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ICS Immortal/Deity Strategy

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by joshinda, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. joshinda

    joshinda Chieftain

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    Not sure if anyone has posted this before, but I may as well give my version of it. Works nearly every time on Immortal, Deity requires a little more luck.

    Civ: Mayans - by far the best for ICS.

    Start: Settle on hill for early production. Ideally settle on mining luxury with one more lux in immediate radius.

    Initial Build: Scout, Scout (or Atlatlist if will complete before Pottery), Pyramid, Monument, Settler. Worker can be purchased from gold gathered by meeting city states and selling embassies to AI (or if settled on lux then from the lux).

    Initial Research: Pottery, lux techs, The Wheel, Trapping, Construction (hold off for as long as you can if you don't need the happiness) -> Theology

    For those that don't know, the general idea of ICS is to build a very large number of cities as tightly packed as possible. Aside from the capital, the quality of terrain and resources settled on/near doesn't matter. It is about maximising the number of cities in a given area, which requires a fair amount of foresight (making sure that projected city locations are at least three tiles from city states and not on mountains etc.). ICS empires should never stop expanding.

    The obvious challenge is managing happiness. There are several critical beliefs and policies required for maximum potential to be achieved:
    Policies:
    Meritocracy: +1 happiness for every connected city (and the -5% for population)
    Order opener: +1 happiness per city
    Protectionism: +2 happiness per lux
    Beliefs:
    +1 happiness for every following city
    +1 happiness from shrines for cities with 3 followers (perfect synergy with Pyramids)

    Pagodas etc. are too costly to benefit a very wide empire. Per-city boosts are much more effective. [EDIT: ignore this! I have now been made to see their use!]

    Because the two listed beliefs are popular with the AI, it is very important to found a religion quickly. Therefore each new city's first build should be a Pyramid (though I would recommend purchasing in the 2nd and 3rd cities). If playing Immortal, religions are founded slightly later so I always pick Messenger of Gods for my Pantheon (+2 Science for cities with trade route). Combined with the Pyramid, this gives +4 science per city, which builds up massively. However, unless a faith-giving natural wonder is nearby in a Deity game, I would suggest picking whichever Pantheon yields the most faith, since getting the happiness from religion is more important than the +2 science.

    Build order in each city (not capital): Pyramid, Monument, (Circus), Colosseum, Market/Library (order depends on whether you need gold or science), Granary, Workshop

    After three cities have been settled, get capital to 5 pop and start mashing out the settlers and atlatlists/composite bowmen for defence. Get religion up, use great prophet from Long Count to enhance (getting shrine belief listed above and religious texts for 34% spreading speed). Do quests for religious city states to get to the initial 200 faith and then focus on mercantile. If you're happy, then you're not building enough cities!

    The Piety opener for half Pyramid cost isn't usually worth it - you already need 6 from Liberty, 4 from Commerce and the Order opener. Given the huge increase in policy costs you'll be causing, each one counts for a lot.

    Avoid growth and put to production focus when you get 3 pop per city. If you get the +2 production if city has a specialist belief (which you should), then after the workshop, let each city get to 4 pop and assign a production specialist - that's +4.4 production for one extra pop.

    In order to combat AI invasions, advance your cities in lines perpendicular to the movement of their troops - that way, their units will be trapped in the firing range of at least two cities and garrisoned bowmen.

    If you go on a conquering spree, raze any cities you capture. Build your own cities there later. You need to be able to control every aspect of your cities and not have flabby puppets draining your happiness (or annexed cities consuming 4gpt from a courthouse).

    Once the happiness is rolling in, feel free to grow a few of your better cities (for production purposes that is) so that more units can be pushed to the very large front line.

    Big Ben is probably the only wonder worth building, and possibly Forbidden Palace. You're going to need to purchase units rather than build a lot of the time.

    If I've missed anything (which I probably have!), please post!

    Happy sprawling!
     
  2. MaximusK

    MaximusK Warlord

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    I think I'll give this a shot my next game.

    Could you explain in detail how you utilize the GP from the Mayan UA?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  3. RealHuhn

    RealHuhn Emperor

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    ICS is a lot of fun but after trying it quite a few times with different civs, I just can't win an earlier science victory than with a simple Tradition -> 4 cities approach.
    It's great for mid/late game domination though.

    Earliest date was on turn 260 as Russia which is 20 turns later than my record. By the way, Russia is easily as good as Maya because you get more production from horses and iron and literally swim in cash.

    Also, you shouldn't dismiss the Pagoda. With Piety and Organized Religion, you quickly get 50 faith per turn (= Pagoda every 4th turn). Each Pagoda increases your culture, happiness and faith.
    And civs with a production bonus like Russia, Inca or Rome can definately get enough culture buildings to overcome the costs of those two extra policies.
    Or have you tried Polynesia? The ability to settle on all islands and continents right from the beginning of the game and grab all different luxuries on the map is amazing. Plus certain peninsulas allow you to stack Moais for an insane amount of culture.

    But yeah, GnK made ICS a viable and balanced strategy again and I love it :)
     
  4. Trik

    Trik Chieftain

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    I would prefer to GL philosophy, get the NC while researching drama followed by theology, then start my ICS.
     
  5. ifinnem

    ifinnem Keep it interesting

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    V unlikely to get GL on Imm/Deity
     
  6. S.K. Ren

    S.K. Ren Prince

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    Actually you should try Mayans ICS/REX going for science. Open Liberty and jump straight into Rationalism. For religion Messenger of the Gods+Ceremonial Burial+Pagodas and Choral... something(+2 Culture from Temples). Aim for about 12-16 cities by turn 100. Assuming you're not screwed on Luxuries as you expand your GPT should be really high so buy up a couple Mercantile CS and start building up you cities to size 5, buying up more CS as needed. Hopefully you will be able to quest more than buy cause they will get really expensive.

    While Pagodas are expensive, they speed up the acquisition of the next and with 12+ cities that's at least 24:c5faith:/turn from pyramids so you get one every eight turns. +2:c5happy:, +2:c5culture: and +2:c5faith: with no upkeep is great. The Choral-whatever(+2:c5culture: from Temples in cities with 5+ Pop) is just there to speed up Policy gain.
     
  7. Erneiz Hyde

    Erneiz Hyde Warlord

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    I'd say if you go for ICS, then pagodas is one of the best buildings available. Wide empires are the best faith producers (more so with Mayans), and with all those cities and faith, you can build a lot more pagodas and build them faster.
     
  8. Fragamemnon

    Fragamemnon Warlord

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    Not having some kind of faith dump is a mistake w/ the Mayans. Missionaries are only good for so long provided you got a good enhancer trait (and you generally do thanks to your fast early faith).

    Pagodas literally provide everything a wide empire wants to have for zero maintenance. I would (and have in my own Pacal Immortal conquest game!) first-pick this as a follower belief for a wide empire.

    This number seems completely unrealistic. Even half of that would be "good" for this strategy. The AI will go bananas on you if you expand like this on Immortal/Deity in such a way that securing enough luxuries will not throw you into mass unhappiness. You will also need the worker turns and military to defend against AI retaliation to your mass expansion, and those things aren't free either.

    As an aside, I really wish the Piety tree had decent happiness policies. It's so narrow and bad now outside of cultural victory.
     
  9. joshinda

    joshinda Chieftain

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    Now that I think about it, pagodas do seem to be quite good!

    Not so sure about sinking two policies into piety though - I don't really prioritise building temples in this strategy. By the time you've built all the core buildings, it's not worth the gpt for something more costly and half as good as the Pyramid.

    I go Great Prophet first to enhance, then Great Engineer either to rush Big Ben or to settle in capital for increased settler production. After that it's either Great General if you're at war against a dangerous enemy, otherwise I go for Great Artist/Merchant, depending on whether I want the Golden Age or CS influence + immediate gold. Save the Great Scientist for the late game.
     
  10. joshinda

    joshinda Chieftain

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    Oh yeah - wherever the GP from liberty comes in, use them as you would with one of the long count bonus GPs
     
  11. RealHuhn

    RealHuhn Emperor

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    No, it's not "unrealistic". In fact, if you have below 10 cities on turn 100, it can't really be called ICS.
    On immortal, you only need 4-5 composite bowmen to secure the city spam. I usually have them at turn 55 - 60.
    After that, you can directly spam cities towards an AI, a new settler every 4th turn. Yes, you risk the war but who cares, really. Spearmen, catapults and warriors can't do anything against cbows fortified on a hill behind your city.
    Chariot archers also work well.

    Settle near new luxuries, rushbuy enough workers, sell resources and luxuries for cash and keep your new cities at 3 pop until you get your religion and more happiness beliefs.

    And Piety gives you more happiness because you have more faith. More faith = more pagodas, more missionaries. Simple as that. :)
    I don't pick piety in every ICS I play but definately more often than not.
     
  12. S.K. Ren

    S.K. Ren Prince

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    I do this a lot and its quite successful.

    Capital Build Order:Scout-Monument=Pyramid-Worker-Atlatlist
    I don't start building settlers until I get hit Collective Rule and a little more if I'm about to grow. I then spam Settlers until I'm almost into VERY Unhappy levels and resume once I can afford a new city.

    First 2 cities BO: Pyramid-Atlatlist-Monument-Library

    I buy 2 more Workers and 2-3 more Atlatlists.
    Every City after cuts out the Atlatlist.

    You should settle cities with workable luxuries first and fill in as you reach your ideal # of cities. Sell all duplicates and as many of your last luxes at first to cover expenses. You should have enough to even Buy a few settlers to speed things along. Your GPT wont really be a problem as each city should have a gold tile to work and their buildings will be slow to build until they grow a bit. This will allow you to support your army of Atlatlists and defend your lands quite handily.

    As you start to grow, pick a Mercantile CS with a quest and use gold to cover the difference.

    Workers focus on improving luxes until teh Wheel is researched then 2 of them focus on linking the cities. Going ICS Messenger of the Gods is the only way to go. At first it will drain your GPT so have a bankroll ready but it will lessen once they're up and the cities don't need to grow much. Depending you your layout you can get a road efficiency as low as 2gpt instead of 3gpt for the route.
     
  13. Fragamemnon

    Fragamemnon Warlord

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    Thanks for the tips-maybe I just have some super cranky neighbors. I think a big part of my problem is flubbing the early diplomatic game, which is something I think I fixed in my last Pacal game (accepting an early nearby friend and establishing an early nearby enemy by setting towards them, and trying to massage alliances from there).

    I'll give it a try since I love spamming cities. My last Pacal game wound up with a ton of cities, but it was out of domination than my own city development, and I haven't yet tried a "wide" game where I went Liberty and Order yet.
     
  14. Fragamemnon

    Fragamemnon Warlord

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    So thanks to the tips here I gave the above ICS strategy a run last night with the Mayanson Immortal . I was only able to get up to eight cities before I had to stop expanding, but I was able to do so astonishingly quickly (turn 75-80) and the luxury/horse (save two horses for your own units) selling strategy is very effective at generating income to rush buy workers to snowball your economy as fast as possible. You come out of negative hapiness very quickly and from there your science and income really go up. As had been my previous experience playing the Civ, all you need is one of the decent enhancer beliefs for religion spread and after the first missionary you can spend your entire faith income on Pagodas, which basically are an all-in-one replacement for temple/colosseum/amphitheater all purchased on an income generated outside of regular city production queues and not paid for with precious hammers. That's very powerful for this kind of strategy. I had 10 or so Pagodas built by early Indistrial, at which point I swapped over faith usage to produce GEs via the Order policy unlock.

    Diplomacy is pretty key as you will want to pick on one neighbor and play nice with others as much as possible. 5-6 ranged units keeps you super safe and if you throw in a pair of swordsmen you can usually wipeout their turn 60-90 "retribution for expanding" DOW and get a huge lump of cash+happiness of the peace deal just by approaching their cities with your units.

    What's your tech path after Construction? I went right to Iron Working for the income from selling Iron, then to Theology, then back through Guilds (so I could rush buy Machu Picchu w/ a Long Count GE), then to Machinery/Steel/Chemistry/Fertilizer to get into Industrial to get Order policies going ASAP. I figured that increasing tile yields best took advantage of my large number of owned tiles and large number of worker turns. I then circled back for industrialization and rifling.
     
  15. oPlaiD

    oPlaiD Chieftain

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    I've had success doing this with Ethiopia. Some of those games I've struggled to get my Science up if I get stuck in some lengthy wars; Mayans is probably better. It also sucks that you can't really leverage your UU and UA as Ethiopia, but the Stele is an absolutely amazing building.

    One unexpected bonus I find with this strategy is that you often have an advantage in allying city states later in the game, since you have so many more resources hooked up and produce the most faith and culture to win all those quests.

    You definitely want Pagodas, it's basically a requirement, and if possible you want to get the enhancer belief with the passive religion spread. With so many cities your religion will put on a lot of pressure already and that just ramps it up.
     
  16. _invy_

    _invy_ Warlord

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    The most important thing here is probably not to attract to much AI attention. Ie. avoid settling too close to lands of 2 neighbour AIs early in the game. Defending vs one AI is fine, but vs two - puts you back a bit too much. Plus you get denounced twice and lose trade partners.

    Learned this hard way vs Bismark and Caesar :cry:
     
  17. oPlaiD

    oPlaiD Chieftain

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    Honestly I think a lot of this comes down to luck. You also need to be prepared, since it's almost inevitable you'll be attacked.

    I did have one game where I had enough room for 14 cities or so and a giant mountain wall locking off the rest of the continent from me except for a chokepoint on the north and south shores, one with a city state there, so I was basically safe from war.

    Most games, though, someone is nearby.

    I've had games where the Huns and Romans both place their second cities with a few tiles of my capital and then DOWed me when they were ready, and I honestly don't know how to possibly defend that since I feel like even if I had just made units nonstop I would have inevitably succumbed.

    But yeah, you need to be ready and prepared to play a war-like game at times. At least with your neighbors, and if you have a lot of them...
     
  18. GreedysMaximus

    GreedysMaximus Chieftain

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    When will you build the NC, somewhere in the early 100's?
     
  19. joshinda

    joshinda Chieftain

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    You'll only be able to build it if you stop expanding, and that's not really in the spirit of ICS. Also, the cost will be so high by then that the increase in science won't be worth the hammers.
     
  20. GreedysMaximus

    GreedysMaximus Chieftain

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    Halfway between harmony and melody.
    Alright thx for the input, i guess i just teched philo for no reason then LAWL.
     

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