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BTS – A guide for higher difficulties for standard speed and maps (emperor+)

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Snaaty, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Snaaty

    Snaaty Deity

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    Like mentioned ealrier, there are various approaches here.

    But I normally dont whip in the capital, I use it exclusively as a settler/workerpump after growing to happycap. You get the settlers out faster that way.

    But I usually whip my new cities (I try to block and/or get food there) pretty often:D, providing me with the army needed
     
  2. Snaaty

    Snaaty Deity

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    Yes, you are, your capitals citizens will love you for it :king:

    EDIT:
    No, seriously, you get your settlers and workers out faster that way (in MOST circumstances. There are always exceptions, like very close neighbours, bronze you have to grab asap...)
     
  3. Mack_Jagger

    Mack_Jagger Warlord

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    Hey good to know:). I'm going to try this strategy out tonight with Darius and maybe finaly be able to bet Emperor.:king:.
     
  4. JTMacc99

    JTMacc99 That's a paddlin'

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    Well, as part of my move up to monarch, I'm giving much of this early game strategy a thorough testing to see how I should do it. I understand that at Monarch, certain things are less likely to be facts for this Emporer+ strategy, but I'm assuming it will just mean I have a little more wiggle room to make some mistakes or steer off the path a little bit. Please, somebody correct me if this is a bad assumption.

    First shot was with Hannibal on a continents map and three other civs. It seemed to be a perfect shot for this to work, but I had a couple issues. First, lack of resource-food in the BFC was a problem. I had floodplains, (and gold!), but nothing good to eat. I was too slow to understand this problem and cottaged a couple floodplains rather than farm them, which ended up with me taking way too long to get to the happy cap and start the worker/settler pump.

    Second shot I fixed the first problem, but this helped create a second problem. This time, I aggressively settled right across the middle of the continent, effectively sealing off the entire northern hemisphere for me, but the lack of room to expand, close borders, and clashing religions of the other three civs had them building military faster than I was able to do with my expansion blast. I also failed to choose a particularly good production site with my new cities. Somewhere around 500 BC, ALL THREE other civs had other things on their hands right now, and I was low man on the power chart. Oops, I think I know what was going to happen next.

    Attempt three was on a tectonics map, and this time with Lincoln. Lots of good seafood, so I took a brief diversion with a start of workboat, worker, warrior, workboat, warrior, archer (whipped), archer (1 turn due to overflow), archer, then the worker, settler (etc.). Note that the whip was not a big deal, as I had a Crab, two Fish (only one with a workboat on it), Corn AND Sheep in the BFC. As you can see, I could pull in 20+ food per turn with a size 4 city. This was certainly going to be a good place for the NE.

    As this was going along, I noticed that no other civs had made their way to me, but assumed they were on the other side of the giant mountain range, and I would find them eventually. Nope. ISOLATED. Heh, that really puts a damper on this test. I was going to play it out anyway, because this was an awfully big continent to have all to myself, and I was curious to see if this REX strategy was going to make me competitive when I finally found the rest of the world. Sadly, my hard-drive suffered a catastrophic Unmountable_Boot_Volume blue screen of death error, so I won't be playing out that game either.

    I will report back once I'm up and running with attempt four.
     
  5. MattX

    MattX Chieftain

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    From my experience. I am learning a lot by playing from the same start saved again and again. I know it gives you the advantage of knowing the map, resources, leaders etc. but it also reduces one variables (a new map) as you experiment with the order to build, research and expand.
     
  6. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    People are getting way too nervous about not being able to use this guide. Look, the example game had excellent happiness resources in the region (essential for cottage economy), marble (for GL, NE and Taj Mahal), ample food resources in your capital and the most trade-friendly player on your continent (Mansa Musa).

    On the other hand, it's not an easy guide at all. It really requires you to think through every move and stay very focused, and that's not something everyone can do. Especially getting liberalism that early... it's not something a casual player is used to.

    And personally, I have only been able to pull it off with philosophical leaders.
     
  7. mystyfly

    mystyfly Knight of Cydonia

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    I agree, especially using Darius helps enormeously. Nice you mention marble, I have also found that it helps a lot when doing a similar approach.

    But, are most casual gamers trying to win on emperor+?

    I find, to become a good player one has to invest alot of time into understanding the mechanics, getting to know strategy and the AI (trough experience). I doubt most casual gamers spend that much time in these parts of the game. OTOH those who play civ intensively do exactly that and should be able to execute this strategy. I find the guide fairly easy due to the formulating (short and precise) as well as easily executable (compared to other strategies to survive on higher levels).
     
  8. Aleph_Strategy

    Aleph_Strategy Chieftain

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    I've read the guide, monitored the game and read all questions and answers and I have to say: This Guide is excellent and one can really learn how to play Civ on higher levels by reading through the Questions and Answers! :goodjob:

    I'll try some games and come up with questions/observations...
     
  9. JTMacc99

    JTMacc99 That's a paddlin'

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    My favorite part of this guide continues to be the workerworkersettlerworkerworkersettler... thing at the start. It helps so much to do this. (Of course, in my last game I had almost no good commerce/happy resources at the start, which meant that after city #4, I had to settle numbers 5 and six to claim some tundra silver and furs and one far flung city to grab an outstanding cottage site. Next thing I know, I've got the research slider at 0% and am creeping towards currency and CoL. Oops. At least the whole continent is one big happy religious party. Thanks for founding them all Izzy!
     
  10. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    When I discovered this thread in Dezember 2007 I tried the strategy and with it I was able to win on Emperor on a regular basis. However when I tried it on Immortal it never worked out.

    In recent months I used mostly other strategies (WE), though I adopted some elements of this one (growing to happy cap before building settlers, going archery and train a couple archers early for defense and fogbusting). I can now win the majority of Emperor games with different or mixed strategies. I also managed to get a few Immortal wins, but only cultural or diplomatic and for every game I win there were several I had to give up.

    So yesterday I thought I'd try this strategy again and see if my skill improved a little to use it better. I started several games and if I didn't reach the goals Snaaty defines for each phase in the time specified I'd restart the map or start an entirely new game.

    It never really worked though. I have identified for myself two things without which this strategy is not usable:
    1. You need several AIs to trade with (three or more)
    2. The land must allow blocking your backyard with three cities

    I played standard Hemispheres maps with two continents. If I started on the smaller one I'd have only two AI neighbors. I found that it is not possible to backfill here with Aesthetics because selling it to only two AIs is just not enough to catch up.

    Also on most maps it's not possible to block land for 8 cities with your first three cities. Or it's possible but you have to pick poor spots to do it.

    In my best test game I was able to complete the first phase in the time specified, i.e. I founded four cities before 1000 BC while having two workers for each and a strong defensive force. I could also block enough land. After that it also went well and I was on track to complete the Great Library in 75 BC, the earliest date I'd ever build it. Pacal however built it in 150 BC. Unsurprisingly, without the additional GPPs and beakers from the two free scientists I also missed liberalism, so I quit.
    In that game I had gold in my capital's BFC which helped a lot. But how often do you start with gold?

    My conclusion is that this strategy is quite situational. If you don't play Pangäa and the land doesn't allow easy blocking, it is much riskier to try this than the guide suggests.
     
  11. dorkynorky

    dorkynorky Warlord

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    I started playing civ4 about a year ago and read the guide at that time. I think that its utility is as a conceptual guide more than an exact formula. It includes a number of elements that are important to consider in any game, no matter what the map. These include:

    1) blocking
    2) producing adequate workers
    3) tech trading
    4) diplomacy
    5) fog busting
    6) producing and using GP's
    7) raising and using an army in a timely fashion

    Obviously civ is a very complex game and there are large threads and guides that deal with each of the above elements. I've begun to win consistently at Immortal with a variety of victory conditions (primarily domination or space), and while I don't always build the GL, tech Aesthetics before Alphabet, win the Liberalism race or expand in the renaissance age, I do think that this guide helped me reach the position I'm at.

    As to whether the very formula could always produce a victory, I'd say if it could, the game would become stale. I think that possibly in the hands of the OP and players of his caliber that this formula is probably very successful a lot of the time. I've read through writeups and checked out posted games by Deity level players and I'd say they can usually get 50 to 100 percent more hammers or commerce than I'm capable of in a given time period and with that capability it might be the case that a single formula could result in victory (maybe not optimally) a great deal of the time. I think that is why I often see such players taking part in succession games where there are arbitrarily imposed rules that require application of different strategies.:)
     
  12. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    I don't know whether Snaaty still reads this thread... anyway, do you think that the strategy is still usable when you cannot found 8 cities peacefully, only 4-6?

    In my experience, blocking land for 8 cities with your first four cities (including capital) is only possible in 20-30% of Immortal games (standard Hemispheres or Pangaea). In most games, there's no backyard (especially with coastal starts) or one or even two AIs start very close and found their second city within sight of my capital.

    This makes me think that a WE game is often a better choice because you need fewer cities.
     
  13. dorkynorky

    dorkynorky Warlord

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    I see the base strategy of the thread to be

    1) aggressively settle/block
    2) develop your economy as the map dictates
    3) take advantage of a military advantage to gain more land

    and then as one guys signature states 'land is power', choose your victory condition and go for it.

    I've played standard pangea and fractal maps mainly since moving to immortal. While there are times that I get stuck with only 6 city sites, these aren't 70-80% of the time. You might want to try to work on more aggressive settling. This is where I know that Deity level players have it over on me. They are used to starting against AI's that have an extra starting settler. As a result they know how to get the most settlers out in the least time and take advantage of every early game hammer to that end. In the succession game threads I've seen, they use more aggressive settling tactics like settling in places where their first cultural ring is in the second ring of an AI city. They also seem to settle overlap cities within their own cultural borders faster. And in keeping with the general strategy, if more land is needed they consider war in any era to get the extra land.
     
  14. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    I've had more luck when I abandoned the goal to exactly follow the guide. Of course I knew that it's usually not possible to just follow a recipe, but I still expected that in one of two or three dozen games I started I'd get a map that suits this strat perfectly and I would be able to implement the guide more or less exactly as described (of course I'm slower but then again I play only Immortal, not Deity).

    Anyway, in my promising test game I lost one and a half of my picked first city spots (one was taken completely, the other I had to move two tiles so I lost the best food source and some river tiles). I could also not found more than six cities. But I got the GL (in 1 AD) and I was first at Liberalism in 860 AD, with no AI even close (teching was generally slow because of many trade-averse AIs).

    Notable "excursions" from Snaaty's strategy were: a) Having stone, I built Shwedagon Paya so I could switch to Pacifism very early b) I left the Lib path for a couple turns and got Music. The Golden Age from the GA yielded the two Great Scientists which bulbed me through most of Education and Liberalism.

    I think I will now try to beeline Steel and go to war with cannons. Will take a while to get there so I don't know if it's gonna work, but two more GSs should bulb me through Chemistry if I remember the bulbing rules correctly. Biggest problem will be my low production. That's what I really hate about the bulbing approach: No bonus hammers from settled specialists.
     
  15. Dirk1302

    Dirk1302 Deity

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    ^I have learned a lot from this guide myself, to answer some of your questions,

    - The strat certainly works with 6 cities. Also does with 4 cities, in this case it might be profitable to start an earlier war by beelining for miltrad->cuirassiers for instance.

    - In the end the guide is only an outline, the most important elements are imo the emphasis put on blocking early and the beeline to a military advantage. Winning the music race is absolutely a good deviation.

    - Indeed bulbing empires usually don't have much production. You could of course whip your empire to death. A good alternative: Depending on how many ais have it prioritize trading for or self researching guilds, stop whipping your cities at some point and let them grow. put workshops on the brown tiles, switch to caste. The workshops will now have 4H output, will be 5 5H after chemistry. Plan for this by having enough workers so that the shops are ready when chemistry comes in. Also don't cottage all, you ideally want your cities at 6+ food surplus to work some shops later. If all goes well you should be able to work ~4 shops/city netting 20H/turn from workshops alone. This should allow you to build a renaissance unit/3 turns, better in production cities. Even in a 4 city empire this means ~10-15 units in 10 turns, it's much better in bigger empires of course, smaller empires may need to prebuild some. For extra unit production you should build HE if unlocked. GT for 6+ empires also helps out in certain situations.
     
  16. IronCrown

    IronCrown Black Foe of the World

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    Thanks, I think I will try setting up workshops. I use them way too rarely, but in this game it is probably the best strategy. Food is rather scarce so whipping or drafting an army is not really an option.
     
  17. pawelo

    pawelo Emperor

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    I agree that it's a situational strat but a very powerful one.

    However it relies on AIs - minimal number is 3 as IronCrown aforementionned - even more than on terrain. In my current Immortal game the AIs (Willem & Hammy) didn't bother to research alpha, weren't willing to trade for Cal & Machinery, noone researched compass etc. It made a huge difference in Lib arrival, having to research all those techs by myself (with ideal conditions, I would've grabbed it around 500AD instead of 1100).

    Then, how do you deal when, in the midst of your great campaign on your closest rival with all those shining brand new rifles, the victim capitulates to your strongest opponent (thankfully not on the same continent). Would you:
    a) reload prior the war, play out things differently to grab more cities and the AIs capital
    b) re-DoW the AI you were killing, regardless the capitulation
    c) be thankful for 4 cities grabbed (one happy ressource too), tech to AssLine and re-Dow with Infantry
    d) restart with 'No vassal' setting

    Tech situation- one foreign AI has Rifles (and is pretty cold with almost everyone), no one got Rep Parts, Everyone has Demo except me.
    Any help will be appreciated :)
     
  18. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    8 cities is doable on immortal more often than not. Though strange to hear it from me, if you're not getting them there may be a micro deficiency, or your block pattern might need work.

    Deity is another matter of course. I have a hard time going over 6 there.
     
  19. whats a navy

    whats a navy Prince

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    hmm. maybe thats why I've been such a fail at some emperor and immortal games. I tend to try and block out land but i just can't settle crappy cities with my first to settlers. I always go for the monster spots and then lag behind to about 6 cities. But these games I usually bust out with some military.
     
  20. Negator_UK

    Negator_UK King

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    This was a really interesting thread and then this advice blew my mind ! Actually I know its good advice, but are there any links you can recommend for non-cottage economies (not SE, I know that - ish) - I'm thinking WE as I'm going through a Qin phase at the moment (emperor)
     

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