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Knowing When To Build Wonders

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by ratrangerm, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    I'd like some wonder advice too. When I first started about 2 months ago, I was on Noble level (vanilla) and could build early wonders so I went for them. If I wasn't that +2 cultural civ trait (forget its name) I would build stonehenge, and then grab the pyramids for representation early (since I normallly had only 3 big cities by then and the research boost is nice too).

    Now I'm on Prince (warlords) and my strategy has changed, I go for the early Oracle in my second city (normally with copper so a production city). If I'm financial I can normally get civil srvice, even on Prince, with some cottages and cash from huts. Otherwise I get code of laws or iron working. Then I go for the great library but am normally beaten to it by the AI, probably because I go meditation->priesthood rather than poly for literature. I'm always first to alphabet. Then I'm wonderless for the rest of the game except I seem to always build the eiffel tower even though I'm not going for cultural by then, but it helps with the domination style land grabbing, a bit. I get the space elevator of course for the space race backup (well primary I suppose) plan, which seems to be my only chance at Prince at the moment (although my last game and first win I could have gone for domination if I had backstabbed my buddy Roosevelt but I like to play fair-ish).

    So what early/mid-game wonders should I be going for? I'm normally building infrastucture (forges, libraries, factories, health and happy i.e. markets and grocers) plus a navy to stop intercontinental shenanigans when they happen.

    It just seems like with the Oracle ther's a lot of catching up to do in the first quarter of the game and don't build any wonders (world wonders anyway) until the modern era. What good ones would improve my play for various leaders/win types?

    I can normally win the liberalism race on Prince but by then I seem to lack some crucial techs for invading others (i.e. I haven't got feudalism and am facing longbows, and no-one wants to trade, ok so I build cats and maces but AIs love to be on a hill and city garison promos means a lot of losses and my stack just peters out, so I have to sue for peace - normally getting a so-so tech or cash out of it).

    So any advice chaps/chapesses? I tend to cottage mainly but am warming towards high food since in my first win on Prince I captured Madrid on floodplains and it was GP heaven, shame it was a triple holy city so that meant priests - which only came from the Oracle city anyway, wasn't a good site for Oxford or Wall Street - only two cottages - but that was OK, built the NE and should have built globe theatre I suppose but I think I went for the hermitage instead, a sort of nothing build really, I wasn't going to get a cultural victory anyway).

    My win was a bit of a fluke anyway, Izzy declared war early and comitted suicide and then Ragnar attacked but only pillaged when he could have finished me off, I had to do suicide pike followed by a knight to finish off each cavalry (which he didn't stack, duh). Luckily I bribed Roosevelt to attack with liberalism, he was more advanced than me at that stage.

    So any comments or suggestions are welcome.
     
  2. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Hey ParadigmShifter,

    I have a few thoughts for you.

    I'm fond of the Great Library as well. You're correct, you're losing out on it because you're pursuing the cheaper Meditation rather than Polytheism tech early on. If you want the GL, grab Polytheism early.

    I find the mid-game wonders are kind of uninspiring. I'll often grab Nationalism if I win the Liberalism race, more often than Astronomy these days, and then go after the Taj for a Golden Age--provided I have marble and a good production city with nothing better to do. Other than that, I tend to ignore most of the mid-game wonders.

    The only exceptions are if I'm playing as a Spiritual leader and have stone, I'll pursue both the Spiral Minaret and the University of Sankore, but the latter is a Warlords wonder and it sounds like you're playing Civ IV vanilla.

    Frankly, I find that in the mid-game a lot of very useful infrastructure buildings become available, such as universities, grocers, banks, and drydocks, and they tend to do you more good in the long run than wonders. Banks and universities are also required for two of the best national wonders (Wall Street and Oxford, respectively), so they tend to be a high priority not only for their own very valuable benefits. In addition, with Macemen, Pikemen, and then gunpowder units appearing, you have to keep a steady stream of hammers going towards your military.

    So don't worry too much about missing out on mid-game wonders is my message in a nutshell.
     
  3. ParadigmShifter

    ParadigmShifter Random Nonsense Generator

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    Cheers, so I'm not missing out on much except I should go for poly earlier to make the GL more of a goer. Might make the Oracle harder to get, I don't seem to start with mysticism much (still playing random leaders - I am playing warlords now BTW) I tend to ignore divine right so rarely build the wonders enabled by them, and don't tend to build many religious buildings since I only get Confucianism in most games, and then Taoism on the way to lib via philo.

    I tell a lie... I didi build Colossus iin my first win on ptince, helped a bit with the cash flow and it was only 6 turns in my capital to build, and I had a better production city to crank out units (it had HE and later West point too). I rarely bother with other early wondrs though and don't build stonehenge (monument in second city to pop borders, after that I will be able to build a library instead or spread confusionism, it obsoletes too quick anyway and I normally need calendar for those bananas or dyes etc., since I tend to ignore monarchy for a while and go for civil service instead).

    Hey and I feel honoured that Sisiutil responds to my post your open games and walkthroughs are really good, aelf's too of course). It's a great game even more addictive than Advance Wars was for strategy fixes. Thanks!

    So where should I build the globe theatre and when. I don't tend to build it early since I've switched to hereditary rule (no pyramids anymore so no repro), and often afterwards slavery is petering out since I want to work my extra improved tiles. I only use nationalism in emergencies really (although I tend to get it from lib since it leads to democracy anyway). In my last game I went for PP from lib since I had lots of towns and villages.
     
  4. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    I'm slowly weaning myself away from my Oracle addiction. While Mysticism is often a must, I tend to trade for Polytheism and Priesthood now once I have Alphabet. There are just too many other vital techs to be had early on; the path to the Oracle is a bit of a diversion, frankly.

    I'm not as big a fan of the Globe Theatre as a lot of other people, for the reasons you mention, and also because Drama is a low priority for me. I tend to build it in my Ironworks city just to make sure my late game wonder factory doesn't suffer from any unhappy citizens.
     
  5. vormuir

    vormuir Chieftain

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    Ratrangerm, just one correction:

    "Industrious civs need 50 percent less hammers to build Wonders."

    That's not quite right. Industrious civs -add- 50% to their hammers when building Wonders. As a result, they need 2/3 as many hammers.

    Additional wrinkle: remember that the game always rounds down halves. So, in practice you'll produce Wonders 2/3 as fast _at best_.

    Example: let's say you have a city producing 5 hammers. You want to build Stonehenge, which costs 120 hammers. For a normal civ, this will take 24 turns. An industrious civ will produce 7 hammers/turn, since 5 + 50% rounds down to 7. That will give you Stonehenge in 18 turns, with some hammers left over to the next build.

    This is not to say that Industrious sucks. It's a pretty good trait! But half-price Wonders would make it totally overpowered.


    Waldo
     
  6. vormuir

    vormuir Chieftain

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    Ratrangerm, just one correction:

    "Industrious civs need 50 percent less hammers to build Wonders."

    That's not quite right. Industrious civs -add- 50% to their hammers when building Wonders. As a result, they need 2/3 as many hammers.

    Additional wrinkle: remember that the game always rounds down halves. So, in practice you'll produce Wonders 2/3 as fast _at best_.

    Example: let's say you have a city producing 5 hammers. You want to build Stonehenge, which costs 120 hammers. For a normal civ, this will take 24 turns. An industrious civ will produce 7 hammers/turn, since 5 + 50% rounds down to 7. That will give you Stonehenge in 18 turns, with some hammers left over to the next build.

    This is not to say that Industrious sucks. It's a pretty good trait! But half-price Wonders would make it totally overpowered.


    Waldo
     
  7. vormuir

    vormuir Chieftain

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    Speaking of Industrious, no discussion of Wonders is complete without the Industrious Virtual Wonder Hack.

    It's simple: if you're Industrious, and you have a city with nothing better to do, have it work on a Wonder that you know you can't possibly get. Like, start building the Pyramids in 500 BC, centuries after everyone else has Masonry.

    Very probably, you'll work the Pyramids for a few turns and then get the "Paris can no longer build the Pyramids" message.

    Here's the hack: you produced 50% more hammers, right? So you'll get 50% more gold.

    IOW, it's a way to produce cash for a few turns at a 50% bonus. It's not a game-breaker, but it's a nice little hack that can occasionally provide some extra cash.


    Waldo
     
  8. vormuir

    vormuir Chieftain

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    A proposed expansion to the Great Lighthouse entry.

    "Trade routes can vary greatly in value. If you are on an isolated island or continent, you'll only have trade routes with yourself. These only generate +1 or at most +2 commerce. In this case, it's really not worth building the Great Lighthouse.

    "On the other hand, if you are in contact with many other civilizations, and have Open Borders agreements with more than one of them, this Wonder rises in value. By the midgame, trade routes can often produce +3 to +5 commerce. Thus, adding two more can give 6 or 10 commerce -- which the simple addition of a Harbor can boost another 50%, to 9 to 15. If you're at 70% research, that's 7-10 beakers and another 3-5 gold per turn in each coastal city. In this case, the Great Lighthouse is a very good value indeed!"

    "The Great Lighthouse recieves a boost from Astronomy (which allows trans-ocean trade routes), so if you build it, make Astronomy a priority. It is rendered almost useless by Mercantilism, which closes off foreign trade. If you are planning to run a specialist economy, or are Philosophical, Mercantilism is attractive, so that makes the Lighthouse a bit less interesting. On the other hand, Mercantilism's effect only appears in the midgame, when this wonder is nearly obsolete anyway."


    Waldo
     
  9. vormuir

    vormuir Chieftain

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    And yes, I know that subsequent trade routes decrease in value. Still -- I've seen the GL deliver an extra 10 commerce in the midgame. It's pretty sweet. But you need to leverage it.


    Waldo
     
  10. LAnkou

    LAnkou Breizh A Tao

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    for the great lighthouse, don't forget the ToA!!!

    all these shiny little route getting doubled!!!!
     
  11. ratrangerm

    ratrangerm Chieftain

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    Now that I've become familiar with the new Wonders, I am starting to update the guide.

    Added the Wonders that were added in Warlords, and updated the guide on Vanilla Wonders to note changes made in BTS.

    Anyone may feel free to note other changes to Wonders in BTS, or from Vanilla to Warlords, and I'll make them.
     
  12. ChrisShaffer

    ChrisShaffer Board gamer

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    This isn't quite correct. A Great Engineer contributes a set number of hammers to a wonder, depending on map size, game speed (and perhaps other variables). This is enough to finish most early wonders in one shot. For later wonders, it might be enough for 3/4, 2/3/, 1/2 or even less.
     
  13. Celebithil

    Celebithil Chieftain

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    I'd want to give a comment on Versailles. As it is best suited when built in a far away place, it might be better to let the AI built it (and you conquer it). Of course you do not get much control over where it is built, but it saves you the production (and you don't need to research Divine Right).
     
  14. Spaced out

    Spaced out Chieftain

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    Thats not quite how trade routes work. They have a base value that seems to be bases on distance and size of trading city. Then all the bonuses are additive.

    So to get a city to make 9 commerce would take the following.

    Base is 3. To get to 9 you would need 200% of bonuses. Thats not hard to get. So you have a city with 3 base and a 200% bonus netting 9 commerce. You build a harbor there. Now you have a 3 base and 250% bonus. Giving you a new value of 10.5.

    There are tons of additive bonuses in the game:
    connected to capital
    foreign trade
    overseas trade
    population
    years of peace
    harbor
    customs house

    Because of this the bonus of ToA gets diluted down but the bonus of GLH gets magnified.

    The hidden benefit of the ToA is that it gives the city its built in a better chance of getting higher base trade routes. It appears that every turn the game calculates how much potential commerce each city can get from each other city via trade routes. Then starts at the top of the list and hands the routes out. If you can move up on the potential list by building more bonus buildings or getting more population your base trade routes will be better.

    Everytime an A.I. cities gets bigger it can move up as well and steal routes from you, or make yours even better.
     
  15. ratrangerm

    ratrangerm Chieftain

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    I have made a few changes to the guide based on people's suggestions.

    Also, I have added the section regarding National Wonders.

    I'll be getting to the BTS Wonders as time permits.
     
  16. humbe

    humbe Chieftain

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    Nice thread.. I used to be a wonder monkey that tried to build every wonder there was... Now I play mostly on emperor difficulty level and I build very few world wonders..Though the thread seems to mostly focus on the positives of building wonders, here are reasons why I don't build many of them.

    Firstly, there is two common negatives for all wonders. They all might be built by someone else before you finish, and thus you have wasted hammers to create cash. I haven't calculated the conversion rates, and building unfinished wonders to get cash might be useful if you're after cash, but I find that I'm often limited by my hammers so converting hammers to money is not usually what I'm looking for. Thus, if I can get a similar gain by not building the wonder, going for that is much safer as the AI can't screw it up for me to the same extent.

    Secondly, they all provide great person points you might not want. If you're careful about only building wonders with GA points that fit you then this is no problem, but to manage to get wonders built one often has to do it somewhere with decent production to get it built in time, and that is often not where you might want it.

    And here are some of my wonder specific reasons for not building them (I have ignored late wonders as I haven't really thought too much about them. I like the early years a lot and haven't played that many games that ended up as space victories in BTS.)

    STONEHENGE - I can build several obelisks for the same cost. For some cities the initial tiles to work might be next to it, so not all cities need to rush to expand borders. In these cities border expansion can often wait for temple or library. Additionally building it on high difficulties is hard as all can start building it really early, and it seems someone always do it early. I never go for this anymore on harder difficulties.

    PARTHENON - I don't want early GP to be artists unless I'm going for culture victory which I have only tried a two times. I want to have control of which GPs I get first as they are the cheapest to get. Thus I dislike this wonder and never build it unless going for culture victory.

    GREAT LIGHTHOUSE - This wonder sounds great to me. I dislike pangea maps so usually at at least half of my cities are coastal. But this early in the game I'm trying to get an optimal expand fast start on harder difficulties, which leaves me no room for building this. If on easy difficulty or I happen to end up with sailing early and a city where I can get it fast, I'd might give it a shot though. That seldom happens though.

    PYRAMIDS - I love representation, but the pyramids are just way too costly to build this early in the game when I'm trying to expand quickly. Additionally it is very hard to get on hard difficulty as the AI have usually completed it before I feel I have time to use any production on it. Nowadays I go for early monarchy instead to whip my population in place instead. That strategy is never ruined by the AI and give me units for defense in addition.

    ORACLE - I seldom go for early religion. Because you need to be lucky to get any as the AI needs less bulbs for it, because it hinders my early game due to not getting bronze working for chopping and worker techs early enough, and because I often get stupid AIs attacking me early due to they disliking me for having another religion. Thus I never get to build this before the AI has completed it long time ago. I think actually managing to slingshot oracle on hard difficulty will cost you more in hindering your initial expansion than you gain by getting a tech.

    COLOSSUS - Apart from water tiles with resources, I don't find water tiles much interesting. Actually getting out enough workers to improve your lands should leave you with much better tiles. Also I dislike getting merchant great persons early. The actual tiles with sea resources in them is not enough to warrant building such an expensive wonder in my opinion.

    THE HANGING GARDENS - I really like this wonder. I like great engineers too, so won't pollute my GP pool. However, the AIs seems to like mathematics a lot so I usually don't manage to build it in time, thus I stop trying in order to do something more useful with my hammers than getting cash.

    GREAT LIBRARY - Great for a science city that is going to get a lot of bonuses on top of the research generated by the extra scientists. But playing on hard difficulties where it is hard to beat the AIs to wonders, I usually try to go for liberalism early and get universities and oxford. Which leaves me researching literature way too late to get it.

    HAGIA SOPHIA - You can produce quite a few workers for the same cost. And at this point I usually have enough workers to improve lands at normal speed, as I've tried to expand quickly early.

    CHICHEN ITZA - I'd rather make units to defend cities that will beat down population in hereditery rule and be able to go on the offense if needed. If I can just sit in my city and watch the AI ruin all my improvements I'm lost anyays.

    ANGKOR WAT - I'm not that interested in priests, so don't go for this.

    NOTRE DAME - I usually have cities on multiple continents so I have to have enough other stuff to get happiness anyways. Thus don't want to invest hammers here.

    SISTINE CHAPEL - Great for cultural victory which I rarely go for. So not using it.

    SPIRAL MINARET - Often streamlining to liberalism and then very likely to go for free religion to improve AI relations with people which other state religions. Thus not that useful.

    VERSAILLES - Never seen how much I could gain from this, but I have seldom built forbidden palace at this time, and that I'm sure I can build.

    TAJ MAHAL - Never go for early nationalism so will never be able to build it. Don't seem that great though. Especially when not going for culture victory.

    WORLD WONDERS ADDED IN WARLORDS

    THE GREAT WALL - With stone, and with raging barbarians and/or on a map where I have lots of place to expand so I will get a lot of barbs hitting me, this wonder is great. Also, I don't really like to use slider to get spy points, so by getting this wonder, getting an early great spy or two, I can really kickstart getting some spy points without using the slider. But it comes very early so AI will build it early too, thus I seldom go for it without stone and/or lotsa chopping possibilities.

    TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS - This sounds like a great combination with great lighthouse. But again it requires early religions and prioritization to build it in front of AI. In addition it pollutes early GP pool with merchant points which I dislike. I want early GPs to be a single prophet if I have founded a religion, and otherwise scientists and/or engineers.

    UNIVERSITY OF SANKORE - This is an interesting wonder that one may be able to get on fairly high difficulties if one is streamlining towards universities/oxford/liberalism as I often do. If I'm first or close to first to paper, I go for this one.
     
  17. dalamb

    dalamb Chieftain

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    Costs: maybe make clear these are costs for Normal speed, and that multipliers apply for other speeds?
    Some corrections for BtS:
     
  18. duckstab

    duckstab Child of Noble Family

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    Good start, I think this'll be a useful guide.

    Couple comments of my own:

    Stonehenge: Normally I'd take a pass on this (indeed on all early wonders) if I'm doing an early rush, but one exception is if I have easy access to Stone and I'm not Creative. See NC XXXV, a lot of players built Stonehenge to get early border pops on conquered cities.

    The Colossus: I tend to agree that it expense and early obsolescence makes it unattractive in most cases. However, if I know that I'm going to be building most of my cities on the coast I may go for it. Especially if I'm playing as Willem -- the Dutch UU and UB provide a strong impetus to a coastal strategy and being Financial means the Colossus might have additional potential.
     
  19. fyermind

    fyermind Chieftain

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    There have been some posts in here worrying over polluted GP pools by building merchant wonders in the early game. I have come to love having my second GP be a great merchant however if I have managed to expand first and here is why.
    Trade Missions.
    Once the AIs tech Monarchy, which they prioritize at higher levels and grab quite quickly, they use HR garrisons and build up huge cities. The value of a trade mission is scaled by the size of the city you go to and the distance from your capital. The value is just reaching it's maximum if you pick the right city.
    Around this era a great scientist bulb is worth mathematics or a settled scientist since my first was an academy in my future bureau-cap cottage spam city, but my slider is low from expansion and I don't have markets yet so having my slider high in deficit research is very good for my economy (+12.5% commerce if I have just libraries in every city).
    I will run the biggest trade mission I can and then tech and 100% until I have widespread markets and courthouses. The total number of beakers gained from that trade route, spread over the next many turns, is often one and a half times the face value in gold because so much of it is running through my academy.
    Of course this doesn't mean I try to get a great merchant second to pull myself ahead, I'd rather have the secondary academy city or the settled scientist or the shrined confusionism or even the bulb waiting for philosophy, it just means if I had the chance to build GLH and exploit some early costal cities I don't complain about pollution.
     
  20. OneLeggedRhino

    OneLeggedRhino Chieftain

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    That's correct, but still not a full picture. Most wonders, you'll already have a +100% multiplier (Pyramids with stone, for example). In that case, Industrious bumps you to +150% production, which is only a 25% bump.

    (Here's how to do the math. For Pyramids with stone, each hammer you work is 2 hammers put into the mids. For mids with Ind and stone, each hammer you work is 2.5 into the mids. The extra 0.5 is 25% of 2).

    Got more multipliers, like Forge and Organized Religion? Ind's bonus becomes less meaningful.

    I find that Ind is useful for 2 situations:
    • Early game wonders where you have the resource. Here, everyone probably has the tech, so it really is a race to produce the building, and a 25% bump helps you do that. (If you don't have the resource, you'll probably still lose though).
    • Later wonders where you DON'T have the resource. Later wonders, you'll usually only go for if you get the tech first, so it's not really a production race. That means you can go for wonders without having the resource, but it's painfully slow. Ind makes it less painful.

    Later wonders where you have the resource? 20-25% production bump is nice, but nothing to get excited about.
     

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