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King to Emperor

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by footslogger, Mar 17, 2019.

  1. footslogger

    footslogger Warlord

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    I've had wins in GS in all the categories apart from Score, playing at king level. I found the religious and domination victories particularly enjoyable as I don't usually play that way. I've chosen different civs each time, some old, some new, which has kept up my interest. Overall though I'm finding king level just a bit too easy now; there's never any real chance of anyone catching me after the first couple of eras. I've tried emperor a few times but find the AI bonuses too strong for me. I tend to give up without finishing, which could be part of the problem. But I don't feel as if I am closing the gap on the leading civs in any game. Are there special techniques required for the move from king to emperor? If it means having to play in too gamey a way I don't think I'll bother.
     
  2. knighterrant81

    knighterrant81 Warlord

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    I just made this jump a few months ago. Here's a list of things I've adopted into my playstyle to be more successful:

    • Early expansion is always important. It can be accomplished peacefully, using Settlers, or through warfare. The hardest bonus to overcome is actually the additional Settler the AI gets at the start. It causes quite a jump in difficulty from King.
    • Consider inserting more early Slingers/Warriors into your build orders. Don't worry if you don't have Agoge slotted. I started doing that and it did help - I've gone back to scout-builder-settler more and more, lately. However, I always have a trigger finger on that Slinger button.
    • Archer/warrior rushes are less effective. Early game UUs really help for aggression. Swordsman rushes can work if you get the right Eurekas and your neighbors are close. You also need a lot of gold to upgrade your warriors. Knight rushes don't seem to work as well in GS - it is just a little slow and the new resource system seems to tip the balance towards ineffectiveness. Horseman rushes are where it is at, at least to start with.
    • Skip religions unless you are going for a religious victory, at least to start.
    • Be more flexible. I pretty much always get stopped in my first rush somehow - my Hungary game right now I got stuffed in my conquest of India by Loyalty - just a little too far away, and his cities were just a little too close together. Instead of trying to force it and just falling behind, I razed a city, signed a truce, and turned my sights towards Germany. He was close enough, and I had a city-state I could levy military from right on his border. I still struggled with Loyalty, but I managed to get a toe-hold. Later, India was easy to mop up. The early game is less about obliterating your neighbors than it is about catching up - so you can absolutely obliterate them later. Razing Chandra's city and decimating his military meant he was so far behind when I was done with Germany he just fell apart when I came back for him. I'd say this also goes for the early game - its less about a concrete "build order" and more about adapting to your surroundings.
    • Play more defensively - you need to build an early military, but not necessarily for early conquest, but to defend yourself from aggressive AI with extra cities and production bonuses.
    • Delay building districts. You might build one Campus for the State Workforce Inspiration, and possibly the Government Plaza early, but even those are not that high priority.
    • Build more Settlers, take more land. Some rules of thumb - if it will take less than 12 turns to build a Settler, do it. 7 cities by turn 70, or 10 cities by turn 100. Those are a little bit "pie in the sky" goals sometimes, but shoot for the moon, hit the stars!
    • Plan your wonders. You can build wonders, you just can't dawdle. Plan ahead, and only try to build 2-3 at the most per era.
    Early Game things:

    - I see people say "be flexible, be adaptable" all the time on this forum, and then no one ever goes into detail about this! Here's some additional thoughts on the early game:

    • Your first city location. Settling on a Luxury is very helpful - you can sell it to the AI. Also, be on the lookout for Plains/Hills tiles. They give you +1 production in your capital city for the rest of the game. Be on the lookout for 2f/2p (or better) tiles that you can work immediately. It goes without saying, but Ocean access is NOT important (Navies are kinda pointless until later) and river access IS (housing is important NOW).
    • Here's a thought: it really only takes maybe two or three overpowered tiles to create an exceptional city. It doesn't have to have 5 hills or something in order to be amazing.
    • Builder-->Craftsmanship: if you see a lot of bonus tiles you can immediately improve (like, say, Copper, Rice, Wheat or Cattle), consider grabbing the early Builder and rush Craftsmanship for Agoge. Again, don't expect to run over a neighbor with an early Agoge rush like you can at King, but it is a boost to your culture, gets you closer to Political Philosophy, and helps you quickly and efficiently create an army. Just beware: time spent building an army is time NOT spent building Settlers. If you are worried the AI is going to out-forward-settle you, then just keep building Settlers. If you feel you need the army to defend yourself, go nuts.
    • Settle aggressively. Settle towards the Loyalty pressure. You want to block off as much open territory for yourself as possible. You can always settle the stuff behind you later, but if you snooze on the stuff in-between you and your neighbor, you lose!
    • The Scout debate: Scouts are good. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Its just the opportunity cost and sometimes uncertain benefits. Send them down rivers (where city-states and civs are likely to spawn) in the direction opposite to your Warrior. Try to not waste their moves by scouting stuff you already know is a likely dead end. They can help if you are having trouble with Ancient Era Score. They don't have to be your first build to be effective. You can also use them to set up city sieges later on. All that said, you can do just fine NOT building them, too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  3. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Try to build things that you need now.

    For example, a classic mistake is to see a coastal site and say, "that's a great harbor" spot, only to find out it takes forever to get said harbor and you're stuck with a rubbish city. So if you need troops to defend, build troops to defend. Production is the most important thing early game; everything else is secondary.

    Likewise, the tiles that immediately surround a city are the most important because tile expansion takes a long time. Spending 300 of your early gold to get your +3 campus spot looks cool, but it's also going to cost you the game. As for gold, be stingy. Do not spend it willy nilly because it does add up over time.

    If you have a neighbor, exploit them. Sell your first luxury to them for some gold, and maybe steal their builders/settlers.

    In line with the above, keep it simple. Build a campus in every city. Holy Sites if you want to go religion victory, Theater if you go culture. Don't build Industrial Zones, etc. Trade districts are great if you need gold, but don't go crazy and overbuild them if you don't need it.

    You want to make the most out of cards. For example, if you have the card that boosts settler production, you want to do a lot of that when the card is active. Build under the influence of cards as much as you can.

    Until you are more confident, you should mostly ignore most wonders unless you are confident you can chop it out with Magnus. There are not many wonders worth your while besides Colosseum. Most one city wonders aren't worth it beyond the memes-- Chichen Itza and Ruhr Valley are mostly traps. They look good, but are mistakes like 95% of the time if you're looking to win. I only build them because they look pretty.

    Also, run lots of projects. If you want to be extra tryhard, then place your districts asap, but don't actually build them until later. This makes the production cost less.

    If you're playing aggressive early on (and you should), try to avoid a dark age. The scout can be very useful there. If you're not being aggressive, it really doesn't matter.

    Oh, and chop anything that gives production. Unless you're Maori who gains bonuses from those resources.

    Professional Army (50% upgrade cost) is still overpowered. Thus, it's good to make a large army early on so you may upgrade it over time. In general, hard building units later in the game is not a good idea. Prebuilding is ideal.

    Unless you're going for a cultural win or have scary neighbors, for the most part, I suggest ignoring diplomacy early game and simply sack your neighbors. I mean if you make a friend or two from joint warring that's cool and alliances are nice, but having more cities is better. I don't even waste gold sending delegations most of the time.

    Beating emperor doesn't require any gamey/tryhard tactics, honestly. Just some fundamentals. However, unless you are really bored at King, I actually don't really think you're actually missing much. Same dumb AI after all, which is why I've never really appreciated difficulty settings for this series as a whole. You might also try playing King on more random maps or larger maps. Or with weak civs, or other special challenges.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
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  4. knighterrant81

    knighterrant81 Warlord

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    A couple of wonders I'd recommend paying attention to:

    Colosseum.
    Pyramids.
    Forbidden Palace.
    Big Ben.
    Petra.
    Machu Picchu.

    None are required, but can be game-changing in the right circumstances.
     
  5. greenblade

    greenblade Chieftain

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    There is an interesting combination in GS: Colosseum + Chichen Itza + Rena.

    Colosseum requires Entertainment Complex. A Zoo from that district adds +1 Science to every rainforest & marsh tile. Chichen Itza adds +1 production & +2 culture to rainforests. Reyna's Forestry Management promotion gives +2 Gold to each unimproved feature. (Should be +4 Gold if she wants to be a real environmentalist.)

    I managed to pull this out in a city with a lot of rainforests and resulted in very interesting tile productions. But this city has nothing to do with the victory -- it was not even the top 3 most important cities in my empire. It just had a satisfying tile yield icon and its border growth annoyed Cyrus. To be honest, I noticed this opportunity only because I didn't have enough builders to chop all these rainforests when Magnus was in town the first time.

    With few exceptions (Pyramids), wonders are for fun. The first lesson I learned on Emperor was ignore wonder and religion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
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  6. Kmart_Elvis

    Kmart_Elvis King

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    Find your favorite and/or best civ. Play to their strengths and study specific strategies with them. While there is a meta to the game, there's quite a bit of depth when it comes to unique strategies. Governors, policy cards, religious beliefs, golden age bonuses, techs/civics to rush, city states, wonders, etc. can be necessary for some civs but useless for others. Everything has an opportunity cost in the game, so focus on learning a civ optimally. For example, let's say you really like the Khmer. Reliquaries is an amazing belief that synergizes with them, whereas Feed the World might be kinda pointless since you already get enough food. Military Engineering would be an important tech to get because you unlock domreys. Things like that.
     
  7. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    As others have said, the fact that AI starts with an extra Settler makes a pretty big impact. Prepare for early DoW and be prepared to not get a religion unless you make a focused investment in it - which means early Holy Site + multiple prayer projects, which is on short term a bad investment and will set you back on culture, science, gold or production, because the holy site will take a district slot you'd otherwise have used for either a Campus, Theatre Square, Commercial Hub or Industrial Zone. Also, if you get a religion, be prepared to have last pick on most beliefs, which depending on number of players may leave you with more or less unfavorable choices (on Immortal my default remaining picks on standard size map is Choral Music couple with Holy Orders (taken when founding to secure this), Tithe (because AI never picks this) and either Stupas (+1 happiness) or Pagodas (+2 housing)).

    All that being said, getting a religion is not necessarily bad in the long run, the faith will be very helpful in late game, a belief like Choral Music makes for a great culture source and basically makes your Holy Sites act like pseudo-Theatre Squares (but will miss out on the tourism from the great works), and Tithe can be a significant gold source.
     
  8. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    I can still win on emperor without conquering any cities, but it's a lot closer. You have to play a "tighter" game. Unfortunately I lose out on most of the wonders I tried for on emperor, you pretty much have to chop to get them, and I'm not a chop heavy player.

    I found the Inca were neck to neck with me up until Mars expedition project, but once I slotted in International Space Agency, I really pulled ahead of the Inca, and they had no real shot of actually beating me to science victory.
     
  9. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    “No one ever.”?
    Well flexibility means a lot of detail and I am always posting and saying you have to be flexible but if you read what is written before that point it normally talks about the options.
    Example here
    Trying to get better at deity, a bunch of questions for people who know more...
    There is also a good phases post above it which should help the OP.
     
  10. Chefofrats

    Chefofrats Prince

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    For what it's worth, the strategy requirements of Emperor difficulty - expertly explained above by others - mean such sacrifices to the roleplay and historical fantasy aspects of the game that I stick to King difficulty. Even though I won games on all the difficulties up to and including Deity, they just were not enjoyable. Efficiency hurts immersion. Anyway, I just wanted to share my perspective and perhaps encourage some players to embrace King difficulty as the ultimate "story mode".
     
  11. Naeshar

    Naeshar Warlord

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    I fully agree with Chefofrats.
    I am a keen King player, lower difficulties are troublesome for the AI (barb crippling) and on Emperor the bonuses are just a bit strong. Mainly the starting settler. At King the game can be played and won fairly exploit-free, as described above by several people, emp and above you must resort to early war, luxury trade exploit, ignore religion... it forces you to really build some army and push for expansion, on the other hand. Too much efficiency stains the poetry.

    Go to emperor only if you really intrinsically need the challenge. Don't care what others say.
     
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  12. footslogger

    footslogger Warlord

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    Many thanks for all the useful and often detailed advice. I take the main point about the need for aggressive expansion early on. I've been a bit too leisurely about that and then get hemmed in. In King games I'm often happy just to play very tall with five or six cities. It seems that's a dangerous strategy at Emperor. At King I tend to be blase about building an early military but when I behaved like that in a recent Emperor game Shaka had soon taken my newest city with three catapults and three warriors against my solitary archer. I was shocked and a little pleased at the same time - shocked because I think that's the first time I've lost a city to the AI since Civ6 came out and pleased because it introduces a much-needed fear factor into the game. If only for that reason I intend to persevere with Emperor. Oh, and because, not yet having come even close to an Emperor victory, I feel that my manhood is at stake! I might go back to King later if it seems more enjoyable, but for now I have to get that first Emperor victory.
     
  13. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    Not necessary as I mentioned above. Even deity can be won without early war, though I can't do it.

    This I agree with

    A lot depends on diplomacy. In my Netherlands game mentioned above I had a small military. Envoy early, get those chain friendships going and you should be fine. Get friendship going before their not meeting agenda message triggers. Always have to watch out for early wars until then however.
     
  14. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    The thing I did when going from King to Emperor was switching from continents to island plates. On island plates there is less chance to get overrun early on, gives you some time get going. Domination is way too easy tough because AI stinks at using navies and with pretty much every city within range of battleships it's an easy win.
     
  15. Red_warning

    Red_warning Warlord

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    I reckon that the jump from king and upwards is the most difficult one because of the strong head start the AI will receive in tech and settlers. Taking out a close neighbour early on usually does it for me, not only do you add their cities to your empire but you are also left with a lot of unclaimed land to expand into.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
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  16. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I agree to some extent. I played on Emperor for a long time, and I currently play on Immortal, and I don't optimize my gameplay and do at least a fair extent of "roleplaying". I.e. I don't chop everything, I don't spam campus in every city, I actually go for a religion (although about that have to say I use a mod that increases maximum number of religions, which is part of what makes that possible). I'll also say I get to build a fair amount of wonders (although not a lot of very early ones, Pyramids sometimes though it can be tough, Petra rarely, Oracle occasionally but also tough, renaissance onwards is much more viable). And I can still win on this level. So you can do a certain element of roleplaying, but obviously not quite as liberally as on king. Immortal starts to get tight, you need to do some conquering to keep up.
     
  17. Weraptor

    Weraptor King

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    Also, just play. You will naturally get better at civ just by playing it, much like everything else.
     
  18. WillowBrook

    WillowBrook Lurker

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    I've struggled with this going from king to emperor. I like to see myself in the lead. But now I try to stick it out if I like the other aspects of the game apart from relative size/advancement. I have a penchant for expansion, which really helps. I figure if I have as many cities as anyone else by the renaissance, and they're in decent locations, I'll be fine, even if mine aren't as developed yet.

    I should note that I usually don't play Pangaea for less chance of a difficult close neighbor. And I sometimes reduce the number of major civs from the default and/or make sea level low for more land to expand.
     
  19. bonafide11

    bonafide11 Worker

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    On any difficulty, the biggest equalizer is warfare. Just be aggressive early and often. Districts can wait. Wonders are nice but not necessary to build. Units are cheaper and can help you grow much faster.
     
  20. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    I understand your point of view but at some point King just felt too easy. When I can horde almost all the wonders it becomes a bit lame. The step to Emperor with it's two free settlers for AI is a tad steep though.
     

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