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Early workers and tech trading

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Asperamanca, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. Asperamanca

    Asperamanca Chieftain

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    Hi,

    two questions arose after my first try at Prince level (although they're probably valid at any level):

    1) If I start by building a worker in my 1st city (as most strategy guides suggest is best), does it sometimes happen to you that there's nothing useful the worker can do right at the beginning, because you lack the techs you need to build the necessary improvements?

    2) I've read suggestions to go for Alphabet early, then trade Alphabet for several cheaper techs.
    I tried it, and I have to say that the AI usually either doesn't have any techs for trade the would sum up to the cost of Alphabet, or they don't want to trade them. Thoughts on that one?
     
  2. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    Do not build workers unless you have a tech for them to use, such building a farm (requires agriculture), a road ro a resource (wheel), an unforrested hill (mining) etc... Build a warrior/scout/workboat instead, or plan to have a needed tech made once the worker is done. SOmetimes a worker has nothing to do early on AFTER improvements have been made, which is OK.

    If you have BTS, alphabet is not as important as in warlords/vanilla. Some AIs will not trade until they warm up to you. Generally and AI will seldom give and even trade, you need to work a little but. Example getting iron working for horsebackriding (OK, just one I could remember the values), the beaker value is to the AI but you get a tech you need.

    The benefit of someling like alphabet is to trade with several differenat AIs. So if you tech alphabet and are the only one with it, trade it to AI A for Monarchy, AI B for COL, AI C for meditation/sailing/archery. You now got 5 techs for alphabet, good deal! And you probably made some friends in teh meantime.

    By the way, I rarely trade alphabet if I have a monopoly on it.

    Also, the AI will seldom trade a tech that they have a monopoly on (exception Mansa Musa).
     
  3. carl corey

    carl corey Deity

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    1) The problem isn't only in the beginning. Sometimes I forget I didn't research Bronze Working or The Wheel and I won't have anything for it to do after the first improvements. That's a major waste of worker turns and a sign you're not considering the right builds & techs. So if you decide to go with worker first make sure he has something to do. I mentioned Bronze Working and the Wheel for chopping and roading as you'll probably have enough tiles to do that for to keep it occupied if you don't have anything else to do. Example opening: worker -> improve resource tiles / build scout while growing to size two -> build settler / worker chops and builds road to new site -> worker chops for a new worker and then goes to improve the new city.

    There are other opening builds of course, the most common ones being scout or warrior (both for scouting, especially on maps with large landmasses; the scout gives better results) or workboat(s) if possible and naturally if you have a seafood resource in the fat cross. So keep an open mind and assess the situation before settling on what to build. Heck, even Stonehenge, Barracks (both until you grow to size 2 for example) or settler first are possible options.


    2) If you find that the AI doesn't have any good techs to make an equal trade then consider delaying Alphabet. Also remember that some civs will be more inclined to build units, others to go for techs, so that also counts when you decide what to research. In BtS you now have three new techs unlocked by Writing: Maths (maybe you have lots of forests and want to chop some wonders or units), Alphabet (especially good if you have the Great Wall and will infiltrate an AI with the Great Spy, then go steal his techs instead of trading), and Aesthetics (if you're going for Aesthetics or Literature wonders). So Alphabet is less of a priority now than in Warlords.

    By the way, another use of Alphabet is for building research while you conquer and keep lots of cities. It will help you get to Currency while the war bounty keeps you from going bankrupt.
     
  4. Silence101

    Silence101 King

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    1) There is a specific strategy that goes along with the worker first start. I think you've hit big on the idea that, yeah, there's got to be something for them to do. If you can't get a tech researched to make your worker-first start effective, then it's best to go a different route.

    I think the "best" start here is really individually specific. Worker first does stunt your city growth initially, but used in conjunction with BW chopping and good improvements, you'll probably make up that initial stunt... the key point here being that you take all these steps - not only build the worker, but you use him to improve the land right away, and chop out other infrastructure/units for the city. If you only build the worker and he does nothing for 10-15 turns, then it would've been wiser to start with maybe a warrior or settler or something else. On some maps with certain Civ's, the worker first may not be the best move.

    2) I find that alphabet is great for backfilling missed techs. Especially in the early game, I find that I'm focusing my research on beelining specific techs - BW, Masonry, Pottery, Priesthood, Writing, Col... I'll probably research these myself. (Or maybe pick up Col or Metal Casting with the Oracle.) After this initial push, I'll pick up alphabet and start trading to backfill techs like sailing, archery, or whatever techs I missed.

    Using a beeline / backfill approach to teching is a strat that will work for most of the game, too. There's certain techs that you want to get to first... Libralism is a big one. Prioritize and beeline techs like these. Backfill all the techs you missed by trading the same tech to every other Civ.
     
  5. Asperamanca

    Asperamanca Chieftain

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    Ok, thanks.
    I wasn't worried about a worker having nothing to do for 10 turns, more like 2 or 3 until I have researched a needed tech. Bronze working, in the beginning, takes nearly as long as building the worker, plus I'll have less forest around for later, when I want to chop wonders.

    Growing the city two size two immediately doesn't sound like a great idea, because un-improved tiles don't do a lot for a city.

    I see the advantages of trading the same tech to multiple civs, but giving away Alphabet too early might lead to losing the Great Library, so I'm having second thoughts here anyway. It was just a suggestion from a strategy article I though I'd try out.
     
  6. carl corey

    carl corey Deity

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    Yeah, 2-3 turns isn't much indeed. Remember, you can pre-chop forests (chop for 2 turns out of the three needed); just select the worker after he has chopped for the second turn, press backspace to cancel his action for the next one, and leave the forest one turn away from being chopped. This is especially good with Indian fast workers which can walk into a forested tile and, provided it's not also on a mountain, start to chop on the same turn. It can help you speed up the wonder building for example by preparing the number of needed forest chops in advance.

    I'm not too worried about working unimproved tiles in the beginning. Remember, the Expansive bonus for a worker is +25% hammers, so unless you have a 4 hammers/turn output from the city center and the worked tile you won't get the bonus. Maybe it's worth waiting to grow then configuring your two tiles so you get the bonus hammer. And a Scout/Warrior built in the meantime can really help your exploration, it's not like they'll do nothing once they are created. It's hard to quantify all effects, but think of this: what if your scout pops a tech? Or even enough money to support 100% research for a while?

    I take it you're not playing with the "Beyond the Sword" expansion? In that one Alphabet doesn't lead to the Great Library anymore. I'd say go ahead and keep your style of play if it works. Go for Alphabet-Literature and get the Great Library. Just remember that even if the AIs do get Alphabet in a trade they will not necessarily tech to Literature right away. If you have Marble or you're Industrious it's (very) safe to start trading Alphabet once you get Literature and start on the Great Library.
     
  7. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    If your worker has nothing to do for 2/3 turns, it's a micromanagement issue.
    You should have worked high commerce tiles to increase your tech rate at the cost of production.
    So you would have gotten the worker 1 turn later, and he would have had something to do right away.
     
  8. oyzar

    oyzar Have quit civ/forums

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    reaserch worker techs...
     
  9. lilnev

    lilnev King

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    Be careful about trading for really cheap techs. Later on you'll run into the "We fear you are becoming too advanced" limit. As described here, this is based on how many techs you have received in trade. I generally don't consider it worth the WFYABTA hit to trade for a tech that I could research in ~3 turns or less. I'll even remove them from the terms of a peace settlement, not accept them as gifts, etc. Note that it only counts towards the WFYABTA limit of AIs you've already met, so if there are a lot of civs you haven't met yet then you might not be as worried about running out of trading partners later.

    peace,
    lilnev
     
  10. Tennyson

    Tennyson Prince

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    You can easily research agriculture or mining while waiting for your first worker.
     
  11. Silence101

    Silence101 King

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    I would never trade alphabet - I don't know if I implied that in my earlier post, but that's one of the few techs that I probably won't trade under any circumstances.

    Seriously? I don't think I've ever seen that before... and I do a ton of tech trading. I wonder if your tech lead against the AI also factors into it. (Although I haven't looked at the link yet.)
     
  12. carl corey

    carl corey Deity

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    That's a bit too strong. I've had circumstances on higher levels in which the only thing I had to trade was Alphabet. Not trading it means you just wasted your research on it - unless you're building research or spies of course. Consider this: if you can get 4-5 techs for Alphabet, and maybe another 2-3 techs for the ones you just got before, wouldn't you do it? Chances are the AIs will go for Alphabet pretty soon anyway. What if someone already has it? Would you still hold on to it or would you trade it to everybody? In the first case you might find out that the AI who initially had it traded it to others and got the benefits instead of you.

    That's a known limit. Not all the leaders have the same thresholds of course, so that also comes into play. I sometimes run into it around Scientific Method/Democracy/Rifling, and it's quite annoying. It means you can't make any more one-to-many trades, so going on research paths complementing the AIs will do you no good. You'll have to do all the research yourself (or at least more than the normal amount), steal techs or receive them as peace offerings.
     
  13. Silence101

    Silence101 King

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    I could see trading it in the situation that you presented. Still, I don't see that as being the norm... maybe my statement was a bit too strong though. While there may be a time and place for it, generally I would never trade Alphabet. (I usually play Prince, BTW.) I was referring more to trading Alphabet for CoL, or something like that as an example, where you're giving away one tech for one tech - though I know I didn't specifically state that. So the scenario you presented has merrit.
     
  14. carl corey

    carl corey Deity

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    I've played mostly on Monarch in Warlords and BtS and I moved up to Emperor recently (played a bit of Walords Emperor too). I agree that on Prince and below you might have other techs to trade except Alphabet, and in that case I'd do the same as you: hold on to Alphabet as long as possible. So yeah, I'd say it's situational and most influenced by game level and the AIs around you.
     

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