How do I stop turtling?

sylvanllewelyn

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Civilisations 4 is a sandbox or Lego game, play the way you want to play. If you like turtling, you can try always peace or cultural victory.

The problem with youtube videos is they focus on domination, conquest, or diplomatic victories. The games are faster and more entertaining to watch. Cultural or Space Race takes a lot of micromanagement every turn and that's a lot less entertaining. (Yes there are space race victories but only when domination is not viable. I mean games where you decide to go space race from the beginning). Same reason why you don't see marathon speed games.

Or one city challenge. If you're hardcore.
 

vorlon_mi

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Hey everyone!

I've lurked these forums for years, but finally made an account today. Played C4 vanilla forever when it came out and recently picked up BTS; Fourteen years late is better than NEVER, right?! :lol:

The expansion add-ons are fantastic, however the question I have is not so much about the game but the player. Jumping back into civ made me realize I have some very bad 4X habits. Beyond the Sword is so freaking good that I want to become a more well-rounded player to fully enjoy everything on offer.

I have this innate bias to avoid war and diplomacy with other civs. This has my games constantly defaulting to:
-Administrating a smaller number of non-specialized, large cities with little/no tile overlap
-Focusing way too much on city improvements while completely minimizing military
-Only interacting with other civs if I need a resource for happiness or a wonder
-Emphasizing tech over everything else; getting all without a direction/goal

Every game is becoming the same and it's getting rote. I'd like to play more fluidly and intelligently, however my mind has a tough time justifying spending hammers on units when there's good buildings to be had. It's almost as though I play Civilization like I would play Sim City. Because of this, I can't seem to progress past Prince difficulty and I KNOW it's due to a lack of proactive aggression.

Perhaps part of this is because I don't know the timings as well as C5. In that game, once crossbows were available I went for it - same with frigates. It might be because I lack the knowledge of how to efficiently take a city, and am afraid of wasting units because of it. Not sure.

Has anyone else had this problem?
If so, how did you break the habit?

Big thanks in advance!

I had a similar challenge when I go back to Civ IV after lots of Civ III games. My sense of timings and knowledge of the tech tree is rusty.

Consider setting yourself some "war goals" as well as setting some "expansion goals."
  • Settle cities where the food specials are located, and be willing to go out with your early units to find them
    • Every city gets a granary, helped by chopping forests
  • Try to have N cities in your empire by 1000BC. (A more experienced player will need to recommend a good value for N)
  • Pick a neighbor whose territory has some resources you want. Plan to invade them when you can build catapults and war elephants
    • Make sure that some cities have barracks
    • Focus on building units in those cities, once you have the techs
In Civ III, I make some plans for invasions that happen *after* a rapid expansion phase (REX) where I build lots of settlers and workers.
In Civ IV, the expansion needs to be a bit slower so that my economy doesn't crash, so I need to fill that time with military expansion.
It is a habit I need to break. Good luck!
 

Henry.K

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I decided to play a few games and always declare war when a friendly AI asks me to - suddenly things become very interesting, you're 'forced' to go to war without being prepared and often without a tech advantage, you will get into impossible situations, but you get comfortable with being at war quickly :)

That's a great suggestion!
Adds a role-playing element to it rather than viewing the game as just an exercise in min-max meta.

Try quitting and reloading. For some reason whenever I minimize the game (on my old Mac) the screenshots start being black like that.

Tried that and didn't work.
Do fullscreen grabs in steam on MacOS just not work?

By all means explore all styles, but I know for a fact that a 'turtling' style can win at least up to Emperor. It isn't optimal, of course. I just don't think you should hit a wall at Prince.
Civilisations 4 is a sandbox or Lego game, play the way you want to play. If you like turtling, you can try always peace or cultural victory.

The problem with youtube videos is they focus on domination, conquest, or diplomatic victories. The games are faster and more entertaining to watch. Cultural or Space Race takes a lot of micromanagement every turn and that's a lot less entertaining. (Yes there are space race victories but only when domination is not viable. I mean games where you decide to go space race from the beginning). Same reason why you don't see marathon speed games.

Or one city challenge. If you're hardcore.

I guess the issue is that I won't WANT to turtle anymore.
I've done so much of that... and the game has so many varied aspects to explore.
Just feels like I'm wasting so much of BTS's potential playing one style, you know?

Good point though, YouTube games are mostly military.
The micromanagement of a science victory is getting old for me though.
Turns the game into a spreadsheet simulator, you know?

I had a similar challenge when I go back to Civ IV after lots of Civ III games. My sense of timings and knowledge of the tech tree is rusty.

Consider setting yourself some "war goals" as well as setting some "expansion goals."
  • Settle cities where the food specials are located, and be willing to go out with your early units to find them
    • Every city gets a granary, helped by chopping forests
  • Try to have N cities in your empire by 1000BC. (A more experienced player will need to recommend a good value for N)
  • Pick a neighbor whose territory has some resources you want. Plan to invade them when you can build catapults and war elephants
    • Make sure that some cities have barracks
    • Focus on building units in those cities, once you have the techs
In Civ III, I make some plans for invasions that happen *after* a rapid expansion phase (REX) where I build lots of settlers and workers.
In Civ IV, the expansion needs to be a bit slower so that my economy doesn't crash, so I need to fill that time with military expansion.
It is a habit I need to break. Good luck!

What is a good way to know WHEN adding another city or two won't tank your economy?
I find that in some games I can expand quicker without going broke, and in some I can't... but I fail to see how and why.
Is there a handy rule of thumb to use?
 

civac

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The reason Youtubers/streamers wage war so much is that it is very hard to keep up with deity AI bonuses in the late game. These increase with era and AI late game research is so fast a human player requires significantly more land to keep up (even on just IMM their late game is very strong). Moreover, often with deity AIs starting with so two cities and the incredible impediments deity difficulty throws at the player it's hard to settle a decent amount of cities early on. Often players are stuck on 5-8 cities early on. So it's not a matter of preference but a base necessity to go conquering. Deity AIs build a lot of units but are utterly terrible at fighting.
 

lymond

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Is there a handy rule of thumb to use?
@Henrik75

I still don't know much about your current game or level, but can only assume that you still have a great deal to learn about the game.

Speaking of early expansion and when to settle new cities, I'd say the basic rule of thumb is that as long as you are earning gold at 0% research then you should be expanding. There is really no limit on number of cities by 1AD, but you should at least expect to have 6 cities by then. If you are playing on say Monarch level or below, there really should be little to no impedance to your expansion. I've had no trouble with...say..having 20 cities are more by 1AD on Prince or Noble level by 1AD. On the other hand, maintenance cost skyrocket above Emperor.

Once you settle your first city you will start to to hit deficit research. That is, you start losing gold at 100% research due to maintenance costs. At that, point you will run binary research or 0% or 100% research. At 0% research, you can tell how much gold you are earning at a given point and as long as it is positive you are in good shape.

So the point I'd make, and it is common among less experienced players, is that their perception of the state of their economy is often not as bad as they think.

At the point you start running binary, you are looking to get writing and getting up some libraries and running some scientists as well. Depending on level, you start focusing on more advanced techs and looking to setup tech trading. On lower, levels going straight for Alpha often pays off, and then look to Maths>Currency. Once Currency is in, then the sky is the limit as your commerce is boosted, you can trade resources for gpt, and techs for gold - as well as build wealth as needed. (As you move up levels, tech choices after Ancient techs may vary depending on the situation as you need to setup up tech trades, and things like Alpha are prioritized by the AI. For example, Aesthetics is often a good trade chip for the human. For me, if I'm playing at Emperor level or below I will usually beeline Alpha myself)
 

Henry.K

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@Henrik75
Speaking of early expansion and when to settle new cities, I'd say the basic rule of thumb is that as long as you are earning gold at 0% research then you should be expanding. At 0% research, you can tell how much gold you are earning at a given point and as long as it is positive you are in good shape.

So the point I'd make, and it is common among less experienced players, is that their perception of the state of their economy is often not as bad as they think.

No way! I always have a big surplus at 0% research.
Are you ever right... I figured my economy was much worse that it really is!

At the point you start running binary, you are looking to get writing and getting up some libraries and running some scientists as well. Depending on level, you start focusing on more advanced techs and looking to setup tech trading. On lower, levels going straight for Alpha often pays off, and then look to Maths>Currency. Once Currency is in, then the sky is the limit as your commerce is boosted, you can trade resources for gpt, and techs for gold - as well as build wealth as needed. (As you move up levels, tech choices after Ancient techs may vary depending on the situation as you need to setup up tech trades, and things like Alpha are prioritized by the AI. For example, Aesthetics is often a good trade chip for the human. For me, if I'm playing at Emperor level or below I will usually beeline Alpha myself)

First question: When currency hits and you say "commerce is boosted". Are you referring to the boost from the trade routes, or from building markets? (or are those inefficient?)
Second: If you're isolated and tech trading isn't an option, how would your tech route change in general?
 

lymond

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No way! I always have a big surplus at 0% research.
Are you ever right... I figured my economy was much worse that it really is!

Over the years, it is honestly a major misconception I see among newer players that we tried to rid them of as soon as possible. Ha.. I've seen guys actually post up games in like the Industrial era with 3 or 4 cities asking "what am I doing wrong?.

I'd ask what level you are currently playing?



First question: When currency hits and you say "commerce is boosted". Are you referring to the boost from the trade routes, or from building markets? (or are those inefficient?)

Yep, from trade routes. Commerce doubles your trade route commerce which is even more lucrative with foreign and overseas trade routes.

I don't build Markets. Markets are a VERY expensive early building with little return. If your sparing (wasting) hammers on markets then those hammers are liking better used expanding or conquering...or build wealth.

(building all the building is another bad thing new players do..there is really only one important building..the Granary...everything else is situational or irrelevant)

By the way, Markets do not boost commerce. Commerce :commerce: does not equal Gold:gold:. Another misconception many have early in their Civ IV careers...ha..as did I. It's important to understand the concept of commerce and how the sliders affect commerce. The sliders are directly tied to manipulating commerce outputs.

Libraries and Markets would be considered multipliers or modifiers of said outputs.

Second: If you're isolated and tech trading isn't an option, how would your tech route change in general?

As with anything in this game, it depends a bit on the map and land you have. Isolation is a very unique situation whereby you need to do much of your own research so that is the major bottleneck. Priorities tend to focus on meeting the AIs asap, so outside your initial tech requirements for the land and Writing for research, you tend to focus on setting up an Optics and Astro bulbs. If possible you might build Mids if you have stone which helps a lot or Great Lighthouse if that would prove profitable - GLH is one if not THE most powerful wonders in the game in the right situation.

In iso, you might not expand as rapidly so that you can keep gold/research high...maybe 4 to 6 cities depending on level/economy. But any river spot that can be heavily cottaged should pay off immensely in iso, and you are going to want to develop cottages asap.

Over in S&T, you'll see an iso game now and then. @krikav is currently playing one on Deity though he provided worldbuilder saves so that anyone can play along at the level they choose. You might like to follow his effort and play along.
 
Last edited:

vorlon_mi

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What is a good way to know WHEN adding another city or two won't tank your economy?
I find that in some games I can expand quicker without going broke, and in some I can't... but I fail to see how and why.
Is there a handy rule of thumb to use?

Great comments by @lymond Another way to think about this is: A city needs to grow to size 3 or 4 to really contribute well to your economy. If you build the right number of cities -- but too rapidly, before they have a chance to grow -- you will see the maintenance costs but not the benefits. Look for the food and settle with food in the first ring. Yes, even if that means some overlap with other cities. Once the city has a Granary, let it grow and build a Settler for the next city.
Some cities should build units to deter aggression, escort the settlers, and prepare for your first war.
 

lymond

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Great comments by @lymond Yes, even if that means some overlap with other cities.

I'd like to clarify this comment as it might give the impression that city overlap is some sort of accommodation or sacrifice. City overlap is not bad at all and actually good in many respects. Won't dive into that much here as you have plenty learn otherwise, but just wanted to make note of that point.

Some cities should build units to deter aggression, escort the settlers, and prepare for your first war.

Again, I would like to clarify something with this point. Build units if and as you need them. Obviously you will have a few warriors out spawnbusting barbs and eventually you want a warrior for MP in cities, but not necessary early. Then you might want at least one or two advanced units just in case you have some barb issues - if that is an issue at all. As for deterrence, that is rather situational. First, keep in mind that units cost money, so the more you have the more it impacts your economy. If you are in a rather peaceful situation, and can work diplo in your favor, then there is no need to mass up an army just for the sake of deterrence. However, if you have guys like Shaka or Monty next door to you then you can and should expect them to attack you at some point so a few units in reserve are nice in that case. But if you've gone about setting up a nice empire and understand whip mechanics, armies can be produced very quickly once it is time for war prep.
 

JohnCarterOfMars

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I understand exactly what you're saying. I'm new to the game, too. I bought it years ago in a bargain bin and let it sit for years after that before installing it. I'm now hooked.

However, I am loathe to play slavery tactics, whether it be this game or any other like it. Even in games like the Tropico series, I'm reluctant to use the Secret Police options to kill opposition leaders. I just find it morally repulsive to play tactics like that, even though I don't blame the games for incorporating them. In fact, I'd prefer that the games do include it, as long as the pathway to success doesn't require me to use it.
 

ArchGhost

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Has anyone else had this problem?
If so, how did you break the habit?
I think many of us start out toward the "building peacefully" mindset. It's quite common in strategy games.

Personally I started to break it slowly. I would play games trying to dodge war through all the diplomatic channels for as long as possible and invariably quit if someone DOWed me before I had run out of things to build and was just slowly building modern era units. I favored going to space or winning UN. Got bored and quit for a bit.

The upside was I learned a bit of the diplomatic side of the game early, but the downside was ignoring major lessons in efficiency and the most powerful dynamic of the game in warfare.

Came back after a good hiatus, started to watch some random YT videos about how to play the opening turns/early goals and bumped up the difficulty which is what really changed things. AIs were getting ready faster, being more aggressive, DOWing more, and I slowly learned war through mostly overreacting and way overbuilding units in response, then rolling over the AIs.

After gaining that tactical experience with how to handle the units themselves, I started to apply some of it along with what I learned about the AIs and diplomacy along the way to strategic thinking. "Oh no, I've settled in a spot less than 10 tiles from Kublai and Toku! And Toku is expanding right up on me! Well what if I just put together an axe rush and molly-whomp him for being so arrogant and difficult to treat with? I should both weaken him and gain his cities and territory to consolidate against Kublai then, right?" And that's how easy it was to change the mindset. To see the AIs as threats against winning and not just rivals trying to get there first. To see that you can, through warfare, take and gain, not just hamper your targets. To completely break opposition by getting overwhelmingly big, by force. etc etc.

After that clicked, I started to seek out more resources like playthroughs on YT from AZ and TMIT, found this site and forum, did more difficulty bumping which forced me to learn more of the economic and teching sides of the game, and then just refined what I had learned along the way through more playing. I still like to play the way I like to play and and by no means as good or successful at the game as others, but I am comfortable at my Immortal level and I still have fun.


Watch Civ4 games on youtube.
There are a lot of good tips in AZ and especially Lain's respective series but you have to understand they are lensed through playing on Deity. You can definitely learn from them but they are largely playing a bit restricted by the harsher constraints of the difficulty they are on. Some things work worse on Deity, some things will completely tank your game, and other things are even more effective than any other difficulty due to the AI's speed. Great for learning the opening phase though.

I would point to the S&T forum as well first. Even without participating in a shadow game or its thread, just finding some good write-ups or reading some of the feedback other players ask for can teach you a ton.
 

Henry.K

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I'd ask what level you are currently playing?

(building all the building is another bad thing new players do..there is really only one important building..the Granary...everything else is situational or irrelevant)

Right now, given what I've learned recently, I'm pretty comfortable on Prince.
I could probably grab a win on a higher difficulty but have yet to try it out.

Speaking of which, how seriously do you take the score of other civs when trying to figure out if one of them has run away with the game?

If granaries and libraries are the most common buildings and all else are situational, what would the next tier consist of?
I hear courthouses can be important, and banks seem to be a better hammer investment than markets.
Coliseums and aqueducts if happiness and health impede growth, perhaps?

Great comments by @lymond Another way to think about this is: A city needs to grow to size 3 or 4 to really contribute well to your economy. If you build the right number of cities -- but too rapidly, before they have a chance to grow -- you will see the maintenance costs but not the benefits. Look for the food and settle with food in the first ring. Yes, even if that means some overlap with other cities. Once the city has a Granary, let it grow and build a Settler for the next city. Some cities should build units to deter aggression, escort the settlers, and prepare for your first war.

I see what you're saying.
So if a new city is working some serious commerce tiles, it would pay for itself and you could probably expand again ASAP.

I understand exactly what you're saying. I'm new to the game, too. I bought it years ago in a bargain bin and let it sit for years after that before installing it. I'm now hooked.

However, I am loathe to play slavery tactics, whether it be this game or any other like it. Even in games like the Tropico series, I'm reluctant to use the Secret Police options to kill opposition leaders. I just find it morally repulsive to play tactics like that, even though I don't blame the games for incorporating them. In fact, I'd prefer that the games do include it, as long as the pathway to success doesn't require me to use it.

I heard about Tropico but never played it.
In your opinion, how does it compare?

I think many of us start out toward the "building peacefully" mindset. It's quite common in strategy games.

Personally I started to break it slowly. I would play games trying to dodge war through all the diplomatic channels for as long as possible and invariably quit if someone DOWed me before I had run out of things to build and was just slowly building modern era units. I favored going to space or winning UN. Got bored and quit for a bit.

The upside was I learned a bit of the diplomatic side of the game early, but the downside was ignoring major lessons in efficiency and the most powerful dynamic of the game in warfare.

Came back after a good hiatus, started to watch some random YT videos about how to play the opening turns/early goals and bumped up the difficulty which is what really changed things. AIs were getting ready faster, being more aggressive, DOWing more, and I slowly learned war through mostly overreacting and way overbuilding units in response, then rolling over the AIs.

After gaining that tactical experience with how to handle the units themselves, I started to apply some of it along with what I learned about the AIs and diplomacy along the way to strategic thinking. "Oh no, I've settled in a spot less than 10 tiles from Kublai and Toku! And Toku is expanding right up on me! Well what if I just put together an axe rush and molly-whomp him for being so arrogant and difficult to treat with? I should both weaken him and gain his cities and territory to consolidate against Kublai then, right?" And that's how easy it was to change the mindset. To see the AIs as threats against winning and not just rivals trying to get there first. To see that you can, through warfare, take and gain, not just hamper your targets. To completely break opposition by getting overwhelmingly big, by force. etc etc.

After that clicked, I started to seek out more resources like playthroughs on YT from AZ and TMIT, found this site and forum, did more difficulty bumping which forced me to learn more of the economic and teching sides of the game, and then just refined what I had learned along the way through more playing. I still like to play the way I like to play and and by no means as good or successful at the game as others, but I am comfortable at my Immortal level and I still have fun.

There are a lot of good tips in AZ and especially Lain's respective series but you have to understand they are lensed through playing on Deity. You can definitely learn from them but they are largely playing a bit restricted by the harsher constraints of the difficulty they are on. Some things work worse on Deity, some things will completely tank your game, and other things are even more effective than any other difficulty due to the AI's speed. Great for learning the opening phase though.

I would point to the S&T forum as well first. Even without participating in a shadow game or its thread, just finding some good write-ups or reading some of the feedback other players ask for can teach you a ton.

I didn't realize that it was a common mindset... thought it was just me cause everyone else I saw was playing conquest games hehe!
Yep, sounds like what I would do; focus on defense and tech until the units I could build were vastly more advanced.

When you refer to TMIT on YouTube, to whom are you referring?

Yeah, I'm starting to think watching Immortal games will be more relevant than Deity for me.
Congrats on being comfortable at Immortal though; That's quite the accomplishment!
 

lymond

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Right now, given what I've learned recently, I'm pretty comfortable on Prince.
I could probably grab a win on a higher difficulty but have yet to try it out.

Right now my goal would be to absolutely dominate on Prince, or otherwise really focus on learning the game over in S&T as we've mentioned, and maybe watch a YT video or so..then step up to Monarch. Honestly, learning of few basic concepts should allow you to succeed on Monarch handily.

Speaking of which, how seriously do you take the score of other civs when trying to figure out if one of them has run away with the game?

I don't take it seriously at all. Score is basically irrelevant. It can serve as sort of a gauge, I guess, of how AIs are doing. However, it is not really important. On Prince level, if you are playing correctly, you should probably be top in score from the outset or at least very early. You will expand faster which is the key as land and pop most influence score. As you move up levels, the human will be behind the eight ball for some time simply due to AI bonuses. Like on IMM, AIs get a free worker and often build a settler first. On Deity, AIs start with a free settler. There's no way to compete with that early game in terms of score.

If granaries and libraries are the most common buildings and all else are situational, what would the next tier consist of?
I hear courthouses can be important, and banks seem to be a better hammer investment than markets.
Coliseums and aqueducts if happiness and health impede growth, perhaps?

There really is no next tier. It's all situational. I do build forges. I don't build banks. Health and happy is situational. Courthouses are VERY situational. Maybe in far away captured cities, if needed, but sometimes you capture cities with CHs already.

I see what you're saying.
So if a new city is working some serious commerce tiles, it would pay for itself and you could probably expand again ASAP.

Don't forget trade routes. That factors in as well. Not to mention food and production. A good city is a good city.


When you refer to TMIT on YouTube, to whom are you referring?

TMIT is TheMeInTeam. He pops in now and again, but was very active back in the day and made a lot of let's play videos. I learn a bit from him when I first start out about 14 years ago. TMIT played very fast though in contrast to the more methodical and deliberate approach you see from experienced players today. It was just his style, but probably not the best example of optimal play.

I've already posted some links to LPs you might check out like in post #13 here.
 

civac

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In the early game land points from CRE/Stonehenge and points from wonders skew score heavily. Moreover, fast rexxing often leads to low population and thus low score. Past the early game/immeditate expansion phase score is a fairly accurate gauge of empire strength.
 

Lennier

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I heard about Tropico but never played it.
In your opinion, how does it compare?
It's been years since I played Tropico, but it's an entirely different game than Civ IV. Tropico is an RTS set on a ~1950s tropical (probably Caribbean) island and you're the leader. You have 50 years until you retire. (Unless you're overthrown/loose an election before then.) Your final score (if I recall correctly) is based on how big the population is, how happy they are, how big the economy is, and how big your "retirement" account is (i.e., how much money you embezzled over your 50-year rule.) Your leader has two traits; I think all of them have a bonus and a drawback. You can play as a democratic leader or a despot. You can develop agriculture, industry, and tourism. You can even try to get an alliance with either the US or USSR.
 

JohnCarterOfMars

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I heard about Tropico but never played it.
In your opinion, how does it compare?

Completely different games.

In the Tropico series, the scale is one small Caribbean island in the 1950s and the unit is the individual person. You play the corrupt El Presidente of a small "banana republic," trying to graft as much money as you can from your economy without upsetting the United States and the Soviet Union, or they will embargo you.

You build housing, industry, businesses, and tourism in order to keep your people happy. Your citizens are autonomous NPCs from you; you build things that make them happy, such as better housing, better jobs, reduced squalor, restaurants, entertainment, etc.

Each version of the game adds about a dozen scenarios, plus new buildings and capabilities. Your leader can be pre-developed, or you can customize your own with two positive traits and two negative ones that the people react to.
 

Donald Duck1

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Right now, given what I've learned recently, I'm pretty comfortable on Prince.
I could probably grab a win on a higher difficulty but have yet to try it out.
I was also playing peacefully / space victory up to prince level, but hit a brick wall at monarch. The problem is that some AIs will grow too large, and will out-tech and out-produce you in units / space ship parts. The solution is to have more cities yourself, and as the AI isn't going to donate them voluntarily, war is required to take some or all of their cities.
So if a war is unavoidable, it's best to have the initiative: you decide who and when to attack, and plan for that already early in the game. Are you going to attack 1-2 neighbors and then back to turtling? Or a break-out war and conquer the entire world with superior units? Or anything in between? And what units are you going to use? This determines your tech-path and bulb strategy.

Also, wars should be short, so you go all-in. You don't build an army of a particular size, you build the infrastructure to quickly whip an army. When the time is there, you whip your cities to the ground.

Speaking of which, how seriously do you take the score of other civs when trying to figure out if one of them has run away with the game?
I only look at the number of cities they have.

As for city buildings, I usually build granaries and barracks and some libs. Bureau capitol gets some more buildings over time. Forges only for longer games: they cost 120 hammers to build, and another 480 base hammers until they reach break-even with not building a forge. That's 600 base hammers, or 6 cuirassiers per city... With 5 cities producing units, you could already have 30 cuirs before forges start paying off. The hammers for the forges can be converted into wealth instead, for faster teching, so your attack date is earlier and the enemy has less advanced units so your losses will be smaller.

I rarely do space victories anymore though. The way I see it, is in order to win space victory you basically already have to be dominating the AIs, so it feels I'm just allowing them to survive for centuries merely so I can get my space victory.
 

Henry.K

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You don't build an army of a particular size, you build the infrastructure to quickly whip an army. When the time is there, you whip your cities to the ground.

As for city buildings, I usually build granaries and barracks and some libs. Bureau capitol gets some more buildings over time. Forges only for longer games: they cost 120 hammers to build, and another 480 base hammers until they reach break-even with not building a forge. That's 600 base hammers, or 6 cuirassiers per city... With 5 cities producing units, you could already have 30 cuirs before forges start paying off. The hammers for the forges can be converted into wealth instead, for faster teching, so your attack date is earlier and the enemy has less advanced units so your losses will be smaller.

What you just said made me realize something important.

There seems to be a point where, if you wish to succeed on the highest difficulties, Civilization 4 stops being a game and becomes a statistical min/max exercise. Cities are no longer seen as such, they become units of production potential within efficiency ranges. Buildings are defined as their opportunity cost (as you described forges), and everything is reduced to the hammer investment required.

This might be where my sticking point lies. I still have a tendency to game and role-play, instead of min/maxing. Absolute efficiency isn't my first priority, which is probably creating my skill ceiling.
...but I'm afraid that playing the game with stringent mathematical strictness will remove the fun. I don't want to ruin the enjoyment, but I would like to progress... tricky!

I rarely do space victories anymore though. The way I see it, is in order to win space victory you basically already have to be dominating the AIs, so it feels I'm just allowing them to survive for centuries merely so I can get my space victory.

That's EXACTLY how I see it too!
However, sometimes I prefer to sit back and go for space.
Creating an army and managing battle strategy sometimes feels like more "work".
 

civac

Prince
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Oct 22, 2010
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Yeah, space victory is much less micromanagement unless it's close. I have had games with 50+ cities where I had to go for war late game because one or more AIs were ahead in tech. Those are a chore.
 

lymond

Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!)
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What you just said made me realize something important.

There seems to be a point where, if you wish to succeed on the highest difficulties, Civilization 4 stops being a game and becomes a statistical min/max exercise. Cities are no longer seen as such, they become units of production potential within efficiency ranges. Buildings are defined as their opportunity cost (as you described forges), and everything is reduced to the hammer investment required.

This might be where my sticking point lies. I still have a tendency to game and role-play, instead of min/maxing. Absolute efficiency isn't my first priority, which is probably creating my skill ceiling.
...but I'm afraid that playing the game with stringent mathematical strictness will remove the fun. I don't want to ruin the enjoyment, but I would like to progress... tricky!

While that's true for the pros, you don't have to be a math wizard to improve your game. As I've mentioned before, if you can just tighten up the early gameplay and do a bit of micro to ensure you get a nice empire and economy off the ground then you can do anything at most any level. So IMO, I think you can combine a bit of your role-play aspects and still improve your game. There's lot a ways to win this game if you wish. You just may not get the fastest victories or highest scores, but you can certainly play on higher levels.



That's EXACTLY how I see it too!
However, sometimes I prefer to sit back and go for space.
Creating an army and managing battle strategy sometimes feels like more "work".

More land is key to optimal Space victories, i.e., fastest Space Victories. It's hard to achieve the beakers per turn or production needed to ...let's say Normal speed...sub-1600AD Space dates.

Regardless though, one can certainly achieve Space victories with smaller empires. In fact, you should try one-city challenge Space.
 
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