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Monarch to Emperor: the Great Leap

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Ision, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. Ision

    Ision Master

    Joined:
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    Every CIV player has experienced the awkward adjustment period that occurs when they move up in difficulty level. It is often debated which ‘move up’ in level is the most difficult to adjust to. Certainly the move from Warlord to Regent comes to ones mind. The first few times a player faces the game on an equal footing with the AI can take some getting used to. There is however another ‘move up’ which many players that have reached Deity level point to as the moment when the game takes on an almost completely different feel – almost as if you were playing a different game with the same mechanics. The ‘move up’ I am referring to is the move from Monarch to Emperor. In many ways Monarch is a slightly beefed up Regent, the only significant difference being the faster AI build time. However, once a player masters Regent he rarely has much difficulty with Monarch. The small AI advantages are no match for the superior human playing skills of even an average Regent player. When you hit Emperor the AI advantages become far more pronounced – so much so, that a great number of the techniques that you mastered over the last 4 levels are no longer viable. For many players Monarch is the end point of their CIV experience – and understandably so. The reasons for this are numerous, and this article is an attempt to address what you can expect in a Mon to Emp transition while also giving a few tips that will hopefully help players overcome the ‘Great Leap’.

    1 content citizen: At Monarch all your new cities begin with 2 content citizens – on Emperor you start with only 1. The impact of this is far reaching and can confuse a Monarch player. Prior to this you could pretty much maintain a fairly ‘happy’ empire with minimal effort. Now you will be forced to master the luxury slider. The first thing you need to get over is the natural unwillingness to use the slider. It is a habit acquired in much ‘happier’ difficulty levels. Secondly, prior to Emperor the primary reason you stationed troops in your cities was for defense – at Emperor you need to start paying attention to the Military Police value of city garrisons. Lastly, never before has the importance of securing and connecting luxury resources become so huge – yes you focused on them before, but now they need to become almost an obsession. You heard that rioting and war weariness were part of the game but have never really experienced it to any significant degree – a frequent and close watch of your cities happiness levels are now in order.

    AI build bonus: At Emperor the AI will build in 8 turns what takes you 10. This 20% bonus will cause you to change many of your most cherished ‘build orders’, Wonder objectives, and military plans. No longer will you be able to build 4 Ancient Age wonders, and then every single wonder for the rest of the game. Get over it! Be far more focused and learn to prioritize your wonder chasing to coincide with your primary game objectives. If you have relied on the ‘Pyramids or GL’ for every game start you need to learn new strats – at Emp or above your ability to secure these prize wonders is greatly diminished. Secondly, no longer will you be able to simply out research the AI from late Ancient in the tech race. Get over it! Learn to play from behind – focus on tech branches that are less popular with the AI – and most of all check in with your neighbors EVERY turn. Trade, trade and trade some more. Your days of tech hording are over. Prior to Emperor many players have never bought a tech for gold from an AI – you will need to learn the nuances of proper tech purchasing. Amazingly new players often use the 0 research gambit in their games – amazing because at the lower levels you will almost always out research the AI from beginning to end if you choose to – so there really was no need. This strat was originally designed for upper level players finding methods to keep up with the AI. So what you toyed with before without need, is now a crucial strat to master.

    AI troop bonus: At Monarch the AI gets a small increase in starting units and free unit support. At Emperor or above this increase becomes very significant. So much so – that that ultra early archer rush that you have always taken for granted will now run into an AI with 2 or 3 times of a numerical advantage over you. Initially you will have to revert to your Chieftain days when you focused on learning to secure your empire and build defensive units. The luxury of being able to build a temple or library before military in every new city will often lead to your being overrun by a neighbor. In time you will learn to attack again. But even here, it will no longer be the same. Truth be told – prior to Emperor the only reason you built different types of units was out of personal taste. At Monarch you can literally build 1 or 2 types of offensive unit(s), follow the upgrade path, and build nothing else the entire game. Just stack up and go. At Emp – those days are over – you will now have to learn the power of ‘combined arms’ and artillery. The counter-attack will also make an appearance - out of necessity. Expect to be picked on early and often. Most importantly – your wars will have to be planned in much greater depth, and your unit management will have to be far more precise. The concept of maintaining a ‘strategic reserve’ will become a necessity. Lastly, up to now you have managed to fight almost endless wars in representative Governments (Republic/Democracy) – and you never could understand why warmongers would switch to Communism or Fascism – besides, pop rushing never seemed to pay off. Those days are also over. A hard core Emperor or above player that intends to warmonger endlessly will have to learn the proper management of a totalitarian Government – the AI troop bonus leaves you no choice. Furthermore, you simply will not dominate like you once did in the Industrial Age – proper pop rushing will often be the difference in whether you survive or not!

    The AI is stupid: yes the AI is stupid and remains so at Emp and above. BUT, the quantative advantage of the AI is so pronounced that it goes a very long way towards making up for the stupidity. Do NOT take for granted what you took for granted before (the AI will have a small lousy navy, the AI will launch a piecemeal half-hearted counter attack against you, the AI rarely attacks in early Ancient Age, ect…).

    Micro - Management: So you read Crackers article on proper worker management eh? Well, tell you what – you better find it again and read it 2 more times. The single greatest advantage you had over the AI at Monarch and below was better worker management. Most Monarch and below players settle on a ‘mine green – water brown and white’ approach to workers – this will no longer hold up at the higher levels. At Emp and above the extensive AI bonuses vastly mitigate against this. In turn, your worker management becomes far more crucial – so much so that a series of early missteps in working tiles and roading that formerly lead to temporary setbacks, may now actually lead to your being totally destroyed in the early game. In fact the true key to successful playing at Emp or above is proper micro-management. This applies to every aspect of the game now; economic, diplomatic and military. Slow down - be patient – and plan ahead. Planning ahead now takes on a whole new meaning. At the lower levels the game could literally be played ‘one turn’ at a time, in other words winging it as you go. At the upper levels you must have a clear and purposeful long-range goal. All of your planning and decisions should all lead towards the achievement of that goal.

    The Expansion phase: Lastly, and most importantly is the expansion phase. Before Emperor this phase of the game was still important to you – but not so important that you could not take a couple of liberties (the early Wonder city, having only 1 settler pump, building culture before workers or troops, ect…). The single most frustrating aspect about making the leap from Monarch to Emperor is learning to part with these ‘liberties’. They become an integral part of your whole approach to the game – they are the reason you establish such an overwhelming early dominance in the game. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to focus almost solely on troops/settlers/and workers in the early game. You WILL NOT keep up or even come close to the AI expansion if you indulge in these liberties. The goal is still ‘overwhelming dominance’ – you just have to get used to the fact that it is not a ‘start to finish’ given any more. At Emperor you can still afford perhaps a single deviation – but no more than that. At Demi or Deity you’ll be toast if you indulge in building at the expense of expansion.

    There’s much, much more – but that sums up my contribution for now. Hope this article helps.

    Ision
     
  2. Bede

    Bede Deity

    Joined:
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    Ision, two really good articles :goodjob:

    I will take the liberty of adding a thought

    Play to your strengths
    In short, enhance the inherent traits of your tribe, whatever those are. Research, trading and building act as multipliers to the tribal strength. If your civilization is commercial, become a trader. If religious, focus on culture. If industrious, build on that. Make full use of comparative advantage at all stages of the game

    Thanks again for helping improve my game
     
  3. zagnut

    zagnut Monarch

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    I think you have done a great service to the player "moving up". Many of the strategies you identify are not intuiitive and lead to a great deal of frustration. However, they not only work, but they are a must for playing at the upper levels.

    Players moving up to Emperor would be wise to adopt Ision's suggestions, even if they don't feel right. You have to "play from behind" and catch up in the Middle Ages or later. You have to change your entire way of thinking with regard to research because you can't research faster than the AI until later in the game. Follow these suggestions and you will be a better player.

    I would suggest this thread be transferred to the Strategy Articles section.
     
  4. zerksees

    zerksees in remission

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    One more thing you might add: Giving in to AI demands.

    Below emperor you could always "ignore their hollow threats" and survive. At emperor, when Shaka comes knocking you need to think twice about what is best for your civ. If you give him that map and 22 gold he demands then he will probably declare war on someone else and you live for another day!

    This was hard for me to do at first.

    Also, the only time I have ever lost to the AI was my first emperor attempt, so I completely agree this is a big jump. To overcome it I read some articles in war academy and completely changed my strategy.
     
  5. akillias

    akillias Prince

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    lol i am not doing bad at research in a continent map but at pangae the AI has a lead of 5-10 tech over me
     
  6. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    Breaking the middle age GA addiction is another thing to consider. At Regent/Monarch I tried to time mine to coincide with the Sistine Chapel/Leos Workshop/Sun Tzus or a late middle age GA to take advantage of Democracy or the late middle age wonders. Now an early GA may help you survive when you're outnumbered 3 cities to 1 and you have been locked in due to rapid AI expansion.

    If you manage to time the GA right for a huge effect great but don't rely on it.
     
  7. DrJambo

    DrJambo Crash-test dummy

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    Very good article.

    One of the things you forgot, which I found imperative in my recent Emperor success, was the timing of when to enter into wars.

    My last Emperor game was on a large continents map with a default number of civs. I tend to favour wars in the Middle Ages due to the increase mobility of units and a fairly well established roads network. In the Ancient Age sometimes there's nothing you can do when a large AI stack all of a sudden arrives beside one of your prize cities and your forces have litttle chance of helping before the city's taken.

    Anyway, back to my point. More often than not entering a war 1 vs 1 with another AI civ on the same continent will result in a swift pasting from an AI army which is always far superior in numbers. Instead, what to do is jump on the band-wagon of an AI vs AI war, or if you're rich enough, sign military alliances with other civs.

    If you leave the jumping on the band-wagon until many turns after the initial declaration of war, then you can usually safely assume that the initial large surplus of units that an AI civ will have on Emperor level has been destroyed by the intense fighting. At this point join the war and you'll often find that even your punitive army can fairly easily take down a far superior civ.

    The first few times you do this in a game, it's often wise to team up with the bigger, more powerful civ - grab whatever cities you can and expand a little each time. Once you have got yourself well established (round about the arrival of knights or cavalry) then it might be worth your while in the next war teaming up with the slightly weaker civ to take the more powerful civ down - eventually you will have to do this anyway and it's better to do this before it gets significantly more difficult (i.e. with the arrival of railroads).

    This to me is the single most important aspect to surviving and eventually winning at Emperor level. In my game, using these tactics I eventually controlled my entire continent by the Modern Age and could afford to take on the whole of the other continent all at the same time - involving a big nuclear war. ;O)

    I eventually won by Space Race, although Greece still wasn't that far behind!

    Regards
     
  8. DrJambo

    DrJambo Crash-test dummy

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    Using this strategy for entering wars and expanding, I was actually able to contest and build a few Ancient and Middle Age Wonders and city improvements.
     
  9. Legator

    Legator Chieftain

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    you scared me now :/

    (not a spam!)

    played a long time on monarch but never finished. restarted now and about to finish warlord - i wanted to finish em all
     
  10. CIVPhilzilla

    CIVPhilzilla Reagan Republican

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    I am playing my first Emperor game, I am doing very well. Part of it is due to luck with scouts, got a lot of early techs and an early SGL to rush Pyramids. I just expanded, expanded, expanding with the mighty Americans. I currently have the most land and a tech lead. Only prob no military. I know that was very risky, I have just given into AI demands thus far so they think im weak until the industrial ages.

    :tank: :tank: :tank: :tank: :tank: :tank: :tank:

    Anyway thank you ision for another very helpful article. :thanx:
     
  11. valamas

    valamas Prince

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    Great article. Im will be playing one more monarch game and then i will try emperor. I have to learn to micro manage my workers. I used to set them to auto. But now i use them to build roads between my cities and the war front and set the rest to auto. It seems i need to control most of my workers if not all for Emperor.


    Does anyone have a link to Crackers worker article?
     
  12. Randy

    Randy Prince

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    Thanks, I could have used this 6 mouths ago.

    I had to learn most of that the hard way.

    But I have one 3 of 5 game at this level. (I quit the first 2)
     
  13. pelmeister

    pelmeister Chieftain

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    Apropos of Zerksee's comments on Shaka's demands, this is why there is no point in hording tech. In fact as a corrolary, you might as well give away techs to those that are (1) behind and (2) have no money. I read somewhere here a great gratitude earning trick of donating money to a struggling civ and then selling the AI a tech. It does work and it is very important - particularly in 10+ civs games - that most, if not all the AI rivals are up to speed with each other, particularly those furthest away from you.

    The Doctor's comments about getting in on an AI v AI war is very important. This means you need to look over the map far more than you ever do at lower levels. If you see Coventry being taken over by the Vikings - aside from it being a repeat of history, it probably means that it is time to put the knife in Liz's little empire.
     
  14. Vaiar

    Vaiar Chieftain

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    How should you manage the opening in your opinion? (Except of course for the emphasis on rapid expansion [military, workers, settlers].)
     
  15. bonscott

    bonscott Prince

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    I have recently moved up to Monarch and will soon move to Emperor. After reading this article I noticed that I was doing many of the same things on my move up to Monarch already.

    Things I've noticed:
    1) Even more so you must trade like crazy. My last 2 games I was really behind in tech. But by researching the correct one the AI didn't have and trading to get all the rest from the AI's was key. Use 0% tech to get cash and buy what you can until you catch up.
    2) Definately get involved in the AI vs AI battles. I've actually always been doing this. My latest game I was in a big eary industrial age war on my continent. The Mongols on the other continent declare war on me for some odd reason. I dial everyone else up and have them join me in an alliance vs. Mongols. While I never once battled the Mongols, the other AI's destroyed them. Meanwhile I took care of my enemy on my continent. Just like that 2 AI's are gone.
    3) Arms dealer. I like to play the role of the arms dealer. I'll sell saltpeter, iron, etc. to an AI on the other continent that is behind or fighting the stronger rival. This gives them the chance to fight back, last longer, and do more damage to the rival AI. Plus it's good to keep up in tech by trading for it with the resources.
     
  16. bonscott

    bonscott Prince

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    Vaiar,

    I think absolutely must have some military. Keep up your spearman defense for each settler you pump out. Try not to get behind in spearman by more then two cities. If you encounter an AI early they will attack you if you have undefended cities. You notice the AI will usually escort a settler with a military unit and use that to defend the new city. Try to do the same thing or at least get a defender up to the city within a few turns.

    Even if you want to be a peaceful builder, you need to have a decent military to prevent being taken advantage of.
     
  17. SanPellegrino

    SanPellegrino Wanderer

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    :goodjob: one of the best articles I read here. I also found it hard to make concessions to game mechanics, especially quitting wonder building and giving in to demands
     
  18. pelmeister

    pelmeister Chieftain

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    1) Decide early on what you are going to do about your neighbours and then set about doing it.

    2) Decide which city you are going to build a wonder in, start building a palace and switch later.

    3) Identify your settler factory(s) sites

    4) If its an archipeligo map, build several curraghs and send them all over the place searching for AIs to trade with.
     
  19. yankees

    yankees Chieftain

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    another great article!!!
     
  20. Rellin

    Rellin Norrathian Gnome

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    When making this jump should I leave barb huts on or off? With the AI starting out with so many additional warriors they will be able to collect a lotof the goody huts I assume and therefore get an even greater tech lead early on so I was considering turning this option off.

    I also generally like to play on Huge Pangea with either 60% or 70% water, but am considering playing on Continents with 60% water. Any advice in these regards?
     

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