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For Science! - 5+ city Academy spam guide

Discussion in 'CivBE - Strategy & Tips' started by GAGA Extrem, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    Greetings fellow players!

    The patch has made my previous "Promised Land" guide obsolete, so it is time to provide you with a new strategy for BE.

    The "Academy Spam" strategy works on all difficulty levels and on all map types. The presented version is used on Soyuz and should be close to a 100% win rate (the only thing that can stop it is a massive early AI dogpile).
    Apollo difficulty requires some adjustments to adapt to the AI starting bonuses, but the core concept remains unchanged. Since I haven't spend much time on Apollo post patch (fighting uphill wars against AIs that are several affinity levels ahead is is no fun for me), I won't go into detail about that, though.

    The Idea:
    Just like my previous guide, this strategy focuses on rapid expansion during the early game, utilizing the still powerful yield of trade routes and later shifts into a tall-like setup with a limit number of cities that are well developed and utilize Academy spam to get as much science out of each pop as possible.

    The Setup:
    Sponsor: AU -> The growth bonus is pretty useless, since we spend a lot of time having negative health in BE. The free Old Earth Relic, however, speeds up early game virtue gain and border expansion significantly, giving this faction a lot of early momentum (which sorta compensates for the recent TR nerf). PAC is a great alternative choise, considering that you will be spamming a lot of improvements and that their wonder bonus will shorten the final wonder production by a turn or two.
    Colonists: Artists -> The removal of health makes early expansion less smooth, but imho the extra culture yield still makes these guys the strongest option overall. In combination with the AU trait you can rush out a free colonist very early.
    Spacecraft: Tectonic Scanner -> Being able to see strategic ressources early on is a great boon that allows us to adjust our city locations and avoid settling on them. If we are lucky and stumble upon a nearby Titanium, we get a massive early game production boost.
    Cargo: Laboratory -> Considering that we will receive a free settler very early on, we want the Trade Depot and a Trade Convoy asap. Machinery for a worker *might* be better in some situations, but overall I found that free Pioneering is more consistent and gives more early game momentum.
    Planet: Your choise! All this strategy needs is some food to feed your population and some land tiles to plant the Academies.

    Planetfall:
    You have very limited choise about your capital starting location, but occassionally you might want to move it a tile to get some good terrain within early reach. A coastal capital with enough hinterland for the Academies is a solid choise, but is no longer the strongest default option after the 25% yield bonus for naval trade routes has been removed.

    We start by researching Chemistry to get access to the Recycler (production) and Laboratory (science) and building a Trade Depot to get our trade network up and running asap. Use your inital explorer to scout the area around your capital to find a good spot for your first setter. The first 3 virtues are invested into the "Prosperity" tree - we want to unlock the free settler from "Colony Initiative" asap. Ideally you find a river with some grassland or flood plains for him. Stay away from wild lands (areas covered in forest, miasma and alien nests). The OER quest should pop up quite soon - pick the +1 culture option.

    Once the Trade Depot is finished we build a Trade Convoy. The free settler should be available shortly before turn 20. Keep a few things in mind when selecting the site of your outposts:
    (1) You need a clear path for your trade route. Make sure neither Miasma nor aliens obstruct your convoys. This becomes less important once you have Ecology, but is vital for your first outpost.
    (2) You will want a production tile next to your settle location to speed up the depot construction. Ideally we find a Titanium ressource, but other mining ressources or even a regular hill tile are fine.
    (3) A river provides extra energy. This is a great boon during the mid game, since you have compensate the upkeep cost (2 energy) for Academies.
    (4) Your city should have at least 1-2 decent food tiles around to feed your early population without a food-related improvement.
    (5) We need enough space for Academies. Grassland or flood plain tiles are preferable, but plains and desert hills are fine too. Avoid settling within tundra, flat deserts or too hilly regions if possible.
    (6) Overlapping is not important. Unless you have a lot of tiles blocked by mountains or Canyons, 3-4 distance between cities is perfectly acceptable.
    (7) Avoid forested areas. It takes a long time to clear them for ressource improvements or Academies, thus slowing down your city development significantly.

    Here is an example for the decision making process:
    Spoiler :

    We could settle at one of the recommended spots, but the ones in the SW are blocked off by Miasma (and in a forested area). The one SSE of our capital has no production tiles nearby (we will settle there later, though and just buy the Silica tile right away). The area around the Titanium tile is tempting, but creates a lot of empty space between our first outpost and the capital. Instead I opted for settling next to the river with 1 production tile next to the outpost, one Silica nearby and the Titanium still within reach. The remaining colonists can be sent S and SE to grab the spots near the rivers (but will they? Dun-dun-dun!).

    After the first 3 virtues we switch to the "Industry" tree. That might sound odd considering that we are using a science-focused strategy, but sadly the game doesn't last long enough for Knowledge to have a decent impact on our science output. The extra production, food and energy from Industry will speed up city developement, which in return provides more pop, more buildings and thus more science.

    Once the Trade Unit is finished, we use it to speed up the outpost's growth and to kickstart production via an internal trade route. Select Ecology as your next tech and then beeline directly towards Cognition. Build a worker in your capital and then alternatve between Colonists and Trade Convoys. Use the free soldier from your first outpost for scouting, escort duty or fortify him on a nearby Miasma Xenomass tile to prevent an alien nest from spawning.

    After 50 turns your colony should look something like this:
    Spoiler :


    Also notice how much our strategic situation has deteriorated:
    Spoiler :

    Earlier we had a lot of free space, but now we are squeezed in between 3 AIs that are very likely to declare war because of our proximity and fast expansion and a station has blocked the area with the remaining good yield tiles. If we continue with our original settle plan (the soldier indicates the location of the planned next city), we are almost guaranteed to go to war with PAC and Panslavic. It is important to remember that the AI reacts quite hostile to fast early expansion, so you will end up with a lot of early wars. Even worse, there is currently a serious bug that makes it impossible to sign peace if two AIs backstab you together - unless you completely eradicate one of them.

    So make sure to weight your options - do you really want to risk a permanent two front war because of that extra city? Sometimes picking a suboptimal location can be better than being forced into early warfare. In my case I opted to settle the coast NE of my capital for a total of 5 cities. War with PAC is still likely, but the other two AIs are much less likely to join them.

    This is also a good time to talk about the "5+" number in the thread title. Why "5"? Well, 5 is the number were all your cities can have an internal TR target (if you manage your TR correctly). You can utilize your whole trade power without relying on outside factors like AIs or stations. Why "+"? Because the actual ideal number of cities depends strongly on the terrain and the strategic situation. Sometimes you have a lot of empty space for easy colonization and the AIs spawn far away from you - in that case, feel free to settle another city or two. However, more often than not (at least on Standard map size) even finding 5 decent city spots without guaranteed war between you and the AIs will be somewhat challenging. Also keep in mind that city development takes time. Each city increases the tech cost by 5%, but it will usually yield much less science because it lacks the pop and buildings of your earlier settled cities. Lastely, 5 cities means less annoying TR micro management - even if more cities is more effective, I'd rather finish my game in 3 hours @ turn 225 than 5 hours @ turn 215...

    Early Game:
    While we are on our way to cognition, we settle the remaining cities and begin developing our infrastructure. Use your 2nd city to build workers - you will need at least one, better two, per city. Build roads back to your capital to setup the internal city connections for energy (ignore that if you have a coastal empire - in that case Depots are enough to establish a connection). Make sure you have enough Marines to fend off AI aggression (and factor in how likely the AI is to actually declare war - having a decent sized military is quite effective to prevent backstabbing).

    Use your workers to improve basic ressources around your cities and build mines to boost production of your cities. For your new cities the building order should be something like: Trade Depot -> Recycler -> Laboratory -> Vivarium -> Clinic -> Pharmlab. Remember that the "Standardized Architecture" virtue boosts production output for all buildings that are present in the capital (like the Rome UA inCIV5). If you have a good amount of energy it is a good idea to buy the Recyclers of your last two cities to speed up their development. But make sure to keep a reserve - Academies are costly and unless you have lots of rivers and flood plains you will run a deficit during the mid game.

    Don't worry about negative health at this stage - just like before the patch, the penalites are rather trivial. In the meantime you should reach the bottom end of the Industry tree - once you unlock Magnasanti, health will get close to 0.

    Here is an example of my usual virtue path:
    Spoiler :


    Mid Game:
    Around turn 90 or so, you should finally finish Cognition and enter the mid game.

    The next techs to research are Engineering (Thorium Reactors are necessary to sustain your Academies), Alien Lifeforms (Alien Preserves are a much needed Culture boost) and Robotics (Autoplants increase production and provide a minor energy income, Firaxite can be a powerful ressource). If you have some Firaxite ressources you will also want to pick up Physics (to unlock the Observatory, a quite good science building).

    Start spamming Academies in all your cities and continue with building construction. I strongly recommend NOT using manufactories unless you have a city that is production starved (because it can't get trade routes for whatever reason). You want to become health neutral during the mid game to utilize the +10% science virtue from the Knowledge tree.

    Around turn 100 your colony should look like this:
    Spoiler :


    Beyond that your tech choise depends a bit more on the terrain of your colony:
    If you have lots of food tiles, enough space for academies and your cities start to grow past the current health limits of your buildings, you should go for Genetic Design (With some luck you might even be able to deny the AI the Ectogenesis Pod, although you won't have much use for it past the base 3F/3P) and Transgenics (Gene Smelters offer health, potentially science and two scientist slots). After that you grab Bionics (Institute offers a free tech, which we use to unlock "Nanotechnology" and the 3 scientist slots can be used for cities that lack space for Academies). If your colony lacks food (or you were forced to settle in forested areas) you should prioritize Bionics instead, since Biowells are a great food supply that can be build on forest tiles (saving you up to 10 turns of forest removal).

    Other important but situational techs are Biochemistry and Planetary Survey. If you have a lot of coastal cities it can actually be worth grabbing Biochemistry before Transgenics, since the Water Refineries give you access to 2F, 1P, 1E tiles that don't require any improvement. The same goes for Planetary Survey: If you have a lot of water ressources it can become a worthwhile investment. If you have a lot of land ressources around your cities or just a few sea ressources you can delay these two techs after Bionics, though.

    There will be a spot when you actually run out of building options during the mid game (I'd recommend to skip the Repair Facility, the Launch Complex and the Ultra Sonic Fence unless you need them). In that case use the convert options. As rule of thumb I go food if the city has <10 pop and science if the city has 10+ pop. Once you have academies the decision also depends on the terrain and food yield available - if converting food allows you to work all academies and still grow, it might be a better option than science. In the end the difference between the two is a bit hard to estimate - and I am not really that keen on hardcore optimization, so just do what you think works best.

    Once you have finished Bionics and Transgenics, you should pick up Computing (for Networks and the Spy Agency), Geophysics (only if you have Geothermal ressources in some cities - the extra energy is quite useful!) and Ballistics (if you are at war with an AI, but feel free to get this earlier if their military pressure becomes too high). After that you will have to decide for an affinity. This strategy should work with any of the available affinites, although your late game tech path will be quite different. I personally prefer Harmony because it has the least tedious victory condition (and Xenomass is often readily available and has the best tile yields of all affinity ressources), so this guide will go into detail for the Harmony tech order.

    Alien Sciences is by far the most important early Harmony related tech. It unlocks the Xenowell, one of the most powerful tile improvements that synergizes well with the other two buildings from the tech. You want that food from the Xenomass Well and the Cloning Plant, you need the Energy from the Xenofuel Plant and the science boost from the Xenonursery is most welcome. The cherry on top of that is a quest that either grant a big yield bonus to the Xenowell or 1000 energy (which can be a life saver if you are running a huge deficit). From there you move to Alien Ethics, which allows early construction of Mind Stems and (once we have the appropriate affinity level) Xenosanctuaries, both buildings that reduce the transcendence time of the mindflower (1 turn less for each building). With 5 Xeno Sanctuaries and 5 Mind Stems, the final Mindflower timer will be 19 turns.

    Late Game:
    From here onwards you are more or less on auto pilot to win the game.

    More science should be your highest priority. Once you have Mind Stems and Xeno Sanctuaries set your cities to convert science - no other buildings are worth constructing past this point.
    Make sure that you maximize the science output of your cities (either by micromanagement or using the science focus in the city screen).

    Grab harmony affinity techs and give priority depending on your needs:
    (1) If you are running an energy deficit get Photosystems and launch Solar Collectors.
    (2) If you are at war grab Tissue Engineering for better healing and Alien Adaption and Alien Domestication for better unit types.
    Afterwards just grab all other cheap Harmony techs until you reach affinity level 13: Alien Biology, Swarm Robotics, Swarm Intelligence (this one is important because it is required for building the Mindflower) and Alien Hybridization.
    Nanorobotics should be your last tech to grab the two missing Affinity levels and open up the Mindflower construction.

    Once you are getting close towards Mindflower affinity level start building Manufactories around your capital. But stay healthy to benefit from that 10% science boost virtue! If necessary halt construction 1 turn before the manufactories are completed and finish them once Nanorobotics is researched. Send a trade route from all your other cities to the capital and try to establish connections to stations from it.

    When you have researched Nanorobotics and thus reached Harmony 13 set your capital to production focus and start producing the Mind Flower in a safe spot. Under ideal circumstances, you should start construction around turn 190 or so. But, well, things go wrong so turn 200 is probably a more frequent result (even more so if you don't micromanage your citizens). Either way the flower should take ~12-20 turns to build, so you should usually win the game around turn 230-240.

    In my sample game I only managed to start construction around turn 201, since a two-front war with PAC and Polystralia forced me into a energy deficit mid game, resulting in a signficant tech delay and production wasted on military units:
    Spoiler :


    Remove the science focus from your other cities and start building stuff again. From here on it is simply about waiting that the Mindflower is finished and that the transcendence timer reaches zero and there is little you can do to boost production any further to speed up the process. The only new building that can occassionally speed up the Mindflower construction by another turn is the Microbiological Mine from Bio Engineering (if you are lucky and the quest triggers fast enough).

    So sit back, fiddle your thumbs (or do whatever else you want) and win the game.

    Addendum:
    Some additional insights, including answers to frequent questions:

    (1) "Why only 5 cities?"
    -> The number of cities really depends on terrain and AI placement. I consider 5 to be the MINIMUM number of cities to make this strategy work well. If you have more space to expand easily you should probably found a few more. The key is to found them EARLY, so that they will actually contribute to your science gain. Remember: A new city has to make up for that 5% science cost increase. In addition to that I hate the "always war" bug that prevents you from making peace with the AI. Until that is fixed I'd rather have less cities...

    (2) "Help, I have a huge energy deficit after starting the academy spam."
    -> This is actually a frequent mid-game problem of this strategy. Make sure you keep an energy reserve during the early game and maximize your energy income: Establish connections to the capital via roads (land locked cities) or Depots (coastal cities). Get the "Alernative Market" virtue and establish trade routes to nearby stations. Re-route internal trade routes to AI cities. Build your first academies alongside river tiles. Get Photosystems and build Solar Collectors. Build Xenofuel plants (or on a water map: Biofuel Plants).

    (3) "Why are we getting Ecology instead of Beelining Cognition?"
    -> Ecology is sort of "save bet" option. Removing Miasma can open up new settle locations and makes ressource improvement less tedious/dangerous. The Vivarium is a quite potent early game building (and remember: 1 pop = 1 science) and the Sonic Fence is a godsend if one of your cities or a station is located next to aliens.

    (4) "Why Industry and not Knowledge or Prosperity?"
    -> Industry helps us in the early game and creates a snowball effect. Prosperity, on the other hand, doesn't offer as much production or energy and health is, frankly, still pointless during the early game. Even later on the benefits from Industry simply outweight the potential benefits of positive health. As for Knowledeg: If the game would last for turn 300+ Knowledge might be a solid option. I tried all three approaches and the result is simple: Industry finishes the game much earlier and is much more reliable.

    (5) "Why aren't you getting "Learning Centers" (+1 Science Yield from Academies)?"
    -> Because it doesn't do enough. You will usually have around 20 Academies or so, so that's 20 extra science, which is equal between a 5% and 8% boost or so. Compared to that, the -10% leaf tech cost is much stronger. I think even at the original +2 Science per Academy it would be a close call, since the left side also has better overall virtues.

    (6) "I can't get all the virtues from your sample picture!"
    -> That's okay. I usually start building the Mindflower around the 4th Knowledge virtue or so. Going Knowledge is more of a "failsafe" anyway. The 10% science boost is nice, but not essential. Think of it this way: If the game gets delayed for whatever reason, the Knowledge virtues will reduce the impact of whatever is slowing you down.

    (7) "My settler got killed by aliens!"
    -> That's why you use your scout (and later your marine) as an escort.

    (8) "Aliens are killing off my trade routes!"
    -> Use your Marine to block squares that allow aliens to get close to the trade route. Hunt down single aliens between your cities. Found cities close to each other to minimize the amount of empty space. If everything fails, set your trade convoys to "sleep" and build an Ultrasonic Fence.

    (9) "Why start with Pioneering over a worker?"
    -> Because I feel the Depot is a more consistent start. Sometimes you don't have any production ressources or tiles nearby - and then your worker is pretty useless. The early Trade route, on the other hand, usually equals +5 production in the capital. You also don't have to reserach the tech, so you make it towards Cognition a bit faster. And on top of that, you will get that free Marine with your first Outpost - which makes it a lot easier to protect your other settlers.

    (10) "Help, the AI is attacking me!"
    -> Yes, you will go through a lot of early game wars. The AI will hate your rapid expansion and if any AI lands near your capital or first outpost, you can almost be sure that there is war. But you can buy time. Give in to AI demands like "2 energy and open borders for 1 favor". Building Marines will certainly make the AI less likely to attack you (in my sample game the PAC + Polystralia backstab didn't happen until turn 170 because I built 2 extra Marines early on).

    (11) "Okay, but I am war - what now?"
    -> Considering that you will lack the tech for fancy units just spam Marines and place them next to your cities. Fortify on a non-miasma tile (if possible on a hill or in a forest) and absorb as many attacks as possible while using your city to destroy the attackers. If the AI brings tons of ranged units suicide your Marines into them if necessary - ranged spam will bring down early game cities quite quickly. If things go really south pick up Ballistics. A city with a Rocket Batteries is very resilent to early game assaults and can crush attackers easily. If you are at war during the later stages of the game, you should watch out for are mid to late game naval attacks - sometimes the AI will bring a significant force, able to take fortified cities in 2-3 turns.

    (12) "Why are you leaving gaps between your Marines?"
    -> I found that this is a really good strategy to repel (or at least delay) the AI. Thanks to zone of control you can cover a larger area with less units so that the enemy cannot easily advance into your territory. It also seems to confuse the AI: One time it moves into a gap between two units (in that case: counter attack and finish them off with a city attack), another time its whole army retreats a bit to reorganize. Later on (with enough Harmony affinity) your Marines will benefit from that "+40% combat strength when not next to a friendly unit" perk, making it really hard to dislodge them. If you can add the Miasma bonus your units will turn into impenetrable fortresses that have 100+ effective combat strength.

    (13) "Why don't you get Computing earlier?"
    -> To be frank, I am a bit torn about the whole espionage system in BE. Some parts of it are plain abusive (like swapping your tech before you finish stealing science), but overall I just don't think that you will get enough benefit from espionage early on. Your first few missions will be stealing energy, which is nice but not really vital. If you delay Computing for a bit, chances are other AIs have pushed intrigue in some cities already and you are free to hop in and steal science directly. Overall, I just don't feel that espionage is a vital component for this strategy - and the UI is pretty clunky and not much fun to use, so I avoid it when possible.
     
  2. RealHuhn

    RealHuhn Chieftain

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    Your initial build order works very well, indeed.

    However, I have a slight variation. With a bit of luck, it speeds up researching Cognition significantly.

    BO in capital: Trade Depot -> Convoy -> Scout

    First, research Genetics, then follow your guide. Don't collect any resource pods until you reach Genetics (unless the AI is too close).
    After that, switch to Cognition whenever you grab a pod. Every science pod will be worth 154 science instead of the usual 15-25. It's like an early spy stealing science. Pretty awesome :).
     
  3. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    Yeah, to be frank I consider this to be a bug/exploit (just like the science swapping before stealing science via a spy), so I don't actively abuse it.
     
  4. tedeviatings

    tedeviatings Chieftain

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    I'd be interested if you considered getting additional explorers early and what difficulty this guide is addressing
     
  5. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    Oh, right - adding that.

    The guide works on all difficulty levels, althogh I prefer to play on Soyuz because Apollo wars are no fun. :scan:

    I usually don't bother with extra Explorers because I prefer consistency over gambling for ressource pods.
     
  6. gilbertlew

    gilbertlew Chieftain

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    Thank you for the updated post to The Promised Land. Because this weekend Steam has a free trial to BE, I was using your guide to get a feel of the game. This update is welcome and timely.
     
  7. tedeviatings

    tedeviatings Chieftain

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    Maybe it's nothing more than an old Civ V habit but I really like having 2 to 3 explorers in total early on. On land maps anyways. Because I'm often glad I have them even aside from pods and expeditions. There is so much useful stuff they can do at least as good as marines if not better. And they're cheaper.

    Each their own play-style so nothing wrong with you preferring not to build any. Just wanted to say there's more to scouts than resource pods.
     
  8. fjordan

    fjordan Chieftain

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    I am trying out your guide (thank you for posting it) as I never build any academies (winning at Soyuz is no problem without them, I like to boost my farms and get big cities). One thing I noticed is that your comment about forest areas seems not correct. Yes, it takes 10 turns to clear them. But build an academy directly and it goes from 8 -> 12 turns. A plantation: 6 -> 9 turns. So 50% extra? I have not been reading the forums till now because I like to discover things myself first, could this be the case? 3/4 worker turns for 20 production seems a good deal to me.
     
  9. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    Even if that is the case (I'd guess it's a bug?), 3 to 4 worker turns are not worth the extra production from a forest. Avoid heavily forested areas like the plague.
     
  10. Hot_spur

    Hot_spur Chieftain

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    Man, I must be doing something wrong. I followed your guide as best I could, and I won a victory, but it took me 324 turns to get there.
     
  11. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    Sounds quite like it.
    Create a few save points (turn 1, turn 25, turn 50, turn 100) and I'll have a look at it.

    ...you are playing standard speed?
     
  12. Hot_spur

    Hot_spur Chieftain

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    Yes, standard speed.

    I can make a screen shot of turn 1, 24, and 94 - I don't have anything around 50.

    Thanks for your advice.
     
  13. Hot_spur

    Hot_spur Chieftain

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    Curses. As soon as I loaded the first autosave, the game wiped out all of the later ones.

    I'll play another game and create saves as I go, then post back if it takes me 300 turns again.
     
  14. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    Allrighty!
    Godspeed!
     
  15. Xenotitan

    Xenotitan Chieftain

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    The display of turn times to build improvements on forest tiles is bugged sometimes. You still chop the forest first, in the standard time for chopping the forest, followed by building the improvement in the standard time for that improvement. Some improvements, such as biowells, can be built in forests with 50% extra build time for the improvement but no chop time. These improvements do not remove the forest or provide production.
     
  16. fjordan

    fjordan Chieftain

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    Ah, thank you for the explanation. I have been too lazy to test this, but I figured these things should be knwon on the forum and it is. More than enough reason to avoid forest areas and only start chopping when there is not much else to do. 18 turns for an improvement is ridicilous.
     
  17. sylvanllewelyn

    sylvanllewelyn Perma-newb

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    Having tried your strategy, I have a few questions.

    Why not pair “tectonic scanner” with “machinery” then? Then you settle the 2nd city next to the titanium, mine it with the free worker.

    I presume all that production is only for transcendence victory right? Because with only 5 cities, artists and African Union, you can easily finish the knowledge tree. The free tech, assuming you get the most expensive one, is worth at least 15 turns. Industry just gives you all that extra production but beyond the early buildings, there’s not much worth building, so it’s just produce agriculture or science which is inefficient.

    Your tech order is Chemistry --> ecology --> genetics --> cognition. Where does the affinity-giving tech fit in?

    Wait… I get attacked EVERY TIME I accept! So I only accept if I am itching for a fight. However, if I refuse, sometimes they don’t. Someone needs to check the code. My suspicion is that the AI does not have perfect knowledge and that increases the threshold required to trigger war. Or maybe a refusal is a “deception failed” counter. Or something.
     
  18. tedeviatings

    tedeviatings Chieftain

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    Usually you can manage to get 1 affinity per quests or ruins without having to explicitly tech it. There's nothing wrong with getting an affinity tech if you expect war, though. Not dying is usually of higher importance than a good cognition timing :)

    Someone said somewhere that the AI wants to scout your land for attack paths and that's why they want open borders with you just before the attack. Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. Anyways, not giving open borders usually doesn't spare you war either at this point :(
     
  19. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Chieftain

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    I used to do that pre-patch, but the early Depot is better now when playing AU, since their first coloniest is available much earlier.
    You are not guaranteed to have Titanium - and even if you find a source nearby, the hammers would end up in the smaller colony. The Trade Depot is a more reliable way to generate extra hammers in the capital (which means you can just build a worker to improve Titanium).

    Industry is a very strong kickstarter, since all your new cities will produce buildings faster, which in return means more health, more food, more growth - and ultimately: more science. The 25% boost for TR alone is already equal to an empire wide 10-15% food and hammer bonus. While the free tech from Knowledge might save you ~12-15 turns during the late game, Industry speeds up the game as whole. I tried both virtue trees with turn-1 savegames and Industry always finished 20-30 turns earlier.

    Regarding inefficent conversion:
    Convertion hammers might seem inefficient due to the 25% ratio, but having all the buildings up earlier is already a significant benefit in it's own right. And even then you have to consider that Industry will probably give you a ~20% or so production boost, so that's at least 5% extra science when converting (and always possible, unlike the +10% boost from Knowledge).

    You don't get them until you need them. So either until you are fighting enemies with much higher affinity levels or unless they unlock something really good (like the Xeno Sanctuary). But you should be able to finish at least one affinity related quest, so getting Marines is possible without tech investment.

    I am not sure if does even help, but hey: I gladly pay 2 GPT (or: EPT) to *possibly* prevent a war that might cost me 3-5 turns for the victory. I think military power has a huge influence on AI DOWs. Because I recently started to build a few more early marines and noticed a significant reduction of AI sneak attacks.
     
  20. Hot_spur

    Hot_spur Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    I did better this time. Finished on turn 270. Didn't get to start the Mind Flower until 226.
     

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