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I suck at this game!

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by Bllasae, May 22, 2010.

  1. Bllasae

    Bllasae Prince

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    Does anyone have any hints for me? I can't get research going, I'm always losing money, and I have no soldiers. Thanks!
     
  2. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    First, head to the War Academy. There are some excellent articles to be had. Second, the best way to get advice around here is to post a save. It's much easier to give some specific advice when you've got a save to look at. With all that said, I don't know how long you've been playing, or what level you're trying to beat, but most of the "newbie needs help" threads boil down to the following:
    • Ineffective trading;
    • Too few workers;
    • Too few roads;
    • Too many unnecessary structures;
    • Too many unnecessary defensive units.

    Granted, what constitutes "unnecessary" depends on your chosen victory condition. While temples may be critical for a cultural victory, they're mostly unnecessary for military victories. Tell us how you want to win, post a save, and I'm sure someone will be able to help you out.
     
  3. Sparthage

    Sparthage Fighting Tyranny

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    I think that Aabraxan hit the nail on the head, but another place you might want to check out is the Civ 3 SG forums. They actually have helped me improve, even when I'm not playing.
     
  4. vmxa

    vmxa Deity Supporter

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    If you are not researching well and have no troops it very likely that you have too few workers and not enough towns/land. Reseach cost money and income comes from citizens working tiles in the early game.

    Trade and conquest can bring in gold as well, but those are not your issue early. You have to expand. Best if you can expand quickly. Once you run out of land, you have to get land from someone.

    The land you have has to be managed. That is to say, you need to improve it. Workers do that. You want to improve a tile as soon as it is worked, before is even better (just in time that means).

    If you get a road down on a worked tile you get an extra commerce. If on a river that gives an extra commerce as well as does some bonus tiles (gold is one).

    Other improvements are important like irrigation for faster growth and mines for more shields. You have to determine which tile should be worked first and what improvement it should get. You want to keep at least a casual eye on the gov to make sure citizens are on the best tiles.

    Be smart with your workers. Do not have them make a road on a mountian that is not going to be worked or traveled. Tiles have a task cost and it is best to have workers work low turn cost tiles first as long as they are the also the one you want your citizens to work.

    Structures cost maint, so build those that you actually can use right then in that town. In practice that means no sense in making a barrack in a town that is not going to make troops.

    A lib in a town that is only going to net 1 beaker for a long long time. Note that sometimes the cost is not the deciding factor. A lib or temple may be built, even though it is not really a good town for it. It may be needed to expand your borders for some reason.

    The idea is that structures should be evaluated not just build, becasue you have the tech. These are just a few things to consider.
     
  5. Bllasae

    Bllasae Prince

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    I don't have a save because it's EVERY game I start, I fail.
    Alright, in response to the list:
    • I don't trade because I having nothing to trade, per my problems listed above (no tech/money.
    • I don't ever have enough workers.
    • I have a lot of roads.
    • I try and build everything in the list.
    • I barely have enough units to defend my cities.
    Also, trying to beat Chieftain and I've been playing for a few years (off and on, because I quit because I suck).

    Thanks to vmxa and everyone for the hints. I'll try again.
     
  6. vmxa

    vmxa Deity Supporter

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    Don't know what settings you use other than Chief, but I often see that players trying huge or large maps and struggle.

    Use std map size with 6 or 7 rivials on pan map with min water. Do not start your first settler, until your capitol gets to size 3 or 4. If you have a cow/wheat in the capitol wait till size 4.

    You can afford to wait a bit on Chief and not dropping the capitol down to size 1 or 2 after the settler coems out will make it faster to get the next one.

    Read Crackers opening moves. Good luck.
     
  7. GamezRule

    GamezRule Inconceivable!

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    We have found the culprit. ;)
     
  8. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    I agree with vmxa. Head to the War Academy and read Cracker's Opening Moves.

    I'd suggest starting a new game, play ~100 turns, keep a log, and post the save and the log.

    Research left to right. Use the luxes & the slider to keep people happy, rather than converting them to specialists. If you want to work on trading, try starting with a civ that begins with Alpha, and run the Republic slingshot. You may feel like you're falling behind, but once you get a lock on Philo, you can start trading around. In particular, the French might be good, as they start with Alpha and Masonry, two expensive AA techs.

    Then get more. You can build them, buy them from the AI, capture them, poach settler pairs, or raze towns.

    How do you have lots of roads if you don't have enough workers? My rule of thumb is that no worker leaves a tile without putting down a road.

    This may well be the biggest problem you have. This suggests a possible lack of focus in your game. Pick your VC early and let that guide your building choices. I almost always play for military victories, so my core cities tend to get raxes, markets and libraries. My capital might get a temple. The list of buildings then gets shorter as you move out from the capital. Out in the hinterlands, I build farms. They get nothing, except for a few that are on the front lines of a war. Then maybe walls & a rax. Once the front line has moved, I'll sell the rax to save upkeep. A city needs nothing to survive. The question is: What is is that the empire needs for your city to have?

    Buildings are all about return on investment. If you want a cultural victory, 60 shields for a temple & the culture it produces is a good investment. In a food-rich, luxury-poor core city, 60 shields can be good investment for the happiness. In a conquest game where I have a decent food supply and lots of early luxes, investing 60 shields in a temple is a rotten idea. You could have two horses or 2 swords (or some other combination) instead. There's an article linked in my sig on multiplier buildings. You might consider reading to help you in assessing which buildings are really necessary for your game.


    This might be because your buildings are choking your economy. It could also be that your cities are so busy with buildings that they don't have time to build troops. Focus on your VC. Build only those buildings that really help you get there, and you may see better cash flow. Also, a stronger REX phase and more cities might help.

    Believe it or not, I'm going to suggest that you move on up to Warlord. Chieftain lets you learn bad habits that are hard to break. Also, you might actually find trading easier if you move up. At Chief, the AI won't have anything worth trading, either. That's one of the things that, to my mind, is counter-intuitive in C3C. Trading actually becomes easier as you move up (at least up to Emperor), because the AI can actually generate enough research and gold to do something. At Chief, the human player has to do the research for the whole world.

    Edited to add: Also, I put together an index of the Training Day Games down in the Succession Games forum. You might want to read some of those games. They're really educational.
     
  9. vmxa

    vmxa Deity Supporter

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    The trading SG's are useful, but it can be stated that you do not need to trade at the lowest levels at all. It is just that making a few trades here and there is a way to boost your empire.

    I play lots of games and never make a trade and AW games tend to not allow trades. Of the 5 bullets in Bllasae list I would move trades to the bottom. Failure on that list above it is the cause of not making trades, rather than not making trades being the failure of the game.
     
  10. Bllasae

    Bllasae Prince

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    Alright, thanks guys.
     
  11. DJ Bonebraker

    DJ Bonebraker a.k.a Laura

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    Some general tips regardless of what victory conditions you are playing for (I tend to go for peaceful victories, but sometimes have "accidentally" achieved a domination victory because the other civs didn't like the fact that I was getting close to the one of my goals (Cultural or Space Race) or had some resource they didn't and they decided that it would be a good idea to try and take it by force).

    #1: Expansion is the best policy... Granted, I've started on some weird maps where all the AI civs' start points were about 5 tiles away from mine, and of course, the game always puts YOU in the middle of the AIs, so they had plenty of space to expand OUT, but they all decided to expand IN, to put the pressure on me... That just resulted in some early wars of one or more said AIs getting their butts kicked... The reason is that in such a situation, I forewent almost any kind of cultural production, and just started cranking out troops.

    #2: Even in builder mode (trying to get a peaceful victory), I always ALWAYS never build two Buildings/wonders/small wonders in a row... My build order in a typical city is building, unit, building, unit and sometimes Unit, unit, building, unit unit, building... Later in the game, when Artillery actually starts becoming effective, I try to go: Unit, Artillery, Building, since Artillery can be used to greatly multiply the effectiveness of what troops you have, which brings me to:

    #3: Artillery, Artillery, Artillery! Starting with Trebs, begin building up your Artillery stockpile. While they might seem pointless at first glance (after all, they cost almost as much as a standard unit and can't actually KILL any enemy units, right?), my biggest mistake when I started out was not building enough (or any) artillery.... The thing about artillery is that while they can't KILL an enemy unit (except in a few special cases, such as the Korean Hwa'cha), Artillery CAN reduce enemy units to 1HP, and if you have enough artillery to reduce ALL the defenders to 1 HP each, then you've basically already won the battle... The way Civ III's engine works, even if you have WARRIORS and they have INFANTRY, if you've redlined their infantry with your artillery, your warriors will still have a decent chance to defeat the enemy infantry... After all, they have to wipe all 4 HP off your warrior, but your Warrior only has to get lucky once.

    For a good illustration of how effective this tactic can be, and a good way to come back from a VERY disadvantageous position, check out my Age of Imperialism scenario story where I took the Boer Republics and managed to take over almost half the world (thus far... the game isn't finished yet)... In the AoI scenario, the Boer Republics have some of the weaker unit lines (my units are weaker than some of the European factions' COLONIAL troops), limited resources in their starting area (no coal, so no railroads), and they are completely surrounded by colonies of several Colonial Powers (Britain, Germany, and Portugal), and are behind the Major Powers in tech (not to mention that your starting economy sucks, so you'll fall even further behind soon after the game starts).

    Which basically means:

    #4: Even if you DO fall behind the rest of the pack, don't give up! There are ways to catch up... One is to try researching a branch of the tech tree that nobody else is so that you can trade up, or you can use Ye Olde Intelligence Service (or Diplomatic Service) to STEAL tech. You can also use the "pointy stick" approach... E.g. build up your army (with plenty of artillery support) and go after the most advanced opponent... If you knock them down a few notches (or even better, completely out of the game), you'll no doubt find yourself catching back up in a hurry (I was so far behind Britain in the AoI game that they were almost a full era ahead of me by the time I went into all-out war with them... By the time I kicked them out of the British Isles, I'd caught up to their tech level, and by the time I wiped out their last enclave in New Zealand, I'd passed them in tech, and was on par with the surviving "Major Powers").

    Finally, don't be afraid to try doing things differently... As I said before, I usually play peacefully, but Age of Imperialism is such that anyone who tries that route (except Britain or France with their gazillion colonies and the ability to just kick back and watch the Raw Materials, a.k.a. flag units, roll in and the victory points rack up until they get the requisite 4000) is toast, especially the minor factions (Latin American nations, Persia, Thailand, Boer Republics, etc). My immediate goal was to build up my economy and military simultaneously, and immediately go after either Mozambique, Angola or German SW Africa (Going after Britain right off the bat would have been suicide), and a war that broke out between Germany and Russia when I was almost ready to strike provided the opening I needed...

    Once I "liberated" German SW Africa, I used those two newly acquired cities to ramp up my economic and military build-up, which, in turn, allowed me to capitalize on a war between Britain and Russia a little while later, at which point I "liberated" British South Africa, gaining several valuable port cities as well as at least one source of Coal.... Again, you can read up on that in the story thread. While some of the strategies I used are pretty much specific to AoI, most can be used in ANY game or scenario (I used the Artillery SoD strategy to pwn half of Europe in the Napoleonic Europe conquest as PRUSSIA! :lol: By the time that game was over and done with, I'd taken over Denmark, most of France, Sweden, all but two cities in Russia, two cities in England, one of which was London, and half of Italy.)
     
  12. swamp

    swamp Chieftain

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    I've always been one of those people that use little to no artillery of any kind. After reading this last post I will be building a ton of it in the next game to try out.

    Thanks for the info Hikaro.
     
  13. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    My opinion on artillery type units: on the lower difficulty levels you don't need them. Usually you'll have Knights versus their spearmen, and then trebuchets or cannons are unnecessary. However on the higher levels (let's say Emperor and above) artillery becomes useful. In these you usually are behind in technology, so (as an example) your Knights will meet musketmen, and then you better have a decent artillery force... :D

    Another occasion where you need artillery units (catapults or trebuchets) is when you don't have the necessary resources (iron/horses) for building the good attack units. For example, in the acient age, if you don't have iron for building swordsmen, then you need a combined stack of archers and catapults in order to defeat spearmen efficiently.

    However, in order not to confuse Bllasae too much at this point, I would say: don't concentrate on artillery yet. It will probably drive your unit upkeep costs up, and in a standard Warlord or Regent level game with access to iron & horses, you won't be needing any catapults/trebuchets. That can wait until you move up one level.

    Lanzelot
     
  14. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Prince

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    Not necessarily. What if you need to do a lot of AA fighting? And what if you are in Republic? If you do without arty, you will lose more units & you will increase the amount of war weariness you incur as you do. I find it depends more on how quickly I think I can finish the war: the longer the war, the more i need bombard units. Often, I wind up mixing the two approaches: bombards for the initial targets, soak up the majority of "good" AI units, then let the fast units loose--in great numbers to finish things off in a couple of turns.

    Note also that if you don't have any fast units, arty won't slow you down at all, so you might as well make use of it.

    Finally, if the game lasts until the IA, you almost certainly will want arty; cavs can find taking down rifles a tough proposition. You can do it, but your loss rate will zoom. Even cav armies will take it on the chin, rendering them more likely targets for AI attacks while they heal. And if you are up against inf, forget it! You'd have to outnumber them by insane proportions for cav to win out.

    One last point: the recon-by-fire ability of bombard units against towns and cities is pretty useful. Keeping a dozen or so per main attack force is useful for that alone. That said, I agree that one can go overboard; 40 cats in the AA probably isn't wise (unless you've got a lot of dough coming in, for some reason). I'd probably start out with 10-12 in the AA if I planned to war then, increasing gradually to 20 in the MedA & about 30-40 (depending on the size of map/effort) just before hitting the IA. I've rarely needed more than that for a standard map.

    kk
     
  15. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    Yes, you got a point here. In a long drawn war under Republic you need to minimize your losses. But still, if you have a technology lead (e.g. Knights vs Spearmen), then I think the losses will not be that high, and the war will be over much more quickly if using let's say 20 Knights instead of 15 Knights + 10 Trebs.

    In this case I agree. No iron for Knights? Use Longbows + Trebuchets! It will be slower, but it will probably have the same kind of "casualty rate" as Knights.

    What you write here is correct, but I disaggree that the IA is substantially different from the AA or MA in this regard. What you describe here, can be attributed to a technological disadvantage (Cavs vs Rifles/Infantry means you are not ahead in technology...! :D). It has nothing to do with the IA per-se. The same would be true for example, if you are in the MA and attack Pikes with Horsemen. So it's not specific to the IA, but rather due to a tech disadvantage. If you have Tanks (or even Modern Armor) versus their Rifle/Infantry, then we are back to my example from the MA: no need for artillery here...

    So basically it boils down to:
    • do I have superior weapons (due to a tech lead)? Then artillery is unnecessary (in most cases, of course there are always exceptions).
    • or do I have inferior weapons (because the AI has the tech lead or because I'm deprived of essential strategic resources, e.g horses, iron, oil, etc)? Then artillery is clearly required.

    Good idea. I didn't know the expression "recon-by-fire", but I know what you mean. It's very useful for finding out how many defenders are in a town. But again: on Chieftain/Warlord (which is what Bllasae is currently playing), it is hardly necessary. On Warlord you know: there's exactly one spearman in each town, two in the capital... No need for reconoissance... :lol:

    However, there's one more case where I think artillery units are useful, and which hasn't been mentioned yet: if you are too weak to go onto the attack and are defending against an AI onslaught, then you definitely need 2-3 artillery type units in the attacked towns. First they bombard the approaching AI units, then they almost always shave a hitpoint off the attacker via defensive bombardment, and finally in your next turn they can bombard again and damage the survivors even further, before your counter-attack units try to kill a few red-lined invaders...

    But I'm afraid we are getting a bit off-topic here... Let's see whether Bllasae posts a saved game, then we can give him more specific advice. The question if and when and how to use artillery is certainly not his main problem. Let him improve the basic skills first and then he can learn a thing or two about advanced warfare.

    Lanzelot
     
  16. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Deity

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    Blassae, a few simple observations. Other people have gone on at length.

    First, look at VXMA's Regent tutorial (link in his sig). It works on levels up to regent. You'll see what he does and why.

    Very simply, I think you're overbuilding. In the early game, build a few units for exploration. If you can get to the AI's first, you can trade very early.

    After that, the major focus is on expanding. I'm a builder (actually an overbuilder) but most of the ancient age is about getting cities up. If there's room for another decent city and you have a size 4 city, get the settler out. Military unit for each settler party and a worker for new city built in another city.

    There's a saying in CivIV that applies even more to III, Land is Power! If you have more land and it's developed, you can win.

    Also, watch out for ancient age wonders. Maybe build one when you have some cities. But don't focus on wonders, focus on getting land.

    First time, I'd recommend Sumeria. For expansion phase, can't beat a 10-hammer spearman available immediately. And agricultural is the best trait, getting workers and settlers out faster.
     
  17. ChaosArbiter

    ChaosArbiter King

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    I'd say don't build any of them. Don't plan on building any Wonders before the Middle Ages, and only those if you have a good enough lead.
     
  18. Hellfiredoom

    Hellfiredoom Warlord

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    Tons of great advice in here, as usual. The one thought I will add is make sure you have a good starting location. This means bonus resources (cattle are best, wheat is good too) for your capital and make sure "a river runs through it" in your immediate starting area. Rivers are a tremendous boost to your economy (extra commerce) and growth (ie don't need aqueducts if you build on them), both of which will help your research efforts. I will reroll a map until I get a good starting location... it makes life much easier. :D
     
  19. Nergal

    Nergal Prince

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    Rivers are not just useful, pretty much essential in order to kep up with tech research. I just completed a Monarch game with China where research seemed so slow until I figured out why, my lack of rivers.

    The thing about artillery is that not only do they give you a tactical edge I do believe they save a lot of units. Not losing units means you dont need to waste shields replacing them and allows you to build more.
     
  20. vmxa

    vmxa Deity Supporter

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    Bllasae, have you made any progress or still finding the going a bit tough?
     

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