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I've played this game for years, and I'm still terrible

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by merockstar, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. merockstar

    merockstar Chieftain

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Dear gaming geniuses (if you can play this game on any level above prince),

    I've played this game for years. On and off I come to the forums and try to improve my play. I'm somehow still terrible.

    Please criticize the living crap out of me, I can take it. Below are some saves, and screenshots, along with my explanation for why I feel the need to do things.

    I'm playing on Noble, Normal time, Standard world size.

    I've decided that half my problem is in not micro-managing enough. I just think it's a pain in the butt, but I've been trying to keep control of my workers and pay attention to which population is working which tiles in each of my cities. I'm having some trouble determining what role to assign to each of my cities. I figured my capitol looks like a good finance/production hybrid city. The city I made to my NE (Teohituatciainuinc) looks like a hammer city waiting to happen. I noticed a lot of green in the city north of that so figured I could cottage that right up.

    Originally my plan was to turn Zara's capitol in a GP farm, but I ended up needing civil service because I'm not anywhere near a river there, and just wanted to build a bunch of farms. Civil service complements my warlike strategy for this game so I figured it'd be a good tech to aim for early. I didn't want to go cottaging those extra tiles up because I wanted to keep some sort of specialization (otherwise every single city I build will be a hybird city), can I get some commentary on this point?

    Spoiler :


    I see that I have Ethiopia just east of me, and totally up my butt, so I figure my first course of action will be to steal that juicy looking GP farm that is currently function as Zara's capitol.

    First thing I decided to research was Bronze Working, due to the need to build a quick army and take out Ethiopia, and so I could bust out using slavery. After Bronze working I ended up moving on to Fishing so I could work boat those tiles, then to Iron Working so I could start a fleet of Jags.

    Two mistakes I notice already, in hindsight: I should have researched Monarchy a little earlier to take advantage of happiness and the gold from those vineyards I have, and the second is that I misclicked and moved my settler thinking he was an explorer, doh! That costed me a turn.



    Spoiler :


    After the work boat my next build was a settler. I felt it imperative to get a couple cities out quickly, first to block my enemy in, second to be able to bust out an army more quickly. Then I started in on a second work boat.

    At this point I knew that my very quick expansion was going to eventually come back and devastate me financially, so I started studying pottery to try and get some cashflow going to compensate for that.



    Spoiler :


    At this point my society has become a Jag pumping machine. I've completely blocked Zara in, and am nearly ready to rain devastation.

    I've completely blocked out Ethiopia from expanding, buying me a few more turns to continue pumping jags.

    Is there any rule of thumb for maximizing slavedriving without angering the people too much?

    Right now I'm studying Mathematics because I was thinking some early catapults would help out with my war effort, and that's on the way to construction.



    Spoiler :


    Felt like my tech was starting to fall behind so I decided to study Alphabet to maybe do some trading with Egypt far to my west. At this point I have kicked the crap out of Zara. But haven't picked up sailing yet (doh!). So after alphabet I busted out sailing, built a galley and took over that last city on that island to the east. Later on, I decided this was a mistake which ended up costing me too much money. I'm thinking maybe I should have just been happy with the bonus capitol GP farm I had just taken over, and taken advantage of the PLENTY of room I have to expand to the north.

    By now I'm realizing that it's just me and Egypt on a big island, so I'm going to need to try and get optics early so I can explore new lands. But that takes away from my efforts to study war techs and keep my economy stimulated. Which direction should I be focusing my research now?



    Spoiler :


    Finally I made the (in hindsight stupid) decision to use all my extra Jags and try to also take over Egypt. This was stupid for several reasons, first because after obliterating Zara, taking over Egypt would leave me nobody to trade with. Secondly, with plenty of room to the north to expand into, there was no need to invade Egypt anyway. I would have been much better served by immediately aiming for Monarchy, taking advantage of those vinyards and the happiness bonus from my now abundant Jags.

    I actually had like twelve jags over there trying to invade Egypt, and Egypt obliterated them with archer, then got a tech lead, got longbowmen, and it was over. Even if I did have the resources to sucessfully take over Egypt, had I done it, it would have costed me tremendously to have cities so far away from my capitol. I was tinkering with the idea of just razing everything for cash, but came to find out I didn't have the means to even win a war against egypt, who was pleased with me before I declared.


    I think I'm going to start back from an old save, and instead of invading Egypt, try for the Monarchy/expand north/trade with egypt/escape the island strategy.

    So what say you guys? Tear me apart plz?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    1,526
    My first thought is that if you're planning on rushing someone, there's not so much point in blocking them in: you're just preventing them from building the cities that you would take from them!

    Instead, your goal with your first settler should be to find a second place that can quickly get good production to help with the war effort (or maybe an economic site instead to help with the recovery). One tile NE of the rice would have been good: food for growth available immediately without waiting for iron working, and a few green hills nearby for product (and you can borrow hills the capitol isn't using too). 2 north 1 east from the rice is good too, after the capitol's borders snag the rice, since the river tiles would let you convert it into a useful cottage city after the initial rush.

    After seeing the iron, the worth of that site jumps up a lot.
     
  3. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,184
    Forget about that, it saves a lot of headaches.
    Cities should claim resoucres + territory. After that they need to grow fast.
    Later in the game when the first national wonders become available you can look for the best city to build it in or skip it.
    (No shrine city -> no need for Wall Street. No to mention you'll need x banks first.)

    Ramesses is easily to get friendly (+8 from religion and +5 from running OR).
    Zara is a backstabber. (plots at pleased + can be bribed when pleased)
     
  4. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    5,686
    As Tatran said there is no need to think about specializing every city at this point. Fixing the basic stuff like what to build and what to tech will have a much greater positive effect on your game.

    First you need to improve your openings. Based on your first save, your initial tech path was fishing->mining->BW and it seems you started with a settler, then switched to work boat, then back to settler. As a result you got your second city settled 2480BC with no improved tiles except the clam. You didn't even have a worker by then.

    Some simple rules: Always research food techs first! In this case AH and fishing. Worker is the the best first build most of the time. The few rare cases when there is something better to do take a lot of experience to recognize, but if just stick with worker first every time you can't go much wrong. Once you get your worker, improve the strongest food tiles first, then other resources. Work boats should also improve strongest food tiles first (fish>clam). Never ever open with a settler! For now don't even think about building your first settler until you have improved some food and reached at least pop 3 (some experienced players will probably find some rare exceptions to this rule also, though that would be some highly advanced strategy that you certainly don't need to think about on noble).

    With a better opening you could probably get your second city around the same time with both seafood resources improved and a worker already out that has improved at least the cows and connected your second city with a road for traderoutes. Thanks to a bigger capital working both seafood tiles you would also have been further in research. That's how much difference the first few turns make.
     
  5. merockstar

    merockstar Chieftain

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Great! I always thought it was a headache anyway. The land just seems designed for every city to be a hybrid city of some kind, with rare exceptions like Zara's food blessed capitol, in this example.

    Thank you! I think I even knew about the worker first rule before, but just came back to the game after a long hiatus. I didn't know about the settler at pop 3 rule. Is that a hard rule or will there be instances where I will want to wait until maybe pop 5 to build a settler?

    I never thought of that before! My thinking was "if they build less cities, I can build more and have a troop production advantage." Viewpoint altered.

    Should I study a religious tech after a food tech, to facilitate monuments so I can claim more resources?

    Is there a good thread on the subject of tech priority?

    Is that because of the extra hammers added to the cities production if it's worked, and the resource being available to trade (considering the aztecs don't need iron to pump Jags)?

    Thanks for all the input, guys.

    Recognizing where to settle has always been something I've felt unclear about. Thank you for clarifying this map for me a little.
     
  6. merockstar

    merockstar Chieftain

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    48
    Does anyone know any easy way to take screenshots running the program in wine on linux?

    I run Ubuntu 12.04, and unity/wine/civ iv has this weird bug where I can take the screenshot, but can't confirm, and name the file and stuff. I'm like generally unable to alt-tab out of civ iv (normally when this happens I can press the start key on my keyboard and pop up the unity lens thingys and it pops me out of an application, but not here).

    As it stands, I have to take the screenshot, save, exit the game, name the picture and hit save, reload the program, and continue.

    Problem solved: sudo apt-get install shutter

    Second edit: problem still stands, I thought sure shutter would do the job but it didn't.
     
  7. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    I didn't say settler at pop 3, I said not before pop 3. Worker->warriors until pop 3->settler is an often quoted opening strategy, though this is of course not always optimal (seafood starts is one of those situations where it doesn't work). Some people prefer to grow to happy cap before settler, others get it out immediately at pop 3. It takes a lot of experience to find the best timing for your first settler, but as long as you build it sometime between growing to pop 3 and growing into unhappiness you won't be making any big mistake, at least not on noble difficulty. This is assuming that you work your best food tiles. If you don't improve and work them it would take forever to grow to happy cap...

    Very rarely pop 2 could perhaps be better but I'm not sure if I could even recognize such a start.
     
  8. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

    Joined:
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    If you are getting bronze working early enough, then you may prefer to wait to pop 4 and 2-pop whip the settler.

    Also, if you have really good tiles around your capital or are otherwise really short on worker turns, you may prefer to grow your capital first so that your worker can finish up his local jobs and be ready to leave when the settler finishes.

    You definitely don't need mysticism until your first city goes up (unless you're building Stonehenge or trying to found a religion).

    And often, you can place your first cities so you don't need monuments to get the useful tiles, and you can delay cities that would need monuments until later.

    The extra hammers: iron is an excellent tile to work. (if it was just having the resource, it's fine just being in your capitol's borders)

    I wouldn't trade iron to anyone you're planning to attack, though, since it would let them build axemen.

    Incidentally, iron would allow you to build some axemen or a spearmen as needed.
     
  9. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    I can understand the war with Ramesses. (Stonehenge + shrine + Pyramids + Great Lighthouse)
    Those wonders will benefit your empire tremendous. And there is a lot of land to settle.
    So, your biggest problem will be city maintenance if you are going to settle every piece of land.
     
  10. Strickl3r

    Strickl3r Prince

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    On the first glance, why would you not want to mine the wine? There is no reason not to work the additional 1 commerce althought it's no big deal.

    + a suggestion: Teotihuacan could be settled on the plains hill 1E, that way you have one additional Hammer on the city tile and you have more riverside grassland tiles that you can cottage and later build the palace there(i count 9 riverside grasslands)
     
  11. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    You really want to be torn apart?

    I opened save#1 and thought :confused:. Building a settler with no improved tiles after researching fishing?

    You´d do better to grow city to pop2 asap and build workboat1 asap, workboat2 while working improved fish+3h tile then think about settler or worker.

    Alternatively on noble you could think about warrior rush as soon as you saw Zara´s borders nearby.
     
  12. MegaLurker

    MegaLurker King

    Joined:
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    718
    I don't think micromanagement is your problem. Your problem is larger overall decisions. You don't need to be building a settler at size 2 after a single workboat on Noble, you have plenty of time. Pottery (presumably for cottages) isn't the way to go economically. You'd do better to build wonders. In this case any/all of the Oracle, the Great Lighthouse, the Pyramids.

    GLH gets you tons of passive commerce, it's the strongest of the three. Taking out an AI that close on prince doesn't take much of an investment. You could have done it with 2 axemen shortly after BW.

    Then you have a massive continent to fill in with a ton of good coastal sites and room for a good dozen island cities that are all instantly profitable with 4 intercontinental trade routes. There might be enough land to win domination without a second war.
     
  13. Skipity

    Skipity Chieftain

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    You need a worker. Either build one 1st, after the workboat, or build warriors and go take someone else's workers.

    You need to be working improved tiles. And you need to connect your cities with roads or rivers so they have traderouts.
     
  14. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

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    637
    I think you guys are being a bit too critical on him for his starting builds. They weren't the best, but it's not the glaring reason why he's having trouble on noble. And in his defense, this is a HORRIBLE starting position. There are no great tiles to improve with an early worker anyways (wine, and plains cow, yuck). The only reason settler is such a bad move that early is because the surrounding terrain sucked as well (jungle, no resources).

    The biggest problem you're having is your overall economy. Your expenses got higher and higher and you reacted by just expanding / conquering, which just dug you deeper in a whole. All you could do was build more troops, which just raised your expenses.

    To save your economy early game you have to focus on a few things:
    1. Trade routes. These greatly help even new cities pay their cost back. Make sure all cities are roaded or rivered together as soon as possible (maybe before you even settle them!). Then make sure you road to other AIs as soon as possible, as this will give you foreign trade routes worth much more.
    2. Trading techs. Half of the early techs are just plain bad. You want to research the good techs ASAP and trade for the bad ones. On low difficulties this means grabbing alphabet early.
    3. Currency, currency, currency. After you have a few cities this is the tech that prevents your empire from crashing due to expenses. It adds a trade route and allows you to build wealth.
    4. Target gold/gems and work those tiles (don't ignore them for too long in order to grow faster).
    5. Libraries. Read up on how to use the slider. Basically you can be more efficient by saving up gold while building libraries, then running at 100% beakers when they're finished. Coupled with running a couple of scientists early, libraries can be important to help you push to currency a little bit more quickly.
    6. Cottages. These are important obviously, but it's also important to note that cottages won't save your economy early. It takes them a while to grow enough that they really help (more towards the middle of the game). Beelining pottery to build 10 cottages right away won't stop your economy from crashing immediately, they're a slightly longer investment than that.



    As this applies to your current game, you shouldn't have rushed to wipe Zara off the map. Egypt was far away, and there was a lot of land you could have expanded to peacefully. Declaring war on Zara lost you an early trade route partner, an early tech trader, and you ran up maintenance costs with your army. Zara isn't super aggressive and you could have left him alone for a while. He wasn't blocking you off, you were blocking him off. He's the one who should have wanted an early war, not you. His cities besides his capital weren't that good, and they couldn't pay for themselves either. Better to let him develop the land for you, while you develop your own land and conquer him later.

    Attacking Egypt was unforgivable. It's tempting when your economy goes to hell and all you've got is some hammers and a small army to try to fight your way out, but that's a disastrous idea.

    Don't worry about strict city specialization, hybrids are the way to go. Especially don't worry about declaring a city a GP farm and refusing to build cottages there.
    1. You don't need a designated single GP farm city to produce GP.
    2. No offense, you probably don't know how to use great people well enough to justify a GP farm anyways.

    Lastly don't use slavery unless you understand slavery and understand micro, which you admittedly don't, and angry size 2 city tells me that. While powerful, slavery is a bit complicated and will hurt you more than it will help if you don't understand it. At your level it's not needed at all to conquer the AI anyway. Wait til you get to monarch or emperor to try it again.

    Do chop forests, however. Saving forests for the health bonus is a noobie trap. Chop them for the quick hammers. Once you hit math you should double your efforts to purge your land of all things foresty.
     
  15. dohh

    dohh Warlord

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    258
    I think micro is far from being Your main problem. Before I joined this forum I struggled on Immortal, winning about 80% of emperor and 25% of Immortal. I was doing ZERO micro and ZERO specialization.

    I know how it sounds, but I used all GEs for wonders, all GS for academies and the rest for settling in city:)

    As Einstein famously said : "Insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and wait for different results"

    I will take a look into saves later from home, but as I see from dates, 1100AD is where You should have decided what kind of victory You would aim. If domination, You should have decent oversea colony or at least forces to fight some, if space You should be competent in science and so on.

    Imo what You are lacking is "a bigger plan". What You want to do? What are Your plans? I can see only hyper-agro style, conquering all neighbours with primitive UU. And then what? Running even with 15 science beakers by 1100 AD is a big joke. No offense:)
     
  16. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

    Joined:
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    480
    Location:
    VRBS ANSEATICA
    Forget about rushes or warfare in the BC before you have learned the core concepts and peaceful expansion.
    Yours was not a straightforward start, because of seafood, but with 2 seafood, cow and wine the capital is not terrible (not great, but certainly acceptable).
    As has been mentioned already city specialization is nothing you have to decide about in the first expansion phase (I'd argue that one can beat prince without specialization, but one should learn some specialization in any case.)

    rules of thumb for early expansion:
    - food first, i.e. no city without at least one good (5+) food source, in the first "ring" unless creative. (if only a 4 food tile, there better be another in the BFC, otherwise slow growth)
    - therefore: food and worker techs first, according to the resources available (Fishing, Agri, Animal husbandry) + bronze working for chopping forests and claiming copper. You can ignore e.g hunting, unless you have the respective resources close by. If you have copper and/or horses you can also ignore archery for a long time.
    - also claim gems, gold, silver, ivory, fur, if present. But only if the city also has enough food. happy caps are high on noble, so do not rush crappy tundra cities for one point of happiness from fur or silver
    - tiles with special ressources are MUCH better than ordinary ones, especially early on. Your cities should mostly work improved ressource tiles and mines. Read up on cottages, but they are best on floodplains or green river tiles, especially with a FIN leader.
    - if you have calendar resources (or wine in your case) you can farm them, you get a little extra before you can build plantations. (Occasionally cottages can also be good on them, but this takes more experience, for now, either ignore or farm).
    - do not settle on top of ressources (unless in some special cases that can be left for later)
    - connect your cities and ressources by roads, unless they are on a river
    - get writing and open borders agreements with your neighbors, build a library in your capital. Read up on specialists
    - next tech priorities: alphabet to be able to trade techs, mathematics for better chopping yields, currency for extra trade routes etc.
    - On noble you could probably found all the religions and build all the wonders you want, but you shouldn't :D Instead look first which wonders would really benefit you: The oracle is always nice and it can be chopped easily even without marble. The pyramids are great, but expensive and you need to know how to use specialists. If you are playing an IND leader and/or have stone, the pyramids are worttwhile even on higher levels. The great lighthouse is very powerful if your capital and most other cities are on the coast, if you plan to have only a few coastal cities it may be a waste. This applies even more to the colossus. I have never build the great wall, unless you learn how to use espionage it seems a waste. The next really important wonder is the Great Library which you should try to get in a city with lots of food. Read up on specialists.
    Most other early/classical wonders are not so important. Chicken Itza is useless, Angkor Wat very situational, can be skipped, Parthenon is great, if you know how to use specialist well and have a PHIL leader, Temple of Artemis, Mausoleum, Zeus Statue all rather situational (I hardly ever build those).

    As Code of Laws and Philosophy are important techs anyway, you might as well be the first to them and found the corresponding religions (to get at least one of them is usually doable on emperor and feasible on immortal). CoL is also a good option to get from the oracle, although on noble you could get far more advanced techs like construction, feudalism, Civil service.
    The further use of religions depends on your situation. Usually one neighbor (or at least one you are in contact with) founds one of the three early religions which may auto-spread to some of your cities. For diplomatic reasons it is often better to accept your neighbor's religion.
    If you are the first with a religion on your continent, get open borders and spread it with a few missionaries (it will auto-spread in addition). With a Shrine in your holy city you can, if lucky, almost finance your empire, at least it will be a welcome addition.
     
  17. Al Capone

    Al Capone Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Germany
    Spoiler :


    As you can see, I got there about twenty turns earlier, wiping the Ethiopans off the planet, but on the other hand, Zara had settled his third city in the east on the same continent. I suppose that we were about equally fast then, considering the fact that you had to build ships. However I did not fall that back behind in points. Ramsess is only one higher in score. The question is: How did I do this? I cannot exactly tell either. :D
    I built the settler, but then no second workboat, but a worker, since the worker is more flexible (therefore I can also sooner increase the production of hammers) and since the cows-resource also delivers large amounts of food and it makes modernising the pigs-square earlier possible. After that I built the second settler, then barracks, then jaguars (I had Iron Working by then). And when I estimated that I had enough forces, I started building libraries, monuments, a.s.o.
    And last I decided to raze the cities of Zara, except his capital Aksum. They're just too expensive to maintain, primarily in this early stage of the game and finally consider that costs to maintain a city do not only rise in numbers but also with the distance. So if you wipe an entire civ, keeping any captured city, it is clear that your expenses will explode. Rather raze them instead of taking them, hoping that they might be economic in 70 turns and maybe longer, because the technological setback hinders your research for new buildings that upgrade your cities. Better found another one closer to your own capital.

    Here I probably would change from building barracks to something else. Maybe another lib.


    In general I would also say that it is not really micro-management that you are lacking. To tell by experience, most default in-game settings are okay for noble. You just have to change/check a few things. It is more decisive that you always act and plan on a middle and long term, which primarily and definitely includes modernising and constructing buildings and everything is always about efficiency. Look at what you want/must do. You then have several possibilites to reach your aim. F.e. if you want to build an army and you just researched Metal Casting, I would build the forges in every city first, since the production bonus is inrenounceable, especially and foremost in the long term. This might be an extreme and clear example, but the principle should be applied to any problem. Or look at your second work boat. You can do that, but in my opinion a worker is more efficient. The mines on iron - I do not know when you did it, but it could in case be an example for inefficiency, since it does not deliver hammers and the aztecs do not really need iron in the first place. Jags are great. :)
    It is all about gaining significant advantages in the game. Identify crucial steps and take them first with all might.

    [my save game below]

    Spoiler :


    My game in t112. Compare with t111 in your game.

    Now I will see how I can take control of Thebes, mainly. Solomons Temple will give me super fine gold to expand further. :groucho:




    Twelve turns later: :D

    And as a bonus I blackmailed two free techs from Egypt.
    Only two jags made it into Thebes, but that's good. Jags are rendering obsolete soon anyway. Now Solomons Temple is mine. Egypt will found new cities and the entire continent will be peopled by Jews and all of them are going to pay to see their holiest building and I am going to stand the test of time. :)


    Seems as if I was going for the space race.
     
  18. Matty R

    Matty R Veteran Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Bolton, England
    If it works with Linux, I'd highly recommend the BUG mod with the BULL add-on. I learnt alot about the game using those. :)
     
  19. TheSunIsDark

    TheSunIsDark Settled Great Scientist

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    Messages:
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    Location:
    The great Mayan city of Teotihuacan
    Worker/work boat first, with the possible exception of Raging Barbs or Always War. Make sure your capital's at a good size before training settlers. Don't worry too much about MM.
     
  20. TheSunIsDark

    TheSunIsDark Settled Great Scientist

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    Location:
    The great Mayan city of Teotihuacan
    Try playing on an easier difficulty, then move up.
     

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