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New Player looking for advice and direction

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by ArchetypeK, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. ArchetypeK

    ArchetypeK Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Hey. I'm not completely new to games such as these but I have to say that this is something different than AoE2. For the most part I understand the game mechanics, but I am still struggling to develop a build order and play style. I imagine myself either being a slow expansionist who develops good defense before making an offense -- possibly leading to either a science or domination victory, or razzing the landscape as conquerer. I've read some posts and watched several videos on getting started on youtube, but I still feel kind of lost. I end up playing the first 100 or so moves of a game before saving and trying out a new civilization in another game. I'm wondering if you guys can give me better direction of what I might want for civilization, build order, victory, etc.. Everyone here seems to have a specific build order of what to build, when to build it, and why. I look forward to your replies!
     
  2. Lay_Lay

    Lay_Lay King

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    839
    So you are asking, "how do you play Civ 5?"
    Read everything on this website for the answer.

    One piece of advice I might give is to not think of your play style as something that you should hold true to.
    Be willing to adapt your game to whatever strategy/tactic provides the best win.
    For example, if the best strategy on a particular map is to sweep the landmass with horses and archers to conquer the continent before the medieval age, I should not be building any defensive structures at all ever - and perhaps only build archers and horses until I have taken the landmass.
    Another example - sometimes I win the game with 15 cities, sometimes with 7, sometimes with 2 or even 1.
    Some games I build lots of buildings, some I build a few, some I build almost none.
    Be agnostic about your play style. Don't determine it before the game. Determine it once you see your specific situation in the game.
     
  3. ArchetypeK

    ArchetypeK Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
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    3
    Thank you for your reply. I wasn't specifically asking how to play civilization 5, but merely what direction to start learning in. While there is a plethora of information on this site, many people differ in their opinions. I think my problem is that I do not know what "civilization" is right for me or when to determine, in what situations, that I should go for a specific strategy. While I understand that you choose strategies for those situations, what makes you choose a specific civilization at the beginning of a match? I know some civilizations get bonuses to science, culture, etc, thus making them possibly more suited (depending on the situation of course) towards a specific victory type.
     
  4. ravenmagus

    ravenmagus Warlord

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    Dec 28, 2013
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    Female
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    Washington, DC
    You should have some idea of what you want to accomplish in the game - likely based on your choice of civilization. You'll likely be making some decisions, like starting policy tree, before you can see too much of your surroundings.

    If you're just starting out, you might just want to play with a random civilization to start, just to get the feel of the game and better decide what you'd like to try out. Just play the game and don't worry about a strategy until you know what you're doing. With the exception of Venice, the civilization abilities don't really affect the game too much.
     
  5. arand86

    arand86 Warlord

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Messages:
    278
    It's going to take a lot of feeling to develop a playstyle, but it will all come with a few rounds. Everybody goes at it different, and even the best have slightly different styles.

    However, the one thing that's almost universal is the importance of growth and science. When I started, I completely neglected growing my cities, because that didn't get me more techs, didn't get me more of those fun social policies, and gave me no significant bonus at the time. But food is kings in Civ, and you'd best remember it. More food is more population to use on production, specialists for whatever you want to focus on, science is based on population, and of course, getting more food. Once you get more food, you can do anything better. A good starters way to ensure that you have good food is just to settle next to a river, and build farms on the river tiles. At civil service, freshwater farms will gain an extra apple, which will help.

    But with great population comes great unhappiness, and with great unhappiness comes great slowing of population growth. So make it one of your priorities to stay above the happiness line to keep your cities growing as fast as possible. If you dip into unhappiness, you get a 25% growth penalty, along with 2% combat, production and gold penalty for each point of unhappiness below zero you have. So when you settle new cities, try to make sure that there is a luxury that you don't have nearby. If there are multiple copies of a luxury you already have, you can also consider it, as you can sell the extra luxury copies for gold, which you can use to buy more luxuries. Or trade straight up. Be sure to trade extra copies of luxuries, as 1 is all you need for the happiness bonus. You can normally sell to neutral AI for 7gold per turn per luxury.

    As you grow, make sure to prioritize science. Build science buildings as soon as possible; saving some gold to buy them in low-production cities may even be a good idea. As you'll be able to see, a lot of science buildings have their effectiveness vary by percentage or # of citizens you have. That's where your growth needs to stay up, as the more people you have, the bigger the bonus.

    So there's a basic, but extremely effective CiV strategy, just grow, grow and build science. When you're ahead in science, you'll be golden.


    For a starter civ, I would suggest going with America. They're not a very strong civ by any means, but the extra sight is nice for a beginner that may need more time to plan, and buying tiles is a good way to get good food tiles and luxuries into your borders quickly. Once you are ahead in science, you can bring in your Minutemen and B-17's down the road to beat the enemy into submission.

    Another great starter civ would be the Alexander and the Greeks, as there's no significant molding of your game you need to change. You have 2 unremarkable units, but the Ability of better City State relations is without a doubt helpful. It won't cripple you when playing more complex civs either, as Greece is relatively straightforward.


    Lastly, don't build too many wonders. It's tempting, yes. But work on science and growth first. Then build wonders. Trust me.

    Good luck

    EDIT: A few more extra things that will help:

    Normally, 4 ish cities is enough for an empire. If you have good land for expansion, go for it, but 4 is a standard good number.

    Tradition is almost certainly the best social policy tree, as it emphasizes growth, happiness and culture when you most need it.

    Poland is also a great starter civ, as bonuses are straightforward, but when you play them don't get used to the extra policy every era. It's so ridiculously good, and makes Poland very arguably the best civ in the game, which means you may feel very uncomfortable switching to a different civ later on.
     
  6. pvtjava

    pvtjava The Grey Cat

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
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    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    Everything depends on difficulty, map style, the civ you're playing, the AI civs you're playing against, starting territory, luxury resources, type of city-states found, Natural Wonders. There are so many variables.

    Having said that, there are several good basic strategies to use, especially on lower and middle difficulties. What you're already doing is a good way to learn the game. Playing a lot of different civs and starts can let you know what works and what doesn't. Almost all of the first era buildings are good but the order to build them usually hinges on all of the variables previously stated, especially starting terrain and civ. One decision I constantly struggle with is, if I have wheat and deer, can I delay Granary, even though those resources are boosted even further by having one?

    Hover your mouse over everything to see if there's a tooltip. The info in them is quicker and in many cases better than the Civilopedia.
     
  7. adcarrymaokai

    adcarrymaokai Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
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    Civilopedia is so unbelievably bad. This one is so much better: http://civilization.wikia.com/wiki/Civilization_V
     
  8. Laurwin

    Laurwin Prince

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Messages:
    444
    The best way to try out different strategies and their effectiveness IMO, simply adjust the map type properly.

    I.e. if you want a wargame with mongols, play with strategic balance resources preferrably on a 5 billion year old earth. (flatter terrain)...

    If you play a naval civ play on archipelago or high sealevel maptype...

    Ive come to realize one thing though, simply by watching civ5 let's plays. USE MANUAL TILE MANAGEMENT and MANUAL SPECIALISTS. Dont rely on the city emphasis (prod, food, gold focus etc...)

    Manual management like this may be tedious but the citygovernor is not being very useful most of the time. It will prepare your management skills for multiplayer/higher difficulty singleplayer.
     
  9. ArchetypeK

    ArchetypeK Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    First I would like to thank you all for your helpful comments. I have completed two games so far, both domination victories, my first one in 5 and a half hours with the Celts, and probably 2 1/2 or so with Huns. I have taken your advice and read a couple of guides but I'm still kind of lost. I think the next victory type I am going to try out next is culture. I have found the CIV 5 guide posted on the forums helpful in making me decide what civilizations I will use to go for it (I want to learn Tall Wall first as I want to build my micro management skills gradually), but that guide in particular is not updated for BNW. I was thinking about going India for a Tall Wall Cultural approach. Are there any cultural related and/or Tall Wall guides that can help me along this path. Thanks again for all your help, you make me want to play more and get better :)
     
  10. FinsT

    FinsT Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
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    Everyone but me, it seems.

    For you, i think the three most important things to know right now: food, happiness and production.

    Food. You see, more food means faster growth, and faster growth means more everything in not so distant future, and from then on. Therefore, you need to get best +food things working for you - pick cities' locations with lots of good +food tiles and +food resources whenever possible, build most efficient +food wonders like Temple of Artemis, etc. This is more important to get than any +science, +production, +faith or +culture things, in my opinion. Prioritize +food things. For me, it goes as far as always building farms on river+hill tiles (and not mines), for example. And i find results extremely satisfying.

    Happiness. If you'd follow the above and aim for as fast growth as possible, or close to it, then quite in many games you'd find yourself "hitting a wall" of not-enough-happiness. Too fast growth and too large empires - are limited by happiness level. Growth ceases if your empire is unhappy. For me, the way to handle happiness problems - is two-fold. 1st, i always plan ahead about building cities. It depends very much on map size (there are coefficients), but general wisdom is that for "tall" empires - i.e. few large cities - 4-5 cities on a normal-size map is the way to go. You see, if you'd build just 2 more cities, then quite likely you'd hit that "not enough happiness!" wall, real hard. On huge maps, it's about double that many cities before hitting that wall. With a few games, you'll get a feeling how many cities and how soon you'd want to create. It also depends on terrain (how many luxuries you get from your lands?), and on your trade relations (do you get many luxury resources from other civs and city-scates?). And of course, on difficulty level, too. Then, there are ways to "push" that "wall" further and further away, too: all the policies, wonders and buildings which give +happiness. That's the 2nd way to handle happiness problem - all these +happiness things. But, of course, you can't get all of them at once. They all are becoming available during various parts of the game, as you unlock technologies, build things, establish good relations with other civs. So it's kind of ongoing battle within your own empire - its growth vs its piling unhappiness. Master this process by being able to remain at fast or very fast growth - while being always able to remain at positive (not nesessarily large) happiness levels, - and you'll do quite good in any civ5 game, good enough to go Emperor difficulty (or even higher) with little or no problem.

    Production. For most of the game, - all the way up to Information era, i'd say, if not through it, even, - this is your priority whereever you can't get any significant boosts to food or happiness. Or when you don't need extra happiness for quite a while, too. Production allows you to have more units, more buildings (and there are all sorts of buildings - giving you all kinds of good things), and more wonders (same thing as buildings). This is the base of your security, conquest and defense potential, of your cultural growth (the more things you can build, and the faster you can build them - the more culture you'll get from all those +culture things you build), your science and commerce (you build those things too), and your religion. Should you focus on any of those things before production - all the other things would suffer. And it's bad, because there are all sorts of reverse ties, most of which are weaker than "high production means more of nearly everything", - but piling up, those reverse ties are massive together. When i say "reverse ties", i mean +food, +production or +happiness boosts out of those "secondary" mechanics (which are, again, military might, culture, science, commerce and religion). Some of these "reverse ties" - are:
    - strong military allows to fend off any attack and get any land you'd want - results in more food production (total made over any period of time) for your empire;
    - higher +culture gives more and faster social policies - many of which are great +happiness boosters;
    - the better your science is, the faster you'll get access to wonderful new buildings for +production, +happiness and +food (or +growth, like Medical Lab);
    - the more gold per turn you have, the more things you can buy in case of emergency, for convinience, or to speed up your growth or production;
    - the higher +faith you got, the more great people, religious buildings and units you can get - and through great people, you can get lots of +production with great engineers, for example.

    Quite many people will disagree with me when i put science among "secondary" objectives in this game. However, it's all related to how much +food you are able to get, and how fast and big your +happiness gains are. At some point, if you're good enough with +food and +happiness, - you get lots of science AUTOMATIUCALLY, since all that population growth inevitably gives more and more +science (every citizen does some science. Every one). So it becomes quite literally impossible to "catch up" with that fast scientific progress - to build much (least all) of all new things any soon after they are made available by science. In other words, production "lags behind" when you focus on growth and large early +happiness gains. That's why i put production ahead of science. That said, yes, science is obviously the most important of all those "secondary" mechanics i designate. Cities near mountains (for observatories) is definitely one of my largest city-location priorities, for example.


    All the above works quite well on moderate to a-bit-higher difficulty levels for all kinds of victories, and i think it's a good way to get familiar with the game and a good starting point to develop special strategies for specific victory types. Good luck!
     
  11. TheGrumpyBuddha

    TheGrumpyBuddha King

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    I dunno, if you're a new player I would enjoy the things about the game that you can't enjoy on the highest difficulties. Wonder-spam!!! Go with a 2-city or 3-city culture or religion powerhouse. Or even just one city -- Stonehenge/HG/Petra/Notre Dame sort of thing.

    I miss those days :).
     
  12. FinsT

    FinsT Chieftain

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    Majority of deity players miss those days, i suspect. Me, i decided not to go higher difficulties - i could, i can, but i decided not to. After all, it ain't Starcraft or some other cyber-sport discipline - as long as it's strictly single-player, that is (and civ 5 MP is, well, a helluva lot too slow for me).

    So yep, YMMV is as true as it always is. ^^
     

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