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How is not choosing FIN not suboptimal?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Macksideshow, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    Recent games with non-FIN leaders really have me appreciating the power of FIN. I'd be really interested to hear some view points to what are better plays than choosing a FIN leader because I certainly can't so hopefully I can learn something.

    For me the biggest thing in favor of FIN is the early commerce boost. I find a good percentage of commerce tiles worked early are 2C so the +1C is a 50% increase. Like good starting techs, this significant boost early snowballs to the extent I think FIN could have a 1AD cut off date and still be a valid trait.

    Please enlighten me.
     
  2. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    FIN = :commerce: = :science:

    SPI = no Anarchy religion switches

    = saved turns from no-anarchy
    = tech-trades that would be impossible due to easily adapting to someones favourite Civic and / or Religion just for 5 turns ( = mega-amount of saved Beakers, because 1 tech gotten through trade that could not have been gotten otherwise = huge amount of :science: )

    IMP = more cities = earlier, higher production = again more cities = big advantage

    CRE = saved Monuments and cheap Libraries = saved :hammers: = more units = more cities ( = again advantage)

    PHI = twice as many Great Persons = maybe the strongest trait of all because Great Persons are just so powerful

    IND

    = almost 100% secure Oracle = huge amount of :science:
    = 1.5 times the Failgold of normal Civs
    = better chance at all Wonders = more power...


    ...

    ..

    .
     
  3. auagxa

    auagxa Warlord

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    Just for the record, I like FIN too (a second only to IND as my favorite trait, so guess who is my favorite leader.)

    I think it's because of its reliance to CE and CE isn't that good if enemy manages to pillage your precious towns. Also, not every map can generate a cottage-friendly map for your cottages to grow around (try leveraging FIN in Ice Age/Boreal/Global Highlands mapscript such that you'll run away easily)

    For me, a "better play" (I myself don't believe traits can single-handedly win games, but also on how the human player adapts) would be choosing an IND leader instead. You can get out of any sticky situation with IND with its flexibility.
    Need production? Setting up a prod/whip city made easier and faster with fast forges.
    Need Gold to sustain 100% research? to up those HA to cuirs? Fail Gold all possible wonders in multiple cities even without stone/marble.
    Need that TGL to boost commerce in your isolated start? or the GLib to get that GS quicker for Astro bulb? Need to Oracle CoL to get a religion to your pagan continent before someone gets an idea to attack you and you need Pleased/Friendly allies to back you in case of war? Want to cheese the game with an AP victory? Wonder dependent as it may seem but getting a game-breaking wonder is as powerful as FIN cottages in getting to a very advantageous (or at least safe) position.
    Challenged to do a Cultural Victory with land unsuitable for cottage spam? Spam wonders instead on your LCs. Even plain culture is made easier with a quicker NE to get one or two more GAs or a faster Hermitage to the slowest city.
    SE? CE? hybrid? EE? or even Religious Econ? Don't worry, any econ is compatible with IND. In fact, it helps it to set-up a strong SE (mids), early GSpy for EE (GW), a quick non-PHI Oxford in a space attempt, Angkor Wat/UoS/SM for RelE (okay I never tried an RelE before but I think building those three will help).

    FIN can also help in some of the situations described above but IMO not as much as IND helping you every step of your early/mid game, which is the most important part.
     
  4. 3 EMS

    3 EMS King

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    When CIV IV came out Washington had the financial trait. Since I always played as him, I became so accustomed to the trait that I was dependent on it. Warlords took that trait rom him and replaced it with another. I was so needy of Financial that I modded the XML files and gave it back to him. Then when Roosevelt came along with his Industrious trait I decided to give that a try. I'm a wonder hound for sure.

    As Seraiel pointed out, the other traits have their own advantages too. Learning how to take advantage of those traits is just one of the many things that make this game so replayable.
     
  5. Olson

    Olson Warlord

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    FIN, or any other trait, in and of itself isn't "optimal" or "suboptimal". It's how one plays a trait that determines optimality. I think you meant, "How is FIN not always the best choice?"

    While Seraiel and auagxa gave legitimate and correct responses, if one doesn't know the map start then choosing FIN is a very good bet. I don't think anyone can say they were disappointed with a random FIN leader even after seeing the map.
     
  6. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    FIN is a decent trait, and I wouldn't be disappointed, but I also wouldn't be glad for getting a FIN leader. In generel, IND, PHI and SPI are all more powerful. Difference between them and FIN is simply that they need skill to be leveraged. Skill needed for FIN is to find the Cottage-button, the 3 mentioned previously however are a lot more complicated, especially SPI, but generally can give a lot higher benefits, if used to their full extend.

    Also, SPI trait is the best possible trait for Quick Speed, and the leaders that have 2 of the 3 above mentioned traits (Ramesses, Gandhi) are basically the strongest leaders in the whole game.
     
  7. rfcfanatic

    rfcfanatic Mercantilist

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    That is very true. In addition to this, there's another aspect: FIN = :commerce: = :gold: (given that the sum of all your sliders is less than 100% - ideally 0%). It can make a difference whether an early army goes on a strike or not. And even later, you could sustain a lenghty attritional war by being FIN with less worries about cutting your military production in favor of building Wealth.
    Also, there's another aspect. IMP doubles the Great General emergence rate. If you're warring a lot you'd never feel shortage of supermedics and you'd be able to set up a military city for pumping out supersoldiers.

    Well, you're right. But it will take a great skill of GP management to utilize PHI. Otherwise, without the supreme skill, it's almost like playing with a leader which has 1 trait instead of the normal 2. For example, in one of my recent games I had 2 Great Merchants sitting in my capital doing nothing because I couldn't figure out whether they should take an opportunity to found a corp or just settle. That's what happens when a player doesn't have the skill :)

    In addition to these, I'd add some more:

    ORG = halves civic upkeep cost and allows cheap Courthouses.

    Unlike city maintenance, there's no way to control the civic upkeep cost except by choosing the cheapest civics, but which most of the time don't fit the need. If you checked your Financial Advisor, you'd often notice that the civic upkeep is a quite significant cost. Thus, it's awesome when an uncontrollable cost gets halved.

    EXP = cheap Granaries. You can whip Granaries much earlier than waiting a long period of time until the city reached pop. 4

    CHM = promotions require less experience - another great warmongering trait. Especially when coupled with IMP, AGG or PRO
     
  8. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Financial is pretty good, and it can help to keep up in research against the bias-bloated AI at the higher levels. It can also become a crutch though, and you're sort of "forced" into a cottage economy system, where you are cottaging everything green. Once those cottages develop to villages and towns, it's a real heartache to tear them down for farms or workshops or anything else.

    I was a bit the same as the OP, though my preferred leader was Willem. Financial for boosted economy, and easy border pops with Creative. But as mentioned, the other traits are very good too, and allows you to play the game in different ways.

    Industrious is perhaps the easiest to take advantage of, particularly if you locate marble and/or stone. Spiritual and Philosophical are great traits, but they require more planning and probably skill, at least with Philosophical. I've really warmed to Spiritual though. It's so great to be able to change civics or religions without anarchy at your leisure - usually we try to do this in a golden age. And then there is the possibilities you get via diplo. It looks weak as hell on paper, but in practice it is actually pretty strong.
     
  9. CivNoobie

    CivNoobie King

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    ow! that title makes my brain hurts
     
  10. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    I can see a case for IND and PHI. SPI on quick speed is something I hadn't considered and makes sense. I like SPI, and often play as Mansa, but can't justify sacrificing FIN for it (on epic). I also like IND and PHI, which leaves me playing HC and Liz a lot, although not so much HC because one day I hope to go for HoF

    For the purpose of this thread, I should have been clearer. Assume HoF rules, unknown map, aiming for earliest victory (any condition). Map settings are up for discussion. I only really play fractal, epic, standard so I am interested in experiences with other scripts, speeds and sizes. In that context, I believe it is valid to talk about optimal leader choices.

    IND, I can see as being better than FIN. PHI, I am not so sure about. ORG has a case for larger map sizes, I don't think its better than FIN on standard though (maybe you disagree). Willem has merit, I play him a bit too and CRE has always been a favorite of mine but I don't see FIN/CRE being better than FIN/IND, FIN/SPI or FIN/PHI.

    There is no IND/PHI combination so those two traits both being better than FIN still do not give a reason to not choose FIN. HC being banned from HoF means you must sacrifice FIN to get IND in that context and as there is no IND/PHI you must also sacrifice PHI to get IND. Which leaders does that leave and can you justify not having FIN or PHI to get IND?

    Now I know there is more than traits to consider, there are starting techs and uniques to factor in. Although looking at the uniques for FIN/IND, FIN/SPI and FIN/PHI, I think you're pushing it to say there are significantly better unique combos to justify other civs therefore leaders on that basis. Do you think there is?

    The point of this thread is I am genuinely interested in how other people use non-FIN leaders because frankly I can't. So please, if you do, tell me what map settings and maybe a brief overview of how you play them. I will give your ideas a go and see if I can learn something.
     
  11. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    Lol. I was conscious of how awkward the 2 negatives made the title and tried to rephrase it but unfortunately how it is is precisely the question I was trying to ask and couldn't work out how to rephrase with altering the meaning.
     
  12. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    I think you should specify what level you are playing on. On lower levels FIN is really powerful and easy to play. Just cottage it all and you will run away in tech. With a good start this strategy works well on EMP and mostly even IMM. On deity this doesn't work nearly as well, because the AI techs so extremely fast. At that level it becomes a lot more powerful to bulb a monopoly tech and trade it around, which makes PHI stronger than FIN. But as mentioned, it requires lot more skill to master this strategy. I'm still learning.

    You mentioned HoF and aiming for earliest victory, any condition. I think that's not a good assumption because in HoF you usually aim for a certain #1 slot with a certain victory condition. How does FIN help you get an early culture victory? How does it help you win early domination? What about diplo? FIN is probably the strongest for space, but for the other conditions I can think of better traits, or UU being more important than traits.
     
  13. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    All very good points. I have left somethings open for discussion but I am also making things up as I go along. For reference, I play on EMP/IMM, I can win most EMP starts and can win IMM by selecting a preferred (ie FIN) leader and regenerating maps until I find one I like. But I am interested in strategies on all difficulty levels that don't untilize FIN.

    You're point is about HoF being seperate slots for victory conditions is taken, I meant fastest finish for any condition which would probably mean domination/diplomation right? But anway, expand that to any strategy which aims to achieve a particular victory as early as possible.

    You mention a deity strategy of bulbing monopoly techs for trade, this is the kind of thing I am looking for. What leader(s) do you use for this? How do you leverage the second trait? Which techs are you aiming to bulb? If it works on deity, does it transfer back down to immortal. If not, why not? Any details are really appreciated, I will give them a try.

    My cultural strategy does use FIN. Probably Liz, maybe Mansa. Cottages -> Tech to Free Speech -> Slider to culture and try to generate great artists in GP farms. How does yours work? Which leader(s) would you use for a cultural victory?

    Which other traits/uniques do you use for other conditions?
     
  14. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    As mentioned, I'm still learning deity, in the middle of my first game at that level at the moment so I'm probably not the best to teach those strategies. But what I have noticed is that there is a lot of time pressure to get things done faster->more whipping->smaller cities and harder to develop cottages. And with MM and WvO in that game teching away and trading between them, it's quite impossible to keep up even with a FIN leader (Vicky).

    Fastest victory for any condition is usually conquest on smaller map and probably diplo on larger. There's an ongoing gauntlet in HoF about fastest conquest on large inland sea map using Persia (monarch). Which leader would you use? Darius (FIN/ORG) or Cyrus (CHA/IMP)? Basically the game is all about teching the wheel and AH, then stomping the world with immortals and eventually HAs after HBR (at least if you want to compete with the top dates). What good would FIN do you in this game compared to all the cheap promotions and generals you get with Cyrus?

    As for cultural victory, I think Gandhi is by far the best. SPI for cheap temples and fast cathedrals, PHI for tons of great artists. I've seen HoF write-ups about 17 or more great artists in a game. There's no way the bonus you get from FIN on culture slider could make up for the lost culture bombs if you are going for an early victory date.

    I don't know much about diplo. But as it is all about getting people to like you, I would assume SPI for free civic and religion change would be the most powerful trait.
     
  15. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    PHI = Twice as many great person points. But number of great people is inversely quadratic to GP points invested, so 1.41 times as many great people. (Unless being PHI is making you focus on them more than normal I guess...?!)

    <math pedant mode off> :D
     
  16. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    Yeah nice one Kid R, I do remember a thread where this was pointed out. But PHI isnt just more GPs but earlier GPs which is the key. I have been thinking a lot about the responses to this thread and they are making sense, I am gaining a greater appreciation for the other traits.

    The Persian Monarch gauntlet sounds interesting I will try that out. My first thought was hell yeah Cyrus, CHM/IMP promos and GGs for the win. But then I thought maybe FIN/ORG could help sustain the economy required to dominate a large map. However, being Monarch and also Inland Sea, I would say CHM/IMP would have it. I will try both. I would struggle to finish that before an AI makes Feudalism I would think, I guess I just have to try.

    I will say that FIN is not as simple as More :commerce: => More :science:
    Its earlier :commerce: => Earlier Maths/Currency/Alpha => Better trades and more :hammers: as well.
     
  17. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    Darius is imho the better leader than Cyrus, because with having Immortals, one usually only founds 2-3 cities, and then goes for an Immortal-rush on one of the neighbours, so the benefit from IMP is imho very small with having Immortals.

    The other thing is, that I value CHA generally as one of the weakest traits, I actually value it even lower than ORG, because ORG at least gives cheap Courthouses (good benefit) , while unit-promotions only seldomly make the difference up to my experience.

    So if I had to make a choice there, I'd definately prefer Darius over Cyrus, because Darius simply has the strongest economy of all, and economy has a great value in war-games as it allows to improve the military greatly by new technologies.
    The benefit of "better, older units" I see very small, because an early Cuirrassier can face 1 defender less, while a stronger Cuirrassier often still loses.
     
  18. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    I think the strength of FIN is somewhat dependent on the map. On archipelago it's obviously really strong. Also if you find yourself with lots of land to expand into then 9 times out of 10 you can find a river quickly to cottage and pay for expansion. Nothing's more frustrating than having the land to expand into but not being able to afford it.

    If picking and choosing maps (I do that too!) then of course we can find one to suit the traits we're playing. But to play an unseen random map, then it's less clear that FIN is not suboptimal (or however the wording went :lol:). It'll be strong on many map rolls but poor on a few. I guess the strengths of things like PHI and SPI can be more reliably used under all circumstances. One reason deity players like them must be for reliability. Similar to Protective being popular on deity despite the rest of us thinking it's garbage!
     
  19. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    Do you mean in general Seraiel? Or in the context of the Monarch/Large Inland Sea, gauntlet challenge mentioned by elitetroops where the suggested strategy was to wipe the map with Immortals->Horse Archers?

    In general I would agree that Darius >> Cyrus but if trying to wipe the map with Immortals and HAs I suspect that Cyrus would be better, all economic output would go towards maintaining troops and research would be almost zero. Like I said though, I doubt I could make it work. I can see my economy buckling before I could attain domination and/or some AI teching Feudalism and bunkering down with longbows. It sounds fun nonetheless and I am going to try it right now :)
     
  20. auagxa

    auagxa Warlord

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    Though I agree that a technological lead trumps stronger unit-promos, I think you are forgetting that CHA also gives a higher happy cap early on. Since one of the main problems of the early game is happiness, it's good that you get at least one early (or two if really needed). Resource trading may solve happiness but when trade routes not yet established and resources are not yet connected/improved (due to not having calendar) at that stage, there's really not much to do to deal with it. This is especially true if you are stuck in a landmass isolated or semi-isolated.

    With a higher happy cap, you can work two extra cottages in the capital, whip harder at satellite cities, or run an extra specialist without starving off the city. With CIV's nature to snowball an early advantage, those seemingly small things early is magnified through time. This is why I consider CHA being a bit better than ORG.
     

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