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Liberty vs. Tradition

Discussion in 'Strategy Forum' started by EricB, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. EricB

    EricB Prince

    Feb 4, 2013
    I've been playing VEM and love it!

    I've tried going with Tradition first and also with Liberty first in different games. Both games had similar maps and settings. Prince difficulty, PerfectWorld3 map, huge map sizes on marathon speed.

    The huge maps pretty much guarantee that there is a lot of open space out there to expand into. I even increased the number of civilizations from 12 to 15 and city states from 24 to 28 (the max CS). There's still tons of open space available with lots of barbarians out there.

    The opener from Honor is a must with these settings as you're fighting barbarians almost non-stop for a very long time.

    In my Tradition game, I started off I had Egypt so I prioritized culture and wonder building while also maintaining a pretty strong army to deter aggressive civs from attacking me. I was attacked by Denmark since my army was weak at that time. I fought them off and ended up taking over their cities pretty early on. I found that the Oligarchy policy in Tradition is really strong. Maintenance costs are so high in VEM and this policy alone allows you to have no maintenance costs on basically half of my army.

    When the Oligarchy policy from Tradition is combined with Military Caste from Honor, then garrisons become even more powerful as they add happiness and culture. A garrison basically becomes an additional monument in the city.

    In the tradition game with Egypt I didn't build all the wonders, but concentrated on the best culture wonders. I had tons of excess happiness and was able to expand basically at will.

    In a 2nd game I played with Russia and went with a Liberty first strategy and expanded as quickly as possible. Happiness was a huge limiter to expansion as my happiness hovered between -5 and +10. I had plenty of resources due to the Siberian Riches Unique Ability of Russia, but couldn't really build much of an army. Maybe my strategy was all wrong using Liberty, but I had a really hard time with maintenance costs.

    Every garrison costs cash so maybe I shouldn't employ garrisons while going with Liberty unless the city is on the border. Production is definitely higher with Liberty as Meritocracy basically gives you +4 production in every city right from the start once you finish Liberty to get the free walls in every city. Castles also provide another +2 production with no maintenance costs later on.

    Is a tradition policy more in synch with a gold economy and liberty with a production economy?

    I also find that the policy in Liberty that decreases unhappiness by 1 per city once there is a trade route to the city is rather weak under a huge map. With all that land, cities tend to be more spread out. My cities are usually 5-9 tiles separated from each other, so the city needs to be of a considerable size before I find it worth it to build a road to that city. Also, on a huge map there tend to not be tons of different luxury resources around. There are lots of duplicate luxuries, so finding a new luxury resource somewhere close by is hard to do. That contributes to making the cities far apart.

    Overall, I found Tradition much easier, but maybe it's because I'm still learning the game. Culture really lacks with liberty compared to tradition. It's harder to build wonders with liberty. Maybe I just had a really lucky start with Egypt though because my capitol city had marble close by combined with the Monarchy social policy combined with Egypt Unique ability. Wonders were easy to build with that set-up. With Russia, no marble, no monarchy it was hard to build wonders.

    My question is what kind of style of game should you play with Russia going liberty where there is plenty of open space to expand into? I built Kreposts everywhere but they seem to be a pretty weak building. The border expansion of cities isn't very strong, but the buying of tiles is good. I would suggest on the next build/patch that you add a small amount of culture to the Krepost such as +4 culture like a monument.

    I never got around to using Cossacks since I basically gave up in the Renaissance era because my computer would crash too much (since I was using a weak computer at that time). They seem rather weak though. Same strength as a cavalry with only a bonus against weakened units. I'd suggest making Cossacks a little stronger since they aren't really much different than a normal cavalry.

    Overall, I found Egypt to be a much stronger civilization than Russia. The burial tomb is really strong, maybe too strong. No maintenance on a temple and an additional +2 happiness along with +6 culture. When using piety policies, a burial tomb gives +8 culture and +3 happiness with no maintenance. I'd suggest toning down the Burial Tomb from +2 happiness to +1 happiness. Egyptian war chariots are fine as is. They're useful but not overpowering.

    Just my 2 cents.
  2. nimling

    nimling Prince

    Mar 25, 2007
    I don't have much experience, but I've been running "Liberdition" in VEM. Stacking the effect of food and hammers from walls, and timing the completion of Liberty for Chivalry tech, gives a pretty big boost to all of my core cities and those that follow. It is probably not optimal for most win conditions - culture benefits more from Piety, and not taking Honor makes warfare difficult later on. I could probably do better if I didn't worry about culture and emphasized tech, but against the AI it feels weird to be so far behind in policies for so long.
  3. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

    Nov 3, 2003
    Europe, more or less
    Egypt is certainly designed as a starter friendly civilization. That's the whole point of having civs set up in unique and distinct ways, at least to me ;)

    Though I gotta say I was a bit confused by your post until I saw that you were talking about VEM. With the expansion out, I haven't played Vanilla at all anymore and I strongly suggest picking G&K up the next time you can, there will be another steam sale, that's the beauty of that system ;)

    The thing about wide I can say is that it doesn't necessarily mean REX or ICS in Civ5. The global happiness system of civ5 kinda defeats that. Instead it means going for luxury sites and happiness policies first and then making use of the stop growth modifier. Tall is certainly easier to play.

    Generally though, I'd say if you find you are running away from the AI too much, just go up a level ;)
  4. EricB

    EricB Prince

    Feb 4, 2013
    I tried another game, this time with Denmark and tried a different approach. In the past, I had been opening a social policy tree then completing it to the end before going into a new social policy tree. Occasionally, I would deviate from this, but not too much.

    When I played with Denmark I saw that they were inclined towards war so I opened with Honor to make killing barbarians easier. Then I opened Tradition to get the culture boost in the capitol. Then I opened Liberty because I didn't see any policies in Honor or Tradition that were immediately appealing and I wanted to go towards expansion. I then got the Settler policy and Worker policy in Liberty.

    Meanwhile in Techs I was beelining towards Iron Working for Jelling Stones (the national wonder for Denmark replacing Heroic Epic). My first 2 cities were coastal and had low production, so I didn't want to build that national wonder there since I want it in a city that can crank out units all game long. I had to find an interior city location by a new luxury resource. This city was small and I needed it to make a national wonder quick so new I went into the Liberty social policy for +2 production in every city and +2 for defense buildings, where I rush bought Walls for the city since Defense buildings have no maintenance that was nice. Then built Jelling Stones ASAP.

    While building Jelling Stones and looking forward I saw that I needed to build military units soon, so I went into the +20% production for military in Honor. My capitol city with low production meanwhile was growing quite big and I planned to make it a science powerhouse later on so I went with the +5 science policy in the capitol from Tradition.

    My close neighbor the Ottomans were cranking out wonder after wonder right next to me and I knew war was inevitable because I wanted those wonders. My culture was slowing down due to a focus on military and ignoring Philosophy for some time and going after Steel to get to Berserkers. I added the +20% strength for adjacent units from Honor for a military advantage. When I had enough troops ready I launched the invasion. I took their first two cities without much trouble, but happiness plunged into the negatives quickly from the puppet cities.

    At first glance I thought Denmark was a weak civilization, but the randomizer picked them so I went with it. +2 movement on water tiles, Berserkers, and Jelling Stones seemed rather weak. After playing with them though, I was wrong! The water movement bonus isn't just faster embarked speed. You can land your water units and still move and attack all on 1 turn! I was able to land a catapult, set it up, and then range attack all on 1 turn with the Vikings. That means you can launch sneak attacks from some distance away. If you have enough strong troops, you might even take a city before they even have a chance to respond.

    The Jelling Stones provide a really nice culture bonus too. The Jelling Stones themselves are only +2 culture, which is pretty weak for a national wonder taking so much time to build but the culture bonus when taking a city is massive.

    Then I had to go to bed and stop. But the next plan was to fill out the Honor tree to get the finisher for more happiness and culture from Coliseums since I had built so many already. Also building some scouts to garrison my cities for the bonus that provides would be a good idea. Once I get Chivalry too I'll go back and fill out Liberty to get free Castles in every city, which will provide +6 production in every city (along with the already built walls).

    My initial thinking for wanting to fill out trees as fast as possible was that it would make sense to get that finisher as early as possible in the game. While that's usually true, many times it makes sense to go with another policy from another tree that gives a more immediate boost to your current situation. If I'm going to go for a Domination win, then yeah I'll eventually complete Honor. But the last policy in Honor picked will probably be Professional Army which gives -33% upgrade costs for military units. Upgrading military isn't necessary until at least the medieval era or later so what good does it do to get it so early after all?

    Plus, I really like the gameplay better when there are choices involved and not just clicking the next policy in the tree every time.

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