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Japan!

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by crdvis16, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Japan is one of the best designed civs in VP in my opinion. There is a ton of synergy going on to play with. I love trying to maximize synergies even to the point of losing focus on just winning the game and so Japan is right up my alley.

    The kit:

    Shogunate
    +1 Culture and Faith from Defense and Military Training Buildings. When a Great Admiral or Great General is born, receive Great Artist, Writer, and Musician Points in your Capital.

    Samurai, replaces the Longswordsman. Special traits: Has more Combat Strength (24 vs. 20). Obsoletes at Rifling rather than Gunpowder. Special abilities: Starts with the Great Generals II (100% increased contribution to Great General generation) promotion. Starts with the Quick Study (earns experience toward promotions 50% faster) promotion.

    Dojo, replaces the Armory. Special traits: Provides 3 Culture and 5 Science (up from 2 Science). All Mounted, Melee, Gun, and Armor Units trained in this City gain the Eight Virtues of Bushido (promotion is replaced with a randomly chosen unique promotion after this Unit completes its first combat) promotion. This allows these Units access to the unique Benevolence, Courage, Honor, Loyalty, Respect, Righteousness, Self Control, and Sincerity promotions. When Units that were produced in this City promote, gain Culture and Science based on their current level in this City. +25 XP to all Military Units trained in this City (up from +20 XP). Increases the Military Unit Supply Cap by 2 (up from 1). Does not require a Barracks in this City.

    *******************************************

    The general plan:

    War my way to a culture/tourism victory. To that end, generate as many GG/GAs as possible for the free Writers/Artists/Musicians and also play a mini game of promoting my units as high as possible for the culture/science from Dojo (higher unit level gives higher culture/science so keeping units alive is ideal). Bend all of my religious/policy/strategy choices towards GG/GA generation, unit experience, and tourism.

    Religion:

    Pantheon: Goddess of Protection (+10 HP healed per turn in friendly territory. +2 Faith and +1 Culture from Palace, Walls and Barracks). Pigging backing off of the UA (faith/culture from wall/barracks line of buildings) seems ideal. If Japan doesn't take this pantheon then I'm not sure why the pantheon is in the game.

    Founder: Hero Worship (Receive Faith, Golden Age points, and GG/GA points when you conquer a City). As far as I can tell nobody benefits from GG/GAs as much as Japan so again, if Japan can't justify grabbing this founder then I don't know who can.

    Followers: Orders (+15EXP for units and faith from kills). More EXP means more culture/science from Dojos and I'll plan to war a lot so Orders can generate a decent amount of faith too. For the 2nd follower any of the buildings that give great work slots can be helpful (it can be difficult to have enough slots if you generate lots of great works from the GG->Artist/Writer/Musician mechanic early on) or any of the yields from follower beliefs can be helpful depending on what yield you may be lacking.

    Enhancer: Zealotry might be an ideal choice. Since Japan cares so much about unit EXP the ability to buy units with faith and get full EXP is a nice benefit. Many of the other enhancers can work, though, so I'd likely be flexible here.

    Reformation: Defender of the Faith (combat bonus in own lands, against other religions, and faith/culture from defensive buildings) triples down on faith/culture from the wall line of buildings. I might find myself fighting offensive and defensive wars at the same time (may as well harvest as much EXP and GG/GA points as possible!) so the combat bonuses will likely get a good amount of play. Seems to be right up Japan's alley.

    Policies:

    Authority- If for no other reason, the ability to faith buy GGs later on means I really want to take Authority. You could try to count on being able to Reform into 'To the Glory of God' (faith buy any great people regardless of policies) but that just seems too risky to me. And besides- I'm planning on warring A LOT so Authority will help me do so and give me more benefits from successful war.

    Fealty- Highlights include:

    -Nobility's boosts to Armory (aka Dojo) and Castles which will be high priority buildings for me
    -Burgher's double border growth during WLTKD pairs nicely with Authority's Tribute policy
    -Some generally good benefits to wide (yields and city defense in all cities)
    -boosts to internal trade routes (there's a decent chance I'll be at war with neighbors and CSs, if I haven't already conquered the CSs so internal trade routes might sometimes be my only option)

    I could see the case for Artistry as well, especially given that my eventual win condition is tourism. However, a bunch of Artistry's benefits are somewhat at odds with how I plan to play Japan. I don't particularly care about guilds- it's unlikely that working guilds will give me more artists/writers/musicians because of how the GG/GA mechanic works. You get 50% of the points needed for the next artist/writer/musician for every GG/GA spawn which will likely outpace my ability to generate many of them the old fashioned way. I also probably don't care about the +tourism modifier on open borders- I'll likely be hated by much of the world and won't have open borders most likely. I'm also not sure if the great person rate boosts also affect GG/GA points- if they do that could be interesting but if they don't it's another benefit I don't care a ton about. Last- I plan to conquer most of my wonders rather than build them myself.

    Imperialism- Just like Authority, the ability to faith buy Admirals is central to my plan, aside from the rest of the tree being full of more benefits to war, more yields on the barracks line and better yields on citadels, and higher rates of GG/GA generation.

    Autocracy- Yet more synergy! Highlights most particular to this Japan plan include:

    -Elite Forces (Newly created Military Units receive +15 Experience. Military Units gain 50% more Experience from combat.)
    -Futurism (Tourism bonus from Historic Events increased by 20%. +2 Culture from Great Works. Earn 50 Tourism when you conquer a city for the first time, scaling with Era and city size.)
    There's also Lebensraum's synergy with GGs and with Tribute/Burghers and Military Industrial Complex's more yields on defensive buildings on top of yet even more benefits and bonuses to war/conquest.

    *******************************************

    Very Early game:

    Japan's early game (at least with the goals I've laid out) is actually pretty tough to pull off. My #1 priority in the early game is founding my religion ASAP to ensure that I get Hero Worship. I have found through repeated early game play-throughs that Hero Worship is picked very highly by the AI... maddeningly so. My conclusion is that you need to really focus on founding as fast as possible to give yourself the best chance at getting Hero Worship (if you get Hero Worship then you'll probably get Orders too, as it seems to be less prized by the AI).

    I see two paths to founding ASAP (the goal is probably ~T95 on Deity to give you a good chance at Hero Worship):

    1) Focus on unlocking Barracks and Walls while also expanding quickly to 3 cities. Shrine, Barracks, and Walls in all 3 early cities should get you to found fast enough, especially if your cities have decent production or decent gold for rush buying those buildings.

    2) Rush to Bronze Working for Statue of Zeus and Spearmen. Statue of Zeus gets your capital a free Barracks (faster than you can tech to Barracks yourself since Bronze Working requires 2 techs and Barracks requires 3). Meanwhile you quickly get to 4 spearmen and tribute nearby CSs for boosts that help you expand and knock out Shrines/Barracks/Walls. This may require tributing a religious CS to consistenly found fast enough.

    In my games I mostly stuck with #1- I didn't want to try #2 unless I found an early/nearby religious civ that I could tribute and that didn't happen very frequently. My early game went like this:

    Capital: Shrine->Monument->Warriors x3 or x4->Barracks->Settler->Wall

    I use my first 150 gold to rush buy a worker (happens around the time of the first or 2nd warrior production). Those initial warriors go barb hunting to get culture from kills/camps and get me to Imperium ASAP for the free settler (usually unlocked Imperium right around the time my settler finished production for 2x settlers). Pantheon on roughly turn 36 is God of Protections, of course. Initial research path is:

    Animal Husbandry->Mining->Military Theory->Pottery->Wheel->Construction

    The best lux to start with are mine improved luxes as you unlock that very early and can sell your initial copies for GPT to help rush buy shrines/rax/walls. Second best are Quarry improved (and in that case you might consider getting to Construction before Military Theory). Worst luxes are plantation or fish boat improved as getting to those techs is diametrically opposed to getting your UA's early culture/faith from walls/rax. Those luxes tend to give good unimproved yields, though, so perhaps the inability to sell them for early GPT is mostly offset.

    Build order for 2nd and 3rd city is shrine->barracks->wall. Even though the yields are better on barracks/wall than shrine I still go shrine first just because the faith/production ratio is best on the shrine and right now faith is the most important yield to me. Use any gold to rush buy these buildings if their completion will make you found sooner. You should found at roughly turn 95ish and usually no later than turn 100 which concludes the 'Very Early Game'.

    *******************************************

    Rest of Early Game:

    After this initial early rush for your religion it's time to stabilize and set yourself up for the rest of the game. My next priorities are:

    1) Settle additional cities that I want (monopoly securing, defensive locations, Iron acquisition which is critical if you want to use your UU later on...)

    2) Get techs for fishboat/plantation luxeries or get to Forges/Arenas if I have mining luxeries.

    3) Get councils up and get to Writing for Libraries. If GPT is an issue get Trading for markets/trade routes.

    4) Get an initial military in place for defense and to maybe start some trouble. I try to limit the number of warriors/spearmen because I will eventually want the bulk of my melee to be swordsmen->samurai so instead focus on mounted, range, and siege units for now. If I war early I don't necessarily have to take cities (I don't have much in the way of war bonuses going yet, really) as just getting experience, kill yields, and great generals is still a nice benefit.

    5) Have an eye to reaching for the Dojos/Samurai tech. You can somewhat ignore much of the top of the tech tree- you don't particularly need guilds (you aren't reliant on working specialists to get your artists/writers/musicians) or universities (Dojos have a lot of science themselves) so over reaching in the bottom half is probably the right play.

    6) Get Orders in all of my cities and then save up for enhancement. My assumption is that I will eventually reform after conquering and converting cities and I would rather not spread Orders to my nearby neighbors (aka victims).

    Once your initial empire is stable and you've got Dojos/Samurais coming online it is time to conquer.

    *******************************************

    Rest of the Game:

    I have less to say here as at this point your game diverges based on your own circumstances. The goal is, of course, to conquer your way to a tourism victory in whatever fashion best suites your game. I would keep an eye on trying for Brandenburg Gate for the +EXP benefits and free great general (Great Wall also gives one but you might lack writing/art/music slots that early in the game!). I would consider conquering CSs as well because the Hero Worship and Authority/Imperialism benefits probably outweigh trying to worry about keeping them allied. Keep an eye out for world congress projects that give GG/GAs as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  2. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Japan is incredibly strong. I actually think they deserve a nerf. 33% progress towards :c5greatperson:GWAM in your capital would be more than enough.

    You will have to actually get into the game and decide on Artistry vs fealty. A wide game will hurt your tourism modifiers, so many of Fealty's wide-pushing bonuses clash with your ultimate goal of CV. Just because Fealty's bonuses are to castles and armories doesn't mean you won't be building universities, and you will feel that 4:tourism: per city in a CV.

    Japan can generate GWAMs more efficiently with warring, but that isn't a reason to ignore guilds. If you are actually aiming for a CV, you will still build and fill those slots, and a 25%:c5greatperson: rate on empire for your GWAMs is considerable (no, it doesn't affect your GG/GA rate). Artistry will also give you a free GP of your choice, which you can spend on an extra GG.

    Overall, I prefer Artistry for Japan, but that depends on if I have a steady source of wars without conquering on my own continent. If my neighbours are pushovers and I end up overrunnning them in classical, or expect to in medieval, then I'll go Fealty. If I have more of a fight on my hands, then I'll elect for Artistry.
     
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  3. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Good points!

    I think the counter argument to whether Japan needs a nerf is that it can be easy to stall out with him (which is what the AI typically does in my experience). He's a warmonger who has no real bonuses to help him fight until Dojo/Samurai. Japan is sort of high risk but high reward whereas a civ like Mongolia seems to always be an end game player in my games (low risk but probably lower reward).

    Regarding Artistry and working guilds- my thinking is that once I start being able to buy GG/GAs with faith I wouldn't expect to be able to produce artists/writers/musicians via specialists anymore. If the GG/GAs mechanic was something like "when a GG/GA is born have a 50% chance to spawn a free writer, artist, and musician" such that the mechanic didn't increase the number of great person points for the next writer/artist/musician then I would definitely still be prioritizing their specialists. But with the current mechanic the GG/GAs would seem likely to outpace working specialists. They can still be worked for their culture, of course, but the great person points would likely be wasted I think.

    However, your suggestion of +33% points to the next writer/artist/musician would probably be enough to make it much more likely that specialists would continue to contribute toward spawning them instead of being overrun by GG/GAs.

    The other consideration I didn't mention when deciding Artistry/Fealty is whether faith buying artists or musicians would be better. Artists are presumably better for getting to 10 ideology tenets via restarting golden ages when needed while musicians are presumably better for late game tourism bombs to get you over the top of a culture hold out. It's probably difficult to predict which will be more needed late game when choosing your tree in the Renaissance, though.

    I'd agree that Fealty is probably better if conquest is likely to be successful while Artistry is better if conquest will likely be slower. My plan is that conquest will be successful (hence choosing Hero Worship, Authority/Imperialism/Autocracy, basically leaning into it). Of course, "our conquest will be successful" is often hubris in civ and history :lol:
     
  4. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Perhaps I am misunderstanding something? You seem to be claiming that if you finish a GWAM via GG/GA birth then the remaining GPs don't overflow into the next GWAM. This has not been my experience.

    If you have 105/200 :c5greatperson:GWriter progress when a :c5capital:GGeneral is born, you will get 100:c5greatperson:GWriter Points, and you will have 5/400:c5greatperson:GWriter progress for the next one. GG/GA births don't zero-out your progress.

    Guilds generate GWAMs normally; they aren't cancelled out by GG/GA births. GG/GA births simply give a dump of additional GPPs without interfering with guilds.
     
  5. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Nope- you are correct that GP points from other sources do carry over. The reason the GG/GA mechanic can result in specialists never producing a writer/artist/musician is because the writers/artists/musicians created via GG/GAs increase the cost of the next writer/artist/musician. So if you are generating GG/GAs quickly enough (and because the GG/GAs always give you 50% of the total GP points needed) you can end up increasing the cost so fast that specialists can't ever actually meaningfully contribute.

    One could probably try to model this in a spreadsheet to see how it plays out (the tough/variable part is making assumptions about how quickly you generate GG/GAs via combat probably). I did something similar with the Celts at one time to prove to myself that a Celtic Hall musician specialist in a non-musician-guild city will probably never produce a great musician. Maybe I will try to do it with this too, but that depends on how bored I get at work (my posting on this forum is directly correlated with how bored I am at my job...).
     
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  6. andersw

    andersw King

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    I feel like with Japan as with Denmark that if you don't have much (or any) iron I feel a bit hosed.
    However Japan is much much stronger without the UU thanks to gg synergy and the yields long term if you get Hero worship, faithbuy generals (and later admirals) is just crazy.
     
  7. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Yes- it would feel really bad to play a civ and not get to use their UU. I will settle some pretty questionable cities as Japan just for a 6 yield iron tile:lol:
     
  8. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I definitely go Artistry as Japan....and then Autocracy's Lebensarum is just awesome late game. I usually have a bucket of GGs just waiting to passively take over someone's territory.

    I think Japan has two really good war periods:

    1) The Samurai timing. Hard to argue with this very solid UU that can very quickly get to City Assault Promotions.
    2) Fusiliers. Fusiliers are a strong unit when they come out, and upgraded samurais with all of their promotions get a very strong boost at this point in the game.
     
  9. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    2 odd things I've noticed in my Japan playthrough:

    1) Autocracy's Futurism tenet didn't seem to give my great works more culture.

    2) At some point my musicians and writers could no longer be used to create great works even though I had available slots. I wonder if the game ran out of great works in its list or something? My artists could still make new art though. Though I can't imagine an 8 civ game would exceed such a limit?
     
  10. andersw

    andersw King

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    I've used both fealty and artistry and I'm still not 100% sure which one is best.
    Fealty scales so nice with wide, but I think I used artistry in my latest japanese venture.

    Yes, I've read there is a limit on great persons and you can run out, it is however rare.
     
  11. MarvelOfRain

    MarvelOfRain Chieftain

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    But how exactly do you go about playing Japan towards militaristic tourism victory? You have a strong military force and need get something out of it + both Hero Worship and Authority give you bonuses for city conquests. At the same time more cities will make cultural much harder... Do you puppet the cities? Raze them? Or are the bonuses for GWAM points good enough to help you win a cultural victory even with a huge empire?
     
  12. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I tend to annex early in the game when the cities I conquer likely have time to become net positives. Later on when you get puppet yield improvements from Imperialism I start leaving things as puppets as it becomes more difficult to justify annexation at that point.

    There isn't much that I raze usually- it would have to be a city without much of any redeeming qualities.

    As for actually winning, the idea would be to probably conquer the biggest culture runaways to do so. Conquering culture runaways likely means you gain their wonders and at least some additional great works from their cities in addition to the crazy number you generate yourself. That allows your tourism to then overtake the world.

    In my particular game I was able to largely conquer my continent but Portugal and the Maya on the other continent managed to both runaway, especially in techs. I needed to knock them both down a peg but by the time I was mounting an amphibious assault the troop tech difference was just too great and it became hopeless. I had been counting on Songhai on their continent to keep them in check but he apparently failed to do so. That's the danger of continents I suppose.
     
  13. MarvelOfRain

    MarvelOfRain Chieftain

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    How many cities do you get usually? Do you go for the full 12+ (-75%) or do you try to keep your empire smaller? I usually I find myself building 5-7 cities as Authority with 3-4 coming from my 1st conquest - which already puts me at about 10 cities in the midgame (-63% already) and going for tourism with that sounds quite hard.
     
  14. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I guess I haven't found wide tourism to be that problematic. Polynesia can go wide and win tourism without having to conquer anyone, for instance. In this case Japan would be doing it partially by conquering culture runaways. When it goes right the %penalty on your tourism from being wide just wouldn't matter.
     
  15. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Not as rare as you might think I guess. This comment has come up a lot lately...

    If @Gazebo could incorporate this mod into VP, then we could have another important great work, which would help ease this problem
     
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  16. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Agreed. I have to believe something changed recently. I have played plenty of Tradition TALL games and never had this problem, and then a few versions ago was the first time I had gotten it, and I didn't even consider myself to have that many great works at the time.
     
  17. MarvelOfRain

    MarvelOfRain Chieftain

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    i will try it out. It is possible that I have been just focused on the modifier to much.
     
  18. KaoticKanine

    KaoticKanine Chieftain

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    I don't know. That great work looks like it belongs in the trash xP
     
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  19. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    It's the first time I've ever seen it happen in my games. It severely reduced the attractiveness of this strategy with Japan. The last 5 or 6 musicians I spawned were pretty useless as it was too early in the game to be using them as tourism bombs.
     
  20. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    Challenge: Win Science Victory with Japan using only your starting city, Imperialism Settler, and any Capital you end up being forced to conquer. Raze everything else and just harvest experience to funnel it into your capital with minimal Culture/Science costs from low # of cities.

    Just a fun idea I had. :D
     

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