Managing diplomatic penalties (without a common faith)

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by GatlingGun, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. GatlingGun

    GatlingGun Warlord

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    Let's suppose it's about 1300AD... I'm playing as Ghandi, and I have one Charlemagne city and several of Boudica's as neighbors... I already killed off Alex and got demerits from Boudica and Monty for attacking their 1000BC friend.

    The major players and their religions are:

    Charlemagne Buddhist (w/ Shrine)
    Boudica Buddhist
    Fredrick Buddhist
    Tokugawa Buddhist
    Joao Buddhist
    Monty Hindu (w/ Shrine)
    Darius Hindu
    Ghandi (me) Agnostic (with the Confucian & Taoist Shrines)

    My military is in the middle of the power graph, compared to others... I have more than Boudica, and I think I could take her out. I want to attack her, but she is Buddhist... and I definitely don't want to make the Buddhist mafia angry... I've gotten dog-piled enough in the past that I'm trying to manage diplomacy better. Charlemagne and Joao are running away from me power wise and I can't keep up. Fredrick, Toku, Monty and Darius are too far away to take out.

    Furthermore, even though I'm a generation ahead in tech, no one will even consider a bribe to attack someone... I've probably wasted a full 1000 years hoping I could get a Buddhist to start a war with another Buddhist civ... and I've been holding off on my missionary spam (until recently) because I'm trying hard to just keep up with the arms race... so I don't have a lot of gold for bribery... To make matters worse, I have open borders with Charlemange in hopes that he will convert some of my cities, but no luck...

    Is there a way to salvage this kind of situation? Unfortunately, I went ahead and converted Boudica to Confucianism, built the HE (which is why my military power went flat for a while), then attacked in 1390 before posting this... I don't have a save from before the war...

    The end result was finishing the war around 1700AD and I'm way behind in both military / tech... while I fough Boudica, everyone else dogpiled Monty... then Darius converted to Buddhism. They are all pleased / friendly with each other and now I look like the next target (even though I converted as well)... those other guys are well on their way to Scientific Method and I still haven't even got my first University built... I had to switch my capitol to gold / bureaucracy to keep up with all the city / war maintenance. When I started the war with Boudica, I only had five cities, so I wasn't even eligible to build the forbidden city.

    For sure, I'm a noob (sad considering how much I play this game... :lol:)... I would like some help with how to manage diplomacy better the next time. What do you do when you are the odd man out in religion, and you can't bribe the other civs to hate each other? And... how willing are you to open borders with a lot of civs? Perhaps that would have improved relations enough to get some Buddist civil wars...

    This could have been a much different game if I could have convinced one or two of the Buddhist AIs to attack each other... all they seem to do is attack Monty / Darius, which ultimately makes the Buddhist gang stronger.

    I'm attaching a save just after I finished the war with Boudica in case that helps...

    Thoughts?
     

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  2. jeffreyac

    jeffreyac Mostly Harmless

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    Wow... Though I haven't run all the numbers completely yet, I believe a general first-order tactical and strategic evaluation of your position can be estimated at "You're Screwed!"

    Seriously, I'd say bite the bullet and try to convert to Bhuddism yourself (surely it's spread to one of your cities by now...) but that will a) cause you problems with the AP pretty soon and B) may not be enough, since they have a lot of time/dip benefits built up between them already. Although, this would at least prevent you from being the target of a holy war/AP resolution - at least, I think they can't do an AP resolution to smite you unless you're an infidel... :)

    But, to answer your immediate question about religion/diplomacy, I find that when I'm the odd one out on religion, I have 2 (or maybe 3) basic choices...

    1) Go ahead and join the flock.
    If you get an open borders treaty, especially early, with a civ who has that religion, typically they'll send a missionary over (or, often, the religion will spread on it's own to your lands). When this happens, you'll have to take care to spread the religion around a bit yourself to protect yourself from AP resolutions, but this does gain you the advantage of a built-in diplomatic block of people who like you. If the whole world shares the religion, for the most part, these games tend to develop into peacemongering games, but they don't have to - sometimes (especially if you own the AP) you can fight a quick war with a neighbor, take a city or two, then use the AP to gain a quick peace and not lose too much diplomatically. If someone else holds the AP, though, you'll most likely end up forced to give the cities back, or defy a resolution - putting you right back in the diplomatic black hole... Of course, if the whole world DOESN'T share your religion (for instance, if there are a few outsider civs out there) this gives you the possibility of expansion through war with the non-allied civ, and you'll probably even get your brothers-and-sisters in faith to join in on your side - for even more diplomatic benefits! Good times...

    2) Dig in and prepare for war!
    If you don't want to convert to their religion, just recognize that the game will most likely be a warmongering session - plan for it from the start, and try to secure some territory early. Don't neglect your military - in this case, with a good sized block aligned against you, it's not so much a question of if they'll come for you, but when. vassalizing a couple can really turn the tables, though, and can be done if you plan well and try to control the fighting - most cases in these spots, I prefer to go ahead and be the aggressor, fighting as soon as I'm ready as opposed to waiting for the AI to build up.

    3) is kind of a mix - go ahead and stay away from their religion, but try to offer good diplomatic trades/gifts/etc to hold off war long enough to build to a position of strength. I list this as an option, but truthfully whenever I try, I end up back at 1) or 2) above - it seems I'm just not very good at appeasing the AI's... :)

    (Oh, and for those of you who recognize the first line in the post, my apologies and eternal thanks to OotS for stealing/paraphrasing a quote!)
     
  3. GatlingGun

    GatlingGun Warlord

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    Yeah, I realized I was screwed... I neglected to monitor international power while I was fighting Boudica, but I'm obviously in a pretty hopeless position now...

    I'm mostly looking for pointers on how to get past that hump from 300AD until 1390AD... I had enough military and tech a long time ago, but I simply didn't want to take more negative Buddhist diplomatic hits by myself... I really wanted Charlemagne, Fredrick and/or Joao to fight each other, but could never get enough bait to get them interested. Plus, I did have open borders with Charlie, but he didn't send missionaries to me... all my cities were confucian, so no automagic Buddhist conversion for them...

    Building the AP on my own is an option, but I really hate diverting that many hammers... I'll have to beeline for it next time and try it out.
     
  4. jeffreyac

    jeffreyac Mostly Harmless

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    Hmmm... Well, it's tough to answer a "what would you do" question from here - I see you'd posted a save, but I can't get to it (silly boss, not willing to let me put Civ on my work computer! What was he thinking??)

    Just in general, though - since you had the military/tech lead, a divide and conquer strat may have been your best option. Pick one of the allied civs causing you trouble (prbably Boudica, from your description) and go after her, leaving enough military to defend if her buddies join in. The idea is to force her to capitulate quickly if possible, effectively removing her from the diplomatic block allied against you. Once she's gone, hope to inflict enough damage (unit wise) on the other civs who may have entered the war to gain peace (or, if there was no real fighting on other fronts, try to get peace yourself). Then rebuild the military and go again, at the next closest competitor - if it works, you'll have a little vassal empire of your own. If it doesn't, well, you die, horribly and painfully under the weight of a million axes - but hey, no pressure... :)

    Yes, I know - the likely outcome of this is that you're going to get dogpiled, which is what you don't want - but in general, look at it this way - in the situation you're in, you know the pile is coming, you may as well start trouble when you're doing well and way ahead on tech (I think you mentioned a generation, I'm hoping you refer to military units, like gunpowder vs. their medieval units) and when you may be able to fend pff the incoming dogpile. If you wait, you're going to end up dogpiled anyway, and odds are they'll be on more of a tech parity when they do attack.

    Oh, out of curiosity, what difficulty level are you playing? It doesn't matter a whole lot for general strategy, but it might help to know how fast the AI will run away with the lead once they get close to it...
     
  5. GatlingGun

    GatlingGun Warlord

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    Ha... Unfortunately, I didn't have that guns vs axes kind of tech lead... so I was unwilling to take on the world... I just meant that at 300AD, I was first to CoL, paper, philosophy, and bureaucracy... they all needed (some or all) those techs.. and in my mind, I had plenty of bait, but nobody would even consider attacking their friends.

    oh, and ummm... no AI advantage here... I'm playing Noble :blush:... I used to play Prince with vanilla, but found out how badly I needed to move down once I got BtS.
     
  6. jeffreyac

    jeffreyac Mostly Harmless

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    Hmmm... yeah, my ideas were all predicated on a superior defender to stand in the face of large numbers of attackers... :( I guess it'd still be possible, depending on if there are choke points or other ways you can defend with smaller numbers against other civs entering the war before you're done with your target civ, but that could be tough, too.

    Oh, and no worries on Noble; that's my preferred speed. I've moved up to Prince a few times, and may start playing it a little more regularly, but I like to enjoy my games and find I have to work way too hard on the higher difficulties, and usually end up crushed anyway - so what fun is that? :)

    Another thought though - depending on where you are tech wise, and if you had the right combinations... any chance of going to Free religion? You wouldn't get any religious penalties then (you also lose any benefits/positive modifiers, but in this game that's not really a concern...) I've done that in a couple of my games when the benefits of shared religions are outweighed by penalties from religious differences. It may not be enough, though - you'll still be a little less well-liked than their shared-religious civs, and that may be all it takes...

    Of course, while this may prevent you from being the top target for the dog pile, it may not help the other issues (unable to bribe civs into attacking each other, and needing to slow down the top civs tech/power graph...)

    Sorry, looks like I may be out of ideas... :)
     
  7. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Ok, there are a number of things that beg comments... not all of which might help in salvaging this game but might help in the future.


    1.) Underdeveloped backwaters! You are working some unimproved tiles, many of your cities lack basic infrastructure. You are building wealth in such underdeveloped cities at a time where you aren't facing immediate economic collapse; it would be better to invest the hammers into making those cities good. This is totally unexcusable in the capital.
    I assume you didn't use the whip enough in the BC years.

    2.) Size matters! You don't have enough cities. You could have fit in a couple in your old land; there would have been room for a half dozen more had you taken into account the possibility of filling in the gaps right from the start. A couple of mediocre production cities would have taken care of you military needs, freeing up your good spots to build up infrastructure (so fixing this could in a manner fix the point above). The barbarians even built cities for you and you didn't accept the invitation; that's rude.

    3,) War, what is it good for? You had the chance to found productive cities prior to your war with Boudica, so land was no legitimate reason to attack her in the first place at that time. There can be reasons to have protracted wars, but most of them aren't conquest-oriented (prolonged pillaging campagins, war for diplomatic reasons, mass-producing Great Generals against a suicidal AI...).
    If you had had production cities to churn out troops, the war might have been shorter and nowhere near as costly.

    4.) I spy, with my little eye... a more advanced neighbour you aren't leeching techs from. You even have 5 spies built but lack enough espionage points to make good use of them. Invade Fred and bully him for techs, steal them or both.

    5.) You call that an army? The only thing those longbows are good for is harassing sheep. The ones in Dehli are the worst offenders; one cermonial guard is enough to keep the peace, and nobody cares if they can't afford uniforms. In fact, now that I think of it a gang of half-naked hunks wielding huge clubs would be effective at keeping the populace pacified...
    What you need is siege, siege and some siege with a side order of siege. Bombardment and collateral damage keeps your casualties tolerable; ideally you should lose very few non-siege units. You need a few cleanup troops, of course, but having twice as many siege units as the others combined in a stack is often a good idea.
     
  8. jeffreyac

    jeffreyac Mostly Harmless

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    Hey, don't underestimate the sheep. They're even meaner than rabbits when provoked....
     
  9. GatlingGun

    GatlingGun Warlord

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    Thanks for the reply... comments inline...

    That northeast city (Vijayanagara) with few improved tiles had to wait for CS before I could do anything significant with it... meanwhile once I got CS, I had higher priorities for workers (and frankly forgot about it when I started ramping up for war)... My highest priorities were: improving Athens (HE city), Delhi, and Bombay (2nd commerce city). I really don't see any tiles in Delhi that are begging for improvement... The underdeveloped cities with Celtic names are recent additions to the empire... so are about 7 or 8 of my current workers :).

    The SINGLE grasstree tile in the capital was left that way intentionally for the extra hammer... we can disagree about whether that's inexcusable or simply a different set of assumptions :)

    As for building wealth in the capital... when your military is outside the borders, you need a lot of extra $... and I admit that I haven't converted it back to hammers yet... it's fair point.

    I'm not sure what I should have whipped in the BC years... and I did whip out military... are you suggesting more workers?

    Hey, I'd love to improve in this area of city placement... can you post an improved dotmap?

    This seems to go back to a previous point about city placement and improvement... I could have done a better job with Vijayanagara for sure.

    I'm glad you aren't seriously suggesting I should lower my happiness cap in Delhi so I can send a few longbows to the front :)

    I had about a 50/50 mix of siege and shock troops in my attack stack in 1390 and indeed lost very few attack troops until my last hurrah against Celtia... I wanted to finish her off quickly instead of waiting to build more siege. What you see on the east side facing Fredrick now is what remained after most of my siege engines were killed.

    Thanks for your response... I could definitely improve Vijayagnara, take the barbarian city, and perhaps dotmapping as well. Equally important is perhaps improving my ability to multitask :lol:
     
  10. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    I hate escalations where I quote quotes and have those quotes quoted back until nobody knows what all those quoters are quoting about, so I'll just refer to my previous points again (with feedback to your answers to those).

    1.) I'm not that much of a pedant to call a single unworked forest unexcusable... although worked water tiles without a Lighthouse is practically the same as working unimproved tiles. I wasn't even referring to that though; I was referring to building wealth (since you said that was to pay for unit upkeep during wartime, the whole thing would fall under a different point - waging unnecessary wars when not fully prepared). A forge in the capital would give you +3 happiness and kick-start production. That additional happiness could have been used to build units that can actually do something (And the forge would have more than paid for itself in terms of production).

    About the whip - it's very efficient at low populations especially if the first things you whip are things that will make the whip even better - granaries, lighthouses, forges. Settlers and Workers are also good canidates for chopping and whipping. This will eventually translate more of whever you truly want... infrastructure to boost your economy, units to wage wars etc.

    2.) Re the dotmap... I don't even know how to make one, sorry :) . In the currrent set-up Bombay looks awkward; 1sw would have done wonders for health (fresh water, building harbours... many players strongly dislike settling 1 tile away from the coast for this reason and since the water squares are essentially useless if you can't build lighthouses.) With no other changes, this would allow another city ont he hill 3e1n of Dehli with enough arable land and some flood plains.
    Another sore point: You have a small island southwest of Dehli; if you settle on the plains hill there the new town will immediately turn a profit thanks to profitable trade routes. As a bonus, it has a iron on the mainland in its fat cross, allowing it to actually do something (rather than being a found-and-forget trade city to pay the bills). It might look awkward to build a Galley just for that, but the rewards are immediate and only get better.

    3.) That comment went more in the direction of 'don't fight wars that won't profit you'. Either have a tech lead or a production edge to overwhelm them (edit: in fact, you don't strictly need either as you can wage war having a 5:1 kill/loss rate at tech parity in this era). If you can't overwhelm them, you can use meatgrinders (fortresses for them to throw their troops against can work, but not reliably so. Better to use their own cities with eroded cultural defenses to take and withdraw; this sets up their stacks to be decimated by your Trebuchets without defense bonuses) to take them down. In general, the AI isn't very good at warfare; I'm at a loss why a war that wasn't forced on you took as long as you said it did.

    4/5) See the earlier comment about forges; the last 2 population points do very little anyway.
     
  11. GatlingGun

    GatlingGun Warlord

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    I hope you dont consider my responses an escalation... I think you had some fair points... but I'm lazier than you... my responses are inline :)...

    I could have built a lighthouse if I had my brain in gear... I'm killing myself for not noticing the lack of a lighthouse... that's minus 3 food... at least one more pop. I was trying to keep the population of Delhi healthy, but you will note my forge in Athens though, which is the HE city. Good point about the happy faces from forges, I never noticed until now.

    Most people don't like to settle one square from the coast because you can't build a lighthouse, and you are loosing food for every coastal tile being worked. Although Bombay is 1n1w of the coast, the geography here is a corner-case (pardon the pun :) ) and it doesn't have any ocean in the BFC... so I don't really consider it suboptimally-placed... I put it there for the cows, floodplains and wine. Actually, I think this was my best location of my five starting cities... I didn't have to build any farms... and I calculated 10 cottages and 20 hammers base production (after workshops). If I wanted to make it a pure production city, Bombay could have had 40 hammers base production... that's among the best cities I've seen since I started planning food and hammers... normally I find pure production cities max out at 33-35 base hammers.

    I actually hate putting cities on the coast, unless there is seafood in the BFC... all those sea tiles basically are 1-2 commerce each, but that's a lot of population consumed for seemingly little gain. I don't like to build Moai unless I have more than 6 or 7 water tiles (on a continent).

    This comment about Delhi makes me curious though because I almost never spend more than 1 extra turn looking around my starting position... in order to get a bigger picture and know about room for the city 3e1n, I would have spent maybe 5 or 7 turns up front exploring.

    In terms of city placement... do you normally try to get your cities with less than 1 or two squares of overlap?

    I considered that island city, but I didn't consider the +2 free food you get from the city center... so I thought it wouldn't get enough food, pre-Biology... I just went into world builder and tried it... I immediately had +6 commerce in the city from trade routes... and I could work the iron with +1 food left... so it's another fair point.

    My default nature is a peaceful-builder-sort... I fought this war because I usually don't have success against the AI unless I kill some of them... I have tried the less-aggressive approach, and even if they never declare on me... the AI ultimately grabs more land from other AIs to edge a win... diplomatic, military or otherwise.

    The war too so long because I moved stacks of troops through six cities, while I healed in between attacks... I didn't get a medic III until I had taken three of Boudica's cities. Now that I think of it, I could plan ahead for maybe loosing 3 or 4 cats per city and build a stack accordingly... I think I only started with like 10 cats...

    I've done similar things like playing Justinian (Imperialistic), building the great wall, and then fortifying forests on my borders with stacks of Woodsman III units, which do nothing but absorb AI punishment for GG points... but that doesn't do enough as long as the AI is significantly ahead in population... I ultimately have to get more land. I agree that the AI is terrible at war... which is why I've (recently) started switching to a more aggressive approach... but I certainly want to sharpen my sword as a warmonger.
     
  12. one2tieyourshoe

    one2tieyourshoe Warlord

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    I won't. I've been charged by sheep before. Maybe he could smell that I had eaten his cousin a few nights before. :(
     
  13. ck07

    ck07 Mud Mover

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    If you have a religion, you may not have to join the flock. Usually it takes many, many years before all AIs have got their dominant religion in all cities. So even if your religion comes later, if you single-mindedly convert every one of a certain AI's cities s/he will usually change religions (later in the game they will go Free Religion).

    Although 1300 AD may be too late for this ......
     

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