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Maya Strategy

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by crdvis16, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I've decided that my next game will be a relatively peaceful, tall, science game and I think the Maya fit the bill. Let's talk strategy!

    First, their kit:

    The Long Count
    After researching Mathematics, receive a bonus Great Person at the end of every Maya Long Count cycle (every 394 years). Each bonus person can only be chosen once.

    Atlatlist

    Replaces Composite Bowman. +1 Ranged Combat. Available earlier. Receives the Atlatl Strike Promotion (+50% Ranged Combat Strength VS Wounded Units).

    Kuna.
    +1 Science, +2 Faith.

    Can only be constructed in Forest or Jungles, and not adjacent to another Kuna. +2 Science at Mathematics. +2 Science at Astronomy. +2 Science at Archaeology. +2 Culture at Flight. Unlocks at Construction.

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    Why should the Maya favor tall? Well, their UA gives them free great people so I'd like to find a way to build upon or take further advantage of that. Staying tall with fewer cities will dilute the bonuses of those free great people less than if I went wide. Also, I will look to choose religious beliefs that synergize with great person births and tradition/tall will help me generate still more great people.

    Also, the Kuna strikes me as one of the few UI that actually favor tall rather than wide. Most UIs scale with wide well (Maori, Chateau, Kasbah, etc) however the restriction of the Kuna to only jungle/forest means that you probably want to stick to your initial jungle/forest area and it's unlikely that area will be large enough to really support wide (depending on your map settings of course).

    Why would a science victory fit? Well, just look at the Kuna's bonuses- science and more science. The jungle start bias will add some more science with universities. There's nothing explicitly pushing us toward domination/culture/diplomacy victories and to me, science is sort of like the default/time limit victory that you get as long as you can thwart everyone else's victories.

    Why peaceful? If you look at all the civs in this game there are a LOT of civs that very much cater to war, so anytime I play a civ that isn't explicitly warlike I try to be somewhat peaceful. There are certainly plenty of advantages to war even to civs that aren't built around it but it's sometimes fun to just play defensively. Also, the Atlatlist as a archer-line UU seems defensive to me. Archers are particularly good at sitting in defensive spots behind cities and mowing down invaders without putting themselves in danger.

    And last, why the Maya? There are other civs that would perhaps be better suited to tall science (Korea...) but unfortunately I've played them too recently so I need a change of pace! Also, I've been to some of the Mayan ruins in Mexico (Tulum and Coba) so I have a soft spot for them :)

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    My early-game plan:

    Clearly we need to get to mathematics ASAP to get those long counts started. In the early game the ratio of turn # to years that go by is much larger than later on so every turn we delay could result in fewer great person births total and delay our first great person birth too. I've tested out the early game for the Maya a few times now to try to get a feel for how I should approach this and it seems that beelining the Mathematics tech isn't necessarily the way to do this. The tech unlock for the Kuna is in construction which requires a slight detour but I'm thinking that the science from the Kuna improvement could actually help us get to Mathematics sooner. The Kuna will also help us get our religion sooner.

    I'm planning to fight the urge to settle more than 2 or 3 additional cities prior to getting Mathematics. The fewer cities will keep tech/policy costs down early on and with tradition most of my culture/science is from my capital anyway. I'll try to grab nearby jungle/forest locations that hopefully guarantee my luxury monopoly and then fight the urge to expand further until perhaps later if there are additional jungle/forest spots.

    From what I can tell there are 3 main sources of science I'll have available to me in the early game. First are councils from my capital or satellite cities. Normally councils aren't super high on the priority list but since I have to get to Mathematics ASAP that might change this game. The tech for councils also reveals banana which might be useful in a jungle environment, even more so because Kunas cant be placed on them so knowing where they are in order to better plan Kuna placement is important.

    The next source of science would be the Kuna themselves. I'll divert to unlock them at construction and will prioritize workers to get them up quickly.

    The last source of early science would be the 3rd policy in tradition which grants some science bonuses and a science specialist. At that point in the early game every point of science is a large percentage of your total so working a specialist could be a fairly large bonus. Unlocking that 3rd policy early enough for it to matter in the Mathematics race will require strong culture generation from early monuments, the tradition artist specialist, and maybe our pantheon.

    If all goes well I can get to mathematics somewhere in the turn 70ish time frame, which I think is something like 900BC on standard speed? I will plan to leverage the early great people for either an early great engineer for a free wonder or a great prophet to found or enhance my religion super early.

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    My late-game plan:

    I'll cater my religion around science or things that benefit from great people. My pantheon by default will probably be Goddess of Renewal (faith/culture from forest/jungle and science/faith from herbalists) since my start bias is jungle unless for some reason the terrain favors something else. I'm also considering Goddess of Wisdom (+1 faith per 15 science and +1 science/turn, faith/science/GAP per city) though that feels more like a strong wide pantheon to me.

    For founder I'm thinking ceremonial burial (faith/culture when great people are expended). For follower beliefs I'm debating between Scholarship (science/follower), Asceticism (food/follower to help support tall), Master (specialists get extra yields), and Veneration (faith/follower for more faith bought great people). Mandirs would be nice follower building for the growth and great person assassination protection, too.

    Enhancer should be Iconography for sure I think. More great people from those free great person points seems rather strong to me, especially since the Maya can probably enhance faster than almost any other civ (maybe India can be quicker?) and early game those +2 great person points for every type could be pretty awesome.

    And for reformation I'd probably go for Glory of God (more faith bought great people) but possibly also Jesuit Education (faith bought science buildings).

    Other than religion's great person synergy, I'll also be on the lookout for wonders that give great people or that synergize with tall/science. But in particular I'll target:

    • Hanging Garden (free early garden and food to feed a tall capital)
    • Sankore (bonuses when generating great people)
    • Leaning Tower (free great person and great person generation)
    • Porcelain Tower (free scientist and more science)
    • Hubble (science victory assurance)
    I'll plan to go tradition->artistry->rationalism->freedom as those trees most favor great person generation and science.
     
    CppMaster likes this.
  2. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    My experience is if you want to work lots of great people and also work Kuna, you should get a religion that gives food, rather than something like mastery.
     
  3. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Emperor

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    I personally think of Maya as a Progress civ, it isn't hard to find 1-3 Kuna spots on average per city, the Worker benefits and extra Science from Progress synergize well with Kuna, and having strong early game Science that scales with the number of Cities is exactly what Progress wants. With Tradition, I am working Farms, Specialists, GPTI, and a few Mines-fitting Kuna in there would be tough. Wisdom is great for the Mayans and that's a wide pantheon.

    The last point is that I think the Mayan GP aren't actually "free". They delay the cost of the next one, which is a big deal, moreso for Tradition than Progress.

    However if you want to play them as Tradition by all means do so. Mayans don't actually have any tools for expanding so it's easy to overexpand and stretch yourself too thin with Progress-Tradition can stay focused on Science Victory better. I kind of feel like playing Mayans as Tradition is ultimately just playing a worse Arabia or Korea though tbh.
     
    CrazyG likes this.
  4. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    This was true in vanilla, but not in VP.

    Maya can get a really fast enhanced religion which is a big edge over Korea or Arabia, though Maya does have less long term power. I would also consider Fealty with Maya, because food is good and you have a more a religious focus.
     
    chicorbeef likes this.
  5. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    When I was testing Mayas, I concluded that beelining Mathematics was wrong.
    It is much better to rush Kunas. You get consistently a religion, you benefit earlier from your pantheon, you research faster, so you actually can get to Mathematics before the first count if you rush Kunas.
     
    CrabHelmet and CrazyG like this.
  6. Omen of Peace

    Omen of Peace Prince

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    How many workers did you get, for how many cities?
    I'm guessing this strategy needs more workers earlier than standard ones.
     
  7. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I think you're right that mastery is probably wrong, and veneration is probably a bit greedy. The more I consider it the more I think scholarship + mandirs could work.

    I'm also wondering if I can make do with a few internal trade routes to give my capital plenty of food. I think tall science is probably the ideal time to use a few internal routes- the external routes shouldn't be giving nearly as much science as usual (I'm supposed to be leading in science after all) or culture (should be towards the top in policies too if I stay tall/small). I likely won't have growth bonuses due to influence with those external routes either.

    So maybe mandirs, a few internal food routes, and if I can snag hanging gardens my growth will be ok.
     
  8. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    So far in the few initial test games I've played I've usually had no more than 4-5 total jungle/forest locations to settle. I'd usually want to settle more than that if I went progress but I'd probably have to settle subpar locations in order to do so.

    Aside from that, though, the thing I don't like about progress Maya is that getting to Mathematics asap might be tough to do if you're spamming early settlers. Progress gets science when the capital grows which isn't going to happen while the early rush to settle occurs, though maybe we can make it to fraternity for the science from city connections fast enough. It also takes some time before cities become net positive in science which might not occur before mathematics. Perhaps I'll test it out to see how quickly progress can get there, though.
     
  9. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Agreed- though I might try to test it out using a few different methods to see which ways are fastest. It's a relatively easy test to take on as it only requires playing ~90 turns or so and those early turns fly by! I'll report my findings when I can (though my opportunities to play are sometimes limited...).
     
  10. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I'm usually trying to build/buy a worker for every city I have. That usually roughly keeps pace with how quickly the cities grow and are able to work tiles, though if I notice that a city is starting to work unimproved tiles I might build/buy an extra. I think you're right that it is especially important to have early workers as Maya to get those Kuna up and running asap.
     
  11. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Alright, I finally got time to run through some test cases and the results were surprising (to me).

    The first thing I learned in my testing was how the long count actually works. The 394 year counter for your first great person doesn't start when you unlock mathematics, rather the long count ends on specific turns regardless of when you discover mathematics. The earliest long count turn I know of that generates a great person is turn 62, so if you can discover mathematics on, say, turn 61 you would get your first great person the very next turn. If you hit mathematics on turn 63 then you have to wait until the next long count end at turn 72. Other long count turns are 86 and 101.

    I did 3 early game play-throughs of the first 100 turns or so using 3 different openings. The goal is to unlock mathematics asap and to found/enhance our religion asap.

    I played the same turn 0 start for each play-through and tried to use the same build order when it made sense to do so, even down to investing in the same buildings on the same turn and settling my secondary cities on the same exact tiles. Ruins were turned on so I purposely did not grab any and even avoided discovering city states. The only thing I couldn't really control was which civs I meet though my tech path probably didn't benefit much from reduced costs since I'm often beelining.

    The first 2 openings were tradition where I grab construction first for Kunas before beelining mathematics and another tradition opening where I just beeline mathematics and skip Kunas until later. Going in I assumed the 'Kuna first' path would be better as Kunas would help with both science and faith but on the contrary: the mathematics beeline got to mathematics on turn 69 whereas diverting to Kunas got me to mathematics on turn 78! This means that hitting construction for Kunas first actually made me miss out on that turn 72 long count end. For religion, hitting Kunas first did help me found sooner at turn 95, 3 turns earlier than the mathematics beeline turn 98. However, both of these founded religions enhanced with the free great person from the long count on turn 101 so in terms of religion they aren't hugely different.

    In my opinion, beelining mathematics and getting that extra GP on turn 72 is the superior route. You'll have your lux and other tiles improved before Kunas which is maybe not ideal but a free great engineer to nab a free wonder earlier is worth it. The other benefit of hitting mathematics 9 turns earlier is unlocking your atlatists sooner for a more robust defense.

    The last playthrough I did was with progress beelining mathematics to see how it compared. I assumed that progress' early science might be a tad slow since the capital is often busy making settlers and not birthing citizens for the instant science gain. However, this play-through hit mathematics on turn 60, 9 turns earlier than tradition and early enough to get the turn 62 long count great person! The difference seemed to be the instant 60-75 science you generate when opening progress due to 15 science per citizens in the capital which is roughly 10 turns of science in the early game. For religion I still founded on turn 99 just in time for the turn 101 long count great person to be a prophet and enhance.

    So the actual order of who hits mathematics fastest was the exact opposite of what I expected. I still think I'm going to go tradition for my real play-through, though. I like the idea of 4-5 total jungle/forest cities rather than an extra 4-5 cities with minimal jungle that I would probably end up settling as progress. I also think that each individual great person will have a much larger effect on a small/tall tradition empire vs the wider progress one.
     
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  12. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    What can I say? I did achieve Mathematics in time last time I tried, and I did two runs, one focusing mathematics, the other focusing masonry, and I got more satisfied with the latter. IIRC, it was played Progress tall.
     
  13. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    It seemed like in my games that by the time I unlocked Kunas and actually got them built they couldn't make up for the delay in getting to the construction tech. Getting Kunas first sets you up for more faith/science after mathematics but slows you down getting to mathematics. In the case that you skip Kunas until later your workers are still improving important tiles like horses, luxes, etc so it's not a total loss.

    Maybe in your 2 games there were differences in how you played that affected things?
     
  14. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    The second time I new where I should expand :D
     
  15. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Its likely that going kunas can get you mathematics in some cases if the stars a line, but bee-lining is a more reliable method.
     
  16. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    I wonder how does it go from

    "Beelining (also known as bee lining, bee hunting, and coursing bees) is an ancient art used to locate feral beecolonies."

    to

    "bee·line
    (bē′līn′)
    n.
    A direct, straight course.
    intr.v. bee·lined, bee·lin·ing, bee·lines
    To move swiftly in a direct, straight course"
     
  17. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Oh one thing I forgot to add- in some of my early attempts I thought that maybe I could get to Ceremony (tradition policy that gives +3 science and a scientist slot) or Fraternity (progress policy that gives science on city connection) fast enough in order to be helpful to make it to mathematics faster. However, in the games I played it didn't seem possible to get them quickly enough to make a real difference, especially since I would have to prioritize monuments to the detriment of shrine/councils.
     
  18. CrabHelmet

    CrabHelmet Prince

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    That might be why you are struggling. Most top players prioritize Monuments first in secondary cities.
     
  19. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    There are zero situations where building a council before a monument is a good idea.
     
  20. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Yep, I know. I usually prioritize monuments in secondary cities too in normal games. I was just trying to see how quickly I could make it to mathematics and enhance, in which case monuments in secondary cities don't help at all.

    Now whether or not going all in on unlocking mathematics is the strongest way to play Maya is another question entirely. I will say that it's pretty fun to get a bunch of early great people though!
     

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