How do I improve?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Mugen, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Mugen

    Mugen Chieftain

    Jun 3, 2014
    This is embarassing but I struggle playing on King difficulty. I thought I was decent until I started playing on King and realizing that I really didn't know how to do anything. I just kinda follow what the game tells me to do.

    I have advisory messages and stuff off but I really only build what the "Recommended" improvement is with my worker and never really micromanage my cities past Default Focus and having it auto-choose working tiles.

    I'm not really sure where to learn micromanagement or if there's a way to force myself to learn. Is it possible to turn off the recommended tile improvement thing? I kinda want to force myself to stop doing this automatically.

    I'm also clueless when it comes to build orders and policy orders. I really just to Tradition > Commerce > Rationalism > Freedom for every civ I play. I only go for Science and Cultural victories since I have absolutely no idea how to properly wage war. I always go into debt and unhappiness and end up hemorrhaging until I lose.

    I feel like I've hit a brick wall in skill and can't decide how to improve. Should I be forcing myself to play on Immortal or something to learn the game or is there a way to ease into it that I'm missing.
  2. NKVD

    NKVD Cossack

    Aug 30, 2002
    Stalingrad, Québec
    I think you can play on King without micromanaging tiles and Specialists. That's what I do. I just dont like it and I can win easily.
    I only specialize my cities. Example: it gives nothing to build a bank in a city collecting 2 gold per turn...

    To improve: easiest would be to watch a video of the best on youtube.
  3. Acken

    Acken Deity

    Sep 13, 2013
    QC, Canada
    If you're letting yourself guided by the game AI advices things will start to get difficult by King level.

    This is for a very simple reason. The things suggested by the AI are using the same algorithm than how an AI choses what to build. So basically you are playing like an AI but starting at King the AI have bigger bonuses than you.

    So first thing would be to skim through these forums and forget about AI suggestions trying to get a better understanding of what is important and why.

    Making a complete guide is a daunting task. Maybe you can get a look at some youtube video with commentaries (Maddjinn, PrimeEval, Moriarte come to mind).

    I may also suggest going to that thread:

    This is immortal level game but I've made a video (no commentaries) of it so you could try to immitate it or at the very least watch to catch some tips. And if you don't understand stuff you can ask in that thread. Also if you think of a different strategy that you would have used you can also ask others what they think of it. Must mention that this is also an easy immortal game more akin to Emperor/King average level of difficulty (Salts, Petra location, easy to defend, El Dorado... )
  4. HorseshoeHermit

    HorseshoeHermit 20% accurate as usual, Morty

    Apr 5, 2013
    I would highly recommend playing an alternative, purely war-focused, sim, to build up your war skills. I also would advise against leaping into the higher difficulties (for multiple reasons) , but specific to what you're saying, I think this is a matter of keeping your eyes on the prize, understanding the "eXploitation" phase of the 4X genre. Just making the game punish you more dearly isn't going to elucidate the systems that are apparently opaque to you. Also, Civ is the sort of game where many decisions are hidden, and even remain hidden by endgame. Contrast this with an Arcade Fighting Game, where, if you get beat up by an expert gamer, or by the hardest AI setting, you can see right in front of you what moves the enemy is doing, and you can adapt by mimicry (to an extent). Anyway, there's a ton of reasons why I think increased difficulty is not for you right now.

    Back to war for a moment, with all the other stuff in Civ to worry about, it's easy to oversimplify your war strategy and not grow in that dimension. As well, when you are pampered with technological or industrial superiority, you can easily let that take the place of tactical knowhow.

    I learned everything I know about strategy from Intelligent Systems games, like Advance Wars. Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (also called Dark Conflict in Europe) is a non-cartoony iteration of the series that you can get for the Nintendo DS , has lots of scenarios aside from the main quest line. If you're not put off by the cartoony, there's Advance Wars II, in which the individual powers of each "faction" are much more pronounced and are part of strategy the whole of any mission. However, only Days of Ruin has an experience/promotion system.

    So with war aside, I think you need to read up on the formulae of the game, where all the numbers come from, so you know what you're actually maximizing. What you're trying to do is get to that finish line, which means having all this Tourism, or getting far-far down the tech tree and having productive cities with a safe capital for the space launch, or having lots and lots of money , and maintaining your competitive edge despite sacrificing your spies to CS duty. In short, you're trying to reap lots of resources. The entire game is just getting more resources.

    In a nutshell, you are expanding your influence over land, deriving power from that land, and making tradeoffs of some resource for other resources so as to derive even more power and control even more land. Every decision is about getting the most, whatever the most is. Ideally, you can foresee your final result, your "grand strategy", which allows you to value either tourism or science or whatever the utmost, but practically speaking, you want to be as strong as you can on every dimension, when many things about the game are still uncertain.

    When you understand that in isolation, then comes the diplomacy. If you don't make nice with the other parties, they make trouble for you. But you are ultimately in competition, so that's why you have frenemies. If your opponents are just the AIs, not Humans in multiplayer, then this isn't really a big concern as the AI really, really, really, pretty much, cannot threaten you. (I mean if you actually roll over and let the AI have its way with your cities, it will scarcely manage to even plunder one of them, suiciding its units on a cities basic defenses.) But for me, this diplomatic aspect, with frenemies, is the whole draw of the game. I just scarcely find value in "diplomatic" games that don't have the grit of an underlying 4X economy.​

    So maybe I've said a bunch of things you already knew (except about the war experience part, I really think that helps you). But you said you go into Unhappiness, which, if you know what all the formulae are, that can never happen because you will manage it. You describe a sort of aimlessness, and I am telling you what you're missing is the genre of the game, the 4X's. Exploit! And to exploit you need to know what the mathematics are. You can't trade off 1 :c5science: beaker for 1 :c5gold: gold without actually knowing how hard each is to come by. So read up the War Academy, learn what the buildings do, learn the happiness function and learn where science comes from and how city growth works. Learn the typical timeline of things, like how many social policies you'll have by the time your population is at such-and-such. All these things.

    And keep in mind, the best strategy was never reached by working out formulae on paper. People tested things. They played a game with one strategy, they made notes, tracked how many turns until they reached Industrial Era, how many turns until they won, how many turns until they settled all their pre-medeival cities. Then they check another approach. A game with tradeoffs (you see on these forums people bandying the phrase "opportunity cost" all the time) is going to be very complicated, because any sort of advantage might be turned into another advantage, you have to check to know which option is really the most valuable in all the situations.

    You could simply choose to take other strategist's advice at face value (for instance: Tech pottery first, focus food, get archers, upgrade to Composite Bows as your first priority and defend yourself in your first war; build a National College literally as soon as possible) and that can get you moving (and will have instant results in how easy things will seem and what difficulty setting you can cope with), but I think in your case you need to take some ownership of seeing the pieces in this game yourself.
  5. Furtherado

    Furtherado Chieftain

    Jul 4, 2013
    If you go to war you really need to try to win as quickly as possible, because long drawn-out wars are really bad for you since you spend so much resources on expendable entities rather than bonuses that will last you the rest of the way. Go for the throat of the enemy empire, raze all the cities that you can`t keep because of happiness issues and try to capture the capital or force them into a lucrative peace deal. Unfortunately, civ5 is balanced towards ranged units, so you wanna use those, and a few meele units to take the cities.
  6. jlim201

    jlim201 King

    Sep 14, 2013
    Somewhere North of the South Pole
    Basically, set goals for yourself like: "Build University in capital by turn 200"

    Some good goals are (standard) multiply by 1.5 for epic, 3 for marathon, divide by 0.75 for quick

    Turn 100- National College

    Turn 200- University

    Turn 250- Public School

    Turn 300- Research Lab

    Win by Turn 450

    Wonders that are "important" (you can win without any)

    Great Library- Turn 50

    Temple of Artemis- Turn 60

    Hanging Gardens- Turn 75

    Porcelain Tower- Turn 250

    Hubble- Turn 375

    Oracle- Turn 150

    Chichen Itza- Turn 200

    Notre Dame- Turn 200

    L. Tower of Pisa- Turn 225

    Ideology Wonders- Turn 300

    Ideal Policies

    Always go:

    For Culture, go Aesthesics, Order
    For Science, go Freedom, Commerce
    For Diplomacy, go Patronage, Commerce, Freedom
    For Domination, go Order, Honor
  7. Uzael36

    Uzael36 Prince

    Jan 9, 2012
    The above goals are pretty slow to finish, imo. I understand that at king difficulty, you don't have to win all that fast, but it is still quite slow. Maybe if you were focused on domination, some of those things get pushed back for military tech, but then your goals would be different anyways.

    Read this for a good start guide for the first 100 turns:

    Of course, the OP might not be interested in copying a system, and perhaps he'd rather figure this out on his own. If that is the case, yeah, just set goals and try to improve your tech by good growth and tech buildings.
  8. phillipwyllie

    phillipwyllie Wannabe Deity

    Dec 11, 2003
    4 Hexes from FoY
    You need to settle 3 or 4 cities and have the National college built by t90. What I suggest is play a 200 turn game and see if you can get to Scientific Theory and have Public Schools built by then. Science is key and the key to science is growth.
    Your initial build order must be 2 scouts. I think this is key to any game regardless of the difficulty level, especially if you play as Spain. If you know the lay of the land early you can plan where your next cities will be
    Worker Stealing
    You must steal workers preferably from barb camps, then other civs, lastly(and you can only do this once) from CS. Be careful about DOWing a CS as some civs will not forgive you ever.
    Early Wonders
    Forget about them, even though on King you'll get most of them. In saying that you should be getting TOA, Petra, and Colossus. An empire that is founded early starts growing early and thus generates more science early.
    You must micromanage, especially early on as you want the best ratio to growth to production in each city. Each new population needs 2 food and adds 1 unhappiness, take this into consideration when selecting food focus. Later on you should be working specialist slots(science and culture)
    Deity LP videos
    Watch them as you'll get some tips. Notice how the NC is a priority and that forest is chopped(with stolen workers).
  9. redwings1340

    redwings1340 Emperor

    Sep 24, 2011
    While what Phillip says is good advice, I wouldn't say any of that is absolutely crucial, and that 'need' is an overstatement, especially on King or even Emperor. Worker stealing is also a much more difficult and less essential tactic on King because city states/other civs get their starting workers a lot later than on deity, so not everything from deity lets plays are viable on lower difficulties.

    That said, you want a general focus on growth and science while maintaining positive happiness. Make sure that you're doing things like trading your excess luxuries and unnecessary strategic resources to other civilizations. If you really want to exploit the AI, you can trade each of your strategic resources for 2 gpt if you do it one at a time. Yeah... It works. If you find yourself in negative happiness, try to do everything you can to get out of that situation. You can build happiness buildings if you start feeling low on that front, but you can also give gold to city states and trade with other civilizations for their excess luxuries.

    As far as social policies go, it seems as though your policy choice works best for small empires with large populations. Next time you play this way, I think you could probably improve the efficiency of it though by only taking the opener in commerce, and maybe taking either some patronage or aesthetics policies on the side (or exploration if you're a naval civ, the first couple policies from that tree are really underrated in my opinion), or just fill out rationalism faster. I try my best to never waste a social policy in my games. You don't need to get optimal social policies to win, so feel free to experiment with them, but before you take them, ask yourself if you're ever going to use the policy. If you aren't going to use it, choose something else that you will use, even if it locks a policy below that looks tempting.
  10. lepruk86

    lepruk86 Chieftain

    Feb 28, 2011
    I am kind of in the opposite boat to yourself.

    I really struggle with anything other than essentially a military focus. I still find even after all the improvements, that Civ's in V will randomly declare war on you so you need to have a standing army.

    If you have a standing army you may as well use it (especially as you have then invested valuable hammers and gold into it).

    Then the game turns punching down the 1-3 front runners so I become first in everything and after that, choosing a victory arbitrarily.

    I could continue to conquer the world, I could buyout city-states or continue to get ahead in Science.

    But essentially, my victory comes from mid-era warfare.

    In terms of learning to miro-manage though, I would suggest playing a Maya game and going wide.

    Keep every city to 3 population and build cities tightly and just keep aggressively expanding and keeping an eye on your population.

    I read about this tactic I think on here a long time a go, and it certainly boosted my micromanaging ability ten-fold to the point where it is no longer challenging, but simply tedious to manage every cities tiles for optimal performance.

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