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Making the jump to Emperor

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by CivMcNut, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. CivMcNut

    CivMcNut Having Fun At It

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    I am a long time player of Civ IV and played this game better many years ago, I took a long break from it before I picked it up again, and now it's driving me crazy that I can't beat the Emperor difficulty level like I used to do. I am stuck on Monarch, which is getting easier and easier to win and I am not feeling challenged on it anymore.

    My strategy on Monarch is to usually build 3 cities, having one or both of my extra cities gathering iron, copper, or horses if they are not in my capital's big fat cross. I train up a classical era army and go take out one of my nearest neighbors entire set of cities, and with the conquered land I make my empire run smooth. I can usually muster up a pretty large middle age force to take out several other opponents if I want a military style win, or just develop my classical conquered cities and shoot for one of the peaceful victories.

    On Emperor, this does not work so well. By the time I have 3 cities down and want to train up an army, most of the adjacent AI's have built up a strong military that is too tough to take out with simple horse archers, axemen, and swordsmen. Many times they have a strong offensive army by this time and are declaring war on me. I find myself getting boxed in pretty bad too. I like to play Pangea maps, and it seems like I am always getting surrounded by the AIs pretty fast.

    Do I need to try and build more cities and workers early on like this one strategy article I read suggests? Do I build a big defensive force and hold on until I get construction and then go out and try and conquer? Or do I wait even later than that to make a military move? How many cities is it a good idea to be building yourself? Somehow I think 3 cities built and no conquering in the early game is gonna set me up for failure. I also read where you need to found your early cities further out and try to block your adjacent AIs from expanding into your territory. Is tech trading really important in the higher levels to stay in the game?

    Any advice on all of this? I know there are a lot of people on here that do well at even higher levels that could get me unstuck from not being able to get going.
     
  2. sinimusta

    sinimusta el capitano

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    I'm just an emperor level player myself but I guess it's enough for this prob.:)

    You should be more flexible. 3 cities and then war? Play by the map. With a close neighbour rushes are a viable option but if not the just grab land. Overexpansion is hard if get things like pottery, writing early enough.

    When you rush the sooner the better. If you have copper in the cap, you don't necessarily need another city for an axe rush. But axe rushes are risky and I don't like rushing this early without a good uu.

    Then again you don't need to finish the target immediately. Worker steal and resource denial are good, if you can keep your target from having anything more than archers, you'll be able to kill him with swords or HAs. And try to expand in the meantime.

    Then a bit later there are HA rushes and elepult. For HA rush you want both commerce to get HBR early and production to get the army out fast. So this might be the case for about 3 cities. For a HA rush it might be a good idea to go with your chariots and pillage the possible copper mines before the actual conquest.

    Elepult comes later so you want more cities for that. Perhaps 3-6. You should think how each city is going to help you with the rush, like a gold city to get the tech faster or a forested city for chops for examples. Elepult isn't that vulnerable for spears and imo is more secure than HA or axe rush. Of course you need ivory for this but even without it you can just go with cats and swords(and a couple of axes for stack defense) and on emperor it should be fine.

    Yes. With the AI you have to make trades that aren't in your favour in terms of beakers, but you should still do that. Try to make teches that AI avoids for trade baits. For example IW is a typical AI tech, aesthetics isn't. Selling old teches for gold is good too. Avoid selling key military teches like cons or hbr when you're about to rush and in the lib race you might not want to sell paper or edu. Also if you want a certain wonder you shouldn't trade the tech for it. Otherwise trade a lot.
     
  3. Quibblesome

    Quibblesome Warlord

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    Three cities classical army? Three cities should be the max for an ancient era rush (if not 2 or possibly even 1). You want more like 6-8 cities for a classical attack.

    Yes to culture blocking and tech trading. Just play out your turns more meticulously. Get Buffy mod if you don't already have it. It will give you the diplo and whip reminders to help micro more effectively.
     
  4. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    just another emp player here, and i had problems with the jump at first too

    For me it is basic stuff that made the difference, managing your cities so that they are working the right tiles, growing when you want them to, being whipped at right time, and timng builds/techs so that workers dont sit around doing nothing

    As far as rushing with axes is concerned, i only do that if

    1) Copper in capital or second city
    2) Lots of trees to chop
    3) My target does not have chariots.. and is reasonably close.
     
  5. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    oh yeah

    ill say one thing about emp...it made me appreciate seige much much much more

    On monarch id just make a giant stack of cavalry and merrily destroy everyone ...leaving a few cavalry as defense or razing and it worked because of the huge tech disparity

    On emp, i never go anywhere without lots and lots of seige, it isnt just attacking cities- its a fantastic defense as well...

    For instance, you take a city, the enemy has roads usage, you dont..

    If you garrison the city with strong defenders and roll on to the next target, your very vulnerable to the counterattack cats etc...

    Now put a few seige in the captured city, and you can smackdown his catapults / arty or whatever with your own..

    I would actually go as far as to say collaterol is a bit broken right now..
     
  6. Strickl3r

    Strickl3r Prince

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    Well you don't need siege, if you have Horses that's for sure^^
    Other than that it's almost always possible to settle a storm on emperor by blocking off AIs and using the whip efficiently, so you don't have to bother with classical war and can go straight for knights or cannons or whatever you desire.

    Don't use classical war with crap metal units so often, better go HA rush. It's more efficient and faster.
     
  7. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    ha its funny, but for mid-game/late game wars i used to love cavalry..
    Now id rather have rifles and cannon, my losses seem much lower overall..
    If the ai has a string of coastal cities, i use my navy to move them quickly..

    Of course if i have horse but no iron...its totally different.. depending on the map.

    My last game got quite long into the game (islands game) and i could not find oil for the life of me..i conquered 2 islands...still no oil!

    So i was using marines a LOT and they are great fun.
     
  8. Quibblesome

    Quibblesome Warlord

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    I prefer cav as you can do more, more quickly. However I also go cannons relatively often too as it works nicely with nationalism but its less easy to get someone to "instantly" capitulate.
    Speaking of marines I like to play Raggers and avoid gunpowder until Nationalism, draft a lot of bezerkers and then have the equivalent of marines at the stage of rifling. :)
     
  9. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    You should hardly ever need anything else but mounted until you get to Deity, if horses are there or tradeable, totally serious ;)
    Also gets boring much slower, there's much you can learn about moving with them.
    I get no fun out of siege, step by step movement means low strat value.
     
  10. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    Dont you find if the ai has a lot of units you get quite heavy losses though?

    If the ai has rifles..i dont see cavalry working

    And for earlier wars cuirassiers do kill bows, but again i take quite a lot of losses, especially if the city is on a hill. And its painful if they have muskets.. and the counter is harder to deal with if it comes

    I guess i need to coordinate taking several cities at a time better...to get an instant capitulation??

    Im just thinking about my war with shaka on last proper game.

    He had muskets and cuirrasiers, i took cannon and redcoats (mass upgraded macemen and trebuchets).

    My losses were tiny, the redcoats ate up the cuirassiers that attacked.. and after the cannon softened up the defenders it was like free combat xp

    Because my losses were tiny...once he capitulated i stuck them all back on my transports and sailed to the next target...im sure my losses would have been higher with cavalry?


    And owww, ill have to play ragnar on a watery map..that sounds a lot of fun!
     
  11. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Depends what you want to do with your game..
    if you want to safely take out everyone (boring), and also keep your cities big and shiny, losses will bother you. They did bother me when i learned Civ.

    But you can also whip all your cities down, replace losses, and basically also replace your cities with new ones you capture.

    Point here being, Cuirs are much earlier than Rifles + Cannons or Cavs.
    You always have control even if you lose units, nothing can defeat you outside cities unless you make mistakes.
    So you go out and plunder, slowly getting into a learning process of not being bothered about sidetracking stuff (including upgrading towards Cavs, why would you want that if no AIs will make Rifling in time i.e.)
     
  12. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    I think all my watery maps are influencing how i play, i played extensively pangea for ages and ages and ages, and warred from axes onwards..but got bored of it.

    Now im playing water maps...so my troops never 'walk' anywhere :)

    Plus the tech gap from having the ability to build galleons (and build enough of them to invade)
    and getting to steel is not that huge- i cant really fight until i have a navy.
     
  13. Culture Bomb

    Culture Bomb Warlord

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    I'm no deity player, so could be wrong, but it also depends on your goals for winning.

    If you're on Pangaea or a large continent and just want to vassalize everyone and win domination/conquest, then massive whipping of all cities should get you enough cuirs/cavs to win the game despite losses - and once you've won it doesn't matter how much whip anger you have or how small your cities are.

    But if you want your economy to recover quickly so you can go for a space race victory, then you might care more about keeping your cities larger and using slower but more efficient (in terms of losses:kills ratio) units like cannons.

    Also, if I need to do lots of overseas invasions, I'm more likely to go with siege because then the limiting factor is the movement and number of ships you have rather than the speed of the attacking units - if I can only land a limited number on a distant island, then I want to keep my losses low.
     
  14. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    No i agree, plus if playing on a huge map (especially if watery). It will take time..and i dont want to destroy my cities by whipping them to death with 200 turns of unhappiness or something...as i want to keep teching.

    I think on a standard pangea or even a large pangea its a totally different kettle of fish.
     
  15. Quibblesome

    Quibblesome Warlord

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    ^^

    The best thing about currs/cavs is the re-enforcement time. Another great thing is that they massively increase the speed of war. Two moves in enemy territory + no bombardment.
    If you're having to worry about rifles then you've left it too late. Cannons are still good but only rival the conquest speed of horses once you get transports (e.g. you can land 3 separate armies in 3 separate locations and take 3 cities in just two or three turns).

    You'll only do this for your unimportant cities, as long as you keep your commerce, production and GP cities out of the whipping then your tech rate really shouldn't suffer too much. Obviously another massive benefit of being in slavery means you can whip captured cities (that are often starving when conquered anyway).
     
  16. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    I dunno, i was on a huge map, islands- 15 civs, each civ having about 15 cities..

    I literally used the same troops time after time, sailing them around the world conquering as the losses were so low, ive never had such highly promoted troops before...

    Initially cavalry would have been quicker, but by the 6th or 7th island i was glad to have highly promoted rifles (which i upgraded to infantry) and highly promoted cannon (upgraded to arty)
     
  17. Quibblesome

    Quibblesome Warlord

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    Oh if its a water map then cannons are probably better then because re-enforcement is only as quick as your boats.
     
  18. CivMcNut

    CivMcNut Having Fun At It

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    Ok, I hear the advice here. Don't try and found a whole bunch of cities and expect an axe rush to work, if you do that, it needs to be super early, coming out of only 1 or 2 cities with lots of chopping and whipping. I think on my game tonight, I am going to try and found as many cities as I can (hopefully like 6 cities) blocking off my AI opponents, before attempting some sort of military action. A lot of discussion went on towards using horseback units, HA rushes are better, cuirs and cav are great later on at this level.

    A lot of people talked about water based maps, maybe I need to try one of those. I feel like the AI does better on Pangea maps where they can just storm their stacks of doom right on over and wipe you out if you're not prepared, and you can get any number of AIs coming after you early in the game. With a water map, you are safe from civs across the ocean until Astronomy. I have been playing Pangea on Monarch because Continent style maps were becoming too easy.

    One of my problems I had in one of my attempts to get a game going on Emperor was the AIs declaring war on me super early with their own rush. I didn't have any diplomatic problems with them, I think they just sensed I was weak in power and wanted to wipe me out. What do you usually do to avoid this? I've heard building barracks helps your power rating out. If I build a lot of horse archers or other offensive units and just keep them around my cities will I stand a smaller chance of being attacked? I'd hate to waste precious turns building up a bunch of archers just so I won't get attacked, and then have no offensive force. It just seems hard to work all this stuff in. I'm trying to build lots of settlers and workers to keep from getting boxed in and loosing too much land and yet you need a big military too, I guess this leaves no room for early wonders of buildings. Do you avoid things like libraries and granaries until further into the game?

    Diplomacy seems to be harder too. AIs start warring against each other early on and want you to jump in there too before you have a feel of who you want your allies to be.
     
  19. Choggy

    Choggy Prince

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    Simple answer is to start getting used to the idea of bribing the AI to go to war with each other early on. It might cost a lot of techs initially but once at war the AI tech rate really slows down so in the long term it makes no difference. And that -3 diplo penalty you inflict on the AI's for DoWing each other means they're much more likely to go to war against each other again instead of you. Think of the tech bribes for war as a diplomatic investment.

    And if the AI's are already at war and ask you to join in a quick look at the map will tell you whether or not to join...if it's an offer to attack somebody at the other end of the map then who cares if the target civ doesn't like you much, they're too far away from you to matter.
     
  20. paulcarri

    paulcarri Prince

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    unfortunately the ai plays island maps incredibly badly...when i played on monarch, i was invading my final islands with tanks (around 1500ad)... and they still had longbows in their cities!

    Its not like that on emp though..

    As for not catching up at the start, whip and chop a lot i guess...i DID find the jump unpleasant though ...and yes look at who can actually get to you when picking who to have as a friend/enemy

    As for not getting behind
     

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