[BTS] How often do you re-load? I do it all the time and I want to know if I'm the only one

For Succession Game of the Month (SGOTM) games, where the last few that I had participated in seemed to have turned a lot into an exercise of using a practice map for the first part of the game, I could be known to work out the build order and Unit movements for roughly the first 40 turns down to an extreme precision. Doing so allowed us to focus on the unexpected and unplannable aspects of the game without having to remember all of the insightful details that multiple people came up with for optimising the start, as the details were recorded down and just needed to be followed. A big part of the fun came from the optimisation process, which relies heavily on reloading.

That said, no matter how perfectly you think that you've optimised your play, there are always things that were missed, and a lot of bigger-picture decisions that you didn't think of at the time could have dramatically changed how the game was played out. For a game with XTeam, I optimised nearly perfect play for getting us our 3 Gems Resources up online as soon as was possible in City #2, but we quickly fell behind another team which had chosen a completely different way of expanding. Perfectly play often simply isn't perfect, as you have an infinite number of choices, and choosing to optimise a single factor can blind you to many other possibilities that could end up being superior.

I did try to stir up interest in players choosing to play SGOTM without precise practice maps, as I think that they've become a way of differentiating teams before the game even began, with those who put more time and effort into their practice maps pulling out farther ahead than those who did not. But, perhaps an intermediate solution would be a suitable one, that of the map maker copying-and-pasting the starting area into a different map (with different opponents), so that all of the teams could optimise the start to their level of fun, but with teams discouraged from going to the extreme of almost recreating the full map (with the same opponents) via crafting their own versions of a practice map.

As for misclicks and mis-movements of Units, I live with them. For competitive play, you have to do so, and you just need to learn to adapt your plans. That's life, and if you choose a playstyle that forces you to stick to your original plan, you will lose the opportunity to learn, but more than that, you will lose the opportunity to come up with better strategies and tactics. For example, I've had a misclick of moving a Worker next to an enemy Unit, only to live with it and then learn that in Beyond the Sword, AIs often ignore Worker bait and are simply more likely to chase after exposed Workers at the start of a war. An intentionally ignored Worker bait Unit might now even be deployed as a tactic to discourage an AI from moving their troops to a strategic location.

In a different SGOTM game, a team member accidentally "inferiorly" cold-whipped a War Elephant, costing us an extra population point, but it's possible that this accident meant that the War Elephant made into onto the front lines in time to help with a significant battle before the game was over.

For the Hall of Fame, the "reloading" happens on a "new game" level, since there is a tool called Map Finder that helps with generating maps that have similar settings to each other. Generate 200 maps, choose the best 10 looking ones, and play them out one-at-a-time until you have a good game going after about 50 turns. If you don't like how things worked out, you can't reload your game, but you're invited to start over with a different map, yet with the knowledge of who your opponents will be and how their interactions might play out. It's not the same as reloading, but it is a bit like time-travelling. Maybe this time, since you know that Leader A is likely to be the one to found a Religion, you'll act in a different way when encountering that AI. Or, you'll know which AI is likely to have a bunch of friends early on and thus you might avoid angering a lot of other AIs by not stealing a Worker from that AI. Or, you'll know that if you want to build The Oracle, you had better prioritise it quite early versus being able to safely delay its construction, etc.

Reloading for a lost battle? Not right. The entire point of the game's warring system is figuratively broken if you reload in this way. If you are losing critical Units and cannot complete your objectives as a result, then you aren't playing the game properly in terms of risk-reward management.

Case in point, read about just how many Units were needed to ensure success in a recent competitive play Deity game https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/botm-235-suryavarman-ii-deity-first-spoiler-1ad.676883/

If you learn to reload because you aren't planning for sufficient losses in battle, then you won't go in with a large enough stack and you'll find yourself needing to reload a lot more than once, as you won't be playing to be successful given the rules of the game's combat system and instead, you'll simply be gambling, which is not an effective way to go through life for most people, and for those that it works out, it will invariably fail as a long-term strategy.

Take even a 50-50 draw, where if play repeatedly and you win your share of wins over time, you'll be losing money, despite the insanely high odds of winning compared to nearly any other gambling competition; you're better off just choosing the charity of your choice to donate your money. For any other form of gambling, you're better off walking away and not playing, avoiding the associated related addictive tendencies.

If you have a Great General Chariot in a stack of Chariots, it will come up as the first defender out of all of the Chariots which are full Health and which have less than Combat II as a Promotion. Thus, you'll lose your Super Medic because you have a stack of Flanking Chariots when perhaps your Combat II Chariots are wounded or your other Chariots have Combat I, at best, since your Combat I Super Medic will be seen as the "hero of your stack" due to it having the most Promotions out of all of your Combat I Chariots. You suck it up and you learn, and you hold your Super Medic back a square in the future until you can promote your Chariots to Knights and you don't promote the Super Medic, even though the Promotion is free. Or, you play a little bit more wisely and you bring along an Axeman, a Spearman, or even an Archer that will defend against an enemy Chariot.

As for Beyond the Sword of the Month (BOTM) games, I will sometimes save a game at a critical point with a very descriptive saved game name. After the game is over and submitted, I will revisit the potentially critical moment. Often, I've found that no matter what I might have done, things may not have been significantly different. Other times, factors like the Apostolic Palace vote can completely change the political atmosphere and the course of the game.

Ultimately, you have absolute power as you can choose when to simply stop playing on a map. But, playing on when things don't go well (losing City #2 to Barbs) can be quite instructive. I have certainly lost early Cities and Settlers to Barbs in competitive games and have played on, still being able to obtain a Fastest Finish Award. What may have felt devastating at the time might not actually be nearly bad as you thought, and you may have gained in other ways, such as being forced to strengthen your empire early on or to save on some City Maintenance costs briefly to help with getting you to that critical tech a bit faster than if you had reloaded away the "problem" and had burdened yourself with too many Cities and too many early Warriors that never die due to reloading.
I've played this game for the last 3 years and I can't tell you how many times I've raged/reloaded!

I usually try to avoid re-loading. When I gamble for instance, fine. But...

Lose a super-promoted great general in a 80-90% odds battle? Reload. Lose a settler to a bear? Reload. Mis-click? Reload. Lose your fully fortified double-forest promoted warrior on a forested hill to a barb archer? RELOAD!

What do you guys do? Do you all reload or just rage-quit? Now me? I've had my fair share of rage-quits and in my earlier days, nothing like being DOW'ed when I'm having an amazing game (but have weak power) to make me immediately do something else with my life, such as buying a new keyboard and monitor.

I only reload when I made a decision mistake. I don't reload, when the problem is caused by random events (including fights) or my map knowledge, and when map knowledge gets important, I do the same like in another save, even when I know, that I settle on a high-value resource or do other things.

Strong promoted generals I use only when chance is >99%. They are not for fight, they are for healing. Lose a settler to a bear? That cannot happen, when you fogbust the area first. Better use the settlers carefully or accept the risk.

And losing strong units - well... thats the game. Plan with it. Sometimes you win such fights, sometimes you lose such fights.
3rd degree reloader here. It's a single player strategy game turn-based, no timer. To me that means it's not a performance sport, it's about decision-making. If something transpires contrary to my intended decision, I will reload. Example would be if I was planning to max OF, but waited one turn too long and got stuck with a 1-pop whip no OF, I will reload. Regardless of the size of the impact, I want to be judged by my decisions not my clicks per se. More rarely, I'll also reload if there's information available to me say a turn prior but that I didn't see.
I'm already a really slow player, so the idea of further slowing myself down to make sure I make 0 mistakes -- there's just no incentive for me outside of a competitive game. And I don't like competitive games because they encourage risky strategies over consistent wins. I do admire the streamers who more than anything else, tend to be very mentally organized. It's all chaos over here.
I get that there are BUG text warnings but there are a bunch of them and they slowly trickle in, so I never got in a good habit of using them, preferring instead to just check every city every turn. I can't get behind reloading because of "bad luck", that would defeat the decision making of the game which is to manage risk/reward. I think you can generally tell who reloads for bad luck by a few trends. Do they always build the National Epic? Do they pick the leadership promotion? Never tech archery? Go for Oracle frequently? To me, those are red flags. But ultimately to each their own. I've learned a lot more in this game from reloading/experimenting than searching the forums (which let's admit, doesn't have a perfect search function). So if that's your goal, more power to you.
Last edited:
The principle about reloading depends on situations/settings. The principle of competition might be different for the principle in non-competitive games. For example when people play for HoF, they can share T0 save only after game submission. By contrast, when people start a shadow game in S&T, they often post T0 save so that others can play along.

In competitive games, certainly reloading is considered as cheating. But for non-competitive games, reloading is fine, though it would be better to mention that in people's write-up, such as "this is my second attempt" or "reload for correcting a mistake".
Well certainly in competitive games you do "functional" reloads, to see the exact effects a switch in civics have on a large empire for example ?

That's somewhat different than reloading to change the flow of a game imho.
Like forgetting to switch to Repre/US after Pyramids
Classical stuff ))

For anyone reloading there is a setting in BUG to save every X steps (and keep last Y saves, deleting more old). I use 2.

Reloading is feedback instrument. Without feedback people progress slowly. That's great if you see a mistake and apply a fix.

Some my reloads are shaming: they are based on revealed new lend. Player should pay price for uncovering unknown land!
Replaying the same 25 turns segment over 30 times has a way like no other to contrast the trade offs and make them apparent.
There are two problems here:
* some game rules are hidden and you need to build intuition to develop adequate reaction. Like I do not know the penalty on building a new city - the formula is too hard to calculate / remember
* human brain is incapable at solving combinatorial tasks. We need in game solvers that visually assist with decision making: like in sulla's critique on civ5 of "one unit per turn": civ is strategic game (of logistics and economy), dealing with tactical tasks ruins the game (hello fog busting, early huts or workers stealing). Workers micro is the most visible (hello move + half build of road).
There are two problems here:
* some game rules are hidden and you need to build intuition to develop adequate reaction. Like I do not know the penalty on building a new city - the formula is too hard to calculate / remember
* human brain is incapable at solving combinatorial tasks. We need in game solvers that visually assist with decision making: like in sulla's critique on civ5 of "one unit per turn": civ is strategic game (of logistics and economy), dealing with tactical tasks ruins the game (hello fog busting, early huts or workers stealing). Workers micro is the most visible (hello move + half build of road).
Maintenance : Agreed, it is very hard to plan unless one has experience with the format (difficulty, map size, game speed). Unless one has access to a chart, the best way to deal with it is to be drilled in the format (recent experience). Maintenance is a top factor on the extreme ends of the difficulty levels (settler/deity) and will affect all of : the tech path, build order, settling patterns and settling timings.

Combinatorial tasks : isn't it what we do with worker management ? Trying to synchronize build orders, production, city growth, improvements, unit movements ? Maybe you mean on a more complext level.

Note that I certainly didn't propose to reload in order to gain systematic advantages from some newfound knowledge (scouting and such).
I did propose that reloading a segment would :
a) allow to optimize something more easily (e.g. building a wonder) ;
b) give a better sense of opportunity costs and gains (combinatorial tasks ; should we build a settler or a worker ? should we mine a hill or chop a forest ? etc.).

In other words, it's pretty easy to replay the first 50 turns of a map a few times and see how different build orders + worker management compare. I can still think freely on a 2nd run and scout / settle naturally, as I would with available information.
Funny you would mention fogbusting. I think the insistence on fogbusting leads many players to do critical mistakes. Especially early on, when it is done to the detriment of scouting, of settling and it costs gold. There is a time for scouting, there is a time for an active defense and there is a time for fogbusting. Fogbusting comes last. Any settler produced during the "active defense" period reduces the need for fogbusting units.

Reloading feels like cheating to me, and if I do it I can't rid myself of the feeling that I can no longer take any credit for success in the game. So, mis-clicking something absent-mindedly is about the only thing I'd allow it for. Losing 99.5% battles with a GG unit (which seems to happen in every game somehow...) is not something I would reload. One other possible example is DoWing/accepting intervention against someone when I forgot that they had a DP or a vassal I didn't want to fight.
I reload a lot in the early game, where turns are most critical and the extrapolation of outcomes is most massive. Most commonly due to brainfarting and screwing up a whip threshold, or bullsh*T combat odds with archers in AI cites (really Mansa? You stop 7 immortals, 3 of them triple promoted, with your 2 skirms in your flatland city? Get the f outta here...). I'd rather reload than throw the whole game away on the AI getting f-ing lucky, they cheat enough as it is.

Later on not so much, as with a greater "foothold" in the game it's easier to absorb the outcomes of poor RNG and I lose the stomach for it and will just want to stop playing. Typically I will reload during this stage if I missed something, like a trade or OB agreement the event track failed to tell me about in time, or if I missed something on diplomacy that allowed a bribe-in to happen when I could have prevented it, etc. I autosave every turn because the game is very complex and I end up missing a fair amount of stuff like this over the course of a game.
Long time lurker, first time poster. I am notorious for cheating myself when I start to get bored, so at ths start I lock and disable random seed. If not, if things aren’t going well I wreak havoc on my games.
I'll sometimes replay maps if I think there's something to be learned by doing it again, but reloads are for misclicks and computer crashes only. Anything beyond that is cheating as far as I'm concerned.

Though it's worth mentioning that I'm a player who tries to win the largest percentage of maps I can rather than trying to get the highest score or fastest wins. I can see the value in reloading a lot to learn how to hyper optimize things.
played an iso game today. not planned, just happened to be iso. reloaded first for missing glh because of bad capital placement (went for an inland commerce rich option in the first attempt). reloaded again for missing a civic change during a golden age. also for attacking brennus in a divided fashion which got half my stack wiped. think a couple more times also..
I reload misclicks probably 90+% of the time and I sometimes save and reload to learn game mechanics. Like where units will teleport if i dow/close borders and that kind of thing.

I don't reload decisions that I've made that turn out poorly.

One other thing i will do though is occasionally reload something stupid that i overlooked. For example, I'm planning to bulb Astro and trade for CS the turn before i get my last GS to bulb it and then when i go to bulb Astro it says Paper instead. Yeah.. that's getting reloaded in a NC game.
All the time. I don't play.competitively, and Civ4 allows us to play and challenge ourselves however we please.

The challenge for me, is having world wars on earth maps at maeathon speed, and utilising all the late game features, which is why I play LoR dave uk modmod with improved AI and some equalising of the DCM. I used to play earth 18 maps but am currently trying out the Ghenghis Kai Giant Earth Map with my own modifications(check my previous posts to see what I've done).

It's a very difficult map to adjust to and building a huge empire without revolutions is challenging, so lots of reloading is required in the early stages. After that I'm happy to let the game decide how it goes.

I just changed my username to reflect my playing style.
There are two problems here:
* some game rules are hidden and you need to build intuition to develop adequate reaction. Like I do not know the penalty on building a new city - the formula is too hard to calculate / remember
* human brain is incapable at solving combinatorial tasks. We need in game solvers that visually assist with decision making: like in sulla's critique on civ5 of "one unit per turn": civ is strategic game (of logistics and economy), dealing with tactical tasks ruins the game (hello fog busting, early huts or workers stealing). Workers micro is the most visible (hello move + half build of road).
I think there is a guide to city costs and upkeep costs for city size. @Tonny did some numbers on out last SGOTM 26 for Phoenix Rising. The costs go up for size of city and number of cities. Only really an issue if you are leaving 4-5 tiles distance between cities. Or on deity where if you over expand it can kill your economy. Of course this is all part of the game. Knowing which techs to skip and how to manage commerce where needed.

Of course some of these issue are down to basic game management and understanding how to balance worker actions/ expansion/city placements and manage city tiles to add more commerce where needed. BIC covered this nicely in the deity game where working a commerce tile for 10 turns helped bring in AH sooner but worker 1 turn later on deity. I suspect you are on immortal or lower. If you play smaller maps the tech costs should be much lower anyway.

This is what many like about Civ 4. Micro and depth the game provides. Which is why micro and misclicks at some times need reloading. Of course on SGOTM and BOTM no relaods are allowed. However most forum or private games are for fun. Compare this to Civ 5 or 6 and this is where there is a huge Ocean of difference.
If you play smaller maps the tech costs should be much lower anyway
I checked civ4worldinfo.xml, parameter iResearchPercent:
100 duel
110 tiny
120 small
130 standard
140 large
150 huge

Tiny / small are almost as standard. Still units obsolete faster...

Seems need to try Standard with high water level. More land more events longer the games ((
Top Bottom