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CE vs SE war

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by TheDS, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. TheDS

    TheDS Regular Riot

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    I'm not interested in starting a CE vs SE war, but I thought about something the other day and I want opinions on it from the knowledgeable folks.

    Most of you are aware that I'm a proponent of things like Hammer, Religion, and Water Econ (see my sig for types of economies) and I generally favor Specialists over Cottages. So I don't know if this'll work. But here's what I thought of.

    Essentially, you do a Food/Cottage economy to start. You build on Food resources and build Cottages all over. You whip whatever you need because you don't have much production. The Cottages grow and give you lots of Coins, which translates into a high tech rate.

    Your high tech rate means you get all kinds of tech advantages. You get your multiplier buildings faster. Your cities stay low pop until you run out of buildings to build.

    Later, when you've got mature Cottages and sufficient tech, you switch to US and FS and Emancipation. You can now produce plenty of gold and rush buy what you need and you still have a monster tech rate. You still don't have many Hammers.

    This kind of strategy is something I resist because I hate rush-buying too much, but the lower production works well if you don't need but a few buildings in each city.

    What do you think, what have I missed?
     
  2. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    As long as you have enough (at least 1/3) cities that aren't cottaged to produce hammers and specs, it works. $$$ buy gets 100% multipliers very early, so you can put up a lot of #'s that way using FS + US. With kremlin rush buy is as good as anything else, but even without it you have the advantage for some time given minimal (if any) health restrictions.

    Switching additional cities to cottages post emancipation is potentially ok too if you plan on the game going on for a while. Often though I'll just farm and head for bio if I'm not already heavily cottaged. Map script/layout dictates a lot.
     
  3. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

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    I think you've missed city specialization. Even when cottage spamming, about 1/3 of my cities are dedicated to :hammers:, usually for the exclusive purpose of defending my :hammers: weak :commerce: cities. You also missed that most people who use lots of cottages are not fond of whipping in every :commerce: city, but only the ones where surplus food is easier to come by than :hammers:. If I can work 2 high food specials, 2 plains mines and a load of grassland cottages, that's an ideal mix in my book, allowing for growth by swapping the mines for cottages after the critical buildings are complete. Sure, my multiplier buildings don't go up as fast as they would if I was swapping specialists for workshops/mines and only working farms in between builds.

    But mostly:
    You missed the fact that SE and CE are not exclusive of one another. I almost always have cities in my kingdom that are specialist dependent and others which are cottage dependent for their :science: and :gold: output. The geography of most maps mean there are usually different sites that favor both within one's borders. Trying to work specialists on land that is ideal for cottages is not sensible, and neither is working cottages in a city custom made for specialists. In many cases, a cottage city and a specialist city can even overlap, as the cottage city will reach a point where slow growth is preferred, and the specialist city will always want to work high :food: tiles and have many tiles it doesn't work within its bfc (until post bio usually, anyway).
     
  4. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    Bingo, totally agree
     
  5. Dr.Null

    Dr.Null forIhavetastedthesushi

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    Usually I play "hybrid", which is to say, every city does whatever it looks like it could do well: if the city location has tons of grassland and not much else, it gets cottages. If it's got some food and lots of hills, it gets mines & farms. If it's got food, it might get specialists, or it might become my globe-theater drafting city, or something else.

    Usually I've got a bunch of cottages and a bunch of specialists.


    Right now, though, I'm playing a game that could be described as solidly SE: my food situation is okay, but otherwise my land is bad for cottages: very few rivers, so very few farms. Lots of plains, few happy resources, but I'm playing as Alexander (Cre/Phi) of Arabia (Madrassa = 2 scientists & 2 priests from 1 quick building).

    I had Stone early, so I chopped out the Pyramids, and I've been maintaining a halfway reasonable tech rate on like three cottages + tons of Specialists under Representation.

    Now that I've finally got Civil Service (tech trading with the civs on the other continent), I'm able to farm more of my land, so I'm going to start building more cities -- and some of them WILL be cottage cities, because I'm a realist. But playing a flat-out balls-to-the-wall SE served my early game quite well, just this once.
     
  6. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    Realistically, cottaging cities (as opposed to capital) when Cre/Phi with Mids is a waste of time on 100% of non-Deity and 90+% of Deity maps.
     
  7. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    Those kind of died out with BtS. Stronger hammer economy provided a middle ground. Weaker Deity meant it's easy to fiddle around and still win.
     
  8. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Only if you know enough about city improvement choices and how to use alternative tile improvements to good effect. Deity players can, but from what I've seen for some reason most people don't even actively try to get to imm+ level play. IMO cottaging all grass flatland outside HE and a GPfarm is a bit mindless, but it's going to work below immortal just about every time. Probably there too.

    Do you know how many tries it took before I could post lib times anywhere near 500 AD? It's one thing to see you do it, it's quite another to run a different map with different trade, early food, early commerce, etc situations and try to replicate that output. I've never gotten there ~1-200 AD, but I know you and a few others have done it. Despite that, I can still beat deity on rare occasions.

    High level play can be an exercise in frustration to people who don't like to take their time or number crunch. Some of us know that colossus coast > non-riverside cottages for 80 turns pre-printing press, but not all. That's the EASY stuff. Is it better to build wealth or a market now? Depends on the city. And the slider. And whether you have resources to merit the steep :hammers: expense. So usually no. But sometimes yes. Units for HR happiness? One has to judge where to stop. Same goes for health improvements.

    Even now I'm not sure on a lot of things. It's hard to quantify the value of x now vs y later. GPP plays a big role, but so does having 100-300 base research by 200 AD...I manage the former a lot more readily than the latter, even as I know the keys are city growth and a super research city (usually the capitol, but some capitols are simply not suitable and one must adjust). On anything below deity, 6+ pop 10-15 cites by the very early ADs working improved tiles is going to wreck the AI. It takes a lot of planning to get there. Even things like going writing before pottery (sometimes) or gambling on alpha 1st or even early monarchy (below deity the AI can be slow to get it...!) make a difference. You know all this, but to someone who's trying to just get a feel for whether they should be farming or building cottages...well...

    I find the questions about SE and CE, or rather their prevalence, interesting. So few top-notch players actually seem to think or act in those terms in practice. You guys are always focusing on getting this tech because of x factor, growing the capitol and getting an academy there ASAP, getting just enough military to survive the DoW, switching GPP to that city after the first 1-2 scientists, picking between workshops and cottages when fresh water isn't available (and actually teching fast enough that a) workshops are viable and b) the land is still around!), etc etc. Nobody considered a top player, not even a sloppy one who gets by via post spam and reputation (and perhaps a video series or 6) like me, will just up and decide "okay, SE means spam specs and if I do that I'll win because it's so much better than cottages".

    There are some style choices here too. I know you prefer smaller empires to keep maintenance down, breaking out later. I've seen other deity guys prefer heavier expansion or blocking early though. The reality (which I didn't realize until vicawoo pointed it out to me) is that after the 2nd city, each one forces a move from other tile improvements to commerce to keep a viable rate, so you're really trading some of your current improvements for special tiles and weighting that against land conceded to the AI. Thinking in those terms actually helped my early play a lot, but I bet most people don't even consider it.

    We're still getting threads about spamming out cottages and whipping the infra needed in those cities and mixing "monster tech rate" with "rush buy" :p. Every option in this game has a finite output potential, and I'm jealous of those who seem to have them memorized already, or have the patience to calculate it each time. So each game I get a little closer, but it takes a LOT of games to manage what is essentially trial and error learning with material forgetting on occasion:rolleyes:.
     
  9. shyuhe

    shyuhe Deity

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    So basically you're cottage spamming but liberally whipping until you get democracy, at which point you stop whipping. In theory, it may sound appealing, but there are many instances when it actually hurts to whip out infrastructure in a cottage city.
     
  10. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Whipping after the monument/granary is bad in cottage cities more often than it is good.
     
  11. kossin

    kossin Deity

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    Not so bad if you're whipping non-cottages/specials in the cottage cities. You'll probably need a few farms anyway to have some extra growth and a few mines perhaps here and there.

    But otherwise, yes... that's one of the reasons why I almost never build pure cottage cities.
     
  12. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

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    You can also often place a cottage city such that it can share a high :food: tile with a specialist city - borrowing it for relatively rapid growth after whipping something which is relatively expensive for its time, but helpful, like a library or market. Micro is a pain, but it sometimes is necessary if one is to squeeze all the :commerce: out of one's land.
     
  13. TheDS

    TheDS Regular Riot

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    It's not about whipping a hundred buildings, it's about whipping out what you need; 3 or 4 bldgs, maybe a few units, then build whatever you need while you grow your cottages.
     
  14. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Whip granary, possibly border pop, possibly CH (better on high levels), then work cottages. If you don't want to do the math that's the safest bet in cottage cities.
     
  15. Mutineer

    Mutineer Deity

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    Take a look on this game and tell me, is it SE or CE?

    Really check capital.

    or PE, or WE, or TE, or...
     
  16. Rittmeyer

    Rittmeyer Prince

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    the reason you are considered "top", I'm sure, is the contribution of posts like the one I'm quoting. you help more then players who win deity more often. that's what counts, forum-wise.
     
  17. Dr.Null

    Dr.Null forIhavetastedthesushi

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    Top-ranked posters need not be the same people as top-ranked players, and vice versa.

    Regarding my first "True SE (tm)" game above, shortly after winning Liberalism in what might have been a close race, my tech rate was falling and I just couldn't keep up with the rest of the world. That was on Prince, and I can often (not always) win on Monarch by using a hybrid strategy (i.e. "what works best for THIS city" strategy).
     
  18. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Rushbuy is attractive long before the Kremlin, arguably it's more dominant at a time when you have +100% gold modifiers but no factories or railroads.
    The English are very good at abusing this... mass rushbuy Redcoats with additional gold from the Stock Exchange. You also have either FIN to make your towns even better, or 2 combat traits pushing your Redcoats over the top. Either way, you can probably win before there is a need to get Factories or Infantry.

    *

    Before Emancipation, there is a lot to be had from the whip. Whipping is an art and a science in itself... many people are unaware that plains mines have negative net hammers in small cities that could crack the whip more. Or that moderate whipping usually gives up fewer cottageturns for a given amount of production than working mines and not whipping. Or when to grow using marginal food-neutral tiles (like grassland forest or coast) and when not to bother.

    *

    I'm not sure whether anyone has high-level play down as an exact science and tries to play optimally without bias. I certainly don't.

    I don't achieve the tech rates of most high-level players here, at least not early on, and don't particularly want to. I'm more comfortable building up my own power base while slowing down the global tech rate as much as I can (bearish technology trading, hogging high-impact wonders if I can, general asshattery including 'pointless' wars...).
    I also have a preference for a tight focus and optimise my economy for a simple long-term plan... which usually means breaking cottages for rushbuy, workshops, specialists and whipping or corporation food (and have tile improvements subservient to local food surplus).
     
  19. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    @TMIT: You bring valid points. The scope of some is too broad to be answered in a post, or anything less than a CIV guide in fact.

    It'll work, but here's the catch. It won't work if you fail diplomacy, as Immortal early punch is strong enough to cripple you. It won't work if you fail both REX/conquest, as at least one AI will have too many cities. Most of the high level players advice around is given under an unmentioned "if you do everything else the way I do it, but you lack in this particular facet of the game" clause. But this is not the case with most people.

    I believe that freeing your mind is part of success. If you were to believe that getting Lib that early is impossible, you wouldn't get it. This is one of the most important reasons I post here: it's easy to free minds. Just post about an early liberalism, a block city halfway the continent, a late breakout from 4 city empire, an infantry attacking a deity longbow; and some people will match you one way or another, improving their game in the process; whereas describing all of nitpicks of your actions is borderline impossible outside the scope of a guide.

    You have to do all of these, especially the "usually no, but sometimes yes" part :)

    The one thing I can stress is: don't number crunch in greenhouses. Most of the CE v SE arguments boil down to mindless number crunching for situations/locations that never happen ingame. Go play instead.

    Farms are farms. Cottages are not cottages. Cottages are either financial cottages or non-financial cottages. Contrary to the popular perception, those two improvements are vastly different.

    The financial cottage is decent. It has a downside, playing with one trait only, but since you paid for that in full before the game even started, you'd better spam a respectable number of financial cottages.

    The non-financial cottage is a trap. On the higher levels, base happiness plus luxury happiness, the free happiness, isn't much early game. A city works a few special tiles, including a food resource or two. The city has a food surplus and a few free happiness citizens above the ones working special tiles. One of those free happiness slots is usually spent on whipping. The other can work cottages, mines, irrigations, or be specialists in the library (if there is one).

    In terms of research, the order of usefulness is:

    scientists that will produce a GP >>> mines building wealth/research > scientists > cottages > irrigations (zero research value)

    In terms of production, the order of usefulness is:

    mines or irrigations (depending on city size and presence of granary) >> cottages >> scientists (zero production value).


    Put simply, mines outshine non-financial cottages in the free happiness range.

    Eventually, Hereditary Rule comes around. This is where the trap springs.

    HR cannot increase the number of hills worked significantly as surplus food runs out. It can, however, increase the number of flatlands worked. So start non-financial cottaging on flatlands and get:

    A pop point. A pop point in itself has a cost (via civics maintenance) and a benefit (higher # of free units, if you need it - you do on immortal/deity). A HR-happy pop point has the added cost of the unit maintenance (if above the free units allowed, on immortal/deity this is effectively always) and the alternative cost of spending its hammers on something else. In other words, the net worth of the pop point is somewhat below -1g per turn, and there's the alternative cost of the unit too to be paid for. Add in the upkeep of the worker turns to improve the cottage. Now consider factors like inflation and the higher research modifiers empire-wide. The final bill is that the pop point to work this cottage puts you behind 2 beakers each turn or so.

    A non-financial cottage. The first 10 turns, the cottage is a research minus. The next 20 turns it breaks even. The next 10+ turns it has to pay back for the first 10 turns, and since all production devalues in CIV at a rate of very roughly 10% each 10 turns (i.e. 30 hammers on turn 1 is worth far more than 30 hammers on turn 101), the cottage really comes into the black about 45 turns into using it. As human empires expand to more than a capital+one or two cities about 1000 BC (standard speed ofc), and developing those cities above the special resources threshold takes even more time, we are looking at turn 150ish before such cottage tiles start benefitting the economy, mind you, this is still a meager benefit of ~1 beaker per tile. At turn 150 I'm usually closing in on either a Renaissance military advantage (when I want to break out) or on advanced economy tech like Communism (when I want to develop more). Those cottage tiles are still an investment for the future, not a device to get a game-winning advantage.

    All of the above, however, is based on the civics of Hereditary Rule, Bureaucracy, Slavery, possibly Organized Religion. There is, however, a civic that the best players around use with great effect. It's called Pacifism. It adds 100% GPP and has None upkeep. The downside is military units cost an extra 1 gold per turn, more with inflation calculated in, and, via the research-to-tax modifiers difference, all adding up to -2 beakers extra per military unit.

    At that moment, all of the flatland non-financial cottages worked under HR become a dead weight, a very long term investment impossible to pay out before Printing Press and Free Speech. You've walked into a trap, and it's killing your economy either way. Don't go Pacifism and fall behind in Great People at the time they are most useful. Go Pacifism and have your beaker-per-turn decimated. Considering a supercapital under Bureaucracy or the sheer military power of Nationalism, Free Speech has an alternative cost so high that the non-financial Hereditary Rule cottages cannot make a meaningful contribution to the economy before the very end of the tech tree, i.e. true modern war or spacerace.

    Exactly. There are no magic bullets in CIV. New players want hard rules, borders, for their CIV experience. Mastering the highest levels is more about understanding everything is shades of gray and identifying the exceptions to the rule.

    Well said by vicawoo. CIV is a game of investments. Some investments pay out soon. Some pay out very far into the future. All of them have alternative costs (I realize that non-economists may not even know what "alternative cost" is).

    What you can do is to simplify the game to two questions: how not to lose? and how to win? Answer the former first using all options, then answer the latter from the options still available.

    Err, "monster tech rate" and "rush buy". I do agree that Kremlin+cottages is one of the greatest, if not the greatest economy in the game. I don't agree that it wins games tho; what wins games is whatever you do to get to Kremlin first on the Communism line while somehow simultaneously pursuing the Democracy line for Emancipation and other goodies.

    As for trial and error, if it is any consolation, you'll start Civ V on a much higher level than you did CIV, as in my experience there is a bulk of civilization skills that apply to all of the series.
     
  20. shyuhe

    shyuhe Deity

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    :goodjob: nice post US. The only thing I disagree about (or rather point out since you don't deny them?) are the value of cottages in a bureaucracy capital, as the +50% bonus pays dividends there. Assuming you can meet your GP and production needs in other cities, cottaging your capital a bit more aggressively than other cities generally pays off.
     

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