Casual but expert players - Do they exist?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by polypheus, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. polypheus

    polypheus Prince

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    Reading these forums, I sometimes wonder if I am the only player playing at a high level (Monarch but mostly Emperor nowadays on Huge maps) that plays casually in a go-with-the-flow manner rather than being perfectionist preplan everything, micro-manage every single turn for optimal gameplay.

    I am aware of all of the different strategies people employ but when I play I micromanage only when I need to in reaction. For instance, if I noticed that my gold output is low, I may poke around and reassign some city workers to alleviate it or perhaps if I am rushing research I may assign GS or set some cities to research, etc.

    As a general rule, I don't intentionally specialize cities in any pre-planned way. They just happen to do so due to geography but I usually start off "generalizing" each city until it reaches a point where it doesn't, for instance, make sense to build, say, production buildings on low-hammer sites, etc. Another example is if say a site happens to have lots of food resources and is quick growing, then that is an obvious site to generate GP when I feel I need them for some purpose. (but rarely do I pre-plan a city with lots of farms just to support lots of GP generation per se).

    I also don't do a whole lot of gamey stuff like send off a army of workers to chop-rush buildings or wonder. Nor do I usually micromange the cities except on occassion.

    The result of my gameplay style is that although i always play marathon, I can go from 4000BC to 1200AD in a matter of just a a few hours! Yet as I understand the game okay I am at the same time competitive. I could play much more "perfectionist" but it just becomes way too tedious and unfun to do so.

    Am I the only playing that plays this way yet at a high level or are most people here the perfectionist, plan every city, micromanage and optimize every turn kind of player?
     
  2. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    I Play same sinze/Speed but on prince. I generally plan cities as the realestate dictates. I may grow alot of cottages in one city if it seams like a good idea (guess that's cottage spamming) and will generate greta people in a food rich city. But MOST of my cities have good production, and good commerce, I look for balance and it has done well for me. Micromanagement level??? Well I have been playing Victoria since Tuesday night, 4 hours aday, and I am at arround 1500AD on a Pangea map, researching Computers for the space race, was involved in 2 early wars against Peter, 2 middle age wars against Roosevelt. I plan to finish tonight. Is this a micromanage speed? Don't really know.
     
  3. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Deity

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    I play similar to you, monarch to emperor. Usually I don't plan how to specialize my cities until it is about time to build Oxford, and I rarely give diplomacy much forethought beyond "take your demand and shove it."
    I'm also casual in that I play once a week or less the last month or so, before that was a much more, shall we say, dedicated schedule testing FfH Fire & Ice.
     
  4. ABigCivFan

    ABigCivFan Emperor

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    On even higher levels immortal+, early micro-management in terms of worker actions/city build/research and city placement is must.

    99% of the times, I pinpoint my HE city, GP farm/science city and commerce city locations before even building the settlers (assume the map and resource allocations are well explored).

    I also spend a lot of time checking for trading/Diplo opportunities.

    On top of that, I analyze and micro-manage each battle sequence in stack fights to minimize casualties.

    I dont think it is boring but it is rather fun to micro-manage. And if you dont, you will lose everytime at those levels.
     
  5. polypheus

    polypheus Prince

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    Except for very contrived situations, probably the only way to play on Immortal or Diety is to play a "perfectionist" style. That is probably why Emperor is the highest I'll ever go. I like to play Civ at a high strategic level and try to avoid having to deal with the detailed mechanics of the game. I prefer making "grand" decisions rather than lots of detailed micromanagement decisions.

    I am experienced enough that it can be done at Emperor. But at even higher levels, I guess only perfectionist style play can overcome the AI advantages and player disadvantages. But I understand some people like yourself enjoy playing at that level although not me.
     
  6. ABigCivFan

    ABigCivFan Emperor

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    Yes, we do need to apply EVERYTHING we know about the game in order to win on those levels. And that requires micro-management.

    But I think city placement/specialization and war plans are some of the most important strategic decisions you will ever make in this game at any level.
     
  7. marciv

    marciv Warlord

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    I would just like to say how refreshing it is to hear someone like Polypheus. This type of game can definitely encourage the search for perfection which can lead to tedium and endless micromanagement. I am not in his league as a player but tend to play along the same lines as he and be governed by what comes and adapt rather than get too anal about the game. (Yes, I said GAME! ..... twice)
     
  8. InFlux5

    InFlux5 King

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    I'm a Monarch player as well, and in my view it's a matter of degree. At a given time I can spend as much effort micromanaging as I want. But I don't think it's really necessary.

    Sometimes I sit down to play a relaxed game where I don't try that hard. Other times I'm trying to get the best score possible, the earliest win, and that's when I pull out all the stops.
     
  9. Tyrant Roger

    Tyrant Roger Warlord

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    I agree with the posters who have said that it is more important to have fun at this game than to set some point record or win at some particular level or by some date. Right now I can usually win at Monarch without a lot of micromanaging and sweating the details. At emperor I must concentrate a lot more and often find space to be the only viable victory option given the AI's many advantages. So unless I am in the mood for an intense struggle, I generally go Monarch because it is more fun.
     
  10. Sarek

    Sarek Logical

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    Do you find you can consistently win at the higher levels without micromanagement and, at least, specialization?

    I too find the suggestion that you don't need to spend a half hour on each turn before hitting the button refreshing, but does that get you a victory?

    I certainly don't tend to consistently win above Prince, in fact rarely win above that level, but through comparative games like GOTM/WOTM, etc I find I can "play" at a higher level, maybe even look good early, but always seem to be a step behind the AI throughout or get to a position where I know I will lose (mainly a space loss).

    Granted I learn more each and every time I play, but sincerely...What's the secret?
     
  11. Kennigit

    Kennigit proud 2 boxer

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    I don't think this game requires as much micro-managing and all that many suggest. You don't even need any GPs or wonders to win on immortal- I've watched games with neither that still were victorious. Also, many players that just enjoy the game do not come to civ fanatics and just play cassually at high difficulties. Acouple musts though:

    Forest chopping. You need the production.

    Diplomacy for tech (on higher difficulties with large/huge map)- You can't tech at nearly the rate the AI can, so trade for tech is a must

    Diplomacy for war- On large/huge maps, you need to get wars started up among the AI's. If you successfully manipulate a war-mongerer to get pleased with you, say Alex, then you can get them to war with a teching AI like mansa.

    City-placement- You'll be beat by the AI's in expansion, so getting good city locations is crucial. Most good players get an early war to expand after only founding 3 or 4 cities of their own

    War stratedgies- You can't just go around with some units and say "Ooh! Ghandi looks like a good target right now". You need to have a plan long before you go into war, often revolving around a tech "Beeline for constuction, whip acouple catapults, and go for Ghandi at city A and at city B". Once in war, you need to upgrade your units intelligently, pillage appropiately, position your units so that they don't get slaughtered, etc.

    I'd say that deity does require an extremely long time. One of the reasons why I've never gotten into single player much (I've only played acouple games ever single-player, but am playing more as I am getting involved in GOTMs and open games on these forums) is that the AI's on deity and some on immortal/emperor just get too huge of bonuses. Their cities grow 2x-3x as fast as yours, their tech is 1/2 the cost of your tech, spaceship parts and other things cost 1/2 of what it costs for you, they basically get free upgrades to new units (like all archers become longbows), etc.

    IMO, I think most of the elite players have a good, enjoyable, fun game on emperor; Immortal if they want a significant or decent challenge; and Deity if they have some free time and want to really challenge themselves.

    Note that I think I'd place myself at a Monarch/Emperor difficulty
     
  12. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    Planning city placement/specialization doesn't take much time at all and I find it to be one of the more fun things to do in civ4.

    You certainly don't need to take a perfectionist approach past the early game to win at immortal. In the very early game it is worth keeping a close eye on what your cities are doing though. It isn't really a chore with only a few cities, and because growth curves are geometric it costs you a lot if your first 3 cities are working a few wrong tiles. The best way to avoid excessive micromanagement is to build cottages rather than farms, it's slavery and specialists that waste the most (real) time. Forest chop rushing isn't necessary at all.

    Oh you do have to check the diplomacy status and trade screens now and then. I don't consider this a problem.

    The current Deity isn't fun, maybe BTS will change that.
     
  13. Brave Jay

    Brave Jay Warlord

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    I currently play prince/Monarch


    I wouldn't call myself a "perfectionist" or even a micro-manager. However, I do find myself getting bored rather easy if i just sort of float along in the game without a plan, and begin to watch my civ sink into a pit of mediocrity. I enjoy figuring out a strategic plan, (usually what techs to research first, and how to get the most commerce/production out of my cities, and diplomacy issues) and executing it. Many times I see the faults in my plan early and start a new game. While there are some aspects (repetitive) that can be ignored, others are essential to creating that personal touch of human strategy/micro ability. And to me, that's what makes the game fun.

    I cannot bury myself in the minutia of caretaking every single detail to get a ton of extremely small advantages that when added together create a big advantage that's necessary to compete with the ai at insane difficulty levels. If I can't do what's necessary to win with grand strategy and a little bit of good tactical implementation, then I'll just go down a level. ;)
     
  14. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    I think micromanagement is less important on slower gamespeeds. On normal speed, move one tile, build road, cancel, next turn move one tile, build farm gains a worker turn compared to move two tiles. And not whipping at the exact optimal time doesn't mean as much.
     
  15. Brave Jay

    Brave Jay Warlord

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    I think your right. No wonder i get bored with epic/marathon. Not quite fast paced enough for me. But I can see where it would possibly help cover for some of my micro mistakes/mismanagement. :scan:
     
  16. Jorunkun

    Jorunkun Back with a vengeance

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    I play immortal exclusively and will admit that micromanagement habits and certain strategic/tactical standard patterns have, by necessity, become second nature to me. But this doesn’t feel like it's getting into the way of my enjoyment of the game. It is part of it. That’s not because I’m the anal-retentive type, who enjoys obsessively timing every move. It’s because I play a lot and in doing so, have acquired a feel for how the game ticks at this level, and this experience informs (instead of cramping) my play-style.

    As Uberfish says, true micromanagement becomes less important as the game progresses. Incidentally though, I enjoy the first third of the game the most: City placement, tech and build orders, gambits, the tight interlock of all the little decisions that govern how the game shapes up strategically. Having an understanding of this connect from tiny to strategic decisions (and knowing when you can afford to be sloppy) to me is the essence of expert play.

    Can you be a casual but expert player? Well, before you become expert at playing on any level, you need to gain playing experience. Some people just pick it up as they play game after game, others consciously study the game and consult excel sheets, but neither approach strikes me as truly casual. Civ isn’t the kind of game one can quickly, easily become expert at. But I think once your experience brings you close to expert status - at whatever level - your game will automatically become more casual, because you know what you’re doing. In a sense, the ability to play casually at your chosen level, to feel at home there, is what ultimately makes the expert.

    Let me stress that I believe this “comfort zone” exists at every level (except deity, which is just too random and harsh), hence there are casual expert players at different levels of game difficulty. I can think of quite a few class A civ-experts (Sisiutil, Cabert …) who don’t enjoy immortal (or even emperor) and play skillfully and ingeniously at lower levels. I switched to immortal because I enjoy the extra challenge, even if it limits the breadth of options. But I don’t see why other people should come to the same conclusion if they enjoy playing at the level they do. In fact, the greatest design achievement of civ is probably this: That you don’t have to play competitively - or even expertly - at all to enjoy the game.
     
  17. CivCorpse

    CivCorpse Supreme Overlord of All

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    That is very true. However at marathon speed your long term strategy is critical for success. Especially when considering your teching path. If you suddenly need to switch paths due to war popping up without warning (your BFF switches religions and doesn't like you anymore or wants your iron) and you need cats or macemen it will take you 30-40 turns sometimes to research the tech/techs you need. During that time you are getting stomped. Or being without copper so you research iron only to discover you don't have any of that either and here comes bismark and his swordsmen...how many cities do you lose researching HBR?
    I usually play Monarch maps and I rarely follow the "formulas". I like my civs to have personalities. If someone attacks me, I don't want to try and fix relations with them because it is strategically proper. No, they killed Cousin ed in a border skirmish and now they must die. And die before anyone else. I don't care if we now share a religion and they are a buffer between me and Shaka. Cousin Ed was a fine upstanding guy and they killed him. So they must die. I lose the Liberalism race about half the time. I lose the circumnavigate the globe about half the time. I lose the game completely about half the time. I like that. It makes it fun. The rewards are sweeter when the risks are higher. I don't play with barbarians on most of the time. Why? Because I don't like to. They suck. If they were barbarians they would attack the AI as visciously. They are more like mercenary troops for the AI. So off they go. There are certain civs and leaders I won't play because I don't like them in real life. I have a lot of fun and I die a lot as well. I play the game not the stats. When i play as the Americans I rename Boston because I hate the New England Patriots and the Red Sox. Why does this matter? Because I paid $49 for the game and $39 for the expansion pack. so I do what makes me happy. If I wanted to micromanage i would buy an ant farm and a stick. If i wanted to do slingshot/axerush/lightbulb/lightbulb/catapultrush/lightbulb/lightbulb/grenadier rush template games i would buy a paint by numbers kits.
    i don't do either. I play the way i have fun. And THAT ladies and gentlemen makes me the Elite of the Elite.
     
  18. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    I can win on emperor, but prefer to play a more relaxed game on monarch. I agree with Uber that CE is the way to go for someone who wants to avoid MMing. I don't mind MMing so will run SE or hybrid a lot of the time. You could also go for cultural victories and have to manage many fewer cities.

    Domination is the most tedious for me, especially running SE with lots of specialists and slavery over 30+ cities.
     
  19. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    There's no shame in playing one level below your "peak" in order to have a more enjoyable game. In fact if you feel that you have to play in a formulaic manner and micromanage too much to beat a certain difficulty and it isn't fun, why play there? You can always move up later when you have a better feel for the game. If you even want to move up at all. There are lots of entertaining variant games you can play if you stay on your current difficulty level.
     
  20. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Hate the Patriots? I guess I can see the Red Sox since the media overdid it in 2004. And you don't mention New York? Or the Lakers?
    I can't think of much against the patriots, other than they won a lot. They don't have a history of outspending other teams, they aren't controversial personalities...
    I think the only fans that can truly hate the red sox are the yankees fans, but they don't hate the red sox, they just sort of look down upon them and mock them.
     

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