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Isolated on island: CS slingshot or pyramids?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by opensilo, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

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    I usually know pretty quickly whether or not I'm alone on an island. Sometimes you can be fairly sure even by 3500BC. And only rarely am I not alone if some AI scout hasn't found me by 3000BC.

    If you can post enough sentries to keep many barbarians from forming, an isolated island, even one a couple tiles away from another island with an AI, seems a reasonable place to try for one of the more "exotic" (i.e. not early war) strategies. Two that seem popular are the Civil Service (CS) slingshot and choprushing the pyramids.

    It doesn't seem feasible on higher levels to be able to snag both. With the pyramids, you can choose to run representation which will help if you have few happiness resources on your island (and there are always too few). With CSS, you can run bureaucracy instead.

    So, the choice seems to be:
    pyramids:

    • representation
    • some delay in bureaucracy
    • some delay in academy
    • probably won't found Confucianism
    CSS
    • _big_ delay in representation
    • bureaucracy
    • early academy
    • possible confucianism

    Or, do you think it's just best to expand quickly on your island and maybe cottage spam in preparation for a culture victory or a delayed invasion?
     
  2. Wreck

    Wreck Prince

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    There's a number of factors to consider here. In general I'd not go for the Pyramids, based on risk. As you say, going for Pyramids will really slow you down, and speed of getting up your civ is important. On the other hand, going for the CSS really won't slow you down much. You will have to devote some resources to the Oracle, and you'll perhaps delay Monarchy while you get Code of Laws. But it's not that large of a hit.

    One big factor is this: do you have stone or marble on the island? With stone, I'd probably go for the Pyramids, but I think they're too costly and risky otherwise. Marble, on the other hand, inclines me towards the CS slingshot.

    Another factor is the game level. The lower levels make it easier to get away with risky stuff, since the AIs aren't going as fast. So, Pyramids is less of a risk, and makes more sense.

    Regarding happiness, founding a religion is almost as good as Represention. Also, Monarchy can give you all the happiness you need, and it's not that far out. Just build lots of archers, or even warriors; they're cheap.

    Yet another factor is your leader's traits. Generally, if he's organized you'll want to lean towards the "organized mercantilist" strategy (lots of cities, lots of specialists), and you need Representation to make that fly. If he's financial, you'll want to cottage-spam. If he's Industrious (bonus to wonder-building), then I'd lean towards the Pyramids.

    Incidentally, once your military is above negligible, you should try to leave some of your island dark, and hope that the game generates enough barbs there to get one of your units to level 3 (10 EP). You want to have the Heroic Epic in place when you're ready to start expanding overseas.
     
  3. Kalleyao

    Kalleyao Prince

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    Which victory type are you aiming?

    Expansion = Pyramids

    Otherwise concentrate on capital.
     
  4. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

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    Wreck, thanks for your observations. Good summary of what to look for to make your decision. For difficulty, I was thinking Monarch or Emperor so that you at least have a shot at one.

    Now this is something I hadn't considered. It seems like this could work with any leader. But the organized trait would lower the civic costs which would be dependent on population and number of cities, right?
     
  5. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

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    My first thought is that with an island start, cultural victory is the most expedient. You can be a builder without distraction until about 1000AD in my experience on monarch or emperor.

    But I'm also willing to experiment with other strategies too, leading to other victory conditions.
     
  6. PublicEnemy

    PublicEnemy Chieftain

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    Civil Service slingshot is great when you're not isolated.

    Civil Service slingshot.
    Metal Casting.
    Machinery.
    Macemen.
    Skull cracking.
    :goodjob:

    Lower difficulty levels it's easy to get. Once you get to Emperor then don't bother.
     
  7. PublicEnemy

    PublicEnemy Chieftain

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    If your current game is on Emperor then I would say get to optics, get caravels out and make contact asap.
    You won't keep up with the AI if you're isolated until 1000AD, and the chances of CSS are slim.
     
  8. CaptainEO

    CaptainEO Chieftain

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    Slingshotting to Code of Laws rather than Civil Service is less ambitious but much more easily accomplished... Plus it practically guarantees that you'll get Confucianism.
     
  9. bluedevil99

    bluedevil99 Warlord

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    My first two Monarch wins came in Conts games, one as GW and one as Catherine, where I was basically isolated on my own island (well, ok the second time there was this Elizabeth person who got introduced to my swordsmen, but I digress). Basically I focused on getting warriors fortified on hills early to limit barbs, then rush expand (chop settlers and beeline to COL for courthouses) and spam cottages.

    On Monarch and higher I usually have a tough time getting oracle. This may be a weakness in my play but it seems like most of the time an AI civ will prioritize oracle so I usually don't bother. Besides when you're alone on an island, using a slingshot for an early tech lead is less important than building a stong base that will enable you to keep up in research in the longer run.

    Pyramids, if you have stone, are industrious, and/or have a lot of forest to chop, are WELL worth the risk. Really the pyramids are one of the best wonders in the game, and the only reason I rarely build them is they are a big production investment at a time when I'm usually looking to grab iron, pop some swordsmen and kick butt. If you're isolated, though, early military is less important and you need to expand aggressively and pop cottages to keep up -- running representation the whole game is a huge help.
     
  10. voek

    voek Prince

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    Agreed, pyramids is great, but i would't even consider it if i would't have stone or being industrious, either way. Besides my own trait and resources i would check if there is a industrious leader in the game.
     
  11. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    you cannot check, since you're alone on your island, without a telephone or fax...;)
     
  12. voek

    voek Prince

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    Isn't it true you can check that at the graph or settings section? I thought so, but now i am not sure...
     
  13. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    You can check only by cheating, at this point.
     
  14. voek

    voek Prince

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    As in worldbuilder, ok, then i would just consider being industrious or/and having stone resource and having enough forrest. :)
     
  15. colony

    colony Slow Typer

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    Actually, you can check in the Wonders/Top 5 cities screen, even if you haven't met them yet, although that doesn't tell you the leader it does help a bit.

    As for the CS slingshot I've never even attempted it on Emperor, but it can be done on Monarch. I find that researching CoL just takes too long, and if I do build the Oracle I normally take either CoL or Metal Casting, but I don't go for it often, I've started to concentrate more on Axemen now in the early game if I have copper, and Pyramids if I have stone. If I'm isolated I much prefer the Pyramids/Great Lighthouse/Great Library route, and then focus on coastal cities that pay for themselves quickly with the extra trade routes.

    If I don't have stone and am not Industrious, then I'll probably go for the Great Lighthouse/Colossus to help keep the money coming in
     
  16. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

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    Checking the Top 5 cities on the turn after founding my capital (before that, it doesn't tell you anything) is a habit I developed playing small maps with only 5 total civs. It does help, especially with so few civs and if you decide to try for Buddhism or Hinduism when starting with mysticism. If the Indians and Isabella are in the game, I'll try another route, losing that first turn put into med or poly.
     
  17. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

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    On monarch or emperor (and it may make a difference which one), would you ever avoid wonders alltogether on your isolated island? Just try to expand as quickly as possible, pop a great person or two from some libraries and get out there and see the world?

    I find I can do okay with cultural wins from these isolated starts, but I can't pull off a domination victory. I don't know how much of a force to build up before trying to land an invasion force.
     
  18. Andrei_V

    Andrei_V King

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    Isolated starts are good for Pyramids and cottages. They are not so good for religions, since you cannot spread them quickly even if you manage to found one.

    I usually go for a Space Race, but sometimes I'm involved in wars. I think the best time to start conquest is right after rushing Kremlin and getting Military Tradition.
     
  19. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

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    I agree about religions being not easy to spread. Biggest use for them on an island is for happiness. Not much potential wealth to speak of. For a culture win, you can get some decent buildings out of them too. When you meet others, you'll probably quit your religion to be on good terms with the landlubbers.
     
  20. atreas

    atreas King

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    Another thing to consider is the starting techs: if you don't start with Mysticism, Oracle lies in a direction that is quite faraway at the start. Masonry, on the other hand is just one step away, and it could be also necessary for other reason (Quarry=early hammers). Of course if the slingshot works it repays it, but losing in Oracle is IMO much worse than losing in the way to Pyramids.

    For example, when I play the Greeks (Fishing, Hunting) it's usually pointless to try going Mining->Bronze (for chopping)->Mysticism->Meditation->Priesthood (possible with Masonry also) to give a try for Oracle while leaving my land unimproved (Meditation and Priesthood can be delayed, as Agriculture and Animal Husbandry are much more necessary). On the other hand, Masonry is just one tech away, and may be necessary either way. (Not to mention Sailing, with the Great Lighthouse that isn't bad at all for island starts).

    But definitely the crucial parameter is the existence of stone or marble. If I have marble I might consider Oracle - otherwise usually my opponents can have it freely.
     

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