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Babylonian Acoustics Policy Slingshot

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by lemmy101, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Chieftain

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    Here's a strategy I have which can really give you a significant tech boost. I did it (quite ineffectually) in my first game and since then have been working on perfecting it.

    (or have I just BROKEN THE GAME? :D)

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    The strategy

    Some of the cooler Social Policies come around when you hit the Renaissance, namely Freedom and Rationalism. If you're playing Babylonians then clearly science is the direction you should be focussing so completing the Rationalism branch early is a good thing. Freedom will also allow you to quickly get to the conditions to set up a Specialist Economy, namely the the ones that cut unhappiness and food consumed by specialists by half.

    So the strategy is this. You start the game, and your main focuses are:

    1) Consider saving up your unlocked Social Policies until you get to Renaissance, by right clicking 'Adopt Policy' when they are given to cancel the prompt to pick them. You can pick them later when you are ready by manually entering the policy screen. It is highly recommend you go for Calendar tech before anything else and try and get Stonehenge built. The increased culture will give you many more policies to pick after completing the strategy.

    2) You beeline up the tech tree to Education, getting your free Great Scientist along the way through Writing. Build a library as soon as possible (after Stonehenge, if you build that) and then get some specialists working in there, so you can generate another Great Scientist (50% quicker than normal!). Save both these scientists, you'll need them soon. Get your specialists back out of your library for now to keep your city growing as much as possible. If you can't afford to generate the second scientist just one will do, but will slow down the process a little.

    3) Research Philosophy, and then Theology. Once that is finished and you have your two Great Scientists you are ready to launch the slingshot! Use the Discover Tech ability of both your Scientists to get Education, then straight away Acoustics. This will push you into the Renaissance pretty damn early into the game. Of course your relatively low science output will mean that there is little point in continuing down here for a while, since the number of turns will be pretty damn high still, but the focus is purely to unlock those social policy branches then you are free to mop up any cheaper techs you neglected when beelining up here.

    4) Spend all the policies you have available with your awesome new unlocked branches! Hurrah!

    You can start unlocking the more advanced social policies more quickly, improving science and allowing better specialist super powers earlier in the game. Meanwhile you've been concentrating on Babylonia's strong point, science, unlocking libraries, universities and the National College along the way. Weeee!

    It's quite scalable. You can take detours around other starting techs you need to get your civ off the ground, but obviously the quicker you get there the bigger the tech advantage you will get from it.

    It will also work with any other civ, should you find it useful to do it. The only difference being the process of generating the Great Scientists will be a bit more expensive and take longer.

    On Prince, Quick game, and building the following (in order):

    Monument
    Worker
    Stonehenge
    Library
    Temple

    I can get to Renaissance with 4 policies to choose and a 5th just around the corner by 800 BC However this was going for it 100% which may not always be possible depending on your surroundings. Either way you're going to be very vulnerable but this is to show its maximum potential.

    How many policies you have obviously depending on factors like if you managed to build stonehenge. But here are some ideas on what you could unlock at this stage:

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Policy Spend Ideas:

    Rationalism -> Secularism -> Free Thought -> Scientific Revolution

    5 turn golden age
    +2 science from specialists (each scientist specialist == academy)
    +2 science from trade post
    2 free technologies!

    Make sure you save the last one for when you've got some expensive techs to take, since you need to take them there and then when you unlock the Scientific Revolution, perhaps research up to Astronomy which means you can take Navigation and Scientific Theory!! That gets you Public Schools, and only two techs away from the Industrial Era possibly as early as 800 BC if you went all out for it. How mental is that?

    Freedom -> Civil Society -> Democracy

    1/2 unhappiness from specialists
    1/2 food consumption from specialists
    50% extra generation of great people

    Super super super fast and cheap Great Scientist generation, and double speed for all other Great People! Stick specialists in your library now and pump out Great Scientists like there's no tomorrow with much less impact on growth! Use each of these to pop techs or have yourself a ton of golden ages. Awesome.

    Since this strat will work with other civs (albeit more slowly due to lacking the GS power) you could, for example, pick Greece or Siam and unlock a good chunk of Patronage (with the advantage you only have to progress to Medieval) or even go further and go straight for Order or Autocracy by making it up to Industrial (usually by popping up to Biology, or possibly Dynamite if you want to keep to the military side, though I expect this is the more expensive route)
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    That is all.

    I suspect this strategy will become less effective and need modifying as patches for balance come out. My suspicion the lack of having to take the policies when you get them is a bit OP perhaps, allowing you to avoid the less impressive early branches and stockpile a bunch for the later ones, along with Babylon being widely considered OP? We'll see how it goes! Until then, enjoy your bonkers science buildings in 800 BC madness. :D Hopefully me highlighting it will help the game balance after patches rather than ruin the game for anyone. ;)

    Thanks to ottocrat for revealing that Social Policies can be taken at any time and not on the same turn you get them, which was news to me! And took away the limitation of avoiding culture buildings and increased the scope of this strategy quite a lot!

    Lemmy
     
  2. ottocrat

    ottocrat Chieftain

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    You might want to re-think how you are doing this:

    When you accumulate enough culture for a social policy, you don't have to select one immediately. You can wait until you unlock the tree you want and then spend the culture.

    This is what I do in most games. I save my policies until after I build the Great Library and then put them all into Patronage or Commerce. I typically go with Patronage but if you are on a map with lots of ocean (and few nearby city states), Commerce is better.
     
  3. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Chieftain

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    You can WHAT....? :D

    Wow I had no idea you could do that. :|

    Well if this is the case then I will work on version 2 of the strat, but I still think the benefits of early Renaissance policies is a great thing.

    EDIT: Okay I've edited the strat. Thanks again ottocrat! :)
     
  4. ottocrat

    ottocrat Chieftain

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    I completely agree with unlocking Rationalism for the Babylonians but don't intentionally limit your culture along the way. Encourage the culture and you'll be able to grab 3 or more policies in Rationalism the moment it unlocks.

    I don't think there is one right plan to take (depends on your civ, depends on the map, etc...) but I can say that if you have many local city states, quickly filling out Patronage is awesome awesome awesome. I wiped out France in a game last night and my civ (India) has yet to build a military unit. I was gifted multiple catapults, horsemen, pikemen, archers etc... from my two allied, militaristic city states.
     
  5. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Chieftain

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    For sure :D but of course if one was under the incorrect assumption that you HAD to take them when you got them, you can understand how the culture limiting would seem like a preferable thing.
     
  6. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Me too. Nice. And you keep accumulating points for the next policy despite not selecting one now?
     
  7. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Chieftain

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    Yup check out the strategy now. You can just carve through about three or four of the Rationalism branch in one shot.
     
  8. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Wow, that seems like a design problem, considering how much weaker the early SP trees are than the later ones.

    Actually the early trees seem unbalanced, there are a few very powerful effects that stay useful all game (oligarchy, Professional army) and a few very weak ones (landed elite, citizenship, collective rule).

    Whereas later trees are just chock full of pwnage.
     
  9. quill18

    quill18 Chieftain

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    I guess the question is: How much are you giving up by running without any policies during the time it takes you to get up to ___________ age?

    It does seem like the answer is "not much" if you really work your slingshot intelligently.
     
  10. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    Looks strong enough to be broken ... must try :D

    P.S How about dropping the Oracle and/or the GL in the middle of this ? :devil: You are going to get the techs for those in the way ...
     
  11. Martin Alvito

    Martin Alvito Real men play SMAC

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    Yup, Babylon is OP. Just saying.

    Doing this also boosts your defenses, which effectively is a passive hammer bonus, compensating you for a soft military. It also encourages the AI to get sucker punched by attacking cities it can't take. The AI seems to do a poor job of accounting for era disparities when determining whether or not it can conquer your cities. That can cost it a lot of hammers.

    Oddly, you get the defense bonus whether or not you have military tech from that era. In principle, you could run up the tree to Penicillin without ever researching Mining, yet still have cities that put out damage as though they were garrisoned with modern rocket artillery. Either you should only get the defensive bonuses once you research something in the bottom half, or the bonuses should improve with each tech from that era you have.

    You will probably get good results with your approach as described up to Immortal. On Deity, you just can't afford to run those specialists early, or you'll get behind in military and get dogpiled. You also have to get luxury techs quickly on Deity, which forces you off the optimal tech path.

    But even on Deity you could simply save the first GS, build a Library once you have decent defenses, then proceed as you outlined. +2 science per Trading Post is effectively four pop points worth of research, and that will go a long way towards digging you out of the tech hole you end up in.

    You'll need some serious culture to make this work. You can build Stonehenge on Deity, but doing so cripples your military and expansion. Unsure how best to solve that. Would require testing.
     
  12. lemmy101

    lemmy101 Chieftain

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    I'm not really sure it's Babylon that's OP as much as the great scientists tech popping generally. I've had pretty good results doing this with other civs, though obviously not as effective. but apart from only letting them pop a specific tech I'm not sure what they would do to nerf them.
     
  13. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

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    Nice find! I stumbled across this same basic concept last night, figuring out the deferred social policy idea (purely by trial and error) and using Great Scientists to accelerate the age advancement and open up Renaissance early on. Not nearly as early as you could by pursuing this strat from day 1, but early enough. :) (I'm playing as the Romans, not Babylon, but Rome can give you a science advantage in cheaper Libraries and Universities in your cities.)

    I did grab the Oracle and GL as early as possible, too - those free advances and social policies were key. Your policy spending ideas are right on, IMO. I actually went for Liberty in the early game just to help with expansion, but shifted gears a bit later on and am focusing on the Rationalism tree now. Will follow with Freedom, using the abilities you mentioned. :goodjob:
     
  14. Martin Alvito

    Martin Alvito Real men play SMAC

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    The GS tech pops aren't a problem in and of itself. That's symmetrical. All civs can do it. The AI is probably bad at maximizing the GS pops, but it gets so many production advantages that there need to be opportunities for skilled human decision-making to redress the balance.

    The problem is that the free GS is coupled with a boost to GS production. That's an issue given the current tech tree. The opportunity cost to Babylon for popping the second GS is far too low compared to the value of early Rationalism. You expend the cost of the Library and 11 turns of 2 pop's production to do it. That's an investment of roughly a Warrior plus deferred growth, which is very minimal. Yet big Science early on lets you build an Ancient Era deterrent army (which you must build) using hammers, then efficiently throw gold at the problem of building a competitive military later. Compare the cost of rush buying modern units to the cost of building a weak early game unit, then upgrading it using gold.

    Example: IIRC, a Chariot will upgrade to a Knight for 150 gold. The Chariot costs 270 to rush buy; the cheapest 6 strength rush buy option costs 200. The strength disparity is 3:1, and that understates the difference in value by a wide margin. A 6 Strength unit will die to just about anything by turn 75 on Deity, but the Knight can sustain multiple rounds of combat before perishing up into the early ADs.

    This might tempt you to say that upgrades are too good. In a sense, I'd agree. It always makes sense to plan ahead and build badly outmoded units before you research the unit that removes them from the build queue. But you can only abuse this heavily if you have big early Science. Otherwise, you'll have to build appropriate units, rather than cheap outmoded ones, just to survive long enough to research the next tech.

    If I wanted to nerf this, I'd either take away the opening GS, add another prereq to Acoustics, or nerf the percentage boost to GS production. 25% or 33% would be far more workable than 50%. The opportunity cost for building the second GS would then be several more turns of early production. That is very meaningful on Deity; the tolerances for having enough troops to deter AI aggression are not large.

    Even if you take away Acoustics, using the extra GS for Civil Service would remain potent on a river start. You don't always start near a river, though, so that isn't such a problem.

    But don't worry about your strategy getting nerfed in any patch in the near term. Babylon is making Firaxis and Take Two a lot of money right now. I bet that 80% of the people that bought digital deluxe would not have done so if the civ were balanced. That's $10 extra directly to the publisher, plus they're only paying online distribution costs rather than bricks and mortar, plus they don't have to produce and ship physical copies.

    I commend the marketing department at Firaxis. It never ceases to amaze me how the concept of the patch (which led to digital content distribution) is simultaneously the best and worst development in the history of gaming.
     
  15. iggymnrr

    iggymnrr Chieftain

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    Interesting. I just finished a Babyon game with minimal attention to specialists and rationalism. Liberty and Order policies worked for me. I also posted on it. Techno Victory or something like that.
     
  16. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    Just tried it on King ( managed to get GL as well , but used it on CS, because my start has little food ) ...
    Spoiler :




    This is really way too powerful ...

    P.S As all of the CS near me are cultural I also banked almost 700 culture. How many SP does that give ? ;)
     
  17. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

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    Interesting and thorough analysis, Martin. (If your SN is a reference to Clavell's Shogun, you win +5 additional Pepsi Points.)
     
  18. Celevin

    Celevin Chieftain

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    The real bonus is that city states give more benefits. In Ren, the maritime city states give +5/+3 food, and I don't even want to know how much cultural city states will benefit you that early.

    This NEEDS to be patched. It's more than just the slingshotting, it's the spearhead to a new era just to get higher city state and other bonuses. It's breaking the game.

    For ultimate cheesage for a fast cultural victory:
    - Be Siam, and do the same thing (albeit a bit harder than Babylon - Ren is still possible).
    - Choose the Patronage tree.
    - Get the extra benefit from city states, extra benefit from Siam, which multiplies on Ren city state levels.

    EDIT: Nevermind, just go for Freedom. Build Stonehenge with only 1 city with Babylon, then get double the culture from cities with wonders, and -25% cost on all future policies.
     
  19. Dizzy75

    Dizzy75 Chieftain

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    Haha. Just from reading the Babylonians' unique trait, and what GSes could do, you could already tell they were overpowered. :) Marketing strategy, of course - just like any other game.

    Combined with their fairly overpowered UU (8 ranged, 6 melee defense for just one starting tech and no strategic resources? Sign me up!), taking an early detour to pump out 1 or 2 bowmen can pay some pretty big dividends. They're capable of taking out barb encampments very quickly, and I've found them to be very nasty vs. enemy capitals in the early game. The extra gold you get can enable you to buy that first library, or additional workers, or a granary/watermill to free up another specialist, etc.
     
  20. Martin Alvito

    Martin Alvito Real men play SMAC

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    +5 pts
     

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