Early game strategy help

oldbustedjorn

Prince
Joined
Jan 28, 2006
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353
So I read WAY more SGs than I play and I've been reading them since I found this site shortly after buying Civ4. I used to be able to play Monarch on Civ4 and I'm trying my hardest to enjoy Civ5 because in some ways, I LOVE 1upt (though I realize there are also serious problems with it).

The reason for this post is that I REALLY struggle in the beginning of the game. I love to play random civs so that I don't learn to rely on one or two special abilities. I want to be able to adapt. I think, where I go wrong, is in choosing an overall strategy and whether or not to play with my special abilities.

This last game I started, I ended up with Songhai. Here is my thinking.

1. Extra (triple) gold from taking cities and barb camps. I start with a warrior but it isn't really strong enough to take the first camp quickly (had to deal with a brute wandering nearby). I don't see how taking cities for triple gold would play into anyone's strategy. So basically, I decide that this is a waste for strategic purposes

2. The Mud building thingie - +5 culture and no maintenance. First though: CULTURE VICTORY! But then I think about how small +5 culture/city is, since you usually want LESS cities for a cultural victory. Plus you need to build them. If I go ICS, I'm thinking it will be a nice bonus - but again doesn't really play into strategy.

3. I don't remember what the special unit was but it didn't impress me

So basically, nothing about the leader say - do strategy X. I decide to give ICS a try. Now I haven't gotten very far, but I decide to do the freedom line for cheap settlers.

BTW, I'm on standard Pangea and I think the difficulty is prince or noble or whatever it's called now. I'm still trying to learn.

I know once I get past a certain point, I really get into it (until the first war is over then I usually hit the same lull). I think it's because there are too many options at that point and I can't differentiate. Does anyone else struggle with this? Do you have any practical suggestions or questions you ask yourself in order to determine which early course to take?

Thanks :)
 

budweiser

King of the Beers
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I look at the terrain and the location of City States vs AI on the map to decide if I will open with an military attack or a wonder attack. Also, do I have marble or horse. Many times I researcg AH first and build a scout.
 

eric_

Emperor
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Probably my most pressing goal early on is exploration so I can a) know my neighbors, particularly their location relative to my capital and b) know where early strategic resources are as they are revealed.

Once I know these things, I know whether I can go with a consolidated, small, peaceful start (multiple strategic resources nearby, civs at a relative distance) or need to spread out and possibly war on the early side (resources not near me or one another, civs close enough that borders might abut early).

I also keep my UA, UU, and UB in mind early on and try to capitalize on/work towards them as often as circumstances permit. I feel like some of the real early Us are as likely to be useless as they are to be useful. For instance, Jaguar Warrior might be good if you have close neighbors and want to hamstring or eliminate them early, otherwise, it's a bit of a bummer of a draw (I like playing Random leader, too).
 

Martin Alvito

Real men play SMAC
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Sep 23, 2010
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2,332
I currently recommend going Warrior first to keep the option of Warrior rush open. You take a hit in exploration, but you'll want that Warrior later.

You should steal Workers rather than build them.

You need to get additional cities up in a hurry. Either you need to take them from the AI, or you need to build them yourself.
 

eric_

Emperor
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SO resource rich.

lol, true that!
In that regard, I prioritize gold/hammer-producing tiles/resources and strategic resources for my 2nd and possibly 3rd city, then target luxury resources for the next one or two.

I currently recommend going Warrior first to keep the option of Warrior rush open. You take a hit in exploration, but you'll want that Warrior later.

Granted, I've only played up to King so far, but I've had no problems clearing my continent even if I wait until swords to get started. I do like to explore with my first Warrior (again, probably not viable on higher levels) until I get a Scout on board.
 

weregamer

Gandhi of the Mongols
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Sep 6, 2006
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San Jose, CA
Most of the civs' bonuses are situational in nature, but for most of them the situational-ness of the three bonuses (UA and UB/UUs) is set up to cover different possibilities.

Frex, the cash bonus for Songhai is quite significant, and moreso the lower your difficulty level. At the midrange difficulties, getting 60 gold instead of 20 means that 7 camps will. buy a rushed settler. But really making use of this ability requires a spread-out start (so there is lots of land unseen by any player) and the first Honor policy (giving the double whammy of a big bonus against barbs and the ability to see the camps the instant they form).

The bonus for embarked units is also situational, but it means you have a much better, cheaper shot at colonizing a small island without needing a warship when you do have a crowded start. Regardless of start, it means that invasion fleets need less protection, but that's much later in the game.

The big deal about the mud pyramid mosque is that it has zero maintenance, instead of the 2 for a temple. This means that you can afford to have one in every city. Depending on your civics and wonders, and assuming you are not ICSing, it substantially increases your workable tiles. For crowded starts this gives you an advantage in the land grab (though not as big as the American or Russian ones), for less crowded ones it means you need worry less about another civ colonizing in the middle of your territory.

Even Elizabeth, with two very nautical bonuses, has a nice land bonus too in Longbowmen. These guys are beasts early on in land warfare, both at bombarding cities from out of counter-fire range and at foiling horseborne hit-and-run sieges. (And even severely inconveniencing artillery sieges later in the game).
 

Martin Alvito

Real men play SMAC
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
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lGranted, I've only played up to King so far, but I've had no problems clearing my continent even if I wait until swords to get started. I do like to explore with my first Warrior (again, probably not viable on higher levels) until I get a Scout on board.

That starts to change on Immortal, and changes dramatically on Deity.

You will definitely want to explore with any Warriors you build for some time. At least until you find some tasty AI Workers to steal.
 

eric_

Emperor
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Even Elizabeth, with two very nautical bonuses, has a nice land bonus too in Longbowmen. These guys are beasts early on in land warfare, both at bombarding cities from out of counter-fire range and at foiling horseborne hit-and-run sieges. (And even severely inconveniencing artillery sieges later in the game).

Heh...somehow they're even quite good at sinking full-health destroyers.

That starts to change on Immortal, and changes dramatically on Deity.

Gotcha. I'll keep this in mind as I work up through the difficulties to find my new threshold.
 
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