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Help Climbing the Difficulty Ladder

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by WeaselSlapper, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. WeaselSlapper

    WeaselSlapper Prince

    Mar 16, 2009
    Hello Everyone. These forums have helped me greatly improve my civ game going from barley beating Prince in Civ 4 (I played 2 and 3 but learned everything in those on my own) to regularly beating Immortal now in 5 so I thought I'd share some of what I've learned to help those who are still trying setup to their difficulty.

    First is don't try to take on too much at one time. I'll outline a few techniques below try to master 1-2 per game at your current difficulty and when that level starts to get too easy move up and add 1-2 more techniques and repeat. If there are any better players out there who would like to point out any techniques I've missed. If there are any better players out there who would like to point out any techniques I've missed.

    Here are some techniques that I've used to improve my Civ V game, don't worry about the order on these just pick a few you like and give it a shot.

    • Win a domination victory without losing any units - On higher levels your units will be greatly outnumbered so mastering tactical combat will be extremely important.
    • Choosing which cities to annex, which cities to puppet, and which to burn. The quick and dirty here is if a city has a strong production capacity it's a good candidate for annexing. If its a low production city near a river, has a lot of buildings built, is in a strategic location, or has some wonders you would like to keep puppet. All other cities should be razed. When you're going to raze a city it's important to raze it immediately. If you don't it will count towards future policy costs.
    • Complete manual control of all workers - Automated workers don't improve tiles in the right order and are very inefficient in may other ways. By manually controlling your workers you will be able to use fewer workers then the AI. There are many threads that talk about this so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here.
    • Manual control of citizens - This is one of the more advanced techniques (you may want to save it for one of the last). There are a few components to this and will enable your cities to be much more productive and efficient. One quick trick to explain is to lock all the highest food yield tiles and set the city on production focus so all new citizens work the more productive tile available. This trick will get you a few extra hammers whenever a city grows. There is a lot more to this and there are many threads on this, but is an important aspect to improving.
    • Early war to get some puppets and eliminate a potential rival - Puppets are a key help keep more policies rolling in (puppets add culture, but don't add to the culture cost of policies) and supplement gold income.
    • Controlling the growth of puppets - While puppets are useful if they grow uncontrollably they will eat your happiness that is better used growing the cities you control. The key to controlling them is to realize that they are gold focused. Before you take a city pillage as many farms as you can (especially on wheat and banana plantations). Any farms left after you take the city can be destroyed by starting to build a TP but cancelling the mission after 1 turn. Build TPs on river tiles first (they will be worked anyway) then on hills, plains and any other low food high production tiles. Last on any other grasslands because with some of the latest patches they changed how the AI chooses tiles. I don't know how much in gold 1 food is worth, but I do know that puppets will put a 2 food tile in front of a tile with 1 food, 1 production, and 1 gold so you may as well get the extra gold from the 2 food grasslands tile.
    • Proper city placement - A base city will always produce at least 2 food and 1 production. If the unimproved tile a city is placed on produces more food, production, or gold that the city will produce that the tile produces instead. So if you put a city on a hill it's base production will be 2, a city placed on a river will have base 1 gold, etc. Cities on a river are very powerful, and new cities you place will usually need at least 1 new luxury early on. Cities will also "hook up" any resource they are placed on as soon as you have the technology to improve that tile so sometimes it's better to place a city directly on a resource to immediately connect that resource to your empire at the cost of being able to work a resource tile with a citizen. Rivers a great city location (the watermill is a great building) and hills provide a nice production and defensive bonus.
    • Proper Policy Selection
    • Come up with you planned victory condition early
    • Try no to get used to getting too many world wonders

      I'm out of time for now, but I know I'm missing a lot so, but I will add any good tips posted by others.
  2. adwcta

    adwcta King

    Dec 8, 2012
    New York City, USA
    Nice! I'm working on all of these things myself as a new player to the franchise, looking to play my first immortal game soon.

    One thing I would add to the list as being one of the, if not the, most important things to pick up on is how the AI reacts to things. This gets more important the more powerful the AI is (the higher the difficulty). More than half of the AIs will have no path to victory by turn 200, so learning how and which ones to appease or take over, or to strategically gift them newly puppet-ed cities instead of razing is very important for being able to decide when you want to go to war, and when you want to focus on infrastructure, and who you want to go to war with whom.

    On the flip side, you can fairly cheaply manipulate powerful AIs to do your bidding and fight your wars for you if they are already predisposed to hate on a certain civ/city state. Creating world wars where you are on the winning side (or no side at all), without using many troops creates lots of allies at very little cost, and keeps the winning civ (which most civs like to go to war against anyway) in check. You don't have to win by turn 200... you just have to figure out a way to make sure no one else wins by the time you do, be it turn 200 or turn 500.

    Find out (or strongly suspect) the runaway civ Mongolia is planning to attack you with "an army that can wipe us off the map"? Pay him to attack China instead (or a city state if you'd like to keep people alive for UN/RAs/trades)....
  3. alysenne

    alysenne Chieftain

    Nov 10, 2005
    I find that understanding the diplomacy system is vital as you go up in difficulty. Most of the suggestion in the OP improve efficiency/effectiveness, which is good. But not that helpful if you get ganged by multiple AI at the same time because you mishandled the diplomacy aspect of the game.
  4. ixias

    ixias Warlord

    Dec 13, 2012
    Great guide Weasel! I think one of the key things is eliminating the wonder-lust people seem to have by playing on anything below King. One thing a lot of my friends were surprised with when they moved up from Prince was how hard some of the Wonders were to get and didn't know what to do when they didn't get them. Wonders should enhance your civilization and reward things you've done.
  5. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

    Jan 26, 2009
    Virtual reality
    Decent guidelines.
    Although I disagree with two points.
    First, having casualties is normal. This simple fact should be engraved on mind of anybody who wants to climb up in difficulties. On higher difficulties it will be deep into the game before you get on par with AI tech-wise, so you don't fight with imba-units that are an era ahead of your opponents' and thus you need meatshields to cover for siege/ranged ones. Lots of meatshields.
    Second, 'hammer trick' is not important. Manual control is, of course, and is highly recommended at any level. However, this trick's benefit is minor. It's more of a gimmick. Yes, you get few more hammers, which are quite useful early on, but pop ruin will give you much much more hammers. And how critical hitting a pop ruin is after all?

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