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getting beat on the land grab

Kneller

Chieftain
Joined
May 21, 2012
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34
I just started playing this game recently. This is the first TBS game I've played since MoM over 10 years ago. I like it, but I seem to be having some problems.

Some background info. I'm playing almost exclusively on Chieftain. I'm effectively a TBS noob, so I want to start from the beginning. For leaders, I've been playing mostly HC (for the traits), Mansa (I like Africa), or Elizabeth (I like her, too) for leaders.

One of my biggest problems is that I'm getting trounced in the land grab every time. I'm lucky if I can get three cities out, and the other civs are always way ahead of me on both land ownership and development. Considering I'm playing on a low difficulty, the AI shouldn't be cheating. But even on maps where I spawn in a perfect spot for my settlers and emphasize growth from the start, by the time I discover other civs, they are way ahead of me in both territory and number of cities. The only place in which I seem to have an edge is with research.

Anyway, I suspect that the main problem I'm having is with city growth. Larger cities mean more production and faster builds, right? However, I find I'm often lacking in food for decent growth (even if I spawn with a couple of decent farming resources nearby). Or, I'm doing ok on food, but falling behind on happiness and/or health. I've found very few ways to increase that other than with a couple of buildings (minor effect) or using the hereditary rule civic (early on). However the latter isn't all that helpful as I have one military unit at the most in any city as I'm neglecting military for economy.

In any event, I'm not sure why I'm not getting a better land control since that's what I'm working towards the most. Can anyone advise?
 

UnforcedError

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Could you perhaps post a game save? It's hard to give advice without seeing how you generally play. Or you might want to check the articles in this section for some useful tips.
 

Kneller

Chieftain
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May 21, 2012
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This is a good example of a typical game. Despite focusing on land grabs and culture, I'm barely holding my own on map domination. I have virtually no military, and Tiwanaku is regularly getting its fishing boats shredded by barbarians.

I prefer to play as non-offensively militaristic as possible. I was thinking of starting over with the Surya or Gilgamesh. Both civs seem like they would better fit my play style, and even though Surya would probably be better, I'm leaning towards Gilgamesh only because out of all the leaders, he's the one whose history I like the most.

I am open to suggestions, though. Any thoughts?
 

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s.bernbaum

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I have not had a look yet at your savegame but I suspect that you are probably not training enough workers early on. This is the most common cause for new players of the problem that you are having.
 

Kneller

Chieftain
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May 21, 2012
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Actually, sometimes my workers have nothing to do. I always have at least one more tile developed in each city than I have citizens, all resources built upon, and roads going between everything. After that, I have them chopping (outside of the fat cross), but when that's done, they're just camping out in some city or another.
 

s.bernbaum

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I just looked at your savegame. The problem is definitely workers. You have four cities and only three workers and they are not doing the optimal work. A good rule of thumb in the early game is 1.5 workers per city, which would mean six workers here. That allows you to do more and do it faster, which will let you expand your empire faster and grab more land.

You have loads of unchopped forests. Setting workers to chop forests will let you produce more settlers faster. You may want to save some forests for later in the game, either for specific chop outs or as lumber mills but forests on hills should be chopped early, since a mine there will be more productive and the chop itself will help with what the city is building. Forests on the tiles immediately adjacent tot the city should also be chopped for the production benefit. You don't want to keep forests tight up on the city tile anyway because if you are attacked, attackers in the forest are a lot harder to deal with than those in the open (50% defense bonus for the attacker on the forest tile).

Once you remove some of the forests, the workers will still have plenty to do by developing those tiles. Depending on where they are, they can become cottages to increase commerce, farms to increase population faster, or mines to increase production.

Looking at the city screens, although you have had the ability to build forges for a long time, you have built none. That should be a priority build in any city that has at least four :hammers:. A forge will increase your production in the city by 25% and allow you to employ an engineer specialist, which can add two more hammers to the city.

Looking at the civs screen, you are still running barbarism and tribalism, despite having vassalage, slavery, and caste system available. Vassalage will allow you to have stronger units and have 8 of the ones that you build be free of maintenance costs. Slavery will allow you to convert population growth into production. Caste system (instead of or usually later than slavery) allows you to run specialists, supported by extra food (see comments in paragraphs above), to increase culture, gold, production or science, as you choose.

I would also suggest that you have a look at some of the beginners guides that you will find in the War Academy (from the CIV drop down menu at the top of every forum screen).
 

Kneller

Chieftain
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I was under the impression that chopping forests in the fat cross is a bad idea, as it dwindles away a city's max health (which is often a problem for me eventually). I did wonder about forests directly surrounding a city, though, in that they might give defensive bonuses to attackers.

However, even if I had chopped out around the city, I would have been way ahead of development for the citizenry. But sure, I throw some more workers in the mix and see how it pans out.

What about for leadership? Is there a better peaceful developer than HC?
 

s.bernbaum

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Forests in the Big Fat Cross or BFC are each worth ½ health point. So, if you are keeping them for that reason, save an even number. However, health does not become a problem until at least the mid game. By that time there are several health benefit buildings that you can use. If you plan to eventually build the National Park in a city, keeping a lot of forests there is okay but realize that the city will not be a prime producer until after you can build lumber mills and forest preserves. I would not keep forests in the inner ring of the BFC unless the city is well inside my borders in a large empire where attack is unlikely or if they are on tundra not on a fresh water source.

I mostly play on Marathon these days, which is even slower than the Epic speed that you are using, so my experience there is probably comparable. (I have also played Epic and Normal speeds a fair amount in the past.) I have found that I can get a peaceful victory and game with about any leader. I play on Noble level, partly because that is true. At Chieftain, you should be able to play a peaceful game with any leader. That said, the general consensus on the forums seems to be that HC and Ramses are the best leaders for a peaceful game at higher levels. Beyond Warlord level, diplomacy and a good sized army (even if you never use it) are needed to maintain a peaceful game.

Looking at the Demographics screen in your save game, you are dead last in food production by a long way. That is a big part of the problem. Having chopped some of those forests and made them into farms would have made a big difference.

I also like forests and keep more than most players but most of them get chopped.
 

Abegweit

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Actually, sometimes my workers have nothing to do. I always have at least one more tile developed in each city than I have citizens, all resources built upon, and roads going between everything. After that, I have them chopping (outside of the fat cross), but when that's done, they're just camping out in some city or another.
This is simply NOT true. In your capital, there are three grass hills with forest on them. Mining those hills should have been the FIRST thing you did to this city after working the food tiles. There are also four uncut riverside grass tiles, which should have had cottages at least a thousand years ago. Meanwhile the city is working a forest, two specialists and two coast tiles - including a clam that still doesn't have a work boat :eek: There is no lighthouse either. This is also true of your other cities. They are all underdeveloped.

There are other issues as well.

You have been boxed in by the Khmer. You shouldn't let this happen. Build towards the enemy in order to claim the land. Even so, there are some great city sites which haven't been founded yet. This includes east of the horse and south of the iron. Not to mention the islands and the entire continent that Ollaytaytambo is on.

Speaking of Ollay, it is a terrible city (well, it's not completely horrible because of all the FIN coast, but there are a lot of far better sites). Rule: every city should have a food resource and every food resource should have a city. Ollay has no food and thus it cannot grow. It is occasionally right to build a city w/o food if there is a valuable resource in the area but that's not true here.

BTW, why is it working the forested hill instead of the mined one??? In fact the AI citizen assignments are superior to the actual ones in every city (click on the city centre to see what it thinks). Aside from its annoying habit of assigning spies everywhere, the AI does a decent job of citizen assignment. You might want to let it do that initially while concentrating on learning skills like worker management and Rapid EXpansion of your empire.

Aside from that, this game is won since you are so far ahead in research. You are researching Guilds. Get Horseback Riding as well. While doing that, claim the Iron and Horses. Then train some Knights and go out to clobber the hapless AI.

Also switch to Slavery so you can whip out some military faster. You should have been in Slavery 4000 years ago anyway. Another important civic you are missing is Bureaucracy. That is a gorgeous capital.

Next move up a level (or preferably three). Once you fix the points above, you'll be move than ready for Noble. You are already too good for Chieftan. :goodjob:
 

UnforcedError

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I looked at the save too. As s.bernbaum already pointed out the main problem is you're not utilizing forests or the whip (Slavery) at all (both of these are necessary on the higher levels). 1 pop whip = 30 hammers (normal speed, without prod multipliers), 1 chop in fat cross = 20 hammers (normal speed) or 30 hammers with Math.

As for your question, this game is about doing what would benefit you the most at a given stage of the game. It's true that all those forests you left unchopped would be great with lumbermills after Replaceable Parts, but they would have given you another 5-6 cities with workers and defenders if you had chopped them in the early game.

Just out of curiosity: why did you settle Ollantaytambo? The tiny island with the fish north of it would have been a much better spot.

Also: your initial workers did't have anything to do because you went for Poly and Priesthood first. Also, you built Stonehenge before settling another city. (Never even consider building Stonehenge with Capac. Build terraces.) Try researching worker techs first, and definitely found at least another city before your first wonder.

Btw the leaders you tried to play (Capac, Liz and Mansa) are top-notch, even on the higher levels.
 

Solyaris

Warlord
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You focus too much on culture and too little on expancion. Don't be afraid to chop forests, and aim for more cities. Also, research slider dosnt need (and shoudnt be) at 100% all the time. Aim for 6-7-8 cities at least at 1AD. Know which wonders to build and why (pyramids, the great library and the great lighthouse are usualy good chioces).

I will attach a save on cheiftan to 1AD I did myself. No war, medicore starting possition.
 

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lindsay40k

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Don't worry too much about city health. As you grow, your cities will generally accumulate Granaries, Harbours and Aqueducts, and a good mix of food sources. It's very rare that you need to keep forests to hand to maintain public health, and any benefit of +1 in one city is negligible compared to sending out a Settler five turns sooner and nabbing some prime land that ends up adding an extra food type to your network and giving every city +1.
 

Abegweit

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You focus too much on culture and too little on expancion. Don't be afraid to chop forests, and aim for more cities. Also, research slider dosnt need (and shoudnt be) at 100% all the time. Aim for 6-7-8 cities at least at 1AD. Know which wonders to build and why (pyramids, the great library and the great lighthouse are usualy good chioces).

I will attach a save on cheiftan to 1AD I did myself. No war, medicore starting possition.
I agree with some of your points. Yes, chop the forests. Yes, get more cities. However I don't understand why you think he has focused on culture and the wonders comment is, shall we say, insufficient. The Pyramids are extremely expensive for such an early date, the Great Library is far off the optimal research path and the GLH can be completely useless in many cases. This being said, on the right map, all are powerful. Other good choices are the MoM (hard to get on the higher levels but very very good) and the Oracle. Many (most?) top players consider it to be the strongest early wonder of all (check out the SGOTMs for more on this). However, when learning the game, it is best to ignore wonders altogether. They are all situational. As such, it is more important to concentrate on basic game mechanics. When you understand them, you can worry about when particular wonders fit well.

I have to say that your save, while certainly better than OP's, is far from optimal. Some points.

More workers! And use the ones you have more efficiently. There are unimproved tiles everywhere. For example, Asyut is working an unimproved Pig and there is no sign of a worker in the area. In general, a new city should be assigned at least one, and normally two, workers.

Several cities have lots of cottages and two scientists. Why? :confused: If it's a cottage city it should be allowed to grow. Scientists should be assigned in cities with farms. Make a choice!

Why did you build the GLH on a world without oceans? Why, for that matter, did you choose a lakes maps if your intention was to teach something about the game? Surely something more standard, like Pangaea or Continents would have been a better choice.

It's 1AD and you are doing 62BPT on chieftain at 30%!!! I'm not quite sure what exactly went wrong but something clearly did. Some thoughts on what it might be. Only the capital has whip anger. Yet that is just about the last city you want to have it. Memphis needs to be slapped. Others should too but they have too many cottages.

What is Abydos? It has one cottage, zero future, and maintenance above its value. Why? Especially, why is it building an obelisk? Seriously. There are no borders to expand and you ain't going to win any culture war.

BTW, it's 1AD and you have generated exactly one GP. What did he do? Ah yes, I see. An academy in Heliopolis. Not a bad choice but, if it was right, shouldn't you be moving your capital to this city instead of training a settler? And if you are training a settler, shouldn't you be working the mines instead of running scientists?
 

Kneller

Chieftain
Joined
May 21, 2012
Messages
34
I want to reiterate for those who missed it. I'm playing as non-violent and humane as possible. So, military is only for self defense and no slavery or anything else detrimental to my citizenry.

I started a new HC game, with fewer opponents, posted below. This time I tried to be more focused on building cities, generating food (and other resources), with some religious investment on the side (I got Hinduism first and plan to spread it around). I have more workers than the last game, too.

It's 825 B.C. and I still only have three cities, but they're decently placed and am now working on a seaward expansion. Tiwanaku was done to block the gold resource, and Machu for the copper.

I think I'm going to have a little trouble when I finally meet the third opponent. Right now, China and I are sharing that continent, whereas #3 is on a continent all by himself with no opposition. It's why I'm starting to go seaward, now that (I think) I have our continent under control.

Side note, I have that farm in Cuzco that is being worked, but not connected with a road. Should it be so the other cities can get some kind of benefit from it? I'm still not 100% certain what should be "roaded" and what need not be.

why did you settle Ollantaytambo? The tiny island with the fish north of it would have been a much better spot.

No good reason, that's for sure. I did it as a way point for a seaward expansion. But, you're right, it's not a good spot. There are some barbarians to the NE on that continent. I'm currently far enough away for it not to be a problem, but had planned to eventually work my way there and clear them out. Those bastards keep attacking my coast city.

Don't worry too much about city health.

I didn't at first, but in my first games it became a problem, so I thought I'd take it more seriously.

However, when learning the game, it is best to ignore wonders altogether. They are all situational. As such, it is more important to concentrate on basic game mechanics. When you understand them, you can worry about when particular wonders fit well.

I figured I needed the culture for border expansion.
 

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UnforcedError

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I want to reiterate for those who missed it. I'm playing as non-violent and humane as possible. So, military is only for self defense and no slavery or anything else detrimental to my citizenry.
I see. So you want to play some weird role playing scenario involving always peace :) Note that you're still at war with the barbs, though. (And you annihilated one AI in your previous game by walking into its empty capital. Is that non-violent?)
I started a new HC game, with fewer opponents, posted below. This time I tried to be more focused on building cities...
Chieftain, standard size, epic speed, less opponents? Hm. Why do you want even less challenge?
It's 825 B.C. and I still only have three cities, but they're decently placed and am now working on a seaward expansion. Tiwanaku was done to block the gold resource, and Machu for the copper.
I wouldn't really call cities dropped in the middle of a sea of brown plains 'decently placed'. And if Tiwanaku was placed to 'block the gold' why didn't you settle it 1W so that it could actually work it? (It's no question that settling the copper was a necessity, though. But it's a crap city nevertheless.)
Side note, I have that farm in Cuzco that is being worked, but not connected with a road. Should it be so the other cities can get some kind of benefit from it? I'm still not 100% certain what should be "roaded" and what need not be.
In general, resources have to be connected by a road to either of your cities (or a fort) provided the city itself is connected to your main network. However, rivers within your cultural borders also function as roads in that respect. Cities placed along the coastline will be connected to each other as long as the coast between them is unfogged and free (not blocked by a barb city or an AI you don't have open borders with) (you need sailing to connect two cities that don't have overlapping cultural borders).

I fooled around a bit with your save and attached the file so that you can check it after you finished your game.
Spoiler :
It's 200 AD now and you have 11 cities. The other continent is still there for the taking, in fact you could win dom by just expanding peacfully (traded for Mansa's map). (I didn't use the whip as you wished, otherwise the new cities would be much more developed by now.) Note: You could crush both Mansa and Mao with 4-5 swords and a few cats :lol:


I figured I needed the culture for border expansion.
You need some culture for the border expansion but the terrace is enough unless you actually have to combat AI culture.
 

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s.bernbaum

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I took a look at your new game save. Here are some thoughts:

1. If you are pursuing a culture victory or playing a religious themed game, I can see why you want theology. Otherwise, I would be researching Alphabet and then Currency. They are both much more important in the early game.

2. Why is your settler on board a galley? There are several good city sites reachable by land (more on this below). The empty galley should be sent to the northeast to explore the land mass(es) that are visible across the strait there. If they turn out to be part of a large land mass, send a quecha to the strait and use the galley to transfer him to the other land mass to explore it. Another reason not to send the galley with a settler on it is that at this stage of the game, you may well encounter a large number of barbarian galleys off the unexplored shores, resulting in your galley being sunk. Not too bad a trade for good map info but very bad if an expensive settler was onboard.

3. Tiwanka should be building a terrace. Leave the missionary until there is not something more immediately valuable to build. You can always spread the religion later, if that fits your plan.

4. Cuzco has everything it needs for now. It should be cranking out settlers to settle the good sites before the AIs do. You are still at 100% research, so you have plenty of room to found more cities and let the slider drop. I would suggest letting it go as low as 20% before stopping settling to catch up on :commerce: production. (In my games, I would actually go as low as 0%, but you need to be able to manage specialists well to do that.)

5. Sites that I would settle are below. At chieftain level, you can be pretty aggressive around the AIs as far as settling goes, since they are not very militarily aggressive. With that in mind, I would settle in this order. On higher levels this would be more risky and I would probably favor the safer spots on the list first.

A) On the north coast, 1 tile NE (1NE) of the corn north of Guangzhou. It claims the corn and the sheep. With the culture that you generate, you will take the marble from Guangzhou. It also closes off the coast route, which would otherwise allow China to build cities north of you. The AIs will not cross through your territory to settle a new city but they will squeeze through any non cultured route, no matter how narrow. After they have no more land settlement sites, they will use galleys to get around you but not until then. I would grab this site with your current settler before Guangzhou pops it borders and claims the corn.

B) 1SW of the corn at the NE corner of the continent. This is good land with all the rivers for either a commerce city or Great Person (GP) farm. Along with site 'A', it will also lock up the north coast as yours.

C) 1N of the deer immediately SE of Cuzco. The city will have good food sources in the deer and the sheep. Due to the overlap with Cuzco, it will be able to use two of the mines that you have already developed for Cuzco immediately, since Cuzco has more than it can use for now. I choose this before site 'D' below because China can send a settler here travelling south of your borders, while site 'C' would require a galley, if you have settled site 'A'.

D) 1S of the sheep NW of the gold that is north of Cuzco. This will get food from the sheep and be able to use the gold mine, which is currently outside of the BFC of the other cities.
 

nfw

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If the land nearby are really nice and I have close neighbors, I'll chop and whip out 2 settlers to start.
 

Jake Blues

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I just started playing this game recently. This is the first TBS game I've played since MoM over 10 years ago. I like it, but I seem to be having some problems.

Some background info. I'm playing almost exclusively on Chieftain. I'm effectively a TBS noob, so I want to start from the beginning. For leaders, I've been playing mostly HC (for the traits), Mansa (I like Africa), or Elizabeth (I like her, too) for leaders.

One of my biggest problems is that I'm getting trounced in the land grab every time. I'm lucky if I can get three cities out, and the other civs are always way ahead of me on both land ownership and development. Considering I'm playing on a low difficulty, the AI shouldn't be cheating. But even on maps where I spawn in a perfect spot for my settlers and emphasize growth from the start, by the time I discover other civs, they are way ahead of me in both territory and number of cities. The only place in which I seem to have an edge is with research.

Anyway, I suspect that the main problem I'm having is with city growth. Larger cities mean more production and faster builds, right? However, I find I'm often lacking in food for decent growth (even if I spawn with a couple of decent farming resources nearby). Or, I'm doing ok on food, but falling behind on happiness and/or health. I've found very few ways to increase that other than with a couple of buildings (minor effect) or using the hereditary rule civic (early on). However the latter isn't all that helpful as I have one military unit at the most in any city as I'm neglecting military for economy.

In any event, I'm not sure why I'm not getting a better land control since that's what I'm working towards the most. Can anyone advise?

Play the Terra map and make a beeline for Caravels, circumnavigate the globe to get the extra movement bonus and then work toward training Galleons. If you're fast enough, you'll have the entire New World to yourself, with all the goody huts. Darius is perfect for this tactic as with some leaders the maintenance costs will crush your economy.
 

UnforcedError

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I agree with most of what s.bernbaum said but (4.) Cuzco definitely needs a terrace and a lighthouse in the near future preferably before it starts cranking out settlers and workers. And you should road into Mao asap, as you're not getting any foreign trade routes.

As far as city placement goes you seem to be afraid of overlapping city fat crosses or unworkable tiles within cities but that should never be an issue. It's more important to settle every food resource you encounter even if the city would only have 4-5 workable tiles otherwise. The extra food can always support 1-2 specialists if there are no more tiles to grow on to, so the city will easily pay off its maintenance. These cities will never become size 20 giants but this shouldn't be your goal either. Even with a granary and fairly unlimited :health: / :) it takes very long to grow a city to size 20. Chances are you've won the game by that time. Besides, overlapping fat crosses allow for tile sharing, the lesser distance will cost you less maintenance and the cities will be easier to defend (although the latter two arent't really of huge importance on Chieftain).
 

s.bernbaum

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I agree with most of what s.bernbaum said but (4.) Cuzco definitely needs a terrace and a lighthouse in the near future preferably before it starts cranking out settlers and workers. And you should road into Mao asap, as you're not getting any foreign trade routes.

I thought I saw a Terrace in Cuzco but I did not notice whether or not there was a lighthouse. I'll have to look again. However, given that you are correct, the city is still good enough to crank out those three more settlers now before China grabs some of those sites and then add the needed buildings.

I agree about the road, I did not pay attention to that when I was looking at the save.
 
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