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Deity Venice: Guidance Appreciated

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by CountAccountant, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    I play almost all of my games on Emperor, but I want to give Deity a serious try now. My goal is less about winning and more about experiencing the excitement of struggling against overwhelming odds. That said, I really want to give this my best shot.

    My most immediate question is: How large should my initial defense force be to survive a Deity early AI invasion (turn 40 - 60), and when should I build walls in my capital? I am playing as Venice, and I am using the BNW expansion (which allegedly decreases early AI aggressiveness). I have described my situation in more detail below, as I assume I will have many more questions to ask before this game is concluded.

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    General Info
    22 Civs; 20 city-states; Large map size; Continents map. I am playing Venice. Barbarians have not been a problem due to the close proximity of civilizations, but close borders mean that early war is more likely. I would like to avoid warmongering penalties unless absolutely necessary in the early game, but I understand that the current situation may make that impossible.

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    My Prior Development (Turns 0 - 40)
    I have assumed command of the various clans of Venetian traders and founded the City of Venice on the coast and beside a mountain. Being a mercantile people, the Venetians are inspired by my simple, inspirational vision for the future: to own the entire world and everyone in it.

    My first act as High Merchant was to order the construction of a glorious Monument of myself at the center of town. Although it will take my people several centuries (8 turns) to build something that will be worthy of my greatness, I explained to the laborers that it will all be worthwhile when their great-great-grandchildren are able to enjoy a monument of me.

    I also ordered my warriors to plunder the nearby ruins and to bring anything of value to my personal storehouses. These heroic tomb-raiders vastly exceeded my expectations and returned with cartloads of gold (95 gp) and cultural artifacts (20 culture)!

    After the monument was complete, I made a series of investments to increase the efficiency of our food storage (a Granary), our fields (a Worker), and our research team (a Library). These investments began to generate a profit almost immediately, but there was a trade-off: military development is now severely underfunded. I was gambling that profitable trade with me would limit any early aggression by my neighbors, but this is admittedly a very dangerous risk to take on Deity.

    Finally, I enacted a series of laws that protect the common people’s right to own property (Legalism), the rich people’s right to own the common people (Landed Elite) and my personal right own everybody (Monarchy).


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    The Current Situation (Turn 43)
    I have entertained emissaries from five great empires and one city-state, but only one is requiring my full attention: Britain. The simple tribespeople of Britannia have no concept of land ownership, and see nothing wrong with founding Nottingham ONLY FOUR HEXES AWAY from Venice (as in, only three empty hexes separate Nottingham and Venice). The vastly diminished potential land area for Venice is bad enough, but Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth also “covets the lands I currently own” in bright red. War seems inevitable, and my total military forces consist of exactly one band of warriors.

    I quickly sold Elizabeth some pearls for 5gp/turn, which reduced her “covets the lands I currently own” to dark red. I also asked the other nations if they would attack her (no luck), started building an archer, and am seven turns from researching masonry for walls. The only melee unit that I can build right now is a warrior. I can produce one archer every four turns.
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    I would appreciate suggestions on 1) how many archers are necessary for a reasonable defense? The cost of building too many archers is high (I am Venice and still don’t have a single trade route), but the cost of building too few is death. 2) how many archers should I have before switching to walls? 3) Is there anything else I should be doing to defend myself that I haven’t thought of?
     
  2. Maxym

    Maxym King

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    I would not worry about walls, waste of hammers, tech towards construction and build archers. Is Venice on hill? If not then maybe walls later, but army first.

    Do you want Nottingham gone? I assume you do, so six archers and one or two more warriors. Make sure you have enough gold for upgrades and go for it. Sell her whatever else you can now.

    But you can also try to develop in peace for now, get your trade routes up and infra built. And hope for the best, it's BNW after all ;)
     
  3. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    Many thanks, Maxym. Venice is not on a hill, but I followed your advice to ignore walls and build archers and everything turned out okay. Here’s what happened:

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    I promised high profits to any who would save Venice from the British menace, and the people of Venice responded as only merchants could. An industry of bow crafters, arrow makers, and mercenary companies sprang up overnight. Within seven turns, the size of the armed forces had literally tripled (it had grown to include two new archers plus the original warrior).

    Meanwhile, my elite teams of smooth-talking, silver-tongued salesmen convinced mighty Poland to send a caravan to Venice. Apparently the Polish king appreciated the exceptional quality of my fine Venetian goods, because he offered me a Declaration of Friendship the very next turn. Faced with the twin threat of my expanded military and my powerful new friend, Elizabeth moved her forces back away from my border instead of declaring war. A few turns later she even sent her own caravan to Venice.

    Since the threat of violence had subsided, I sent my Great Merchant protégé Niccolo De Conti to the city-state of Mombasa. After a series of deals, trades, and complex financial transactions, Niccolo purchased the entire city for the low, low price of absolutely nothing. Confused, Mombasa’s elders asked to renegotiate the terms once they finally understood what they had agreed to. Niccolo generously agreed, and eventually walked away with two spearmen, a horseman, and a composite bowmen as well as the city.

    Unfortunately the overall games isn’t going nearly as well as those isolated victories. I am now almost a full tech era behind the other major civs, all but one of my trade routes has been destroyed, my new city is too far away to send food to Venice, and the largest civilization on the continent has just declared war on me (the Iroquois). But I just got construction (i.e. composite bowmen) and I have the military built from when I was worried about Britain, so I don’t think I’m down and out yet by a long shot.
     
  4. de_baser

    de_baser Warlord

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    Looks like an odd opening build, this. You seriously started with monument, and not a scout? That's fair enough, but it seems you're kind of messing about a bit. For example, you can put off building the granary once you get Landed Elite for that growth.

    Also, where are you in tech? Why did you not beeline Optics? Buying a CS will often give you a lot of advanced troops too, which is optimal defence in an eventual war. If you're lucky, you can also pull off a wonder like the Lighthouse for an invaluable MoV point.
     
  5. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    I agree that a scout would have been a better opening. My rationale for not building a scout earlier was that, at Deity, all of the ruins would have been discovered before my scout was built. This was short-sighted. By the time I was able to send out explorers, the borders of other nations prevented me from locating the city-states that would have been best for the free Merchant of Venice from Optics. I ended up blowing my Merchant of Venice on what I now know was a suboptimal choice. My second city can’t send food to Venice via ship, which is something that has been vital to my prior successes as Venice on Emperor.

    I didn’t beeline for Optics to get the Merchant of Venice sooner because I was willing to wait a little for the city state to develop. I ended up getting optics around turn 50 and acquiring the city state around turn 60 or so. The independent Deity-level city-states develop much faster than my puppet states, and I really needed a sizable prebuilt military to defend it.

    My tech has definitely lacked focus and I think this has been the most severe of my early game mistakes so far. The reason is that I am operating in reaction mode instead of pursuing a clear strategy. I got philosophy (for National College), but by the time I got it many other civs were in danger of absorbing the best tiles near Venice into their borders. So then I researched drama and poetry to increase my culture output, and ended up building the writers guild and a few military units instead of the National College because it seemed urgent. Then war broke out and I wasn’t able to actually use the writer’s guild for culture. By comparison, most of my rivals have been in the Medieval era for a while and I suspect that some are close to the Renaissance.

    I need to stick to a proactive strategy instead of reacting like I have been doing. It’s just been hard to pull off because each crisis seems to requires a big shift in focus to survive.
     
  6. de_baser

    de_baser Warlord

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    Yeah, sounds like that uncertainty has cost you a lot. There's no surprise why the achievement for a diety win is called "flawless strategy" - planning out and sticking to a good plan is really important at this level. Not getting the NC up hurts, especially with a civ that can build it pretty unproblematically. But spies are your main tool for catching up in tech anyway.

    I dunno. Restart, try immortal?
     
  7. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    The Great Iroquois War (Turn 80 – 85)
    As Hiawatha’s forces closed in, my most trusted advisor suggested that I evacuate to Immortal for my own protection. “Evacuate?,” I sneered, “In our moment of triumph?" I have but one thing to say in any ‘hopeless’ situation.

    “BRING IT ON!”

    The people of Venice agreed with me, promptly entering a Golden Age to celebrate our inevitable victory. And then the war began. It was give and take. He won some battles, I almost won others. But at the gates of Venice, I gave no ground. After five turns of some of the most vicious, bloody fighting the world had even seen, Hiawatha realized that his defeat was inevitable and surrendered to me. I added insult to injury during the surrender negotiations by forcing him to take my second city off of my hands (Mombasa). I had never liked those smelly, unlovable people anyway.

    Note: Hiawatha tells his side of the story slightly differently, but the basic facts are the same.

    A cynic might think that my situation is hopeless, but beneath the surface there are causes for optimism. I don’t need technological superiority to win a diplomatic victory, and I can use trade routes/spies to close the existing tech gap. Venice has the same number of trade routes whether it has one city or thirty. And because I kept Mombasa’s soldiers, I now have a massive army for a one-city empire. Is a longshot? Sure. But I’m going to stick with this game to end and maybe I’ll get a lucky break somewhere along the way.
     
  8. Maxym

    Maxym King

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    You could not hold him off? No good place to drop a citadel? Since you still have an army it might have helped to hold out. Also if you were close to losing Mombasa, I don't know, but why else give it to him, you can sell it to someone else for nice profit usually ;) and then since you ave nothing, you can easily give him everything he asks for :lol:
     
  9. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    Ah, I didn't think of selling it to someone else. That would have been a much better idea.
     
  10. Greizer85

    Greizer85 Emperor

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    Off topic maybe but I really like your writing style; the part about buying the city for nothing had me lolling out loud! :D You should definitely write a story in the Stories and Tales section! I hate how there's only those lame 'Let's Play' vids there now instead of the carefully crafted narratives of old.

    On topic, I find that the trouble with Venice is that you have to accept neighbors settling nearby... Since you can't block off chunks of land with your own settlement. As happened with you and England. It also really kills me if there's a natural wonder a few tiles away from Venice's radius! :mad:

    Not to mention cunningly Niccolonian! Perhaps he's related to Macchiavelli? ;)
     
  11. Maxym

    Maxym King

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    Yeah the little tricks you pick up while deity AIs are stomping you:mischief:
    I had a Moroco game recently, just holed up with three cities in a desert corner with Dido and Alex on either side, and I knew it was only matter of time before they come.

    I stole a CS worker from nearby hostile CS, and kept perma war to level up my bows. Kept his city at 0 hp, when I saw Dido coming, I took it, and since she was going to backstab got hard cold cash for it, used it to get four galleases to protect my routes and clear her navy while my well promoted XBs cut her to pieces. Navigation came courtesy of my spy in her cap :cool:

    If it wasn't for that the game would have prolly turned out like my old deity games where I put up a valiant fight but get overwhelmed in the end.
     
  12. ezbutton

    ezbutton Warlord

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    I haven't been able to beat diety without cheese strat (ie start industrial or something), so I can't really give much constructive advice but what could help is maddjinn's LP series especially the one he did with Venice. Really easy find via google; I doubt i could post links so your on your own. Basically even with a very poor start with tundra and mostly coastal luxuries he managed to make Venice work.

    I also mostly play on emperor and occasionally play immortal for some more challenging games and I find that trading with civs is necessary to get enough bank roll early. Leverage your luxuries for GPT or lump sum (which is preferred). Never hold onto extra luxuries, as its better to just gift them in an attempt to gain a DoF and prevent future DoW. This mostly depends on the civs attitude and behaviour, so if Rome is your neighbor don't bother gifting to him but if its someone more passive DoF will help. I've also noticed that defensive pacts are easier than ever to sign and its a good way to discourage aggressive civs from attacking you.

    As Venice its almost a necessity to play the diplo game as all your gold will derive from trade routes. You'll also want to fill your trade routes to max capacity asap when its safe (nothing is worse than buying a trade ship only to get it pillaged 5 turns in). Whenever you pick up a CS with MoV gp start sending food to your capital to keep up with science. If you can manage your capital to the point your able to get East India Trading Company, harbor, Colossus and Petra and max capacity for trade routes than normally your in a very very good spot but Colossus is a pretty hard wonder to get. With that set up, trade routes will bringing in obscene amounts of gold along with a decent amount of science since you'll most likely be behind for most the game.

    From what I've noticed in diety, Stonehenge is attainable and could be worthwhile if it allows you to avoid piety altogether since piety with Venice tends to be pretty week.

    Hope this helps but like I said earlier I don't really play diety too often but I've beaten Immortal OCC with Venice before and its rather doable. So I can imagine if you have the extra cities it should be much more manageable if you can balance the happiness.

    BTW forts and GG plots are pretty vital when playing Venice as it prevents any turns wasted from killing off your production by spamming units all over your capital and pillaging your tiles also easier defense. So whenever you have a GG available don't be afraid to pop them.
     
  13. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    Urgent Point of Clarification: Compliments, praise, and other forms of ego-boosting are 100% on topic for this thread. Also, thank you very much!

    LOL, indeed.

    Nice! Also, I might steal the perma-war city-state strategy for next game.

    Lots of good information in your post, but this stood out to me in particular. I probably should have sold/gifted all of my luxuries. I was worried about happiness since Deity is two levels above what I normally play at, but it hasn’t been an issue so far at all.
     
  14. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    A New Direction (Turns 85 – 100)
    Immediately after the war, Hiawatha tells me that his advisors are worried about my recent expansion, and that he hopes it doesn’t cause problems in the future. I was confused for a moment, then I promptly offered each of his advisors jobs as humor columnists at my new writers guild. Their mastery of irony and deadpan humor proved enormously popular amongst my people (In other words, I staffed the writer’s guild with two specialists. Also, seriously Hiawatha?).

    With the war over and the Mombasan soldiers back in Venice, I returned to the primary business of Venice: business. I ordered the construction of as many cargo ships as the empire could possibly manage. This will take many years, but I can be patient when the reward is a seemingly endless stream of gold per turn. One of my advisors (nicknamed “Ezbutton,” I believe) also suggested that I sell ALL of my luxury resources to China. I was skeptical, and I asked him(her?) about the effect on happiness. “Happiness will increase,” my advisor explains, “because money will make *you* happy and nobody else’s happiness is relevant.”

    Shortly thereafter, I ordered that all luxury goods must be sold to China.

    I also decided to motivate my citizens to greatness by promising that all wealthy individuals will receive various forms of political power (“Aristocracy”). Just in case that wasn’t clear, I also promise that individuals who are not wealthy will have absolutely no power whatsoever (“Oligarchy”). Surprisingly, this causes the birthrate to suddenly increase by 15% (Tradition completed). I make a note to ask my advisors about child labor laws.
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    Question Time: I have no idea which policy trees to pursue next. Any suggestions? Keep in mind that my culture output will probably be low this game due to lack of cities / wonders with great works slots.
    My thoughts:
    --I will need patronage eventually, but I have no city state allies right now. The 25% science policy could help me balance out my low science production due to limited cities. And the first two policies are essential to diplomatic victory. However, there might be something that benefits me more right now, because I will get limited use from it without any city-state friends.
    --The policy in Aesthetics that provides culture for happiness might be a way to recover from my horrible culture output problems, but I don’t know if it is better than the alternatives.
    --Commerce and Exploration both have useful policies in them, and I should be unlocked by the time I can choose another policy.
     
  15. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    Update: I’m Back in the Game! (Turn 100 – 130)

    A couple of strokes of unbelievable luck have occurred.

    Hiawatha and China both declared war on England at the same time. On the same turn, Poland (my only friend) asked if I would like to declare war on England with him. “All the cool civs are doing it,” Casimir told me. “You know you want to.” It was really creepy – especially at the negotiating table in front of all of our diplomats and advisors – but I had to prove that Venice was one of the cool civs, didn’t I?

    So I attacked Nottingham, the city that Britain founded next to Venice. Or more accurately, Hiawatha attacked Nottingham and I ran in at the last second with a pikeman and stole the city out from under him. Ohmanohmanohman it felt so good to finally be rid of that awful infestation. I am burning it to the ground, buying the land near Venice, and using a Great General to snatch up some Wine that used to be Britain’s.

    My shrewd business investments are also allowing me to catch up with rest of the world, both financially and technologically. The fleet of cargo ships, the new market / harbor / university, and the spy who stole “Guilds” and got away undetected have all helped immensely. I’m 15 turns from a new Merchant of Venice and 12 from Astronomy (i.e. an observatory). I’m still 6 techs behind most AI’s, but I used to be 8 techs behind and I’m catching up faster than they are making progress.

    And to up the awesomeness factor by 1000%, my spy is named “Giosafat.” The real Giosafat from history was both 1) Venitian and 2) familiar with the accounts of Niccolo De Conti (my Great Merchant from optics that purchased Mombasa for nothing)
     
  16. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    PS - Many thanks to everyone who has given me advice so far. I have learned a lot from you all, both for this game specifically and about improving my civ strategy in general.
     
  17. Maxym

    Maxym King

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    I find that only two policies in patro are helpful on deity, to get perma friend status with pledge to protect. The 25% science isn't much and even with Venetian UA you will have hard time keeping anyone allied.

    You might be better off later with commerce and it's cheaper purchases.

    Keep the updates coming I definitely enjoy reading them :)
     
  18. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    The Renaissance of Venice: (Turn 130 – 175)
    I burned Nottingham to the ground, Poland took Hastings, and then the war with England was over. However, England remains furious with me. Not for destroying one of her major cities, no, but for using a Great General to steal one hex of her land before I captured Nottingham. Her anger at me persists despite all of my efforts to smooth over the situation (“Look Elizabeth, we’ve been over this… I only stole your land because I thought you were about to die and therefore that I wouldn’t have to suffer any consequences for it.”)

    Shortly afterwards, my Royal Vizier (named “Maxym”) proposed the idea of promising to protect all city states and establishing a consulate in each one (“Consulates:” Patronage, +20 to resting influence). He said that by establishing Venetian consulates and then promising to protect each city-state, all of these tiny nations would send protection money back to Venice each turn.

    “But,” I said, “What if a city state ever needs the protection that they are paying for? Wouldn’t we be morally and ethically obligated to actually protect them?” Then all of my advisors and I laughed and laughed and laughed. I had my vizier establish the consulates later that day.

    Around this time, I heard rumors that the Princess of Colombo was engaged to a wealthy but cruel Austrian duke whom she did not love. Her marriage would commence just as soon as Austria delivered the dowry of 500 gold (in other words, Austria was allied to Colombo). Naturally, I could not allow this injustice to stand. I immediately sent my charming cousin Giovani “Pretty Boy” Caboto to the city-state of Colombo. Even though Giovani was just a poor, ordinary Merchant of Venice, he won the princess’s heart with his wit & charm, his romantic poetry, and his dazzling swordplay. After Giovani defeated the evil Austrian duke in a duel for the princess’s love, the two were married in a beautiful chapel by the sea. Everyone learned a valuable lesson that day – that one simply cannot put a price on true love.

    Everyone except for me, of course. I learned that the price of love is exactly two caravels, two galleasses, one crossbowman, one pikeman, and the city of Colombo. Finally, I am in control of a second city that can actually send food to Venice.

    Elsewhere in the world I am rigging the diplomatic and technological games to finally claw my back to mediocrity. But that is a tale for another evening.
    -------
    Question: My defensive forces have once again grown weak. How many units (and what types of units) do you recommend I build to defend two cities at Deity on a large continents map? Exactly 50% of my rivals have entered the Industrial era, I am still in the Renaissance but I have access to privateers and frigates, and I should be getting access to Gatling Guns soon. I also expect to establish a 3rd city soon as well.
     
  19. Maxym

    Maxym King

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    I rather like being a Vizier ;)

    You do know that when you go for consulates and pledge you just got to say no to all bullies. Not worth losing 20 influence, when the diplo hit is so minor and when you give in on the ones you consider less important, they will go after one you consider vital and you will have to take the hit anyway.

    Now that you have a navy and privateers would be a good time to find someone you can pick on. Some AI other hate and fight, with a navy you can make your own. Goal is to take as many of his privateers as possible but don't worry take all you can: galleas, caravels, frigates even ironclads. Shoot first and only swoop in with privateer to capture. As Venice you won't have problems forking out cash for upgrades. Destroyers keep prize ships promo and will get you a nice fleet of subs if (when) you get attacked. Don't waste this window of opportunity.

    Do you have some XB? If so make sure to get logistics and range, no need to upgrade to Gatlings till GWI, just keep them back, upgrade those ones that won't reach log. you will need decent meat shields for protection and one or two horse units to take out range and siege.

    AI will now easily take your money to start wars, so start spending, trying to make yourself indispensable in trades as they will fight their other neighbors. A screen or two would be nice fir everyone to see what's going on.
     
  20. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    Only the highest honors for you, my friend. Your advice has been nothing short of invaluable thus far.

    So you’re suggesting that we actually keep our word instead attempting to swindle everyone we know? That’s… brilliant. It will be so unexpected they’ll never see it coming, and that will give us the element of surprise!

    You are absolutely right of course, on both accounts. I admit that I am terrified of the AI’s military strength on Deity, so I have gone to great lengths to avoid war so far. But refusing to take risks is just a way of guaranteeing failure at Deity, so it’s time to muster the courage and seize a navy while frigates and privateers are still effective.

    Good idea, I will try to upload a few screenshots in the near future.
     

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