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Early-game scouting

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by pokemonsters, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. pokemonsters

    pokemonsters Chieftain

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    Been lurking these forums for a while now, decided to make an account as I haven't really found any topics discussing a very important part of the early game: scouting.

    I wanted to ask you guys on how you do your scouting.

    Do you send your scouting units as far in one direction as possible? Or do you loop around in circles, with gradually increasing radii?

    Do you go 1 scout the entire game? 2 scouts right away? Or build one later on after the first one?

    Is a scout ALWAYS 100% the first thing you build regardless of map?

    How much do you value the extra sight? As in, do you try to fight barbs as a scout to get the +1/2 sight promotion, even if it means having to heal for a few turns? I suppose playing America or not also has some say in this.

    With Civil Service still far away, do you consider getting optics, even if it means slowing down your tech path, if another civ expanded so much that it is blocking off a crucial chokepoint on the map, essentially locking you in a corner of the map?

    If your scout is at very low HP, but is able to loot an ancient ruin before dying to barbarians the next turn, do you go for the ruin or do you save your scout?

    If your scout is badly damaged, do you heal for a few turns or continue scouting?

    When you have built up your first scout and your warrior has already done some initial scouting, do you send your scout in the opposite direction or do you continue on where the warrior left off and send the warrior back home?

    And finally, in general, how much do you value proper early game scouting?

    Thanks for the feedback. :goodjob:
     
  2. adsin15

    adsin15 Warlord

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    I usually pick the +25% defense + healing promotion first, then the +1 sight promotion second.

    You can only get 2 promotions max from killing barbs; after that you gain no XP from killing them so I like those two.

    I build 2-4 scouts early in the game to look for wonders and partners to trade with.

    ALWAYS loot the ruin. You never know when some AI player's scout will swoop in and steal it from you.

    I always bring my warrior home. At higher difficulties you will need him or the AI will pillage your city and kill your settlers.
     
  3. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Well, the answer is always "it depends." I'm not sure I can respond to all of these, but here are my responses to a few, in somewhat random order:

    Build Scout? -- On any map with continent-sized land masses (continents, pangea, and the specialized maps, like sandstorm, terra, etc.), I build scout first. On large islands or archipelago, my initial warrior can do the scouting, while I bang out a monument and shrine and/or put some turns into a worker and get ready for sailing (triremes are the scouts of the seas).

    Scouting Path -- For my warrior, I try to scout in a wide arc that covers a lot of ground, but leaves him able to get back home in much less time than he's been gone (think, really fat banana). Distance depends on the map, and on how quickly the barbs start swarming around my capital (e.g., if playing Babylon, the early academy is like honey to the barbarian flies, so my warrior needs to get home more quickly). For my scout, I usually head off in somewhat the opposite direction, but not completely opposite. Again, it depends on the map (can I tell I'm on the coast, or in a corner?) and where the other civs seem to be coming from. It is really important that my scout get past the closest civs before their culture borders trap him on my side of their borders. I can always build another scout to finish on this side, but once the borders close they don't reopen until Civil Service. Yes, I can research optics and scoot the scout through a friendly CS before he jumps in the water, but on a land-based map, unless I'm starting on the coast, and need Optics, I don't like to take the tech path diversion.

    Scout Preservation -- Yes, they only take a few turns to produce, once your capital is up to 3 or 4 pop, but I hate using hammers to replace units that I've already built, if I can help it. So many other things to build.... As long as I'm careful with my scout, he can survive for pretty much the entire game without coming home, happily finding civs and remote CSs for me. That means I won't waste a scout to get a ruin--it isn't worth it, particularly since the ruin may be nothing more than a map, or barb hut locations, or some amount of gold that will not replace the scout. Is 20 culture worth a scout? I don't think so. An extra tech, maybe, but since you don't know what the ruin will give, I won't risk it. That said, if the scout is reasonably healthy, I will scoot him in to steal a ruin that is next to a barb camp. Unless it is an upgrade ruin, he may be able to get in and get out before getting whacked. And that takes us to scout hygiene.

    The Pause that Refreshes -- I struggle with healing. Scouts will get into trouble, and will need to heal from time to time, but it is not necessary to stop and heal every time they get nicked by a barb archer. I will usually let my scout get down to about half health before finding a safe place to heal up. And I have to check on him every turn, since the barbs will find him taking a nap, and will kill him dead.

    Scouts as Melee Units -- I will get my scout into melee fights under the following circumstances, but merely to gather experience for a sight promotion is not my motivation -- the promotions will come from normal scouting mishaps. I find scouts can do wonders helping my warriors and archers clear barb huts, by serving as a target for barb archers (fortify and heal, fortify and heal), providing the flanking support to get flanking bonuses, and to waltz into the barb camp when the resident barb is near death's door (that will be +5 experience and 25 gold, thank you very much). I will also use a scout for settler escort duty and he may get banged up in those duties.

    'Nuff for now. Let others weigh in.
     
  4. cakes

    cakes Prince

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    i used to build monuments initially but i've recently been creating scouts first instead. i do a little scouting with my warrior, trying to end on hills if i can and making the most of two movement points. this covers a very loose half-circle. i tend to go wherever looks interesting rather than sticking to a set pattern. clearing barb camps is a higher priority for my warrior than scouting however.

    after my scout is built, it heads out in the opposite direction to my warrior and follows the same pattern of going wherever is interesting and sticking to hills if it can -- that is unless i don't just auto-explore with it.

    i generally only build one scout. i try to keep it on as high health as possible and i don't sacrifice it. i used to value extra sight so the computer could avoid conflict if it could help it, but as of recently i've been going with survivalism -- that is unless my scout comes across ruins that give it a weapons upgrade, which seems to be happening in literally every game before it even gains a level. i'll try get my scout to clear out camps as well, which is where the healing and defence comes in handy.

    if my scout gets trapped, i try to get open borders with whoever is trapping it. i tend to place optics pretty low on my tech priority list no matter what game or map i'm playing.

    i value scouting in the early game because it gives me something to think about during the first turns. of course a little of the map being revealed is also a bonus. i wouldn't go too far out of my way to scout an area but if there is land to be scouted then i will try to scout it.
     
  5. whyidie

    whyidie Emperor

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    Warriors follow the terrain. I follow the flat land to maximize move points. I'll loop back once the terrain starts to get thick.

    Usually end up with two scouts, depends on the map. If I find out I'm on an island map I turtle up right away and don't bother with scouts.

    In terms of build priority, if I'm on higher levels (for me its Emp/Immortal) I actually scout less. I figure they'll get most of the goods anyway and I've got to focus on warriors.

    In term of looking for fights I rarely find the need. As Browd pointed out, normal duties will usually have them in scraps so I don't have to go looking for trouble. It often finds them. I'll use them to attack low HP barbs or in tandem with another unit.

    In terms of Optics to free scouts, when I play above King war will happen. I'll wait and expand through the offending Civ.

    Sacrificing scouts for ruins ? Never sacrifice a scout for a hut. I hate wasted units.

    Always heal when he is in yellow. Hate wasted scout units especially. Usually don't build them in mid to late game (once I have mounted units I'll use them instead) so once they die, I don't have scouts.

    The first scout usually goes in the direction of undiscovered territory. The warrior may come back if war is imminent (Greece, Japan, Rome, Aztecs, Huns, etc., are on the map) or there is a CS barbarian quest.

    Overall I love scouting, but on the higher levels I'm so shellshocked by war that I usually focus on defense as my first priority.
     
  6. Moriarte

    Moriarte Immortal

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    I scout with three units. Scout, warrior, warrior (archer). I don't use any particular 'patterns'. The main idea is not to reveal land at first, but rather to befriend as many CS as possible. Scout (alone) is a bit weak for that, at least initially. If i meet a barb camp near CS - .. that means scouting can wait. Bit later, promoted scout can reveal remaining land, while warriors come back to base.

    Is a scout ALWAYS 100% the first thing you build regardless of map?

    No. Archipelago maps don't need fast scout, so i start with monument or worker, depending on victory condition i prefer.
     
  7. Dentalfury

    Dentalfury Warlord

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    I usually build 1 scout then switch to a monument or shrine depending on my focus. I dont bother building one at all if im on an island and its an archipelago map.

    As for patterns, i usually send my warrior to do local scouting, like 5 to 10 tiles from my capital, and my scout goes from 20 to 40 depending on terrian, civs, and level of resistance. I will always pop a ruin and i usually control the unti manually in the first 30 turns or so for efficiency.

    I also always take the sight upgrade. Im not looking to engage in so much combat where the heal would be needed and i often have found that seeing the barbs far off let's me avoid combat entirely anyway.
     
  8. shaglio

    shaglio The Prince of Dorkness

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    Things to keep in mind: I usually play on Random Maps and Random Size, with the little scoreboard in the top right corner (therefore, I can tell what Size map I’m on by how many civs show up on the list). And lately I’ve been playing on Prince Level.

    I usually start scouting with my Warrior in an ever-expanding circle outward from my capital, breaking from the pattern only to search Ancient Ruins or attack a Barb Encampment. I don’t do this for long because I wind up having to use the Warrior to defend from Barbs. Once I discover that I’m not on Archipelago/Tiny Islands, I build/buy a Scout. If I’ve already discovered a coastline, I’ll send my Scout out to follow along it. Otherwise, I head off in a random direction to find a coastline (along a river if there is one since one end will usually be at an ocean).

    If it looks like I’m on a Large Continent/Pangea, I build a second Scout and have it follow along the coastline in the opposite direction until they eventually meet. If it looks like I’m on a large Pangea, I might consider building a third Scout to start exploring the inland areas, since my Warrior will be back home defending by now. Otherwise, once the 2 Scouts meet, I’ll have them start exploring the interior.

    As for attacking with the Scout, I tend to do it quite often but I usually heal-until-full afterward because I hate losing units (especially well-promoted ones; I changed the game files so that I can get unlimited EXP from Barbs). I mostly take the Scouting Promotions, unless I’m in critical danger of losing my Scout and then I take the Survival ones.
     
  9. Smokeybear

    Smokeybear Emperor

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    I used to press on with less than full health on my scout, but all too often, I'd find myself in a bit of a sticky wicket (especially with raging barbs, which I always do) where I needed every bit of a full health bar to survive and escape... and without a full one to start with, that's a dead scout. So I meticulously stop to heal up to full any time a scout takes damage, anymore.

    Yeah, I know I should go eyeball him every turn to look for those damnable sneaky barbs finding my healing scout and attacking him... but I forget. It's human to err, and I'm very human! What bothers me, is that if a barb gets within five hundred miles of a freakin' worker, he'll stop work, scream bloody murder, and halt the entire game until you go check up on him... but if a gang of barbs start molesting your peacefully healing scout, you get nothing until the 'dead unit' bong goes off. Yeah, the activity log shows it, but I always miss that tiny text as it quickly disappears after each turn, mixed in with all the other tiny text reports I never read. Hate that stupid log... badly implemented. You have to be a speed reader to get anything out of it.

    Is there a way to bring back up that combat info after it scrolls away and disappears? About which units damaged or killed other units? That stuff is unrelated and different from the main civ activity log, which only shows macro-level goings on...
     
  10. Dogmouth

    Dogmouth King

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    On non-ocean maps, I build a scout first unless I'm playing Aztecs or Incans, in which case I'll build a jag or a warrior. I don't like seeing my scouts dead, but I usually don't heal them in the very early game, because I don't want to lose ancient ruins. As the game progresses, I always barb hunt with scouts to get the +sight promotions. I use the scouts as flankers and ranged unit spotters throughout the rest of the game. If I'm playing England, I'll build two scouts first thing and try to use them to bust goody huts after getting their first +sight promotion. Longbowmen with +sight and no terrain movement penalties... :drool:
     
  11. whyidie

    whyidie Emperor

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    Hah! Hadn't thought of that, very nice.
     
  12. Socratatus

    Socratatus Emperor

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    I just use the warriors I get to save time making scouts. I need to build settlers and workers as a priority.

    I don`t ever make scouts.
     
  13. EEE_BOY

    EEE_BOY Deity

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    Good scouting leads to better diplomacy choice and game decisions, which is very crucial at higher difficulties.

    Usually 1st scout after monument, 2nd scout if map has to much left to explore.

    Initially loop around with the warrior and then scout heading one direction and warrior back home for defense.
     
  14. Creepy Old Man

    Creepy Old Man Warlord

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    Although I know that following coasts is an inefficient way to explore, I just can't stop myself from doing it.
     
  15. noz3112

    noz3112 Chieftain

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    Personally I normally play with random map types & sizes, so there might be better ways to do this, but often it works for me:-

    ALWAYS build a scout first. If, after a bit of exploration, you seem to be on a medium/large continent and/or map, build another soon after. Doesn't have to be directly after, but maybe a build order of Scout, Monument, Scout, Warrior, Shrine (or small variations on this order) will do. After 2, I tend to do scouting with military units, but it depends a bit on the terrain/what tech's I have.

    If I stick with just the 2 scouts, normally I'd also try and send a warrior/Archer not too far behind one of the scouts to try and wipe out Barbs near where you plan to build, or encampments for CS quests.

    Why at least 2 (in most cases)? Firstly, there is a decent chance of losing one early if you waltz into an enemy's zone of control. Secondly, if a Scout gets an advanced weapons upgrade from an Ancient ruins, they keep the "ignores terrain movement cost" ability, which can be excellent for Archers, in particular. Thirdly, even if you run out of areas worth exploring, with the right terrain nearby, Scouts with the double "Extra-sight" promotion are very good to have on the defensive. In areas with a lot of forest/jungle and a few hills, try to keep a Scout with the double "Extra sight" promotion on a hill, and you can position your units to take far fewer hits or wipe out oppo more efficiently. Fourthly, probably most obviously, with only one Scout, it's possible that you'll miss out on prime building land, because the AI has beaten you to it.

    (I don't claim to be a great player, by the way, so don't take this as gospel, but as I say, I think it works for me)
     
  16. Priah77

    Priah77 Chieftain

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    Ill nearly always build a scout first.

    That being said, sometimes if youre thinking liberty tree is the right way to go, and based on your start location you know by the time you get a scout out there is only a small possibility he'll find any ruins, I might consider going monument first.

    Monument first "essentially" means youll be 12 culture closer to getting that first settler (get the monument 4 turns earlier, get that first liberty tree policy 4 turns earlier, of course this can vary and I might be off on this). 12 culture means youll get that first liberty settler out 3 turns earlier... means you can start building the third settler 3 turns earlier. Just saying, it all snowballs!
     
  17. Koiranputki

    Koiranputki Prince

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    I virtually always build the Monument first...then two Scouts....

    With Ruins, I really don't know what a good strategy is....sometimes even with other civs around I seem to be lucky...other games I find hardly any. And I'm surprised at the number of times I actually can find Ruins relatively close to some other civ's capital....even a good few turns into the game.....and if you find one of those...it can be a real PO if it turns out to be a "crude map" of ....the ocean.... :lol:

    But I seem to remember in one game finding Ruins with a huge "Faith" yield ...well into the game... You just never know,....

    I would say my favourite finds ...are "Survivors", "20 Culture" points, "Advanced Technology" ....except if it's the one you are working on....and, I guess, "Faith" points... Have I missed any good ones.... Oh yes...Maps sometimes can be really good if they actually show you something...location of other Ruins....and if you are playing as Spain a wonder that no one else has visited....that has happened to me at least once anyway...
     
  18. WeneedmoreCivs

    WeneedmoreCivs Warlord

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    Looks like you should have joined a lot earlier! You have so many (good) questions!
    :goodjob:

    I tend to be lazy and just automate them and let the AI do the work. I use my Warrior to do that usually...I'll build a scout later on.

    Usually I beeline to founding a religion, so I tend to wait until I build Stonehenge before I build a second scout. If I have a lot of gold for some reason, I'll buy one early though. I love Goody huts, so I like to take advantage.

    I usually go: Monument, Stonehenge, Scout, more wonders...

    I almost always do the extra sight, though I will sometimes use the healing skill on my second scout.

    I tend to wait for Optics unless my Civ's UU is on that path. I usually try to play my civ to its strengths, so my tech strategy is based on that more than the map...after I found my religion of course.

    I figure he's probably going to die anyway, so I go for the hut because there's a chance that it could contain a tech.

    I always heal.

    I usually allow my warrior to continue scouting and send my scout off on a trip too.

     
  19. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    I go in one direction, aiming for hills, trying to reach the coast. My main priority is to contact civs and city-states, so circles aren't helpful. Goodie Huts are nice, but, while I deviate to get a spotted one, I'm not going to clear every black spot for one.

    I usually just have one, but I've been known to build a second one in certain unorthodox situations.

    No, it depends almost always on need. If there's lots of rough terrain, it has a greater priority. Sometimes, I'll skip it entirely.

    Ruins. Scouts are cheap.

    Depends on how badly damaged. I don't want them completely dead, but I'll keep moving if they have enough health to survive one battle.

    I scout in the opposite direction.
     
  20. WeneedmoreCivs

    WeneedmoreCivs Warlord

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    Thanks for the idea. Now I'm gonna go home and play as England for this specific purpose. I've always been a fan of the Longbowman, this makes it even more interesting to me.
     

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