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How to play wide?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Vajrajina, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Vajrajina

    Vajrajina Chieftain

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    So far I always played tall, but I'm aware that a lot of civs benefit more from playing wide than playing tall.

    My idea of playing wide is to get 3 cities out quick, get NC, than get some more cities, probably 5-6 (I usually play large maps).

    Often though I'm stuck with 4 cities regardless, since my neighbors do their own settlin', and I just think: Damm, wish I went for tradition instead.

    At turn 5-10 when I get my culture from ruins I can't foretell if I will have room for 5-6 cities, so taking liberty is a big risk and I'm yet to see it paying it off.

    I once had a game where it was the other way around, where I wished I took Liberty becuase there was just space everywhere, but that was the only one.

    I play on Emperor.

    Soo....how do you play wide? :D As a general idea, with the civs around you not being overy agressive or passive either.
     
  2. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    Hi, try the Shoshone Challenge and try to keep on making/taking cities as you research Happy techs and chose Happy policies and Happy religions. Just keep the Happy ball rolling.
     
  3. Vajrajina

    Vajrajina Chieftain

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    It's more about space than happiness. If I would have half a continent for myself I would be fine. But I don't. I just don't seem to have the space for more than 4 cities at best. Or does "going wide" equal, "going tall, than kicking some ass to get new lands ASAP"?
     
  4. fils

    fils Chieftain

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    You can try different map settings. Highlands for example generally gives you way more room to expand regardless of map size. Or... early conquest? :)
     
  5. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    OK. If you see you have no more space, then you go got 5-6 Comp Bows FAST and you make more room for yourself. Attack t50 to t80.
     
  6. renton555

    renton555 Warlord

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    A lot of interesting mathematical quirks about wide play:

    Most buildings are clearly better with tall empires, because they give percentage-based bonuses at a fixed hammer and GPT cost. The science buildings are the biggest offenders here. In a wide empire you vastly overpay for libraries and universities. The hammer-enhancing buildings are another example, though they do give a couple of flat hammers. Still, a workshop in a 15 hammer city will enhance the hammers by 3.7 which will take over 30 turns to pay back its hammer investment, costing the same 2 GPT all along as the workshop you build in your 50 hammer capital.

    On the other hand, buildings that give flat bonuses are providing the same value regardless of how tall the city is, in some cases more value. The granary for example provides the same 2 food, but 2 food contributes to a faster growth rate in a low population city than a high population city. The culture buildings are also flat, making culture output scale well with empire width, and even social policy acquisition to a point (perhaps curbing at around 6 cities). The nature of gold production is concentrated to a few tiles so markets do well in wide empires, though a tall city that manages to work a lot of trading posts brings back the increased efficiency per hammer of tall cities.

    Hammers are clearly worth more the more that they are concentrated into a single city. Would you rather have 500 hammers in two 250-hammer cities or in ten 50-hammer cities? There are several obvious reasons for this: a) easier to build wonders, b) enhances the value of military +xp buildings and the heroic epic, but much more generally c) as the number of hammers a city produces approaches a large number, these hammers approach the value of gold, as you can produce units or buildings in just a couple of turns, and time is one of the biggest costs you pay when you hard build things. I think its easy for a mathematical layperson to decide to build the ironworks in his second largest city "so he has two highly productive cities instead of just one" but clearly the above are major reasons for building in your highest hammer city.

    So that's the bad news for going wide, so whats the good news? Not much unfortunately, but one of the main ones is gold production. Wide empires exploit the most resources and usually build cities that are 3-4 tiles apart, resulting in excellent internal trade route gold. Markets and banks suffer much less from the hammer inefficiency problem for low-population cities, as even those cities will try to work all the gold tiles, and these buildings don't have GPT maintenance. One of the main goals of any wide empire is to foster widely dispersed gold gains and concentrate that gold into real things that further your interest; units, buildings in crucial cities city state allies to allow for more growth, etc.

    The last major category that is skewed heavily in favor of wide empires is religion. I'd honestly argue that one of your main inspirations to go wide should be religious. Going wide without a strong religion is missing a huge opportunity to exploit the religion game mechanics to great benefit. Faith generation scales DIRECTLY with empire width. The pressure system that spreads religion in Civ 5 depends only on the number of cities, not the number of converted citizens within those cities. Seven 1-population religious cities will apply 42 pressure to cities within 10-13 tiles and convert about a citizen every 2.5 turns, whereas three 30 population cities will only give 18 pressure. The religious happy buildings directly enhance the population limit of your cities and mitigate one of the main problems of going wide. And many of the beliefs and pantheons have overpowered qualities if used in a 10+ city empire.
     
  7. consentient

    consentient Domination!

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    Budweiser is right. The Emperor challenge for Shoshone is very nicely set up for wide play practise.

    Partial spoiler:

    Spoiler :
    The neighbours are tradition starters and there is plenty of space for 6-8 cities and luxuries to support it.
     
  8. Convict

    Convict Warlord

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    I play Shoshone and love going wide- mainly as you have more decisions to make. One important thing I believe is to have all the culture buildings you require before adopting an Ideology.

    Obviously there are plenty of factors- you need lots of workers, a lot more defensive units, and everyone will hate you.

    However it is interesting. (I play scattered continents, large map).
     
  9. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    Yeah and it happens to work all the way to Deity for Shoshone. I crushed a Deity map in much the same way last week.
     
  10. consentient

    consentient Domination!

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    Lucky you. I never get the right combination of space + luxes + neighbours to do it on Deity.
     
  11. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    My 2 cents on hammers:

    While tall empires need to invest in growth early and work growth tiles, wide empires can lock on hammers and gold from the very beginning. 2 cities can growth to pop 5 and work 10 tiles faster than 1 city to growth to pop 10 and work 10 tiles. Besides more tiles for the pop 10 city has to be food rather than production/gold. This early game production advantage cannot be overlooked. Tall empires will catch up with per city production later when a city has enough pop to work more production tiles in its radius and apply the workshop and factory modifiers.

    Therefore your 2 250 hammer city vs 10 50 hammer city comparison is unrealistic. First of all, wide vs tall comparison is usually 8 vs 4 cities, not 10 vs 2 cities. The discrepancy in hammers between a 20 pop tall city vs a 10 pop wide city is very small. Considering the 20 pop city need a lot more food tiles to support itself. So the actual discrepancy in the number of hammers worked could be 10:7 (educated guess), which isn't much.

    While concentrated hammers is good for wonders, spread out hammers is good for low cost buildings and military units. I can get more units by building them in 8 cities for 10 turns than 4 cities in 7 turns.
     
  12. renton555

    renton555 Warlord

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    The other thing I forgot to mention is that wide cities get to make more effective use of the free worked tile that comes when you settle a city, as it represents a larger percentages of the tiles being worked than in a tall city.

    @vitruvius, you have a point, and there's also the additional fact that tall cities have to put their citizens to less and less efficient use as they get taller. For example, theres almost never a good case to work a market specialist instead of an improved horse, but a tall city is already working all its good tiles. So when you grow a tall city you're paying two opportunity costs, one is that it costs more food (growth) to increase the empire population by one in a tall empire than in a wide one, and two is that your paying that high price to work a less efficient use, providing that there is a good tile going unworked in one of your lower population cities. The rationalism and freedom policies are so good because they go a long way in responding to these less-efficient uses of labor.
     
  13. rover68

    rover68 Chieftain

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    Highlands?



    Also, I as a under 200 hour total player, see wide as being a lot more difficult.
    Extra science cost/sp cost/national wonder costs and slower productive cities.

    I'd love to play wide and sprawl, is there any good guide like the science guide?
     
  14. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    I always wanted to write a good wide guide but I am lazy. The guides here are all so comprehensive and I don't have the time to write something that matches them. There's an ICS guide here: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=530468&highlight=ICS, but I want to discuss about how to play a wide game on Standard Maps/Deity but not TOO wide..

    First of all, my definition of a "wide" opening is at least 6 city, preferably 8 cities before turn 80-90. If you are able to hit 6 cities by turn 70 then you are doing ok and you can either choose to squeeze in a few more cities or just stop. I generally find 7 cities the sweet spot for luxes and happiness buildings to support pre-Zoos.

    The first key step to going wide is scouting and map control. Scouting helps you spot potential expands. Map control involves blocking and declaration of war. You need to be able to "control" the land you scouted but have not yet been able to send a settler. You will need to patrol these lands with scouts, warriors, archers to pick off any AI settlers.

    Once you have gained map control, the next thing is getting the cities out ASAP and managing happiness and growth. I am not going to discuss religion because my method will work with or without religion. Religion certainly helps with happiness but its not mandatory.

    Social policy: Full Liberty -> whatever suits you afterwards.

    Tech Order: Pottery -> Animal Husbandry -> Lux techs/Archery -> Construction -> Writing -> Bronze Working (anytime you want, just to see iron) -> Beeline Guilds for Machu Picchu with Liberty Finisher (forget it if no mountain) -> Philosophy (Time it to coincide with all your libraries finishing) -> Metal Casting -> Philosophy (If you can't time it earlier) -> Civil Service -> Education -> play by ear

    Build order for Capital: Scout, Scout, Shrine, Monument, Granary, N x Archers until Free settler, N x Settlers, play by ear

    Steal AI/CS workers with your starting scouts and warriors (Consult another guide on how to do this).

    Build order for Other Cities: Shrine/Monument, Shrine/Monument, Colosseum (Circus)/Library, Colosseum (Circus)/Library, Production Buildings (Stoneworks/Workshops/Stables/Lighthouses), Market/Granary wherever you see fit, play by ear from now on. Build/buy units whenever you feel appropriate.

    Consult another guide for city micromanagement. In a nutshell, don't grow too much, with the exception of your capital pre-settlers. You want to have at least 5 pop, preferably 6, before settler spam. This is often achievable right when you hit collective rule. For your other cities, work those food+production tiles followed by production/gold tiles. Don't work pure food tiles because all they do is give you unhappiness with no productivity. Stagnate growth when you run out of good tiles to work. Good tiles are bonus resources that gives either gold or hammers, sometimes raw hills are good too. Only think about growing when you have happiness infrastructure up.

    You can't pull off a wide game without improving other aspects of your game such as map control, CS control, AI harassment, happiness management, tile management etc. Experiment a bit and get comfortable with it before you can see any results. Be flexible and happy civing!.
     
  15. renton555

    renton555 Warlord

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    I think in deity any more than 4 pre NC cities will be uncompetitive with less cities. There's a great case for staking off land for post-NC expansion though and IMO that hinges heavily on lux availability, trade, and religion strength.
     
  16. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    In wide empires. Early NC only matters for capital-centric plays. Where you focus your pop in your capital and keep your other cities small. In non capital-centric plays. You can have multiple medium pop cities developing concurrently, not just your capital (or whichever city you are planning to build the NC in). In this case it is fine to delay the NC until post turn 100. Getting all the cities out early isn't just to claim land, but also to have them start developing infrastructure as early as possible. The later a city is founded, the more burden it will be on your science.

    Expansion it self doesn't "hinge" on lux and religion. You can expand fine but keep you cities at relatively low pop until you are able to afford the happiness. An ideal expansion is one which claims a lot of luxes.

    With regards to competitiveness, early expanding wide empires will probably do bad in multiplayer because humans know how to exploit tech advantage. On deity, catching up the AI isn't all that hard. A strong expansion (one that's done fast with lots of luxes) will outperform 4-city tradition benchmark by modern era (science wise, it would already have outperformed in other aspects). A weak expansion will lag behind pretty badly though but you can still win the game.
     
  17. renton555

    renton555 Warlord

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    Wouldn't you, even in an ultra-wide empire, want maximum growth in the capital, for a ton of important reasons, namely the ability to construct wonders, max gold from trade routes and city connections, fast construction of time-sensitive units, particularly archaeologists, spaceship parts, etc?

    I don't want to be too argumentative here, I'm asking questions I don't know the answers to as I generally play 3-5 cities pre-NC even with a liberty start. I'm not interested in statements like "you'll be behind but can win the game anyway," though. I'm asking how this type of strategy could be competitive over more conventional expansions.
     
  18. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    First of all its not ultra wide. Its not ICS. It's simply "early" wide as opposed to "late" wide. Its simply a strategy that involves founding early cities before NC. The maximum number of cities that I can be comfortable with is not that much (6 to 8). I don't care so much for super tall capital. I will have several tall cities eventually, and my capital doesn't have to be tallest. Wonders don't need population. Wonders need hammers and having 20 pop doesn't necessarily mean you will have 20 hills to work. By the time I need to construct archaeologists, spaceship parts etc I would already have plenty of 20+ pop cities for that. I'm only halting growth for early happiness reasons because I have more cities.

    Of course I don't recommend this kind of strategy if you want to compete in multiplayer or for HoF times. But if you are simply looking for wins this is solid enough. OP is asking for how to play wide, not how to be competitive.
     
  19. Redaxe

    Redaxe Emperor

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    This is only half the picture but I think you're really only looking at it from when the game was at GodsandKings. If you're debating the merits of tall vs wide the capital regardless needs to be as big as possible, especially with BNW mechanics.

    -firstly the formula that calculates internal gold revenue is based somewhat off the population size of the capital. So right there the capital is already the key to gold income.
    -secondly you want to to be working the Writers Guild and Artists Guild asap because that is 12 culture per turn right there and the first 1-2 works from each guild can add another 8 culture/8tourism. You need this to help you get through the period around the medieval era where the turn times between social policies are at their highest and to generate some tourism so you can be exotic over other civilizations (this gives you more flexibility in choosing ideologies).
    -thirdly universities need population to work if you want to be able to generate early scientists
    -also the food costs as cities get taller is not so easy to calculate. once you get past size 8 growth really slows down but that is when you should be getting aqueducts and civil service, running internal food routes (by ship if possible) and popping the WTLKD quests. Doing these things makes it quite achievable to get the capital to size 20 before the renaissance and if you want to be working the Writer/Artists Guild + university this is what you need to do.

    Bottom line is that many of the early buildings (shrines, granaries, watermills etc) as others have mentioned tend to be more efficient with more cities/lower population but once you get Education you really want to start having the population for specialists. It also doesn't help that military units get more and more expensive to build as each era progresses so that makes citysize and production even more important.

    My observation has been that a civ of about 7 cities with a tall (well developed) capital around size 100 seems to put the player in the best position to win. Obviously more cities can be better but if you overextend yourself and get the "building cities too aggressively" trait from nearby warmongers it can really backfire.
     
  20. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    Having a tall capital is definitely great but one has to look at the cost of getting one. There are occasions that the capital just can't grow very much (flat tundra start like the recent Rome Deity challenge). Yes you can put caravans on it but a liberty capital doesn't benefit from monarchy. Its better the use the caravans for gold and science and just let cities develop themselves off the land. Guilds should go to the city with highest growth on fresh water. Wide empires already earn more culture than tall ones because of more monuments, culture pantheons and liberty opener so its not as crucial to work the guilds early. I usually time my first couple of great writers for the worlds fair. With 7 or more cities you are guaranteed to win it.
     

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