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Managing Vassel Research - Best Strategies

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Tyrant Roger, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Tyrant Roger

    Tyrant Roger Warlord

    Apr 5, 2006
    In a recent game I was Monty and Mansa was my neighbor. To my surprise about one third of the way into the game Mansa offered to be my voluntary vassal. I guess he either liked my big smile or wanted military protection. I accepted the offer and for the rest of the game had this monster techer as my vassal. He was friendly to me and so would trade the techs he researched, but only if I would trade him equivalent techs in return plus the usual premium. It was as if I was pursuing two lines of research at once and helped me win the game much faster. I later attacked and vassalized a different AI who was unfriendly to me and would trade no techs. This made me think what are the optimium strategies for the human player in managing vassal research. If there is a thread or an article which has addressed this question, I would like to know how to find it. If not, this thread might be the place for working out the best principles.

    Am I correct that vassals can trade their techs to other AI's without the human player's approval. If so, this complicates with to do with a friendly AI - like Mansa in my game - because he may trade the advanced tech he has just researched to other AI's and not just to me.

    How should one best manage vassal research and what variables effect how to proceed?
  2. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

    Jan 26, 2008
    1. Tell them to research things you don't have but want.
    2. Trade for them if you can, else steal them, else ignore
    3. Vassals can trade with other AIs. They will only do it if they meet BOTH criteria of "liking other AI enough" AND "does other AI have anything to offer in return that's of consequence". If an AI meets both criteria and you don't want them to have a tech, don't trade it to your vassal. Otherwise, trade away.

    Usually vassals make poor trade partners, as they frequently hate you or are small. If they're small though your EP base can overwhelm them and you can steal up a storm, and it doesn't matter if capitulated suckers hate you anyway.

    The real use of vassals is as buffers and a good ground to have a maneuverability advantage over the AIs at war...and to abuse the "land target" capitulation mechanic.

    If you are playing mad scientists "time victory on marathon" RPC, be sure to direct your vassals away from space and culture techs, and constantly force them into civics that preclude culture wins.
  3. MadmanAtW

    MadmanAtW Knight

    Apr 13, 2008
    San Leandro, CA
    A note about #3 in the previous post: or, play with No Tech Brokering on. With that you don't have to worry about your vassal trading away techs that you trade to it.
  4. Skallagrimson

    Skallagrimson Deity

    Sep 12, 2006
    I had a very bad experience with Joao as a voluntary vassal in a recent game. Being tiny, and yet protected by my mighty armies, he teched way ahead of everybody, and had just enough cities to leverage that into an army more advanced than mine (albeit smaller since I had more unit pumps). So every time I went to war, Joao would jump into the conflict and take more cities than I took, about 2:1. Then when he got big enough he said "screw this vassalage nonsense" and then dropped from Friendly to Cautious, and started making demands. I had a huge problem on my hands, very frustrating since I saw the big freight train approaching about 200 turns in advance without any ability to do anything about it.
  5. RRRaskolnikov

    RRRaskolnikov Goldfish

    Oct 10, 2008
    Hi Skallagrimson,

    you can direct the troops of your vassal the same way you can direct its research: go to "let's discuss something else" when at war, and then "Can you attack...". You get a list of your opponents's cities and can ask your vassal to attack one.
    That lets you manipulate its troops enough so he can't be very efficient at war. :)


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