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GP Series Part 2: The War Poets

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by The Oz-Man, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
    And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
    Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
    I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
    When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

    -Randall Jarrell, "The Death of the Ball Turrett Gunner"

    I don't have a fancy name yet. We're just "GP Series" right now. GP stands for Great Person and, I dunno, let's say Gilded Pigeons.

    Last time, in the first installment of the series, we took Ramesses through a game driven by Great Prophets and Priest specialists, riding Angkor Wat-powered Obelisk priests, the Jewish shrine, and a boatload of Spiral Minaret gold to glory. Generating only Great Prophets, building only Prophet-generating wonders, and running only Priest specialists, we ran to what ended up being a fairly easy victory, proving that--with the right leader in the right context--a Prophet-driven economy can be competitive. And fun!

    This time, we turn our attention to another of the more marginal Great People. Compared to the powerhouses (Scientists, Engineers, and Merchants), Great Artists have considerably less utility, and the bane of most GP farms is often the fact that the National Epic generates points toward the "useless" (except in culture games) Great Artist.

    As with last time, we are operating under the now-universal rule for the series: the only Great Person we may actively try to generate is a Great Artist, meaning we may only run Artist specialists and build Artist-generating World/National Wonders. However, this time, we'll be playing under a second rule: we may not win the game via cultural victory.

    If we generate any other Great Person type--whether by being first to a race or by wonders in captured cities--said Great Person must immediately be put to death. :devil: This of course lowers the immediate incentive on techs like Communism, Physics, and Fusion while at the same time making Music something of a priority.

    What can Great Artists do?

    As with all GPs, Artists can be settled, used for a Golden Age, or used for a third unique purpose. Great Artists can produce a Great Work, the so-called "culture bomb" that's all too important for Cultural victories. Great Works can also end revolts in captured cities early and can be useful for pressing borders.

    When settled, Great Artists offer quite a bit of culture and a little bit of gold. This strikes me as a much more passive bonus compared to the powerhouse settled Prophets. The gold bonus is attractive and implies settling a lot of artists in one city, pumping it up with gold-multiplying buildings, and using it to power the economy.

    The great advantage of Artists--as we'll discuss shortly--is the fact that we'll be able to generate more of them than probably any other type of specialist in the series. A number of wonders offer GA points, and the two GP-multiplying wonders both put points toward them.

    With that in mind...

    Which Wonders can we build?

    Broadway - On Monarch in particular, Broadway can be pretty easy to get, as it comes right when production is starting to kick into high gear and comes at a priority tech (Electricity). With the rollicking war game I have in mind, we may not get this far, but the great utility I see from this wonder is the extra happiness.
    Hollywood - As above, but replace "priority tech" with "sort of a garbage tech." The best uses I've found for Mass Media are shooting for UN cheese (we can't build the UN) and obsoleting the Apostolic Palace (which we won't hold if we capture it to prevent useless Great Prophets). Here, it does enable Broadcast Towers for a few more Artist slots, but overall, eeeeeeeh. Might build it if we've got nothing else by that point--if we hit that point.
    Rock N Roll - All of these are right next to each other on that World Wonders list! As above, but Radio is more useful than Mass Media thanks to Bombers. See above.
    Notre Dame - The really different aspect of this game, I think, is going to be how many branches the Artist-enabling Wonders go down. Engineering comes at an inconvenient time for me typically, when I'm shooting for Liberalism. Still, +2 :) in all cities is nothing to sneeze at, especially for a late-game war push.
    The Mausoleum of Maussollos - One of my absolute favorite Wonders, the MoM becomes especially useful since this is the only GP game in which we'll be able to run two Golden Ages. I love to build this one, and I'd like to here.
    The Parthenon - Top priority--this is one of the better GA-generating Wonders in my book. As I said before, the biggest advantage we have with Artists is being able to build a ton of them.
    The Sistine Chapel - ... I mean, we could, and it has its utilities--pushing out borders is always helpful in a war-oriented game if that's indeed the direction we go. The Sistine, though, is usually best for a culture push, but I think it could be helpful here.
    The Statue of Zeus - Relatively cheap, but overall, not great. I don't mind building this during a peaceful midgame when I'm building towards a post-Liberalism war, but it's typically not a priority.
    The Taj Mahal - The source of our second Golden Age. Nationalism was a priority tech with Ramesses since it led to both MilTrad and Constitution. I suspect it will be here as well, especially since a mid-game Music push usually moves the player towards MilTrad.
    Globe Theatre - Extra Artist slots are, of course, welcome, particularly if we don't pick Greece. One idea is to use this in conjunction with Notre Dame for some drafting craziness.
    Hermitage - ...well, it's points I guess. I dunno. I might pick a Hermitage city, but it's low priority.
    Heroic Epic - Yay, I can build this! Always useful for obvious reasons.
    Mt. Rushmore - This gives points towards a Great Artist? Huh. Maybe I'll put this in my Hermitage city. :p
    National Epic - Tippy-top priority, probably the cornerstone of our strategy.

    Which leader should we pick?

    The Great Prophet game had a pretty straightforward approach: use Obelisks and cheap Temples to run priests everywhere. Artists are different. On one hand, there are fewer easy slots with most leaders. On the other hand, a significant amount of wonders generate GA points. The way I see it, we have some considerations.

    I see two possible strategies, with a possibility for a hybrid if we get a nice start.

    1. The Specialist-Driven Approach is similar to the Ramesses game, relying on running and generating a lot of Artists. We shoot for priority wonders but in general aim for producing specialists in the traditional way. Philosophical leaders work well here, and two in particular would be strong: Pericles and Alexander of Greece. Both leaders have the Philosophical trait, and the Odeon grants Artist slots to Colosseums. The drawback is that the Aesthetics and Construction lines are sort of divergent, with Math as the only real link between them. Still, for running and generating a lot of GA's, the Greeks win out.
    2. The Wonder-Spam Approach worries less about running specialists and more about setting up a super GP farm, using the Globe Theatre in conjunction with the National Epic in a wonder-building city to produce the ultimate artist farm. Anything at all that generates Artist points would likely be built in this one super-city, which will likely be the capital. Industrious seems the best trait for this approach, and the best leaders seem like Louis XIV and De Gaulle of France. De Gaulle is particularly inviting--combining Charismatic with Notre Dame and the other happiness-generating wonders could lead to a game involving ruling the world through smiley faces. This is a slightly more nuanced approach, but it's probably the best chance for the World Wonders to shine. Artists will come up more slowly, but we'll get to see the full range of wonder choices on display.

    The top two, in my mind, are Alexander of Greece and De Gaulle of France. I'll let you guys help me hash out pros and cons. :)

    What map script and what victory type?

    As I alluded to above, I want to take my artists to war. For both ease of warfare and for culture-smushing fun, Pangaea seems the most obvious choice. Always dangerous, but rarely dull.

    Other thoughts?

    Unlike last game, where I had a leader in mind from the first, I'm eager to hear everyone's thoughts. My strongest inclination is towards Alexander, but the idea of running a continent-smashing war machine with a super-powered Paris is enticing and Earth map-esque. Eager to hear your thoughts!

    So I've just gotten back from vacation and I've got the Civ itch. Let's have some fun!
     
  2. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

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    IMHO, if you're not going to go for a cultural victory, you might consider some other options than the ones that you listed.

    1. Go for early CoL. Unfortunately, you can't build the oracle, but that shouldn't be an issue if you're playing on Monarch. I wonder how hard it would be to fight the culture press of a creative civ with unlimited artists? Alternatively, the extra space might call for more workers. Might be fun to use Sury?
    2. I love the Madrassas (or whatever the Arabian UB is called). That one extra :culture: is surprisingly important for holding on to borders sometimes. Since you're going to be running Artists anyway, I would think that this would really come in handy.
     
  3. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    A comment on the rules: You say GAs can be used for Golden Ages and also that all other GPs will be put to death and not used. However, since you need different types of GPs combined for Golden Ages (after the first one which could be from one Great Artist), you won't be able to get more than one Golden Age (plus the one from the Taj).
     
  4. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    Should be interesting!

    Of those 2 I say De Gaulle for variety on the basis that other GP focused games will lean towards PHI.

    Alternatively Roosy and Qin are both decent leaders for a wonders/war combo approach.
     
  5. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    If I were playing this variant my inclination would be to essentially ignore wonders and artists and go for a straight military romp (HA rush >cuirassier rush). GAs can help bulb towards nat>miltrad or can be saved for late game culture bombs towards domination. In view of this I'd probably go for Hannibal of Carthage (financial, charismatic and numidians).
     
  6. -Asterix-

    -Asterix- Prince

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    Second this. Just some leader with financial and we can basically ignore great people.
     
  7. monkeycid

    monkeycid Chieftain

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    Which would be kind of missing the point, I'd say. We're here to explore the possibilities of artists and their wonders, not play yet another noobphant / cuir roflstomp. Or so I think anyway :) ymmv.
     
  8. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    The culture push is just one aspect of a GA game that I'd like to look at, but running Caste System to push borders way, way out might be interesting. If I hadn't just done Egypt, Hattie would be a good choice for that.

    Regarding Golden Ages: yes, I'm aware we'll only get two. ;) We only got one in the Ramesses game, though (which was used for a late-game Universal Suffrage buy-fest and to get us into State Property), and that turned out fine. The way I see it, this game gets us 24 turns of Golden Age if we play our cards right, which is three times the amount that ol' Rammy got.

    Regarding ignoring Artists and Wonders altogether: that sort of defeats the purpose of the series, which is to find interesting ways to exploit Great People and figure out how viable certain paths are. We may yet do a game without Wonders or specialists if we try Great Generals (maybe with Genghis?), but I expect to see what we can get out of our troubadours this game rather than not worry about them.

    I do agree with the idea that Philosophical's going to get a workout in this series (Gandhi with Scientists and Liz with Merchants are already in the cards, and I'll probably want it for Spies as well), so this will be one of the few chances to build a lot of wonders. I'm thinking of saving Qin for Engineers. Roosevelt would be a very interesting choice, as Organized can defray a lot of the costs of not running traditional specialists. I'd say he and the two Frenchmen are the best Industrious leaders for this.

    If a border war is in the cards, then Sury could be good at it, but what about Zara? An early UB with a culture multiplier, and if we go for the Statue of Zeus we'll want Steles anyway.

    Thanks, guys!
     
  9. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    Hi,
    I don't think you need to pick the "perfect leader" to make this work. Just pick a leader that isn't totally counter-intuitive.
    Selecting a map that allows multiple uses for culture artists seems more important to me.

    China and Ethiopia have very strong cultural buildings. Byzantium would be kinda cool as well with its special Theatre.
    Any Industrious leader would be cool as well. French ones are top level.


    @ the map :
    Inland location would be best, so that the Empire borders many other civs and has trouble RExing. Maybe pick some culture focused AIs ?

    Checking the nearby resources may be too much.
    Horses seem very desirable (Artists can bulb towards Nationalism & mounted wars are made much easier when one is pressuring ennemy cities with culture). Marble is also desirable (Sistine, Parthenon).
    This "desirable" thing is to take with a grain of salt, though. It's probably just as interesting to play with as it is to play without.
     
  10. -Asterix-

    -Asterix- Prince

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    Don't get me wrong, the idea of this series to find new uses for different GPs is nice. I'm just saying that if the game is played under rules

    1) you may not use other specs than artist or build artist wonders and
    2) culture victory is out of question,

    it makes me think that it would be time to concentrate on something else than GPs. Or is the idea here to play inefficiently? Like "I could now build granary to my food-rich whip city but I'll just build theatre instead for artist slots"?

    Prophets are totally different here because they can be actually used well. This is the case also with scientists, merchants and engineers. Or even spies. They all have their uses in various nice strategies. But artists... When have you used great artist effectively for something else than culture victory or GAs?

    Finally few words about removing culture victory from the options: Is the idea in the future scientist game to NOT use scientists to do what they're meant for (go up in the tech tree)? Great artists can be used to bulb some ok techs (hopefully) but only one great artist can be used for a GA here and settling them is just not worth the effort unless lots of culture is needed. Culture bombs also give just culture and that culture is usually used in either winning by culture or pushing enemy borders. Now culture victory is out of question so we're left with pushing borders. Too bad that it's often way easier and more effective to conquer enemy cities than to fight them with culture. Maybe some kind of always peace with at least some AIs could be used here?
     
  11. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    I think that speaks to the idea of only having one city dedicated to generating a ton and a half of Artists to do as we please, going for Theaters mostly for the Globe requirement and not worrying about specialists in most cities until Representation. In this scenario, most peace-time Artists will likely be used for bulbs or settled in the super-city for gold.

    I'd like not to play inefficiently, but the purpose of the series is to at least try to leverage the GPs in question. This one's going to be very different from the Prophet game for obvious reasons.

    The culture crush domination games that I've seen run before push the player towards more than just the Artist wonders; Stonehenge is a top priority, for example. One idea could be to use a culture push to move borders toward the enemy, allowing troops easy access to the first few cities? I dunno, just an idea.

    I'm not sure what I'll do with the Scientist game; we'll burn that bridge when we get to it. :) The unconventional victory path is much more obvious with Artists than Scientists, so maybe we'll just let Scientists do what they do best. Or we could run the Culture slider forever and use Scientists to win us more techs?

    So consolidated thoughts so far:

    1. Artists kind of suck in non-Culture games.
    2. Therefore, we may run fewer of them altogether.
    3. Therefore, we should look at what else is allowed down that path.

    The best move, in my view, seems to be to exploit happiness bonuses through the Globe and Notre Dame, running Artists in one city in preparation for Representation (maybe taken through Lib) while riding a high happy cap to crazy whipping and drafting. That, again, leans me toward De Gaulle.

    Another idea is to see just how much gold we can generate from running a bunch of artists, settling all of them in one city (maybe not the super-city, but a secondary income city) and building multiplier buildings for the gold. This will take a little bit to kick in, but it should work.

    Other ideas?
     
  12. WelshGandalf

    WelshGandalf King

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    Other idea - set it to Always Peace, Pangea, with 4 or 5 AI's and go for domination. You get to leverage all that culture but avoid the cultural win. Sulla did this many years ago, it's a fun read even if you don't decide to go down that route. It is possible without Stonehenge, I'm sure. It's important to get culture early on in that situation, so you'd have to go for a creative leader, as well as the +2 culture they can whip out libraries and theatres fast too. Go go Pericles!

    Using settled GA's to get gold just seems an inefficient use of them.
     
  13. Teoes

    Teoes Chieftain

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    I think you should stick to the core principle of the series (it has one now, apparently) and that while you may not necessarily be playing inefficiently, you will be working with what you're given. If you're given Artists, you'll work with Artists. The notion of effectively ignoring them seems totally counter-intuitive to me, until you get to a total ignoramus game and deny yourself all wonders/GPs.

    I think you should go with your gut - settle them to (i) see what can be done with that (not great perhaps, but hey - you work with what you're given) settled gold and (ii) prep for a Rep boost. Abuse your higher happy cap for whip/draft when you're not seeing what can be bulbed. I think this will give you one of two outcomes and whichever comes will be part of what provides the interest and the lesson of this particular game. Namely: can Artists be leveraged significantly much like Prophets were; or are they a bit crap regardless and you end up kicking out a win without/despite them? It might be a win, it might be a loss, it might be a more conventional win after you deem them crap. That's what you're here to find out.

    Two not-so-OT thoughts:
    1) I don't know of nearly enough other people who use the phrase "[I/we]'ll burn that bridge when [I/we] get to it". Props.
    2) I will say zees only wance: If you do go with De Gaulle, I might have to demand that the game be delivered in "comic" 'Allo 'Allo faux-French. Oui?
     
  14. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Gandalf: Sulla's game is the culture crush one I was referencing. OneLeggedRhino did it on here. I couldn't remember who did the original. It's a neat variant that I've been itching to try, but as Teoes said, it's too specific to be in the spirit of what I'm going for here.

    Not a lot of enthusiasm for the Greeks, it seems. De Gaulle sound good? Shouting "ZUT ALORS!" a lot and enjoying fine cheeses?
     
  15. Keilah

    Keilah King

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    hey uhhh is it true that artists culture bomb brings a city instantly out of revolt? bcuz if that's true you could bulb your way to nationalism, bring a few artists along, head straight to the biggest enemy cities, and use them immediately as drafting centers to reinforce and push on. Big cities typically have 6-8 turns of anarchy and can't normally be drafted from for quite a while, so the saved turns would be significant.
     
  16. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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  17. WelshGandalf

    WelshGandalf King

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    It's 10% I think. Someone wrote an article on how culture bombs work - it's not quite the same as building up 4000 culture "naturally" so not sure if that would be enough or not.

    I really enjoyed reading Sulla's game. :) Maybe I'll have a go at a game like that sometime.

    Finally...
    +1
     
  18. Mylene

    Mylene Deity

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    Hmmm sounds like an interesting idea, but like Asterix iam not sure i understand this one ;)
    It's basically a game where mostly ignoring great peoples and wonders would be efficient, where does the special touch with artists come in? ~~
     
  19. Keilah

    Keilah King

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    loaded up an old save to test it, and as long as you're at pre-t200 or so it should get you to 10% instantly. Still won't swipe all the BFC tiles sadly, and you'll want to ensure a road/water path to your empire so you can import your happy sources. Possibly the best idea would be to drive forward in a straight line to the enemy capital, taking 1-2 medium-large cities on the way. That way you'll have a swath of your own culture with no enemy interference.
     
  20. Riflin'Joe

    Riflin'Joe Prince

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    Using culture bombs to assist warring looks like a fun approach. Just one question: I presume you won't be turning cultural victory off in the settings? That would deny the AI the only real winning attempt it tends to actually go for.
     

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