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[BTS] Need some help with this position

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by scheines, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. scheines

    scheines Warlord

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    Hi everyone!

    So, even when I lose a game, I typically try to reload / replay from a save before a pivotal choice and see where I'm going wrong. I'm not really sure what to make of this game after various tries. I am stumped as to where I'm losing the game and would appreciate any thoughts. I'm sure at a micro level there are issues, but I feel like my main issues here are on a larger scale (e.g. choosing a victory condition that is unlikely, picking the wrong war target or era, too few units, military unit mismanagement, etc.) I attached saves at a few points for perusal. Any thoughts appreciated!

    (This is on immortal difficulty)

    Spoiler Map details :

    • Fractal
    • Normal speed, Standard size
    • NHNE
    • Medium Sea level


    Spoiler Game details :


    Just to explain saves first:
    • 4000 BC - initial save
    • 950 BC - before war with GK
    • 675 BC - after war with GK
    • 720 AD - random save during the "tech to cuirassiers" phase of the game. A glimpse at what I'm doing mid-game
    • 1160 AD - pre-war with cuirassiers
    • 1440 AD - position just as I give up after many retries


    So, about T10 I meet Genghis Khan, and shortly after I learn there is little to no land to grab; so war seems imminent here. I opt to axe rush GK, just to get the inevitable out of the way.

    I settle 4 cities before I get things under way at 950 BC. Perhaps this is too late for axes, and causes the later troubles? I'm not sure. Anyways, city placements are IMO reasonably straightforward: Edirne for copper + gold, Ankara for PH + 2x food, then I added Bursa later because the capital can't use all that food.


    Before & After:
    Civ4ScreenShot0004.JPG Civ4ScreenShot0003.JPG

    A pretty quick, simple, and decisive grab of some of his nearby cities. Beshbalik would be nice to have, but since I have retried and retried on this I know it is too well fortified. So I call it, and plan to polish him / others off with cuirassiers.

    It's also important to note that GK has only horse, making the rush that much easier once Ning-hsia is captured. Additionally, I further feel my hand is forced into war because GK does not get a religion early, and wagering I can tech enough to get trading going to get him to pleased seems risky.

    From here, the gist of the game is to grab music, win lib, and use cuirassiers on as many as possible. I know delving into this phase of the game on a turn-by-turn basis could be helpful, but I'm wondering if there is a problem statement to make (e.g. am I axe rushing too late, teching slowly / poorly, misusing GP, working stupid tiles / specialists, mismanaging diplo / war, etc.)

    My GP are as follows at this point. I skip bulbing philo because I don't get Buddhism until pretty late. And I am not going in my own religion with Isabella in the game.
    1. Academy in capital
    2. Golden age with artist from music
    3. Bulb education 2x
    4. Bulb lib
    5. 3 merchants for upgrading units, finishing teching.

    For diplomacy, the AP war against Hatshep makes a capitulation impossible to avoid. I have tried various combinations of bribing / not bribing each AI off her. Efforts to keep peace are wasted, since the next AP vote is usually another holy war. Giving Ragnar the vassal is far less troublesome than Isabella, so that's how that comes to be. Finally, Ragnar is plotting in the 1160 AD save so I could only create a war by bribing Isabella onto Ragnar. This seems to hurt the situation, since she is already somewhat of a tech leader, and he ends up declaring on his own shortly anyways.

    Anyways, the game shakes out that I am ready to declare at 1160 AD. A few 100 years behind what I can normally do, but the early war with GK probably leads to that.

    Here's what has me stumped. At this point, I have tried the below victory conditions:
    • If I try to finish off GK and Ragnar before teching to space, Izzy wins by a decent margin (20 turns or so). There is a small - medium continent that the other 2 AIs have, but they're such cavemen that she ends up soaking it up and gets up to 22 - 24 cities.
    • If I try to chain capitulate everyone on the continent by proximity to me (GK -> Ragnar -> Hapshet -> Izzy), Izzy ends up too far ahead to take down. It ends up being infantry + cannons vs. the same, until she gets tanks.
    • So clearly, Isabella is the reason I can't win. But, if I go right for Isabella from the 1160 AD save, I find I am still shy the units to make things work. The 1440 AD save is where I have given up for now. (a peace treaty and the AP delay war against Isabella here). You can see below after taking a few cities, I just don't have the numbers. I have more on the way, but she continually attacks and really prevents my numbers from growing too much. Even with Ragnar as a war ally, I seem to be getting all her extra defenders.

    So, where am I messing up here? I haven't explored just going for domination and skipping Isabella, but the game hardly seems like it should come to that at a glance. At ~1000 AD, Isabella only has 13 cities, so nothing too egregious. Plus, I am even ahead in military tech here, it's just a matter of not being able to whip out enough units to match her production. Am I simply getting too antsy, and declaring before I should?

    I'm not terribly happy with 1160 for redeclaring, but I don't think doing so 100 years earlier changes much. She will still have a similar amount of cities, and presumably isn't far off from the same tech she has now (guilds, engineering, gunpowder). So hopefully others have some guidance, as I am pretty stuck with this one!

    Civ4ScreenShot0001.JPG


     

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    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Prince

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    There is a lot of weirdo stuff (tundra cottages, one city with no food surplus, while another having +14 - these two share two food tiles)... But in very broad-strokes or rather one... befriend Issy and completely wipe all others. There is definitely enough non-Spanish land for domination.

    The main reason of struggles is that your empire is still smallish and a bit light on food sources, should have pounded on Mongolia harder, IMHO.
     
  3. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    A scout wb early on this type of map can really pay off. The fact that you'd still not met 3 AIs at 675BC is quite telling. 500BC Civil Service...very late. Your Cur rush .... very late and against the wrong civ. Vassal GK and make you your meat puppet.

    Anyway, I opened your save and made immediate peace with Izzy. GK declared on izzy and I made him my vassal in several turns after. Immediately traded techs with everyone. Met the 2 other AIs. It's a tough road at the stage but you should be able to make easy pickings of anyone not named Izzy. (And 13 cities is a lot...she's a juggernaut this game and has like very wonder), but you can still win this.

    I don't like being in Vassalage and Theo myself...bit overkill imo. And I really don't like being out of Bureaucracy..you nerf your research and Istanbul's production...you should not whip Istanbul.

    Weird that it says Mehmed, but that is actually Sulie.

    Ning-sa never got a LH.
     
  4. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Just going by pictures here, but the land looks pretty good, and you got at least 7 cities quite early. What did you do with the first GG? I don't see him in the stack in Spain. Also, that is way too many units in there, plus she has Itza (85% defence). Go to a different city, some of those defenders will leave, or at least some knights. You probably get countered by them and lose units, so make sure to pick some with the horse counter promo. Try to fork cities. 1S of silver forks both those cities, and Isabella has a decision to make.

    If Isabella is super-strong, however, maybe it's not right to go after her. Sounds like you tried all options, though, but I'm surprised if there isn't a way to win here. Does she really beat you to space as well?

    Perhaps your attack date is too slow. She has muskets already and a lot of units (probably). Easier if you can attack more lightly defended cities and swords instead of muskets (plus the usual longbows).

    If you have a sufficient stack, it may be worth it to go further inland first so you take out the Itza city asap. Or use spies to put cities into revolt.
     
  5. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    Axe rush was way too late and expensive. You built 13 axes, 4 spears and 4 barracks. That's almost 800 hammers for a return of only 3 cities (or 2.6 cities as Beshbalik will steal a lot of your tiles). Axe rush should be at least 500 years earlier. You don't need 4 cities, you don't need granaries in every city, you don't need barracks. You need those axes out before he has walls everywhere. Barracks in capital probably ok since it had a ton of forests and could have produced most of the army on it's own, but other than that I wouldn't have built any barracks.

    In the late saves you're attacking Isabella who is far away from your cities, but haven't traded for Engineering yet to get your army there quicker. Don't know what's going on in that war, but taking only 2 border cities in the first 16 turns of a cuir war is not a good sign. Genghis first seems right, then either Ragnar or Isabella.
     
  6. scheines

    scheines Warlord

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    @lymond I manually changed the names, had it mixed up with the NC game :lol:

    On the civics, you wouldn’t elect to get more experience over the paltry beakers I’ll have while barely teching in war? I felt if I’m in war, I want to maximize everything military and not worry so much about trying to juggle multiple goals.


    @elitetroops Any thoughts on rules of thumb here on barracks? Seems like they’d be worth it because they’ll make enough units by the time the game is over?

    Same question with granaries... I’d normally make one in any city that isn’t some crap I settled without food for copper, etc.

    I agree, but then Izzy is even more of a runaway if I cap everyone else first.

    Maybe it’s just the case that I need to let her run away with a tech lead and win domination via everyone else before she reaches space. I probably just got too stubborn of trying to avoid naval warfare.


    @Snowbird Yeah, this is a relic of me using Karakorum for all the GPP I could.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  7. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    The rule of thumb would be the faster the better. Until 1500BC or so they rarely have more than 2 archers in any city and most non-capital cities will have no cultural defenses unless CRE. If a city has more archers it usually means a settler is on the way and one or two archers are about to head out to escort it. Not too long after that walls start showing up and they also start building more units. You want the war to be over before that. If the delay caused by barracks means the difference between attacking a walled city or not, you are much worse off even with the extra promotion.

    Of course you build granaries but not necessarily before building a few axes. 2-pop whipping some axes for a rush without granary is perfectly fine imo. It's less efficient in terms of production cost/axe, but can be more efficient in terms of attack date, which means less units needed and war overall cheaper. As long as the rush is early enough you don't need any huge numbers of units and can proceed to build the granary shortly after.
     
  8. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Have you tried from the start again, going faster to axes and skipping some barracks(es)? It can make sense in the capital, but not the others. Not so soon. Better to have more units earlier than a few more of them with a promotion. With axe rushes, it's important to get them going as soon as you can. You may have built too many units as well here before starting. I understand you want some spears for defence, but 4 is perhaps a bit much, especially if he has nothing else than the horse in the southern city, which you can take out very early in the war. The walls make a big difference, though, so it would be important to start the war as soon as you are reasonably ready.

    How many units did he have in Beshbalik?

    I agree about Buro. You want to run that pretty much all the time when you have a solid capital (or in general tbh). It also helps you to transition from Cuirs to Cavalry, and they are a big upgrade on Cuirs.
     
  9. scheines

    scheines Warlord

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    Yep - I absolutely will replay from scratch and see how it changes things to skip the barracks and granaries aside from the capital maybe. I will be sure to post results here.

    Bursa was iffy as a city but Istanbul wasn’t able to use both corn anyways.

    Noted on bureau - perhaps it’ll save me some anarchy too!

    Beshbalik had 6-7 units IIRC, but significant culture defenses as well. Was needing ~3 axes per defender I believe?

    Lastly - my GG went into an axe medic - I might’ve accidentally forgot him in one of GKs captured cities.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  10. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    I tried an axe rush with two cities. Captured Karakorum and Beshbalik by 1300 bc. From there I'd probably take a cease fire to heal up and head back to grab Turfan and Ning. Ning was in a quite a bad spot, would have to consider if worth keeping. In addition to those he already settled one city towards Ragnar and sent two settlers into the jungle. I don't think I'd want to grab those quite yet.

    He had 3 archers in capital, 2 archers and no cultural defenses in Beshbalik. Also killed a few roaming archers in the open.
     
  11. scheines

    scheines Warlord

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    Yep, I think the speed of the axe rush was causing me to need to sink way too many hammers into it, which (I bet) will have a big butterfly effect over the next 1000 years.

    Spoiler Redo, w/ some screenshots early :


    In a re-run, I am able to declare on 1280 BC - quite a bit better just due to not making granaries and barracks(es?) besides the one in Istanbul. Even that feels questionable after seeing the results. I declared with 7 axes and 2 spears, maybe a bit much by some other's definition, but as you see in the second screenshot, GK had 4 archers, and I got (semi) lucky with a 64% combat win, so I could have easily needed 8 units. From there, Beshbalik has just 2 archers. Strange he didn't whip anymore?

    Anyways - definite improvement just by making less buildings. It seems elitetroops even takes that further, declaring without settling the corn/deer city. Do you think the difference in speed still matters, if cities had no culture defense in both rushes?

    All things considered, GK did settle Ning Hsia more stupidly this game; he missed the horse, which was his only strategic resource. So he is totally stuck without units besides archers. That does make it a bit easier on me, but 2 spears would've covered for me anyways.

    I'll likely grab Turfan and then make peace, unless another city to the north is worthwhile. Ning Hsia isn't even worth taking; perhaps I could raze it. Seems like a lot of effort for an axe rush, though.

    From here I'll play out to the same era and see where things land. Oh - and I did take care to sneak an axeman beyond GK's borders so I could meet everyone else. Otherwise, he remains annoyed for a long time, and we can't reach the other AIs.

    Civ4ScreenShot0008.JPG Civ4ScreenShot0009.JPG Civ4ScreenShot0010.JPG

     

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    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  12. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    Well done! :clap:
    On an unknown map later attack of course means greater chance they manage to hook up metals somehow. That's the main reason I'd try to be really quick if boxed in by someone who doesn't seem to have metals yet. In general fewer cities always means faster rush. With BFC copper the quickest is usually to not build settler before axes, although this can be questionable for other reasons. My rush for sure wasn't the fastest possible 2 city rush. With some more thought put into it I'm sure it could have been 5 or more turns earlier.

    One difference in your game is that three of the archers in his capital were CG1. In my game the archers in cap didn't have that promotion yet. I don't know exactly how it works but there is some mechanic that replaces all their early unpromoted archers with promoted ones around these times.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  13. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Very nice, congrats! Sure you don't want Ning-Hsa tho? It has horse and can borrow the corn. Will be a nice city eventually. Looks like he rexed pretty hard here. Maybe he had a lot of land to expand into. Anyway, you should be golden from here on and in. Tech up to Cuirs again and kill the map. Will probably get there sooner this time, and maybe Isabella won't become as large either.
     
  14. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    He settled Ning in same place in my game and I was also considering if it should be razed or kept. On second thought, it does allow one more city 1S of clam to share clams and pigs with Karakorum. That city also picks up horse so Ning could borrow both corn and horse without border pop. Should be profitable in the long run, although a bit of a burden early on.

    I think GK rexing so hard here is because of 4 food resis in cap and him being IMP. Rng favors settlers when they are faster to build.

    Karakorum badly needs a border pop here. I think whipping library before granary with the help of some chops is the way to go.
     
  15. scheines

    scheines Warlord

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    Spoiler 1000 AD + :


    OK... so I actually didn't beat my lib date like I expected - circa 1000 AD still.

    I tried two tech routes:
    • Currency -> caste -> music for the artist -> lib MT
    • Mysticism -> caste since it's cheaper and lets me trade for monarchy

    Both end up within a few turns of each other. Thoughts on that date? It feels very late, but the AIs are teching pretty slow - I end up being first to many techs I would normally trade for (math, currency, monarchy, etc.) despite the war. Perhaps the diplo situation slows us a fair bit (lots of war, Ragnar is kind of stingy, etc.), but it still seems off par with what should be achievable. I used GP the same way as before. Only major difference from last playthrough besides the opener is that I elected to skip pacifism; GK hates us and actually declared in both tech routes above. That shouldn't change the lib date by too much, right? Especially considering that I have scientists waiting to bulb education by the time we reach pacifism anyways.

    I don't mind running through again more slowly if it would help.

     

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  16. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    You are still hitting a 500AD Civil Service date...that is very slow. Something needs to improve here. I think maybe you are teching too many things yourself like Monarchy (not sure if you teched or traded for IW or Archery) I think you are probably not trading enough. And no clue why you are not trading for happy resources.

    You were gettting techs like Maths and Sailing is in the ADs...????? I assume you did not have foreign trade routes for a very long time.

    Paci should be lead up to a bulb strategy for Edu>Lib and maybe other things. You would be looking at firing a golden age in the late BCs or circa 1AD and running Paci...ideally with Civil Service arriving for a switch at or in the golden age. Your timings are just way off of what it optimal.

    Consider using your first GS for a Philo bulb instead of an academy.

    I'm not so big on the GM upgrading thing. You can start HAs, WEs, or Knights in queues in lead up to MT bulb and have them switch over in queue. But I would running scientists as much as possible with maybe a few merchants to offset gold. Trade and beg for as much gold as you can along the way.

    I can't tell what you trade for here and what you self teched, but you seemed to hit a a period in the late BCs/early ADs where you teching crawled for a long time. I've not explanation for that.

    As for you current game, why are you teching Polytheism? What not trade for it with Izzy for Drama and her gold now. She will be Friendly.
    (Your goal is getting Curs online asap and you are still diverting from that goal)

    Why are you not in Pacifism?

    I think problems really are located in the early aspects of your game and overall losing focus. Plus, you may have found ways of neutralizing that GK threat one way or another.

    Attaching save where I adjusted some stuff on your current turn and made some trades. These AIs are not strong right now. GK is a sitting duck and really Rags should be a easy go without iron. Both would make decent vassals and meat shields against the other too. That iron to N with fish is conspicuously not settled yet. A settler ready for that would be nice to have extra iron to give to Rags for his own curs once you cap him. GK'd have to settle for Muskets/Mace/Trebs. Once capped give them techs and stop them from trading with others.

    edit: and still no LHs
     

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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  17. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    Here's the next turn. Got all the techs now I would want by Engineering which is fine.

    If I could have gone Paci on the first turn of the golden age I would switch to slavery as soon as I could instead of last turn....only cause Curs will be online. Considering you should have been in Paci many many eons ago, I'd probably stayed in Paci for a long time.

    I'll save a gold beg for Izzy for peace treaty right before I attack since she like Rags and GK but if she is still Friendly you are fine anyway. AP could cause problems but timer can be monitored. GK should fall fast the he is rather adverse to capitulation....but he is soooo small.
     

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  18. scheines

    scheines Warlord

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    Yep, this game hits a point where I had to self tech math so I could tech CS. I picked up IW, fishing, archery from trades / peace negotiations.

    Normally I might skip an academy, but with philosophical, I felt I could afford one.

    Currently I am teching to trade for Theology for the civic swap - was avoiding trades for poly because it's such a cheap tech (avoiding WFYABTA, etc.)

    I attached a save of the game just before making peace with GK. I am getting the granaries / libraries chopped + whipped for the most part, then building research. I run scientists to avoid excessive unhappiness. I do agree some libraries are unwarranted, but I am capped on good tiles (e.g. Turfan) in some cases. What is a better alternative for that right now other than whipping the plains tiles away for a library? I am definitely crawling here.... have I overdone it by taking New Sarai? Are we still looking at too slow of a timetable for finishing this axe rush? The war finishes 1 turn later than before, but I do grab more land off GK. Regardless, I am negative on cash at 0% science. I do note that I'm missing foreign trade routes here, and looking back at autosaves, they don't appear til ~1 AD. So there is room for improvement there. War with GK complicates this here though since he blocks trade routes a little bit, right?

    I'll break down the next few dozen turns more tonight perhaps. I do agree something is grossly amiss if I am ~500 years behind schedule on CS.
     

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  19. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    I edited the first post a bit.

    Maths is not a bad bulb with a Philo leader. Then bulb Philo. (Usually though a Maths bulb I have a more immediate usage for it like a HA rush or something)

    If you avoid Poly you should def avoid trading for Fishing. But Poly is not that bad a trade really, if you can. And NEVER trade for Archery....blech
     
  20. scheines

    scheines Warlord

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    Agreed- I learned today that techs earned from peace negotiations count toward WFYABTA.
     

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