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How not to lose at Monarch

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Sir Aragorn, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. Sir Aragorn

    Sir Aragorn Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    30
    Hi, I played Civ since civ 1 and I usually played monarch on civ3 but I just cant win at monarch on civ4. I play on large maps, continents with 8 AI.

    The problem is that Prince is too easy. I always have a big advantage early in the game if I play prince. I think I have a good starting strategy because I usually take the lead and never lose it.

    But then I tried to play at Monarch. Can someone tell me how not to be backward in tech. When I discover alphabet I awlways have 5 or 6 tech back. If I keep all victory condition I always lose at space race so I usually uncheck this option. But even with space race unchecked I've never achieved to win at monarch. The best I did was a 4th place.

    Can someone give me a hint. Dont tell me to build cottages or use specialist I know all this. But there must be a strategy that I dont know because when I read some threads, some people are playing immortal!!!. I just dont understand. Is there some traits really important on monarch?

    oh, i usually play with catherine but I also tried gandhi and bismark and I didnt see any difference.

    thanks
     
  2. coffeeholic

    coffeeholic Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
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    Location:
    Winnipeg Canada
    I am in the exact same boat. I can win Prince every time.. with very little problem. But then recently I started playing monarch and I am just getting kicked around. I am out teched and loosing to the (seemingly) more aggressive AI.

    Any tips would be great

    AJK
     
  3. maltz

    maltz King

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
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    You like to play on large maps, which I have never tried before as my PC can't run anything larger than Standard maps.

    In standard maps, I can still do early war with the default number of AIs, though. Have you tried to axeman rush your neighbor? In Immmortal and Deity this is a must, and in lower difficulties it starts to become an "overkill". You probably want to keep at least 1-2 trading partner alive on your own continent to make your tech progress faster before astronomy.
     
  4. mucco

    mucco Warlord

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
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    Location:
    Italy (not so sure...)
    I can win on monarch (quite) most of the time, and I follow some little strategies:
    First, I try to expand like mad, being aggressive, settling near other civs. The goal is to gain as much land as possible. It's not uncommon for me to go negative @ 0% science, but it's not difficult to recover.
    I continue expanding at very low science until I feel I have a bigger landmass/more cities than the other civs. Then I start the recovery phase: all cities on commerce, cottage spam in all grassland tiles, build markets first and courthouses second. If you don't have the techs, currency and CS are the first priorities. While I'm recovering, I try to follow uncommon paths for the AIs, so I can trade much. Trading techs pushes my games very well until about the industrial age, when I start running away. Of course, after markets and courthouses, it's all about whipping science infra like libraries, unis, obs. They are always the first choice in most of my cities.
    Following this path I'm usually able to win the space race. When oyu have a tech lead, it's easy to cause world wars trading everyone a single tech asking them to attack each other. It's really fun sometimes seeing all AIs killing themselves while you sit back and build SS parts... They just don't realize they're losing the game.
     
  5. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    (Monarch standard map) I tend to find if you go for alphabet and beeline for techs like philosophy and divine rights the AI will normally have gone for other techs. if im on the same island and other civs are getting ahead an early axemen rush really does help .
     
  6. Tunder

    Tunder Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
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    16
    I won for the first time on monarch this weekend. Once I had four cities established (by chopping for settlers), it was attack time. I was playing Julius Ceasar so I went for Bronze Working, then Iron Working to build Praetorian units (Roman UU). Praetorian units really cut down archers easily :)

    I just kept producing units and razing enemy cities (I did keep two cities). I had a little trouble with Monty (Aztecs) at the end because he had a couple Macemen, but I took his iron source away and did him in too.

    Since I started war just as soon as I had my iron resource, the AI hadn't built any extra units and so the AI never came close to attacking any of my cities (and since some of them only had one warrior in them that was a good thing).

    My Science rate stayed pretty low and I had strikes a couple of times. I had to just keep attacking to pillage coin to keep going. I finished with a conquest victory while I was researching calendar.

    I was playing on a standard sized-balanced map. The other civs (in the order of their demise): Gengis Khan (Mongols), Turkogolu (Japan), Napolean (French) and Montezuma (Aztecs).

    I believe in attack, attack, attack. Raze the AI's early cities to slow the AI down while you are learning Code of Laws and then you can keep some of the cities you capture. Otherwise, the maintenance costs kill me.

    The hard part for me is stopping killing off a Civ once I've crippled it.

    Tim
     
  7. The Tyrant

    The Tyrant Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    445
    I've recently started playing Monarch and for me the issue wasn't learning new strategies, but getting rid of sloppy habits. The strategies that work on Prince also work for Monarch, but you have to be more aggressive in implementing them.

    One of the hardest changes for me to learn was that there really is no one-size-fits-all opening strategy. I had to learn to study, and I mean really study, the area revealed by early scouting and compare it to the tech tree. On Prince beelining for bronzeworking always worked well. On Monarch I had to learn to that, depending on my initial resources, that's not always best. Sometimes going for another tech to develop readily available resources could be a wiser route in the beginning.

    Monarch has made me start thinking further ahead than I used to. Instead of looking at the map and thinking "Okay, what do I want this worker to do now?" I'm having to look at the map and think "Okay, I'll need this worker to do this now, then that, and about the time he's finished there I should be getting the tech to let him move over here and do this..."

    If you have the ability to do an early axeman rush (BW and nearby copper), then DO SO! Early expansion really does pay off. Again, pay a lot of attention to the map and really consider who to attack. Just rushing somebody, anybody isn't going to cut it. You want to choose someone as close to you as possible because early on the distance factor can really kill you in upkeep costs. Also, make sure the one you choose has something valuable besides just cities. For your target, choose someone who has resources that will help develop your early or mid game, or someone who has advantageous position (choke point, on a long river, lots of forests, etc). Always be sure to get their capital since capitals have much better terrain in their fat crosses than most other locations on the map.

    If you can, rush someone who founded an early religion that has spread. Taking the holy city allows you to convert if you haven't already, instantly giving you several friends (the religion bonus will quickly outweigh the "You attacked my friend" penalty), you will get the LOS intel to help you later, and once you get a Great Prophet you can get money for each city with that religion (allowing you run at a higher science rate than you could have otherwise).

    Most people have one leader they prefer, and different styles of play. However, most people who play the higher levels (above Monarch) say they usually have Financial as one of their traits. I've not been able to win a game on Emperor yet, but many posts in the forums say that Financial is one of the preferred traits on higher levels.

    Basically, Monarch has made me improve my play by thinking more. I study the map and actually plan instead of winging it. I also hit the forums again, reading all the strategy articles I had already read before, printing some out and keeping them beside the computer to remind myself to use them. Not all strategies will be useable in every game -- some are conditional based on your situation -- but having them where I could frequently read over them kept them fresh so I would recognize an opportunity when I saw it. The old strategies still work, but *I* have to work them harder. For me at least, Monarch wasn't a matter of changing strategies, but being stricter on myself about implementing strategies I had already learned.
     
  8. aviator99_uk

    aviator99_uk Warlord

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bath UK
    If its any help;

    I found turning tech trading OFF helped me to get to grips with Monarch. When I was winning I then turned it back on and found I could cope better.

    The step Prince > Monarch seems quite big and map type is significant in determining strategy to use, and if you feel you are week in early development go for an islands type map that allows you to concentrate on your own housekeeping before finding the enemy.

    Early expansion is VITAL, and powerful for the later stages, but don't overexpand, less can be more, you need quality more than quantity, picking city sites is significant and don't believe the blue circles!

    Catherine is my choice, if you can't crack Monarch with Cathy then you have a big problem.
     
  9. joasoze

    joasoze Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
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    I think the game is harder on Monarch with techtrading off. Normally I will sell a lot of techs to weak civs and harvest tons of money from them. They are no threat anyways.
     
  10. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    Dont turn tech trading off. Learn how to play without handicaps.

    The main thing I learned about Monarch is that you must cycle through every unit, and update your objectives each turn.
     
  11. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    Dont turn tech trading off. Learn how to play without handicaps.

    The main thing I learned about Monarch is that you must cycle through every unit, and update your objectives each turn.
     
  12. fortytwo

    fortytwo Chieftain

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    I also think it could be a map size problem. You have to balace your map size/ocean level with the number of Civs total.

    Because the AI starts with such an edge in Monarch, too much land gives them the opportunity to either fill it out faster than you, or cause you to over-extend yourself filling it out. Too little land makes them war with you too fast. It should be just right.

    If you make it where you can build a city in every direction from your capital - just one - you should find it much easier. Now the number of bordering AI's will be your next challenge....
     
  13. autocon

    autocon Deus da Guerra

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    this is all you need to know to win in monarch
     
  14. aviator99_uk

    aviator99_uk Warlord

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    Tech trading is 'reconed' by some to be more advantageous to the AI than the human. Therefore turning it off is making the game easier for the human. Certainly I found it easier to transition to Monarch with TT off, its not a handicap.

    If you are behind in tech and don't get the techs to trade then the AI will spiral up and away. Defeat looms.
    If you can stay up with the tech race then you can trade and do better. Wining looms.

    JerichoHill would seem to have no problem getting into the top of the tech race so for that player tech trading is useful, if you cannot reliably get into the top half of the tech race then you need to practice, practice, practice, and an easy measure of this is tech trade off because turning tech trading off is a good way to learn what to do to keep in the tech race in the early stages, before trading happens anyway, and into the mid game.

    Map type has to be significant to the inexperienced monarch and I couldn't recommend pangea to start with.
     
  15. n0xie

    n0xie OCC-addict

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    One of the vital things to learn on monarch is tech trading. Turning it off kills the little advantage you can gain by trading. The AI will skip Alphabet for quite a while. Most advanced players beeline for Alphabet as soon as they "can" to trade away those dirt cheap techs for good stuff. Most of the time you can trade away writing for half the ancient era tech tree.

    As already mentioned, the best advice is to learn to plan ahead. Also learn to use the whip/chop effectively. It can make the difference between fighting a hard war, or trampling over your opponent. In my experience there are 2 types of war. Either you grab 2-4 cities quickly and pillage a bit of his improvements and sue for peace, or you go for the all out kill. Try to keep that in mind when planning a war. Most of the time you just want 1 or 2 cities with a key resource. Pillaging his improvements will render you some free money, plus it will severly slow him down, possibly cripple him. (try to knock out strategic resources like copper/iron/horses). Whatever you do try to keep the war as short as possible.
     
  16. KillerCardinal

    KillerCardinal Chieftain

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    I mainly have one piece of advice, which has been mentioned multiple times in passing, but not as a main point(I think). Don't be afraid to attack. This is what finally had me start winning on Monarch. Basically, find the closest civilization to you, and take their capital ASAP. If you are incan, this practically means as soon as you find it. Otherwise, this means when you get axemen(an attack group of five seems to work for me) attack, preferable with one medic, and the rest possibly city raiders.
    Another thing not to discount the advantages of is a blitz with chariots. Even though they may not be as powerful as axemen(and can't get city raider), I've found that if you take enough of them and give the majority of them flanking, you can decimate any early city you with relatively minimal losses due to the fact that even your losses aren't always fatal:lol: . However, if you do this, make sure to get at least one chariot with medic(barbs can help with this), and also make sure to have an archer or something bring up the rear to defend that city once you take it.

    I specify taking the capitol, because due to the map generation algorithm, almost all the capitals will be in sweet spots, even if you can't see it(ie, haven't gotten iron working or animal husbandry yet) so generally, assuming that it is within reach, this is your best target. Any other cities you take in this campaign, you need to seriously decide whether or not you REALLY want to keep it. However, if you start razing cities, I would suggest you at least make sure to cripple the civ, as they WILL remember the razings as well as the fact that you declared war on them.
    Other than that, I can't think of anything in particular to tell you that hasn't already been said.
     
  17. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

    Joined:
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    Here's my most recent shot at monarch. I did exceptionally well compared to how I normally play, especially at the beginning. I've included the start, the 700BC save (wiping out the Indians), and the 1270AD save (just got circumnavigation bonus). I'm certain that a better player would have done better than me, but I'm happy with how I did, especially up to the 700BC point.

    This was my first quechua rush as the Incas, followed by an axeman rush. After that, you can choose whatever victory you want. This gave me sole ownership of one of the bigger continents. Ended up getting the free liberalism tech and chose astronomy to expedite my 1822 domination win. I'm sure I could have won much earlier, but I started to get very sloppy and lazy once the outcome was clear.

    Basically, in answer to your question, the way to keep up on tech in Monarch is to get ahead (and stay ahead) in good land. The best way to get good land is to conquer it. The best time to conquer it is as early as possible.

    Good luck.
     
  18. The Tyrant

    The Tyrant Prince

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    I just came across an older thread that dealt with this same issue (progressing from Prince to Monarch). That thread has a lot of good points that none of us have mentioned here yet.
     

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