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A strategy for consistent cultural wins on Monarch

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by walkerjks, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. walkerjks

    walkerjks Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
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    After several culture wins (and a few losses) on Noble, Prince, and Monarch, I think I have a pretty good feel for what it takes to get a cultural victory at standard settings. This is not to say that the information contained within is a perfect strategy. It can lose, and it does lose. But it seems to win more consistently for me than alternative strategies.

    The goal
    ---
    Consistently win a cultural victory on a standard map with 7 civs.

    Civilization traits
    ---
    This has a huge impact on cultural games and is probably the most important decision to make. I'll do a quick rundown on how each trait affects a cultural victory.

    Agressive - no direct impact on cultural wins.

    Creative - seemingly great, but on further analysis only so-so. 2 culture/turn is not very much. Even in the late game when your cities have +150% to +300% culture boosts, this is only 5 to 8 culture/turn. Since most of the 50,000 culture (at normal speed) will come in the last 100 years with cities generating 250 to 1000 culture/turn, an extra 8 is not a big factor at all. In my estimation, this trait adds about 3% to your total cultural output for the game. This is reduced if you receive a large portion of your culture from great artists. Of course it also helps a bit with early city development. Not having to build an obelisk means you can build other important buildings sooner. That shouldn't be ignored, but early theaters largely reduce this advanatage.

    Expansive - happiness is usually not a limiting factor in my cultural games, though health sometimes is. So expansive looks nice. Unfortunately, +2 health basically means +2 food (when a city is around the limit). So that's 1 extra citizen. So one (or two) extra tiles being worked or 1 extra specialist. Of course it will be a marginal tile (or it would be worked sooner). Assuming a smallish city of size 12, an extra tile generates around 8% more "stuff" (commerce + shields + food). Probably less since it's probably a marginal tile. I'd estimate a 5% or so gain in culture. This is reduced if you receive a large portion of your culture from great artists.

    Financial - this one is huge. Fully developed cottages (with the appropriate techs and civics) will generate +7 commerce per turn on plains and grassland or +8 on a river. Financial makes this +8 or +9. On other tiles, the effect is seen as well. +2 coasts become +3 coasts. Hills with windmills on a river go up 1. Early in the game, financial contributes 25% or more to your commerce production. Late in the game after cottages are developed, financial contributes 15% or so to commerce production. Based on making the cultural slider 90% or 100% late in the game, that means 15% additional culture being genreated from commerce. Of course much (about half in my games) of your culture will be generated by cultural improvements. So in my estimation, financial adds about 7.5% to your total cultural output. Note that this figure is further reduced if you get a significant amount of your culture from great artists. In my games, I generally get around a third of my culture from great artists, so financial is really only contributing 5% to my total culture.But the real bonus of financial is the 25% gain in early science output and the 20% or so gain in mid-game science output. That is a huge factor in monarch games, where you otherwise won't be able to keep up in tech.

    Industrious - this looks great, but I don't like how this plays out in monarch games. If you can get to techs fast enough, industrious will allow you to get certain wonders you otherwise would fail to get, particularly when combined with stone and/or marble. The problem is when you don't have stone or marble and you get beat to a tech, so you don't get the wonder you anyway. Industrious has the potential to be a huge cultural boost, but it also can be a waste in some games. I personally avoid financial at monarch due to this inconsistency. At lower difficulty levels, Industrious can be dominating (I've built well over half the world wonders in one noble cultural victory).

    Organized - not very good, but I haven't measured the effects to know the exact effect. You will probably end up building anywhere from 5 to 9 cities. The reduced maintenance for these would be nice, but the extra income from financial will more than make up for any maintenance costs.

    Philosophical - very good, whether you build wonders or not. This clearly isn't a 100% gain in great artist generation. For starters, much of your great artist generation will occur under Pacifism (+100% output). Also, much (say half) of your great artist generation will occur in a city with the National Epic wonder (+100% output in one city). So figure +200% naturally in your main artist generation city and +100% everywhere else. Philosphical will make this +300% in the National Epic city and +200% everywhere else. So about a +250% nationwide (vs +150%) assuming that half the production is in the National Epic city. So Philosphical is really closer to a 40% effective gain in great people points (3.5/2.5 = 1.4 or 40% gain). Also, the costs of the great artists go up with each one produced. So the actual gain in great person generation is closer to 30%. I typically produce around 12 to 16 great artists in a game with Philosphical. Without philosophical, this would be 10 to 13. So figure philospical adds an 2 to 3 great artists, generating 8,000 to 12,000 extra culture (out of 150,000 total needed) for a boost of 5% to 8%. Actually, 2 to 3 extra great artists can generate more than 8K to 12K culture (more on this later), but these numbers are fine for this discussion.

    Spiritual - this one is more difficult to measure, but I don't think it's particularly wonderful on monarch. If you can get more religions, you definitely beneift. But number of religions founded is more dependent on starting tech than on the spiritual trait. What spiritual will do is allow you to avoid anarchy. In my games, I generally make about 5 or 6 switches. So spiritual means I have 5 to 6 more turns at hyper culture growth at the end of the game before my opponent wins the space race. Considering I lost one game by 2 turns, this could be critical. Or not.

    Starting techs
    ---
    I'll just mention the three that can be very important early in monarch games.

    Mining - required for the quick expansion by deforestation strategy. You develop Bronze Working at the same time you get a first worker. 10 turns later, you have your first settler, and perhaps 10 turns after that you have your second settler.

    Mysticism - If you want a guaranteed religion at monarch, you almost have to start with Mysticism. Personally, I prefer to develop other techs before Polytheism, so this isn't big for me. But polytheism first might be a better strategy.

    Hunting - one step closer to archery, which can be critical when the barbarians have early archers (which they will at these difficulty levels).

    Other techs can be nice depending on your starting location, but since these are so heavily dependent on your terrain, I don't feel that they consistently provide any early benefit.

    Unique Units
    ---
    I generally only develop to around democracy, liberalism, and gunpowder before I stop tech advancement. This means getting very quickly behind in military techs. This deficiency can last for up to 75 turns or so. It is quite possible that as you approach your cultural victory, the AI will send tanks at you. Therefore, having a unique unit around these techs is nice.

    Without doing a great deal of research, two that work very well in this regard is the Russian Cossack and English Redcoat. If needed, you can fight off moderate tank invasions with these two units. Just expect to lose a lot of units.

    I would love to here about other early industrial or pre-industrial era unique units that can help.


    Civilization Selection
    ---
    Based on all of the above, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I prefer Elizabeth (phil/fin starts with mining/fishing) and Catherine (fin/creat starts with mining/mysticism). I've had the best luck with Elizabeth using a strategy I will outline below.

    Basic timeline
    ---
    4000 BC - found city and start building a worker (assuming you have forests nearby). Have scout/warrior explore nearby (but don't stray too far). Try to find a good second city spot.

    Second build - settler. Use the selective deforestation method to rush a settler. Use the warrior to protect the worker, and later the settler. Deforest in the city if you have to and just outside the workable area if you can.

    Third build - warrior or archer or settler. Depending on how lucky you feel,

    Fourth build - warrior or settler or archer. Whichever you didn't do last time.

    Basically, you want to get setup on 3 good city spots as quickly as possible (city location is a big factor in how quickly you can win). But you can't completely sacrifice military, since the barbarians will really start being a problem about the time the 3rd settler is ready.

    Once I have 3 cities, I stop rushing units. A 4th city is a priority, but I won't rush it, since I need a little time to get a little commerce going anyway.

    Between 4000 BC and 1 AD is all about getting my main 4 cities setup and founding any secondary cities (which will be used for resource aquisition, temple construction, and military unit building primarily). Note that it is often cheaper to build axeman with the city raider promotion and take barbarian cities than it is to build settlers. I usually end up with 1 or 2 barbarian cities.

    In my 3 cultural cities, I build cottages (rather than farms) in the open areas, and mines wherever they are needed. I generally leave forests alone at this point.

    In my specialist city, I build farms and mines.

    1 AD - I begin to prepare the core cities for the culture rush. I do this by making sure I have whatever religions I have established in all my cities. I also make sure I have temples built. This will maximize my cathedral buildings later. Other cultural buildings (monostaries, for example) are nice, but sometimes you need another city imrpovement more. DOn't get too caught up in culture production at this point, but also don't completely ignore it.

    In the core cities themselves, I begin to cut down all forests that aren't on hills and replace them with cottages. In some cases, the production will crash. I don't care. What I need at this point in these cities is as much commerce as I can possibly squeeze out. Plus, I want the cottages relatively well-developed by the time I hit 1500 AD. Mines also get replaced by windmills in the core cities and lumbermills get built wherever I am not clearcutting (forested hills, for example, or forests in non-core cities).

    1500 AD - Do your final preparations for the culture boom. Determine which 3 cities will end up being your legendary cities. Do this by temporarily sliding culture to 100% and looking at the stats. You may determine that the 3 cities you identified back in the BC years aren't the actual best cities. No big deal, but you need to know now what 3 cities to go with. Build the Hermitage in one of the cities. Build your available cathedrals in the 3 cities. Optimizing this can be tricky, but if you have stored your great artists, you can afford to make some mistakes. Have your non-core cities start serious military production. You need to build a large enough base of units to survive tanks with your inferior units. You may never get attacked, but you need to be prepared.

    1600 AD - Flip the culture switch. I prefer doing this around 1600 AD, but occasionally I find myself not quite ready (for example, I am 10 turns away from Democracy). I defer it if I have to, but don't wait too long or you will be seeing tanks and spaceships before you win.

    1900 AD - Win. 1900 should be a comfortable win. Other civs may have SS Casings and Thrusters built, but not much else.

    City location selection
    ---
    In this strategy, I generally use 4 base cities. 3 are designed to maximize commerce. This generally means as much grassland as possible. Rivers are a bonus. Coasts aren't a deal-killer, but in general, inland is better than coastal. Grassland/Forest or Grassland/Jungle tiles are ok as well. But I do try to avoid pure jungle for an early city since it will generate maintenance problems without generating much commerce. Basically you want open space, balanced with enough un-improved food production to support a reasonable population (12 to 15 is adequate, 15 to 18 is excellent). These cities will eventually become almost 100% cottage.

    The 4th city (often the 2nd one founded) will be a specialist city. Here, you want maximum food production. In general, that means as much flood plain, food resources, and grassland as you can manage. Rivers are essential for farming, so river bends are ideal. Ideally, this city will be able to dedicate 6 or so citizens to be great artists, generating 100 or more great person points a turn (if you are philosophical. Sometimes the specialist city will end up being one of your 3 legendary cities, but most of the time, you will have 3 cottaged cities that will outperform it slightly. But since this city will still be producing a fair amount of commerce, if you are stuck with 2 good cottaged cities (rather than 3) and a specialist city, use the specialist city.

    Additional cities are purely about resources or production or simple land grabs.

    Specialists
    ---
    Using this strategy, the only great person I ever want to create is a great artist. Great scientists aren't a disaster (particularly if developed early), but every great artist puts you at least 2.67% closer to your goal. I generally develop about 15 great artists during the course of the game, so that gives me 40% of my needed culture

    So how do I generate great artists without building any world wonders? The national wonders are a minor help, but basically it's all done with artist (culture) specialists. I religiously look at the F1 city info summary screen. Whenever a city is at it's limit in happiness or health, I manually stop it's growth and switch excess people into artists. Generally this means 1 or 2 specialists in about half my cities. Spreading great person point production across multiple cities isn't ideal, but most cities will end up generating 1 or 2 great persons sometime during the game.

    Once I get to the end game, almost everything will be coming from the specialist city. In good games, this city will be generating up to 100 great person points a turn without a single world wonder. That will give me a great artist every 15 turns or so in the end-game (obviously the time goes up as you get more).

    One thing to watch out for is the AI creating a specialist. When you have your science slider high (which is 90% of the game), the AI will tend to create scientist specialist. When you see this, switch the scientist out for an artist specialist. Again, great scientists aren't a disaster (use them to build academies), but great artists are better.

    So what should you then do with your great artists? Whatever you do, don't immediately go create a great work. You may think you know which 3 cities are going to be your legenedary cities, but in my last 3 games, my 3 best cities were always different than what I thought my 3 best cities would be when I started the game. Clearly I am not a perfect judge of terrain yet.

    Some people would suggest adding the great artist to one of your 3 cultural cities as a super specialist. While this is technically the best approach, I don't do this. A great work will produce +4000 culture in one lump sum. A super specialist will produce something like a base +14 culture/turn. But this value is modified by improvements. So a +14 super specialist in a city with 1 cathedral, The Hermitage, and free speech (+250% bonus) will actually generate 49 culture/turn. That would mean it generates more culture in less than 100 turns.

    The problem with this is the same problem as immediately creating the great work - you may not be good at predicting which city needs the improvement. Perhaps the city you think is your 3rd best city is actually your 4th best. Perhaps your improvement causes a city to hit 50,000 culture while another lags behind at 40,000. Ideally you want all your cities to hit 50,000 at the same time. The only predictable way to do this is to save your great artists and use them in a single great work rush at the end. 12 to 15 saved great artists is a wonderfully flexible way of evening out your top 3 cities (and by then you know exactly what your best 3 cities are without any mistakes).

    As I become better at identifying which cities are best earlier in the game, I might start using more super specialists with my early great artists. But for now, things work out well enough by saving them all.

    End of Part 1
     
  2. walkerjks

    walkerjks Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Part 2

    Religion
    ---
    Religion remains the primary weakness of this strategy. In most cases, you need the +% cultural benefits that cathedral buildings provide. To get these, you need religion, and the more religions the better. What you don't need to do is found a religion.

    If you don't found any religions, 2 or more religions will almost always spread to your civ (particularly if you have open borders with everything - which I highly recommend).

    Whenever a religion spreads to me, I always start a monostary in that city and start building missionaries to manually spread the religion in my civ. Evenetually, I want the religion to be in 3, 6, or 9 cities (depending on how many I have) so that I can build as many cathedrals for that religion as possible. Eventual, I make sure I have temples in each of those cities, though I only prioritize temples if I have early happiness problems. Monostaries are also nice for the science boost.

    I generally do not adopt a state religion until one of two things happens - another civ insists I convert (and then I weigh the risk of converting carefully - better to not anger a neghbor) or I develop philosophy and want to switch to the pacifism civic. When I have multiple religions, I obviously adopt the one that makes my immediate neighbors happiest.

    Even with this basic strategy, I have most often failed to win when I am alone on an island, or have 1 neighbor that never develops their own religion. In my worst game, I didn't get a religion of any sort until 1500 AD. At this point, it was too late to prperly develop it (or take advantage of pacifism).

    The answer to this problem might be to start as someone with mysticism and develop Hinduism immediately. This would virtually guarantee a religion (at least at monarch - higher difficulty may still be a problem), but it would come at a cost of delaying initial settler spread by 15 turns or so. This may not be all bad since you could get a couple warriors built, but it could be too high a cost. Catherine is ideally suited to Polytheism first, then bronze working second. Of course I would also then have to weigh the advatages and disadvantages of building the holy shrine. Normally, it's a no-brainer, but building a great prophet will cost me a great artist. I'm not sure that is worth it.

    I still probably wouldn't convert to Hinduism until I had to even if I got it first. It's something for me to explore in future games.

    Important world wonders
    ---
    None. Seriously. I can't guarantee I will get any built, so unless circumstances are fairly unique, I don't bother to even start any world wonders in some games.

    The only one that I might stretch for is the Parthenon. +50% great person points is great (but hardly required). If I have easy access to marble, I willstretch to get this, but not too much as it requires two additional techs (masonry and polytheism) that I prefer not to get early.

    Note that I also don't depend on the late media wonders that give a +% culture boost (Rock and Roll, Broadway, Hollywood, etc). There are two problems with going for these. First, you will get beat to them in some games. Second, if you are waiting to go 100% culture until you get these techs, another civ will likely beat you with a spaceship.

    Important national wonders
    ---
    National Epic. +100% great person output is very nice. This goes into whichever city will have the most artist specialists. Be careful about building this prematurely. I have had games where the city I thought would be the artist specialist city ended up with fewer specialists than another city.

    Heroic Epic. Not critical, but defense is always good. This generally goes outside my core 3 cities, into my highest non-core production city.

    The Hermitage. +100% cultural output. If you put this in your highest culture city, you get the most gain. But then that city may get finished before you have enough great artists for the remaining two cities. If you put it in your slowest city, you get the least gain, but the city will be legendary with natural gain closer to your faster cities. But since I use great artists as equalizers, I don't worry so much about the timing. I generally balance this by putting the hermitage into my second largest cultural city and then use catherdrals to further balance gain out. Ideally, I get my 1st and 2nd city to hit 50,000 together and use great artists to buy off the 3rd city's deficit.

    Important techs
    ---
    I list these techs in the general order I aim for them. Obviuosly tactical situations may lead me in slightly different directions (such as getting monarchy earlier when I have a significant number of grape resources).

    Bronze working - to rush settlers through deforestation. This is nice to grab the 3 (or 4) key city spots

    Hunting/Archery - early defense is extremely important at monach level. You can fight off the wandering barbarian archers with archers. Eventually you can roll back any barbarian cities with axeman (with city raider promotions), but as a stopgap, archers are great. If I had very easy access to copper, I might consider skipping archery since I could go straight to axemen for defense and offense.

    Pottery/Animal Husbandry/Agriculture/Fishing/Wheel - These are the basic land development techs. The order I develop these in changes from game to game based on resources to be worked. I would recommend not doing pottery last if you can help it since getting a few cottages developing early can be a huge tech and finance boost early.

    Mysticism - if I really need an obelisk in an early city, I research mysticism somewhere amongst the land development techs. This is often the case when my city is 2 spaces away from 2 to 3 resources. If I am creative, I don't bother with this. If I can get by without obelisks, I might skip this since I aim for early theaters.

    Drama - This is the key early game tech for me. Building theaters gives me large early game culture games (for borders) and also allows early happiness control. If needed, I have no problem setting the cultural slider at 10% (or rarely 20%) in order to keep my cities growing.

    Iron Working - Only needed if I need to chop down a jungle. Jungle cities can be great commerce cities long-term (endless grassland for cottages), but are a real problem short-term.

    Calendar - often leads to a quick +3 or so happiness in every city. Well worth it, and since I don't really focus on obelisks there is no downside.

    Literature - Required for the national epic. I am somewhat flexible about this tech. If I my specialist city is still growing, I bypass this until I really need it.

    Code of Laws - Another flexible tech that I only grab when I really start the great person production. At that point, you need the caste system civic.

    Philosophy - Pacifism gives +100% great person points. Critical for great artist boosts.

    Music - music is low since I just assume I won't get their first. The free great artist is nice, but I like predictable over unpredictable. When I have aimed for it early, I get beat to it half the time. Early theaters is more important, so I now skip music until later. However, this is critical in the late game as you need the cathedrals to improve culture gain.

    Liberalism - A long way away at this point, but still needed for free speech. +100% culture and +2 gold from developed cottages is huge.

    Banking - Mercantilism might be worthwhile due to the free specialist. I haven't played with this enough to know, so I may be playing sub-optimally.

    Economics - +1 trade route is nice. I have to see if mercantilism is better.

    Printing Press - +1 commerce on cottages is great

    Nationalism - Needed for the Hermitage.

    Democracy - Universal Suffrage is nice for the town shield production (which will restore production for those cities that became low production after the deforestation). Emancipation is great for the increased cottage growth if you are behind in cottage development, though this does come at the cost of slower great artist production (no caste system). This tech is optional, if you are way behind in tech, but still have reasonable cottage growth.

    Rifling/Military Tradition - may need for unique units. Potentially optional, but I prefer to have the better units in place. Optional in extreme cases.

    Corporation - nice for the extra trade, but not basically optional

    I'm probably missing a couple in here, but I normally flip the culture slider when I get democracy and/or rifling. Occasionally I have to switch before democracy and simply hope for the best.

    A sort of typical game
    ---

    Just to give people an idea of what cities need to look like to win, I will include a few stats from my last game, a Monarch, Continents, standard settings game.

    Great Person City - was producing 112 gpp/turn

    3 culture cities (stats at win, with culture slider at 90%):
    City 1 - 172 financial/turn, 796 culture/turn
    City 2 - 109 financial/turn, 451 culture/turn
    City 3 - 111 financial/turn, 270 culture/turn (obviously most of the great artists went here)

    7 total cities

    14 great artists produced during the game. 1 great scientist produced (wasn't paying attention to the AI specialist decisions).

    Multiple civs had completed the Apollo Program. Nobody was past thrusters and casings.

    Year won - 1898

    Acknowledgements
    ---
    OK, there are too many to mention. But most of these ideas are not mine, but are gleaned from the strategies of others. Others have suggested the power of financial long before me. I didn't start using a great person city until recently. I like the basic results. The settler rush was definitely not my idea, and I was openly skeptical of it at first. But now I deforest my 3 cultural cities in the end game anyway, so doing it early to one of my cities doesn't bother me a bit.

    And hopefully, the responses to this thread and other threads will teach me more. Another couple wins at monarch and I'll try it on the next level of difficulty (and probably get trashed). Fun times.
     
  3. Ghraabthar

    Ghraabthar Chieftain

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    This seems like an interesting strategy. Personally, I had thought of cultural victory as a more esoteric strategy, something to do for a change of pace on a custom game with the space victory turned off. The fact that you can pull it off on a standard game on Monarch to me is very impressive. I do have some questions though:

    Typically how big does your civ get? You seem to push for early expansion, which is something in my experience isn't the best thing to do.

    With the AI advantages of Monarch, its not long before your neighbor is able to build to your border relatively quickly. My approach is that since the AI has a production advantage over you, then you simply must have more land to keep up. This typically means I take out my first neighbor with a swordsmen, and my second with a macemen. It doesn't sound like you go to war at all, and I'm wondering how you get by with such a small population base.

    As far as for techs, even with twice as much population as my nearest competitor I can barely catch up techwise until the modern era. How are you able to keep up without falling hopelessly behind?
     
  4. pbobby

    pbobby Chieftain

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    Didn't know you could do this. Will have to check out how to do it.
     
  5. walkerjks

    walkerjks Chieftain

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    All very good questions.

    1) My typical civ size is 6 cities to 8 cities, with 7 being pretty normal. If I am alone on an island, I'll definitely try to stuff in a 9th city (so I can build 3 cathedrals for each religion). You can do this with only 4 or 5 cities, but 6 is the real magic number for me (again, having to do with cathedrals).

    2) I have a quick expansion push to 3 cities, get my 4th relatively quickly after that (through a normal 17-turn or so settler build) and then go with completely natural expansion. If I go faster, maintenance begins to hurt my tech too much. Natural expansion might mean grabbing a piece of marginal land by a desert that the AI doesn't seem to want. Or often it means capturing a couple of barbarian cities and keeping them. Or it might mean filling in a largish gap between 2 of my cities. The first 3 cities (and 4th if there is space) are all about location. Sometimes these get a bit spread out. Subsequent cities go whevever there is space. Even a little size 6 runt city can produce military units at a decent rate. Or that city stuck between ocean and desert can provide a little commerce.

    3) I do try to avoid war (except with barbarians). The culture will eventually grab much of the border land, so my resources actually increase over time, even though my cities stay constant. I suppose I would be sorely tempted if I were neighbors with a small civ stuck between me and another civ. But as my cottaged cities tend to be light on shields, I'm not sure I could pull off the production for a quick victory. My main military strategy is build enough units for a defense, rather than offensive actions.

    4) I do get hopelessly behind in certain techs, but stay largely in the techs that are important for culture. For example, I completely ignore the religious techs until I need them as pre-reqs for Philosophy. I completely ignore the economic development techs (metal casting, machinery, etc) until I need them for liberalism or democracy. As long as my cities can develop, none of this matters. I am behind in military tech, but gunpowder is fortunately a quick jump off of liberalism, so that catches me up quickly.

    Where it gets tricky is when the culture slider goes to 100%. This strategy would never work in multi-player because another player would come and stomp my rifleman or cavalry or redcoats or cassack with tanks. In fact the AI sometimes tries, but they usually come in small enough quantities that I can manage to fight them off.

    So in effect, I try to keep up until the industrial era (financial really helps with this) and then I fall hopelessly and deliberately behind. But you should end up winning early enough (before 1900) where it doesn't matter.
     
  6. Padmewan

    Padmewan Chieftain

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    Great post! This helps explain why I'm screwing up my first play-to-complete Noble game as Mansa (sp?). I got super-paranoid about the AI eating my lunch, and stuck in Civ3 mindset kept up my research. I now have a stack of 15 8-XP tanks (as spiritual, I also kept switching to military civ's whenever I did a big unit rush) to fend off AI invasions, but it's also probably too late for me to go all-culture and win, even at Noble -- India just completed Apollo and is probably on its way to a space race victory, unless I can start a world war.

    Also, I didn't do enough MM of specialists, so I ended up with a mish-mash of different ones. At Noble was able to capture quite a few GW's. You're right about the Modern-era wonders: even at Noble I got Broadway but lost both Holywood and Rock n' Roll.

    The hard part of executing this strategy is having the OCD-ish level of focus and concentration not to get distracted by other temptations. For example, I'm realizing that I shouldn't be building the UN right now!
     
  7. Padmewan

    Padmewan Chieftain

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    * bump * I'm curious if others found this helpful or just obvious. I eked out a cultural victory in the Noble game that I thought was hopeless after sticking to my guns and going 100% culture. Asoka was halfway done with his ship by that point, so I think I had at least 15-20 turns of safety... I had also managed to get myself elected UN Secretary-General so a diplomatic victory was possible, but unlikely. I think the original poster's strategy is surefire, but skipping Wonders feels a little, um, mediocre? Next time, though, I will focus more on specializing my cities' great people. It helps to know you have a civ-wide GPP threshold, not city-specific, so putting lame cities on GPP is a waste...
     
  8. walkerjks

    walkerjks Chieftain

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    Build them if you can. I just want people to understand that there is an alternative when they try their regular "oh, I need this tech to build this wonder" and then end up getting beat to the wonder anyway. This happens pretty frequently on higher difficulty levels. But I actually do manage to found a religion (usually Taoism) in about 20% of my games and I manage to get 1 or 2 wonders in about 50% of my games at Monarch. Failing at wonders isn't all bad anyway, since the money is useful.

    What I try not to do is sacrifice a known good for the chance at a religion or wonder. I won't go for philosophy (to grab Taoism) if I really need music, for example. I won't research the tech for The Parthenon if I don't have marble and I really need to get my road network going.

    One thing I probably do need to explore since The Parthenon is useful is deforestation to rush it. That might make it worth going for more frequently.
     
  9. Higis

    Higis Chieftain

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    I was playing a cultural game last night and it got nasty near the end. I was the Cat with best friend Elizabeth, going for a cultural win. I waited until later to pump to 100% culture, although I did have it a 50% since Demo. I was say 20 turns away to vic when i realize that Eli was going to finish her spaceship in 10. I did what any Machiavellian whould do, I tried to sabotage production, and when that failed, I nucked her capital, twice. She had SDI and none hit, but it got her to switch production away from her spaceship, and I won as the tank invaded my homeland. (I neglected defence a bit).

    The point about the multiple religion is well taken. Had I done things differently, I would have spread them more and built mulpitle cathedrals.
     
  10. Padmewan

    Padmewan Chieftain

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    Since walkerjks's strategy involves storing up Great Artists rather than merging them into super-specialists, this question isn't on point to the exact strategy, but personally I like the super-specialists just because they're Super! Anyway, if one were to go for merging super-specialists, would a Great Merchant actually be better at generating oodles of culture because of that +gold bonus? Do specialists' bonuses get city multipliers?

    For the wonder-addicted, here's a list of all the wonders that generate Great Artist points:

    Broadway, Hollywood, Notre Dame, Rock & Roll, Kremlin (???), Parthenon, Sistine Chapel, Taj Mahal.

    If merchants DO generate lots o' culture as I suggested above, there are the related Wonders:

    Colossus, Eiffel Tower, Great Lighthouse, Statue of Liberty, UN, Versailles.

    Besides which these all generate $ which translates into culture (if the slider is so set).

    I'm playing at Noble so YMMV, but right now Elizabeth is doing really well, and I've got a pretty decent army guarding my lines against Saladin, who is much happier with me now that I've switched to free religion. The hard part is trying to pick up a religion that you didn't found... I've never seen the AI send missionaries, at least not at this level. C'mon Saladin, I can use some Buddhism here!
     
  11. Blarg

    Blarg Chieftain

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    I got huge brownie points by adopting someone else's religion. :) He demanded it of me, and what the heck, why not. Plenty diplo points with him.

    Then I conquered him and kept his holy city and all his temples for myself. :)
     
  12. Padmewan

    Padmewan Chieftain

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    Right ... the last game I played I picked up some new religions by culture-flipping some nearby cities, but this only works some of the time. I then proceeded to mission the heck out of my own cities. (Do this before you hit Scientific Method or you're screwed!)
     
  13. walkerjks

    walkerjks Chieftain

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    Yes, they do get a city's multipliers. As an example, I've had a +14 culture/turn specialist become add +56 culture/turn (presumably I had +300% culture in that city). That's why adding the aritst as a super specialist is clearly the better idea. And I'll start doing that once I have a better feel for my cities. I've just had too many games where one of my three hand-picked cities is beng outperformed by a 4th city of mine. So I've been a little gunshy of using super specialists (or building cathedrals early). As I play on Emporer diffculty, I am finding that I need to optimize more early.

    The great merchant idea is intereisting and worth looking at. Part of the usefullness will depend on whether the bonus comes as commerce (so effectively science early and culture late) or as gold. Gold isn't as useful. Even though iit allows you to run the science/culture sliders higher, you don't get as many multipliers with gold as you do with culture.
     
  14. Rhandom

    Rhandom Chieftain

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    I've done a cultural win on prince, 1968, with two people in a space race at 5 structurals. I figure 15 more turns at most.

    I got maybe 8 great artists in that time. I have bad luck getting the ones I want - 10% is chances happen half the time for me.

    The funny thing is, I never put a single point into the cultural slider. I got a lot of wonders, and rode the tech advantage. Granted this isn't feasible on monarch, but I was very surprised at how much culture you can generate without it. I got all three of the late game culture centers though.

    It was on the same "random" map everyone gets, starting in the center of the larger northern isle. I never went to war except to claim a barbarian village. No one ever went to war with me. I captured 3 cities with cultural expansion - if you can make border cities your cultural centers, its almost inevitable.

    I made all three of my cultural centers great artist generators (as best I could), though I'm not sure if that is the best solution or not. They are generating culture as well as GP points, but is it worth more than if they were on a town?
     
  15. suspendinlight

    suspendinlight Chieftain

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    Interesting strategy. I play on Epic and have modded my game to go even slower so I am wary of trying very different strategies like this because a game takes so long. Be careful when playing on Epic because the victory conditions are different than on Normal. I had a Prince game as the Romans (I know, weird civ to have a cultural victory with, but I wanted to try it) and thought I was about to reach a cultural victory with my 3rd city about to pass 50,000 points. Boy was I surprised when I didn't win after getting 50,000. I looked into the matter and found out you need 75,000 on Epic so needless to say I was beaten to a space-race victory by the French...
     
  16. Higis

    Higis Chieftain

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    Very Interesting.

    1) Great Merchants can be good for upgrading your entire defences if used for a trade mission. I doubt their effectivenes as super specilists for this strat. My feeling is that you could not get enough multiplyers to equal the culture production of an artist.

    2)I am having the same problem with judging my 3rd city. the top 2 I can see without doubt, but the difference between the 3rd and 4th gets hazy in most of my games. However, making super artists in city 1 and 2 seems quite effective. If you get them in soon enough, they can make 6-8k of culture, saving yourself .5-1 great artist raise them later.

    3) I also seem to end up going for biology. The +1 for farms adds 1/2 a specilist per farm, which is alot in the specilist city. More then doubled production of gpp and the extra culture from all those specilists makes it a close run at 3rd, at least in my games.

    Just a couple of thoughts
     
  17. Padmewan

    Padmewan Chieftain

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    I can't do the number-crunching here now, but say 1 of your 3 cities is sitting in the middle of a flood plain / hill combo -- essentially, you can only build cottages on the flood plains. Which creates more culture (or other benefits): cottage for straight gold -> culture, or farm for GPP -> culture?

    (Yes this is my current situation. London started on flood plans, I moved one space to have an oceanfront view, and the other tiles are hills, one with gold and the other with stone. Don't ask how I got such a sweet deal... it did screw up my original lumber-chop strategy, tho!)
     
  18. walkerjks

    walkerjks Chieftain

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    What I prefer to do is farm the flood plain city and go for artist specialists (for great artists) and then have 3 other cities that are commerce factories. In practice, I don't usually have the luxury of 3 other great city spots, so the specialist city ends up being one of the 3 cities, and I really on the culture generated from the artist specialists more than commerce from cottages in that city.
     
  19. Padmewan

    Padmewan Chieftain

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    Still, I wonder if the 4K culture spurted out by a GA matches the commerce of towns x culture slider consistently pumping out turn after turn. You're right that it would be ideal if this city wasn't one of the 3, but in this case it is, so I think I'm sticking with the towns rather than farms.

    btw, by this strategy Wonders can actually be harmful: they will divert GPP towards less useful GP, e.g. prophets, ugh!
     
  20. waytofail

    waytofail Chieftain

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    i just tried this strat and it worked out quite well...however, i tried it using mercantilism and i think that you're better off with the extra commerce than being able to pump as many artists as you want into one city. the highest i could consistently keep my slider on was 80%

    that's just my experience though...i didn't have an ideal starting location and i also went into one tiny skirmish of a war that i fought defensively.

    hooray for my first civ 4 cultural victory! thanks OP :)
     

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