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Comprehensive Leader Guide: Pacal

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Molybdeus, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. Molybdeus

    Molybdeus Chieftain

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    I sometimes have difficulty figuring out how to play some of the leaders. So I decided to start this thread in the hope that other people would make comprehensive leader guides for the other leaders that I'm not familiar with. If you enjoyed this writeup for Pacal and have a full understanding of some other leader, please create a similar thread for that leader!

    Pacal II: Mayans


    Traits: Financial, Expansive
    Building: Ball Court (Replaces colisseum; +3 happiness instead of +1.)
    Unit: Holkan (Replaces spearman; no copper needed, immune first strike.)
    Techs: Mysticism, Mining
    Overall Power: 7 (On a scale of 1-10)

    The Mayan's power comes from the synergy between Pacal's leader traits and their unique building. Pacal's financial trait is better the more cottages you work. Pacal's expansive trait gives you cheaper workers to create those cottages, thus allowing you to build more workers for the same amount of production and as a corollary building more cottages faster. The quicker you start working cottages, the sooner you get towns. Expansive also gives Pacal cheaper granaries, allowing new cities to complete their granaries faster and therefore growing quicker, which lets them take advantage of the greater number of cottages. Pacal's unique building provides significantly more happiness than the normal colisseum, which allows cities a higher "happiness ceiling" they can grow to. The total sustainable city size is also raised by Pacal's expansive trait, which grants +2 health per city.

    The result of all of these interactions is that Pacal gets bigger and more productive cities in the critical classical and medieval phases of the game. The extra commerce suits expansion of either the peaceful or warlike variety. Moreover, new cities you found will reach maturity faster due to the extra workers improving tiles around the city and cheaper granaries.

    Flexibility is one of the keys to playing Pacal. The Zulus can be overpowering in small pangaea maps, but typically falter in larger maps or ocean-heavy maps. Pacal can adapt to suit the environment he is placed in, and can win in virtually any type of map or game.

    The bad news is that the unique unit doesn't really fit in with Pacal's expected strategy. A holkan rush can be effective, but it does not really suit Pacal's overall strategy, which wants the wheel and pottery. A unique chariot unit like the immortal or war chariot would have been ridiculous, allowing you to get your unique unit while researching the technologies you need to build cottages. (Sadly, horses didn't inhabit North America during the era of the Mayan empire.) As it is, I still think that axemen or chariots are better rushing units for Pacal than the holkan. The holkan is best used as a dependable defender. You don't need copper or bronze to be able to defend yourself from an Immortal attack by Darius while playing as Pacal, which is nice in its own way.

    Tech Path
    Techs paths are impossible to decide without knowing which resources are available to you. If you begin with cows, then you will want to prioritize Animal Husbandry. If you have a lot of forested hills in the vicinity of Mutal, then Bronze Working should be considered soon.

    On noble level and below, you will be able to leverage the fact that you begin with Mysticism to found an early religion. On prince, you can make a later attempt at Judaism after you finish researching Pottery. On monarch and above, don't bother trying for a religion earlier than Confucianism.

    Pottery should be a priority when playing Pacal because he gets significant utility from cottages. It also gives him access to cheap granaries.

    The Holkan
    The Holkan can be a decent unit for an early rush for two reasons. First, it can ignore the first strike attacks of enemy archers, including those of recalcitrant Protective leaders. Second, it is dependable. You know that you can start building Holkans as soon as you complete your research of Hunting and Bronze Working. There's no need to build roads or even bother researching The Wheel until after your rush.

    However spearmen -even the almighty Holkan- are significantly less effective at attacking archers than axemen are. For the same cost, a Holkan only has a 30.8% chance of killing an enemy archer fortified in a city, while an axeman has a 63% chance of killing that same archer. While Holkans might be dependable rushers, they are merely dependably mediocre rushers.

    The real use for Holkans is defensive. You can depend upon having counters to Immortals and War Chariots even if you don't have copper or if your enemy has pillaged the roads to your copper resource.

    Map Types
    Pacal is interesting in that he works well with a number of different types of maps. Archipelago or continental maps let Pacal work coastal tiles, which he excels at due to the financial trait. He also gets to build harbors at half cost. And if you pursue the tech path listed above and grab metal casting, you can build the Colossus and get four commerce per coastal tile.

    However Pacal can also succeed on non-oceanic maps. Contact with a larger number of civilizations allows for greater spread of religions, which nets more gold through shrines. This will enable wars of conquest to grab more cities, which you can support due to the extra gold from the shrines and financial trait.

    Ideal War Period
    The ideal war period for Pacal occurs when you research Construction. At this point your catapults can take down enemy culture defense bonuses and weaken stacks of units, you should have a shrine or two to provide gold for expansion. But most importantly you now have access to Ball Courts, which will allow you to create units using slavery without suffering quite as much from unhappiness.

    You can also build war elephants once you have Construction, which will discourage your opponent from making flanking attacks against your catapults. That assumes, of course, that you have ivory. If you don't you may be stuck using holkans to screen your catapults. The good news is that holkans aren't horrible, and can attack archers if you need them to due to their immunity to first strikes.

    Your objectives in warmongering with Pacal should be to start the game peacefully and build your empire to the point where it has an economic and technological advantage in the late classical or early medieval period. At that point you can go on a rampage.

    Questions? Comments? Think my advice is wrong? Please tell me!
     
  2. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    Great Idea!! Comprehensive Leader Guides are great. BTW I never realized Pacal was such a powerhouse; never really paid attention. Excellent traits, good starting techs, and very good UB and UU. WOW!! Really want to try him out now.
     
  3. SevenSpirits

    SevenSpirits Immortal?

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    This definitely upped my interest in Pacal. Good job!

    One note - Pottery requires either Agriculture or Fishing, so you should take that into account in your tech path.
     
  4. Polycrates

    Polycrates Chieftain

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    Very nice guide!
    Pacal is a serious powerhouse, and I reckon Expansive is the most synergistic trait with Financial as well - the UU and UB work well as well. The guy could really use a haircut, but what can you do.

    The only thing I'd quibble with is that I reckon you're selling Expansive a little short :p It's a magnificently powerful early game trait, especially if you do what the name suggests and expand. If you go a little crazy with whipping and chopping, you can have an army of workers in no time - for more chopping (eg of lots of settlers) and of general tile improvement. The real beauty of Expansive for me is that you can get new cities up and running and making a positive contribution to the empire faster than anyone. Considering the long lag time most new cities have before they're being useful, this is a big bonus. Extra workers mean those important tiles are worked ASAP, and forests chopped to bring in granaries and monuments super fast. The importance of getting a very early granary cannot be overstated, I think. The food bin gets filled that much sooner, and soon you can be whipping and/or growing to your heart's content - and the extra workers should mean that those new tiles you can work are actually developed. Lots of whipping and chopping of new workers and settlers is what I'd do with the granary advantage.
    The other thing for Pacal is JUNGLE. Expansive is perfect for jungle because you've got enough workers to develop it, and you don't really have to worry about health. And once it's gone, you've got a whole expanse of really primo cottage real estate.
    So yeah, expansive lets you quickly expand, financial lets you pay for it all without going under, and then emerge with a massive economy, and the holkan is great for defending it all (the guy is a lifesaver on raging barbs).

    Anyway, just my $0.02 on a great leader
     
  5. Molybdeus

    Molybdeus Chieftain

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    Thanks. I wrote the tech path from memory, and couldn't remember if Pottery needs The Wheel alone or with another tech. I changed the tech path.

    Pacal is just about perfect in power level for me. Praetorians are just too good to be fun. Winning with them feels cheap, because it isn't enough of a challenge. And losing to them is irritating. On the other hand I really struggle to win with leaders like Gilgamesh. Which is part of the reason I would like to see other people do these guides as well.

    You're right. The problem with it is that it loses a lot of steam later on in the game, whereas Philosophical, Industrious, Charismatic and Organized will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling all game long. But it is at least capable of providing you with very fast starts.

    He is actually quite good. I was surprised to learn that people were winning with him on Emperor. Initially I thought that this was due to the "worse" AI in BTS, but after playing Pacal several times I've realized that his rapid economic development makes him quite an impressive leader. I think he is similar in overall power level to Mansa Musa. Sadly, the AI doesn't seem to play him very intelligently.
     
  6. SevenSpirits

    SevenSpirits Immortal?

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    There's still a typo there; you wrote "AH or Agri" instead of "Fishing or Agri".
     
  7. Molybdeus

    Molybdeus Chieftain

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    I'm not really an idiot, I swear. It's a cunning plan to fool you all into going easy on me in multiplayer.
     
  8. Oko

    Oko Gnomish Druid

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    Great idea.
    You also chose a great pic of Pacal. Awesomeness. :)
     
  9. Handel

    Handel Chieftain

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    Warlords: Inca - the easiest leader/civ for beginners (single leader - Huayna Capac)
    1. It is financial/industrous so it means more money for research and more Wonders.
    2. It is one of the very few civs with start with mysticism without being spiritual. This means quick grab of Buddism and Industrious helps building the Stonehenge. The reason of building Stonehenge is not the free monuments, but the Great Prophet it will generate. Use it for an yearly Great Temple and lot of cities will adopt buddism. Which means a nice yearly income and running the research at 80-90% long before the Currency and Code of Laws are researched.
    4. The other starting tech is farming - an usefull tech for the quick development; from there you can research pottery (early cotteges) and animal husbandry (horses)
    5. Its granary is an unique building and produces 2 cultures per turn. Who need the Creative leader with such granary?
    6. The best is it's UU - the quechua. It replaces the warrior. Comes with free Combat I and 100% vs archer units. So it has some advantage against the warriors and completely owns the archers! The quechua can take any city which is defended by archers - and the AI switch to archers for city defence as quick as possible. So you can make quechua rush if you like this tactics (although it is not for beginners).
    Most of those advantages are important only for the beginning of the game, but getting a good start always helps. Besides being financial/industrious is good for the whole game.
     
  10. jason77024

    jason77024 Chieftain

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    Swap Hunting for Polytheism, and go conquer whatever religion happens to be next to you. :)

    Otherwise you might want to change that build order, as you'd have to have multiple "bald" hills to keep that worker busy (esp. since Pacal is Expansive and the worker comes around even more quickly). Hunting could give that worker something more to do, depending on the map. (Poly + BW = ~40 turns on Epic; you'll have a worker in barely half that.)

    Have you tried a Hunting-BW (or vice versa, depening on tiles) opening with a Warrior-Worker build order? You don't have to build a settler so quickly if you're sacking someone else's capital in 2500BC. (You can be building Holkans in ~3300 BC, even without any special commerce tiles.)

    That strategy is certainly one that should be considered at levels up through (say) Monarch. (I assume those likely to benefit from your guide are playing no higher than that, and probably a few levels lower.)

    Other than that, some good points. You might be even more specific in stating that Pacal not only can take great advantage of floodplains, he's less affected by any health hit. Those 7-FP fat cross starts don't cripple Pacal like they do other Financial leaders.

    Jason

    ps. If you are really looking to spiff this up and make it part of a collection in the War Academy or elsewhere, please note you've either got a misplaced apostrophe or an agreement error in your first sentence. If it's just for discussion and no big deal, please ignore this ps. ;)

    pps. Handel, you get to write the Incan guide.
     
  11. Molybdeus

    Molybdeus Chieftain

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    The problem with the holkan rush is that you actually need one more tech (hunting) to build holkans than axemen. Moreover, my experience with quickly capturing capitol cities with the Quecha tells me that it's not worth doing unless that city is a holy city. Also, people tend to prioritize Brone Working, which means that your holkans could be demolished by axemen.

    I'm not saying that it isn't worth trying. But in the average game I would rather go a different route. If you really want a quick spearmen rush, then Shaka is the way to go.

    You can build mines until you can chop, and chop until you can build roads and cottages, and then I usually can build farms, which are nice for recovering after you've whip-rushed some stuff. Whatever build you use you run the risk of not having anything to work. If you research hunting without any deer or furs you won't have anything to work, for example. But with this route you can actually pretty quickly start building mines, roads, cottages and farms. You only research one tech that doesn't enable an improvement in the first six techs, in fact.

    If you start with deer, cows or sheep in your starting city site, then you should change the tech order. The order is just a suggested general path.

    All of my games are in fact at prince and monarch. If you can win at emperor you shouldn't need a guide anyway.
     
  12. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    How would Pacal fare with Unrestricted leaders? Any particular civs that give him tremendous synergy?

    Conversely the Mayans could be similarly examined. Any leaders that make them a nightmare or any that make them a joke?
     
  13. oyzar

    oyzar Have quit civ/forums

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    well Genghis khan seems like a good alternative to take advantage of the mayans with an extra combat promotion for the holkans and cheap UB. However i am not sure if this is the civ with the most powerful UU/UB combination and as such i probably wouldn't chose Mayans over other choices. As for most synergy i guess i would go for the incans. The granary basically give him another free trait and well we all know how insane the UU is.

    One thing the OP missed is the strength of holkans chocking in MP and the killer combo of hereditary rule + financial + expensive especially on higher difficulty levels.

    Also building the Stonehenge is far from compulsory in SP and i would avoid it allot of the time, ESPECIALLY if i also grabbed a religion. Though i tend to grab stuff that let me improve high food titles for my capital and BW early instead of early religions. Tech path in mp should be something like:
    1 BW
    2 Hunting
    3 AG
    4 AH(if you have animals) or wheel or a religion(if still open)
    5 Any of 4 or pottery

    There is no reason to pass up the opportunity to choke and potentially take out a close neighbour in mp. I would also very seldom go for Masonry or monotheism before getting alphabet in SP(and probably stealing/trading both of the other).
     
  14. jason77024

    jason77024 Chieftain

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    I understand that. But unless you get lucky and pop bronze under the city or on a river, you'll have holkans 20 turns before axes. That UU is also immune to first strikes, which helps make up for the power difference. (Not completely, of course, but time is money - and an opposing capital.)

    So you don't get Hinduism? So what, unless you're playing a cultural game? But then you probably aren't playing Pacal in the first place. Grab a second capital and then you have your choice of Christianity, Confucianism, or Taoism.

    Huh? Capture a capital later, and you have
    a) given the opponent time to increase cultural defenses,
    b) given an opponent with BW more population for whipping garrisons, and
    c) given the opponent a chance to found a second city (~2400BC on Prince in my exp.), plus
    d) you'll have to rebuild most of the bldgs anyway

    After all, you are Financial to mitigate the city support cost.

    How often do you get bronze in your capital's fat cross? One in ten? Twenty? What are the chances of all your neighbors having copper? (Most of your readers are likely playing SP not MP anyway.) Find the one who doesn't have copper (or who doesn't know it yet), and who isn't Toku sitting on a hill! You can't hit all your enemies, but usually you can hit one (see below). Besides, in an MP game, anyone who tries to hit you early with horses will have to hit you in the first 30 turns, not 50+ turns.

    Well sure. Pacal is rush the nearest guy; Shaka is rush the nearest 5 guys. :)

    If you have 4:hammers: from working the center plus a hill, you will need 3 hills without forest to keep the worker busy; otherwise it's 2 or 3 hills.

    That might something we can get away with at Prince, but at higher levels I see it stressed again and again that you just can't waste turns with workers. Planning your builds to match your techs is something a player on any level should do.

    You're playing Darius, and you have no cows/sheep. Do you nevertheless research Animal Husbandry somewhere between "Immediately" and "Really Early" for your UU?

    The big advantage of a resourceless unit is being able to get it sooner, and on any map. Using the tech order you present as a default position throws away any possible advantage.

    And that's the only one I have a quibble with.

    Please understand I don't think the Holkan is a game changer like Quechuas or Immortals or a couple others, but it's also not limited like the War Elephant or the Warlords Keshik.

    NB: I have not played with Solver's patch, which may well render much of the above useless - except the part about leaving workers with nothing to do! :nono:
     
  15. SickCycle

    SickCycle Chieftain

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    You don't have hunting in your tech path and you need it for the holkan..

    I read one of your posts and it seems that you already know you need hunting for the holkan and yet you still are willing to completely forgo his UU... no offense but that is ********, I don't even skip jaguars if I'm aztec.

    The point of a holkan rush isn't to take a city it's to cut off his resources, pillage, and prevent him from founding any new cities, with the fact holkans are immune to first strikes and the only unit the AI will be using (especially after you cut off his resources... with the holkan) is archers...

    If anything you should be skipping the religion then going straight bronze/hunting then prob agriculture(fishing) and pottery to get some food tiles and start whipping out a granary, but i'm a warmonger and all i do is kill stuff so.. whatever.. I've played financial leaders that start with myst and once you hit monarch founding a religion is up to the map generator and what kind of commerce tiles it gives you, to put founding an early religion in a tech line up is silly, it's situational and not always possible.

    Having stonehenge in your lineup before even seeing the tiles or map is silly also, it's not always necessary to grab it, it's just nice to have, if anything the oracle should be your must have if your going down the religious tech tree and maybe a slingshot to the apostle palace since it's so craaazyly powerful
     
  16. Molybdeus

    Molybdeus Chieftain

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    Also add slavery for extra fun. (The happiness bonus from units negates the penalty for whipping them. Assuming it only costed you 1 happiness to rush the unit.) Since slavery works well with the Mayans anyway, this is extra nice. You're right, I should have mentioned that.

    I'm curious as to why you would avoid getting Stonehenge if you got an early religion. Is this because you feel you don't need it if you have the culture from having a state religion?

    The problem I have with this is that the holkan dies to axemen. Yes, not every civ will have axemen right away. But the changes of one of your neighbors having them are high enough that I don't think you can assume that a bunch of holkans provide an impenetrable defense the way that protective-enhanced archers basically do. The only reason I can see why it would be particularly effective is because you want to defend against a Quecha or Immortal rush. Obviously that is a concern, but not enough to make me research hunting right away if there were no resources I could improve with camps.
     
  17. Molybdeus

    Molybdeus Chieftain

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    The support cost is actually only about 5 gp/turn even if the enemy capitol is fifteen or sixteen spaces away. The problem I have is that the only real benefit you gain by taking a capitol that early is that you don't have to fight that civ later on. You haven't really gained any advantage in production, commerce or power that you wouldn't have gained by building a settler instead of more military units.

    I will almost always use this strategy in cases where I am alone with one other civ on a small continent (you can also quickly raze the capitol civs that start with a scout,) but I dislike taking capitols before I have a great prophet in continent or pangaea maps. However I admit that this may be a fault of my play style. I win about 99% of my games on Prince and Monarch, but don't want to move up to Emperor because it almost forces you into land grab wars that sacrifice your economy. Maybe I just have to learn to suck it up and take the 30%-40% tech slider hit.

    It only throws away the advantage from the unique unit. My belief is that Pacal's strength comes from his traits and building, and that is what you should build your strategy around. I honestly don't understand why everyone is so insistent on building Pacal's strategy around his unique unit. If his unique unit is his worst feature, then why focus on that instead of his strengths?

    Why do you think I included Priesthood in the tech list? The palace is indeed crazy good, but if you grab both stonehenge and oracle early you can usually lightbulb Theology instead of wasting the oracle on it.

    I think I may end up including two lists. One for warmongers and one for builders. Do you guys have suggestions for the warmonger tech path beyond skipping religious techs and hitting hunting and bronze working first?
     
  18. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Chieftain

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    It seems to me that this description of Pacal is lacking in its assembly. The pieces just don't fit together right.

    Point the first: I'm unconvinced that Pacal should be treated as a religious leader on the strength of the Mysticism tech alone. Financial really doesn't start to kick in until you've discovered fishing, or managed to start working some commerce improvements.

    Point the second: Worker first with no intentions of a food tech strikes me as a bit short sighted. The worker is going to be finished long before Bronzeworking comes in, and since you were producing a worker you weren't growing the city - so how many mines are you going to be working?

    It may be worth noting that if you are building a worker out of the gate you really want a plains hill forrest to start with (4 hammers nets you 5).

    Point the third: the big advantage of Holkans is that they require no resources. So there should be some focus on how to take advantage of that.

    Point the fourth: I don't buy into the idea that Pacal has a preferred warring period. His catapults and elephants are no better than those of anyone else.



    When thinking about tech, rather than concentrating on the initial priorities, I find it more useful to identify those technologies that will be key long term. For Pacal, these are going to be the usual Financial techs (Pottery, Civil Service, Printing Press), plus Construction. Code of Laws is something of a hinge tech: depending on the available happiness, you may want to drive up the religious tree to grab Monarchy, or come at it obliquely via Currency.
     
  19. oyzar

    oyzar Have quit civ/forums

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    In the part of the game where it is possible hammers are scare to come by, you can always use more workers / settlers. If you have some way to produce culture easily already it seems pretty silly to me to invest allot more hammers into a project that wont do much cept stunt your development. Axemen before they have gotten their first worker out? surely you must me joking. And even then they can only get it by starting near copper(on top of it would work admitedly) AND going worker first. Almost noone in their right mind goes worker first in mp... We are talking grow to size 2 while building a warrior start a worker at once holkans are available whip one. Not building them the slow way...
     
  20. jason77024

    jason77024 Chieftain

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    If you give me the choice in 2500BC of

    a) taking a capital, pop. 2-3?, maybe one or two developed tiles (work boat?) -or-
    b) founding a new city in a location that almost certainly has fewer bonus tiles

    that is a really easy decision.

    (Plus in the first example, my own capital is growing in the meantime.)

    Look at it this way: Pacal has early and middle and late game advantages.
    * Early rush (or choke - hat tip oyzar) at the start, keep neighbors bottled up while you expand and get cottages developed.
    * Expansive for :health: (in that 12-14 pop. range before Guilds), ball court for :)
    * Then the cottages hit their stride.

    My only question marks were the Polytheism open and the worker-first build order. Others here may disagree, but I don't see Pacal as the guy who hammers all his neighbors before the calendar hits AD... After I let loose that first mini-stack, I am headed for the Oracle myself.

    @VoU: thanks for the concise recap of my post ;)
     

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