Marathon's impact on your early tech choices

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Lord Chambers, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    I'm playing on Emperor. Random Empires, random map.

    Early workers run out of things to do on Marathon. Since techs take 20+ turns, if you build a worker first like I've usually done on Epic speed, he will usually only have one improvement he can make. And when he's done with that in 6-16 turns, that's about it.

    I'm curious how people have changed their early strategies to deal with Marathon. Personally I'm still in limbo with my timing of things like wonders, additional cities, and the whole early game because I keep finding my expansion is outstripping my infrastructure. Not from lack of workers, but lack of ability to make meaningful improvements. Thus early cities are more likely to be unproductive money sinks than helpful additions to the empire.

    And where it would be almost impossible to go into the red through rapid expansion on Epic, in more than one game I haven't paid close attention to my slider and I've had units go on strike. Since you have so few techs, your cities can't build much other than military units, workers, or settlers, and those all end up costing you money.

    At the moment I'm essentially on the verge of throwing out all my previous strategy aims and devoting my focus to getting pottery much earlier so my workers are occupied and I'm expanding my financial base, while going into early wars, even if I still have free land to settle on. This way the cities I do have will not be throwing production into a money sink of having lots of extra units. The units they make will be dying gloriously to hinder my enemies. In theory that'll keep costs low, provide some razing revenue, and make my life easier down the road where I actually have the basic techs that let you build an empire (you know, the ones that come pretty easily on Epic).
     
  2. The Settler

    The Settler Chieftain

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    I have the exact same problem with marathon speed. I lack city improvements to build and produce units instead. And since I haven`t researched enoug techs to make the citys produce money or research, I must build units. So even tough there is more free land to settle on, I lack the fundings! I guess I must either go to war or focus from the beginning to research techs that will allow me to focus on commerce!
     
  3. joasoze

    joasoze Warlord

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    I play only on Marathon and Monarch. Usually I will use a civ that starts with mining. Then my start will be something like this

    1. Go for Bronzeworking

    2. Produce warrior, worker, warrior, warrior, worker, warrior, settler

    With this start the worker will come at about the same time as BW is ready. Then I chop, chop and chop some more. My second worker wil start on improvements.

    Sometimes if I play with a nation that is geared towards early aggression (like the Incas). Then it will be something like this

    1. Go for Broneworking

    2. Produce quechua, worker, quechua, quechua, quechua, quechua, +++++

    No settlers I just chop til the enemy drop :o) I normally take on 1 or 2 civs and prefere capitals because of their superior resources/placement.

    I never have workers with nothing to do. I have experienced periods of nothing to build but units and it is usually a sign of me not paying enough attention to the tech tree.
     
  4. Maestro_Innit

    Maestro_Innit Warlord

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    I have the same problem on Marathon - yet I only ever play on Marathon. Early expansion always cripples me. I'm in the middle of a Prince / Random Continents / Standard / Marathon game at the mo and quickly found that only meand Roosevelt were on the continent. I blocked him off with a couple of cities but then needed another city near mine to get copper. Later I realiused he was undefended so wiped him out - razing everything except his capital. Problem is that I've now got 5 cities. My capital, my copper city, his capital and the two cities I blocked him in with. My research died to 0 before I hit IronWorking so I can't work my junglist cities with which I blocked him and they're now money sinks. Every city has built a granary and a barracks and I'm at the limit I can afford with troops. What the hell am I supposed to build in my cities? At the mo I'm building archers and then just disbanding them. Seems rediculous to me. It's a shame you can't have something like a wood shed and "save" production year on year until you've got something to build, I've even moved my capital twice so my dear populous had something to distract them through our dark ages..... I'm slowly but surely coming round now, after aeons I have IronWorking and have cottage spammed everywhere and got back to 50% research but it's taken a looooong time. I found myself getting very frustrated at having nothing to produce or build, nothing to research and no improvements to make except something resembling the road network of the third reich! :crazyeye:
     
  5. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    It's important at marathon to focus on tech precisely because it is so slow that it can seriously impact both workers and cities. In my first marathon game I had a big collection of sleeping workers and cities able to churn out nothing but warriors :)

    Either getting commerce resources or cottage mania is the main way out.
    Agriculture, the Wheel, Pottery (plus Mining/BW) gives you the basic improvements and at least something for workers to do most of the time.
     
  6. Matthevv

    Matthevv Chieftain

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    I suppose it depends on what the improvement that your worker can make is. From what you say it isn't cottages, so I guess it is farms? I encountered this same conundrum in my game, in that I had a worker who made a farm on the wheat square, and then what? I did research pottery, because I'm paranoid about falling behind in technology. But even so, there were many turns before I even could get that. What I did was to farm on a spices, and on a banana! My idea was to grow my city as big as possible, as fast as possible, and also to be able to build settlers and more workers as fast a possible too. I couldn't yet chop the trees to do that, and anyway I had plans for those trees (I later turned them into a library, a barracks, and some Praetorians). I wanted population to turn into stuff using slavery too. Once the worker had finished the farms, he was set to work on cottages. When the population in my city hit 3 I started on a settler. After agriculture and pottery I researched bronze and iron. Fortunately I had bronze next to me and the iron I needed within the explored area, so my third settler went there and being Romans, was then in a pretty good starting situation.

    So far this strategy seems to be working OK. I built a couple of barracks half a dozen Praetorians and a library by selective tree cutting and slave whipping, and have just about taken out the French (who were #1 on the score sheet). I razed most of their cities, because I don't want to maintain too many. I think the barbarians will probably settle there but as I now have about 8 Praetorians with three city raider upgrades I should be able to harvest those Barbarian settlements as I reach the point where I can support them. With the cash from the pillaging I still have the research slider at 100%.

    I would be interested to hear people's comments on this starting approach. I only did it initially because I had a worker and nothing to do with it, but it seems to be a viable alternative strategy.
     
  7. Maestro_Innit

    Maestro_Innit Warlord

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    By the sound of it - you'll be OK because you're still small in size. One of the main aspects of Marathon speed is that it slows your expansion so much due to your cities not pumping out the gold quick enough.
     
  8. sanek

    sanek Chieftain

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    Play marathon, huge pangea, emperor, no barbarians. Play russian. Start with mining and hinting. Research BW. Build order: scout, start barracks, when time to build worker equal to the time left to research BW, start to produce worker. Then chop second (sometimes third), chop settler, so on. Research path depends on resources, but usually wheel, agriculture, animal husbandry, pottery.
    Then writing. I usually build library in every city. Sometimes, when I have nothing to build, I even switch "miners" to scientist. Sometimes I could switch "farmers" the same way, as my cities could not grow due to happiness limit. In some of my games quick expansion lead to zero research rate, but I could get technologies from scientist.
    Workers actions is more needed if you build different, not always best land improvements for every city. It allows to change city specializations/output in dependence of current needs. Change "miners" to "farmers" when nothing to build or you get new luxury resource and want you cities grow fast. Change citizens to cottages, when need money and so on. For that, you must have twice the number (or more) of improved tiles than number of citizens.

    In fact, that is the matter of experience. It was also hard for me for the first time, but now, I can not play epic. It is too fast.

    P.S. Sorry for poor english.
     
  9. lz14

    lz14 Prince

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    hey maybe this is a good place to ask, can you disband cities any more ?
    I couldn't find the button. If not then it really sucks.
     
  10. Ailure

    Ailure Chieftain

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    You could always give the troubling city in question to another civilization, if it's just a money sink for you. Though, expect to get the city back later in the game if it happens to sit in the middle of the terriotory. (But don't depend on it!)
     
  11. Boppo

    Boppo Chieftain

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    If you can find someone to take it from you. The AI will not just take anything you throw at it anymore.
     
  12. McLMan

    McLMan Afraid of the monkeys

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    I am near the end of my 1st CIV game. I played on Chieftain to get a feel for what the units, buildings, and wonders do. Continents map, standard size, default (Normal?) speed. Right from the start I noticed that I was researching so fast that by the time a unit was built it was obsolete. Is this due more to the low difficulty level or the speed setting? It doesn't seem to be as bad now that I'm in the modern age, although I have started playing around with the research/culture sliders and research is not optimum. I'm going to move up a couple of levels for my next game, what speed setting would you recommend?
     
  13. loraque

    loraque Chieftain

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    That is the game speed issue. Those that prefer speeds like Marathon, enjoy being 'stuck' within certain eras, and having to deal with your situation in them. It tends to make you stand out for longer periods if you research into a weapon tech faster than the AI... the advantage lasts a little longer. Or disadvantage if you get caught on the short end.
     
  14. Hellfire

    Hellfire Prince

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    Those are some powerful techs there, mining and hinting.

    "HEY!!! Catherine! Those horses are MINE! That iron is MINE too! Oh and that land you just plopped St. Petersburg on? That's MINE too!" :evil: :ar15:

    "It would be a shame if my 20 warriors were to slip across your borders any time soon, don't you think? Good, I'm glad you can take a hint." ;)

    No worries dude. I understood you perfectly well. And I'm definitely not making fun of your skills, it was just a simple typo anyone could make. But it was possibly the best typo I've ever seen and so appropriate for Civ I had to make a comment. Hope you enjoyed it too :D
     
  15. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    *sigh*

    I did it again. Around the metal casting/iron working point I run out of money. This time it was an achipelago map. It seemed like the Japanese had a great thing going with fishing and the wheel (quick access to those cottages), but my first two cities were production minded, and the next three were size 1-2, building lighthouses (after oblisks, since I missed stonehenge) and not ready for cottages.

    I guess I'll just go with Catherine again. She was my first win on Emperor, and seems like financial is pretty vital for marathon since infrastructure lags behind the expansion phase.
     
  16. Duelingground

    Duelingground AKA Gandalftheredskin

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    Does anyone else think that the build and research times just don't seem properly synced with the game speed on Marathon?

    From my experience, there are just too many periods when all you can build are troops, just doesn't feel right. The extra management required to slow build rates once an optimum number of units has been reached is a bit of a pain, and just doesn't seem as if it should be necessary.
     
  17. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    Yeah, I would say the early game is definitely unbalanced on Marathon. Right now I'm throwing hordes of axemen at archer-defended Mongol cities on hills with city walls, just because I have nothing else to build, and at -12 gold per turn, my techs are taking 20-30 turns.
     
  18. lord_graywolfe

    lord_graywolfe Wolfman

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    i love playing on marathon, it seems to finally balance out the whole timeline of units and research. my first one is always hunting so i can get my scouts out and im building a warrior while thats going on. the warrior always finishes 2 turns before hunting so i start a worker then add a scout ahead of him when i get hunting. then i take wheel so my worker will be able to start laying down roads when he his done. by the time my worker is done im usally just getting ready to finish up on mining my city is size 3 and im ready to build another warrior and a settler to start expanding. i get my fourth city around 0 AD i just take care to plant them where they do the most good.
     
  19. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

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    Yeah, I'm starting to come to the conclusion you basically can't build on marathon. Part of this is from playing on Emperor, but it seems completely unviable to expand beyond more than 5 cities in the expansion phase. At that point you have the choice of no war until at least Code of Laws, or a complete and never ending war.

    Right now I'm invading an ally because my cities can't build anything other than Axemen, Spearmen, and Archers. I want to turn things around, I'm researching Writing, but it's 492 turns away and I'm running a deficit of 22 gold per turn. 202 is what I've got in the bank. It's all I can do to raze a city every couple turns and keep myself afloat.
     
  20. atreas

    atreas King

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    Marathon is quite unbalanced, it's true, as there are some things that don't scale well (apart from what has already been told in the thread):

    1. Impact of village huts: in Marathon it's tremendous to get any kind of building or improvement tech from a hut - you find something for the workers to do, or some buildings to create at those endless turns before the discoveries. The impact is much less severe in Normal or Epic speed, and this obviously alters significantly the early game.

    2. Barbarians still appear in the map in the same rate and numbers, but now your units take much more time to build. When (at Epic) my good city needs 3 turns to produce an Axeman, now it needs 5-6. This means that Barbarians are "more" on Marathon, since the rate at which you can build units determines whether Barbarians will or will not be a problem. Usually this isn't noticed because you build a lot of units since you have nothing else to do - but if you happened to find a useful building tech (like Writing) then you would immediately notice that Barbarians seem more.

    In short, Marathon seems to need some tuning, especially at the early stages. But after that it gives back too many "war advantages" to the player.
     

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