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Expansion... why does it work or not work?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by val13, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. val13

    val13 Chieftain

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    I've read many threads about not expanding before the current city was paying for itself. I've tried this... and gotten run over every time.

    My next game I went on a land grab. Basically... building warrior, worker, settler... start city... warrior, worker, settler... start city... until there were no more "good city sites" to get without war. Then built up 3 army stacks and attacked the most powerful civ nearest to me. I wiped the civ out totally, replenished my stacks and declared war on the next most powerful civ (at that point in the game) on the continent. I wiped out that civ, then just expanded again building melee units, archers, workers and settlers, expanding my own borders while guarding for Barbarian's.

    I took over the entire continent, then, just built till my hearts content. By the time the civ's on the other continent got to me, I was much more advanced and was in the process of building Battleships, Sub's, and Jet Fighters to guard my shores.

    So... the question is... does the expansion idea work better on lower difficulty levels and not on higher difficulty levels... or did I just get lucky?
     
  2. Cam_H

    Cam_H Deity

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    Val13,

    Welcome to CivFanatics! :D

    Expansion is much easier once you secure Currency (every city gets a free trade route with no need to do anything, can build Markets that allow for Specialist Merchants) and Code of Laws (Courthouses and the Caste System - can run Specialist Merchants to pay for city upkeep). You don't need to run Specialist Merchants, but it can be a useful approach. In a nutshell, these two tech's are the 'green light' for expansion.

    Alternately, rather than capturing enemy cities in the early-game, you raise them for decent :gold: intake that can fund your :science: towards these key technologies.

    One thread that had a lot of appeal to me was Synex's Catherine Cottage Spam theory (vanilla Civ) and you might find it of interest too. It's a long thread, so the strengths and weaknesses have been addressed with a degree of thoroughness.

    It does sound as though you need to go up about two levels if you've got Jets while the AI has recently grasped Astronomy.
     
  3. ratrangerm

    ratrangerm Prince

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    One of the things I've noticed discussed in the threads is that the rule of thumb is to stop expanding when you drop to 60-percent science in order to avoid running too much into the red.

    I've found how long you can keep the science slider at 100 percent often depends on how much gold you find from villages. Additionally, as Cam stated, getting gold from conquering/razing the cities of other civs can also help keep the science slider high.

    Having a large surplus of gold doesn't really come in handy until the later part of the game, when you may want to have that to upgrade units or to hurry production if you have Universal Suffrage as one of your civics.
     
  4. paperchase417

    paperchase417 Warlord

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    I've also noticed, that when you conquer and raze an enemy city, the enemy AI will, even in the middle of war, produce a settler and a couple of defenders to resettle the territory.
     
  5. Pbhead

    Pbhead Hail the Byzantines

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    the whole thing is maintance... the main con of expancion. if that gets to high... then WAM. you have no $$$ and no tech for a LONG time...
     
  6. val13

    val13 Chieftain

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    Cam,

    Thank you... I've been lurking, reading, playing, re-reading, and yes, did read the cottage spam theory as well (before you mentioned it).

    I've played on Settler and Chieftan and won. I've tried Warlord, but, I keep getting run over. I just can't seem to get the whole `build/expand/defend` ratio right. :mad: The civ's seem to know that the minute one beats you down, it is time to wipe you.

    I just couldn't get the whole "wait to expand" philosophy to work. By the time I started, it was too late and I was surrounded, then pounded into the ground.
     
  7. Cam_H

    Cam_H Deity

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    Val13,

    I hate to push you towards more reading, but spending a while reading the Succession Forum threads provides fantasic insight - I know it did for me (I'm an Emperor player now - at a time not long ago I thought Prince was impossible!). Many people have also learned plenty from the "All Leaders Challenges" and the "Emperor Masters' Challenge" series on this ('Strategies and Tips') forum.

    For starters, in the Succession Forums and in the Emperor series you see that games are typically won from positions where the human(s) player is miles behind score-wise in the Medieval Era. A lot of newer players 'freak out' when they slip to #3 or #4 in the pack. As you progress, you'll get used to focusing on specific goals and finding small jumps that way.

    Sisiutil has two terrific threads also; I'm sure you've run into Sisiutil's Strategy Guide for Beginners, but also check out Intermediate Tactics and Gambits for other ideas.

    Dare I say it ... in Civ the best defence is a good offence!

    Keep at it! :thumbsup:
     
  8. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    I think the real question is: "When is deficit spending good?"

    Answer: when the payoff pulls you way out of deficit and into profit.

    Same for building that extra city when you're in the red, or researching in the red, or building an army in the red. If it'll payoff well before you're dead broke, do it.

    But while you're in the red, you're extra vulnerable to unforseen things that you're strategy isn't optimized for.

    Like say an invasion while you're researching in the red and have a weak army. Same if that happens when you're in the red for three brand new cities that are more than you can afford.

    But you're right too, not expanding and only building up three uber cities will hurt your relative strength vs. the neighbors, no matter what you build in them. Some expansion is always necessary, but you got to figure whats you're limit---like how long before you're neighbors get ticked, or how long it'll take your economy to get back into the green for serious research---before you're using axeman to fight Panzers. Or how well u can get along without Theatres for a while longer...



     
  9. val13

    val13 Chieftain

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    I played most of my games, like anyone new, on Settler level, where I think the human player is given a big advantage over the AI (correct?).

    I am now playing Warlord, and on Warlord difficulty (Settler, Cheiftain, Warlord...). I keep getting run over by the Barbarian's. I have warrior's, and then suddenly, here comes waves of axemen... UGHHHHHHHH...
     
  10. malekithe

    malekithe King

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    My general advisement is, when new to the game, always err on the side of over-expansion, especially on "lower" difficulties. As you've found, if you focus on aggressive expansion, you have a decent chance of building an insurmountable lead. If you, at some point, find yourself unable to afford your expansion, revise your strategy: raze more cities instead of capturing, focus more cities on cottages or other money-making vocations, set currency and code of law as research priorities from the get-go, etc. It'll be a feeling-out process, but I always feel it's easier to turn the aggression dial down a notch after cranking it to 11 than it is to do the opposite. And, just for emphasis, the research percentage does not enter into your decision making at any point. Only your actual research rate matters. The "60% rule" is pretty much garbage. So, get busy building an army and go break stuff!
     
  11. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Yep. If you're having trouble before Noble, something is seriously wrong. :dubious:

    #1 Do you have the Raging Barbarians option selected? :lol:


    #2 Go for Bronze-Working very early, like maybe after your first or second religion, if not the very first tech you research. If you don't see bronze, go for iron working. Regardless, build your next city near that spot an mine it.
    Hook it up to your empire by road and start building some Axeman :king:

    :gripe:



     
  12. val13

    val13 Chieftain

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    I just hit play game... *shrugging*


    This I already do... :sad:
     
  13. oyzar

    oyzar Have quit civ/forums

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    another thing with curency is that you can trade outdated techs to the ai for massive gold. In a recent game i ran 100% sci rate warmongering most of the way all from cats til tanks cause of plunder / gold from tech trades.

    About the getting run over by barbs get BW asap and try to hook up copper pretty quick, if no copper nearby get AH and hoock up horses for chariots. I've won monarch games where i havent built more than 1 chariot + inital warrior(though that was almost occ). I've also won peacefull games on noble with just archers as defenders against barbs(i think).

    I allways seem to have it easier on smaller maps as it is way less room to expand. Are you playing on huge maps?
    Build 2-3 cities, build some axes wipe out a civ build workers get up cottages in the cities that need that(remember to specialise your cities).
    As a rule of thumb on the lower levels you should try to keep your sci around 60%(if your running a CE that is..). If you get far blow stop and build cottages workers libaries and courhouses(dont think i built any of these before i got to monarch cept in builder games). If your above build Setlers and defence or just barracks and units and attacks your nearest neighbour.
     
  14. CivDude86

    CivDude86 King

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    Once I get alphabet (to build research) I happily expand to 0%. Just don't do it before because researching anything with a lone scientist takes forever (no 50 turn cap here).
     
  15. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Hmm...well if one fortified axeman per city doesn't help defend against a typical barb rush, then I am confused. The worst trouble the barbs give me is a little razing (@Noble). Really archers will do the trick fortified in their towns.

    I'd suggest that in the first turns of the game build a barracks instead of workers/warriors, and don't start expanding until that is built. Replace Bronze-age rush with an Archery rush, and build them with the city garrison promotion. A few archers with first strike can be used to protect your field improvements.

    The only thing else I'd suggest is try building on hills, researching Masonry for walls early as well. Also avoid counterattacking the barbs on woods/hills.

    I'd like to see a save of one of your pre-Noble games where the barbs give you no break.

     
  16. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    I'd just like to point out one thing.

    For those of you who say don't drop your science slider under 60%.

    60% of 100 gold = 60.
    40% of 200 gold = 80.

    My point is, that in expansion mode, I tend not to worry about captruing too many cities and letting my slider dip, as long as I continue to generate more beakers because of the new cities.

    Cheers.
     
  17. val13

    val13 Chieftain

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    the barb rush was axemen before I could get copper or iron (researched it, but they didn't pop up anywhere near me)

    Ok... this is why I started this thread... when I first start, I can usually get 3 cities built before I am surrounded by civs. But then, I get unhappy, unhealthy cities, so, I work to get those taken care of... by the time I do, I fall behind in defense/unit stack, someone declares war, and IF I survive, I am depleted to the point another civ declares war.

    I do normally try to build on a hill, but, I also go for proper placement to get all the resources I can with ZERO city overlap.

    usually I only save a game where I am winning lol...
     
  18. val13

    val13 Chieftain

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    will try this...

    I've tried huge, but, have gone down to small...

    someone mentioned specializing cities... gotta admit, am clueless on this issue. Doesn't every city need production, commerce, food, etc? Shouldn't the builds be balanced???
     
  19. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    Try this:

    http://www.civfanatics.com/civ4/strategy/city_specialization.php

    The reason you want to specialize is to get the synergistic effects of multiple things in a single city, rather that just meiocre at everything.

    Also, certain terrain leads itself more to certain city specializations. Lots of hills -> Production. Lots of floodplains -> GP, mostly grassland -> Financial etc.

    Cheers.
     
  20. val13

    val13 Chieftain

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    Ok... read the link... got the basic "idea"... but, doesn't that mean that each individual city is not a stand alone?... here's what I mean:

    - production is city specific, so, some cities (ie, lots of mines) will produce faster then others

    - commerce and gold is civilization wide... so, one city operating with high commerce makes up for other cities

    - food is city specific... so, by following the farm/resource guide, you know what else you can do

    - but, generating Great People is dependent on food? That one I'm not getting...
     

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