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Civ for mid game war.

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by den1998, May 13, 2015.

  1. Delnar_Ersike

    Delnar_Ersike Prince

    Jan 1, 2007
    Let me cut down on wall of text. It's still going to be long, just not super-long

    Re start bias: yeah, forgot that Mongolia was plains bias. Plains bias is nice for salt, but horses are guaranteed if you're playing with Strategic Balance (which I assume you are). Given Civ5's patchy terrain generation, start biases outside of tundra don't dictate most of the lands around your capitol if you're at 4 or 5 billion years: I've seen Arabia's Desert start bias place them near a 4 tile desert surrounded by grassland, and I've seen Poland's plains bias place them next to 3 plains surrounded by grasslands and desert hills. A plains start bias on strategic balance does not mean access to more horses than a desert start bias or an avoids forest start bias.
    Can't comment much on the impossibility to found religions on Deity: the AI gets so many yield bonuses at that point that you're almost playing a different game entirely. OP said they were going Immortal or Emperor though, and founding religions really requires a good faith start at those levels, meaning Desert Folklore is even more important (since you can't get religion from improvement faith pantheons, eg. quarry faith).

    Re horseman taking damage from unit: AI cannot move and attack in the same turn and cannot attack with a military unit that is stacked with a garrisoned unit (AFAIK), so there's no danger of getting hit by a newly produced unit if the city already has a garrison. I factored in Tradition's damage bonus and extra strength from hills; without Oligarchy, it's around 75-80 damage, and without hills, it's about 75 damage. Without the garrisoned unit giving the city some bonus strength, it's also 75-80 damage (easiest scenario of no garrison, no Oligarchy, flat terrain is around 65 damage, 10-15 without the crossbow). Barring high rolls and terrain defense penalties, it's highly unlikely that a full HP horseman will die in a single turn from a garrisoned city in early Renaissance. This is all, of course, assuming that the AI gets no strength bonuses at higher difficulty levels; I don't think it does, but I thought I'd mention this just to be sure.

    Re multiplayer thing: I just thought I'd mention it, I admit that what I said doesn't apply to non-simultaneous combat. But yes, simultaneous combat makes a huge difference: unless you have the element of surprise, your opponent will be waiting for you to move your keshiks into range and immediately clickspam their ranged units to fire back before you get the chance to submit your retreat move. You'll get your first attack move off before taking damage, maybe your second from Logistics as well if you're quick with hotkeys, but it's fairly rare that you'll get your retreat move off before they get their ranged retaliation attacks off. At that point, fragility matters, and Keshiks are unfortunately quite fragile, especially once your opponents get into Renaissance and early Industrial.

    Re speed difference and economy talk: it's not as clear of a difference. Remember, Keshiks with Khans have lower strength than Camels. For those turns before you get logistics, a force of 5 Camels will deal as much damage as 6 Keshiks; this translates into being able to take a city 1-2 turns earlier with camels. If speed is as crucial as you say, then even this little difference should be taken into account. You also should not discard unit and building maintenance: when speed is of the essence, you can afford negative gold even less. Just like how the power of Keshiks is boosted even more by Khans being able to keep up with them, the power of Camels is boosted by the extra gold you'll have to afford their maintenance cost and the upkeep of their conquests.

    Re Liberty outperforming Tradition lategame: the map you showed does not look like Standard Size, 8 players, 16 CS. On Standard size, you just reach Rationalism too slowly with Liberty unless you manage to capture key culture wonders, and you often don't have the room to expand properly either unless you take out one of your neighbors very early, but that falls under "snowballing". Liberty doesn't make your 13 cities incredible, it just lets you get to 13 cities early on; once you're in the lategame, it's the 13 cities that are helping you primarily, not Liberty itself (vs. Aristocracy, Monarchy, Landed Elite, and free Aqueducts), Liberty just enabled you to snowball into 13 cities with the help of early bonuses. Most of Liberty's lategame science penalty comes from completing Rationalism slower, getting GS slower (because GSP are spread out over several cities instead of concentrated in four), completing science buildings slower because each individual city has less hammers than a 4-city tradition player's individual cities, and reaching science building techs slower due to slower Rationalism. Of course, Liberty with Rationalism still beats Tradition without Rationalism in science. I guess the difference becomes a lot more apparent when your opponents reliably rush Rationalism just like you; thankfully, it's fairly easy to make the AI do this via [conditional] flavor edits.

    Re Piety: 3 fillers is not impossible, even without Oracle. If you're in a position where you can make use of Glory to God or Jesuit Education, it's often worth it to delay a Rationalism policy by a point to pick those up: your science will perform better with those Reformation beliefs unlocked than having access to Free Thought 20 turns earlier, since you can insta-build Public Schools and Research Labs with faith and/or purchase GS with faith for key academies and/or sooner bulbs.

    Re Patronage: I don't find the gold bonus from reduced spending on CS influence that useful, but it might just be me. If I really need the gold, I'd rather go into Commerce; even if I'd spend gold on CS influence, I find the flexibility of a vanilla gold boost much more useful than a gold boost to only gold spend on CS influence. I cannot comment on Forbidden Palace in Deity, because, again, AI yields are so high that Deity is almost a different game, and the OP mentioned Emperor or Immortal.

    Re Aesthetics on Persia: if you plan on going Aesthetics solely for the GAs, it's worth delaying working your artist guild slots until you have Aesthetics unlocked (much like if you plan on going Futurism in multiplayer). If you do this, the +25% GWAM generation represents something along the lines of 2-3 extra Great Artists at least. Although instant Great Artist pushes back your counter, it's still an instant Great Artist, which means instant Golden Age [extension].

    Re Honor: Warrior Code is useful if you're evenly matched against your opponent, Military Tradition is useful if you have units that don't die quickly (so Keshiks, Camels, Longbows, Ships-of-the-Line, etc.). The former can be a lifesaver because it lets you plant Generals a lot more often, the latter is more of a "win-more", ie. it helps you win more if you're already in an advantageous position. Warrior Code is more useful for its faster Great General generation than for its free Great General, and the bonus melee unit production comes in handy for Infantry, SAMs, and Paratroopers, and XCOMs. The other problem is Military Tradition is 1 extra policy point in, which you may or may not be able to afford before Rationalism; there's little point to picking it up after Rationalism and ideologies.

    Autocracy-wise, you'll probably pick up both Barracks happiness and Courthouse happiness eventually, but when choosing between the two, I'd take Barracks happiness before Courthouse happiness. Probably personal preference though, especially since Courthouses have such an obscene maintenance. The important thing to realize is that with Prora, Autocracy offers more happiness than Order, even if Order is supposedly for wide empires; the majority of Autocracy's happiness is concentrated in two tenets as well, while Order's is spread out over 4 tenets. Don't know how well it fares without Prora though, I'm guessing Autocracy is roughly even with Order, though its happiness buildings are not as essential as Order's.
    Freedom can be good for constant domination, so long as you pick up Statue of Liberty and can somehow support a lot of specialists. Statue of Liberty + Secularism + Civil Society effectively makes all of your specialists have +1 food, +2 hammers, and +2 science even without their specialist yields, which can be monstrous. The caveat is that your cities must have enough population to support specialists, which usually isn't the case when you're warring constantly, but hey, it's not impossible.
  2. robaker

    robaker Chieftain

    Oct 28, 2014
    1) Do most people here play with strategic balance? I assumed not because it's an extra option and it makes games a bit easier. I can see why it may be necessary for multiplayer, but I think it removes some strategic elements from singleplayer. Plains bias is one of the best starting biases all-around and is simply amazing for attempting domination victories. And if we were to not consider the 'strategic balance' extra option, then it's an inarguable fact that Mongolia has a better chance of getting starting horses than Arabia (emphasis: a better 'chance', not a guarantee).

    2) Regarding horsemen taking damage: Did you take into account that all AI units get 2 free promotions on Immortal and Deity difficulties?

    Anyway, you obviously have a lot of knowledge and experience with this game, probably a lot more than me, but you implied that you don't use horsemen alongside keshiks/camels which is a pivotal tactic, and you previously thought that Mongolia doesn't have a starting bias, which leads me to believe that you haven't fully experienced the potential of Mongolia. I will admit that on paper, camel archers look better than keshiks, and Arabia looks like it will perform better than Mongolia even when it comes to domination. But in practice and in actual play, I find Mongolia to be more efficient, versatile and certainly faster when it comes to achieving a domination victory. I consistently get faster and easier victories and that's what really matters to me. I can't provide you with calculations or theories, but when you just put it all together with Mongolia, there isn't a single civ that is comparable on immortal/deity domination (on Pangaea though:blush:) save for the Huns. Arabia is a close third.

    Furthermore, I think the reputation that Mongolia and Keshiks gets as an inferior Arabia/Camel comes mainly from people who exclusively play multiplayer games with specific settings (Quick speed, small map, strategic balance, simultaneous turns) such as popular (and influential) streamers and their many fans. But I strongly believe that on more standard (or default-like) settings such as 'Standard speed, standard map size, strategic balance not enabled, turn-based, etc that Mongolia is better for domination (while Arabia is, of course, better at the other victory types).
  3. Delnar_Ersike

    Delnar_Ersike Prince

    Jan 1, 2007
    Strategic balance doesn't necessarily make the game easier: for every plot of iron and horses around your capitol, you have one less plot for important lategame resources, like aluminum and uranium.

    I don't use horsemen as capture units because I use either pikemen or have at least one CS-gifted knight: even with the slower mobility of pikemen, I don't usually expect my keshiks/camels to completely clear a city of units and take it down to capture range before my pikeman catches up. Since Pikemen receive defensive terrain bonuses and have 4 higher base strength than horsemen, they cannot be insta-killed by an Oligarchy city + garrisoned crossbow combination, not even if they need to move across two hills (remember, defensive terrain bonuses apply), until they can already been replaced by Riflemen or GW Infantry.
    Regarding two free promotions, they actually make quite a bit of difference: with Barrage I, the garrisoned crossbowman + Oligarchy city combination will insta-kill the horseman roughly 80% of the time, and two Barrage promotions will always insta-kill the horseman. Accuracy does not matter, since a horseman can only not take a city in a single turn when there are two tiles of rough terrain between it and the city. The AI's chances of picking Barrage I over Accuracy I is 50%, with a slightly higher chance of picking promotions that build on existing bonuses, ie. it has a higher chance of picking Accuracy II over Barrage I. Drill I on your horseman completely negates a Barrage I bonus and drops Barrage II's chances of insta-kill to about 45%.

    Outside of coastal, tundra, jungle, and desert start bias plus a few obvious start biases (Inca in Hills, Iroquois and Celts in Forest), I do not actually know civ start biases from memory. I could not, for example, tell you Austria's or India's start bias without consulting the game files or the wiki first.

    Winning domination with Mongolia is faster, but I tend to find that winning domination with Arabia is easier: on Standard/Standard Strategic Balance Pangea on Emperor, I have a higher winrate as Arabia doing a domination strategy than as Mongolia, but when I do win as Mongolia, I tend to win 10-50 turns faster. The problem I find with Mongolia is that I tend to lose steam after my 3rd or 4th capitol, with my gold and happiness falling to levels so low that it slows me down for the rest of the game; this happens a lot less in my Arabia games, both because of more reliable religions and because of Bazaars' extra gold. Camels take my first capitol faster than Keshiks, Keshiks take the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th capitol faster than Camels, after which Camels and keshiks will usually end up taking the last three capitols at roughly the same pace because I have to slow down with Keshiks to make sure I don't go too unhappy or have too much negative gold.

    Still, both Arabia and Mongolia are definitely good mid-game war civs, and that's what the OP asked for. If early domination civs also make the cut, I would definitely recommend Huns, too, and possibly Byzantines if you're on an island map.
  4. Væringjar

    Væringjar Warlord

    Apr 3, 2013
    Mongols are terrifying. Keshik is great UU but the Khan is Epic. Khan gives combat bonus, have extra movement and heals 15 per turn. So, your units in enemy land heals 25 in a turn, that is fantastic.

    Arabia's UU is also great. Actually at start, they are better than Keshiks but in long term Keshik has more advantages, such as quick study, GG bonus etc. Btw, with Arabian UB, you won't have money problem at all.
  5. Montezuma II

    Montezuma II Chieftain

    Mar 3, 2013
    Alaska, USA
    Between the Arabia/Mongol or Camel Archer/Keshik debate, I believe, on paper, that the keshik edges the camel archer. However, with the financial backing of the Bazaar, Arabia can field more units, which is why I side with Arabia. Thanks to the posters above, the debate was a fun read.
  6. TheMathmagician

    TheMathmagician Chieftain

    Mar 26, 2015
    Re: Camels vs Keshiks
    Play the Mongol scenario on Prince without building a single Keshik, see what you end up with at the end.
  7. LordBalkoth

    LordBalkoth Prince

    Dec 7, 2014
    Let's agree to disagree that you can assume that. Desert also tends to have less bonus resources like Stone, Cows, Bananas, etc. Desert Folklore is obviously amazing if you can get it (and Petra can supercharge a city) but both of those are risks and you get a slower start initially either way.

    You absolutely can get a religion from Stone Circles even on Deity in most cases (assuming you actually have a few stone/marble).

    The AI can move and attack. It just can't start OUT of range and then move and attack. The AI can definitely also spawn a ship in a city (while another ship is in the city) and fire with both. Seen it happen personally.

    I admit it looks like AI cities get strength bonuses but it might just be basically instantly and easily building walls/castles/etc in all cities.

    And we're not just talking early Renaissance -- we're talking through early to late Industrial. It takes planes or Great War Infantry to REALLY put a damper on Keshiks/Camel Archers. Even Riflemen/Artillery don't mean much -- though Cavalry can hurt, but is still manageable.

    Let's just leave multiplayer and simultaneous turns out of this for now, that's a whole discussion in and of itself.

    Again, you're not factoring in GETTING to the city faster or being able to hit it with more units. If the city is on completely open ground this is less of an issue, but Keshiks can do things like move twice, fire, and move twice to retreat which allows you to bring more firepower to bear in bad terrain. I'm actually doing a game with Mongolia now (it's really bad terrain, I didn't have many horses, the whole map is really weird) and it's making me glad I have Keshiks and not Camel Archers.

    You shouldn't be having any problems with negative gold, frankly -- even if it is negative simply pillaging cities and the gold from capturing cities will keep you afloat. And if you've gone Honor then you'll be raking in tons of gold from massacring AI units (granted this doesn't work so well on Emperor or below since the AI doesn't have as many units...but this also means YOU need less units).

    It is not. On the flip side, it's not like I'm actually taking up a massive chunk of the map and I certainly didn't need 13 cities. My point in general still stands -- it's not the late game that Liberty is bad at, it's the mid-game.

    Again, mid-game.

    It lets you get 13 decent cities early on due to faster settler production, free worker and faster construction rate (plus ideally Pyramids), better production in those cities (flat +1 bonus and 5% building bonus), better happiness with a large enough empire (if Tradition has a size 40 capital, with Liberty (and those 13 cities) you only need 140 population for Meritocracy to pull ahead (this isn't counting the 1 happiness per 10 population from Tradition, though)), and better culture costs for policies (less of a penalty from going wide).

    Monarchy was discussed above. The Aristocracy bonus is nice, sure, though I'd point out that Liberty doesn't need it due to happiness being easier to manage over more cities (due to more colosseums and the like and more buildings that give happiness from policies plus often more luxuries).


    Again, I'd argue that if you have that much culture to burn that you're either Poland or your tech is too slow (in terms of going for the faster Science Victory). And again, especially since the AI likes to start with Piety in many cases, both of those beliefs could be gone by the time you get there.

    Commerce actually doesn't really give you much gold for a while -- the Caravan boost from Wagon Trains often isn't used very much due to internal trade routes and cargo ships (absolute best case scenario is 16 gpt in the Atomic Era or something) and the road savings aren't that much unless you have a massive empire. I mean, assume you have even eight cities and need to build six tiles of roads (on average) between each city. Since one of them is the capital that's really only 7 * 6 = 42 gpt on roads which is reduced to 21 gpt.

    And...21 gpt is like one Cargo Ship used for gold or a good Caravan route.

    Obviously if you're trying to conquer the world and have a massive empire then Wagon Trains winds up saving a whole lot -- but most people overestimate the value of Commerce for gold in most games. Hell, Soverignty from Rationalism is usually more gold (4 gpt per city (not counting Observatory, not sure if that's even affected) which is then multiplied by the market line of buildings so potentially 7 gpt per city -- which is usually more money than Wagon Trains produces).

    How in the world are you figuring that? By delaying working the slots you will produce less Great Artist points overall which means less Great Artists overall. At least with Futurism you HAVE to delay it for the tactic to work.

    Except those are gunpowder units and thus don't get the bonus. Only applies to warriors, swordsmen, longswordsmen, spearmen, and pikemen.

    If you're planning on conquering then, in many cases, Military Tradition will help a lot more than most stuff in Rationalism and Ideologies. Faster XP means faster Logistics/Range which helps snowball.

    It largely depends on your situation. If you have a mostly self-built empire and are going for a non-Domination victory or a very late game Stealth Bomber rush or whatever then yeah, Barracks happiness is better since you don't have Courthouses.

    On the flip side, if you're conquering a larger empire then you need to annex the cities before you can even build Barracks/Armory/Military Academy, which means you need a Courthouse ANYWAY and if the cities are smaller then the Courthouse plus Colosseum/Zoo already gives 7 population worth of happiness -- which isn't even counting things like Circus/Stoneworks/religious buildings. So in most cities the Barracks/Armory/Military Academy will be overkill.

    Yeah, without Prora Autocracy becomes a lot worse and you HAVE to annex cities to make use of Militarism or Police State -- whereas puppets will still build (or already have) things like workshops, factories, public schools, etc. The AI also generally loves Order -- I played a Deity game yesterday trying the whole Honor/Commerce/Autocracy thing as Mongolia and I faced major happiness problems from Ideology pressure (though, in review, I figured out a lot of things I could have done to avoid the worst of that). I'm talking over 100 unhappiness from pressure and cities revolting at times (which, amusingly enough, caused less happiness problems once reconquered a turn later since less population).

    The problem is happiness as Autocracy/Order get more from a larger but less developed empire. That said, Freedom is better at Domination than Autocracy is at Science or Order at Diplomatic but yeah, still the worst at Domination (short of, again, something like a Stealth Bomber rush in which case it could do okay).

    Who cares? At that point you've conquered the entire world or at least enough of it that you have plenty of access to those anyway. The horses are the key.

    You should. Even on Deity it was a massive problem I had -- I was very short on horses initially (I think I had 4 available in three starting cities plus managed to trade for a few more from the AI) in that Honor/Commerce/Autocracy game I mentioned above and I decided I'd make due with Pikemen...and that MASSIVELY slowed me down. I should have given up a Keshik for a Horseman, absolutely no question.

    Except, as you stated, you still consistently won faster with Mongolia. That's the point of the Civ -- it lacks the economic advantages of Arabia but can still conquer the world the fastest (except for the Huns, mainly).

    How many Camel Archers are you expecting to field with Arabia and how many Keshiks are you expecting to field with Mongolia?
  8. Delnar_Ersike

    Delnar_Ersike Prince

    Jan 1, 2007
    Re Religion from Stone Circles: If you can get religion from Stone Circles, how can you not get religion from Desert Folklore? Stone Circles is definitely one of the better faith pantheons, but it's definitely slower than Desert Folklore: even if you have 2 stone vs. 3 non-flat desert (decent luck vs. fairly unlucky), ie. 4 faith from Stone Circles vs. 3 faith from Desert Folklore, Desert Folklore activates instantly, while you have to tech and build quarries for Stone Circles, and until you get *both* quarries online, Desert Folklore will be providing 1 or 3 more faith per turn for your empire.

    Re move and attack: the AI cannot move and attack with a newly produced melee unit if your melee unit is adjacent to the city. It does not realize that it needs to move with its garrisoned ranged unit before firing with it to be able to attack with its melee unit. Naval units are different matter, and I honestly don't have as much experience on this regard: I've never seen it happen only because the AIs I fight tend to not build naval units after I attack.

    Re map size: my concern is with the effect of cities on policy cost increase. Cities increase policy costs by half as much on Huge than on Standard, letting you access Rationalism and key ideology tenets before you otherwise would have with an empire of that size.

    Re late-game Liberty policies: the three policies that really have an effect in the late-game are Republic's +5% building hammers, Representation's -33% policy cost modifier from cities, and Meritocracy's happiness. Republic's +5% building hammers is fairly negligible: it's roughly worth the same amount as an extra engineer specialist in terms of hammers, and Tradition will definitely be able to afford at least one more production specialist's worth of hammers in all of their cities. Representation's -33% policy cost modifier from cities is a bit weird: I made some calculations in another thread on the matter, and the result is that if you take this policy as either your fifth or Liberty finisher, the amount of culture you save up over the course of the game is only equal to a free policy's worth of culture around Info Era, and that's if you have at least 6-7 cities by the time you adopt Representation. You definitely cannot save up more culture than you'd make if you go 4-city Tradition instead of 6+ city Liberty. Meritocracy's happiness is pretty much the only contender: in addition to that unhappiness reduction, you're also effectively reducing happiness from city count by 1, so with 13 cities, that's another +12 happiness (this isn't local, either, so it always applies). One could argue that Liberty finisher's free GP also applies, but I consider it more of an offset for not having as much science from population as Tradition for most of the game. +1 culture from all cities offsets the +3 culture from capitol and 4 free culture buildings of Tradition. By contrast, Tradition's Monarchy, Aristocracy, and finisher all provide boosts in the lategame. The happiness you get from Aristocracy + Monarchy is almost on even footing with 13-city Meritocracy, but once you factor in how Tradition can get key happiness wonders more easily than Liberty thanks to centralized production and Aristocracy, the two are on even footing. The bonuses from free aqueducts and monarchy's gold are obvious. Landed Elite gets an honorable mention, but honestly, it's as useful in the lategame as Republic (it's roughly equal to one extra population).
    My original argument is that Liberty works by letting you get to a 13-city situation a lot more easily than Tradition, and once you're at 13 cities, it's those 13 cities that will be doing the heavy lifting, not the Liberty policies themselves. It's why 6-city Liberty is so much worse than 13-city Liberty: it's not that Liberty policies require a lot of cities to become powerful, it's that 6 cities without Tradition bonuses simply aren't nearly as good as 13 cities without Tradition bonuses. If Liberty lets you get to 13 cities, then great, you've maximally made use of Liberty in the earlygame to set yourself up for the lategame. If you cannot get enough cities early on, Liberty won't help you keep up in the lategame.

    Re not working guilds for Aesthetics on Persia: it's a lot easier than not working guilds for Futurism. You probably won't have your guilds built before Medieval, and the first Medieval policy point goes towards Aesthetics opener. Basically, it's more about not prioritizing guilds as much as you normally would instead of outright building guilds and then not working them. You might not get as many Great Artists points as you normally would, but instead you get to work on wonders and other useful buildings, so it's not a complete loss.

    Re Commerce's gold: I wasn't thinking about Wagon Trains, I was thinking about Commerce opener. +25% gold in capitol can generate quite a bit of gold, and if the majority of your gold income is coming from your capitol anyway (eg. thanks to Monarchy), it is outright more powerful than cheaper CS gifting (which is roughly equivalent to +20% gold). Wagon Trains and Mercantilism are just icing on the cake, though Mercantilism does become quite a gold boost itself later on with Skyscrapers or Mobilization (and Big Ben if you get it).

    Re huge unhappiness problems from ideologies: just curious, you ever try the Reformation belief that converts barbs next to missionaries for countering rebels? Rebels are, after all, barbarian units, so this reformation belief essentially lets you get free soldiers if you're below -10 happiness. Plus it's a fairly unpopular reformation belief for the AI. It's probably a waste of policy points, but still, I'm just curious as to how well it works.

    Re final point on victory speed and reliability: I consistently won faster with Mongolia, but I won more consistently with Arabia. I'd expect to field roughly 4-5 chariots upgraded into keshiks/camels initially, then build consistently from there until I reach around 10 camels or 12 keshiks. It's fairly land-reliant though: if I think that I can get more than 10-12 keshiks/camels to bear on a single front at once and have a good enough gold income, I'm willing to build more, up to maybe around 20.

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