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Is science or culture considered a better way to win?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by sutasafaia, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. sutasafaia

    sutasafaia Chieftain

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    I normally don't ask questions like this, I don't like the idea of "better" ways to win a game like this one, especially since I find the simple act of playing it so fun. In almost any game that even offers the option (not just civ games, any games) I always choose to play the most scientific race, build the most scientific options, etc. Brings back really nice memories of Master of Orion 2 (Creative race anybody?).

    Anyway, this is the first time in a long time I've seen an option besides science that looked like it would actually be interesting to chase after, and it even seems to fit into my normal playstyle, that being turtle like a boss and expand about as fast as molasses (which actually seems to hurt me for science sadly, need more than 1-2 cities). However, after reading something like twenty threads over the last few hours, it seems like it's almost general consensus at this point that culture victories are just flat out inferior to science, you basically finish science anyway by the time you could get culture and the rocket just ends up happening naturally.

    Is there any truth to that? I don't have much experience at all with this game as of yet, still trying to find my niche.

    Also, sort of an on-topic but off-topic question, since most of the threads seem to be incredibly outdated, what are considered really good civilizations for the science and culture routes? I've been able to find Babylon and Korea for science, and Ethiopia and Egypt for culture so far.

    Thanks in advance, it's really frustrating to have no idea what I even want to do in this game past the basics, there's just so much to learn to avoid being horrible.
     
  2. Arachnofiend

    Arachnofiend Perturbed Pugilist

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    I've never gotten out of the Modern era before winning culturally, though my times aren't the best (usually finish turn 315-330).

    Science is probably the "better" way to win in the sense that a fast science victory is faster than a fast culture victory but all of the victory types are totally viable so I wouldn't fuss over it.
     
  3. Crafty Bison

    Crafty Bison King

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    Depends what you mean by 'better'. I get hideously bored by science victories and doing almost the same tech path every single game, so I rarely do them any more. That said they are probably more reliable and generally quicker than culture games with a little less precariousness in terms of invasions and wonder poaching etc. However, I wouldn't even say science is a neccesarilly easier way to win, it takes a bit of know how with diplo and timing for RA's and build orders and bulbs late on to get them really efficient. NB diplo victory can look very similar to science for a large part of the game if you wanted to try sometyhing different with your play style.
     
  4. Matthew.

    Matthew. Deity

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    The thing with culture is it is essentially on a timer, and you just have to wait for it to tick down. There are some minor things you can do to speed it up with certain wonders/policies, but it is a waiting game.

    You have much more control over science, and it is much more flexible in general. You can get a fast science win by going super wide domination, or extremely small and abuse GS/Rationalism/RA's, or a combination somewhere in between.

    It should also be noted that when people talk about fast victories, it usually has little to do with when the AI wins. Even up to Immortal, it takes quite a while for the AI to actually win the game, so like Arachno said above, every type is viable and I wouldn't worry about whether one is capable of finishing 50 turns earlier than another. They both will finish before the AI.
     
  5. Ra's Head

    Ra's Head Chieftain

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    Domination is fastest in theory because it does not require any specific technology or policy. When I play a cultural game, I win without being close to a science victory. When I play a science game, I win without being close to a culture victory. It is not generally the case that in order to win cultural, you have to purposefully delay winning by science (by not building parts when you could, etc). There is no reason to worry about it. I suggest playing different victory conditions sometimes so you can experience other facets of the game.

    Babylon and Korea for science are pretty obvious, and Inca is also often strong. Culture is more open, but I like Siam, Egypt or Persia. Aztecs are good at both since the floating gardens is such a good tall empire building.
     
  6. mintcandy

    mintcandy King

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    Well, I'm not a huge fan of either victory condition, but I can understand why science is generally considered to be an easier victory condition than cultural.

    Why?

    Well, for one, certain cultural policy trees have scientific era thresholds that must be reached. However, the same is not true of science. Thus, one can research whatever they want without regard to culture, but not vice versa.

    Secondly, better technology gives much stronger units than the bonuses from any social policy. It's always important to keep pace in the tech race, even when aiming for a cultural victory, because the results can be disastrous for a civ that falls way behind.

    Now, if cultural warfare was reintroduced and was implemented to be a more effective counter to a military buildup than it was in Civ IV, then perhaps cultural
    victories will become more popular.
     
  7. sutasafaia

    sutasafaia Chieftain

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    I think the biggest problem I have right now is figuring out how any strategy other than mass domination works. My roommate is playing as America, they are at ~1800 AD right now. He's killing left and right, expanding, annexing, etc. and he is up to about twenty or so cities. His science is at 4000+ per turn and his culture is at 600+ with three full trees opened so far and he has the giant death robot, he could easily make the rocket if he wasn't busy killing the world.

    I'm at 1600 AD in my game with only three cities all as focused on culture and science as I can get, each city has only a single military unit, I've spent no time researching anything I don't really need (being alone on an island has helped avoid wars), and my science is only +400 a turn and culture is only +80 with two trees fully unlocked.

    I prefer to play the turtle game, slow and steady, but it seems like the expansionist always pulls ahead despite how people say OCC and small nations are viable. Even in culture he's ahead and he's got a monstrous empire pulling in so much culture per turn he doesn't even really notice the penalty.

    Am I doing something wrong or is he just doing something right?
     
  8. mintcandy

    mintcandy King

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    Being isolated is fine for culture, but horrible for science.

    OCC and small nations ARE viable against the AI or numerous unskilled human opponents.

    However, there's little chance of a slow turtle small civilization being competitive with a civilization that has no restriction on city count or military expansion, assuming that both players have relatively equivalent skill sets.

    The cultural penalty you speak of only applies for cities that you directly control. Puppeted cities do not incur a cultural penalty. I'm willing to bet at least some of your friend's conquests are puppet cities, not annexations.

    My guess is that your population for your cities is quite meager, especially if you only have 80 culture per turn by 1600 AD.

    If you are striving for cultural victories with a small civ of 4 cities or less, you should be striving for populations of at least 15 in every city, bare minimum.
     
  9. Tachii

    Tachii Procrastinator

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    4000beakers is outrageously high. Is that an exaggeration? Just because most players would've won science with less than 2000.
     
  10. sutasafaia

    sutasafaia Chieftain

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    No exaggeration at all, I can see it on his screen. Also, none of those cities are puppets, he annexes absolutely everything. I think the only reason he hasn't won yet is because he likes to wipe out the entire population of the map he's playing.

    So if OOC and small nations are viable for culture, but still no match for players when you have equal skill, does that mean culture victories are only viable against AI?

    [edit] Also, no, my city populations weren't that low. I had one at 28, one at 16, and one at 9. I wasn't playing a culture game though, I was playing a science game, I was just shocked at how easily he was climbing the culture trees with 20+ cities under his control.
     
  11. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Deity

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    Cultural and science victories are too cookie-cutter with the primary variety being when you win (not how). Domination, on the hand, can happen in any era with any technology - from warriors/archers to stealth/nuclear. But no victory condition is "better" and all are very fun as I rarely ever do the same victory two games in a row.
     
  12. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

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    By having a good plan. :) For domination you can basically spam nothing but units and kill everything on your way. Although on higher difficulties that doesn't work so well either and you constantly have to think about your next step. However, you have an opportunity to be creative.
    More cities = more of everything: more science, culture, gold, faith and production. And science is what wins games, regardless chosen victory type. Ok, you can play on marathon speed, low difficulty and great plains map as Attila. You need no science. :D But most cases aren't so extreme. So even for culture you need a good pool of beakers to reach all key techs in reasonable time. What makes vertical (tall) empires viable is their relative safeness. If you expand rapidly you neighbors will much more likely get aggravated and DoW you. When you limit the expansion to few cities, you avoid sharing borders with them and in addition don't pose a threat (that's what stupid AI thinks, anyway :)). So they leave you alone and even are willing to be your friends and hence to sign research agreements. Not too worthy on low levels, though. But that's against AI. Which is, as it's been mentioned already, stupid. If you compare two human players competing against AI, expansionist will always outplay a builder. Because more cities = more of everything. So I don't think you need to dwell on a comparison between your two games. Since you play SP (I assume), you need to focus on what's working against AI, and tall empires do work against AI just fine.

    If you want to play optimal or close to optimal, both science (and diplo, its younger and uglier sister) and culture are a little linear. There are key techs you need to reach in order to unlock key building, to build/buy them immediately and staff with specialists. You plant great people to increase the culture/beakers, buy more GP with faith and use them as well either for golden ages in culture or for bulbing late game techs in science. Once all prerequisite are satisfied, you maximize the production and build the relevant project. The techs, buildings, SP trees, GP and projects types are different but the process is very similar. The main difference is for culture there are more important wonders which should be prioritized.

    For science its something like:

    • Writing - buy/build libraries
    • Philosophy - build National College in your capital
    • Education - build universities and staff them with scientists
    • Astronomy - buy/build observatories.
    • Architecture - build/rush with GE Porcelain Tower
    • Scientific Theory - buy/build public Schools
    • Plastics - buy/build research labs
    • Rocketry - the Apollo Project
    • Satellites - rush Hubble with GE
    --- the rest of the tech tree and SS parts.
    You plant academies; purchase great scientists with faith, bulb with them last techs and your key SP tree is Rationalism, thus your goal is to reach the Renaissance asap. Culture buildings are secondary. You do want them, of course, because you want to grab as much social policies as possible, but science stuff gets higher priority.


    For culture:

    • Writing - buy/build libraries
    • Drama and Poetry - buy/build amphitheaters
    • Philosophy - build National College in your capital
    • Education - build universities and staff them with scientists
    • Acoustics - buy/build opera houses and Sistine Chapel
    • Architecture - build Hermitage and Taj Mahal
    • Archaeology - buy build museums and build/rush Louvre
    • Radio - buy/build broadcast towers
    • Plastics - build/rush Cristo Redentor
    --- the rest of the tree is not so important. In case you have a very high science and a coastal city, you go all the way up to Ecology and build/rush Sydney Opera House.
    You plant landmarks; purchase great artists with faith, burn last ones on golden ages and your key SP tree is Freedom, thus your goal is to reach the Industrial era asap. Science buildings are secondary. You do want them, of course, because you want to unlock all key techs as early as possible, but culture stuff gets higher priority.

    Few more points:
    • Playing for culture, you don't want to settle/annex many cities, as each will increase the cost of social policies. For science you want as many cities as you can get, since again, more cities = more population = more science. But in both cases you will greatly benefit from puppets, since they don't add to SP costs. So even with 200 cities your roommate wouldn't be slowed down.
    • Production seems to be lacking extremely in culture games due to many landmarks and specialists slots you're working. Usually you'll work less academies than landmarks. In any case you might want to purchase the most important buildings so you won't have to wait long turns for their completion.
    • Usually culture takes longer than science. So if that's what you mean by inferior, the answer would be yes.

    If there is something more specific you would like to know, feel free to ask. You might want to watch some LP's. And the ultimate advice is keep practicing. :) Good luck!

    P.S. TL;DR: what Buccaneer said. :)
     
  13. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

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    Good question for mp'ers. I would say yes. Against good players highly unlikely. Your science isn't at its best and thus the military is not the most advanced out there. Human players won't sit and wait for you to win. Although if you play Aztecs style, i.e. by opening Honor and killing everybody, that might be possible. However, I'm not a mp'er, just guessing here. Science is more viable.
     
  14. sutasafaia

    sutasafaia Chieftain

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    Alright, thanks for all the info so far. In your opinion(s) who would you say is the best science/expansionist then? Babylon is still a strong possibility to me with all those scientists, but I would think Inca or Maya could be good also. Maybe even Polynesia or Carthage, despite them not getting a science bonus, instant boats or instant harbors could be useful.

    That said, Maya would need four cities to make up for one scientist, and expanding so fast to make that happen might spread them way too thin. I think Babylon beats Maya.

    Inca doesn't get a direct science bonus but you can get a lot of extra food, the key to expanding, and you're much more maneuverable.

    Carthage and Polynesia are more a matter of convenience rather than direct contribution to science and expansion, although instant boats...

    I don't know, I'm still too new at the game to know exactly where to go. Who do you think gets the best use of science and expansion?
     
  15. mintcandy

    mintcandy King

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    I've never done MP.

    That said, I'm fairly certain that cultural victories are extremely rare in standard multiplayer games. Why? Because a strong culture isn't going to defend against a strong army.

    It's part of the reason why spamming World Wonders at the expense of the military isn't a very good idea. I'm sure it's nice to have Stonehenge, the Great Library, AND the Pyramids in the same city, but I can build 12 Archers and 3 Warriors with the same amount of hammers.
     
  16. The Pilgrim

    The Pilgrim Deity

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    So science or expansionist?
    For pure science (tall empire) Babylon and Korea will be always at the top.
    Inca and Siam are my personal favorites. Maya need a lot more than 4 cities to match any of the above. Don't know anything about Polynesia, but Carthage doesn't fit in the mix unless on archipelago.
    For super-wide ICS like science Maya is the best choice by far. Ethiopia, IMO, is second due to amazing unique building and insane faith generating potential.

    A side note: if you want the fastest victory, ICS is not the way to go, probably. 6-8 strong cities plus as many puppets as you can get are the optimal setup.
     
  17. sutasafaia

    sutasafaia Chieftain

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    Thanks again for all the information, it's been enlightening to say the least.

    I think I have a few ideas to work towards now, although I'm not sure which is the best option yet. I think I'm going to combine my normal turtle strategy and expand it a bit. I'll turtle up my capital city like normal, after saving 500 gold, buy a settler and move on. Each time I save 500 gold I'll expand, at least until the empire starts to feel unmanageable? This would avoid interrupting building important things in my cities while still allowing me to expand since I wouldn't need to buy much in the way of RA's if I continued to expand.

    The issue of course is getting each city a worker and some military defense, the whole reason I liked to turtle was to avoid the necessity of protecting new cities or providing them with a work force. How do you normally provide new cities with workers and a soldier or two without interrupting important construction?


    As far as who to try out, I think I have a few ideas now. Babylon or Carthage seem to be my biggest targets right now.

    -Babylon: Science science and more science, should make expanding and fighting others easier.

    -Carthage: Starts near the ocean (I love coastal cities), get's a free harbor in all cities. In theory, if I got lucky and Babylon started near the ocean, I could very rapidly tech up to harbors and go from there. That said, free harbors means no maintenance cost and a fairly large production bonus in the long run. But would it beat out all the science Babylon gives?

    On one hand, I love the ocean. On the other, I love science. Why is there no ocean/science civ?

    You would think I would love England if I like the ocean so much but it isn't actually having a Navy that I like so much, it's just all that lovely food, production and gold that you get from being on the coast.

    I know I may sound like I'm coming off as over-thinking this, or worrying too much, etc...but I kinda do that with every game I play. I love to plan plan plan as much as possible, which is why I hugely appreciate all that advice I've been getting. I would love to pin down a favorite civ and just go for it, but ugh...so hard.
     
  18. Arachnofiend

    Arachnofiend Perturbed Pugilist

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    If you want to go with a sciencey Carthage I'd recommend getting the Messenger of the Gods pantheon. You'll basically be getting 2 more science every time you found a new city.
     
  19. Knut_Are_M

    Knut_Are_M Prince

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    to exspand rapidly it is very important to be the first to found a religion and pick ceremonial burial, and pick up liberty. -2 happiness per city globally means you can pretty much ics to your hearts desire.
    Both etiopia/maya/Egypt/Celts/France are good MP ICS civs.

    Out of them Maya are probably the best. They get a huge science boost from that UB and that helps ICS by alot since it often lacks gold and science early on.

    Aztecs is a good OCC civ since they get +15% food UB. Aztecs is really good when haveing a good cap that they build up and later get hagia sophia for religion.
     
  20. sutasafaia

    sutasafaia Chieftain

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    Sorry to back peddle a bit, but after playing a few games where I tried to rapidly expand...I just don't know if I like it, even if it is technically better. Is there no way to win OCC or small nation in multiplayer with at least some effectiveness with science? I know culture is technically the way to go for small nations but (at least right now) I'm pretty bad at getting a good tech priority. At least with science I know to beeline for each science building and everything else just sort of gets researched on the way, maybe with a little side trip to pick up mining and bronze working depending on what resources I start with, but that's about it most of the time.

    Honestly I wouldn't even mind learning a good culture strategy for multiplayer if it meant I could turtle, but that seems to never work out anyway apparently, it just doesn't have the speed of a focused science win it seems. Not to mention you can just check the overview and people will know if you're completing a lot of culture, where you can kind of hide what science you currently have done. It does announce when X enters a new age of course, but if you don't take ship parts into the city it doesn't announce those.

    It isn't that I mind settling more cities, and I did see my science numbers go up with as little as three cities instead of one, but...I just...don't enjoy it? Sure I can beat up the AI but that does me little to no good playing against my friends. It's frustrating that turtle science seems to just not work against other players. Is there no way around it?
     

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