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Do you explore after initial expansion?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by siggboy, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. siggboy

    siggboy Monarch/Epic

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    Saarbruecken, Germany
    Do you take a lot of effort exploring the map after the initial land claims have been staked (i.e. you've got cultural border clashes on all ends)?

    Because I don't, usually I have Paper before I even care how the continent looks like, and then I simply buy the map for a few gold. Sometimes I make a Scout and have it auto explore, until it gets eaten by a rival civs whom I'm in a phony war with ;-).

    How do you guys handle this?
     
  2. Err0l

    Err0l Chieftain

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    I am doing it simply: I forget it. Later on, if I remember that i need maps, I get some cash and buy one. That's it. :)
     
  3. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    I just have a unit or two on auto-explore, and eventually they'll die :p
     
  4. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    I do, but I'm not fanatical about it. If it's not convenient, I can leave it. Sometimes after the scouts have died I'll have axmen wandering around.
     
  5. Navarre

    Navarre Legio XIII

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    I usually send a mouted unit on auto explore after some open borders agreements, just to keep tracks of what the others are doing and where I gonna attack them if I feel like warring. Horse archers are less likely to die facing a barbarian, and I can just let them do their job while I'm doing mine.
     
  6. P_T_Bando

    P_T_Bando Chieftain

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I will continue to scout the water until every island is taken.
     
  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    How can you not? It's helpful to know where the AI has its cites, and especially what strategic resources they possess - and where.

    You might be able to declare on someone, and have a mounted unit start from the other side through an OB agreement pillage the AI's sole metal source on turn 1. Is that not worth 1 spare unit scouting?! It seems to be worth it to me.

    There are lots of basic tactical decisions that are much easier knowing all terrain also, that you could miss out on by not knowing the land.

    Of course, if you have ridiculous EP you'll see their cities anyway, but I'm working under the assumption that you're not playing at an outlandishly low difficulty or running the great wall early solely for early EP.
     
  8. Endure

    Endure Chieftain

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    Unless your planning a very early war, you can get that stuff from map trading can you not?
     
  9. Aemilius

    Aemilius Guest from Overseas

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    Location:
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    After my first scout dies, I only explore to get the 1+ movement bonus for my ships. I can buy the world map with 5 gold if I want.
     
  10. Kesshi

    Kesshi Chieftain

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    I'd like to add to what TheMeInTeam said.

    While all that is excellent and wonderful advice, and I don't mean to belittle it one bit, there is one thing that I didn't know about until recently that makes exploring vital. You get a bonus percentage to beakers if you're researching something that is already learned by another known civilization. I believe it's a 5% bonus per other civilization, but don't quote me on it. Regardless, in a tech race 5% here and 10% there can mean the difference between losing the liberalism race by 2 turns or winning.

    I find that I tend to head down to military techs early, and backfill later. If 4 other known civs already know Monarchy before I research it, I can get a HUGE bonus researching it, and I've learn it in as little as 4 turns on Marathon (I just did this last night actually.)

    Exploring also helps you know where prime city locations are. Perhaps the AI built a city that is 2 spaces from an awesome city spot? If you didn't explore the AI's lands, you might not know about that awesome city spot and keep the city instead of razing it. But I still hold the research bonus above all else.
     
  11. Endure

    Endure Chieftain

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    I had never heard of you getting a bonus to researching techs already known but if so, very handy piece of info to have.
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Paper is pretty deep after the medieval techs (needing civil service or theocracy!) It's not a tech you race to by itself, although the lib race will have you getting it. However, if you just sit in darkness for that time, you could easily miss golden opportunities, like attacking a resource-less neighbor after a quick pillaging (exactly what can the AI make without iron pre-gunpowder? Trebs, longbows, and Maces, and only if he has copper and those advanced techs. You get no xbows, knights, or pikes in your way, making stack protection comically easy).

    Also, listen to what kesshi says :p.

    It's not like it takes a great deal of effort to scout AI lands. ONE unit! There are no barbs, no animals, and you can use roads! You can't possibly tell me that the cost of one scout compares with the potential opportunity costs associated with not knowing the continent (not to mention a better idea of AI troop count)...

    Well you can, but it's doubtful that you'll be able to defend such a position :).
     
  13. Endure

    Endure Chieftain

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    I never said I don't scout after the initial exploration, but I must admit I don't usually make a big effort at it.

    I usually have a scout or 2 from my initial exploration that I just set to automate and let them scout the map for me. If barbs take them out later though I usually don't bother replacing them.
     
  14. DMOC

    DMOC Mathematician

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    I scout quite heavily all game. The main rationale behind this is to find where an AI's stack of doom is and how much military they have. That is a crucial element in deciding whom to attack and when. You just cannot neglect exploring, and I often send horses over to other continents when there are wars to see who is gaining the upper hand, who has a larger stack, and so on.

    It's not boring -- it's fun to watch Shaka try to attack Charlemagne with over a hundred units.
     
  15. Kesshi

    Kesshi Chieftain

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    DMOC, I remember KMadCandy talking about doing this, but with a twist.

    She would follow wars with a few units and when a city was initially captured, she'd spread her units out and pillage the heck out of now the cultureless land. Not only was she was forcing the AI to spend time rebuilding, but she was making gold from the pillages all without angering any AIs.

    I've never done this, but it does sound like something fun to try sometime.
     
  16. deanej

    deanej Chieftain

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    To add to the EP thing, you only get city visibility for cities you already know about. There is no discovering new cities like you could with a holy city in vanilla/warlords.

    Additionally, if you're on a map with multiple continents (Fractal, Continents, Terra) explorers can be very useful in exploring the other continent, especially if you beeline optics. Also, after listening to last week's episode of modcast, it seems that there is a misconception that you get Explorers with optics. Explorers are available with compass, which is a tech or two earlier (depending on whether you have machinery or not).
     
  17. Leodavinci

    Leodavinci Great Merchant

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    I do scout waters. That is the biggest part of my strategy:) To go for land, either by killing off some backwards civ on faraway continent or by settling barbarian islands.
    I send out mounted unit now and then as well, to keep up with latest changes on AI city planning, I do that a lot before wars. I love to have one horse next to each AI city to check on their military and potential reinforcements, just to know what I am facing.
     
  18. siggboy

    siggboy Monarch/Epic

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    OK but aside from espionage, which I'm not concerned about here, you only have to have met those civs in order to get an impression of what techs they know (by looking at their tech screen).

    Of course I would deem it valuable to having at least met every other civ on the continent before tuning down exploration.

    Again, of course I explore as much as I can of my surroundings. It's just that I don't go to the troubles of exploring a remote part of a large continent, when there are already two other civs in between me and that area of the map. If unexplored areas remain, I'll let it be and wait for paper.

    That would be kind of my style as well.

    Well, obviously I scout out my neighbours during early game as good as I can. All of the points you made about strategic resources are very valid, and important.
     
  19. Kesshi

    Kesshi Chieftain

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    siggaboy,

    I'm talking about an added bonus % of beakers. I forget the exact percent, but as someone who takes odd tech paths, I find myself backfilling techs quite often, and quite often I do this sometimes before anyone knows alphabet.

    For example, last night I played the 34 civilization Earth map mod and I started as Ramses of Egypt. I started with Agriculture and The Wheel. Because I had Flood Plain Stone in my BFC, I researched Mysticism, Mining, then Masonry. I then grabbed Bronze Working, and snagged the four religion techs. By this time most everybody I had run into researched Hunting and Fishing, meaning both Hunting and Fishing were very cheap techs.

    This part of the game is where this type of knowledge of this comes in handy. More about the game; a few civs already had Writing, so I instantly signed open boarders and traveled as far as I could, meeting as many civs as possible. A few turns later I had learned Hunting and Animal husbandry but I had not learned Pottery, Fishing, Sailing, Writing, Archery nor Horseback Riding, and nobody knew Alphabet yet. (I oracled Iron Working btw.) There was no tech trading happening at this point, but I still >knew< that many civs had Fishing.

    Because Fishing has an arrow pointing to Pottery, that means I get another bonus to beakers while researching Pottery, so rather than hit Pottery right away (even though I really really needed it) I went out and learned Fishing first. Why? Because Fishing was VERY cheap. Most every other civ I'd met already knew Fishing, and it was already very cheap because of how many other known civs already knew Fishing, and in a 34 civ game, you can run into a LOT of other civilizations in a few thousand years.

    My next tech path will take me to Code of Laws, and I will stop 1 turn before founding the religion*, and point towards other things that will help me get Macemen quickly. This leaves a lot of techs to backfill (Monarchy, Feudalism, Calendar, Aesthetics, Drama, Music, etc.) Typically at this point the AI won't want to trade away these techs (especially Aesthetics) so the more civilizations that I know of that already know Aesthetics, the quicker I'll learn it.

    It may only be a few beakers here or there, but a few beakers can be the difference between getting free great persons and wonders first, or losing them to a rival. When it comes to research, every beaker counts. Exploring is key to this.

    This is just from a research-you-own-techs point of view of why it's good to explore. I didn't even go into tech trading, tech selling, resource selling, fog-busting, and the tactics of having regional and cultural landscape known prior to war. Personally, I always try to have 1 or 2 land units per continent and 2-3 sea units on continual auto-exploration (depending on map size), even after all the black is gone.

    *I'll only stop 1 turn if I haven't founded the religion. I don't like to found religions on big maps because I don't want to use my production to spread my religion, rather I'll let the AI waste his or her production to spread their newly founded religion, and convert whomever they wants. This can cause tons of friction between many civilizations at once while I focus on spending my production on an army and taking over holy cities with swords.
     
  20. Pitman

    Pitman Chieftain

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    Exploring is easy money, because you can sell your maps to other civs if you have areas they don't.
     

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