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Improving your Opening Play Sequences

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by cracker, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    Most people will give you a list of the things they feel would make the Civ3 game playing experience more enjoyable.

    My personal list included all sorts of things ranging from realistic bombardment engagements all the way to a better set of naval unit abilities just to name a few.

    After a little self inspection, I found that all these wants and needs were of almost no value if I did not focus in on learning how to play the first 50 to 100 turns of the game as if these were all that really mattered in the game.

    Ultimately, the way you understand and play the opening sequence of the game will determine how much fun you have in the later stages of the game.

    Here is a link to series of webpages that focus on the key skills of learning how to assess your opening terrain position and then what tasks you need to complete in order to get the most power out of your start position.

    Improving Your Opening Play Sequences

    If you play a powerful opening sequence, you will have the position, production, and military power to guarantee that you can win the game on almost any difficulty level.

    Enjoy the article, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them here for discussion.
     
  2. Thunderfall

    Thunderfall Administrator Administrator Moderator

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    I've made a news post about it. The site is officially open for business! :king: :cool:
     
  3. Exsanguination

    Exsanguination No longer here

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    Error: You list in your terrain+terrain bonus list the possibility of cattle/wheat ON a bonus grassland. Will never happen. The only time a bonus resource will be found on a bonus grassland is if you did it yourself in a custom map. That would be like putting a wheat on a cattle.
     
  4. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    Exsanguination,

    Thanks for reading the article. Hopefully this information will help you get more enjoyment from the game.

    The ERROR you pointed out is not an error or an oversight. Yes, the random map generator does not make the mistake of stacking bonus resources like cows and wheat on top of bonus grassland squares, but YOU may encounter this mistake (or design choice) in modified game scenarios and custom created maps. Your example of "putting wheat on top of cattle" could not occur in the current game engine even if you use the editor so that is not the same issue.

    You will not encounter these super charged squares under normal game play conditions. The fact that you will not encounter these options very often is already highlighted in the notes and discussion that follows the table you reference.

    Here's a direct link to the table: Terrain Types Table

    The techniques discussed in the article are independent of the specific squares that may be available and could be applied even when someone has really distorted the basic game play issues by adding 10, 20, or even 30 new bonus/strategic/luxury resources.

    Remember that there is no substitute for knowing what you are doing.

    Read on further in the article and if you find any real errors let us know so we can fix them. You might want to discuss any future issues so we can decide together if they are errors or if they may reflect a different level of understanding or a different perspective. An example of this type of difference in perspective is the calssification of Jungles and Forests as a type of terrain overlay instead of a terrain type.

    Good luck,
     
  5. simplybag

    simplybag Chieftain

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    Great stuff I've been reading so far. Shame I have to go offline now and can't read all of it :( Couldn't you please offer a zip of your great articles for poor people who rather read offline?
     
  6. drolltroll

    drolltroll Chieftain

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    What a magnificent article. For someone relatively new to this game, and one who has not played any earlier versions at all, I learned a lot from this analysis.

    I am pleased to say that much of what you teach us are things that I had decided intuitivly, maybe from spending twenty years in the US Army Reserve, or from being a military history buff for over fifty years, but to really get down to a true analysis of the strting positions and the relative value of the squares, and how the order of improvement can make a HUGE difference, is very valuable.

    This is great work and is worth real study by anyone who is relatively new to the game. In fact, I would guess that the vast majority of players would benefit from a thorough study of your work.

    Thank you! :) :) :)
     
  7. Exsanguination

    Exsanguination No longer here

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    I see your reasoning now Cracker.
    I'm reading the whole article in pieces, so bear with me. But I did find another *possible* error, but it is more of a question on my part. I quote:

    This is quite misleading - many of those tiles you indicated that could be reached within one turn actually CANNOT be reached in one turn right off the bat. When a worker finishes a specific job, its movement on the turn it completed the task is ALWAYS limited to one tile, road or not. I know myself this is a touchy issue, because I often find myself seeing what you saw (actually using the road for the benefit). Why the discrepancy (and obvious contradiction)? It is my belief (I have not tested this thoroughly) that if a worker finishes a ROAD, my above statement is true. If it finishes a mine/irrigation/other, it may use the road it lies on. This latter notion is pure hypothesis - but I know in some form my initial statement IS true.

    That said, a newbie could be quite misled as to the power of what you are describing. But, to avoid confusion, once I get home (I'm currently at school), I will test my latter hypothesis diligently and will post the results here (if you don't mind).

    EDIT: Hmmm... I didn't know rivers limited movement. Does this apply to all units (ie horseman/knights)? Or jsut to the road benefit?

    --Ex
     
  8. bbaws

    bbaws Chieftain

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    I've yet to see a jungle overlaying plains otherwise very well balanced article. Wish I could have read it b4 my first game or five.
     
  9. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy Drinking with Obama

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    Rivers use up some of the unit's movements points. This is before you get the engineering tech. Like if there is a road on both sides of the river, a worker will use up a turn crossing that river, as if the roads had not been there. So, if crossing a river, a worker can only go from one square on one side of the river to another square adjacent to it but on the other side of the river, if the river wasn't there the worker could go 3 tiles on roads. After you get engineering, rivers do not slow down your movements.

    Edit: I'm not sure about units that have the 'use all terrain as roads' flag. They might not have the river crossing penalty, I'm not sure.
     
  10. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    Note that the information above is speculative and false

    Ex,

    I need to ask you to change your approach here just a little bit if you actually expect to be treated with the respect you deserve. When the first words out of your mouth include "error", "discrepency", "mistake" and other words that may spawn conflict this has two major negative effects. First, the sound of your brain slamming shut is so loud that it is hard to imagine that you may benefit from these articles if your first reaction is to try and spend all your time finding errors (whether they exist or not.) Second, it is difficult to support you in the voyage of discovery that you obviously need to complete, when your first objective seems to be to find fault with something that extends beyond your experience.

    Please PM me with any questions you may have and do not post any more pucblic comments until you get a little better handle on what you are doing as well as the content of the article.

    Your comment above is dead wrong and just illustartes the point that you need to understand what you are doing if you expect to enjoy it instead of being victimized by your own misconceptions.

    You are just manufacturing confusion for otehrs by your continued use of an authoritative tone in posting about errors that do not exist and combining with things that are just plain false.

    Again, I welcome your comments and feedback, but eliminate the negative and misleading issues if you want to maximize the benefit we both can gain from the process.

    Good luck,
     
  11. nullspace

    nullspace Chieftain

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    It's an excellent article! You talked about a lot of things I try to think about as I play, but you analyzed each step much more than I do. I really liked how you tried out different strategies on the one starting condition, and compared the results. It really showed how little details, like river crossings, could make the difference between an efficient worker, and one that wastes turns by moving around.

    As for the people who have found errors:
    1) In my experience, workers can always move normally after finishing an improvement, roads and all.
    2) For moves across rivers, roads are ignored until you discover construction (I think that's the right advance). That's the only penalty, horsemen can still move 2 spaces even if they cross a river on the first move.
    3) Jungle over plains is probably another situation where the random map generator doesn't do it, but it is possible to edit it that way.
     
  12. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    Bamspeedy is right about roads and rivers but I thought I should clarify the way I look at roads and rivers.

    Roads triple the movement ability for units. For each normal square that a unit could move, it can move three squares along roads. It is sort of like each road square has a movement cost of 1/3rd of a point.

    When you cross a river on squares that contain roads you need to recognize that the roads are not really continuous and uninterrupted for movement purposes until after you have discovered engineering. (its amazing how many people really don't know this).

    Rivers don't really use up movement points per se, they just break up the movement sequence so that crossing the river does not give you the full benefit of the roads.

    An example illustrates the impact of roads using a unit with normally 2 movement points.

    If you moved that unit along a road you could cross six squares:

    0 - r - r - r - r - r - r

    (zero is the starting square with a road and all the remaining six squares have roads as indicated by a lowercase r)

    If a river exists along the road, then where the river is located will impact how much movement you get.

    If the river is right next to the starting square, then your unit will use up one full movement point to cross the river and will then be able to move along three additional road squares:

    0 R r - r - r - r - . - . -

    If the river occurs after a square of road, then crossing the river will use up what is left of the first movement point and you will still be able to move out three additional squares of road beyond the river.

    0 - r R r - r - r - r - . -

    If the river occurs after two squares of road, then crossing the river will use up what is left of the first movement point which is just 1/3rd of of a point and you will still be able to move out three additional squares of road beyond the river.

    0 - r - r R r - r - r - r -

    In this last case, there is no real effect from the movement penalty because of where the river occurs in the movement sequence. If you tried to reverse your movement pattern and take the unit back to where it started, you would find that the river now will cause your unit to stop just on the other side of the river and leave you short of your objective.
     
  13. Cartouche Bee

    Cartouche Bee Appropriations Consultant

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    Because I use horsemen alot I know this to be untrue.

    0 - r - r R r -

    The river uses a whole movement point before engineering. So regardless of the point where you cross the river you can move three roads squares and 1 river sqaure.

    CB
     
  14. Cartouche Bee

    Cartouche Bee Appropriations Consultant

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    cracker, I think your work is absolutely excellent. I think that your method of city site evaluation is an aid that can help people learn how to win on deity. I rely on my "end game" to make up for my weak early game, I think that you "proof of method" style will help me learn alot more about how to work the early game. Keep up the great work!

    Thanks,

    CB
     
  15. go weissen

    go weissen Chieftain

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    cracker, thanks for this excellent work.
    I play the exampel: GOTM10 before read the rest. So when I
    comparison my solution with Your's there is some difference
    I build as 2. a Grannary. And so I build a Mine instaet of irri-
    gation on that Cattle
    .Nice luck, at 1710 BC in both Exampel was a Settler finish build,so
    we can compair.
    Your way until this moment give 1 Settler and 1 Scout plus.
    For this I have 1 Grannary. So 1 Settler every 5-6 Turns.
    My question is what's better?
    To build the 2. City 8 Turns before and hafe 1 Scout plus for
    inquire (Your Exampel) or build the 4. and the rest of the citys
    faster.
    This question is sure not for find a mistake, if my way is better.
    No I just want to laern, like all the time with Your's work.
     
  16. Exsanguination

    Exsanguination No longer here

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    Well then you and I play two different civ3 games, cause I don't lie :). As for the last statement, most of those words were used in reference to my speculation, not yours. Take no offense. But anyhow, if you wish for me to discontinue pointing out possible source of errors to the public, I shall do so. Do not expect me to return.

    No hard feelings (I hope).

    --Ex
     
  17. Cartouche Bee

    Cartouche Bee Appropriations Consultant

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    My workers get benefit from roads immediately when they are finished. Never heard of the 1 tile rule after completing a task before. We really must be playing different games after all, yours must be a modification. :)

    CB
     
  18. bbaws

    bbaws Chieftain

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    Total nonsense this work then movement penalty
     
  19. Admiral Kutzov

    Admiral Kutzov Idiot Emeritus

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    Intuitively after many, many, games, I figured out the terrain bonuses you detailed. However, I'd been overlooking the simple tactic of building mines or irrigation prior to roads. I played a new game with the tactics you suggested and I think I'm finally gonna be able to have success at a level above warlord. Thanks. Looking forward to future articles. :cool:
     
  20. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    Adm Kutzov,

    I am a better player now than I was befor I wrote the article. Just taking the time to work through a few of the details has realy simplified things for me, and now I tend to watch the more improtant things and catch little opportunities to gain a turn here and a turn there.

    I think the order of improvements in the squares is now something that I have a much better feel for since I have played the test games.

    I think it helps to look at things in terms of how many turns of benefit can you get from the improvements and then which one of the three choices (food, shields, or gold do you think you need the most.

    In the early moves, your improvements will be running behind the citizen workers. In other words, the cictizens will usually be working the unimproved squares and then taking advantage of the improvements as they come on-line.

    The internal city governor will assign the citizens to work the most powerful squares currently availlable and then use the governor settings that emphasive your choice of food, production, or commerce as a tie breaker as long as each square produces an avarage of at least two food units.

    In the three examples that are presented in the article, the most powerful squares in the 21 tile capital city footprint are all located outside the initial 9 tile starting square territory. If you play the test situations through and watch them closely, you will see that the first citizen starts off working the most powerful square in the interior ring and then abandons this square to move out and work one of the wheat or cow squares when the territory expands.

    In your openning move choices you are usually balancing food production and shield production to try and grow rapidly enough to support producing settlers plus other stuff. A little bit of forward thinking will let you determine if there really is a benefit to building the irrigation or mine before you road the square.

    Rarely will you ever complete a mine or irrigation in a square without completing the road either before or after. There are lots of examples where you should complete a road without wasting the worker turns to complete the irrigation or mine. You will come back along the working improvements when the city population gets up to a level that can make the improvements pay you back for the effort expended in the worker turns.

    The speed with which you can get the improvements on line and working is another reason that irrigating a few plains squares is far more valauable than mining the same numebr of common grassland squares. These two terrain types produce the same power output, but the plains version cost 7 worker turns to improve while the grassland version costs 9 worker turns.

    Good luck in your gameplay, and hopefully you will join use in a few Quick Start Challenge games.
     

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