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[BTS] Help and advice with progress

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by guyyee, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. guyyee

    guyyee Chieftain

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    Playing my first game after finishing the in-game tutorial. I'm enjoying the first few turns but then things started to escalate. I'm overwhelmed esp after my city was captured by barbarians so early in the game. Can anyone offer any advice on my progress? Any mistakes that you can point out? Thanks.
     

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  2. 5tephen

    5tephen Chieftain

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    It's exciting to see people still getting started on this amazing game over 10 years post release! Welcome to Civ 4.

    There's a steep learning curve but it's a very rewarding game.

    I might be able to look at your save a bit later. In the interim and better than any advice I can offer, have you seen this great guide?
    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/beginner-help-the-basics.648469/

    Another good place to start is some of the shadow games in this forum. This one was really good.
    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/shadow-game-for-an-old-dude.636725/

    Beware of some of the older guides on this forum. Some are still good but some contain bad advice mixed with good, including Sisutils strategy guide for beginners which got me into bad habits when I started out.
     
  3. 5tephen

    5tephen Chieftain

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    TL;DR. Having looked at your save I think it's really worth a look at the two links I posted above as these contain much better more concise information than I can write.

    I think the main problems in your game are trying to work out where is best to put your cities, possibly the order of researching technologies and definitely what to build in your cities.

    If you press 'Ctrl + y' you can turn on tile yields. These will show you food :food:, hammer :hammers:, and commerce :commerce: of each tile. In addition 'Ctrl + r' shows special resources such as pig or iron - sometimes you need more technologies to reveal some of these. As a rule of thumb for an absolute beginner, never settle (place a city) on a tile that has more than 2 food :food: or a special resource (there will be a lot of exceptions as you get better at the game.) Putting your capital on the pig tile was a big mistake - pig, riverside corn (wet corn), and fish are the best tiles in the game in my opinion. Having said where you put Beijing was wrong, it's hard to say where you should have put it unless you post the turn zero save.

    If you double click on a city you can see which tiles it is working - the ones which have circles around them. You can choose to work a tile by clicking on it in this view. The population of a city determines how many tiles can be worked. Each city can only work a 5x5 grid of tiles with the corners missing - you can turn on tile grid with 'Ctrl + t' - so the rice by Beijing that you have improved can never be worked unless you put another city near it. Tiles that are not being worked by a city contribute little or nothing to your game - the rice woudl help if you put a road on it as it is a 'special' resource that would give you health but the cottage 3 south of Beijing will never do anything for you unless you put a city nearer to it which can work it.

    Building 5 workers was really good as they are the really key initial unit but I suspect the reason you lost 3 of them was moving them into the bit of the map you can't see (fog of war.) Never move a settler or worker into the fog of war as they are incapable of fighting and will be destroyed by any enemy unit (except scouts, other workers or settlers as these units can't attack.) It's really, really good that you haven't automated your workers as the computer is terrible at telling them what to do.

    Workers are the key unit and the key priority in your first city is improving it's food resource. Unless you start on the coast (resources in the sea have to be improved by a fishing boat not a worker), it's best to build a worker first in your first city and aim for a first technology that enables your worker to improve a food resource within the 5x5 (minus corners) diameter of your city. After this, key technologies are bronze working (enables the slavery civic which enables you to trade population for building things quicker) and writing (enables libaries which helps with research and 'open borders' which helps with commerce and diplomacy.)

    Almost all buildings are pointless - you've built a lot. Key things to build in the early game are workers, settlers, granaries and libraries. You'll need a few units for keeping cities happy and to escort workers/settlers through the fog.

    Playing at cheiftan your game is probably still very winnable from this position if you were to settle on the ivory ASAP, build 10 catapults and 10 elephants (nothing else in the interim) and attack a neigbour followed by another, and another.

    Probably the best way to learn is to post a save from turn zero and wait for advice on how to progress - this is called a shadow game. If you decide this is something you'd like to do I'll aim to contribute but I only get a night a week or so to play so might be a bit slow. If you decide to do this, it's best to start a custom game, choose 'panagea' for map type, turn off huts and events but otherwise leave all the settings as standard (i.e. map size and number of opponents.)

    I hope some of this is useful and not too simple for you. Civ 4 was my first civ game and I remember it being very difficult at first but you will get better quickly and it's really rewarding when you do. Please keep us posted on your progress.
     
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  4. reflec

    reflec Chieftain

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    Welcome!

    I see it's chieftan and granted I've never looked at the tutorial, I can offer some basic tips.

    #1 - Food is king
    Food is THE most important resource in the game. You should almost always be building your cities near a food source. More food = faster city growth = more tiles worked.

    I don't know if culture was taught in the tutorial, but it's really important to make sure the food source is in the first ring of your city. That way, you can start farming/building a pasture as soon as the city is founded.

    #2 - Build more cities!
    When I was struggling on lower difficulties, the thing that had the biggest effect on my games was me building more cities. More cities = more production, more research, more gold, etc. Even if you don't understand a lot of more subtle details of the game, you can easily win on lower difficulties by building more cities than the ai, and then pumping out units faster than they can.

    #3 - Just play the game more
    I know its cliche but just playing more will help you understand the game better. You'll get more practice in finding good city spots and managing your units.
    You may also want to look through the civopedia game concepts tab for anything you might be confused about (in particular, the happiness system and health system)
     
    guyyee likes this.
  5. guyyee

    guyyee Chieftain

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    Thank you so much. Your suggestions and reply was very helpful. I am now following the OldDude game and asking questions in that thread. There is so much to learn. I may need your help with a shadow game of my own later on. Thank you!
     
  6. guyyee

    guyyee Chieftain

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    You mentioned "never settle (place a city) on a tile that has more than 2 food :food: or a special resource", why is that so?
     
  7. Zavior

    Zavior Trying to (b)eat deity

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    Generally speaking, building an improvement on a special tile will give you a lot bigger tile yield than settling on top of that resource.
     
  8. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    I think “avoid” would be a better term since there are cases that one would do so, but his point was that due to your lack of experience you are unable ti recognize such cases so fail on the side of caution for now by not ruining strong food resources.
     
  9. 5tephen

    5tephen Chieftain

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  10. guyyee

    guyyee Chieftain

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    Thanks so much.

    Sigh... I find it difficult to follow the OldDude shadow game. more than half the time, I have no idea what the coaches are talking about and got completely lost. I think I'll start a shadow game and hope you guys will guide me through at my beginner level. Please be kind with me, I am an old man slow with my cognitive faculty.
     
    5tephen likes this.
  11. guyyee

    guyyee Chieftain

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    Shall we start?

    Straight off, I see two resources: marble and wheat.

    I should be excited because marble is useful resource for building Wonders - is this a correct line of thinking?

    Wheat is good because of its effect on +1 Health, but I'm told Health is comparatively less important thing early in the game. So nothing to shout about?

    I am eyeing the Plains/Hills where the Warriors are standing. This looks appealing as the site of my first city because of 2H and +25% defense bonus. This will mean I sacrifice two turns - probably not a good idea?

    SIP is definitely also good because of direct proximity to the river. Speaking of this river, wow! The area surrounding the river is inundated with Food - how would you specifically capitalize on that abundance of Food?

    Anyway, I think I am going for SIP.

    Going forward, after placing my first city my first unit will be a worker. In terms of first tech to research, I'll admit I'm quite clueless. What should I research first and why? I'm thinking Mining, because I want to take advantage of my Marble resource and this will lead me to researching Bronze Working (which will give me ability to build Axeman and chop forest).

    Thanks.
     

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  12. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    @guyyee

    What difficulty level is this?

    Wheat is useful because it's a food source and the most important thing for any city is food. Flood plains surrounding the capital are quite good in terms of adding to the food surplus too although flood plains will cause unhealthiness. Mining isn't a bad first tech followed by Bronze Working to unlock Slavery civic and chopping which are the main sources of production early. That being said there could be another resource 2N of the capital so let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Post a screenshot right after you settle if a resource pops up there. Use your Warrior to explore around the capital. By the time your Settler is built, you should have knowledge of the 10-tile radius around your capital to have a good idea where to settle your second city.
     
  13. 5tephen

    5tephen Chieftain

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    Hold fire on settling until a few more people have had a look. First city location is really important and some of the veterans here might give you advice to settle somewhere else. I would be tempted by SIP because I think the plains hill (PH) will have too many FPs and the marble involves moving towards coast but my advice on initial city placement isn't always great.

    Which leader, civilization and map settings are you playing with?

    Some general starting advice:

    The 3:food:1:commerce: tiles are floodplains (FPs.) These are good for cottages as they already have :commerce: but can also be used for farms where food is in short supply. You can and should settle on FPs at times and this may well be one of them. The disadvantage of settling on FPs are that, unlike settling on resources, you destroy the underlying tile and no longer get the 3:food:.

    When you settle a city, the city centre tile gets 2:food:1:hammers:1:commerce: - this tile is always worked by the city every turn. Except for FPs, if the tile you settle on has a different value of :food:, :hammers: or :commerce: than this you get whichever is the greatest value. So if you settled on the PH or marble your city centre would have 2:food:2:hammers:1:commerce: - 1:hammers: extra doesn't sound much but it accumulates over the course of the game and gets your first worker out faster so settling on PH should always be considered.

    I try and identify the most valuable initial tile and try not to move my settler so that it won't claim this tile in the eventual city - in this case the dry wheat (not that great a tile though tbh.)

    The PH would only slow you down 1 turn as settler can move 2 tiles per turn.

    Settling on river is also good but not vital as it gives a small health bonus for freshwater and if your second city is on the same river and the river tiles between the cities are within your cultural borders they get a trade route between them without you having to build a road for an instant :commerce: boost.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
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  14. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    @5tephen

    To be fair, I opened his save just now and he's playing on Chieftain level. Sometimes with the wealth of knowledge we have on here, new players are overwhelmed. When starting off with the game, your goal is to expand to a lot of cities without crashing the economy. That's essentially it. Settle 10+ good cities with food, work improved tiles and get economic techs like Currency and CoL before 1 AD. And you'll win Noble let alone Chieftain running away.

    If we spend a page talking about whether to settle in place or not, the poor man might get spooked and abandon the game. :lol:
     
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  15. 5tephen

    5tephen Chieftain

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    @dankok8
    Point taken!

    In which case I agree with SIP.

    If you don't have agriculture go for this first so you can improve your food resource ASAP. After that bronze working (+/- mining) so you can start chopping down trees! Wheel, pottery, writing after for granaries, cottages on those FPs, libraries and open borders.

    Worker first, then warrior.

    Use your warrior to scout down the river your capital is on to find a good second city site. Don't explore more than about 15 tiles away from the capital initially or you will miss exploring your starting location.

    If nearby copper maybe axe rush on chieftain? Otherwise animal husbandry for a chariot rush?
     
  16. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    Settle in place is fine.

    Start building a worker.

    Research Agriculture. Build a farm on the Wheat. Then Mining and Bronze Working. After the farm, you can build a mine on the hill.
     
  17. dankok8

    dankok8 Elected World Leader

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    He already starts with Agri so Mining/Bronze is what I suggested. The only reason to change that tech path is if an important resource like Pigs was revealed 2N of cap.

    As for build order, the standard Worker, Warrior, Settler should be do and the Workers can help chop forests to speed up the Settler.
     
  18. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    I think it makes sense to learn to walk before learning to run. This might literally be the OP's second game. The aim of my suggestions is to:
    - get an idea of how tile yields change when you improve a tile
    - compare yields of resource tiles vs generic tiles
    - get a feel for what the Worker unit does and why it's important

    and later

    - why defenders are important ( vs barb raids, escorting settlers, etc)
    - where to put new cities

    Whip and chop strategies can wait until the basic mechanics and core principles are down. There's people in this thread talking about trade routes, FP unhealth, and other things that don't matter a whit on Chieftain, until the basic knowledge of game mechanics are in place.
     
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  19. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Several good observations and "right" questions. Good start :) Others have basically said the same I will, but let's focus on the quoted bit:

    Food is King, as is often stated. Every city needs food. It needs it to grow (faster). When cities grow, they can work more tiles (like the marble), which means more income and/or research. Once you have slavery and are able to whip away population for instant production, good food sources mean the city can regrow faster, and you can repeat the process (but keep an eye on the "whip counter"). Therefore, you don't want to settle on top of wheat for instance, since it's the only food source in view. It's admittedly not a great food source, but does offer 4:food: 1:hammers:. +1 more :food: once the tile is irrigated (automatically next to rivers, or later with chain farm irrigation with Civil Service). This is the first tile your initial worker should improve.

    Marble is definitely nice for building wonders, but it can be kind of a trap early on, because you need the Masonry tech to build a quarry on top of the resource (this improves the tile yield, and crucially, gives you access to the marble). For a wonder like the Oracle, you really don't need the marble. For later and more expensive wonders, it's a great resource to have, but that will come in time. It's not necessary to rush to Masonry.

    This start has a TON of food. Okay, only the one food resource in view (there may be more out of the visible area of course), but you also have a pile of flood plains. Each offers 3:food:, which means that for each tile of them you work, the city's food production increases with 1 (each citizens always consumes 2 food). For a spot like this, you probably want to place cottages on most of the flood plains. You can do that once you have the Pottery technology.

    But for a start, I think it's a good idea here to simply settle in place (SIP), start on a worker, and let him improve the wheat once he's out of the gates. After that, probably build another farm on one of the flood plains.

    PS: Because flatland cities also irrigate water once you have the Civil Service technology, SIP or 1S will automatically irrigate the wheat after Civil Service, without the need for placing any more farms.
     
  20. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    This is the view after SIP:
    Spoiler :


    Surprise! There is sheep to the north. Good thing we settled in place, eh? Because research is so cheap on these settings, I'd say it's a fine option to go Animal Husbandry out of the gates here. After your initial worker has improved the wheat, he can move up to the sheep and improve that one too. You don't need to worry about roads for now, just improve the resources.

    After AH, probably tech Pottery tbh. Then you can start putting cottages on the floodplains. After Pottery, it's time for Mining -> Bronze Working (BW unlocks the Slavery civic).

    If any of our posts are too detailed or too confusing, please let us know and we'll try to explain better. It's a complex game, and by now most of us do more or less the correct things without thinking too much about it.
     
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