Different speed settings and their effect on UHVs and AIs

TsimTsigal

Chieftain
Joined
Mar 7, 2023
Messages
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I'm not sure was it discussed (or intended), but different speed affects game a lot more than one could initially suggest.

Spent a lot of time trying to win my final American UHV, playing usually -3000/Regent/Normal unless the UHV is impossible this way (like Austrian or Khmer). Guides mostly recommend to start conquering Europe (especially Britain) early (and this is correct call, i finally won on Marathon by collapsing Russia and conquering/vassalizing most of Europe), but on Normal you barely have enough time to conquer all Carribean (can be neutraled by collapsing the Dutch who usually own islands but the Congress tends to randomly reshuffle them) and Mexico; after like five trials i finally decided to try Marathon... and i realised that Marathon is entirely different, much easier experience. Have played a few games (including AI only), and so far my observations are following:

1) AI usually forges much bigger empires, both in terms of spread and amount of cities. The most striking example is America: never seen Eastern Coast being colonized by American spawn on Normal, moreover, sometimes there is no colonies other than New Orlean (and maybe 1 more city around) and proto-Canadian cities, while on Marathon the North America is usually half-colonized, with 3-4 cities in flip zone alone. Ancient empires pretty much never found cities outside of their conquest areas on Normal, on Marathon i seen them expand in sensible ways (like Romans founding Hungarian cities, Persians settling more than Samarqand in Central Asia etc). Same goes for military expansion, on Normal world is a lot more static.

2) The world is more technologically advanced overall, especially in lategame. It's not exactly straightforward to reach Infantry or Tanks by WW2 on Normal (Prussian UHV on Normal required to beeline a bit, leaving me with only 10 turns to conquer Russia which surprisingly was enough), on Marathon, i see AI reaching them by WW2, let alone human player of medicore skill (humbly yours). I guess it's the main point there, technology on Normal seems to fall behind mostly in later eras.

3) A lot of UHVs are much easier on less tight time limit, including the fact the AI is generally less skilled on slower speeds that require forward planning, but also by the fact that movement speed is unaffected by game speed, which directly gives you more time in some scenarios and other benefits.

4) For some reason older denominations are much more "sticky" in (-3000) Marathons than Normals; with maybe half of games Protestantism remaining a small sectarian movement, and European civs quite often having a few Orthodoxes among them (not counting almost always Orthodox Russia; as a side note, modern Greece almost always becomes Muslim regardless of speed).

I'd like to hear other opinions on different speed experiences, and if points above are perceived or real differences.
 
I can't play games that require conquest or colonialism on normal speed anymore, there just isn't enough time. On marathon, I can actually build an empire, and then make it prosperous by improving the land and making buildings. I definitely prefer epic or marathon games.
 
My observations:
- Egypt is just the worst on Marathon. Omg I just love seeing 6 3-pop cities in Egypt that constantly switch between being conquered by Moors/Iran/Turks, Egypt flips, and collapses to Independents and Barbs.
- Some civs are a lot more stable. I've seen quite a few super-stable highly-advanced Tamils, Spanish.
- Low production civs like Indonesia are even more boring.
 
My observations:
- Egypt is just the worst on Marathon. Omg I just love seeing 6 3-pop cities in Egypt that constantly switch between being conquered by Moors/Iran/Turks, Egypt flips, and collapses to Independents and Barbs.
The Egypt city spam is out of control on marathon. I hope the new settler maps for 1.18 fixes it. I've only seen one game in dozens where Egypt founds useful cities, the rest just have tiny useless ones out in the desert.
 
Agreed, Normal to fast for many UHV. Epic quite balanced, but on Marathon AI do much better and we have more developed world. Only at Global Era marathon speed begin bein unbalanced.
 
Are there UHV that are harder on Marathon? Because an older civ is too developed, something like that?
 
Are there UHV that are harder on Marathon? Because an older civ is too developed, something like that?
Note that i only played a few Marathon games (and only one where i really was aiming for UHV and wasn't fooling around), but i think "research X era technologies first" might be trickier. On the other hand, most of civs that have such goal are usually well tuned for just conquering opposition (as Japan i had no choice but to conquer half US to prevent them from outnerding me). Probably Congo can be harder on Marathon given you have very little control over the last goal (enter Industrial era before anyone enters Global). Maybe Argentine because it is guaranteed to lose race to Eiffel Tower, but you can conquer it on Marathon... really, "just conquer it" is what makes Marathon easy.

Native American UHVs might be harder due to stronger conquerors, in theory, especially Incan which is defined by how active AI is at colonization. If AI really wants to settle South America there might be no way to keep them in check unless you cheese with carpet settling on the last turn.
 
The Egypt city spam is out of control on marathon. I hope the new settler maps for 1.18 fixes it. I've only seen one game in dozens where Egypt founds useful cities, the rest just have tiny useless ones out in the desert.
Editing settler maps is easy peasy(but tedious and boring), I edited the hell out of them because I was tired of AI settling atrocious spots in 3000bc games. Now Egypt settles 3-4 optimal spots before being conquered by Rome. I got Carthage to consistently form a strong effective empire instead of founding useless Tripoli or Leptis Magna, they even manage to build cities in Spain sometimes now.

I exclusively play marathon precisely cuz it feels like you can enjoy the eras more, though I think the 1700s is the most awkwardly portrayed era in the game. There's nothing between renaissance and industrial so you end up seeing steam ships and discovering film and all that jazz a century too early (this was on a recent Russia playthrough so that may not be representative of all civs), the strongest AIs do so as well.
 
I agree that Civ IV really dropped the ball on the first half of the industrial revolution, and even DOC has struggled to correct it. But that's a discussion for another thread.
 
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