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FLEECING the AI for gold!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by TheMeInTeam, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. capnvonbaron

    capnvonbaron Democratia gladii

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    Yeah I feel very little remorse for subjecting upper-level AI to this trick. Given the HUGE discounts on maintenance and production bonuses they get, it feels somewhat fair to skim a little from their coffers from time to time. This is ESPECIALLY true when faced with a runaway AI. I don't know the word "fair" is really the right word to use, but this is certainly one tool to help combat and keep up with a viciously overpowered AI the human player would otherwise stand no chance against.
     
  2. Hans Lemurson

    Hans Lemurson Prince

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    When I recently emerged from hibernation, Tachywaxon pointed me in the direction of this thread. Since it has direct bearing on the Strategy Article I wrote 7 1/2 years ago. Dang, has it really been that long? Yes, yes it has. I was 19 then...

    AAanyways.

    I would like to start off by saying that Pangaea quoted me out of context:
    I was stating that demanding GPT as a tribute is unquestionably exploitative because the AI won't cancel the deal when 10 turns are up.

    I would like to state here and now that I do NOT believe that subsidizing the AI to purchase your surplus resources is exploitative. There is nothing exploitative about providing another player with extra GPT in order to make sure that they have enough available to perform a fair trade.

    I will lay out what I believe IS exploitative and what I believe is NOT:

    Exploitative:
    -AIs offer too much gold for resources they don't need.
    -AIs will not cancel useless trade agreements (see previous point)
    -Bundling a vulnerable Resource with a GPT gift in order to cancel the GPT

    Not Exploitative:
    -Making sure that the AI has enough GPT on hand to pay the full price for a resource. Far from being an exploit, this is a WORKAROUND. There is no reason why the amount of Gold per Turn you can trade should be limited by your current budget. That's silly. The AI has a built-in per-deal trading limit for purchasing resources, but it almost never has the income to actually OFFER that. Given what they demand from you to purchase one of their resources, it's laughably unfair to get 2 GPT for your spare silk.
    -Cancelling your subsidies after 10 turns. In all fairness you shouldn't even NEED to give them a subsidy in the first place! Legally cancelling a trade agreement after 10 turns of throwing free money at another player is totally legit.

    Ok, so how can I say that "Subsidies shouldn't even be necessary" AND "Bundling a vulnerable resource with GPT is an exploit"? Those do seem mutually exclusive since the net result of insta-cancelling a subsidy is that no subsidy is paid at all. The difference is simply because I believe that resource-bundling is cheating. I disagree with the means, not the end. You shouldn't be able to totally cancel a promised payment by defaulting on PART of the payment. That's ridiculous. "Without the fish, I cannot accept your gold" said nobody ever. My objection is also that the "pillage your own resource" mechanic is an ingredient for many other exploits. If Civ4 allowed you to trade resources for technology or lump sums of gold, then the same means used to cancel the pointless subsidy could be used for outright theft.

    However, what it all comes down to is "I don't like bundle-cancellation, so I'm going to call its use here an exploit". I am objecting to criminal means being used to achieve a legal end.

    This basically sums it up. The ONLY exploit is that the AI overpays for resources it doesn't need. Everything else you do is just a means to ALLOW the AI to overpay.
     
  3. auagxa

    auagxa Warlord

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    ^oh it was you who wrote that article. I have some question on the GPT cap the AI can trade. In a Shaka game some time ago, I tried to do what you have said in your Strategy Article (as written on the Sevopedia). I gifted Mehmed 2 GPT (he originally has 1) but nothing happened. I read some of the comments ITT and the thread of that Strat Article that the trading cap is 1/10 of AI's pop. However, upon gifting it, nothing happened. What dictates the GPT cap for that particular turn.
     
  4. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

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    You made poor Gphstage cries. :eek: :lol:

    What happened to you was that AI was under financial stress. If so, you won't see any GPT and will be sucked towards their economy.
     
  5. auagxa

    auagxa Warlord

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    Spoiler :
    :confused: Don't know what I did but I'll apologize nontheless, like a Canadian would :crazyeye:

    Hmm I see. There's really no way but to wait it out. Thanks!
     
  6. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

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    There's two ways out IIRC:

    1) Wait until it get out its financial trouble and then you'll see the GPT again
    2) Give more GPT and push the turn button (or perhaps not necessary don't remember) to make the AI reevaluate it got out of its financial crisis. But can be risky depending of the level of difficulty.

    And be careful not take a lump sum gold before making the GPT trades as taking all the free gold the AI has may trigger an economic evaluation and push the AI into financial trouble.
     
  7. auagxa

    auagxa Warlord

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    Well that explains why I always see GPT when AI has lump gold. Good tip.

    @ Blue text
    Spoiler :
    As someone with little programming knowledge, it's nice to have you guys delve into the inner workings of the game and I appreciate any information that you guys dug out of it. Researching anything is really tedious (I should know, I myself am involved in "Hard Sciences" research.) and relaying the information to the "general" public is another thing altogether thus, I understand how you guys feel about being underappreciated despite your hard work.

    Back in the days when I was still struggling with Noble, I relied on articles in this forum to improve my game. I lurked around and eventually find myself on Prince in just a month. Majority of the high level players won't even be on their levels without some extensive knowledge of the inner workings. Thus, many of us owe you guys one to making this seemingly difficult game more enjoyable.

    With regards to the best *insert something here*, it's good once in a while to revive the discussions since there might be changes in opinion over time due to newly discovered mechanics or a new HoF tactic. But honestly, new stuff is getting rarer as the game gets older so I might think they are a bit redundant if these themes appear once a month.
     
  8. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    I see nothing wrong with tricking the AIs in any manner as long as the benefit is not so great that it gives away the game like the old Oracle and Liberalism exploit provided multiple technologies rather than just one. Thus, I'd allow all exploits, except those that literally give the game away.

    So, I'd happily use subsidy Wpt (Wealth per turn) trades. I'd even use them with a pillagable resource, though I would admit that its a legal exploit. We exploit the AI to win far more often than play "fair" with them. Even the idea of playing "fair" with the AI is ridiculous; an AI is not a person; it doesn't know we are playing "fair" or not; even if it did know, it would not care.

    For single player competitive play, it is best to allow all exploits, except those that remove all challenge like the Oracle/Liberalism multiple tech bug. Thus, I would recommend allowing this subsidy techique in competitive venues.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  9. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    I shan't comment more on the exploit, as my view is perhaps known, but will say that allowing all these exploits - though understandable because it's hard (or impossible) to check - is one reason why I don't like competitive play. It should be about skill and enjoyment of the game, not about exploiting the AI to give you an advantage that the game developers most likely did not intend to give you.

    Personally I don't use this exploit, or the worse resource pillage exploit, but will see what Gpt they have available and try to get good deals that way. If at some later point they have available Gpt, I'll renegotiate the deal or make a new one with surplus resources.
     
  10. MegaLurker

    MegaLurker King

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    People might be forgetting the real in-game limitations to this theoretically super overpowered exploit. The original poster addressed that very early on. It's not as big a deal as some people are making it out to be.
     
  11. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    I agree with MegaLurker above.

    This techique really doesn't provide much advantage. The biggest advantages are when one has lots of unnessary resources; that is only possible when one already has enough land to win. This is a so-called exploit looking for an application that will help one win. At best, it might speed up the win.

    Here's an example that is potentially more exploitative, but most players use anyway: Building a wonder and failing to complete before an AI. In such a case, one gets fail wealth in the amount of the hammers expended on the wonder. This can be a way of building deferred wealth prior Currency. One can really leverage this technique when one has a resource multiplier and/or the Industrious trait. One can build the same wonder in multiple cities, thus it is possible to get several times more in fail wealth than the wonder costs in hammers to build. Few players consider this an exploit, since there is a substantial opportunity cost; cities building wonders for fail wealth could build other things. Also, many players take advantage of this without really planning when their intent was to actually complete the wonders. Note that this technique can be used far earlier than Wpt subsidies and thus with greater impact on the earlier part of the game when winning is far from assured.

    Note: I have never actually used this technique (subsidies) in a game. I'm thinking of other ways to win the game and this technique has never occured to me when the time was right to use it. Also, it may be prohibited in certain competitive venues, despite the difficulty in detecting it. I could never knowingly break a rule of a competitive venue, regardless of the chance (zero) of detection.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  12. drewisfat

    drewisfat Prince

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    This trick is actually extremely strong ^^
    It was easily the difference between a win and a loss for me in Gwaja's hard map that he posted a while back. I didn't have ideal conditions for this trick, but still managed to fleece almost 300g from the AIs, which froze my slider at 100%. Perhaps the strongest part about this though is something most people ignore -- you're hurting the AI.
    In an ideal situation, a "continents" type map, where you have a lot of land but are super backwards and there is one AI on the other continent running away, it's possible to end his chances of winning by throwing him 200g in debt.

    I don't consider this immoral or label it exploit, simply because the only thing this does is enhance the scale of the initial game failing. And that is giving resources to the AI for GPT. High level AIs basically get no value from resources, and yet are willing to give a decent amount of gold for them. Subsidizing streamlines this abuse that every good player commits every single game. It's silly to have to wait around for a (mostly luck occurrence) i.e. the AI having enough excess GPT. And it help fixes the bogus situation where you start off selling fish to an AI for 4g. Then you see he has 8g. So you cancel the deal hoping to sell fish for between 8-12g.... then TADA! AI has 0g now.
    The biggest problem with this is that you can use it to push an AI into financial hardship, which is otherwise not really possible in this manner.

    Also I like it because I disagree with STW's opinion that this helps you only if you're running away with the game. In my opinion this helps in more challenging settings (large continent maps with a distant runaway) and it kind of balances the fact that this map script can give you an easy time (in which case this trick won't help) or a hard time (in which case this trick can save your game).
    This is because if an AI is small you get less GPT per resource, and slowing them down isn't nearly as important.
     
  13. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Agree with Izuul, using that really feels wrong.
    While we use AI robot behavior in many ways, begging 1 gold for peace..building fail wonders..or bribing them into pointless wars and so on and on, does not feel like cheating them out of something that's 100% not there.
    No..this feels like opening an editor, giving me gold and taking that amount from them.
     
  14. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    To have enough unneeded resources to leverage this technique implies one has enough land to win the game without it. This may not be a hard fact, but its more than an unsubstantiated opinion. There may be some borderline game situations where the win/lose outcome is not clear, but in the vast majority of cases the player is already in a winning position before this technique can be leveraged to overwhelming degree that some players have reported.

    There are many other techniques that players use that are more effective than this one. Wonder fail wealth with resource multipliers is more powerful and can be used effectively by relatively small empires. Espionage economy is a broad strategy that is clearly more powerful in the hands of small empires than this technique ever could be.

    Part of the problem with trying to measure this technique is failing to subtract the Wpt that can be gotten without using it. After most of the AIs are generating rather large Wpt on their own, one can get maximum Wpt per resource without using using this technique. Thus there is also a limit on the number of turns where this technique provides extra Wpt per resource.

    There is also a great discrepency between what the AI will sell a resource for and what it will offer for a player's resource. The player doesn't get a steep discount like the AI gets in the early game.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  15. cseanny

    cseanny Emperor

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    I disagree. It's not uncommon, especially near or in jungle to have a single city with 3-4 Dye or Sugar. So in my eyes this "exploit" can range from just below moderate to extremely strong. Most cases will fall into the half hazard area of 2-4 on a scale of ten but there will certainly be frequent occasions such as "drewisfat" above.

    This makes me hope their will be a full proof measure to keep this out of HoF where game knowledge and skill determines who comes out on top, not an exploit.
     
  16. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    By this are you saying the AIs want much more for their resource from a human, than it will offer for a humans resource? Or is it about the horrid way AI-AI resource trades are carried out?
     
  17. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Sure there may be a few games where one has a few resources available for trade shortly after acquiring Currency before acquiring enough land to surpass the AIs and thus be in a winnable situation. However, this is definitely not something that one can depend on. You must consider resource for resource trades that are worth more than say 8 before determining the true value of this techique.

    Sorry, there is no fool proof way to prevent use of this technique in the Civ IV Hall of Fame. There are legitimate gifts of Wpt to the AI such as establishing an enforceable peace treaty or to raise the AI out of financial crises for reasons unrelated to this technique.

    I disagree with the suggestion that the Civ IV Hall of Fame is a competitive venue that requires purely player skill as opposed to significant luck to rise to the top. The HoF allows many things that increase luck such as Tribal Villages, Events and even Barbarians. It also bans Balanced Resources which would ensure the player and all AIs have strategic resources near them (within 5 plots), except no marble. One can also pick one's opponents to be those that can be easily defeated with respect to the chosen map, options and victory condition. Finally, one is allowed to play as Huayna Capac, the overpowered leader that should never have gotten past the game testers.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  18. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    No, I was only comparing Player to AI and AI to Player trades of a resource for Wpt.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  19. cseanny

    cseanny Emperor

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    I see your point! But, although I didn't state it before, I was talking about Challenger series where everyone has the same leader, and in most cases plays vs the same opponents (not always)....and settings. I will admit that maps make a huge difference, especially someone using map generator for 2 weeks to get a perfect start. But in general I find it to still be skill based and would like to keep exploitable items out.
     
  20. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    This is primarily the result of the AIs either not having enough GPT, or not showing enough GPT, and the player still being able and willing to sell under those conditions. The AIs will actually pay just as much as you do if they have access to the GPT to pay it and its actually quite a lot, the only time the AIs expect more from you is in 'renewing trades' and its only 10% extra.

    The actual value an AI will pay or want for :)/:health: resources that aren't gold or ivory is;
    (Lowest city count out of you and that AI + 3) * 3 / 2
    If the AI is in Financial trouble, just remove the bolded.

    A little note that will be useful for this trick is that Lincoln, Sury and Pacal show more of their GPT than the other leaders.
    Everyone else shows 1/10 times their pop, but those three show 1.5 times that, making them better targets.
     

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