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[BTS] Cannot survive the Industrial era at Emperor difficulty

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Oaq, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    I cannot win at Emperor difficulty. I can sometimes reach the early Industrial era with a position that seems playable or almost playable, but the Industrial era defeats me.

    During the Renaissance era, which immediately precedes the Industrial, I cannot simultaneously
    • keep abreast in technology,
    • build some wonders,
    • settle islands,
    • push back against cultural pressure at my borders, and
    • maintain a credible military defense.
    Advice is solicited.

    For reference, a typical saved game is depicted and attached. (It looks like a fairly nice position, except for the strong enemy invasion fleet approaching from the east. For me, this is a typical fate. The game is lost as far as I know.)

    Civ4ScreenShot0000.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  2. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Well, your mistakes don't come on the Industrial era, but much earlier. You should be chopping all the forests before 1AD to help you expand faster or to build many units swiftly in order to war. You are building way too many buildings.
     
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  3. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Wow you love forest! Why did you not chop all the forest down? Happiness from forest preserves is not a reason to hold onto them.

    Lots of farms to which in most place add little here. You needed to decide if you wanted a production capital or commerce. This looks like a city you grow to size 3-4 and just spam settlers. That would of required 2-3 mines and 1-2 strong food resources.

    Your second city came way late here. You have all that forest to chop with imperialist trait. So 2800bc should of been possible.

    Oh played on one turn and your about to be invaded. (Sury Galleon fleet.)

    I think restart this and get advice. With maybe an early HA rush.

    Cities without food resources are not a good idea.
     
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  4. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    Generally speaking, trying to do all of that at once simply isn't viable on higher difficulties. You simply cannot keep up with AI bonuses. Instead you have to choose one or two areas to focus on, and find ways to compensate for the others and leverage that into a victory. For example, you cannot prepare for a Cuirs attack and build wonders and settle miscellaneous land and keep up in tech and focus on culture all a the same time. You can whip out an army, conquer a nearby neighbour or two, and then leverage the extra land/vassals into getting back into the tech game, setting up vassals as cultural buffers, etc.

    That all said, as @sampsa noted, the real problem here is rooted in the...Ancient Era, I believe it's called? The very start of the game. You seem to have very few cities compared to the amount of land within your cultural borders (although it's difficult to tell exactly how cities could be settled without resource pop ups, let stand things like your early game barbarian/neighbours situations), way too many forests have not been chopped, and I see that you're still working unimproved tiles this late into the game.

    I'd recommend starting a new game and getting advice from T0. That should be the best way to get the most advice.
     
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  5. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Seeing all those forests makes me sad :lol: - in real life, no - but here, yes.

    As others mentioned, you need to step things back to the beginning and really learn how to play the game.
     
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  6. Anysense

    Anysense King

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    The most fundamental strategic concept is concentration. In short, you struggle mostly because you break the most important law of this game - you have no focus.
     
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  7. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    I occupied as much land with as few cities as possible, placing cities to maximize resource usage. Is this wrong?
    Why, please?

    I do not doubt you, but do not understand the reason to train settlers before 2800 BC.

    In the sample game, I grew my capital before training settlers. Once training started, I trained four settlers quickly. The four settlers captured almost all the land I wanted. Five Ancient cities (four plus the capital) were costly to maintain; a sixth seemed unaffordable. Were my five Ancient cities not enough?

    Anyway, is it not wasteful to train settlers too early in a small capital that has not had time to grow?
    I thought so but, at Emperor difficulty, military units are costly to maintain. If I do not build buildings then what should I instead build?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  8. Anysense

    Anysense King

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    Enough for what? Why don't you want to settle more cities and claim more land? If its only because you can't maintain more cities than you are doing something wrong.

    OK, just one glance on your cities, told me everything I need to know. By turn 231 you haven't built any kind of economy. That is you hardly built any cottages, you built Mids and adopted representation but there are very few specialists in your cities, there are no windmills or workshops either. They work a whole lot of very poor tiles in their stead. Simply put, you don't use any of the most powerful sources of hammers and commerce, thus the recources at your disposal are a bit thin. You also don't concentrate your recources on something important. On the contrary, you seem to have an AI-like habit of building every building in every city. This is a horrible waste of recources and the main reason why AI is so weak.

    Edit: BTW, you don't need theatres for :), just put one military unit (a warrior will do) in a city to remove 3-5:mad: from "we are affraid for our safety".
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  9. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    Yes. Obviously how many cities you should place and how far apart depends on multiple factors, but as a general rule, many nearby cities is better than few distant cities. To briefly list the benefits of a dense, compact empire off the top of my head:
    • Nearby cities can share food resources. This allows new cities to start growing immediately without having to wait for a worker to build an improvement, and allow one city to use a strong food tile while another city builds a worker/settler and thus cannot grow.
    • Nearby cities can share tiles in general, actually. It allows you to build up a Bureau capitol really quickly by having multiple cities grow cottages, and really get everything you can out of your land earlier in the game. Also saves worker turns, since you don't need every city to get it's own improvements. To give you an idea, one capitol and three "satellite" cities can work all of the capitol's tiles around size 6 or so, and managing that would need Monarchy only in very rough situations. A size 24 capitol, even in good circumstances, still requires Biology or a Corporation, oodles of :)/:health: (re)sources, and probably at least a few buildings to get extra value out of those resources. Of course realistically there's a lot more to be said about when to work tiles and when not to, but just as a general idea, more cities can work the land thousands of years earlier.
    • Nearby cities are easier to defend against barbarians, since units (Chariots especially) can quickly move out to defend another city if needed, and Settlers that don't go far into the darkness are less like to run into a surprise Barbarian.
    • Nearby cities cost less distance maintenance, since they're closer to the Palace.
    • Nearby cities are generally easier to connect to the trade network, since it's easier to encompass things like coast and rivers entirely within your borders when cities are close, and in any case you'll need fewer roads, if any. Non-CRE leaders especially should consider this.
    • 6 (or the appropriate amount for your map size) cities allows you to get certainly national wonders like Oxford or Globe Theatre, and those wonders can be quite good in the right circumstances.
    • More cities means more trade routes, which means more :commerce:. Of course that doesn't really pay off unless you've got foreign trade routes, and it doesn't earn a noticeable amount unless those foreign trade routes are overseas trade routes at that, but still.
    • Multiple cities pumping out culture can better hold their tiles than a singular city pumping out culture, even if the one city produces more. To (greatly) simplify it, a city's border pop is worth more than a city's :culture:/turn, in terms of holding nearby tiles.
    There absolutely are times where you'll want to settle a distant city (grabbing a distant strategic resource or securing a chokepoint are both common reasons), but generally speaking it's better to have many small cities over a few big ones.

    Incidentally, how often/frequently do you use Slavery? It's a very important civic to leverage early game, particularly when it comes to building your earliest settlers/workers.
     
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  10. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    In short, cities develop and produce stuff..forests are just sitting there if left alone :)
    They are bad unimproved tiles, but they can give :hammers: you can use for settlers, workers or sometimes wonders and granary / library.
    Forget lumbermills for later, they are not even good improvements.

    It's all a potential (or snowball) thingy.
    For example don't be worried if you cannot afford to run your science slider much early.
    Instead be worried if you see good land like rivers and :food: that you are not settling (for too long).
    Just ~2 cottages make a city bring in more commerce than they cost, aim at estabilishing as many of those as you can early.
    And yup early means using things like chopping & slavery, set yourself a challenge of how much can i settle fast.
     
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  11. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    It depends on the circumstance but, approximately, I use Slavery when all of these are true:
    • the city has grown to within 1 point of its happiness limit
    • hurrying production will cost more than 1 population,
    • the previous Slavery timer has expired or almost expired, and
    • to finish the build without Slavery would take 4 or more turns.
    There are exceptions. For example, near foreign borders, Monuments are important enough to bend the rules. Also, if a city has few hammers then I will use Slavery more liberally.

    After the Calendar technology is discovered, as trade brings in foreign luxuries, I use Slavery less often and let the city grow. Eventually, late in the Medieval era, I will switch to Serfdom.

    Slavery is normally for building buildings. Units seem too cheap for Slavery to be effective.

    How often/frequently should I use Slavery?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  12. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    I see. Cottages generate revenue to pay maintenance for a larger number of cities? That makes sense. I will try it.
    Unfortunately, I do not know what Mids are.
    Indeed, one turn earlier, there was one military unit in each city. In the screenshot though, units are already scrambling in a futile attempt to meet the sudden invasion threat. Game over.
     
  13. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    Your attention is, of course, a finite resource! I should hardly ask advice turn by turn.
    Having lost now about 100 times at Emperor difficulty (only once even reaching the Modern era with a viable position), perhaps I should humble my pride and relax the difficulty level to Monarch. Too bad. I like games that are hard to win but, for me, this game is proving impossible. Years ago, I could beat Civ III Emperor pretty easily.

    According to the game's XML files, the Emperor difficulty level handicaps the player only about 15 percent. I am impressed that the AI can consistently beat me with only a 15 percent handicap.
    Okay.
     
  14. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    The first condition should add "or has no good tiles/specialist slots to grow on", but beyond that your list of conditions seems good. Obviously cases exists where you'd want to whip a city harder, use 1-pop whips more freely or whip off of good tiles, but as a general guideline yours seem fine to me.

    Where things go off track is actually later in the game, in this case. Serfdom is not worth using in most cases, either Slavery or Caste System is a better civic to run. Caste System in particular is very valuable if you've build Mids, since Rep boost specialists and you'll want to run many of them. If you find yourself short on worker turns, whip/build more workers. Infinite specialist slots is not even comparable to effectively getting 50% more workers, even on Marathon where you want workers to work in pairs at least.

    As for using slavery to whip out units, it depends on where your focus is. If you're preparing for a war, it is absolutely worth it to whip an army out. Whipping an archer you won't need for another twenty turns and have nothing else to build, though, obviously not. Don't underestimate how late into the game Slavery can pay off, either, especially when you're SPI. Whipping out an army of Cannons, Rifles and/or Cavalry has won many players many games.
    "Mids" is short for The Pyramids :egypt:.
    True, but I'm hardly the only person on this forum that can give you solid advice. And I'm far from the best player besides. Getting advice from T0 would do you a lot of good, though. The first thirty turns are easily more valuable than the last three hundred, Civ IV is very much a game about snowballing early advantages. Hence why chopping forests is so valuable.
    You definitely need to focus on improving your early game, learn how to quickly found and build an empire, and perhaps refine a few tips and tricks from there. Once you've got that knowledge under your belt you might need to move up to Immortal to get any sort of challenge out of the game ;).
     
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  15. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    There's several folks around these har parts that like to help less experienced players with the early game mechanics. Short turns sets are highly advised.

    Actually, your land is not spectacular in terms food resources. Maybe fitting in 2 more cities, and Cumae was badly settled. Antium as well should have been right next to the corn with maybe another city further NW for copper/cow if you could get there in time. Hard to tell at this late stage the AI pattern of settling in the early game. Anyway, certainly a far early opportunity existed to go conquer some new and better land from those chumps north of you.

    But your land is woefully improved.

    And where are your warriors? :lol: Warriors are one of the best units in the game and cheap city MP. Usually a few get built early while cities grow. Don't delete them..ha (And if going with Monarchy/Hereditary rule early you can build warriors for free cheap happiness).

    Anyway, if you will and wish it, be prepared to totally rethink how you play this game.

    Slavery/whipping can get a bit complex and takes time to fully get a feel for it. However, one concept about it that is important is that FOOD is King and food is production. Whipping settlers and workers is a very efficient way of turn food into hammers. Whipping buildings is far less efficient but there are certainly times to do that, like getting that fast library which can be 3popped whipped easily (non-creative). Units are most definitely whippable items but usually only during a wave of whippage to build up and army for a targeted attack. Also why the granary is the most important building in the game and really all you need.

    When whipping units understand what a citizens is worth (30h on normal) and the whipping points for different pops. For example, an Axeman can be 2popped at =<4H of production (no forge), and creates a lot of overflow hammers that likely complete the next Axe in 1 turn.

    Another general rule to consider when whipping is don't whip off specials; i.e., don't whip off food specials and power tiles like copper or iron. Otherwise, don't be afraid to whip off tiles, even cottages. Cottages can be adjusted among overlapped cities to keep growing.
     
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  16. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    I suggest a shadow game where you start from the beginning and post a save every 3-5 turns, asking everyone for advice on how to proceed. I personally found that to be extremely helpful in understanding just how to play the game in a way I never imagined before in my nooblet days, and I'm sure some other folks around here can say the same.

    Alternatively, you can post the turn 0 save of that map and I can walk you through it, posting an update every 10 turns to show how to expand and conquer faster than you may even have thought was possible before. I personally learn as well as watching demonstrations as by doing things myself. This is not to brag or say that I'm the best at this game. I'm sure most other regulars on the forum are as capable of this quality of play if not higher. Just with what's been happening around the world lately I have a tad bit extra spare time on my hands. And also, not to call you lazy or anything, but a shadow game is very participant-intensive and quite a few folks have not followed through on it as much as they could've to get the full amount of learning from it.
     
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  17. Snowbird

    Snowbird Warlord

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    From what I saw about one third of population works unimproved or tiles like plain farms... Why would anyone one to grow to work these? Stuff, like city maintenance is derived partially from pop (add inflation and so on...). So, you spend ~20 food to gain citizen who brings nothing (+hammer per turn-gold in upkeep).
    Which is exactly the point of early settlers - instead of couple low worth citizens (+2 hammers per turn or so) one would gain city center + at least one good tile (6-7 hammers worth total).

    It's emperor... I'm pretty sure a good player actually can do at least three things on that list (cause focusing on culture is not worth it) with no problem at all. Mostly that is the actual reason not to play on emperor difficulty:).
     
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  18. Chase_2_Rabbits

    Chase_2_Rabbits Warlord

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    Before I found this forum, I was happy to treat Civ4 as an empire-building sandbox game: generally developing in a "realistic" way that I found entertaining and morally acceptable. Eventually I got fed up at being unable to progress past Monarch, and took to the internet for assistance. It seems like you are at a similiar point with the game.

    Be prepared to completely alter the way you play the game! Plenty of good advice ITT already, not much more to add on that front.

    If you want to watch an expert playing Civ4, search for" Lain Civ4 Deity" on You Tube. It's like he's playing a different game...
     
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  19. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    The generosity and high quality of the advice in this thread have been remarkable. Experimenting with the advice should keep me busy for some time. Thanks.
     
  20. Oaq

    Oaq Chieftain

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    Your comment is interesting. Would you clarify? Do you mean that that is the actual reason to play on monarch difficulty? Or that that is the actual reason to play on immortal difficulty?
     

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