Is it possible to do really well running a small empire?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Nicholas Hill, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. Nicholas Hill

    Nicholas Hill Chieftain

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    Hey all,

    Title pretty much sums it up: What sort of things can be done to ensure that a small empire (3-7 cities) survives and performs really well against larger opponents, and perhaps even wins games?

    Nick
     
  2. damerell

    damerell Slow Worker

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    Tech trade. Your whole research effort has to go into gaining techs the AIs don't have, and immediately trading them off for multiple techs in return, except for that part of it which goes into a temporary military advantage for...

    ... sneak attacks. Assuming for some reason you're compelled to stay small, you can't pick off the weakest opponents; you have to bring the strongest down to size first. Be first to some very strong unit - heffalumps, riflemen, infantry - and launch surprise attacks to leave capitals in flames. Your aim is to cripple the AI and bring them to the negotiating table before their much larger militaries can be effectively brought to bear.

    On the other side - diplomacy. "Let's you and him fight". If you can get the bigger AIs into a shooting war, even at the cost of fighting a phoney war yourself, you may be able to regain the lead.

    Focussed space race. The human player has a vast advantage in terms of researching the right technologies for the space race in the right order - not eventually blundering into Fusion and laying down the super-expensive engine last of all.
     
  3. Quibblesome

    Quibblesome Warlord

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    Apostolic Palace Cheese. ;)
     
  4. alex15

    alex15 2004

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    You find annoying playing big empires withs alot citys you can make your citys production and workers automated (expect forest choping)

    Just change production in automated city sometimes if you thinking AI doing too wrong.

    Thats not good idea if you playing on difficultys like Emperor or Immortal but its okay if you are playing on Noble difficulty.
     
  5. mynystry

    mynystry jaguar warrior from hell

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    As usual, it is about MONEY.

    If you founded a religion build a shrine and spread it to every city. Make that your economic center (build all economic buildings there: markets, groceries, bank, etc)

    If you have few cities specialization becomes critical. Use your military city (with heroic epic + west point) to make an army that is able to defend your cities from the any danger.

    Make a scientific city, pick one with lots of commerce but also hammers so you can build library, university, observatory, etc. If you can get there the Great Library that would give you a good advantage. You must keep ahead in science, remember that.

    Make a GP farm in your city with the most food, build there the national epic and use your GP wisely (i.e settling GS in Research city, build academy, settle GM and Priests in your Financial City, build corporations, etc).

    Use the other cities as support to research, wealth and military according to its resources. As you have few cities, you have to use them and protect them well, because losing an important one may cost you the game.

    Good luck!
     
  6. RD-BH

    RD-BH Human

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    1) OCC or even 1xC w/HR
    2) Trade efficiently
    3) Play diplomatically and/or PA
    4) 3xC or 6xC culture game
    ... don't even bother trading
    ... definitely play diplomatically
     
  7. MilesBeyond

    MilesBeyond Prince

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    Oh heck yes it is, I do it all the time (albeit never at a level higher than Monarch... I wouldn't want to try it on Deity, that's for sure). I will typically do either Space Race or Culture. Diplomatic is not infeasible, but doesn't really appeal to me. Religious victory would actually probably be the easiest, but again, doesn't appeal. Domination defeats the point (because it involves getting lots and lots of cities) and Conquest would take forever.


    Here are some tips:

    1. Aim for as many cities are necessary to construct National Wonders (this is 6 on standard maps). This will make your life a thousand times easier, as NWs like Oxford and Wall Street are even more essential in small empires. If you're going for Culture victory, this also applies to cathedrals.

    2. Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy. Because you don't want to go around accumulating cities, war doesn't really benefit you all that much. Try to remain on good terms with other leaders as much as possible. Not only will this help you escape wars, it will also open up a lot of trading options for you (a small empire usually means a number of resources will slip through your grasp - luxuries especially are always worth picking up).

    3. In my experience, PHI is the best trait. More Great People faster will allow you to compensate for the weaker economy you'll have as a result of having less cities. Get your Libraries (and eventually the Great Library) up and start pumping out Great Scientists like there's no tomorrow. As a corollary, consider running a Specialist Econ more often than you might ordinarily

    As a result, the best leader for a small empire game, IMHO, is either Lizzie or Freddy, depending on if you prefer FIN to ORG. I personally think that in a small empire, FIN is more beneficial, but I usually end up playing as Freddy anyway, because historically I think he's a cooler figure LOL (and besides, FIN is weaker in an SE, which I just advocated above).

    EXP and CHA are both alternatives to FIN and ORG, as they will help you to grow larger cities. This is especially nice, as the entire point of a small empire is having a handful of massive, powerful metropolises, and if extra health or happiness means you can grow a pop or two more, then all the better. This would make Lincoln and Peter the other two options. So, no matter who you choose, don't expect the UB to be a game-changer ;)

    4. Don't neglect your military! This is the easiest thing to do in a small empire and you can get punished heavily for it. Have a city or maybe even two that are dedicated unit-builders.

    5. One big benefit I've noticed about small empires is that because you're not dumping tons of hammers into Settlers and losing all your money from acquiring new cities, you get a brief window where you've got a huge advantage over the other players in terms of research and production. Exploit that wisely, and you will go far. What you want to do depends on the map and other factors. I find that it makes early wonders a great deal more viable - but is that always the best use of your hammers?

    Those are just a few tips I could think of.
     
  8. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    1. AP cheece = victory with 1 city.
    2. With 6 cities and 2 religions you can usually outrace AI to culture even on deity
    3. Bulbing does not scale well with empire size and can be used to provide a temporary tech edged necessary to capture more land
    4. UN diplo is a possibility.

    If you're small, you need to either avoid war entirely or make your wars incredibly :hammers: efficient.

    I have won space victories on immortal with 6-8 cities, but usually that's harder to accomplish because the AI goes for culture and then you have to go kill it, which slows down your tech relative to some other AI going for space. If you go culture, however, you can generally outperform AI competition markedly (once again, the difference is in the GPP where you can farm a ton of artists and use them to get 3 legendary cities balanced out with optimized :culture: totals).

    AI tends to be very wasteful with culture and will get a city to 75k or more often when each only needs to be 50k on normal speed. A human player accomplishes that with the artist bombs and semi-competent planning on where to put the multipliers.
     
  9. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

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    HAaaaaaaa! *Stab my two eyes with a knife*
     
  10. backthief

    backthief Chieftain

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    I believe the best win method for a small empire would be Cultural, considering you have around 7 cities.

    What you guys think?
     
  11. mynystry

    mynystry jaguar warrior from hell

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    One thing I'd like to add is about colonies: Depending on the map, you may find some small continents which you can colonize. If you are leading in tech, you'll have no problems reaching these islands before the AI. As your objective is staying small, send two settlers (well protected of course) to those islands at once, found two cities and then grant independence to them.

    Voilà! you'll have a resourceful ally for the rest of the game, which you can use to preserve further increase your lead on science and trade resources much easily than the other AIs. For still better results, do that with all islands with enough space for two cities.
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I fixed my neglect. "scale well". Basically, the majority of a GS bulb is base. You get a multiplier for pop, but in practice the difference is not large. Also, a huge empire can barely out-produce a small one in GPP at all, unless the small one lacks at least one solid food site.

    I can't imagine a scenario where you would "save" the GS simply to wait and grow, assuming you already had a good technology to bulb.

    With other GPP you get even less from pop and from base.
     
  13. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

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    I have one. Early space games where you don't know what to do with a remaining GScientist. Academy is too late, not enough for a GAge in time, but can speed up a late tech for a bulb and save one or two turns.

    Of course, that's niche.

    If it's something like bulbing Education for Lib or Oxford, better asap than 10-15 turns later.
    Or bulbing through some goal tech.

    Another interesting point about bulbing is it doesn't scale with map size. Techs do. Thus bulbing is way stronger on small maps than huge ones. A comment for huge maps lovers.
     
  14. King Pluto

    King Pluto Emperor

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    If I have a GScientist saved and I'm going to bulb, say, PP, but I know I won't be finishing the tech for a few turns (say I'm heading for Econ at the moment), I save him until I need to bulb him on the off chance I pick up some more beakers from population increases in the interim turns.

    Of course, the resulting beaker increase is on the order of ~10, but I'm anal about every micro edge.
     
  15. Manco Capac

    Manco Capac Friday,13 June,I Collapse

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    First, :rockon:

    Second, if you got a decent amount of villages and towns, you certainly did a mistake to wait for PP. Those ones will certainly pay off the small +10 more beakers from the pop.
     
  16. King Pluto

    King Pluto Emperor

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    Not if I wasn't going to finish PP as soon as I put a bulb into it. Sometimes I find myself with an extra GScientist after bulbing Philo/Edu/Lib, so I save him for PP. However, if I can grab the Econ GM, I want to get Econ before PP. Bulbing immediately versus when PP is next in the research queue means nothing in terms of when I'd finish it, but I might get a few beakers extra by waiting to bulb.

    Obviously, if PP is my next tech, I'm not going to hold off finishing it until I can get 10 more beakers from my GS.
     
  17. DrakeD

    DrakeD Chieftain

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    I have won immortal with only 3 cities. That was a very special occasion though. Insane berua cap combined with perfect HE city and a great GP farm.

    Built lots of wonders and settled a ton of GP in my cap. Breakout with curs and follow up with cav. After that I owned half the map and could choose my victory condition. :goodjob:
     
  18. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I won on immortal using only 3 cities the entire (culture)...I didn't have many wonders either.

    I have won on deity using a single city without one city challenge, but that was AP victory lol.
     
  19. MilesBeyond

    MilesBeyond Prince

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    The only thing about Great People overall that really scales well with empire size is the value of Golden Ages.

    This is why I strongly recommend PHI. Great people are essential to make a small empire run well, as whether you're settling them, bulbing them or using their special ability, you're not really missing out on much, and like TMIT said, you should still be able to outproduce larger empires - especially since having a smaller empire and therefore a smaller army makes running Pacifism very easy to do.
     
  20. calibur

    calibur Prince

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    FIN-diminished use in small empires, but still good
    ORG-same
    CHA- I don't suppose you'll be warmongering much.
    AGG & PRO- same, and they're not so great anyways
    EXP- well you won't be expanding a ton... but, still useful, you'll likely be settling most of your cities, no?
    IND- I would imagine this would be pretty good in a small empire game, especially a culture game.
    PHI-what they said
    disagreements? additions?
     

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