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Improving your Opening Play Sequences

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

  1. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    Some comments on your terrain power chart. I believe my suggestions lead to a more accurate calculation of various costs/benefits, especially when building settlers.

    1. All raw food values should be reduced by 2 to reflect the upkeep of the citizen working that tile. Gold should also be reduced by 1 to reflect the enterainment cost of that citizen (1 luxury or 1 police upkeep).

    2. You should add the basic city center to the chart. I noticed you mention it is worth 6* on the second page but do not provide a background calculation.

    CITY CENTER
    Despot Raw Food: 2
    Despot Raw Shields: 1
    Despot Raw Gold: 8 (2 gold + 2 content citizens on Monarch + 4 free units)
    Despot Raw Power: 11

    If you do not reduce all the other food/gold values, the city center is worth an extra 3 points because it doesn't need to support a citizen.

    3. Gold is not interchangeable with food and shields, and it is worth much less in the early game. I would favor removing gold from the raw power calculation and letting it stand alone.
     
  2. JMK

    JMK Chieftain

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    Well, I thing Gold is quite important as it heps a lot to buy techs from other civs. I would not neglect gold myself.
     
  3. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    DaveMcW,

    Interesting perspective and interesting comments to say the least. :rolleyes:

    Since you do not think gold is powerful then I will look to see your dead burnt corpse laying beside the roadside of Civ3 life as time goes by. ;) ;) ;)

    You may not think gold is interchangeable with food and shields but that sounds like inexperience and lack of perspective talking. When you have a citizen working a bonus grassland with road and mine and you manage that citizen to change its location and an work an irrigated wheat square on plains, you just took 2 shields and interchanged them to be a food and two gold. From a management standpoint the units of power are interchangeable and its is up to you to recognize how to convert the power components into a more powerful civ position.

    Lumping in the free units support from the type of government is out of concept with the purpose of the article. and really just confuses the issues.

    Glad you read the article.
     
  4. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    I am mainly talking about pre-2000 BC values. No one in their right mind would work an improved gold hill (power 7) over an improved cattle (power 6) before getting a few setters out.

    Once you get contacts and the tech race becomes interesting gold regains its value. But the first few dozen moves is where perfect micromanagement is the most important, and in that period gold is inferior.
     
  5. TheNiceOne

    TheNiceOne Chieftain

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    cracker, I will chime in to support DveMcW a bit.

    Assume your starting workable area consists of three types of grasslands:
    1) Normal grassland adjacent to river (2 food + 1 gold)
    2) Bonus grassland (2 food + 1 shield)
    3) Grassland with wheat (3 food)

    Now, where would you set your first citizen to work, or the second?

    I will find it hard to believe that you will answer 1) to even one of these questions, simply becase in the early game, food and shields are more important than gold.
     
  6. barron of ideas

    barron of ideas Barron

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    Is it too late to say what a great article this is? Full of information that I don't think is available anywhere else and organized "to an inch of its life" as several pickers of nits have tried to find something wrong with it without any success at all, imho. I go back to re-read it before I start games I want to play to win. Which is most of them. Bravo Mr. Cracker. or whatever honorific fits the situation Ms, Dr, etc. Please keep up the amazing work. I also read the lumberjack article, and am also deeply impressed but I don't think I can play at that level, at least not yet.
     
  7. Txurce

    Txurce Warlord

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    Cracker, as some have already pointed out, the very first moves are the most important in the game, and this article goes much further than anything I have ever read in showing how to get a civ off to an optimal start. That it's presented in a way that, while requiring focus, benefits novice and veteran alike, is a bonus.

    Could this be taken any further? Well, I'd like to see a response to Ribannah's later, documented position that building an early worker enhances an optimizing strategy such as yours.
     
  8. Omnipa

    Omnipa Chieftain

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    This is a wonderful resource. Your presentation of the information was excellent and I am looking forward to doing a quickstart with my new CrackerTech!

    Thanks for helping me with my early game Cracker, Look out Emporers, Omni got a brand new game...

    See you in the Quickstart Challenge.
     
  9. AlanH

    AlanH Mac addict, php monkey Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Excellent! I've just started on Civ3 and found your article on opening strategy after having reached similar conclusions about its importance intuitively.

    One option that you do not discuss (unless I missed it) is that of moving the settler before building the first city. Clearly it is not a good idea to wander around for decades looking for a good place to set up shop, but typically you cannot even see all 21 starting squares when the game begins.

    Have you considered moving the worker first to see more local terrain information before deciding whether to move the settler to an adjacent square to pick up additional bonus resources, or just to build immediately? This seemed to work for me in a couple of quick start games, but I haven't analysed whether it makes a real difference.
     
  10. barron of ideas

    barron of ideas Barron

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    In various replays I have seen the worker moved to get a better view of the starting position, on the basis that it is worth giving up a litte to get better information that imporves your position. One of the better reasons to pay an expansionist civilization is to have the scout to do that.

    On the other hand, the military has an adage, a mediocre plan, carried out on a timely basis is better than the best plan done too late. (more sucinctly, PPPPPPP (pss poor prior planning prevents perfect performance - I may have left out a P or two.)

    It is hard to criticise the commander on the ground (you) for setting where he is and getting on with the business of growing the despotism (I almost said empire, but that comes later). It is to be hoped that future cities will be in optimum locations, but if you don't get started, there might not be any (or enough) cities to settle.
     
  11. cracker

    cracker Gil Favor's Sidekick

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    AlanH and Barron,

    This issue of whether to move the initial settler is definately discussed in the article at:

    Relocating the First Settler

    I strongly feel that the right way to address the settler move question is from the "negative" perspective. Don't worry about if you feel you can find a better position eventually, that is not the issue. The question that most players need to answer should be something like "is this start position worse than average or is it likely to impede my game progress."

    Develop a set of decision rules that work for you and help you look at the terrain picture that you can see and then evaluate if a settler move will probably make your position stronger and if that strength gain will offset any delays in power, culture, technology, and production growth.

    Initially, you will be giving up at least 5 power points for almost every future turn in the game for each and every turn that you move. If you can regain these points by increasing the power of your position then you will end up ahead in the future.

    Generally a strong starting position is any location that has at least 4 to 6 power squares that can be improved to 5 levels. Initial food at more than 2 per square in depsotism can really help your game, but moving only because you don't have a cow or wheat is not the right decision.

    In the QSC test games that we play, the player who moves the initial settler just to have a look around rarely ends up being in first place compared to players how settle and get on with business.
     
  12. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    Of course, the last 3 GOTMs all had start positions that could be improved to +5 food per turn. ;)
     
  13. AlanH

    AlanH Mac addict, php monkey Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Cracker,

    Thanks for your detailed reply. Your empirical results from test games are probably the most powerful argument for settling were you stand. :crazyeye:
     
  14. Sirp

    Sirp Chieftain

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    I agree with DaveMcW: Very early in the game, gold is of relatively little importance. Early on, the aim is to get as many cities as possible, i.e. lots of settlers, as fast as you can get them. To build a setter you need 40 food and 30 shields. You don't need any gold, and there is no easy way to convert gold into settlers.

    This is also exactly why the AI used to hamstring itself in pre-PTW by selling off workers. It would sell workers for around 40 gold pieces early on. Effectively, it's selling you 10 shields, and 20 food for 40 gold. Later on 40 gold for a worker isn't bad, but before 2000BC, it's a horrid deal. Gold doesn't become really valuable until you have to start paying lots of maintenance, and you can rush things with it.

    Additionally, food is much more valuable than shields in most starts. You need 40 food to get a settler, and only 30 shields; additionally, if you don't have a bonus food tile, you're only going to be able to get a surplus of two food a turn. That's 20 turns for each settler, and if you do get settlers at this rate, every time you get one, your capital gets zonked back to a puny one population city, and so you lose out on production as well.

    Unless the map is really cramped, I always try to build a granary before my first settler if I don't have any food bonuses, and usually even if I do.

    Lots of players think they have to start building settlers asap, and get worried they are falling behind. But, pumping out one settler every 20 turns is slow. Building a granary and then pumping one out every 10 is the only feasible way to go in my opinion. It'll take you much longer to found your second city, a little longer to found your third, but you should be a little ahead by your fourth, and then you should be able to reach five while the non-granary player still only has four.

    I saw the article mention moving the scout before deciding whether to settle for expansionist civilizations. However, I didn't see mention of the practice of moving the worker. If you'd otherwise settle right on the starting square, then you're going to move the worker to a square to work it right? Well, move the worker first: maybe he'll uncover something that gives reason to move the city. It's also worth moving the worker onto a square you don't intend to work on in some situations, especially if there's a mountain or hill he can stand on to see what's around.

    This does have the disadvantage of moving the worker without the intelligence provided by founding the city, but I think in most cases it's worth it.

    -Sirp.
     
  15. Ribannah

    Ribannah Fighter Druid

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    Or you can start with that big Granary known as The Pyramids. ;)



    Commerce can be very important if you plan to do research. Remember, that as soon as you turn Monarchy or Republic, your tiles will yield a lot more. Micro-managing your workers in the early game can be very helpful to squeeze out extra gold, by optimally timing the irrigation and mines that you want.
     
  16. Mazarin

    Mazarin Chieftain

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    starting with the pyramids is great...I often use this on large maps with 60% water -or when I'm on an island and there are no cometing civs that will take away my land. The question whether to build Pyramids or not is very similar to the early granary decision...it's just a much bigger investment and so it needs more time to pay off.
     
  17. Sirp

    Sirp Chieftain

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    Starting with The Pyramids can be a good idea, but it is not just a difference of degrees vs starting with a granary, there is a fundamental difference: If someone else builds The Pyramids before you, you're stuck. This is very likely to happen on Deity leve, or in a multiplayer game. It's much more of a gambit all round, but one that can pay off big if you make it.

    -Sirp.
     
  18. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Chieftain

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    Cracker,

    I realize this article is somewhat old (but it is new to me!). This is really good stuff -- I look forward to using these techniques in future games. One quick question, is the 10 sheld bonus for clearing a forest subject to corruption? If not, using teams of workers for remote / corrupt cities would seem to be the way to go.

    Thanks
     
  19. WillJ

    WillJ Coolness Connoisseur

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    Nope, they're free from corruption.
     
  20. Rustypipe

    Rustypipe Chieftain

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    whats the diffrence if you mine or irrgiate a piece of good land, say grassland next to a river, if you mine you get more production, if you irrigate you get more food usally it blances out, unless you want more of one thing, but what is the big diffrence?
    In the beging you probably want a healthy mix of production and population so you can build your settlers and support more, but later on you probably could settle for more production.

    Another example would be just a Cattle Grassland tile.
    You can Irrigate this and get 6 food, 1 gold, 1 production if i remeber right, could be 0 gold anyhow, or mine it and get 4 food, 1 gold, and 3 production ?

    Isn't it really want you want 4 that city
     

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