[BTS] I want to improve my early game with your advices

Master_Of_Ideas

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Hello altogether,

I've seen a couple of threads about the first builds and understood some rules. My playing level is a solid Prince, while failing regulary on monarch. Random gave me Mansa Musa, which I get known and liking. So I take him as a constant in these learning games here.

Edit: Mansa is cool, but bores me now. I switch to Huayna Capac.

I want to share thoughts with you about some games especially in the first early moves.

Some games are really inconvenient, cause of the situation.

General settings:
Prince/Monarch
Epic/Normal
Tectonics 70% / Pangäa / Fractal
"Kein Technologie-Austausch" (don't know how it's in english)

My Learnings so far:

...

________________________________

1. Random game: Masa Munsa in a cold south area

Big size, Standard Textonics, huts/events on

Masa Munsa
(Spiritual, Financial)

1.0. Starting situation:
The warrior stood east of settler I moved him north and saw a hut and no interesting resource.

upload_2021-10-21_17-57-35.png


First Questions:
1. Would u do the same with the warrior?
2. Where would you settle?
3. How would you do research?
4. What would you build?
5. Would you make the same decisions in game like me?

1.1. Starting Phase (first 30 rounds)

I took the settle 1S and saw just wood on hills, no interesting resource.
My research strategy: Focus on AH, taking the hunting way to get a scout earlier and because agriculture will just help on one tile.

My building strategy: Worker is faster than getting AH, so I chose building warrior first, switching to scout after getting hunting and starting worker at pop 2.

I worked on the plane to get the C.

upload_2021-10-21_18-5-45.png



State at round 10:

upload_2021-10-21_18-9-51.png


Timed the scout right away with the pop-increase. Worker needs 15 moves after growth, so I start improving land at round 33.

1.2. Next Phase

AH reveals that the plain is populated by horses:

upload_2021-10-21_18-30-10.png


I decide building a pasture first at the horses (cause of game situation, which makes a rush a good idea) and thenafter at the sheep tiles. I don't plan roads, my 4th building will be a mine.

Meanwhile I get known my neighbor: Suryavarman, Khmer (Expansive, Creative): He has many plain spots and cow at his capital. I chose to get him out early with my UU archers, maybe I can get some workers from him.

upload_2021-10-21_18-22-2.png


upload_2021-10-21_18-22-23.png


This is the known world. The C indicates that I am planning Commerce Cities there. I don't know where to place a second production city, maybe at the plains in the middle or between sheep and wheat south to the first C city. After getting known to Suryavarman I would decide not to build any settler and trying to rush him before he can get copper. What do you think?

So my research will go this way:
Archery -> Bronze -> Pottery -> Writing

My building will go this way:
Barracks -> spam archers like hell

At round 50 city grows to pop 3. I chose to set the pop to the commerce field to get bronze one move earlier (to start chopping).

upload_2021-10-21_18-44-32.png


At round 57 bronze is finished. Writing now takes 15 turns.
I start chopping immediately. Maybe the city I planned as C is better a production city cause of the copper:

upload_2021-10-21_18-49-56.png


Here's Sur:

upload_2021-10-21_18-51-37.png


So, my next questions here:

6. Sur has 110 points. What can you read about this?
7. How many units would you take to attack? Would you use war chariots?
8. Would you wait for writing or wait for him to build a second city?
9. How would you plan your citys?
 

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Master_Of_Ideas

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1.3. Attack preparation phase

Update: Round 74, built 6 archers, one chariot and now a settler.

I sent the archers on different ways (some south, some north, some middle) to get some exp from animals.

After Writing I go for mystics to get monuments in my new citys.

Sur let me in:

upload_2021-10-21_19-14-4.png


His cap has 5 pop, his second city 3 pop. Both seem as good C-citys or as a GP-Farm.

a) With how many soldiers would you attack? (actually he has 2 archer in the cap and 1 in the smaller one; I have warrior, scout and 2 archers there with 25% bonus against bows)
b) Is it better to get one city, make peace and squeeze techs or is it better to take both immediately? I can get the 3C hut and maybe his worker only when I take both)
c) How would you choose the usage of the citys?
d) How many additional citys would you found till getting CoL?
e) Which locations would you priorize? For example I need to choose between commerce citys at the coast and stone in inland, which will need roads over long distances.

Research plan after Writing:
Mystics -> Pottery -> Fishing -> Sailing
(meanwhile I must get sure to reveal the coast completely)

After that CoL beelining over priesthood (and try building oracle in capital, when failing it gives me a decent amount of money).

I think about these wonders in this situation, but I am not sure which ones to choose:
Lighthouse, Colossus, Gardens, Angkor, Great Lib

In former games i made war and thenafter spammed wonders until I can finance the next war...


Thank you for feedback!
 
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AcaMetis

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First piece of advice: Slow down a lot. The first 50 turns are more important than the last 250, and early game advice can come as often as every other turn if not every turn.

Second piece of advice: Civ IV is a very complex, and as such very situational game. How many cities you settle, where you settle them, what research you prioritize, etc., all come down to a specific situation on a specific map, which can be completely changed from one turn to the next based on one single discovery (a plan to peacefully expand will fall apart if it turns out you'd peacefully expand into Monty's face, for instance).

Third piece of advice: Different strategies work better/worse/not at all on different difficulty levels. Trying to one city Skirmisher rush on Deity would just end in tears, so any Deity player would answer "none at all" to the question of how many units to send.
 

Lennier

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"Kein Technologie-Austausch" is no technology trading. A non-standard setting that makes the game harder. Standard settings for learner games are no huts/no event (as they throw a large amount of luck into the game that may compensate for bad decisions--or ruin a game you've been playing with very good decisions) normal speed/standard size map. You didn't say what size or style of map you're playing--those settings can also have a large effect on strategies/gameplay. (Most common for learning games is Pangea.)

I second AcaMetis's advice to slow down. You're not giving the experts here a chance to teach you. The learning games are about how to teach beginners how to think about the decisions Civ IV presents. So why did you move your warrior 1 tile north as first move (rather that NE or E?) Why did you decide to settle 1S?
 

Master_Of_Ideas

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Third piece of advice: Different strategies work better/worse/not at all on different difficulty levels. Trying to one city Skirmisher rush on Deity would just end in tears, so any Deity player would answer "none at all" to the question of how many units to send.

OK, thanks :)
Maybe I underestimate the complexity of the beginning. Actually I would like to know which strategies will work on monarch and emperor too. Which way to play would you choose on emperor? And which one on deity in this situation instead of a skirmisher rush?

For the second advice I would like to have a good general advice. It doesn't need to be very specific, but a good help to know about how to handle the number of cities here. It will make a big difference between having 3,4,5 or 6 cities at round ~150. I want to learn more about when it is good to have more and when it is better to have less and if this rule could be applied here.
 

Nick723

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Some feedback on early moves - 1.1

Settling position was ok - as others have said interested in how you get to that logic.

Tech path was good - straight for food techs. Note that whilst going through hunting was the right choice, this is here because it’s cheaper. Being able to build a scout is fairly irrelevant.

First build...these types of starts are challenging (two techs from food)...but I would still go worker first here (this is the default in 90%+ of starts). You can mine the grass sheep for a 2F3H tile, and then building roads / more mines is better than nothing.
 

Master_Of_Ideas

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"Kein Technologie-Austausch" is no technology trading. A non-standard setting that makes the game harder. Standard settings for learner games are no huts/no event (as they throw a large amount of luck into the game that may compensate for bad decisions--or ruin a game you've been playing with very good decisions) normal speed/standard size map. You didn't say what size or style of map you're playing--those settings can also have a large effect on strategies/gameplay. (Most common for learning games is Pangea.)

I second AcaMetis's advice to slow down. You're not giving the experts here a chance to teach you. The learning games are about how to teach beginners how to think about the decisions Civ IV presents. So why did you move your warrior 1 tile north as first move (rather that NE or E?) Why did you decide to settle 1S?

I edited it. I play with

- "Kein Technologie-Austausch", which means, u can trade techs only when u have researched them
- Huts and events on
- Big size
- Standard Tectonics 70% water

About the warrior: I wanted to know if there is a resource in the north. I found a hut. So I decided to go south, cause there would be a chance of finding another resource. I want to play without "try out and reload". So it was speculative. I thought: The most fields here in the starting position are good, and I can get the sheep either way. I planned to build a coastal city, So it would be interesting to see the water, but not the inland east.
 
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Nick723

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Some thoughts on the settling logic. generally your logic is in the right sort of direction, but you miss one key piece. Settling on a plains hill (as you did here) gives you a 2H city centre tile. This is often a key driver for moving (gets early worker 3T faster, and adds 1H for full game). So often you look for opportunities to settle on a plains hill. Here that would mean that the ‘default’ settle was probably 1S (where you ended up) so moving north to check what you would lose is no bad idea.
 

Fippy

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OK, thanks :)
Maybe I underestimate the complexity of the beginning. Actually I would like to know which strategies will work on monarch and emperor too. Which way to play would you choose on emperor? And which one on deity in this situation instead of a skirmisher rush?
Hiya, it's connected to what AIs start with on each diff. Level.
On Prince they don't get Archery for free, so any rush goes (even warriors).

Monarch / Emp warriors are out, Skirms can still work with enuf of them but you want to start thinking about efficiency.
Immortal they get a worker gifted, so their early development gets faster. Skirms are prolly out here as well, and chariots can work with their speed but might run into problems.

Deity they get 2 settlers, so they will connect resources (copper) much faster than on any other level.
Along with huge bonuses like :hammers: discounts.
Only the best quality units are usually considered for rushes now :)
Those include HAs (good mobility & strength, locked behind an acceptable cost tech with HBR), Catapults (can take anything down in large numbers), Jumbos (War Eles which are just broken OP), Trebs + medieval like Maces (rarer with castles becoming an annoyance), Cuirs & Cavs (like HAs), Cannons.
 

Master_Of_Ideas

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Some feedback on early moves - 1.1
First build...these types of starts are challenging (two techs from food)...but I would still go worker first here (this is the default in 90%+ of starts). You can mine the grass sheep for a 2F3H tile, and then building roads / more mines is better than nothing.

I tried it out, cause I am doing this 90% of my games too. Worker first. In result in this simulation (until a random event crashed it) I came to the result, that I have a more developed capital, but a smaller army. The later produced scout results in ~30% less map knowledge, means I don't know the coastal situation or the inland situation. I mined the 1C hill which results in 4 strong tiles while having 3 pop, 4 in 2 moves. I wouldn't build a mine on the sheep, cause that results in losing around 7-8 moves in development. Means: Later chopping.

So this simulation concludes me, that this situation is in the <10% of cases, where building worker immediately is worse than waiting for pop2. But maybe you can prove me wrong and my work is not the best. I submitted an alternate savegame and the initial save to decide this. I came to the conclusion that when I do it this way I overdevelop the city and I am significantly slower in building an army.

General learning:
I you have the <10% seldom case of not having the techs to develop a food tile until your worker is finished (this is true, when u have only animals and neither hunting nor agriculture nor more watered grass tiles like here), think about going into hunting and scout first and building worker at pop2.

Scout has the additional advantage for getting better huts beneath getting much more early map knowledge.
 

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AcaMetis

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OK, thanks :)
Maybe I underestimate the complexity of the beginning. Actually I would like to know which strategies will work on monarch and emperor too. Which way to play would you choose on emperor? And which one on deity in this situation instead of a skirmisher rush?
The early game might seem to be the simplest, in terms of the amount of options you've got available, but since every good or bad decision you make early on continue to snowball through until the end it nevertheless is definitely the most important part to focus on. Put another way, a solid early game is the difference between pondering whether an early rush is advisable and already having an army ready and waiting on an enemy's doorstep. And the implied success that second scenario will have will only continue to snowball further as the game goes on.

Broadly speaking, since specific advice is hard to do when so much of a given game is situational, the higher you are in difficulty the more you have to play the long game. Deity AIs start with so many bonuses that a one city Skirmisher rush is never going to work, I guess unless you end up in a situation where you can follow someone else's war and snipe cities from them. That's not to say that early Deity rushes are impossible, I've seen people axe rush Shaka on Deity and eventually turn that success into a win, but it requires a favorable situation and solid gameplay in order to not only be in a position to exploit such an opportunity, but to actually pull it off successfully.

For the second advice I would like to have a good general advice. It doesn't need to be very specific, but a good help to know about how to handle the number of cities here. It will make a big difference between having 3,4,5 or 6 cities at round ~150. I want to learn more about when it is good to have more and when it is better to have less and if this rule could be applied here.
You want as many cities that are worth the price of settling them as soon as you can afford them, both economically and in terms of opportunity cost. Highly situational, again, but general advice: Don't be content with 3 cities if you can afford to settle 6 cities - cities are good to expand your research and your production base, and any city you don't settle is a city that an AI is going to settle and become that much stronger with in the long haul. Of course there are situations where staying at fewer cities is better, early rushes and isolation two name two prominent examples, but generally speaking you want more cities if that option is on the table. Don't go too crazy before Pottery (for cottages) and later Currency (extra trade route and building wealth) or Astronomy (if isolated), crashing your economy is a real risk in this game, but other than that plant down and/or capture those cities.

In example, that one city Skirmisher rush would be doomed to fail on Deity not because a Skirmisher rush on Deity is impossible in all circumstances (most, yes, but not all), but because with that small a production base you just won't be able to produce enough units to get any real offensive going. Now if you have, say, three early cities pump out strong military units while workers start chopping forests to supplement the war machine, and you hit a target that's unable to put up a meaningful defence? That'd be a very different story.
 

Master_Of_Ideas

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1.4. The attack

We are now in round 84. The moment right before attack: Sur has 2 builder and developed 2 pastures and 2 farms, his army is still 2 archers and 1 warrior. I stand before him with 5 skirmishers and a chariot.

upload_2021-10-22_0-29-12.png


Meanwhile at home:

The cap has whipped a settler and started with the library to get some more bulbs. Actually it's my best position with 15 commerce, which is nearly my complete bulb-gain. After it regained 4 pop, i switched to another worker.

The second city is founded, a monument started, the worker starts on building a mine. I time him so he can contribute to fishing boat right after the city expands. I replan the city as second production city. Only actual problem: I still don't have agriculture and just need it for this one spot!

upload_2021-10-22_0-32-36.png


Research:

Fishing -> ... ?

Well. I don't know. There are different possibilities:

A) Meditation -> priesthood -> CoL , trying to get oracle (20 rounds to priesthood, addition 48 rounds to CoL)
B) Sailing -> SM -> agriculture -> pottery , trying to build lighthouse and finance with huts in my new cities (28 rounds from actual situation)
C) Meditation -> priesthood -> Sailing -> SM , trying building both oracle and lighthouse (20 rounds for priesthood, thenafter 22 for lighthouse),
taking metal casting from oracle and immediately starting the path to colossus at the second city.
D) Alphabet -> make peace with Sur to squeeze out his research and rethinking plans (35 rounds from actual situation)

Actual production in capital:
11 hammers.
This way I could get oracle in 10 moves (110), 2 whips (90) and one chop (30) and I get an overflow for the standard lighthouse.

Assumed, you were in the same situation on monarch or emperor:
Which way would you choose next? Is my calculation too optimistic?


(I would not compare to higher difficultys from now)

In Prince strategies like C) worked fine, so it would be round 110 oracle, round 135 lighthouse and round 140 colossus.
 

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BornInCantaloup

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You will not find many people who are familiar with Marathon and/or the German language on this forum,
However,
You are quite right in your approach to the early turns.
City/Worker/Tech management is a single triple thing that all needs to be tied together. Yes, like a shoe lace. It seems you can do it :hug:
Synchronization, we also call it that way.
Marathon speed changes the ratio between techs&units&city, therefore it is hard to port rules from Standard speed to Marathon.
At least, not without trying out the map.
Getting the best synchs will always be a stake (best synch out of a built item, out of a growth time, out of .... yeah, and then you try to highroll).
 

konata_LS

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Skirmishers rush on IMM+ may end up in tough situations because of AIs's starting units and production bonus. But Skirmishers are one of the good units for choking/worker stealing, even at Deity. <--please note the difference between "rush" and "choke".

Worker stealing and choking can be possible at all levels, if you catch the opportunities and have the right tactics. Though I'm clumsy at worker stealing; you may learn much more about worker stealing from some HoF and Deity players.

There was a recent successful game with early Skirmishers worker stealing, at Deity level. The player stole 6 workers from a neighbour before T80, then sent catapults to finish off the weakened neighbour.

About your tech path:
I play at Monarch. If I were you, I would go for Fishing-Pot-Writing-HBR-Math. Chopped 10+HAs and send Sury to heaven.
 

BornInCantaloup

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Do not self-tech Fishing.

Are you semi-isolated with Sury and playing on Noble Difficulty ?
If so, research Alphabet, yes. You can aim to Oracle something afterwards. The ability to build research will help you post-war, if you have trouble maintaining your tech pace (an objective should be : not having trouble in that matter).

You've played so far to a Skirmisher rush. So : sure, do it. That's what your plan was all along ^^
Your focus right now should not be "winning the war" but rather "fueling the tech pace" with the war.
Extorting techs might be possible but, the lower the difficulty, the lower the returns.
The benefits of a lower difficulty are mostly reduced maintenance.
 

BornInCantaloup

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Skirmishers rush on IMM+ may end up in tough situations because of AIs's starting units and production bonus. But Skirmishers are one of the good units for choking/worker stealing, even at Deity. <--please note the difference between "rush" and "choke".

Worker stealing and choking can be possible at all levels, if you catch the opportunities and have the right tactics
Yes. Probably the most broken mechanic, if you want to tear open a map.

About your tech path:
I play at Monarch. If I were you, I would go for Fishing-Pot-Writing-HBR-Math. Chopped 10+HAs and send Sury to heaven.
While a commandable intention, this is overkill. Remember the BUG hint : "Do not build 50 units where 15 would do." Or something like that.
In an early war, and especially when there are few neighbours, retaining the ability to tech up is very valuable.
Sometimes it means delaying the DoW, sometimes it means balancing prod and commerce,
Here, if you can refrain from researching HBR, that is that much more commerce directed towards economic techs. (There are other rivals and taking out 1 doesn't justify going bankrupt - I exaggerate things, here, I hope you get the idea - spending turns to recover is never advisable).
 

Master_Of_Ideas

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Do not self-tech Fishing.

Are you semi-isolated with Sury and playing on Noble Difficulty ?
If so, research Alphabet, yes. You can aim to Oracle something afterwards. The ability to build research will help you post-war, if you have trouble maintaining your tech pace (an objective should be : not having trouble in that matter).

You've played so far to a Skirmisher rush. So : sure, do it. That's what your plan was all along ^^
Your focus right now should not be "winning the war" but rather "fueling the tech pace" with the war.
Extorting techs might be possible but, the lower the difficulty, the lower the returns.
The benefits of a lower difficulty are mostly reduced maintenance.

I play on prince with epic speed, and want to bring my game to monarch skill :)
Well, now it can be a hard decision. I took fishing for the one fishing spot because I don't have agri yet. Now, when I skill alphabet, I will lose the race on the other wonders for sure, but I get maybe 20 rounds full of research. I cannot catch a worker (just ~30 turns after plan), and losing the best developed areas in suris cap, risking a revolt... but when I kill him, I need ~15 rounds to get the big fat cross and the most useful resources, but having time to build a third worker there... mhh...
 

konata_LS

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@BornInCantaloup
Good point about the balance between early warfare vs early economy.
OP's situation looks like a semi-iso with Sury. Maybe sending a chariot or WB to scout the land shape would make sense, or eventually find other AIs reachable by Sailing, because there is a suspicious Ocean tile in the first screenshot at #13, near the top right corner.

@Master_Of_Ideas
You don't need Wonders to win the game. Besides, Wonders can always be captured.
 

civac

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Random notes, not sure how useful in such an unorgnaized state:

'No technology brokering' is the English translation of your tech trading setting.

This start is very tricky. What you did (researching AH, worker on 2) is OK but probably not best. Settling position is correct (2 hammer city tile without losing food). Could have considered going Bronze working directly, then chop a second worker and a settler.

Djenne position is bad.The city starts without good tiles and needs to construct a monument and wait 15(?) turns for border expansion. Your second city needs to be productive very quickly. Otherwise your development is significantly slowed. Exception to this are cities that pick up strategic resources (copper, horses) if you need them immediately.
Djenne had to be either settled one west to share the capital sheep and have the copper in first ring. Even better would have been one north of the current position with a work boat standing by on settling. However, that requires fishing. A third option would have been a city between sheep and wheat in the east.
 
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