Is this opening gambit/rut hardwired into the game?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by SCBrain, Oct 13, 2021 at 12:35 PM.

  1. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    I've been playing on King lately, and I find it hard to discard a strategy I developed in Prince:

    Begin by building three or four slingers;
    Then explore as much as possible and find huts;
    Meanwhile research animal husbandry and archery;
    When that's done, upgrade the slingers to archers because there's usually enough gold for that;
    Destroy the nearest civ for some breathing room, because 3-4 archers is usually enough.
    When the archers are on their way, I build another settler and fill in the space between me and my nearest enemy.

    It's always the same but it seems optimal to me.
     
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  2. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    This is called an archer rush and is a standard powerful strategy.
    There are variations and on higher levels these few bits are sometimes not enough.
    To be honest winning on king once you have this strategy is simple. There are other strategies, the strongest is the horse rush on deity, archer rushes often fail. Sword rushes or even knight rushes are all options but regardless, on higher levels the civs you have not encountered are rapidly expanding so there is a lot of other things you need to do.
    In essence on king you can be lazy and just archer rush, it even often is enough on emperor.

    So either look for another strategy, try to win in less turns, or just move up difficulty level. I am not sure which you were asking for or whether you were just saying archer rush is optimal. To answer your title question, no, an archer rush is definitely not hardwired but archers are damn powerful. Sometimes I do a crossbow rush on deity but rarely an archer now.
    For example, go to the Game Of The Month forum and play the latest GOTM which is 120. This is a game on Prince, try an archer rush here, it will work of course but another rush works faster and people will use that to get faster finish times. If anything is ‘hard wired’ it would be that rush. Thank god neither is hardwired into the game or it would be a lot harder, the only thing becoming hardwired is your habit, try and expand your horizons.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 4:40 PM
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  3. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    Nice reply! Thanks!
    Sometimes I start a new game and I intend to try a different strategy, but I use slingers for my scouts, and pretty soon the archer rush just kinda happens.

    It's hard for me to choose anything but animal husbandry when I start because I know I'll want archers, and there's usually at least one pasture nearby. So I was wondering how many really good choices there are when choosing the first tech - I always choose AH.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 4:47 PM
  4. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    The best way to combat this is to try winning a game when you are not allowed to capture any city, a peaceful game.
    If you really like the strategy that much try going up a level or 2 playing Nubians, they can archer rush faster and for longer.
    If you like warring try playing Gilgamesh and build 2-3 donkey carts first for a donkey cart rush, they convert into knights and have no maintenance cost.
    But trust me and many others, a horse rush may be a slower start, but oh my, it just cuts through cities so fast.

    Sorry, I missed the question.
    AH is a popular start, not only for archers but also for horses, also if you have camp luxuries.
    However religion gets harder to get as you go up levels and can speed up your game a huge amount. Faith is just such a strong and flexible currency. So astrology is also very popular.
    There are times you cannot rush or want to play peaceful and mining is a strong opener because not only does it give you production but an easier inspiration for craftsmanship, production makes you stronger faster. Some civs benefit a lot from bronze working.
    Regardless of anything else, science is uber strong, especially as you go up levels, you need strong science or you will be outgunned. A civ like Korea, Australia or Inca can happily open pottery into writing to push fast early science. Also granaries are underrated.
    Then there is Norway and england as well as water maps wanting you to open sailing, especially if by yourself on an island at the start.

    so map, civ, style, victory conditions all can alter your choice. I play a lot of games and I have used each of these openings in the last month.
     
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  5. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    I pretty much never go for an early rush. Feels to me that conquering a neighbor early has such a huge snowball effect that you're guaranteed a victory by it. :p
    Instead I try to expand rapidly and claim as much land as I can while trying to befriend my neighbors to prevent them from attacking me.

    My standard opening is scout, builder, slinger while research depends on the terrain around my first city. I always play on emperor.

    Of course I have my own "ruts", like pretty much always going for a traders strategy with Owls of Minerva/wisselbanken/democracy...
     
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  6. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    For the OP, It is important to stress that there have been many threads on opening builds and even the best, most competitive players argue over the right build. Not only is it dependant on map, civ, VC and so on but it is also so dependant on your own approach.
    So one of the great players opens mostly with a scout because they like to see their surroundings but also in their case they use the scout aggressively so it quickly gets to city states or other civs and steals a worker for example, which is a big benefit early for you and not for them.
    Another great player prefers builder first if they feel safe, and this player is highly warlike but rightly states it boosts your inspirations and increases your output early which is not to be underrated. Also craftsmanship makes building armies much cheaper.
    Slinger is hugely popular despite it being a weak unit because getting to archery is key for them and a eureka helps so much. But I must stress that unless Nubian, it is normally one slinger.

    It is great to see a build queue above that includes all 3, because it is often the order people argue over, not the content, apart from the scout, which many replace with a slinger.
     
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  7. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    I prefer scout over builder first because it takes time to research mining or animal husbandry. Starting with three farms for craftmanship leaves me with not enough production to actually build those military units.

    But, yeah, everyone has their own preferences but with the risk of getting stuck in a routine and not being flexible enough when the situation asks for a different approach. Like I suck against heavy early aggression. :run:
     
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  8. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    Thanks for the answers! These are very thoughtful replies. @Victoria - my real question wasn't very well stated!

    I realize that my real core question (all things being equal, doesn't the archer rush/AH—>Archery tech start offer by far the highest chance of winning the game, and therefore isn't it always the optimal strategy unless you know something the AI doesn't?) - asks another question in turn: is the point of the game to win, or is the point to have fun?
     
  9. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    If I see 3 green hills then I can research mining before I can build a builder
    If I see say 1 hill and 2 furs I may go slinger builder or warrior builder on higher levels and scout builder up to and including emperor
    If I have 3-4 2/2 tiles I will not bother with a builder immediately

    sorry, just saw your questions
    Anyone can win on king with any opening really, on deity an archer rush may not be good enough but a horse rush is more guaranteed (not always)

    To me the point is to have fun, if that is winning then that is your idea of fun, I do not finish most games I play
     
  10. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    That's a completely personal thing. For some people the fun lies in figuring out ways to win in the least amount of turns. Personally I like empire building.
     
  11. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    When I see people say "I know that archer rush would work, but I choose to do something else because it's more fun" - of course it's a matter of preference and I would never criticize anyone for playing their own way. But it seemed to me, when I started this thread, that the game has an initial sequence that is overwhelmingly better than others unless the player knows that the world is mostly water. Maybe "hardwired" was a poor choice of words, but if I want to win (rather than enjoy playing), the archer rush seems like the strongest opening play, by far.

    Maybe I should start another thread: describe your opening gambits that aren't based on archer rush? I've already seen some good answers along those lines here.
     
  12. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    I do play to win, it's just seldom before turn 300.
     
  13. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    The horse rush is the strongest, but you do not always get horses. So people often start slinger/AH but that is for the horse rush, and if they have no horses they can fall back on archers.
    The slinger opening is to get the archer eureka to speed up getting horses.
     
  14. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    I've never tried the horse rush, perhaps for the reason you stated - maybe my first few games didn't feature horses nearby, and I learned to live without them. Archers don't require any resources.

    But let me ask a question: don't horses stop working with city walls? Archers can still plink away at city walls, and I have taken down civs that built ancient walls while I was besieging them. (That is, I had them down to about half strength, then the walls went up and the defense bar turned into two defense bars and increased some, but I could still reduce them to zero and walk in with a warrior.) But don't horsemen fail utterly against walls? In that sense, don't archers offer more longevity?
     
  15. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    So here is the issue.
    On Prince/king you can normally take out most civs before they get walls with horses, they move a lot faster and the 1 move pillage upgrade means you make huge amounts of faith and gold with them that you do not with archers, once you get a hang of rushing science then you can even find that yes, upgraded horses can take out level1 walls but more to the point, all that faith and gold can but you a tower and swords to help. Horses also pillage farms to heal themselves and so they are just way better. And when you get knights, then tanks…. As long as you have a good science lead, you can do it.
    Having played from when VI first came out, archer rushes is what we discovered first, the are faster to get and simpler to use, but then when you understand horse rushes, it is like comparing the hare and the tortoise.

    Some people stick with archer rushes, I personally prefer a mixed army, much more interesting for me but the bottom line is the good players say horse rush and in the domination GOTM’s they are often horse rush based for the faster times. Speed is not everything, even an archer rush will fail once you hit an enemy with encampments and crossbows.

    If anything the game wants you to mix troops, to have at least one spearman (which the pros have for the eureka). The game can be played in many ways and what seems like the only answer is often only realised as not so when you try alternatives. But it’s your game not mine, I a, just saying no, it’s not all about archers.
     
  16. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    Great answers! I really enjoy hearing about the evolution of approaches to the game.

    I'll try the horse rush sometime! (Pillaging seems unethical to me - got to get over that, I suppose.)
     
  17. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    Is there much to pillage in the early game though?
     
  18. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Yes and no.
    Thankfully farms are made early so not only can your light cav heal but taking cities gives you the feudalism inspiration without wasting 2 builders.
    I have pillaged an early holy site with a scout to get a pantheon
    Pillaging a mine or 2 gives really great gold when you are earning 10/turn. You come across gold pockets, 3 mines amd a CH, and that’s nice
    But the bottom line is faith, lots of things give faith, and it is that monumentality purse that is so precious.

    an army of archers never has the speed nor the toughness to do this well.
    Armies did pillage, all the time, so why not do it in the game?
     
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  19. Leucarum

    Leucarum Emperor

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    Reading this makes me want to shuffle up my starts a lot more. Probably it's my bias against dom civs but I usually go archer heavy to deal with early rushes then try to swipe some cities on a counter attack.

    I don't know if it's just me but lately though the AI seems to prefer building walls a lot faster so this has become a bit more of a grind...

    Plus unless I can tell I'm isolated or really need to get production up ASAP I almost always go scout first.
     
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  20. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    I'm gonna take over that city, so why would I burn it down first? Unsporting.
     

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