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Fastest worst case isolated play

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by vicawoo, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    I'm assuming readers know how to play isolated starts, if not I think there's some guide in one of the lonely hearts club pages.

    Even if you narrow it down to beelining astronomy, there are a lot of different plays. Some people like to go for great lighthouse, or great library if they have marble. Some people will go for monarchy and build up a huge academy capital.
    My personal rule is that you have time to detour into one classical tech, so it better be the best tech for the situation.

    ---

    So let's talk about the worst case scenario for an isolated play, not including weird one city spots.

    -You have no extra happiness. Happiness often dictates how you play an isolated start. If there's a lot of calendar resources, well you go calendar. If there's a lot of precious metals, you can skip non-beeline techs and rely on gold happiness with the occasional forge. Even if you just have some hunting happiness resources, it's often enough to make an academy in your capital worthwhile.
    So instead we're stuck with a 5 happiness capital.

    -You have no wonder resources. Of course if you can get stone, you can representation, which means happiness and extra beakers. If you have marble, you can often fail gold parthenon, so you can skip alphabet and dump hammers into wonder hammers instead. And you can get great library.

    -You have poor isolated traits. No charismatic, no philosophical. I did my test cases with tokugawa, just to make sure I didn't even get discounts on anything. So if it works for him, it works for everyone.

    What you do have
    some food resources (enough for at least 3 cities without sharing food resources), some riverside tiles, and some hills. What's the best way to to get fast optics/astronomy?

    Planning
    You need 3 fast libraries of course, to get fast astronomy. However, 2 size 4 cities and a size 5 aren't going to produce nearly enough beakers to in time.

    Academies aren't very useful. Especially when you have seafood + one riverside tile.

    Granaries aren't useful for size 4 cities. Whipping doesn't create commerce, and not being able to work a tile for ten turns costs you at least 37.5 beakers.

    Libraries (outside of your 3 core cities) may or may not be useful. If you have too much food, then you either have to stall by pumping workers/settler, or build a library. The earlier you get the library, the more time it offset its cost.

    So if you haven't guessed, this means that we're going to be building mostly research.

    Our early extra food (after the libraries) we dump into more cities, which we will use to build research. Food->hammers->research.

    Micro details
    Usually we save gold until we have our academy. Since we're not building an academy, it's probably better just to save gold until two or three libraries are up.

    When saving for multiple bulbs (without caste system), it doesn't matter much how fast you get your earlier great people. It only matters when you get your last one. Hence the fastest way to get multiple great people is to complete your libraries as close as possible. You can delay running scientists in your earlier libraries in favor of more worker/settler production.
    Since we're saving our first great scientist for optics, this means we can delay the first two libraries so they finish close to the 3rd.

    Unless you want to gamble, you usually have to wait quite a few turns for your caravels to find most of the civs. Which means you can delay your 3rd (and hence 2nd) great scientist so that it finishes a handful of turns after you get optics.

    Cottaged riverside plains tiles are your friends. Especially once you complete your great person, you can switch off to cottages, though this usually means you end up with too much food. Plains tiles help defray the extra food. Riverside hills also have high value.

    Sample game:

    There's silver, but I pretended it didn't exist.
    Spoiler optics :

    Maybe with further refining, speeding up my 3rd library (and slowing down the previous two), and better use of plains tiles, I could shave off 2 or 3 turns.
     
  2. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    That is one way to go ;) OFC that I'm quite not fond of the Astro bulb in isolated starts ( I still think that the way to go is the 3 C techs ( Currency, CoL and CS ) + Monarchy to ensure good infra, and that is incompatible with the Astro bulb ... ), but I agree that in some starts it is the best way to go.

    Then again, like you say , the important thing is to maximize the date of the last GS for the bulb. But I'm not so sure on the whip shun part: obviously you don't want to whip before getting the GS in that city , but I'm somewhat unconvinced of working cottages after it , even if you don't want to whip any further ( you want your cities to go over 10 to start getting the pop bonus on the trade routes ... )
     
  3. ecuwins

    ecuwins Emperor

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    What might be the plan for this small empire post Astro? For me, fast Astro usually implies warring.

    Is that really 1/3 of your worker force building an ice fort :eek: You ran this lean as a mofo.
     
  4. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    I'm more ok with whipping if you have happiness, but with 4 happiness that's 1/4 your population. Also what are we going to whip? It's ok with libraries, but we don't want granaries, and we can chop warriors/workboats.

    The worker is forting nothing because he's fogbusting that corner and I didn't want to waste maintenance on unit.
     
  5. Mylene

    Mylene Deity

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    Guess i'd try pottery - mining - Oracle, probably CoL.
    AH is pretty hurtful without hunting or Agri, so i'd try growing on FP cottages for starters..
    Religion means +2 happy possible, and can generate GP without libraries.
     
  6. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    You have to play the game out and get someone else to play it out without trying for earliest astro and compare. If you finish up I'll probably play it.
     
  7. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    You really crimped the start assuming you world builder out the silver. But how far do you think you are ahead of someone who goes monarchy then self techs astro? How many turns at what cost? I'm guessing I'd have 120 bpt break even at 275 AD and have astro not long after you.
     
  8. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    And once you have astro what resources are you going to trade for happy anyway :)
     
  9. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Well I did say worst case.

    I'd probably trade off health resources if need be for happiness.

    I've done a lot of monarchy plays, and it tends to underperform compared to a lot of alternatives . The unit maintenance really (REALLY) hurts, so it's not a good idea to overuse it except in your capital, and even warriors dump a non insignficant number of hammers.
     
  10. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    Yeah but play this again and go straight for monarchy and grow the capital into cottages asap. You could probably even get the same astro date as this won't hurt your GS production.
     
  11. shakabrade

    shakabrade Praise Vivec!

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    No happiness = Hereditary Rule and many warriors
    Might go Oracle--> CoL, for specialists and popping borders
    I'd also always go for currency instead of alphabet
    GLH is also very nice wonder, especially with some islands, but even without them, you deny that wonder to the others and prevent runaway AI from happening. You usually want to chop it so you can build settlers and workers ASAP.

    Which level are we talking about anyway?
     
  12. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Your plan is to build great lighthouse, mysticism, polytheism, priesthood, monarchy, mathematics, currency, code of laws, and hope it's faster?
     
  13. Mantic0re

    Mantic0re Prince

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    I'm also interested in how you finish a game like this. I prefer pangaea maps to avoid the whole isolation issue, so I'm really unfamiliar with these games.


    Hmm. Doesn't the AI get some sort of production bonus (or hammer discount) based on the era of the human player? Could early astronomy set you farther behind from a production standpoint?


    @ecuwins: I'm curious, why does fast astronomy imply warfare? Do you use 1.0e^5 galleons to transport trebs/maces/muskets/curiassers?
     
  14. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    i would like to hear some input on drama regarding happiness... in isolation it probably is really bad, but could it be viable alternative to monarchy while using culture slider?

    one special case is probably justi since he gets happy from horse and gets better scaling with slider.
     
  15. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    it used to be popular in warlords, when you didn't have to go aesthetics. It just feels out of the way in beyond the sword.
     
  16. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    if you would have marble though? it probably isn't tied to worst case scenario, but would like to hear opinion anyway.
     
  17. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    Generally i'd say that if you have really good cottaging land, i'd most probably make the detour to Monarchy - after all you'll need to tech when you've met the other AIs aswell, and grown cottages won't hurt here.
     
  18. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    You forgot Civil Service. I don't have to hope, even if its not how many turns later will I get astro than you? How can your few turns of astro hope to compare with my 200 bpt at 100% vs your 60ish?

    Just do it - get monarchy and then go straight for astro. Grow your capital as much as you can ( the lack of health is a huge problem ). When you are at size 14 by 1AD the capital itself is doing what almost 100 commerce with civil service or 175 beakers? You won't get to size 14 because you completely crippled the island, but I think you completely misunderstand the power of cottaging your capital even in the face of no resources.
     
  19. ecuwins

    ecuwins Emperor

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    Cuirassiers then Frigates and eventually Cavs, is typical. Toku might hold out for draft rifles, though.

    The simplest way of thinking about the Astro beeline, in total isolation, is this

    Optics = Alphabet: it enables tech trading. Have 2-3 Trireme ready for upgrade, or have cities ready to whip the Caravels. You also get to start planning your diplo, the earlier the better.

    Astro = Currency: not really, but it significantly boosts your trade routes. Also lets you trade for resources. Keep the AI away from this one as long as possible.

    *cough* I see that LHC Toku has not been done in over two years. *cough*
     
  20. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    ^^I kind of understand why , given that the two Toku LHC I hosted were really badly received ;)
     

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