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ICS - a thought exercise

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Iranon, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. Ultimocrat

    Ultimocrat Warlord

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  2. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    Roosevelt (of the Americans) is absolutely rocking - Ghandi is vassalized and techs are arriving every 5 turns. The little mini cities are getting around 20 hammers and 30-50 science a turn and paying their way.

    Early on the strategy was extremely effective - mainly through gold - being able to run the science slider around 100% for most of the game has been great. I was able to do this from the Spiral Minaret onwards.

    Late game corporations replace what Scientific Method takes away. With the extra food from Sids Sushi I can cottage plains tiles or run extra specialists depending on what land is available.

    I didn't find myself running that many extra cities - certainly not double. Maybe 50% more - the rule that you have to space cities 3 squares away and nature limits like coast and mountains limited it. But I did found cities in places I would normally just leave as empty space and it paid off.
     
  3. popejubal

    popejubal Emperor

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    I've done this strategy and it does work. Sort of.

    In domination victories, not razing only sends your economy into the toilet because city maintenance > city gold production for your empire.

    If you come up with a way to have city maintenance < city gold production, then you're good to go.

    Keep in mind, though, each city you found has its own city maintenance, but also raises the city maintenance of all of your other cities until the "number of cities" cost per turn hits 6. (I believe this depends on the map size, but not difficulty or speed, but I could be wrong.)

    If you can figure out a way to get at least 6 gold per city (plus distance from capital cost for that city) as soon as a city is founded, then you can found (or capture cities) until the cows come home while still maintaining a healthy economy. As you put buildings in those cities, your economy will only improve. (note: you also have to pay for civic maintenance, but this is only a gold or two more per city, so just get the city to 8-10 gold per turn and you'll be good to go).

    Example:
    Your empire already contains the Statue of Liberty, Angkor Wat, Apostolic Palace, Spiral Minaret, University of Sankore and throw in Sistine Chapel for good measure. You are running Caste System, Mercantilism and Representation and you founded 2 religions in one city with a holy shrine to each religion in your Wall Street city.

    ...sound like a pretty unlikely scenario? Sure, if you're just picking wonders at random. Remember that this is a strategy and I think everyone can agree that all of the wonders above plus 2 religions in one city is entirely doable on most difficulty levels.

    Now go out and found a city all the way on the other side of the Pangea globe in the middle of a tundra with no roads connecting it. You sent along two missionaries with the Settler, so you can found both religions immediately.

    That's 6 gold maintenance (already maxed out), 3-5 gold distance cost and maybe another 1 gold for civics. If you can generate 11 gold per turn, then anything else the city creates is just a bonus to your empire.

    The city itself won't generate any trade since you somehow founded the city in the middle of a vast desert without any roads. Add in your 4 trade routes at 1 gold per turn and you get 4 free gold/science/culture depending on your slider. You might as well not work any tiles since it's all desert, so we'll make another merchant. 3 merchants total gives 3 gold and 3 science each. Each of your two religions give 1 gold back in your Wall Street city for a total of 2x(1+.25+.25+.5+1)=6 gold per turn from religions. You also pick up 6 culture and 9-27 great people points per turn from your specialists, but that isn't directly contributing gold, so I won't count it here.

    This city is the absolute worst city you could possibly build in the entire planet (except for colony maintenance) and it's costing you 11 gold per turn while generating 15 gold, 9 science and 1 hammer per turn. As soon as you build a temple, you'll pick up another 2 hammers, 2 gold and 2 science from the temple and can work a priest for 2 hammers and 1 gold. It's a little less profit now, but you just went from 1 hammer per turn to 5 hammers per turn by finishing the temple. Build a courthouse after that and you'll see another 5-ish gold per turn profit from reduced maintenance. Connect the city with a road and pick up some commerce. Build a grassland hill and you see the city absolutely take off as you build temples, granaries, courthouses, etc.


    ...so what's the downside? Wouldn't getting a profit of 9 science, 1 hammer, at least 4-6 gold and 6 culture per turn for even your very worst cities be a great empire? Sure! Who wouldn't like that? The problem is that the time when Infinite City Sprawl would be possible isn't the time that you can do it. In the beginning of the game you won't have Statue of Liberty, 2 religions with Wall Street and any of those other wonders. This strategy only kicks in after many people's games have already been decided. It works. It's fun. It's not at all possible in the early game when there is actually room to go out and sprawl.
     
  4. Halt

    Halt Warlord

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    InvisibleStalke...

    Can you post your save so I can see exactly how this is done as it sounds like great fun!
     
  5. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    Late game I agree - adding an incremental city when the game is already won isn't fun or worthwhile. And thats what my Roosevelt game is engaged in. With insane production and research and great wealth it is absolutely stomping the AIs towards either domination or space. Probably space because I won't be attacking my friends. And anyone who says Navy Seals aren't powerful hasn't used them well - these guys slaughter anything.

    But the strategy kicks in mid game pretty well. Early game you want land so filling in every site isn't worthwhile. But by the time I had the AP and UofS I was filling in mini cities. Holy city + 2 trade routes + priest from temple offsets the cost of an incremental city pretty well and I knew I was heading for Spiral Minaret. Once I had all three I just rocketed ahead and SoL was the icing on the cake.

    The mini cities ended up working more tiles than I expected too - as most cities didn't reach their maximum until very late in the game. So I got more cottages worked - they even helped develop towns which my better cities progressively took over.

    I wouldn't really call it ICS though - rather denser city packing and a strategy of getting as many per city bonuses as possible. Roosevelt worked extremely well for this - Organized let me get the courthouses in these cities quickly and avoid high civic maintenance. Industrious let me get the wonders I needed.

    The game also synergized very well with an Industrious leader. I played the Wonder Spam strategy with settled Great People. One of the drawbacks of this is less time building settlers and hence less land - but I could play that off by packing my cities more densely. I played cottage spam with my other cities. One of the drawbacks of cottage spam is lower production - but my free production from priests and AP more than offset this. And the time to grow cottages was offset by denser packing and secondary cities working cottages. The free specialists I got and extra specialists as cities used up their land quicker were maximized by running representation early from the Pyramids.

    The extra research then put me in the tech lead to found the key corps first. And then maximize their use throughout my cities. With small cities the cost of the corp is more than offset by their income to the Wall Street city. On 100% science my Wall Street city was earning over 500 gold per turn!

    My capital was running at around 450 science per turn. But I had another city of 250 science, a few at 100 and lots making 30-50 science.
     
  6. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    Unfortunately the computer I play on isn't Internet connected. I may be able to copy the files across - but no promises - last time I tried I found my CD writer wasn't working.
     
  7. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    I'm glad I picked Roosevelt instead of Frederick (as I had originally planned), since the strategy came off the ground much faster when you can get the religious wonders without fuss. Good instincts, InvisibleStalke.

    Having him lead the Holy Roman Empire felt like cheating... imagine half city maintenance in addition to everything else. It's great to hear that you rocked the house with something similar (if slightly less extreme) in a normal game.

    After all, a setting that allows abominations like an Incan/Roman Boudica isn't exactly balanced.
     
  8. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    I even found the mall extremely helpful. +20% gold is useful and it cured lategame happiness worries while warring. The other benefit of this strategy is that the tons of temples and cathedrals helps with happiness and since many of your cities are smaller war weariness is almost a non factor. Even my largest war only used the culture slider at 10% (although I did switch to police state).
     
  9. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    After Roosevelt - extremely successful with the strategy, I've tried HC. And instead of the religious wonders I went with the great lighthouse and lots of coastal cities (isolated start).

    This was even faster - tons of financial cottages worked and huge trade income. Spacing every three squares - I think my island is as packed as it can possibly be and tons of international trade routes.
     
  10. Melon Head

    Melon Head Warlord

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    I think this strategy could lso be good if you're into playing advanced starts or later era starts. I'd have to play with it to see what te criteria are, though.
     
  11. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

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    Sea economy is very nice. It's very satisfying to watch your GPT go up when you settle a new city on a one-tile island. ;) When there are tiny islands offshore, I tend to prioritize getting the great lighthouse and fully populating the islands.

    In fact, whenever I get the great lighthouse, I try to fill in my coastal borders as best possible.
     
  12. sveint

    sveint Warlord

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    With the holy trio of wonders (Apostolic/Sankore/Minaret) every extra city is a boon.

    Corporations come too late, by that time you can afford any number of cities.
     
  13. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    Sids Sushi is pretty useful because it turns your mini cities into decent sized cities, usually doubling their value. Same with mining inc - the lack of land doesn't matter any more. And it costs less to spam a corp into a small city.

    I think there are two combinations:

    - Religious wonders
    - Trade wonders

    I tried to get both in my HC game but the price of getting the trade wonders was that I was too late to Christianity. Might have pulled it off if I'd popped a prophet instead of a merchant. But the trade approach is an equally viable alternative IMO if you have a lot of coastline.
     

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