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[BNW] Is ICS Still a Thing in BNW?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Gushis, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Gushis

    Gushis Chieftain

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    I've seen people say that it's dead, people that say it's weaker, and people that say it is stronger that it was. How good is it really/how would you go about having a good ICS game?

    BONUS QUESTION: I use a civ from a mod that gives -50% unhappiness from number of cities, would that affect it heavily?
     
  2. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Yes, that would affect it heavily. It would allow you to keep spamming cities under circumstances where a player in an unmodded game would have to pause to develop more happiness sources.
     
  3. Gushis

    Gushis Chieftain

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    Thanks! Is ICS only good for military production or is it good for anything else?
     
  4. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Fun? Painting the map? Eventually you can have massive science output, but you will probably have already finished the tech tree by then.
     
  5. Gushis

    Gushis Chieftain

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    But don't techs increase in cost with the number of cities, making it slower than usual?
     
  6. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Yes, science costs increase, but you still benefit from more cities, since the science output of the city should more than outweigh the extra science cost. (Else, why settle any city beyond your capital? Just stick with your capital and enjoy being irrelevant....)

    Do you need to settle 20/30/50 cities? Certainly not. You can win the game quite easily with one city, 3 or 4 cities, or 6 or 10 cities -- how you develop those cities will vary considerably, but you can win using nearly any strategy.

    So, does ICS work? Sure.

    Is it "optimal"? Far from it.

    Can it be fun? Depends on you.
     
  7. Gushis

    Gushis Chieftain

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    I read online that usually it isn't optimal unless you see lots of uncontested unique luxuries that are far apart or want to snowball the game via military production.
     
  8. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Frankly, it isn't even optimal then. If you want "optimal" in Civ 5, don't ICS. If you want to ICS for fun, you can certainly still win.

    And keep in mind that ICS is not the same as going domination to clear the map, where you settle a handful of cities and then proceed to conquer every other city on the map -- that isn't "ICS"; that's just domination.
     
  9. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    I'd go so far as to say that a -50% unhappiness from city mod would make how ICS is normally described in Civ V optimal : Default per city unhappiness is 4 the mod reduces to 2; there are multiple religious beliefs that each give +2 happiness per city (after you build the item that gives the happiness.) This when then with this mod and style of play be stacked with the religious founder belief giving happiness for each city (not subject to local happiness).
    With play on a larger than standard map, the per city gets further reduced. The only limit you'd run into is that once you start cities you'll never be able to build a national wonder again (unless you've modded that), but that is gotten around by building National College before there's too many cities.

    Now as to unmodded Civ V with BNW there are two major approaches:

    1) The time tested 4 city Tradition strategy, usually on standard map size. (Note that the number in this phrase is only the ones you self build, including the capital ; it doesn't stop conquering or even annexing post resistance at a time that doesn't impact national wonder building)

    2) On a huge map; building around a dozen or so cities; this is mostly Liberty; always includes a religious aspect but sometimes the AIs.
     
  10. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Well, technically default per city unhappiness is -3 (the first citizen makes newly founded cities start at -4), so I would assume this mod reduces that to -1.5 unhappiness. But the problems with ICS are not confined to unhappiness -- spending production to pump out settlers, instead of things that can be of use, is also a problem. Keep in mind that when folks talk about "ICS" they invariably mean old school ICS -- smothering the map with minimum-separation cities (including crappy 1-tile islands), which on a standard map is over 100 cities and on huge that's north of 200 cities. They aren't usually talking about settling 15 or 20 cities, which, if happiness were not an issue, might be "better" than settling 8 to 12 cities (with a Liberty start, depending on map size).

    If you want to paint the map with your cities and play a full 500 turns (so you get all the snowball effects and can revel in how dominant your empire is and how large a score you can generate), then, sure, ICS to your heart's content. But spending your production turns pumping out settlers, so you can settle 100-200 cities across the map? In my view, that is never "optimal", even if per city happiness were 0.
     
  11. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    Normally, I'd say that the optimal strategy for a fast science win is 4-city tradition. For a long time I thought that was the "best" and "fastest" way to do things, too. It turns out, though, that on certain maps and sizes, building 10 or more cities can result in consistent sub t250 wins if done right. I would've never believed it myself but take a look at this guy...his LPs are a sight to behold.

    But yes, "ICS" in the old sense is dead - the unhappiness cap is just too restrictive and the payoffs not large enough unlike say in Civ IV where happiness was local and GLH could lead to each new city generating 20 commerce right off the bat.
     
  12. T-hawk

    T-hawk Transcend

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    "This guy" here. :)

    Yeah, I've consistently found that more cities makes for a stronger civilization in the later stages of the game. 4-city Tradition is good-enough for most purposes for most players; gets you easily to about 90% of optimal on a standard size map. But there is still some value to be found at the margin.

    Expanding beyond 4 cities is mostly about managing happiness. The best way to do that is your own luxury resources; any city that claims a new unique luxury is worth founding. Other good happiness sources are pagodas, quests for mercantile city-states, either the Meritocracy or Aristocracy/Monarchy social policies. OK sources are circuses and purchased luxuries. Poor sources are purchased city-states, colosseums and any more expensive happiness buildings, religious beliefs that depend on constructing buildings.

    Full-blown maximum ICS is never useful in BNW; the tech and culture cost penalties are too punishing. But there's still value in expanding to 7-9 cities. Getting a Great Scientist out of each city is the most important reason.
     

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