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Border Blobs Style Opener

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by skepticon, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. skepticon

    skepticon Chieftain

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    This write-up is about a new playstyle opening that becomes viable with the changes in the community balance patch. Its a versatile, fun opening style that emphasizes expanding your empires borders and producing a solid backbone of resource generation through instant yields. It is especially well suited to conquest victories (on any map size) but can easily be tailored to chase any victory condition. I'll note here that my experience with this style is playing on Prince difficulty at Epic pace.

    Leader Choice

    Anyone (really). The best part of this style is that any leader can use it. Civilizations with unique abilities or buildings which provide a bonus to border expansion are nice, but not required. Civilizations which provide early game (prior to 1st tree completion) science and local city culture help offset the main weakness of this style and synergize well.

    Opening Priorities

    Play to your advantage - while we are looking for a pantheon, we don't need to be first. After a scout, I typically build a monument, worker, and shrine in my capital in whichever order will most benefit me. Early tech order is completely open as well. However for our first social policy we take Tradition, followed shortly by Sovereignty. Sovereignty is key to the build - it provides bonus faith for grabbing our pantheon, bonus local culture in the capital from the artist specialist, and most importantly a border expansion cost reduction which we will be stacking. You can pick up any of the early wonders or focus on settling instead.

    Option Select

    At this point you want to assess the game. Border blobbing is a go-wide style - if your game looks like it would instead favor a go tall Tradition build then you should go that route instead.

    Pantheon - God of the Expanse

    +25% faster border growth, and gain 20 Faith every time a city expands its borders. Bonus scales with Era and Gamespeed.While this is the only pantheon that works for our strategy*, I've never seen it taken before I was able to select it. If it is, just pivot into a standard Tradition opener.
    *The Celts can select Epona the Great Mare. This gives us Food, Science, and Culture instant yields on border pop, but does not increase the rate of expansion. On balance it is probably stronger than God of the Expanse, but less explosive.

    Early Cities and the Authority Tree

    As you found 2-3 additional cities and research the initial 11 Ancient era techs you're going to notice our weakness - lack of early local culture and weak early game science. Make sure to invest in Monuments in your early cities as we begin getting our instant yields online. Consider using early caravans to boost food or hammers in your expansion cities instead of gold. We pick up the Authority opener now and taking out encampments with a single unit becomes viable. At this point if possible try and get allied with a cultural city state to give us a boost down the home stretch. Follow up by selecting Tribute from the Authority branch to give us instant yields of 30 gold and food for every border pop. All of our instant yields scale with era - I believe they become 75ea in the classical era.

    Founding our Religion

    While we may not have been first to a pantheon, our border popping instant yield faith generation will quickly close the Faith generation gap without any other focus necessary. Any Founder belief can be picked, but Inspiration (+1 culture for every two followers) is my first choice for follower belief, with Mastery being a viable choice as well. Additional Faith generation through buildings is not necessary - we can get more than enough just from instant yields to spread our religion to all our cities and then save up for a great prophet for a reformation (take Zealotry and whatever 2nd follower belief suits you).

    Angkor Wat and completing our Hybrid 'Tree'

    I recommend going for Writing as our first Classical era tech before building up to Currency to build Angkor Wat. While not strictly mandatory, Angkor Wat really makes our border expansion explosive in combination with solid local culture generation. To that end we acquire the Dominance and then Discipline policies in Authority.

    With all the pieces in place, the empire's border expansion will be non-stop, and EXTREMELY aggressive. On epic pace, depending on city size and age, borders will be expanding in every city every 2-3 turns. Instant yields from food will eliminate the awkward early turns of city growth and make your cities large and productive in no time. City growth increases culture generation through Inspiration and so a virtuous cycle is formed. Use your trade routes to boost production in recently founded or conquered cities - instant yields from gold will allow you to invest aggressively in completing buildings AND purchasing army. Instant yields from Faith can also buy units (with Zealotry) - after picking up the Honor policy you can immediately begin your quest for world domination... and nobody will have a hope of stopping you.

    EDIT: corrections.
     
  2. Funak

    Funak Deity

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    God of the expanse is actually +25% border growth and you get +20 faith per expand.

    It is also worth mentioning that Ethiopia is extremely preferred for this kind of game-play, his unique building both helps you make sure you can land that pantheon faster, securing your religion and allowing you to prioritize the monument over the shrine.
    He is also far more likely to get the Angkor wat because of the free tech he gets from founding a pantheon and founding a religion.
     
  3. skepticon

    skepticon Chieftain

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    Thanks, I've edited it. I must've copied from an older source.

    I agree with your assessment of Ethiopia - they definitely complement the playstyle best, even moreso before the buffs to Authority and Shrines.
     
  4. hokath

    hokath King

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    What is the interaction with the Hunnic UA? When it gives you the extra tiles, do they count as border expands too, or not? If they don't would you consider this anti-synergy?
     
  5. Funak

    Funak Deity

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    Does not count as border-expands.
    Technically you get fewer total expands over the course of the game, which could be considered anti-synergy, the extra tiles grabbed however does not increase the cost of the next border-expansion so it isn't that bad.
    On the other side of the coin, the Hunnic UA synergizes with border-expansions, the more border-expansions you get, the more extra tiles you pick up. Since this strategy is going to result in more, faster border-expansions it will give you better value from the hunnic UA, all in all I think it would break even.
     
  6. skepticon

    skepticon Chieftain

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    What makes you say this? Your cities will continue to pop their borders even after they have grown to include every tile a 3-hex radius.

    The Hunnic capital city on a 1CC would easily be able to gobble up an entire continent by itself with a border blob opener.

    As Funak mentioned, you will not generate extra instant yields from the UA, but for strictly explosive blobbing nobody is better than the Huns.
     
  7. Funak

    Funak Deity

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    There is a limit on how far your borders can expand, I think it's 7 hexes in all direction might be higher, you do see tradition capitals reach it fairly often however so it's not like some kind of fantasy-number.
     
  8. Foch

    Foch Chieftain

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    Two other civs that would be fantastic choices for this strategy are Greece and Denmark, both of which have UBs that grant instant local city culture from kills. Murder begets global culture, local culture, and science; local culture begets tiles; tiles beget faith, food, and gold.

    Hmmm...brb playing Greece with God of the Expanse, Glory of God, and Arsenal of Democracy. WISH ME LUCK.
     
  9. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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  10. Cyde042

    Cyde042 Chieftain

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    So the bonuses are additive? 20 from tradition, 25 from wat, 25 from pantheon and 25 from her. Anything else that gives a bonus?

    Also,, mausoleum synergizes well because you'll be pumping out plenty of great persons even during ancient Era. It will help with the culture cripple.
     
  11. Funak

    Funak Deity

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    25% from the monument. And yeah I think they are additive, meaning if you have Ger Pantheon Monument and Angkor Wat you're going to get 2 culture towards border expansion for every 1 point of culture the city earns.

    But then again considering the effect says 25% faster (I think) it could also translate into 2.34 culture towards border expansion for every culture earned. I don't remember exactly how it works, but it is additive anyways.
     
  12. skepticon

    skepticon Chieftain

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    The way it works is really weird - if I go straight Authority and only have 3 out of the 4 (no Sovereignty) then I get borders which pop ~25 turns. With all 4 bonuses the borders pop ~3-5 turns, iirc. As fun as that is, I wish there was a lesser benefit for being 4/4 and a much larger benefit for being 2/4 or 3/4.
     
  13. Cyde042

    Cyde042 Chieftain

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    I have to say that after playing a couple of games with this strategy, it's hard going back. The instant yields are really powerful.

    I think Ethiopia is a better choice since you get free techs. You are only losing 12% In comparison to Mongolia. Stelle gives 33% border growth, 2 culture, 2 faith and therefore you will get a faster start. Besides, I'm not really a fan of Mongolia's city state UA.

    Piety tree also has a policy that doubles border growth during GA and WLTKD.
     
  14. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Is this strategy complimentary to Russia's UA (buying tiles gives science) or anti-synergy? Do the borders have to naturally expand or does purchasing count? Or is this situation similar to the Huns as outlined by Funak and others?
     
  15. skepticon

    skepticon Chieftain

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    The instant yields only trigger from border expansion due to culture. So it won't trigger from gold purchases, but it will trigger from local culture generated, even instant yields, like the Authority trees bonus culture and science for founding or conquering cities.
     
  16. jma22tb

    jma22tb Prince

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    No it isn't. You have to buy the tiles, so a heavy Gold opening strategy makes more sense for them so you can afford land purchases along with everything else you need to buy.
     
  17. jma22tb

    jma22tb Prince

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    I'd like to point out that this strategy is optimally used by Mongolia and Ethiopia. Mongolia has Ger and Ethiopia has Stele.

    You can use it for anyone in theory, but not every civ benefits the most from this strategy in practice.
     
  18. Cyde042

    Cyde042 Chieftain

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    Huns were already addressed in this thread, the extra tiles don't count as border expansion.
     
  19. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I've finally gotten around to trying this strategy out using Mongolia on Immortal/Standard/Standard. I've restarted a few times after getting through the early game but then wishing I had done something differently so I've had a few runs of the opening but haven't gotten into late game yet. A few notes:

    I am able to consistently get the desired pantheon (God of the Expanse) and have been able to found a religion almost every time with fairly minimal effort. A starting build of scout/monument/shrine and policy opening of Tradition->Sovereignty along with the Expanse pantheon seems to be enough to found a religion somewhat safely on Immortal difficulty. I typically don't prioritize shrines in my 2nd or 3rd cities as a monument or ger probably produces just as much faith via tile acquisition.

    I have not been able to get Angkor Wat in any of my games, however. I have tried going to Writing and then to Commerce and every time I am still a few techs away from Commerce when Angkor Wat is completed. I am planning to do one more restart where I go straight to Commerce and can hopefully nab it this time.

    Overall this opening can feel a tad slow in tech/policy progression but not much slower than normal IMO. I haven't been able to make it to mid or late game yet so it will be interesting to see what happens when all of the synergies come online and start snowballing. I'm planning to enhance with Zealotry to buy my armies with faith and also dip into Piety for the faith purchase cost reduction and double tile acquisition during WLTKD. I'll eventually go for Autocracy/Lebensraum for yet more tile acquisition and hopefully get Angkor Wat next time.

    I'll conquer/puppet as much as I can and hopefully with enough cities popping new tiles the food/faith/gold instant incomes will just be massive. I'll try to report back when I've completed a game with my findings!
     
  20. Legen

    Legen King

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    Brazil should work well for this style. The new UU, Bandeirantes, provides :c5culture:Border Growth upon revealing tiles (plus :c5gold:gold and great general points), its WLTKD boosts culture generation in the cities, it can use the Apostolic Tradition founder belief to convert the high faith output into golden age points and benefits from Lebensraum for additional golden age points. The civ is set to win by accumulating :c5goldenage:golden age points, so any strategy that maximizes the benefits of Splendor, Apostolic Tradition and/or Lebensraum has the potential to win by itself with Brazil.
     

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