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How am I doing with this BTS game so far?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Yaksha, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Yaksha

    Yaksha Chieftain

    Feb 19, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hi all :)

    I've really been trying to work on my early-game recently (first 100 moves or so) - reading a tonne of very helpful strat posts here and watching some 'Let's Play' etc, anyone care to take a look and see if I still have any major leaks?

    I beat Prince a few times but then kept getting owned at Monarch, so this one's back down at Prince, playing as Aztecs/Montezuma. I chose him specifically because I've always disfavoured warfare (culture/space wins just seemed easier), so now trying to get better at that, and this guy seems like he'll facilitate that.

    This is continents map, huge/epic. Not sure what info you'll want/need so here's a bunch of screenshots:

    1) My empire so far. 4 cities.

    2) My capital, Tenochtitlan, F: 3975 BC

    3) Second city, Teotihuacan, F: 2275 BC

    4) Thiird city, Tlatelolco, F: 1675 BC

    5) Fourth City, Texcoco, F: 395BC

    6) Overall continent

    7) Tech Screen

    Points that I specifically struggle with and looking for advice on:

    City Placement. How am I doing here?
    - I chose capital starting site to tie in the nearby four resources. I could've gone one to the right to get the pigs too, but I felt like I had plenty of food already and wanted to get the hills on the left instead to mine.
    - Second city up top was mostly a push for stone. I chose this site (which didn't give me immediate access to the stone without a culture pop) to try to get the horses above too, but Germany beat me to them.
    - Third city site on the right I chose to try to make use out of all the hills nearby, but still be next to the fresh water too.
    - Fourth one down the bottom is brand new, and was just intended to make use of one of the spices, the corn, and because I generally want to start expanding that way.

    General warfare strategy
    - So in the top half of this continent we have myself, Frederik above me, Victoria out to the east, then Justinian has the whole bottom half to himself. I've mostly decided to go after Victoria first at some stage (Justinian is too far away), then decide which of the following two after that (prob Frederik since I'll have him cornered). Is this a decent approach?
    - Given that Monty has half-speed production of Barracks, should pretty much every city here have one and help out with Military Production, or would it be better to specialise a couple cities?
    - What's your general plan for the next 100 moves? Beef up the army now in preparation to strike, or expand some more / build a more stable base first?

    Any other advice/thoughts appreciated too..

  2. vandermerwe

    vandermerwe Butt of many jokes

    Dec 10, 2011
    Great for food but light on production = GP farm? But you need to whip away the unhappy citizens and maybe run a couple of scientists. Farming the floodplains makes sense if you want to run more specialists here, otherwise cottages would have been better.

    You have horses in your capital's BFC, so not sure this was worth it just for the stone. Will struggle for food all the way to biology, esp. if you want to work the stone. OTOH it does box Freddie in nicely. And if your CRE cultural superiority could steal the pigs off him, it'd start to look better

    Seems OK - will be better with a border pop when you can work the extra floodplains as well as the hills, although you'll get some useless desert into the bargain too. It could be a decent production city, esp. if it turns out that there's iron in the hills .

    Might have been tempted to settle 1S from here to pick up the ivory too. But not sure I'd have settled here at all without iron working to deal with the jungle, which gives your city nothing except unhealthiness. Will need lots of chopping - but with all that grassland underneath the jungle and a few hills too it should be fine then.

    Hard to say without a save - no real idea of how strong Vicky and Freddie are, what their relationships are, etc. Agree that Freddie seems hopelessly short of room to expand, though, and if you took out Vicky that'd be even more so. OTOH you have no metal yet, and Vicky may have copper (hard to tell from the screenshot). If so then you might struggle.

    Justinian could be a problem - likes to expand, can match your CRE culture, and a real menace once he gets cataphracts. If you can't take him out soon (and I agree you probably can't) then try to stay on his good side. Worth adopting buddhism (his religion, it seems), if you get the chance.

    Strategy before logistics... if, but only if, there's an opportunity to attack, then at this stage I'd go all out for units rather than specialising. But your two newer cities probably need to grow & be improved first.

    More workers! I can only see one, NE of the capital. Every city except the capital is working unimproved tiles, and your newest will need a lot of chopping.

    Also, think about installing BUG mod (or one of the variants of it), which I'd say is worth an extra difficulty level on its own if you can use the info it gives you effectively.
  3. coanda

    coanda Emperor

    May 12, 2009
    Your background reading shows, both in the screenshots you included and in the sort of stuff you're considering.

    I'd put more thought into avoiding border pops when possible, or at least being able to grow to size-2 off a strong inner-ring tile and whip a monument instead of having to slowbuild / chop one. I'd also try to avoid killing really great tiles, and focus on having either 3-4 really great tiles (where you can add a few specialists to use the extra happiness), or 5-6 good tiles in early cities.
    Your capital location is solid; some people might have gone 1E but I actually prefer where you chose - as you say, you had plenty of food already.
    Your second city is really hurting your growth - that city is a dead-weight on you unless you can get that pigs, which is why if you were going to settle that far north you should have gone even further to get inner-ring pigs. There doesn't seem to be a great spot up there from what screenshots show, so I'd probably have just left it and focused elsewhere initially.
    Your third city is solid, but you overlooked the opportunity to use capital culture to get those pigs immediately - settling 1SW would have given you a stronger city overall because it adds the pigs and a floodplains, at the cost of a bunch of plains and desert.
    Your fourth city is a bit weak - it needs a border pop to be worth anything, only has one pre-Calendar resource, and requires a lot of worker-turns to develop. I do like all the forests it grabs, but I might have moved it further west, given up on the corn, and just shared tiles with your capital if I was going to settle there.
    Overall I see you settling a lot of fairly distant, average cities. If a city is going to be average anyways, pack them in close to your capital to keep costs down and let you share tiles. It's when you can grab several good resources all with one city (or need to block off land) that you consider reaching a bit further with your settlers. Your settling pattern isn't bad, but it could be better. I also see no sign of a coherent settling plan (dotmapping, map notations, anything) in your screenshots. If you have one but it's just in your head, that's fine... but you should know at this point on this map where you're planning on your fifth and sixth cities too.

    It's hard to say what the right military plan is just off the screenshots you included. One thing to check is whether Frederick has any copper/iron available - if not, a horse-archer push against his archers would be laughably easy to pull off here, and you could probably take the veterans plus reinforcements and move straight on to Vicky. What you've described sounds like a reasonable plan, although I wouldn't think so much in terms of cornering AIs as I would in terms of what specific tiles/cities/wonders you want to conquer if you can, and the AI personalities involved.
    A barracks in every city would be reasonable if you had time for it, but you should have gotten those before/while researching Horseback Riding. Generally it's a waste, except when you're rushing with HAs (where Flanking II is such a great promotion) and with an Aggressive leader (even then, cities with almost no production or food surplus which are going to make almost no HAs can skip it). At this point... you're on the clock. HAs are going to go obsolete if you don't strike soon with them, at which point you've wasted a lot of beakers and let the AIs expand a lot unnecessarily.
    My plan for the next 10 turns would be to try to make at least 12 horseback archers - 2 whips in most cities, plus some slowbuilding and some chops. My plan for the next 30 turns would be to take those horseback archers and kill an AI. As soon as Feudalism comes out your horse archers take a huge hit in their usefulness, so you want to strike fast before that becomes an issue (I'm not sure about Prince tech rate, but I'm imagining you can't have that many more turns before Feudalism starts to spread).

    It looks solid overall - you're putting thought into your decisions, and have a coherent game plan. Your cities are a bit small and not as numerous as they could be for this point in the game, so I'm suspicious either you improved tiles in the wrong order or didn't do sufficient chopping/whipping earlier. Try to drive home in your thinking that every turn really matters, and a 1-turn edge will snowball into a lot more than that over the course of a game.
  4. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

    Apr 3, 2005
    You kinda settled cities far apart. Like that pig close to your capital is not being worked. Your second city could have been 4e of the capital. It would have had floodplains, pig and be connected via river.

    But yea, it helps a lot to be able to work a good tile without a border pop.
  5. Yaksha

    Yaksha Chieftain

    Feb 19, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks heaps for the comments guys, lot of this making sense.

    Hmm I was quite focussed on getting stone, cause it gives me half-price on pyrmaids/great wall, and Walls etc. Pyramids especially goes well with having no anarchy for revolutions. Is this not a big enough consideration given its average surroundings?

    Ah excellent alternative, didn't think of that - thanks

    Ohh I was actually distancing them on purpose. I knew cost was a consideration but I thought sharing tiles would be a waste. How does tile-sharing work? Do the cities each get the full value of the tile, or split it?

    Where would you have been looking for a 4th city? I was quite conscious of Vicky being able to start moving out that way and box me in, and really I didn't have too much room anywhere else that was close to me (except a possible fishing village on the west but I figured I'd get the one south-east of capital first because it would block off the coast for future development anyway)
  6. Teoes

    Teoes Chieftain

    Feb 24, 2012
    Only the city working the shared tile gets the value of it at the time. However overlap is not a good thing. It is an awesome thing - and a big help in the lesson of moving from Noble/Prince.

    What it means is that a new city gets the benefit of an already-developed food tile in order to get off the ground faster; mines can be picked up and worked when the other city needs to grow or work specialists; and cottages can be shared so they're always being worked and therefore always growing. Especially in the early days your cities can't work all their available tiles anyway, so (for example) sharing those cottages means they're towns by the time your main commerce city has the population to work them all.

    Another big lesson from tile sharing is that it's better to place your cities so that they good/productive/profitable now; rather than turd now, but a stormer in a millenium or two.
  7. learner gamer

    learner gamer King

    Sep 4, 2009
    IMHO @coanda’s absolutely nailed it. There’s an awful lot of great advice in that post.

    FWIW, I have two observations:

    (i) Re: city placement. You probably need to work a little more on getting overlap to work for you (eg. by having cities share tiles) rather than settle cities so far apart. A classic case occurs for instance when you settle another city close to your capital, which might then work cottages to be later handed over to the capital. Another might occur when your capital has so much food that you can settle another city close by that works one of the capital's food tiles (perhaps in addition to another food source of its own) to work a bunch of mines, to give you a second city capable of producing "stuff" (eg. units) very fast in the early game.

    A good maxim to bear in mind when settling cities is that each city needs (at least) one food resource...and each food resource is capable of supporting a city.

    (ii) This comment struck me from your OP:

    IMHO, improving at war isn’t so much a matter of picking the right leader as it is about simply playing more aggressively. As coanda noted, the real story is that you’ll want to (i) get an idea of when you can use certain units (eg. HAs are fine early game unless the AI has spammed spears / impis, but struggle against longbows) and (ii) understand that when you finish that key military tech, your primary goal should be to produce a sufficient number of units ASAP(ish) to win the war. In such situations, don’t be afraid to consider using slavery to help you get units out faster. Your cities can always grow back after you’ve won the war.

    Agreed BTW, nice to see evidence of reading / LP watching - and planning – before posting. :)
  8. vandermerwe

    vandermerwe Butt of many jokes

    Dec 10, 2011
    You're welcome. However I'm just a decent-ish Monarch player. Take anything I say with a large pinch of salt. For instance I seem to have thought Monty was Creative in my last post. Either a senior moment on my part and/or a confusion with my current game as Willem.

    Not for me, no. OK, early representation is good - although I tend to find there aren't that many more govt changes needed until mid-late game so the combination with SPI isn't all that useful. The real drawback is you now have a real dog of a city, and that just isn't worth any wonder for me. But I'm not much into building wonders anyway. Even with stone, Mids=5 horse archers or 7 axemen. I'll take the units every time at this stage of the game.

    Well, Justinian is the real REXer so heading south makes sense. Around where you have it makes sense with IW, as I say; but there's a spot SW of your capital that gets pigs & spice, and with lots of forest rather than jungle. OTOH that means settling one tile away from the coast, which is usually a dull thing to do of course.
  9. coanda

    coanda Emperor

    May 12, 2009
    Just-for-stone can be a solid reason to settle a third city, if your first two cities are really strong, you foresee running a lot of specialists, and you don't see any unusually good spots for a city still unclaimed. But of the three things you mentioned... Walls should simply not be built. The Great Wall is often overrated by newer players; recognize that it often just takes 3-4 well-placed warriors, or 2-3 axes/chariots at key spots, to prevent barbarians from being a problem... far cheaper than TGW (this is not always the case; TGW is occasionally worth it. Judge case-by-case). Pyramids really can be a great wonder, but crippling your growth first by settling a dead-weight second city, then spending 250:hammers: on Pyramids after you've got stone, is a good recipe to get yourself boxed in with just 2-3 cities.

    Only one city can work a tile at one time, but there are many benefits to close cities. Teoes pretty much outlined the benefits of sharing tiles, but that's just one of the reasons for close cities if you don't have good cause to spread them out.
    -You spend fewer turns moving the settler there (so you get the city a turn or two earlier).
    -You pay less in upkeep.
    -Workers can be somewhat shared between the two as needed without wasting turns moving back and forth (making it easy to improve some tiles in one, then go chop something out in the other for example).
    -You spend fewer worker-turns building roads to connect them (if you do that).
    -It's easier to defend them jointly against barbarians.
    -You can improve tiles before the new city ever is settled and start working that tile immediately, making your new city get going much faster.
    -You can swap food tiles to the city that needs to grow at the moment, production tiles to cities that need to finish important infrastructure urgently, and grow cottages jointly between the two cities to get them up to town status faster without crippling either city's growth.
    -You can also make better use of tiles when you have "too much of a good thing" - if you have so much food in a city that you can't use it all anyways (you're whipping every 10 turns and the city is still threatening to grow over happy cap), you can give one of those food tiles to another city instead (this is not that uncommon with capitals actually given how generous the map generator tends to be with capital starts). If you have a lot of floodplains or other juicy tiles and just don't have the happiness to work them all with one city, rather than wait a hundred turns until you have enough happiness you can start working them all jointly between two cities immediately.

    Without making any drastic changes to your city layouts, I'd probably just move your fourth city 1E so it gets corn immediately and has an extra grass hill it can work, or else 2W so it could share tiles with the capital. If your third city was 1SW, you could fit in another city further to the east of there which shared corn and the hills, and grabbed the far pigs and some riverside grass. 1S of the pigs on the coast looks like it might be a tolerable city after you have Iron Working - chop then pasture the pigs, chop/whip a workboat for the clams and a library, and you've got yourself a respectable early GP farm.

    That said... with this land, I wouldn't expect to get more than 3-5 decent cities before I ran into jungle to the south and desert to the west. So you need to start planning around that pretty early in the game.
    The first option is a chariot rush. Get 2 great cities which are reasonably close together, hurry out some chariots, and take over a neighbor's land. With Prince difficulty, a 2-move rush unit and gold in your capital tile to pay the bills, hitting someone 15-20 tiles away can be made to work fine, which puts both England and, I assume, Germany, within comfortable reach.
    Second option is a horse archer rush. Get 3-4 good cities, grab horseback riding, hurry out horseback archers, and kill a neighbor. HA rushes give you a chance to tech up a bit first, so you can rush a bit further away without bankrupting yourself. This whole continent is within range for a horse archer rush on Prince with gold in your capital and other gold visible all over the place (gold, gems, and silver are the quickest and easiest way to pay bills and keep your economy from crashing from overexpansion; those tiles are extremely useful to anyone REXing or going on a conquest spree early).
    Third option would be to grab Construction, possibly settle a city to get you Ivory if there's a passable spot available, and go on a catapult-fueled rampage across the continent. Elepult doesn't start going obsolete until the AIs get pikes, so you'd have a large window of opportunity for attacking.
    Fourth option would be to take down the jungle. Get 3 good cities and maybe 1-2 marginal ones, make a bunch of extra workers (at least a dozen workers will be needed as you start settling those jungle cities), and start chopping. There are lots of nice city sites buried underneath the jungle if you have the workers needed to develop them.
  10. capnvonbaron

    capnvonbaron Democratia gladii

    Aug 15, 2008
    cyberland, USA
    Ugh... photobucket pics are tedious.

    While a picture is worth a million words, a save file is worth 10 million :)

    If we can get into your games, look at your builds, and check out the diplo situation, the help we can give will be way more specific.

    Best of luck!
  11. Choggy

    Choggy Prince

    Feb 18, 2012
    There's lots of really good advice on here already about your city placement, the only thing I will add relates to actually playing Monty.

    His UB (Sacrifical Altar) is really powerful early on with a Granary. The 50% reduction in unhappiness from whipping is 5 extra turns of a population working a city tile after the whip compared to everybody else. This includes whipping the Sacrificial Altar itself.

    The best way of taking advantage of it is to have your cities share food resources or build a lot of farms so that whipped population is replaced as quickly as possible. With good city placement you can pretty much set up your whole empire up just through whipping right through the BC's

    Therefore bee-lining CoL via Oracle is recommended as an initial tech strategy. I would have teched through to Priesthood and built the Oracle whilst teching Writing for CoL.
  12. ShengWuLien

    ShengWuLien Warlord

    Jul 15, 2011
    I'd concur with all the advice above. The only thing I'd add is the question of tile improvements. I only looked at your capital, but there are some questionable choices there.

    You built at least two cottages on non-riverside plains. Remember, these have a -1 food deficit, and don't get the +1 commerce bonus for being on the riverside, so they'll never really pay for themselves. Your worker turns are almost certainly better spent doing something else.

    Cottages are generally speaking only worthwhile if they're riverside--I would've cottaged the floodplains and then the riverside grassland.

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