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Fast Exploration/Spies strategy

Discussion in 'CivBE - Strategy & Tips' started by MAMoob, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. MAMoob

    MAMoob Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Messages:
    45
    Basically it's a combo of two strategies that can be used independently but also mix quite well together. It has won me an Apollo game in 156 turns on standard speed via Emancipation victory.

    Basic idea is to get starting affinity/tech/production boosts via mass explorers and then transition into cheesing techs via covert ops ASAP.

    Sponsor: ARC. Other sponsor can do this if they are able to sign the agreement with ARC. You want to stack ops reduction modifiers until you have 4 turn steal science (you can't stack more). With ARC this means lvl 2 character trait, lvl 1 subtle and +25% covert ops speed from artifacts (if you did not get it, level the traits more, but with the number of artifacts you get you normally should).

    Colonists: Pioneers - You need to spam explorers early on.

    Ship - Electromagnetic sensor for expedition sites obviously.

    Cargo - Cryotome for +1 virtue.

    Virtue path:
    1. Prosperity: food -> free worker -> extra expeditions
    2. Knowledge: science -> +30 science from expeditions (not much, but helps rush computing)

    Then whatever, I usually go tier 1 industry for synergy bonus and then t2 industry + knowledge for t2 synergy which gives an extra agent. Then finish up t3.

    Teching: Pioneering -> Engineering or Ecology depending on available energy and land/ocean cities -> Computing. Build Spy Agency ASAP.

    Initial BO: Explorer -> Old Earth Relic -> 4-5 extra Exprolers -> Colonist. Plan which explorers will go to specific expedition sites and how much modules do they have. Get +1 more from 2 supremacy ASAP and +1 from laboratory upgrade if possible. Put all free affinity levelups you've managed to get into supremacy. It's not uncommon to get like 5 extra levels from expeditions alone. NEVER attack aliens until you've grabbed most/all of expeditions, as your explorers will die pretty fast when attacked. The aliens seem to ignore you if you don't touch them. Once you've cleared the expedition sites you can pillage the remaining nests for more artifacts.

    6 cities work pretty well for me, but you can grab more if you feel like it. Try to get 5/5/5 in affinities once you start running into health issues. If you have an annoying neighbour you can grab his cities as well, as expeditions usually give you a big advantage in affinity levels. I prefer fielding patrol boat/cruiser army from aquatic cities as it's cheap and only requires you to 7/7 or 11 in affinity(ies) to max out. AI normally doesn't stand a chance vs upgraded cruisers. Just don't do this near the end when you build the gate as you don't want health penalties so that you get max production.

    Personality traits: Subtle (normally need only 1 level) and domestic TR bonus from politics, rest doesn't matter.

    For agreements try to grab anything that boosts energy, production or culture, you don't need science. Science buildings are low priority too (but are still nice to have). Hutama's stuff for extra TRs is very good too.

    Essential stuff: Once you have spies, you can start stealing science right away with ARC. Level 3 spy gives you +25% of your current tech cost, so 8 spies can give you like 2 free techs every 4 turns (well, more like 1.5 as they don't always succeed), and you don't really depend on the tech cost.

    How to maximize spy count: 3 (base) + 1 (t2 synergy) + 1 (perk in knowledge) + 1 (holosuite) + 1 (cel cradle) + 1 (command center) + 1-2 (quests, normally at least 1) = 9-10 agents. You obviously want to grab communications and artificial intelligence pretty fast for the buildings above, and you also need both for emancipation.

    You need 1 high production city to build the gate, you can go with either aquatic or land one. Land one will probably be stronger, but takes more time to get there.

    Ocean -> try to build near titanium with many coast tiles, get water refinery and +2 production on coastal tiles wonder. Later on it's not difficult to grab +1 production from farms, so even basic coastal farm tiles will give 5 production. Titanium tiles give up to 13 with alloy foundry.

    Land -> Get magrail connection and spam manufactories (with industry perk upgrade). Manufactories take a lot of time to build though, you might want to get drone sphere and +50% worker speed artifact combo in this case. Wonder for no unhealth for improvements can work quite well too here, if you have spare time to grab it.

    Artifact combos to look out for:
    +20% chance to find artifacts - very good if found early
    +25% covert ops speed - obviously
    Virtues acquired twice as fast - OP. and very good for this strategy to get extra agents from virtues faster
    +50% internal TR yields - for production
    -30% tech cost - this is super OP normally, but here it's not as good actually as most of your science is stolen as % of tech costs. It's still pretty good though
    +50% worker speed - for manufactories if you want to spam them

    Try to save your progenitor artifacts, as normally they are needed for the strongest stuff. This strategy allows you to maximize their gain as you'll be grabbing the majority (if not all) of the progenitor ruins, as the AI is pretty bad at exploring.

    Once you have the prerequisites for emancipation, you also want to get either the Angel or the Golem tech, as these are the best candidates to go through the gate (Xenotitans wold be better, but you're unlikely to have enough harmony).

    Golems would only work for the land gate though, as currently committing embarked units is bugged and gives little power. Angels are ok for a gate on a coastal tile. You need 10 of either one. Make sure you have enough spare firaxite/floatstone to support 2 at a time.

    Once you have that, switch your spies to steal energy and get -20% energy unit buyout cost industry trait. Agents will be stealing smth like 400+ energy by turn 130, so this along with your normal income should enable you to buy 1 Angel or Golem per turn. If you have some OP energy agreements like extra % interest or +1 energy per tile you likely won't even need that. You need 10 turns to win by committing 1 Angel or Golem per turn once the gate is finished.
     
  2. RandyG

    RandyG Chieftain

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I very casually followed this strategy with good results. To see how strong spying was, I purposely did not focus on any yield in particular (especially science). By the time I got the spy agency (can't remember the turn) I had the key personality traits and the +25% covert ops speed from the artifact combo. This let me steal science or technology every two turns. coup d'etat in 3 turns. I was able to get all the artifact combos you mentioned except the +50% internal TR yields. I ended the game with 7 spys.

    Somewhere between turn 100-105 I was ready to build the emancipation gate, but it was going to take 25+ turns in all my cities at quick speed. If I try this out again I will focus more on production.

    To speed the gate up, I bought all production buildings in my capital (my highest production city), sent all trade routes to my capital, and starting building manufactures at my capital. By the time the gate finished, I was building 106 strength Golems every two turns. I finished on turn 145 but with a few adjustments I could get it down to turn 120. I'm sure someone will be able to win a wonder victory in under 100 turns.

    science per turn (SPT) really does not matter when your chance of tech stealing is 50% per spy every two turns (see attached images). I had my lowest end game SPT at half of Hutuma's, but I had twice his number of techs.

    I went down prosperity and picked up the first virtue in industry for the synergy bonus. After finishing all of prosperity except for gift economy I focused on industry. As you mentioned the +30 science from expeditions in knowledge is probably worth going for.

    my game settings were:

    Apollo
    Quick
    Small (with 8 sponsors)

    ARC
    Engineers (+2 production in all cities) for getting out explorers faster
    Continental Surveyor (reveal coasts)
    Laboratory (start with pioneering technology) will probably do worker next time

    Eta Vulpeculae b
    frigid
    random: world age, temperature, and rainfall
    sea level low
    everything else default
     

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  3. sugerdady87

    sugerdady87 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I did a similar strategy with Chungsu instead and was stealing science every 5 turns. There is an agreement which gives you similar benefits to the ARC. I believe I had 6 or 7 spies. The field research virtue (earn 30 science from finishing expeditions) is really underrated.
     
  4. Promethian

    Promethian Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    282
    Nodes and the tech to make them give science are in the same part of the web as the spy buildings. Get high Supremacy (also part of the same area of the web) and they give production as well. Can make a high output city like this. I had a city that just exploded because it was near a river through a desert, nodes on all the flood plain tiles.
     
  5. MAMoob

    MAMoob Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Messages:
    45
    I normally go for steal science because you get more control over what you get and you also can rush expensive techs, while steal tech often gets you the cheap ones, but yeah, it can be fun too.

    And yeah, that's possible with other sponsor if you sign the agreement with ARC as I mentioned and Chungsu in particular has even more science stealing potential due to extra yield and higher agent count, but in my experience ARC still has it easier because it can get snowballing earlier with no need for agreements or raising intrigue to 1 to start stealing science. I also think Chungsu might be better off going for scavenging instead of field research because if you land on water you get explorer production penalty (they count as a land unit) and a bonus to naval unit production with a plenty of aliens and hydrocoral to farm. You can opt landing on the shore and go for field research anyway though.

    Field research is pretty nice when rushing some specific techs earlygame. it works well for ~450 science techs, but I doubt it will have significant impact on the ~900 science ones. So it's a nice way to grab the spy agency or an earlygame wonder with PAC much faster. And with how powerful artifacts are explorer spam seems the way to go now, unless you go for scavenging that is.

    Nodes can be a good option too I think, unless they take too long to build (haven't checked their build time in BERT). With high supremacy thats +3 energy, +1 science and +1 production. With a couple of high food cities and good internal trade network you'll still grow fast and it will enable you to buyout key buildings and units lategame as building them seems counterproductive at that point. I did have pretty good results with vertical farming and climate contol sats too though.
     
  6. ggmoyang

    ggmoyang Chieftain

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    958
    Location:
    Rep. of Korea
    I used similar strategy for my OCC emancipation victory.

    I made many mistakes (like not researching prerequisite for lasercom) and AI kept invading me but was able to end in T208.
     
  7. MAMoob

    MAMoob Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Messages:
    45
    Yeah, a nice thing about spies is that you don't need to go wide... or spam science specialists or buildings. So it opens up many different tech path options or things like OCC.
     

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