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Improving your Opening Play Sequences

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

  1. WillJ

    WillJ Coolness Connoisseur

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    This article looks very interestiong, cracker, but there's one little problem: on the main page, the picture of the settler is on top of some of the text, making it impossible to read that text. Is there anyway to get around this? Sorry if this is a stupid question.
     
  2. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    Willj,

    What screen resolution (ie 1024x768 or 800x600) are you operation at??

    Also what browser program are you using??

    I have checked the in MSIE5+ and NetNav but have not checked all the other options.

    One thing you might try as a workaround for your resolution and browser combo, might be to select the text that is obscured and then quickly paste it into a text file or temporarily onto your desktop. Here is the first paragraph text just cut and pasted even when I have force the image to artificially overlay the text by making my image window way too narrow.

    "This series of web pages includes some basic concept information that should be considered a “must read” for any player new to the Civ3 game. Even if you have played a previous game such as Civ2 or SMAC, you should probably read through this information to make sure you are not importing any misconceptions from your prior experiences. If you are an experienced Civ3 player, then please read this basic information to provide a common frame of reference for other technical and strategy discussions that may follow."

    The web pages are configured and tested at screen resolutions of 1024x768 and 1152x864
     
  3. WillJ

    WillJ Coolness Connoisseur

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    OK, thanks, cracker, that was the text that I was talking about. I didn't think of copying and pasting the text, and now I guess I don't have to worry about resolution.
     
  4. Admiral Kutzov

    Admiral Kutzov Idiot Emeritus

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    Cracker, I'm playing my first meaningful Regent game. Score is 4200+, around 1960, Standard size map with 4 opponents. The revisions in my tactics after reading the article helped. I used to focus on pushing my roads out to establish a large territory of control and get the luxuries. Still do that, but tweaking the focus made all the diff. Looking forward to the forest article.
     
  5. royfurr

    royfurr "Klotzen, nicht Kleckern"

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    HiYa cracker,
    Glad to see the analytical approach you commonly take (based on your earlier posts I have seen) being the basis for in-depth analysis of the early game. It should be obvious to everyone that the early game, much like compounded interest, dominates how the later stage of the game can occur. The value of EVERY turn in the early game is MUCH greater then that of a single turn in the later stages, by and large. Good Work! :goodjob: One sublity that I really appreciated was that irigating a Plains is more efficient (worker time wise) then Mining a Grasslands, making the Plains a better tile to have. Obvious after you think it through, of course, but I'd missed that one! I'd always been lusting after grasslands over plains.

    Regarding roads and rivers: now, this is based on the early patches, as I've been slow to get above 1.16- hopefully the impression the game has made on me is still valid in 1.29. It seems that unlike in Civ 2 you get the benefit, on having a "fraction" of a mp left, to always be able to move one last tile, regardless of the tiles actual movement point cost. You move a one MP foot unit two tiles on a road, you've got one/third of a MP left, and your able to move off the road, even onto a hill or a mountain.

    I've found that if your river road crossing is at the end of this fraction of movement, the negative effect of the river is alleviated. What I try to do, is have the road cross the river two tiles out from the city. Your unit moves 2 tiles at 1/3 MP cost each, its got 1/3 left, it could only go one more tile anyway, so being stopped short at that point after crossing the river isn't any different than if the river hadn't been there- you'd only have moved one more tile along the road anyway. So the lack of having the Construction tech doesn't effect you.

    I would think that if you place your roaded river crossings every third tile (where you HAVE to go back and forth accross rivers) you would, in effect, not be impeded by the presence of the river. (Note that this may be irrevelant in some cases- you don't WANT to move out 2 tiles from the city before you cross the river, or its already a extra turn, or you've moved past the item you wanted to get too!). I think this is so for 1 MP (foot) units. I'm not as sure for Horse or other higher MP units. If "the use of the LAST 1/3 MP (ie fraction) always allows a one tile movement" is a case of a unit can always move one tile, IF it has ONLY a fraction of a MP LEFT, true, than perhaps a fast mover like Horsemen won't get this benefit on the last third of their FIRST MP. That is, the Horsemen move 2 tiles on a road and come to a river, then depending on what is the tile on the other side of the river they might have to stop immediatley on crossing, or perhaps not- grasslands vs. forest or hills (this is presuming the road continues on in those terrains).

    I hope this made some sense. It's been my experience with foot units that its advantageous to place the river crossing after 2 roaded tiles, and the lack of Construction doesn't thereby doesn't effect you. Again, that may not be what you want to do anyway, particularly if your talking about the development around a city specifically, but in some cases of longer distance travel it may be of help.

    Civ On!
     
  6. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy Drinking with Obama

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    I understood what you are saying royfurr.

    Horseman (2 movement points) would work the same way, but they could go 5 roaded tiles, than cross the river on the 6th tile. The 5 tiles on road used up 1 2/3 of his movement points and he only needed the last 1/3 movement to cross the river that should have used up 1 full movement point. But using this to the full advantage would require alot of studying of the map to ensure that the map/terrain would actually allow you to make full use of this technique/strategy.

    But it's ENGINEERING, not Construction that enables you to cross rivers freely.
     
  7. royfurr

    royfurr "Klotzen, nicht Kleckern"

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    Bamspeedy,
    Yahh, you are correct, it is Engingeering NOT Construction that end the "tyranny of the Rivers" ie allow road movement rates accross rivers.

    You sound to be of the school that feels that only the last fractional point of the movment allowance eg the 5th road tile to the 6th for a horseman or the 8th to the 9th for a Rider- the last fraction of the LAST movement point, will get this relief of movement over the river. As compared to an allusion (sp??) that cracker was making (if I understood him properly) that the last fraction of ANY movement point did this- Here, the 2nd road tile to the 3rd (the 2nd third and the third third, of the first movement point) crossing the river, and then you could (allegedly) still move 3 more tiles (on a road) using the 2nd movement point. I think that its only the very last fractinal amount of the last movement point. You'd use up that last movement point getting accross the river WITHOUT the benefit of the road (since it was NOT the LAST movement points fractional remaning value), hence no last 2nd movement point remains to be used.

    If I remember correctly, in either CIv 2 or 1, you lost that fraction. You COULD always move one tile no matter what, but if you had a fraction left and it wasn't enough to enter the next tile, if you'd already moved one, you lost that fraction, and you were STOPPED at the river after moving 2 road tiles- you couldn't get accross the river on that last fraction- unitl you built the Engineering tech.

    If this is so, and this aspect of the game was deleberately changed in going from C2 to C3, than its likely a deleberate design decision to speed up movement a little in the ealry years before you have Engineering. But not a LOT, as its ONLY the Last of the movement ponts that get the benefit (I think). OF course, it could also just be an accident, a quirk of the rules and the programming.

    Regarding the difficulty of using this "trick" or quirk of the rules and having to closely study the map, it would seem to NOT be as intensive as crackers' close numerical rating of the "power" of tiles and the time to accomplish worker tasks- those take REAL study to compare possible strategies. I just count out groups of 2+1 tiles for where to cross the river, compared to the likely origin of the trip (usually a city). I have only rarely extended this out beyond that first integeral group of three tiles to a second 2+1 grouping then a third, but it would seem to be easy enough to do.
    Often this only helps in longer distance travel, NOT for workers getting access to work the tiles just accross the river from a city

    Sorry this (and the first) post is so wordy, but its hard to express this in a way that fully explains what I mean without doing it that way.

    Civ On!
     
  8. barcode

    barcode Chieftain

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    cracker,

    After buying the game when it came out, I finally can put some time into playing it. Your articles showed an approach that for some reason simply did not occur to me. It seems silly now, but a strictly analytical approach to the game just seemed to take the fun out of it. After reading your articles, that cannot be farther from the truth. The opposite happened, and, while my game play slowed down significantly, I get much more involved and immersed in it, and the game has become a lot more enjoyable.

    Thanks!

    -bc
     
  9. billindenver

    billindenver Chieftain

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    I've been playing Civ since it first came out. I played Civ I a TON, Civ II a little, and Civ III somewhere in between (Civ III is by far the best, IMO).

    Anyway, that has to be the most thorough analysis I've ever seen of the opening sequence. You brought up a lot of things I hadn't really considered. I didn't realize, for one thing, that siting a city on a hill was actually kind of a good thing, and siting it on a bonus square was bad.

    Also, I've always developed the bonus squares very early, regardless of the 'balance' of resources to food. Obviously, as you demonstrate, that isn't always the right way to go.

    Thanks for all your work.
     
  10. la fayette

    la fayette Chieftain

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    Well done, cracker :goodjob:
    Clear, thoughtful and well written. Congratulations.
     
  11. Mad Bomber

    Mad Bomber Commander

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    Can you post a printer friendly version of your tile power chart (the chart with the terrain and suggested improvements/ I keep trying to copy & paste it, but it's not working right.


    Good article by the way, a little on the dry side, but it is more like a work from academia than what is normally produced by Civinators.
     
  12. jshelr

    jshelr Chieftain

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    I've got a question for Cracker on city siting and spacing. If we agree that only a few tiles count for the early game, should we densely pack cities to maximize the number of good tiles used and too minimize the road effort and travel times needed to get intial cities up and running? Put another way, are we losing too much time and wasting good tiles by not densely packing cities? You could always pop out settlers and workers from the core cities later to create an ideal city density for the later game. Let them build RR.
     
  13. Admiral Kutzov

    Admiral Kutzov Idiot Emeritus

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    In the large number of low difficulty games I've played, I've found the higher scores go with city spacing of 2 tiles. If you search the War Academy, you'll find articles that tell you to pack cities one space apart. This doesn't work FOR ME. On the other hand, "optimal" spacing, having 20-22 squares to access per city is inefficient 'cause they can't use more than 12 until you get Santitation way late in the game.
     
  14. stwils

    stwils Chieftain

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    Cracker,

    Your strategy article is wonderful and I am studying it. It is hard for me but I trying to get a grip on it.

    Didn't you say you were adding the Jungle and Forest part to the article on Sept. 15?

    I'm looking for it.

    stwils:):)
     
  15. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    We will be a day or so late due to the domain problem interrupting the upload and checkout process but the Forestry article is almost done.

    There are a number of custom graphics and charts in this article as well as the example scenarios so this took a bit of effort to put together and test.

    There will be a front page news announcement as soon as the article is released to the public.

    I can't wait for you to see the article and take advantage of any great pearls of wisdom that may be there.
     
  16. XOVER

    XOVER Chieftain

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    First, great article and thanks for the thoughts. For example, I had never thought about analyzing the direction of my early exploration viz-a-viz the position of my capitol city on the map. Thanks. Now, onward to the/my fog.

    My early game strategy is to maximize settlers in my capitol city, typically (and ideally) interspersed one after the other with settler, then low cost warrior (or, preferably, other cheap military units), settler, warrior, settler, etc. Then, down the road, after a few cities are founded, pop a temple in the capitol to control happiness growth, and on to wonder production (ultimate target: Great Library). Always. Get those additional cities built surrounding the capitol thus freeing the capitol for wonder production, thereby shifting the burden of settler production to satellite cities.

    But . . . . I never irrigate in the early game. Only mine (and build road). After leaving the capitol city, my very first move is onto a bonus grid where I first build a mine. Then, a road. In fact, I generally (but not always) won't bother with irrigation until sanitation when I want to grow beyond size 12.

    So please correct this next observation. Does irrigation always work to increase food production in early despotism? I have irrigated in the past early on when I wanted to increase food in a high shield early capitol city in order to equalize turns per settler/military unit, but I keep finding that the irrigation doesn't produce the expected additional food at this early point in the game. Irrigation only comes along after I ditch despotism for a government (which I almost always do asap -- generally Republic).

    I have checked this out from time-to-time because the AI does irrigate early on, and there are times in despotism when it would be very beneficial for me to irrigate, especially in a plain. I mean, there is nothing more frustrating than being able to produce a settler in 8 turns in a size 2 city, but not getting sufficient pop growth until turn 9 or 10, thereby wasting some turns because I have to go military > settler > military > military > settler, etc. Instead of military > settler > military > settler, etc.. And I hate waste (but will occasionally waste in the early game in order to build cities asap).

    So my questions: 1. Are my observations about the "irrigation with no additional food in early despotism" just flat wrong in every scenario? Again, I know I have checked this out before, but obviously others are getting the food benefit in early despotism, and I guess I could be wrong?

    2. Is the "no food" observation, if correct at all, somehow linked to the particular Civ I play? I play Greek and Persion usually.

    3. Again, if the "no food" observation has any merit at all, when does irrigation begin to take effect if same is not government, advance, or Civ linked?

    4. And finally, if irrigation is indeed government, advance, or Civ linked, why would you waste a worker's time putting in irrigation in the early game scenario until you were at, or very close to, that particular government, advance, or Civ?

    Any and all feedback appreciated.

    At any rate, I agree with you: the begin game is, to me at least, the most crucial part of the game, and will almost always determine where you wind up at the end.
     
  17. Bamspeedy

    Bamspeedy Drinking with Obama

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    When you are in despotism any tile that normally would produce 3 or more of something (food, shield, gold) gets one taken away.

    So irrigating grassland in any other government than despot would produce 3 food, but in despot you get 1 taken away so you would get only 2. 2 food is what you get without irrigating the grassland, so it is pointless to irrigate grassland while in despot (UNLESS the grassland had a bonus resource on it that adds more food).

    Irrigating plains while in despot is almost always a smart move because you are only getting 1 food, so irrigating it gives you 2 food and you are not subject to the penalty yet.

    Keep the tile penalty in mind, should you be debating whether or not to have your golden age while in despot. All the mined bonus grassland squares and gold from roads that are on rivers, you would not be getting any benefit from. You get 2 shields (or gold on roads by rivers) from them, the golden age brings this to 3, but the despot penalty drops it back to 2. So you aren't getting the full benefit from a golden age while in despot. All those irrigated plains, however, would double from 1 shield to 2 and would not be getting the tile penalty from despot.
     
  18. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    Xover,

    Here's a direct link to the page in the article that has the terrain types table:
    http://www.civfanatics.com/doc/civ3/cracker/civ3_starts/opening_plays.htm

    This table lists all the most powerful terrain types and displays their RAW DESPOT POWER on the left with the IMPROVED DESPOT POWER on the right if you follow the suggested improvement choice.

    If you look carefully at the second column of that table, you will see all the terrain types that already have had their raw food production capacity reduced by 1 becasue of the depot penalty. These are marke with an asterisk.

    The terrain types that show a 2 value in that column have not yet incurred the despot food penalty, so if you irrigate them to add one food unit that increase will be absorbed by the despot penalty and you will see no increase.

    The terrain types that already show an asterisk and the terrain types that are still held down to a 1, could increase food production without incurring another despot penalty.

    It is the wrong conclusion to say you should not irrigate under despotism. Technically it is the wrong conclusion to say you should never irrigate grasslands but in most cases you should not.

    Practice the terrain assessment tricks a few times and it will become much easier for you to choose between irrigation or mining.

    A good example to file in your memory banks is the choice between two different terrain squares. If you have only one worker and all the squares this worker could move to fall into exactly two groups. If one group is plains that can be irrigated and the other group is grasslands that can be mined; all other factors of position and proximity being the same, what should you do first: Mine the grassland or Irrigate the Plains.

    In the opening sequences, the answer is that you should irrigate the plains first if they would make your most powerful squares because it would only cost 8 worker turns (move+irrigate+road) to complete these tasks while the grassland would cost 10 worker turns (move+mine+road) to result in the same power output.

    So the answer to your questions 2, 3, and 4 is that irrigation always works, it is the benefit that gets reduced in Despotism in some cases.

    Study the terrain table on the linked page above and you wiil get a cleared picture of how the despot penalties impact your improvement choices.

    An example of where the mines would not work in despotism would be the Plains with Cattle and this is shown in the third column of the table.

    I hope this helps. I am really glad you read the article.

    One extra piece of advice I would try to add is that you definately should not fixate on a build order sequence that you think will always work. The build order depends on how much power you have available early in the game and whether that power is concentrated in food, commerce, or shields. I definately emphasize settlers early on, but the sequence of units and improvements should be tailored to the terrain, the civ you have to work with, the difficulty level, and the strategy you have chosen. The same build order should not apply to Japan on grassland when compared to other civs and positions like the Russia on Flood Plains or Egypt in the Mountains.

    Good luck,
     
  19. XOVER

    XOVER Chieftain

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    Interesting (to me, at least), bamspeedy.

    So here is what I think I'm reading from your response. You, or anyone else interested, give me some feedback, if you would.

    For the examples below, we assume early game despotism:

    Any grassland, enhanced or unenhanced, produces 2 food. Improved with irrigation, that grassland ought to produce 3 food, but will not because of the -1 despotism penalty.

    But if the grassland has, say, a cattle resource on it, and it's unimproved, it will have 3 food (4-1)? Improved with irrigation, it will have 4 food (4+1-1)?

    And since the -1 despot penalty applies only to values over 2, then irrigation on plains is effective even in despotism because the irrigation of +1 is added to the normal 1 food plains produces, and the despot penalty is ineffective because the sum does not exceed 2?

    All this may well comport with my prior observations because I think I checked out irrigation in 2 separate games but only on enhanced and unenhanced grassland. Then drew some premature conclusions.

    So, in early game depotism, the following examples are true?

    Unenhanced grassland = 2 food
    Enhanced grassland = 2 food
    Irrigated unenhanced grassland = 2 food (2+1-1)
    Irrigated enhanced grassland = 2 food (2+1-1)
    Grassland with cattle = 3 food (2+2-1)
    Irrigated grassland with cattle = 4 food (2+1+3-1)
    Plains = 1 food
    Irrigated plains = 2 food (1+1-0)
    etc.?

    Assuming the above to be correct, it will certainly alter my early game improvement strategy.

    ********

    cracker: I just noticed you responded. Thanks. Yea, I read the article. Damn fine article too. I'm fixin' to go back and restudy the examples as well as your response. The begin game is key to CivIII, IMO, and is therefore worth some thought and study, at least if you want to play the game as effectively as possible. Plus, I also think the begin game is the really the most interesting part of the whole game. But that's just me.

    After reading your response, I originally tried studying the table, but, perhaps because I was dense, I didn't really 'get it.' Might I suggest that immediately before the table you give a sentence pointing out the -1 despot penalty for food (or shields) over 2, as well as an example with enhanced grassland and one with plains, then lead into the chart? For people like me, it would be helpful. Just a thought. I'm going to go back and reexamine the article now . . . .

    ********

    Ok, cracker, about the table:

    I now see where you have the asterick(s) as the end of the table as explanation. Still, I think it would be helpful to some if there was also an explanation paragraph at the beginning of the table -- similar to what bamspeedy explains above.

    Plus, I have some other confusions.

    Look at, for example, the "Grassland + Cattle" line. Under the "Improved Despot Food" column, it reads, "3*(4*)", and under the "Improvement" column, it reads, "see note 1". Before continuing, the "3*(4*)" means that "3*" is the mined food result, and "(4*)" is the irrigated food result, doesn't it? If not, then I still don't 'get it'.

    If so, then to me, the table has some ambiguity since irrigation seems to be a major thrust of your early improvement strategy (due to less turns). Logically the table ought to read "4*(3*)", shouldn't it? Where the "4*" represents the result if irrigated, and "(3*)" would represent the result if mined? Shouldn't the irrigation result preceed the mined result? Especially the way "Note 1" reads, namely the language, "choice of irrigate or mine"?

    Anyhow, excellent article and very helpful.
     
  20. MSGT John Drew

    MSGT John Drew freight train lover

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    cracker:

    thanks a lot man! now I have an idea of how to fix hill/mountain-bounded cities with no access to irrigation. on your guestimate that 95% of Civers don't fully understand settlers, I think you're 100% right on.
     

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