Mid - to late-game questions

noontide

Warlord
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Dec 17, 2007
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So this is my latest Immortal game. I have a decent size of army, but so does everyone else. Everyone is happy with me, but looks like Germany is plotting against me. I'm a little behind in tech. So where do I go from here? I could pick a war against Chinese but I'm worried about Germany in my back yard. I was the first one to research Astronomy and I trade it with everyone, is it a mistake?

In general mid- to late-game is always a slog for me and I often lose the advantages I built in earlier ages. There are always one or two AIs whose tech advancement sudden leap forward for no apparent reasons. Any general tips for this stage of game are welcome too. Thanks.
 

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  • NoonTide AD-1505_1.CivBeyondSwordSave
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You got Steel at a good date. At that point the plan should be to just build cannons and other military to support them and conquer as much as makes sense before losing that advantage. China right now is a perfect target because he is back in tech and isolated diplomatically. Frederick cannot plot against you if he is pleased (see guide here: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/civ-illustrated-1-know-your-enemy.478563/). Only Victoria and Qin here can plot if pleased, but Victoria is almost friendly, and even at pleased you can probably enlist her on your side of the war in exchange of a tech. In summary, you had (and still have) a good window to make gains with cannons, but right now your cities are distracted building other things than military. Falling behind in tech is ok and expected during war, but doubling or tripling your land makes it worth it in the long run.

Your current path (Astronomy - Physics) suggests you are going for a diplomatic or space victory, but for space it would be great to have more land (so conquer China first), and even for diplomatic it would be easier if you had more land, to make sure you can win with 2 AIs at friendly for example. Also for space the tech to prioritize is Communism so you can run State Property and use workshops on all your plain grass tiles for mass production.

A few notes about your economy:
- The Great Lighthouse - Colossus combo was a great plan for this map and leader. However Astronomy obsoletes the Colossus and was not clearly needed now, and you are in the Mercantilism civic which directly counters the advantage of Great Lighthouse. You should not be running Mercantilism unless other Civs are running it preventing most of your cities from getting foreign trade routes, or maybe if you have the Representation civic and the science from specialists beats the return from foreign trade routes.
- The Great Lighthouse date was a bit late, aim for it before 1000 BC. Currency (175 AD) and Civil Service (400 AD) were also late, you generally want CS pre- 1 AD. Why was Machinery teched before those? You got Priesthood fairly early but then didn't get Monarchy for some time, is there a particular reason why?
- What did you use your great people for? I see an Academy that is not in the capital or in the best science city.
- This is not a great map for cottages so I assume for the most part your economy revolved around the boosted Colossus water tiles. If so a lot of your non-river land tiles in your coastal cities could be farms (chaining irrigation once you get civil service) so you can run more scientists with Caste System. Alternatively a FIN leader could also build cottages on non-river grass tiles if you do it early enough so they are villages/towns by this stage of the game. But it looks now as if a lot of this land was not developed despite having 11 workers.
- You may be building too many buildings that don't provide much returns. Consider the Bank in Nijmegen. That city generates 30 commerce per turn and your breakeven research slider rate is 70%. So 30% of the time on average your commerce is becoming wealth, and you would get a 50% bonus with the bank. So that's 50% of 30% of 30 commerce, or around 4.5 gold per turn. Since your city could use the 200 hammers from the bank to build wealth instead, it takes 200 / 4.5 = 44 turns for the bank to just repay it's opportunity cost. But it's actually worse than that, because if you were building wealth instead in your cities (when not building units), your breakeven rate on the slider would be higher than 70%, so the wealth buildings (market, bank) would return even less and your research buildings like libraries would return more. Also note that the bank / market bonuses to not apply to the wealth "built" by your cities from production, only the production bonuses like forge applies.
 
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You got Steel at a good date. At that point the plan should be to just build cannons and other military to support them and conquer as much as makes sense before losing that advantage. China right now is a perfect target because he is back in tech and isolated diplomatically. Frederick cannot plot against you if he is pleased (see guide here: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/civ-illustrated-1-know-your-enemy.478563/). Only Victoria and Qin here can plot if pleased, but Victoria is almost friendly, and even at pleased you can probably enlist her on your side of the war in exchange of a tech. In summary, you had (and still have) a good window to make gains with cannons, but right now your cities are distracted building other things than military. Falling behind in tech is ok and expected during war, but doubling or tripling your land makes it worth it in the long run.

Your current path (Astronomy - Physics) suggests you are going for a diplomatic or space victory, but for space it would be great to have more land (so conquer China first), and even for diplomatic it would be easier if you had more land, to make sure you can win with 2 AIs at friendly for example. Also for space the tech to prioritize is Communism so you can run State Property and use workshops on all your plain grass tiles for mass production.

A few notes about your economy:
- The Great Lighthouse - Colossus combo was a great plan for this map and leader. However Astronomy obsoletes the Colossus and was not clearly needed now, and you are in the Mercantilism civic which directly counters the advantage of Great Lighthouse. You should not be running Mercantilism unless other Civs are running it preventing most of your cities from getting foreign trade routes, or maybe if you have the Representation civic and the science from specialists beats the return from foreign trade routes.
- The Great Lighthouse date was a bit late, aim for it before 1000 BC. Currency (175 AD) and Civil Service (400 AD) were also late, you generally want CS pre- 1 AD. Why was Machinery teched before those? You got Priesthood fairly early but then didn't get Monarchy for some time, is there a particular reason why?
- What did you use your great people for? I see an Academy that is not in the capital or in the best science city.
- This is not a great map for cottages so I assume for the most part your economy revolved around the boosted Colossus water tiles. If so a lot of your non-river land tiles in your coastal cities could be farms (chaining irrigation once you get civil service) so you can run more scientists with Caste System. Alternatively a FIN leader could also build cottages on non-river grass tiles if you do it early enough so they are villages/towns by this stage of the game. But it looks now as if a lot of this land was not developed despite having 11 workers.
- You may be building too many buildings that don't provide much returns. Consider the Bank in Nijmegen. That city generates 30 commerce per turn and your breakeven research slider rate is 70%. So 30% of the time on average your commerce is becoming wealth, and you would get a 50% bonus with the bank. So that's 50% of 30% of 30 commerce, or around 4.5 gold per turn. Since your city could use the 200 hammers from the bank to build wealth instead, it takes 200 / 4.5 = 44 turns for the bank to just repay it's opportunity cost. But it's actually worse than that, because if you were building wealth instead in your cities (when not building units), your breakeven rate on the slider would be higher than 70%, so the wealth buildings (market, bank) would return even less and your research buildings like libraries would return more. Also note that the bank / market bonuses to not apply to the wealth "built" by your cities from production, only the production bonuses like forge applies.

Thanks for the tips, all great points. I researched Astronomy mainly to keep up with the AI tech. In my other attempt I DoW on China after taking care of Spain, the war is a slog and around 1600 Germany suddenly had 4 or 5 advanced techs I didn't have yet, dunno how it managed to pull ahead in such a burst. I built market mainly for the happiness effect, as the penalty of not running Democracy is heavy on my cities. That's actually a perpetual problem for me in late game, I usually go for dominance victory so I don't like to run Democracy, but always get heavy happiness penalty.

Great point on the mismatch in civ too, I'll play again and fix that.

For the grassland tiles, if I don't build cottage, what else should I build? Farm doesn't seem to help as I already reached happiness limit in many cities.
 
I forgot to mention it, but especially given that you have the Great Lighthouse, you could have settled more cities within your current borders on the coast since each city brings commerce from 4 trade routes to start with. In particular, putting a city on the island south of capital would have been profitable because it counts as 'out of continent' and trade routes to/from this city get extra commerce. Also, more cities mean you can work more tiles across your whole empire before reaching the happiness limit, and more cities can produce a bigger initial burst of units for war.

Didn't notice it first, but you also did not switch to the civic Hereditary Rule, it would help for happiness.

I tried playing and Frederick does declare against you, maybe he wasn't pleased yet when he started plotting? (At least, because he is pleased, you can ask him for a small amount of gold e.g. 1 gold 'can you spare this for a good friend?' and if he accepts that enforces a 10-turn peace treaty to give you time to prepare for war or bribe him to attack someone else. It may seem ''cheap" as a game mechanic but sometimes it's your only out at high difficulty levels.)

I think the main thing, to avoid the mid-game war to be a slog, would still be more focus so that e.g. the production in those markets / banks / universities / courthouses would instead go to military in order to achieve rapid gains. There is a good immortal shadow game still going on: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/shadow-game-immortal-w-sitting-bull.683164/ that is mostly centered around horse archers and then cuirassiers rush (which are good for faster war on immortal pangea), that thread would contain a lot of advice also pertinent here I think, although the leader traits are different.
 
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I forgot to mention it, but especially given that you have the Great Lighthouse, you could have settled more cities within your current borders on the coast since each city brings commerce from 4 trade routes to start with. In particular, putting a city on the island south of capital would have been profitable because it counts as 'out of continent' and trade routes to/from this city get extra commerce. Also, more cities mean you can work more tiles across your whole empire before reaching the happiness limit, and more cities can produce a bigger initial burst of units for war.

Didn't notice it first, but you also did not switch to the civic Hereditary Rule, it would help for happiness.

I tried playing and Frederick does declare against you, maybe he wasn't pleased yet when he started plotting? (At least, because he is pleased, you can ask him for a small amount of gold e.g. 1 gold 'can you spare this for a good friend?' and if he accepts that enforces a 10-turn peace treaty to give you time to prepare for war or bribe him to attack someone else. It may seem ''cheap" as a game mechanic but sometimes it's your only out at high difficulty levels.)

I think the main thing, to avoid the mid-game war to be a slog, would still be more focus so that e.g. the production in those markets / banks / universities / courthouses would instead go to military in order to achieve rapid gains. There is a good immortal shadow game still going on: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/shadow-game-immortal-w-sitting-bull.683164/ that is mostly centered around horse archers and then cuirassiers rush (which are good for faster war on immortal pangea), that thread would contain a lot of advice also pertinent here I think, although the leader traits are different.
hmm... thanks. Maybe I will replay from an earlier save to correct these mistakes.

One question though... are Universities, banks and Observatory really not necessary? I always get mighty nervous when AI pulls away in tech so my first priority is always to keep up, or rush Liberalism, and if I'm particularly luck, go for Gunpowder and Chemistry then pop Steel.
 
hmm... thanks. Maybe I will replay from an earlier save to correct these mistakes.

One question though... are Universities, banks and Observatory really not necessary? I always get mighty nervous when AI pulls away in tech so my first priority is always to keep up, or rush Liberalism, and if I'm particularly luck, go for Gunpowder and Chemistry then pop Steel.

In most situations, everything more expensive than a library will take too long to pay off to make your first breakout war happen faster, even if you go all the way to Steel. You can calculate it from a case by case basis like the example I gave above, but you need to also think of opportunity costs, like would building wealth instead help you raise your science % and thus tech faster. There are other threads on the topic e.g. https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/lets-talk-buildings.678129/

At immortal and especially deity you will always lose a tech lead during war, so you can only focus on one of the two (science or military) at a time. Thus the goal is to take as much land as fast as possible, then stop warring and rebuild the economy.


Courthouses can be built to control maintenance costs when you start conquering a lot of cities. Universities and observatories if you plan for a space victory or are otherwise going very far in the tech tree. Banks don't pay off in most cities if the science % if high as noted above, and that percentage should be high if you want a good tech rate.
 
Half of your cities don't have forges and some don't even have a granary, yet you're slow building banks & observatories & coloseums in them?
If you are going to build infrastructure start with granary and forge and get those out EARLY then it makes everything cheaper, and swap to wealth during downtime. Forges help with all this unhappiness rather than colosseums. Also theatres beat colosseums anyday since you have dye. Use organized religion with your wide spread budhism to build stuff quicker too. If you are going to play a long game and not rely on a cannon sweep then plan ahead and build oxford as fast as you can. You should be using slavery unless you are in state property+caste. Especially if the cities are unhappy due to being too big. China isn't killing anyone with that kinda tech.
I would say communism is much more important than physics so you can go caste and state property, forgo courthouses and any maintenance and spam worshops/watermills everywhere.

I do a ton of immortal builder games on my channel, come stop by sometime.
 
I replayed the game with suggestions from you guys in mind, and I fared much better entering late game. So thanks all!

But now I have a dilemma. I was going for dominant victory, wiped out Spain and Germany, but now Portugal is way ahead in techs and army so I can't touch him. Britan, Egypt and China are all weak, but they have defensive pack in place and I'm not ready to take on all of them.

So what's the best trategy here? Play the wait game and try to catch up on techs with Portugal? Or keep building up armies and have a one against three war? Save file attached. Thanks.
 

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  • NoonTide AD-1735.CivBeyondSwordSave
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Had a quick look. You need more workers to railroad them hills and improve unimproved tiles. Build gold not buildings. Research artillery and upgrade cannon then think about war.
 
I clicked on one turn from your initial save of 1505ad and the Germans declared war. That wasn't going to go well with cavalry and rifles. Huge stack was incoming. Cavalry will eat up your cannons. Unless you can attack from a city in large numbers. Should of beelined rifles much sooner.

You are likely playing the early game wrong here. If you get cuirs by 1000ad you should be able to swamp map with this unit. An early HA rush here might of been good. AI normally get rifles circa 1500ad on immortal. With financial you should of hit that 200+ years sooner.

Too much jungle and forest left by 1505ad. Places that should of been cottaged were not. Capital has 4 tiles with no cottages. Why would you use coast over cottage grassland. One of them river.

Not a great map for cottages but you are financial and with bureau the capital get's 50% too.

When your financial and the GermanI capital is covered in flood plains that gives you an idea of which cities you need to capture.Germans are not a great AI. You just left them alone too long with a strong commerce capital.

I am not sure how much you are learning from this map rehashing the 1505ad save.

As for the 1735ad save.
You really need to look at city detail screen. As you have 10 cities on automated commerce and random specialist scattered around. Berlin needs to grow.

No idea why you are building all these farms. Cottages or you go Communism route with workshops. You have done neither and killed off a lot of land tiles. Financial cottages really are not that bad. They quickly get to 3c. Long term they should beat ocean tiles.

I think JoaII is close to starting spaceship. You can start a war with him but JoaII has artillery. Game should of been won by 1500ad. Maybe sooner.

Building Utrecht 9 tiles away on immortal is horrible. Upkeep would of been a killer early on.

Do you have the starting save?
 
I clicked on one turn from your initial save of 1505ad and the Germans declared war. That wasn't going to go well with cavalry and rifles. Huge stack was incoming. Cavalry will eat up your cannons. Unless you can attack from a city in large numbers. Should of beelined rifles much sooner.

You are likely playing the early game wrong here. If you get cuirs by 1000ad you should be able to swamp map with this unit. An early HA rush here might of been good. AI normally get rifles circa 1500ad on immortal. With financial you should of hit that 200+ years sooner.

Too much jungle and forest left by 1505ad. Places that should of been cottaged were not. Capital has 4 tiles with no cottages. Why would you use coast over cottage grassland. One of them river.

Not a great map for cottages but you are financial and with bureau the capital get's 50% too.

When your financial and the GermanI capital is covered in flood plains that gives you an idea of which cities you need to capture.Germans are not a great AI. You just left them alone too long with a strong commerce capital.

I am not sure how much you are learning from this map rehashing the 1505ad save.

As for the 1735ad save.
You really need to look at city detail screen. As you have 10 cities on automated commerce and random specialist scattered around. Berlin needs to grow.

No idea why you are building all these farms. Cottages or you go Communism route with workshops. You have done neither and killed off a lot of land tiles. Financial cottages really are not that bad. They quickly get to 3c. Long term they should beat ocean tiles.

I think JoaII is close to starting spaceship. You can start a war with him but JoaII has artillery. Game should of been won by 1500ad. Maybe sooner.

Building Utrecht 9 tiles away on immortal is horrible. Upkeep would of been a killer early on.

Do you have the starting save?
Yeah thanks for pointing these out, I do think the second try is more optimized but I tend to play 5 or 6 hours straight and a the end I just run out of stamina. Attached is the initial save.
 

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  • AutoSave_Initial_BC-4000.CivBeyondSwordSave
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Yeah thanks for pointing these out, I do think the second try is more optimized but I tend to play 5 or 6 hours straight and a the end I just run out of stamina. Attached is the initial save.
Yes I did that often too but its not good for your health let alone your gameplay, play an hour, set an alarm and just stand outside for 5 minutes and breathe or lie down in bed or something then you come back and will see like 7 mistakes to fix and get to it straight away instead of getting worse and making more. spiral effect. Maintaining concentration is super important in this game especially for higher levels like immortal and deity.
 
Been playing this for fun. I had cuirs by about 860ad. I expanded to 12 cities peacefully using GLH and Colosus. Only scare was when Portugal attacked me 2-3 turns before I had cuirs but his stack was attacking China at the time. One Phant appeared. They quickly went for peace.

Attacked Germans who capitulated after 2 cities fell. Chinese fell after losing 4 cities. 1120ad and 2 vassals.

Portugal 25+ unit stack sat in city and died to cuirs. Took 1-2 losses. 2 cities fell and a further vassal.

Spain has a big stack and is in war mode. Likely against me. I think 30-40 cuirs will wipe out the stack. Spanish have a vassal (English) with 6 cities. I have about 22 cities.

I think once Spanish stack dies they will quickly vassal after losing 2-3 cities. They may resist as they have that vassal.

Not worried about Egyptians on 5 cities. Game is pretty much won as cuirs will beat LB, pults, mace and pikes in numbers and I will have 40+ by time I attack Spain. AI are likely 20+ turns from rifles and I am teching towards RP.

I did use cottages but sea tiles were great with coastal cities.

Will update once the game is won. I can't see this going much beyond 1450ad. Pends how quickly I can chain vassal the remianing AI.

Spanish capitulate at 1250ad. Their stack wondered around doing nothing while I captured 7 cities. Everyone is at war with English. Egyptians should not put up a big fight.

Okay English fell after 2 cities fell.

Egyptians would of lost 2 cities this turn but I liberated 1-2 Spanish cities. Set culture at 100%. Settled 1-2 cities and I reach domination win.

Domination win 1300ad. Just keep whipping cuirs everywhere till the AI capitulates. :)
 
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