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How to ICS

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Bamboocha, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Bamboocha

    Bamboocha Warlord

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    Hello everybody,

    As some of you might know better than myself, ICS stands for infinite city sprawl. If I'm not mistaken this tactic involves planting as much of your own cities on unclaimed land before the enemy can, leaving you with a large empire. If performed correctly, this will leave you with many cities with a decent production output, allowing you to either dedicate them all to science or producing units for your army (if I'm not mistaken, you can even get some decent culture with liberty and by building all culture buildings) without having to wage war for them. The problem is that I have no idea how to do this, can anybody give me some good pointers?
     
  2. RD-BH

    RD-BH Human

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    Formerly: Missouri, USA
    First to mind:
    ... Piety/Organized Religion
    ... ... monuments/temples
    ... Right side of Honor
    ... ... garrison/walls/castles
     
  3. Nebuzaradan

    Nebuzaradan Chieftain

    Joined:
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    I believe the term ICS is usually reserved for the tactic of not just creating lots of cities quickly, but packing them as close together as possible. There are several different tactics that can help this, but choosing Civs that have useful unique buildings (either buildings that give extra culture, happiness, etc) is very nice because you can create ALOT of those buildings because of the extreme number of cities. Another bonus is the increased trade from having a lot of cities connected to your trade network with a small number of roads (so anything that increases your trade is good).

    Ironically it seems that India is a good Civ for this, despite the fact that their special ability seems to focus on fewer, larger cities rather than lots of smaller cities. One of the drawbacks of ICS is that it's much harder to get a city with enough production to really crank out the wonders, but overall it can be a very powerful tactic. Basically just keep creating cities two tiles from your current cities (a nice pattern is helpful) and get them connected by roads as quickly as possible.
     
  4. ShadeSlider

    ShadeSlider Chieftain

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    Well, I'm a big ICS/REx fan since not long ago, so I'll share how it works for me.

    Basicly ICS means settling cities exactly 3 tiles away from each other. I can't say I always do that. If there is a much better spot I'll settle 4 tiles away. But you must always keep in mind that 3x3 matrix.

    Maybe if you settle city 5 tiles away in a realy good spot, you can later setlle another one that will be 3 tiles away from both your capital and that 5 tiles city which will preserve the 3x3 matrix.

    Thats pretty much it for settling. Next - policies.

    Basic problem you face with a lot of cities is happiness management. There is a way to nullify unhappiness per city using folowing policies:

    LIBERTY:
    Meritocracy
    Representation for lowering SP cost.

    PIETY:
    Organized religion

    HONOR:
    Military Caste
    Professional Army

    This is the core policies I use in almost all my games.

    Organized Religion + Meritocracy removes unhappiness per city if you have Monument + Temple in every city, connect every city to the capital.

    This way the most efficient city size for early-mid game is 5, because with Colleseum and Theatre your city wont generate ANY unhappiness. Stadium later on will raise this number up to 9.

    If you have any specific questions - please ask, I'll try to answer.
     
  5. Haig

    Haig Deity

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    Isn't the minimum distance between cities 4 ?
    How can you settle 3 tiles away from each other ?
     
  6. ShadeSlider

    ShadeSlider Chieftain

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    3 tiles _between_ cities. I know ppl say its 4, but its really only 3. Its like: CxxxC not CxxxxC.
     
  7. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    Classically ICS did indeed refer to as close as possible. It was pretty much assumed at the time that you would build cities everywhere that was open during the Civ II / Civ III / SMAC days whatever your settlement pattern was.
    (Minor exception of the ___ rush first along with the kick AI off the landmass before settling the last few open city spots.)

    Civ IV basically changed the initial REX into more of a staged manner; but still while you might delay an infill city site for quite some time, you would eventually found the city before the game ended. And so ICS still refereed to settlement pattern; just slightly larger as C-X-C pattern from Civ III was illegal in IV; and so C-X-X-C changed from Civ III's tight city spacing to Civ IV ICS.

    Civ V has completely different framework due to how both social policies and national wonders work. (Civ IV: Must have same improvement in 5 cities to build the national wonder vs Civ V must have that improvement in all non puppet cities with cost increase for having more cities. And Civ IVs a large empire may increase anarchy between civics to Civ Vs penalty of increased social costs for number of cities) And with C - X - X - C being an illegal pattern when the cities are in the same landmass, any pattern followed too rigidity is likely to leave key tiles permantly unworked. And so ICS now does refer more to found every open city site and not so much the pattern.
     
  8. Teagen

    Teagen Warlord

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    The two problems with this that compound on each other is happiness and social policy costs.

    With lots of cities comes lots of unhappiness, you need social policies to offset this, however

    With lots of cities the costs of social policies goes up to insane amounts of culture...you need large productive cities to build lots of culture buildings to offset this (ie, you need happy cities)

    Add to the fact that on a map like Terra or a small pangea map you'll be getting lots of neighbors pissy cause you're invading their turf and now you need a military...things get to be hectic.
     
  9. Ra's Head

    Ra's Head Chieftain

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    The key is heavily monitoring the size of your cities. You need to keep the city size low (5 is mentioned above and good). With the right policies, you will have essentially no added unhappiness from added cities (after they are established with colosseum etc.). If you let some of your cities grow too much, you may have problems. I often take Tradition opener to accelerate my policy acquisition and border expansion, but I play this strategy on king or emperor only since I find it tricky. Since you will probably go with honor, this works well with a conqueror's mentality. Your large population across cities will fuel your science.

    Also, you normally grow your capitol regardless, because it often has unique benefits that you want badly, like national college and so on.
     
  10. RedRover57

    RedRover57 Emperor

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    But this SP strategy also works great for a puppet empire, and you end up with many more policies due to fewer core cities. Most of your secondary cities are just for population/gold/resources anyway and puppets are fine for this. Let the AI spend the hammers to build these cities and spend your hammers on building military units instead. Why build what you can just take? :D
     
  11. ShadeSlider

    ShadeSlider Chieftain

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    Actually, thats how I play now. I usually have 4-5 cities (3 core production ones and 1-2 resources/gold focused) and then just go take everything I want and can =) The only downside is not being able to get Rationalizm. But I seriously dont how you can comfortably manage happiness w/o Piety.
     
  12. Knut_Are_M

    Knut_Are_M Prince

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    I would strongly recommend egypt for ics.
    that 2 global happiness from the maintence free temple really helps when mixed with organized religion.
    Tradition is ok for an egyptian ics tactic because they only need monuments+burial tomb+colloseum+ organized religion to maintain size 3 city. Also the faster border popping does help. and the 2 bonus food helps alot in hilly terrain. allowing you to work 1 more hill tile.

    another good ics candidate is persia. The bank + golden age UA really helps a large empire.
     
  13. MasterMishi

    MasterMishi Warlord

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    Cap: mon, scout, worker, settlers at size 3
    size 2 2nd city, then as many size 1s as yo ucan.
    settle on a hill work a hill, mine it

    war: units spam
    peace: mon, happy buildings, libs, wonders in cap with gran and maybe watermill, then workshops, market, workshops, unis, etc..

    liberty, settler, worker, prod, happy, ga, then maybe piety or prob rationalism
     
  14. avdale

    avdale Chieftain

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    As kind of an expansion of this topic could we go into why is ICS useful and what victory conditions is it appropriate for. It seems like you're trading having 4-5 spread out well placed cities for a much larger (8-10+) amount of average cities. As a somewhat new player what do we gain from this greater city count?
     
  15. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    Nothing, 4-5 core cities is optimal for every victory condition in single player.
     
  16. MasterMishi

    MasterMishi Warlord

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    ics will out produce 4 cities up to turn 80ish
    so if you spam units and nothing else and use those units you can turn that hammer advantage into puppets and a decisive blow
    terrain can be the donwfall of such a strat
    with germany and landsknecht spam it is very strong
     
  17. RD-BH

    RD-BH Human

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    Science VC.
    ICS, build universities, generate GSs +science.
     
  18. MobileOak

    MobileOak Chieftain

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  19. Tabarnak

    Tabarnak R.I.P.

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    You will probably want to ICS in mp games.

    But not in sp games unless it's only for fun. Annexing cities and rush/build courthouses is stronger than to build everything by yourself.

    I recently try some variations of this strategy, like building NC first then spam cities around. I let sattellites cities to grow enough to work every non regular tiles around. Capital takes every other happiness pts left to make him large.

    Kind of hybrid ICS strat.
     
  20. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    As DaveMcW mentioned, 4-5 is optimal. The only time I might deviate from that is if I wind up in isolation. Under that condition, I'll go with a higher count to compete with a runaway AI on another continent which might spam cities, conquer other AIs, and have a huge tech lead otherwise. I recently won a science victory under these circumstances with either 6 or 7 cities. I don't remember which, but I was in the top two in tech a good part of the game.
     

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