dealing with aggressive settling patterns [emp+]

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by §L¥ Gµ¥, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. §L¥ Gµ¥

    §L¥ Gµ¥ Prince

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    Playing at emperor level, I've come into a consistent problem which hampers my ability to be effective. I've learned how to REX better than I've ever thought possible, but it only keeps me at parity with monsters like joao, gilgamesh or shaka, and even then it's not something that is sustainable endlessly, eventually the bonuses the AI gets wins out and you're forced to sit back and watch the AI badly settle prime land.

    Normally, I can overcome this by city specialization and some creative play, but my problems come about when I start next to a warmonger, or an aggressive settling AI who seem to have no regard for city maintenance. Either they'll capture a barb city far from their border and use it as a staging point for further expansion, or they'll settle one themselves and it leaves me all but cut off from that last little bit of land grab which'll likely propel me to gunpowder, and essentially, my military safety for the remainder of the game.

    How does one go about dealing with this? Is it time to bite the bullet and begin to micromanage my research for trading options, run an espionage economy, or step into the theatre of late-early->mid-game wars? Each has it's own drawbacks, trading is only good for a short while, to postpone the inevitable 'peaking' of your economy as tech become progressively more expensive, espionage economies mean you'll never have a tech edge, and wars before gunpowder tend to be expensive and slow, worse is that I find the tradeoff between expanding at the rate of a shaka comes at the price of military, only to be offset or at least postponed through diplomacy.
     
  2. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    :goodjob:
     
  3. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Up to Immortal, you should be able to out-expand the AI unless you have a particularly weak start. Even on Deity you can usually keep up if you want to, although I believe consensus is that it's not worth it.

    Sometimes you can use choke points to good effects (settling at an economically comfortable pace is better than breakneck expansion with delays in tile improvement and hooking up your cities to the trade neckwork etc). Sometimes you can choke an AI (declare war, maybe steal a few workers, camp next to their cities).

    An additional city doesn't cost that much. If you connect it to your trade network and cottage it, it will not set you back by a noticable amount before it becomes profitable. This is worth keeping in mind even if you don't do it: You are rarely at the limit of how fast you can expand, it's more a matter of what concessions you are willing to make to grab more land (postpone infrastructure, leave yourself open to attack, forgo wonders... that sort of thing).

    If I'm not on my way to research a crucial tech (Currency definitely, sometimes other techs with freebies or first-to prizes, or those unlocking a wonder critical to my game plan) I often don't mind having negative cash flow at 100% gold provided I have a way to avoid strike (my recently founded cities will become profitable eventually, pillaging, failure cash etc).
    If not on the way towards collecting a freebie, more techs gives more options rather than free benefits... and the basic things (settlers, workers, granaries...) tend to be the best investments for hammers. As long as I have something meaningful to build, being backwards doesn't matter.
     
  4. KeloGBites

    KeloGBites Warlord

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    Early Worker steal can completely cripple an AI, also Choke-points, choke-points, choke-points. If there isn't any opportunity for a choke-point and too far away for a 10-man axe rush, do a Sword+Catapult war. If it's Shaka, wait for you to have a decesive tech advantage on him then capture his huge empire. CoL+Currency then turning off research to expand to ridiculous levels can also work, I play on emperor as well and usually 10 cities is easily achievable. You don't really need more then that for Space/Culture, Dom/Conquest you will of course be taking others cities so moot point :p
     
  5. Silu

    Silu Deity

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    Usually it's possible to settle 5-6 cities in a way that leaves room for ~3 more that you don't need to settle right away. Those can be settled later after CurrencyCoLom vitae without putting an excessive strain on your economy.

    "Wars before gunpowder" do not need to be slow and straining on your economy. Axes, 2move units or (Sword/Ele)Pult can all bring a swift decisive victory if you plan the wars carefully. The main thing to look out for is to not enable the other neighbor of your target to benefit from your attack.

    REX isn't an answer for everything. It's easy to fall into a constant REXing pattern without thinking all the options through.
     
  6. KeloGBites

    KeloGBites Warlord

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    I'd generally say avoid REX unless Organized, Creative, or Imperialistic. and you don't have a good UU early for warmongering (hence why REXing with Julius isn't as advisable in my opinion, also the reason why Cathy and Zara are REX monsters). Gilgy can also be used for some very nice choking.
     
  7. beestar

    beestar subdeity

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    OP: Ugh, definitely true and frustrating. I'm hitting this wall at Immortal myself.

    Early war helps ... as long as the victim of your land grab doesn't cap to one of your expansionist rivals.
     
  8. §L¥ Gµ¥

    §L¥ Gµ¥ Prince

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    Well, I guess I should rephrase things a little, I guess it's a way of dealing with a runaway AI. It's not the issue of being able to grab 9-10 decent cities, it's the inability to stop an aggressively settling/warring one from getting that many more than me that they become a problem. Making up for size differential and AI bonuses is often just too much to overcome.
     
  9. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    On Immort+ you have to be okay with being down on land and having an overall production deficit compared to monster AIs. There are two general methods for dealing with oversized AIs:
    1. Suck up. Joa comes to mind here, gon into HR ASAP, share his religion (whatever that ends up being), give in to demands/aid, and quickly get him to friendly. Dogpile and steal some cities when the big guy goes to war, set up either a quick culture or diplo vic, use the internet and mass WSs for a space shot, or expand until you can your hold your own and stab the big guy in the back.
    2. Most AIs attack the closest the city, use this to attrition away his bonus hammers. If you see Shaka with the potential to get big (i.e. you - shaka - gandhi), settled on a hill near the border with shaka. Wall the city off, stuff it full of archers, back them up with HAs, and get some free GG points. Even diety bonus are (sometimes) not enough for monster AI to beat CGIII/DI on a hill by the numbers. Shaka is particularly annoying as he exands well, builds lots of units, doesn't care about religion, and has PS as his favorite civic.
     

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