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Gold and Happiness, How to in BNW

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by jimc52, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. jimc52

    jimc52 Chieftain

    Dec 8, 2007
    Hello Everyone.

    I just recently upgraded to Brave New World. I have been playing one very long and arduous game:

    I am Rome
    One opponent, the Thai King
    Three City States
    Huge world, continents, longest term game
    I started at Chieftain Level

    I know that if you start your Capital right away, you are probably better off. But I moved my settlers until they could find the coastline so I could take advantage of the capital being on the coast, fishing boats for increased gold and Lighthouse upgrades. I have been doing everything that I normally would do in prior upgrades and versions of this game (been playing it for a very long time, in fact, since Version 1.0)...what was that, 20 years ago????

    Anyway, I like to build huge empires and to overcome my adversaries and military conquest can be fun. I also like to forge solid economic relationships so long as the opponents do not become warlike or start to invade what I consider my territories. I would prefer economic stability and alliances...not all real world relationships are built on mistrust and fear. I like a large military to protect my empire not only from barbarians but from my opponents.

    From the beginning, I struggled (even before building an empire with many cities) for Gold and Happiness. I have never played this game before with such a lack of gold or happiness no matter what I do, building all the right buildings that have yielded high success in the past iterations of this game. Even while struggling just to remain on the plus side of the budget and on the positive side of happiness - yes, I am forced by this game to concentrate all of my resources continuously and unendingly on building amphitheaters, opera houses, zoos and museums. Once in contact with the Thai King, I sent countless requests to become friends - I was declined each and every time (How to make friends???). The AI awarded almost all of the Wonders to my Thai opponent as I could hear the constant sucking sound of "It was built in a far away land." - Even though, I had dedicated considerable resources to building them...but when fighting borderline unhappiness at ALL times, I found it hard to achieve any kind of Wonders when I was not forced to dedicate all of my resources (almost entirely) to trying to make my population happy. I have used every strategy I have known of in past iterations to build happiness and gold. But I never succeeded in getting beyond about 1200 gold (which was easily dissipated by negative turn balances) in my treasury in this iteration of the game. I had to dedicate a high level of military around my Capital just to defend against a high level of barbarian invasion forces because unhappiness = 10 or greater multiple times - and watching my military forces dwindle as a penalty by being deactivated as my treasury fell below zero....I had sent new settlers to several gold and silver mining sites and after developing the gold and silver mines, found there really is no advantage to having gold (or silver) mines - so why bother??????

    I am just relaying to you what I have experienced. This is what I have found so far:

    1). The game does not favor building empires and in reading what others have said so far, fewer cities are better and make the populations less unhappy - however, when those populations begin to bulge, the traditional way of handling this is to modify the city resources and to create settlers to relieve overcrowding - not much good came of this, even when policies and strategies which successfully did so in prior iterations were used.

    2). Having a game which favors small or tiny civilizations makes no sense to me when I enjoy building big sophisticated empires.

    3). Having no way to really have a stable, consistent and large treasury or create successful happiness makes no sense. What is the point of this? Having to fight failure continuously and forever in the game is a fruitless preoccupation which does not create happiness within ME, the player. Did the game developers decide I am not important (the player)?

    4). Being forced by the game to build only buildings which create happiness in the population is ridiculous...what is the point of having other non-population happiness building buildings in the game if this is so? A BALANCE is what is needed, not a careening to the extreme right or left causing imbalance. I realize, in real life, that imbalances occur in the real world - but making it dominate the game is NOT enjoyable.

    5). The AI, causing the opponents to win almost all the Wonders doesn't make sense. A modicum of EFFORT and DEDICATION should yield positive results. In fact, I did build the writers, musicians and artists guilds and I did get a lot of artists - one of the few enjoyable results of the new iteration. I did get a few wonders, but just a FEW.

    6). Why is the opponent intransigent? I have attempted to build a solid relationship with the opponents in terms of diplomatic, trade, tourism and other features. I am going to try other civilizations to see if they might be more amenable to forging friendship. I see no reason why a civilization cannot have a large military force AND friendship with opponents.

    So after my explanations and observations, what is it that I am doing wrong here in the game? How do I build gold and happiness to the point where I need not be concerned that it will become the only focus of the game? How do I play this game without feeling hampered and harassed all the time by gold and happiness? When the game does not yield enjoyment to ME (the human player), of what use is the game? If you know the secret(s) yet to building a vast empire, economically, politically and diplomatically sound, I would like to hear what to try out.

    In fact, I would like to see a How-To developed targeting gold and happiness. It doesn't have to be a tomb. A bullet point list of "To Do's" and "Not To Do's" would work.

    Thanks everyone :)
  2. redwings1340

    redwings1340 Chieftain

    Sep 24, 2011
    First of all, on chieftain difficulty, you should be able to go wide. I think your lack of civs and city states really hurt you in what BNW is supposed to be though. Happiness comes from
    1) trading your extra luxuries with the AIs extra luxuries.
    2) buying city states

    Your additional gold in BNW comes from
    1) trade routes you send to your opponent (benefits everyone)
    2) trade routes the other civs send to you (benefits wide empires, since you have more cities to send to.

    Creating a huge map with 1 other civ and 3 city states is really going to limit these mechanics a ton, and seriously hurt you in the long run if you're going wide.
  3. Dostayer

    Dostayer Chieftain

    Jul 16, 2013
    As He said Above: Your main source of income will be the trade routs, with all do respect, playing on Huge world with only another civilization and 3 CS is really problematic because you'll literally have no trade partners.
    And 1 kind of CS is giving you happiness, 3 CS arn't even covering the whole spectrum of CS (there are 5, the Vanilla's 3 and religious and Merchenant, the first gives you faith, the second gives you happiness and one uniqe luxury resource in addition the the resources you'll get if you are allied with it).
  4. jimc52

    jimc52 Chieftain

    Dec 8, 2007
    Redwings, thank you. I have one giant reason why I do not want more Civs or City States. I like to spend a lot of time in the game building cities, roads and developing resources and buildings. I LOVE plenty of space to expand my empire without feeling like I am going to run up against an opponent and find I have to go to war to take territory. I am sort of like England or other olde European empires that looked out across a new world of unknown size, possible resources - a world where I do not have to butt heads with multiple others like in the real world we live in today. Notice, in the real world, it is getting more and more difficult just to find somewhere where you can live your life being alone without an invasion of technology and hordes of visitors climbing on your backsides.

    In other words, I like Liebensraum - living space, breathing room - lots and lots of it. The huge map with only one or two other Civs has provided me with this in the past. Now, as you say, I am forced to start with more Civs in order to create trading routes in order to create gold - wondered about happiness levels. I would like to envision this game with the ability to have the breathing room and maintain the advances that the BNW provides...less emphasis on creating gold and happiness from trade routes but maintaining trade routes. If the AI won't allow other Civs to form free borders, to create friendship so that trade can proceed or other benefits, how does that work?

    I see the point of multiple Civs creating a lot more tourism, spreading out the Wonders - but that limits me to size of empire without having to war on other Civs. The only improvement in City States I see is the ability to trade - otherwise, I hear the sucking down of constant gold demands or loosing alliance with them - having them bought out by opponent Civs and then voting against your measures in the World Congress...this is what actually happened in the one game I have played - due to a lack of gold I was unable to maintain alliance with City States and so they flipped over to alliance with the Thai King. Once that happened, the Thai were able to make their empire the home of the World Congress and to get almost all of their proposals accepted. I found the lack of gold highly defeating even though I was hoping to have more gold so I could maintain good relationship with City States. Eventually, I was forced to attack and take a City State just so I could reduce the number of votes the opponent was getting in the World Congress - this was the only reason I attacked and took the City State - to eliminate their representatives in the World Congress. Also, the Thai King was sly because one of his bargaining chips for peace (in the two or three war encounters we had) was to give away a city. Of course, giving you an opponent city creates extreme unhappiness in your own empire! I learned from the first episode of Peace negotiations and the aftermath, that I would never again accept an opponent city as an acceptable peace trade offer. They can keep their cities so long as I do not have the gold to take them by military conquest and keep them. So the AI is sly in this manner, hoping that you will fall for accepting a city so that unhappiness is the result of your peace agreement...sort of like leaving you with a built-in bomb because you stupidly accepted a peace negotiation which produced unhappiness in your own empire...peace negotiated settlements should INCREASE happiness, as war is not a happy thing to do...not increase unhappiness! In the real world, taking an opponents cities doesn't appear to have any significant unhappiness generation in any country or war I know of, so this is a model not based on the reality of life. Generally speaking, taking a real city from the enemy may mean a short term drain on your own resources (food, clothing, medicine, etc.) until the level of life returns to acceptable in that city - but if you are really at war, your own population learns how to live with LESS...just as America did during WWII. Taking Paris from the Germans in 1944 did not result in unhappiness in the United States or in Britain or in Russia. In fact, taking Paris from the Germans immensely improved the happiness of the French who were liberated and improved the cultural aspect of the world by taking the great artworks the Germans had stolen from France back and also it created an improvement in the financial world because the allies liberated REAL gold pilfered by the Germans not only from France but from the Jews they killed (and extracted from their teeth), the wealth the Germans had stolen by property confiscation and so forth. So the reality is that taking an enemy held city does not always result in unhappiness either in the population of the occupied city or in the nation of the conquerer. Plus, all of the resources, cultural, financial/economic/historical and in every other way is ADDED TO the value of most civilizations which are smart enough not to barbarically destroy them during conquest. I am strongly arguing here that the taking of cities does not really yield unhappiness in the real world in many cases.
  5. Nickbonista

    Nickbonista Chieftain

    Jul 18, 2013
    Gateshead, UK
    The "base experience" as I would put it, is a standard size continents, lets you experience every mechanic and feature, try prince for the watershed difficulty, after that you notice it getting harder
  6. GamerFlair

    GamerFlair Chieftain

    Sep 22, 2013
    Basically, 99% of the problems you have are due to your play style going against the grain on the majority of players (as well as being a little unrealistic imo.) I'm gonna address a few topics individually, and then go over some general stuff.


    The problems you have here is that by playing on a huge map with one opponent and 3 CSs you are causing yourself to over extend. Because you have no competition for land, you are putting down to many cities and growing them too big compared to the amount of lux resources you have access too. It also sounds like your making every city grow to as high as pop as you can, which again is going to suck you happiness away. I'm not totally sure, but its possible that by selecting such a low number of AI the game may also spawn less lux resources for balance reasons (I know for example when playing a small 6 player map not every lux resource will spawn as it means there isn't enough competition for them otherwise).


    Your income problems also have some fairly obvious causes. Your going to be lacking good trade routes for the majority of the game due to the lack of CS's and other Civs. The lack of civ's is also going to make you lose out on trade deals (IE, selling spare/unused resourced, embassies/open borders etc).

    I also suspect you are using to many military units too early in the game due to the barbarians. This again is a problem caused by the huge map and lack of players, there are huge masses of fog over the whole map meaning there is likely at least ten times as many barbarians as in a normal game and this is then made worse by the being no other players to kill them.

    Finally, I think its likely you might build too many roads. I was prone to doing this when I was first playing Civ5, its an easy trap to fall into. This is going to be especially bad if your income is poor as I believe low incomes in all your cities means the road links between the cities won't even be generating much gold either.


    This is easy. In ever game I have ever played, Siam is like super friendly (actually, iirc he declared me once when I was playing a OCC game next to him and thought i'd get away with only one archer.) But your the only other guy on the map, the AI wants to win and so naturally is never going to like you as his only rival. IIRC, Civs don't like it when other Civs have too many cities either (and once you touch his borders, he won't like that either). Essentially, any time you play with one other civ its natural they won't be massively friend. That said, I do feel there it seems quite difficult to get DoFs early game (that may be intentional though, as getting DoF with every civ early game makes the game a little too easy.)


    I understand the sort of game you want to play. I am very much not a warmonger but a builder, I prefer small empires myself but I like the building of them which seems to be what you enjoy. On Prince and lower, I am able to beat the AI to pretty much every single wonder in the game if I choose too and certainly any wonder I target (rather then going, oh, that wonder is still unbuilt so I might as well build it). You production problems are going to be caused firstly by unhappiness (as being unhappy nerfs city production in BNW).

    I would suggest playing with more civs and cities states. Sure, don't playing the full roster, but maybe try a game with half the normal civs and city states. This should give more room to expand (I guess you might get unlucky with RNG placing but in generally you should have double the room for expansion) whilst maintaining enough civs to get at least some trading/diplo and barb management going.

    I'm also going to dispute most of your realism issues. England was anything but isolated. We we constantly friends then at war then friends with half of europe pretty much since it was formed in 1066, and prior to that it wasnt exactly peaceful (first saxon wave, Romans before that). No invasions after 1066, but thats just because well, much like in Civ5 the AI sucks at naval invasions XD

    In the real world, when there have been situations where there are only really two civs in the area, they don't really ever like each other. Mostly this occured in the east, but look at Mongolia/China. Two main civs, didnt like each other. China/Japan is another example, they avoided contact and kept distance. So Civ isnt unrealistic in that regard, and as I said earlier if you the only rival, its natural they don't like you for purely game play reason's (it is after all a strategy game and not a simbuilder. Even though it sometimes feels like one XD).

    The happiness loss from taking a city is mainly a game mechanic for balance, but its true to life. I can't say I've ever liberated a city that I previous owned for a long period of time (Only time its ever happened is during a war when I capture a city, lose it then take it back (or get given it as a peace offering). Now, if you get unhappiness for reclaiming your own city (within a reasonable time frame) then I agree that is wrong. However I dont think thats the situation you describe. You are winning the war, so you get you accept peace the Thai King gives you one of his cities. Thats more like when the Germans took Paris. The population werent exactly happy about that. Neither would Londoners have liked it if England had decided not to fight Germany anymore and just give them London.

    Or Israel. Israel is the perfect example of how people get seriously annoyed when you just change ownership of lands as part of peace deal. (No judgement on that decision btw, just an fair observation that the populace of that area at the time [Palestinians] were not, and still nearly 70 years on, they are still not happy about it.) Its still not the perfect war-peace giveaway example but I'm struggling to think of one where it wasn't a liberation of a previously captured city (or a straight up masscre and repop)
  7. Furret

    Furret Tryhard

    Oct 2, 2013
    Rochester, NY
    I'm just gonna tl;dr GamerFlair's post (even though it's a good read).

    The game is well balanced for standard map size, standard pace, standard civ count, standard city state count, standard etc. Every deviation you make from super-standard settings is going to change the balance of the game.

    I've never played a game with anywhere close to your settings, but there's a reason the game warns you when you mess with the civ count/map size: It's not designed to be completely balanced with low civ/big map or high civ/small map games.

    My guess is the majority of your problems are coming from the extreme settings you're using, as well as a little from your game play. Even in a standard/standard/standard game, you can't just expand willy-nilly and expect your global happiness to keep in the positives. Happiness buildings are very important for wide empires, and you'll probably need to build them in every city, that's just how the game works.

    As for your complaints that the game designers weren't thinking about the enjoyment of the player, I would disagree. Civ isn't just a game about building a massive thriving empire, it's about doing so in competition with 'x' number of other civs trying to build a massive thriving empire. If you're looking for an empire-building simulator, I'm not sure Civ is really the right game.
  8. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

    Apr 3, 2004
    To play a game with those settings ( lots of space)

    You will have problems with happiness because of expansion
    and military because of barbs
    and income because of military and no trade partners

    To solve this
    1. Settle cities near luxuries you don't already have and improve those tiles ( get the necessary techs)
    2. Build new cities when you are happy, not unhappy (settlers increase unhappiness unless you get new luxury)
    3. aim for happiness boosting building techs (colluseum)
    4. Aim for happiness policies (meritocracy, and warrior caste+oligarchy are both good early on)
    5. GET a happiness boosting religion
    6. Build new cities slowly... You won't have the happiness for a 30 city empire in the classical era.. But you can in the Modern era if you choose the right social policies


    1. Take the Honor opening policy
    2. have a small army with a mix of archers and melee
    3. Keep your troops close to home only attack barbs/camps that are near your cities

    1. Focus on working luxury tiles
    2. Only buil roads to cities where the population = the length of the road to the nearest city on the way to the capital.. All roads must lead to Rome
    3. Get a gold religious boost (although happiness is probably more important)
    4. Get the honor finisher
    5. Get oligarchy and keep most of your army inside cities

    Hope it goes well!
  9. eewallace

    eewallace Chieftain

    Nov 1, 2005
    I think you could keep this playing style with a few minor modifications, if you are on the chieftan level. First, in advanced settings, go with "abundant resources" so you will have an easier time getting luxuries for happiness. Also, if you really only want 1 AI opponent, then add more city-states. They don't get in the way like opponents do--they are often on peninsulas, etc. You need them to send trade-routes to, in order to generate income. But if you are on a huge map, I think you could add more AI opponents without running into expansion difficulties. Choose AI civs that aren't going to get in your way. I'd suggest India and Ethopia, as they seldom build more than a few cities. (Venice is also a possibility, but he tends to eat up city-states and can become very powerful sometimes.)

    Also, I've found that with BNW, regardless of how much you intend to expand, taking the liberty tree first often leads to economic difficulties early in the game--it basically makes you expand your infrastructure before you can really afford to do so.
  10. Smokeybear

    Smokeybear Chieftain

    Apr 9, 2011
    What he said. Given your unusual playstyle, I'd go with two or three AI civs and maybe a dozen city states. You could try sticking with just one other AI civ I guess, but play around with different settings and see what works. As others have said, BNW is balanced around much more trading with other entities in the game than you were able to get away with in the past- they really knocked the hell out of what you can get away with by just by sitting on your own resources and checking out the scenery.

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