immortal?

I don't plan on buying Civ V for any time soon, and I'm glad too that Civ IV is actively played.:)
 
I note there is no "Prince Club" and no "Emperor Club" (at least one that is active). Is that b/c most players go Noble->Monarch and Monarch->Immortal?
It's largely a question of what folks decide to do on the forum. Their choice of name probably relate to their skill-level, at least the level they had when they started the series. There once was a set of games that ran Emperor which disappeared long ago. In the end, it doesn't make any difference between you can play the forum games at whatever level you want.
 
I note there is no "Prince Club" and no "Emperor Club" (at least one that is active). Is that b/c most players go Noble->Monarch and Monarch->Immortal?
Quote from all NC opening posts:
The WB-saves are attached (zipped; they are bigger than standard saves). To play, simply download and unzip it into your BTS/Saves/WorldBuilder folder. Start the game, and load your favorite MOD (if you use one, if not, check out the BUG MOD), select "Play Scenario", and look for "NC 118 De Gaulle Noble" (or Monarch, etc., for higher levels). You can play with your favorite MOD at the Level and Speed of your choice. From Quick-Warlord to Marathon-Deity, all are welcome! We stuck with the name "Nobles Club" because it has a cool ring to it.
IU and SoM also have these - just download zip and unpack only desired level save. You might have to add techs to barbs in some cases, check those opening posts - it's explained there.
Some players do skip levels, some enjoy playing on settler with their deity skills - but you can choose any difficulty in these forum games.
As for forum games, which series is the most consistent and frequently updated?
Well, you can see NC, IU and SoM are active here in S&Tips sub-forum (at least since I'm here), you'll find more in Game of the Month sub-forum: http://forums.civfanatics.com/forumdisplay.php?f=165
 
Thank you once again for your feedback.

I went ahead and spent a few hours playing through a Standard/Monarch game today, and after reading VoiceOfUnreason's guide in his sig, I will spare you the details/problems, as I hadn't taken any screenshots or saves to post here. It does makes sense though, because I can't realistically be helped beyond a general level without specifics in that form. I will at least say that I lost (but got fairly close to winning) and survived until the end of the game (AI culture victory). The main lessons learned were making a 'rush' more characteristic of its name and thus, more expedient, even at the cost of a smaller invasion force, not researching beeline techs to trade for those you don't have, too extensively (and at the cost of avoiding the simpler, more essential ones), and finally, specializing my cities (and most importantly, getting a decent GP Farm fairly early on in the game). Also, I suppose it would always be helpful to every few turns check demographics and study the game situation more in-depth.

I must say that the Monarch difficulty setting is really punishing (which may bring a smile of fond remembrance to the days where you felt this way, or a sympathizing feeling). I await the day where I can finally move up (or at least get comfortable on the setting as it is).

I'm debating as to whether or not I should wait until the next major forum game, or play one that's already up. Based on the amount of feedback in them (and the date of the original post) I assumed that another would be up fairly soon. I wouldn't want to start playing the game on a dead thread. In any case, I suppose that's up to me, but I thought I should update my thoughts that are relevant to this thread.

In any case, this is more of a summary post, so I apologize for the incoherent rambling. I hope this sort of thing isn't taboo here.
 
AS said:
I wouldn't want to start playing the game on a dead thread

You will find some of the more recent forum games will go on for some time...long after the new ones are up. Folks will come in an pick them up and if you post your report and save it bring the thread up to the top and players are likely to comment and give advice on your game. In fact, it's not uncommon for people to go back and play old forum games.

If you really want to learn though, just start up your shadow learner game in a new thread. Seriously, you will be winning on IMM in no time doing it that way.

Honestly, other than generalizations or maybe answering a specific question here or there (often with responses like "it's situational"), it hard for us to really help you in detail without seeing your games
 
I forgot to, but I have to mention Sulla's Let's Play in which he takes time to explain a lot of things in every little detail, with worker & city micro the most important - I recommended it before and I recommend it again! Just don't take it for granted & copy him, learn from it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm1CQxACekg
 
If you really want to learn though, just start up your shadow learner game in a new thread. Seriously, you will be winning on IMM in no time doing it that way.

I might try that, if it wouldn't be considered spam or an abuse of your (and other higher level players') time. I mean that seriously - I imagine that it would be rather tedious to go over every nuance of someone else's game over the forum. Even if it is voluntary on your part, I would not want to make it obligatory.

I forgot to, but I have to mention Sulla's Let's Play in which he takes time to explain a lot of things in every little detail, with worker & city micro the most important - I recommended it before and I recommend it again! Just don't take it for granted & copy him, learn from it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm1CQxACekg

Thanks for the link. I will definitely watch it and learn from it.
 
I might try that, if it wouldn't be considered spam or an abuse of your (and other higher level players') time. I mean that seriously - I imagine that it would be rather tedious to go over every nuance of someone else's game over the forum. Even if it is voluntary on your part, I would not want to make it obligatory.

Just post a game and some one will help. Most of us learnt the finer nuances of the game thanks to people on the forum who took the time to look at our games and give us advice. Try for yourself and you will see how friendly the place is. :)

And no, it's not considered spam or abuse of some one's time to post a game and ask for advice. That's what a section titled 'strategy and tips' is for! :lol:
 
And no, it's not considered spam or abuse of some one's time to post a game and ask for advice. That's what a section titled 'strategy and tips' is for! :lol:

Yep, that is what this place is for and many of us here actually enjoy helping others, especially when they are patient and listen.


Sulla's video is pretty good for newer players as he doesn't play at too high a level, which can really change one's approach. I don't agree with everything he does, but you will learn some solid basics.
 
Its probably more useful to post a game and ask for advice (not forgetting basic stuff like posting screenshots, switching on resource bubbles and tile grid etc) than to keep posting about not wanting to waste other people's time :lol:.
 
Its probably more useful to post a game and ask for advice (not forgetting basic stuff like posting screenshots, switching on resource bubbles and tile grid etc) than to keep posting about not wanting to waste other people's time :lol:.

Very well, I'm sorry. Granted, this is the forum for Civ IV, so obviously it shouldn't be off limits to post a game ask for advice. I have seen some users (here and on other forums) who essentially take this for granted and demand a lot of help/answers/tips right off the bat without any forewarning or even kindly presenting their problems.

I know that in general it obviously has to be commonplace and acceptable, but want to ensure that I don't be pushy, rude, or otherwise cross any lines.

Point taken, regardless.
 
It is standard practice here, not pushy at all. I don't know how it works on other forums but here we are a friendly little community and people take pleasure in teaching the game to newbies.

Not only should you feel free to do so, you should understand that our members want you to.
 
It is standard practice here, not pushy at all. I don't know how it works on other forums but here we are a friendly little community and people take pleasure in teaching the game to newbies.

Not only should you feel free to do so, you should understand that our members want you to.

That's good to hear. Even while I have lurked this forum in the past, it was hard to infer any annoyance or pleasure in assisting people (particularly rude ones) purely through text (smilies are seldom used AFAIK). A helpful and friendly community compliments an excellent (and challenging) game very well.

I think I'll start one of those games up today. Any suggestions on a leader? I'm not particular to or necessarily against any leader, and am trying to improve my ability to adapt to various situations, so I'm open to all suggestions.
 
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