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Is Less Really More?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by CivMcNut, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. CivMcNut

    CivMcNut Having Fun At It

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    I'm currently playing a game on Prince level that's making me really rethink my strategy here. I managed to have two cities, my capital and one city that secured iron be my only "settled" cities. From that tiny start and only two cities, I've managed to make an army that's big enough to conquer the whole continent. When I took over the cities from the AIs I razed about half and kept puppets on half, and only annexed one city, Paris, a coastal city, and that was mainly so I could pump out a work boat to work a whale tile. By in large, my capital city, Rome did the lions share of the work. It was spitting out musketmen every 3 turns. I also allied early on with a city-state that had iron and horses, and that doubled my strategic resources with which to pull troops from.

    Have you other experienced players found that just a handful of owned cities can get a lot done on a warmongering game? It's nice to be able to get some social policies while fighting wars. Is this kind of setup not going to work on the higher difficulty levels? I find myself doing that national college start, and then by the time that's done, land is starting to get grabbed up, so it's hard to get a whole lot of settled cities going.

    In my games where I've had a lot of "owned" cities. I haven't done that well.

    It just seems like with Civ 5, less is more.
     
  2. Rittmeyer

    Rittmeyer Prince

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    up to Immortal I can guarantee you that a couple of cities and a lot of puppets are a great way to go. to me it seens that it's the safer and most guaranteed way to win up to IMM. you still on the ofensive, and if you are unable to conquest your continent you are doing something wrong.

    on Deity, it seens to be different. most players who are serious about Deity seen to be advocating ICS as the viable strategy.
     
  3. ChuckVader

    ChuckVader Chieftain

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    When going this route, is it best to wait until the AI has settled the land around you before you start taking cities? It seems if you attack early the cities you capture are too far away from your capital to establish trade routes (unless they're coastal) and it's difficult to get workers to them to work improvements. The last game I tried this, I had large gaps between my cities that the AI would settle, which would cut off my trade routes, etc.
     
  4. CivMcNut

    CivMcNut Having Fun At It

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    @ Rittmeyer - That's good to know. I like this tiny civ take over the world thing. It seems like you can accomplish so much with so little. The highest I got on Civ IV was Emporer. It will probably be similar on Civ5, I never know, it does seem easier, maybe I'll work my way up to Diety and try that out. ICS stands for Infinite City Sprawl right?

    @ Chuckvader - What happened on this game I described is I went to war with Russia first, and they were all the way at the other end of my starting continent. I took over a City-State that was allied with Russia, then conquered all the Russian cities razing every one of them except Moscow. I captured several workers in the process, and I had them pull up all the roads (to save money) that were in my territory and costing me money and just had both Florence and Moscow sitting there unconnected.

    Later on I realized this was a good idea as the Iroquois guy settled in the lands between my initial cities and the two I had kept from the Russian fight.

    After dealing with the French I came back and went after the Iroquois guy, once I took him out, I kept some of those Iroquois cities inbetween I went back with my workers (at this point I was deleting workers I had so many of them) and built a road that went up to Moscow. At this point I only had Japan on the continent, so building a road seemed safe. It's frustrating to loose a lot of trade routes to another Civ taking over your road tiles. It can cost a bunch of gold per turn. That happened to me on my last game, which I lost.
     
  5. Smote

    Smote Emperor

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    Yes, the two main strategies are "small city" and ICS. NC makes small city more powerful than ICS for the first ~80-90 turns on quick.

    The main advantage of small city is it saves hammers on workers and collosseums, and grows the capital faster, which has a higher population efficiency [because of tradition and NC]. It also is better at social policy and teching, until about turn 80-90.

    These advantages are without the effect of extensive luxury selling to AIs. Extensive luxury selling makes ICS better in all areas, because the extra thousands of gold really adds up to a lot of stuff, which accelerates everything.

    small city is more popular than ICS in multiplayer due to these advantages. ICS without luxury selling is very difficult to defend vs longsword rush.
     
  6. Calouste

    Calouste Deity

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    Extensive luxury selling doesn't work that well on lower difficulty levels because the AI doesn't get the massive bonus gold it gets on IMM+. I wonder if they'll fix the AI in a next patch so it is no longer that interested in buying early luxuries, because it should have better things to do with that money, like buying workers, units or monuments.
     
  7. Rittmeyer

    Rittmeyer Prince

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    yes, that's right. mostly, you build cities as tigh as possible (3 tiles apart).

    but, as I said before, up to IMM I'm usually more confortable with building only 2-3 cities after the capital. those are aimed at luxuries to sell and help in the war to come, and the last one for iron, since longswords seen to be the best way to get a war advantage up to this level. I usually do NC first, and while teching to steel I settle those few additional cities.

    the AI builds very few units early on up to IMM. that's what makes this strategy so good.
     
  8. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    Six cities can make you a whole army in 12-15 turns (normal speed). Most policies are easily balanced out by the extra production, tech pace and GPT. And you can mitigate the policy cost hits by befriending more cultural city-states.
     
  9. diz2

    diz2 Warlord

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    I have moved up to Immortal and found my "found only 2 cities + early rush my own continent and puppet everything strategy" works fine.

    I used to run 3 cities, but I think does turn out to be true that less turns out to be more if you are going to go with a puppet strategy.

    The early fighting does seems to be a lot harder on Imm, but on Emp it was more or less a cakewalk.

    Once you get it rolling (with puppets, TPs and bought CSs) there's not a detectable difference in the difficulty level. 2 high production cities, plus gifts from military CSs, plus abundant gold for purchasing will get you more than enough units to dominate the world.
     
  10. Smote

    Smote Emperor

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    Try vs. players, and you will find 2city games somewhat lacking. They are great for tech, but you get steamrolled/have great difficulty vs anyone that uses Liberty.

    The key to 3city game is to plant the 2nd or 3rd city on a luxury, so no unhappiness is created. I'm sure its better vs AI as well. Its just tougher to get that NC up on time, but it gives you some extra room for a building or some units before building a library in your first 2 cities. Make sure you have Aristocracy unlocked by the time you start the NC.

    Or you can maybe do it faster, by buying the library in the third city.

    I have always regretted having only 2 cities, except in certain exceptional circumstances where both of the 2 cities were wonderful. On the other hand, I have always regretted having more than 1 or 2 cities if I'm going for cultural victory.
     
  11. diz2

    diz2 Warlord

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    Can only report on my own experiences versus the AI.

    I have no doubt that things that work consistently versus the AI don't work in MP, but I think this is mostly a single player thread.

    The thing that would drive me to a 3rd city in SP is iron. My first two are capital + coastal city. If one of those can't be located to pick up iron for the ealry rush, I'd probably add a 3rd.

    Otherwise, a 3rd city seems mainly to slow down the SPs and the national wonders. The production isn't really needed.

    I used to tend to build an extra city just to cover area, but I finally trained myself not to worry about that. If the AI does come and settle my continent after caravels it's no big deal. Just another very easily puppeted city.
     
  12. Smote

    Smote Emperor

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    !!!


    I think you have a radically different approach to Civ5 than me.
     
  13. diz2

    diz2 Warlord

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    Hmmm, well I play continents/standard/random civ moving from emperor difficulty up to immortal these days.

    In the 2 city strategy I refer to here, I generally beeline iron, early rush my own continent with swords, puppet everything, TP my puppets, beeline caravels, buy as many city states as I can (eventually getting all or most of them), attack second continent with highly upgraded military, puppet everything, win domination victory.

    I really don't tend to build a lot of ground units in my cities after the initial rush. Don't need to.
     
  14. mekane

    mekane Chieftain

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    Emperor is pretty easy, I just tried out the ICS strategy there for the first time, didn't do a single thing right, didn't know what to build, what to tech, had 4 civs declare war on me at the same time for 90% of the game, and I still won handily.
     
  15. Uniform Sierra

    Uniform Sierra Warlord

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    I currently only have four cities in a game as Alexander. I'm doing quite fine against civilizations with over 8 cities. I'm currently the top of the game list with the most wonders, social policies, and city-state allies.

    The smaller my civilization, the easier it is to manage it and prosper. I tend to play less efficiently with more cities.
     
  16. JaeChunDaeSung

    JaeChunDaeSung Prince

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    I find it vexing that other civs are overpopulating for the research and productivity advantage while I'm still falling behind if I try to catch up by # of cities. I figure the idea is I feel like I'm behind in the arms race unless I manage to slingshot to Civil Service or Iron Working. Even connecting the cities becomes economically nonviable because of road maintenace, and lack of efficient population growth.

    Then again, I chock it up to not really balancing farms and trade posts efficiently, and I eschew specialists just because it takes too long to ever access them when you want them anyway.
     
  17. Ferigno

    Ferigno Chieftain

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    I'm going to defer to you guys on this one because you seem to be infinitely more experienced than I, but are you really suggesting that the way to really compete in Civ V is to just have 2 cities, and puppet the world? I've been going about this all wrong.

    I play exclusively as Hiawatha, simply because I want to perfect one leader before moving on. I play on King on huge random maps. Right now, I just sorta keep expanding as much as I can, mixing production cities and gold cities around the map. I tend to get about 8 cities and then go to war with someone, puppeting their cities a bit.

    With a guy like Hiawatha, are you suggesting that I go Capital, then one or possibly 2 other cities, and then try to make them uber cities, or is this a solely cultural approach. Can I do that and look for a science victory?
     
  18. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    Turn all your gold cities into puppets, you give up almost nothing and get 2x social policies.
     
  19. mwwilliams

    mwwilliams Chieftain

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    Where does all your gold come from with no trade routes?
     
  20. Ferigno

    Ferigno Chieftain

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    So I suppose I could go like this with good ol' Hiawatha.

    1: Settle capital
    2: Get national college and unlock iron
    3: Settle a city on iron, settle the other city in the woods (Iroquois LOVE the woods)
    4: Build an army out of those cities, puppet some cities, convert them to gold cities, ... win. Lots of RA's in there and plenty of exploration, right?

    Will this work on a huge map? So much space between neighbors. I agree that this will make SP's very manageable, but will I be able to keep up my science with only 3 cities?

    Right?
     

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