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How do I avoid economic crash during the expansion phase (ancient and classical eras)

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by guspasho, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. guspasho

    guspasho Prince

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    This has become a common problem for me. Even with a good commerce start, REXing = economic crash. How do I balance economy and expansion? Another part of the problem is that every time I use the whip is a hit to the economy, since that's more unhappy citizens and fewer tiles worked. Settling too fast, building too many units, not building cottages, and whipping too much all damage my economy.

    Here's a sample game I played through the classical era a few times and have been struggling with. I rolled Gandhi, two wet corns forested start. I think I moved my warrior and found a third corn, and spent a turn moving my settler to get all three corns in my BFC. Lots of forested grassland in the BFC, and lots of jungle outside of the BFC. I started teching Agriculture then BW.

    The first time I played through, I prioritized Iron Working before Alpha/Currency to start clearing jungle, built the fourth and fifth cities before Currency, and my economy crashed (~20% research rate, ~50 turns to Alphabet). And that was with my capital cottaged up. Once I got Alphabet, I was pretty far behind in tech, and couldn't catch up since my tech rate wasn't improving.

    The second time I played through is the savegame you see here (I can't take screenshots with my setup, sorry). I waited for Currency before I put down those southern cities, then Justinian attacked. I took his first city, but he's going to whomp me, he has a ton of units on the way (I played ahead a few turns, I took but couldn't hold Adrianople.)

    Anyway, expansion-wise, I feel like I should have settled more than 5 cities by 660AD, and I have room for at least two more good ones in the west (Corn/Gems, and Fish/Iron) and maybe some filler ones later, but I dislike settling cities with no useful resources nearby. But when I push to settle that quickly, I can't make it to Currency. I just don't know how to find the balance. Any pointers?
     

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  2. The Oz-Man

    The Oz-Man Enter: The VAIKE!

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    Binary research helps; run the slider at 0% while you build libraries/expand, then use the surplus gold to crank the slider to 100% and plow through the tech tree for a bit. Run scientists. If you have Currency, your economic problems can sort themselves out just by building Wealth in a city or two.

    Without looking at the save, that's what I'd do.
     
  3. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

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    Your tech priority is very poor. You are attacking into Xbows with axes, you have Construction but have built 0 Catapults. You settled cities poorly. I could go on, and on, and on....
     
  4. §L¥ Gµ¥

    §L¥ Gµ¥ Prince

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    when whipping, the next build could/should be a worker/settler. Your city won't grow building those anyway, so you get some productive turns to offset the 10 turn penalty.

    Prioritize code of laws. After worker techs and a military one, it should be your next priority.....Always [except if you're sumeria]
     
  5. guspasho

    guspasho Prince

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    Please do. Where should I be settling instead? How should I prioritize my research? I am asking for constructive criticism here. The Xbows first appeared on the turn I saved, and as a consequence I traded for Construction immediately before I saved. :rolleyes::crazyeye:
     
  6. guspasho

    guspasho Prince

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    My problems come from not being able to get to Currency with more than 3 cities. If I expand beyond that, my economy and tech rate crash. I played through to Writing, dropped my slider to 0%, whipped libraries, waited a few turns for my cities to recover, turned my slider up to 100% and got Alphabet in 9 turns. That's a significant improvement over before. (Too bad nobody wants to trade me anything, dammit.)

    I'll keep trying this, alternating between expanding/infra and research. How exactly should binary research work with everything else? Should I be building/whipping during the 0% phase and focusing on city growth during the 100% phase? Does the slider affect research-building? Is there a guide or tutorial on it somewhere?

    Replaying my game, my immediate goals after Writing are Alphabet, Currency, Calendar, Pyramids, GLH, expand expand expand, hold off Justinian. (And apparently CoL.) I'm not sure how to prioritize them. Pyramids are available early so I think I should prioritize mids, and maybe GLH.

    The lack of good city locations is a problem, as Zero so helpfully pointed out, just three or four relatively far away and then resource-free filler land in between. I'm not a fan of settling without good resources, at least not until later in the game. How should I settle this land?
     
  7. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

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    Take this with a grain of salt but, if the whip is hindering your economy you might consider abandoning its use. For now, until you feel more comfortable with the mechanics. The whip functions like an accelerator and when applied to a sports car on the race track the results are spectacular. A swerving truck, navigating on ice, might see less desirable results. ;)
     
  8. elmurcis

    elmurcis Emperor

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    Not sure.. Not too bad (for emperor level), I guess there was many jungle tiles from start and thats why not used all land you have..
    Lot of coast... but not many cities and very late GLH (I finish it before Currency if I go for it) to use this advantage (you also has access to other land mass and city there will pay back right after building it... will try to explain why :) )
    Let say you have 5 cities on main land, and 4 are coastal.. With GLH and Currency each coastal has 4 trade routes (1 :comerce: each) and inland city has 2 trade routes (1 :commerce: each)...
    Thats just 18 :commerce: total.. Now we settle 6th city on other land mass... and what we get - that city will have 4 trade routes with 2 :commerce: each.. And every city on big continent will get 1 trade route with 2 :commerce:.. Its 8 :commerce: for that city + 5 :commerce: for each coastal and 3 :commerce: for inland city (total 31 :commerce: or +13 :commerce: increase.. that should pay maintence.. atleast after courthouse for sure )
    Add 1 more oversea city and you get 44 :commerce: total.... GLH really pays back when can get 4 cities on different island/continent, but shouldn't get all on same land or colony maintence comes into game :D And.. if I want that wonder, its done around 1500 BC latest :D
     
  9. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    Actually, this is some very good advice. Assuming Guspasho did whip.
    Whipping (the wrong thing) at the wrong time is a serious setback. Like shooting in one's foot before attempting to sprint.


    Settle more slowly, build less units, more cottages, whip less :goodjob:
    From what you wrote it seems you badly underestimate the importance of commerce.
    From Sid's tips, approximately:
    "Don't neglect cottages, they may start small but..."
    "... Can't support a growing Empire without currency." (And by "currency", really, he means "commerce.")

    Basic rule to RExing:
    Get the means to improve your commerce BEFORE raising your maintenance. Even better: improve your commerce output before raising your maintenance.

    There's no reason to crash your economy with 5 cities unless you think a single gold mine is going to provide commerce for your whole Empire.
    Work commerce tiles, grow some population and then work more commerce tiles. Your economy, instead of crashing, will improve.

    Unless you're going for a faraway blocker city, the 1st 3 cities should increase your commerce output, just by virtue of being settled. This, of course, assumes your cities are connected (trade network).
    Thus the "settle more slowly" part, above, is all relative. It's more like "don't settle your 5th city before you have raised your commerce output."



    I have read a few times, recently, a misconception about scientists. Not sure where you stand on that point but I'll clarify for you.
    Unless you are running Representation, it's useless to hire scientists to "improve your research." That's what commerce is for.
    Scientists give GPP to pop Great People. At 0 food, 3 science, the output is pretty crappy compared to even a 2 food, 2 commerce riverside cottage.

    Considering the gold tile as a source of commerce is somewhat ok but, similarly, the special thing it does is raise your happy cap.
     
  10. §L¥ Gµ¥

    §L¥ Gµ¥ Prince

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    You're right about representation and specialists, but they do have a use despite their crappy 3 beaker output. Often times during a heavy REX, my economy is limping towards CoL, so I'm forced to convert as many citizens to scientists that I can afford [all commerce towards maintenance]. Once CoL is discovered I whip away those scientists for courthouses, and I'm off to the races again.

    Another use if the SE minus the 'myds. Sure, the 'myds, bring and overdrive to an SE, but with lots of food resources, it's can still be viable to stack lots of scientists while in cast system, and bank on the popping of GSs.
     
  11. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Aside from tech priorities and such, switch tiles to keep your net gold/beakers at +8.

    Mines provide 4 food/hammers, riverside cottages provide 2+2 commerce. So switch out your mines while you produce workers/settlers for riverside cottages. Lakes and unimproved clams/crabs have the same benefit.

    Look for extra commerce sources. That's usually seafood/precious metals/fur and ivory.

    Don't be afraid to switch unimproved forests for unimproved commerce tiles like coastal tiles (1 food 2 commerce ~ 1 food 2 hammers for forested plains).
     
  12. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

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    Why do we have to go over this again. The SE is crap, and a waste of time. In order to have a strong empire you need to make use off all forms of commerce/beakers/gold. The Hybrid economy, and the hammer economy are by far the best, and there are no questions about it. The SE, and CE are traps for newer players who don't understand the game as well.
     
  13. Revent

    Revent Will SIP

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    On lower difficulties, the SE tends to be better in my opinion. You tend to win the game on lower levels by the time that the SE becomes less effective. :)
     
  14. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

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    On lower difficulties it is better to just cottage every non hill, and special tile. Hell on Emp, and lower you can always Oracle Fued if you try. And then bulb Machinery to get 1k BC Knight to win by 800 AD.
     
  15. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

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    SE is not always crap. Yes, Mids is over expensive (even with stone I guess), but it dovetails with some victory condition or maps.

    I think SE is kinda a short term economy.

    For instance, in gunning for a fast Mass Media and U.N. victory, SE dovetails perfectly with the fact you need lots of GScientists for bulbing your path through Mass Media.
     
  16. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

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    DaveMcW would like a word with you. :mischief:
     
  17. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

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    I would still rather just run a hybrid economy with more of a farm focus to run a bunch of Caste specs. When you tunnel vision yourself on only one way to tech you are limiting your beakers per turn.
     
  18. §L¥ Gµ¥

    §L¥ Gµ¥ Prince

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    respectfully disagree. I've played the SE regularly on emperor with little difficulty. SE is perfectly viable strategy, and transitioning out of it during a mid-game (when cottages begin to win out in output) war is relatively painless to do anyway. Extra workers from conquest means your newly conquered land needs a little work and can have it done, the SE civics work well with warmongering, scientists make good miners, and a food+mine heavy economy produces units well while providing buffer from pillaging AIs.

    The SE has a lot more flexibility than you give it credit for.
     
  19. Zx Zero Zx

    Zx Zero Zx Deity

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    It has no flexibility. You need to realize that you are only getting beakers from one source, and by doing that you are limiting yourself. While also getting less beakers than you should be getting if you know how to use a proper economy. This SE CE crap is worse than people not realizing why Oxford is crap. Please think about things before you do what someone 5 years ago did. -.-
     
  20. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    "I disagree, and in doing so cite an example where you can win with basically any economy, stomping on the AI even if you make suboptimal choices all game".

    With a favorable start for it I can kill 3 emperor AIs (sometimes 4+) using absolutely nothing but horse archers, paying only a passing mind to economy at all (well, techs for peace are pretty valuable). So what now? Horse archer economy? HA!

    If you're going to use cottages that you created yourself, you want to be working them early. Even then, you don't want too many (or too few). Relying on specialists alone for research is indeed poor pretty often, unless you're running one of thoes obsolete WE/SSE type deals.
     

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