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New player pulling out his hair

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Jay Ray, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray Chieftain

    Aug 15, 2006
    Great game. Its killing me!

    I've tried five times now on the prince level, and each time something different goes wrong.

    First try, I was never at war once with the AI players. I thought--how fortunate, perhaps I have a chance. No dice. The Malinese launch to Alpha Centauri just about the time I industrialize.

    Second try, I wasn't prepared for those pesky barbarians. They didn't take my cities, but I spent so much bleedin' production trying to fend them off that I fell way, way behind. Then I was attacked by the AI and game over.

    Third try, the AI ganged up on me early. I had no chance. Game over.

    Fourth try was like the third, only the AI waited to pounce until later in the game. I was better prepared, but there was just too many of them. Game over again.

    In my most recent attempt, I avoided war for as long as I could. Founded the only religion on my continent so we were a nice happy family at first. I maintained (just barely) every advantage until the Aztec's came a'calling from across the oceans. Turns out there was a huge continent over there with at least 4 civs more advanced, powerful, and wealthy than I. But at least they were "over there".

    Back in the home land, I'd been trying to get some good wonders going. But at least four times, on the very turn that I would normally have produced it, some other AI would curiously produce it. WTF, says I? Once, it could be a coincidence, even twice. But four times? Bah. So then all the other nations begin trading techs among each other and suddenly I'm dropping fast in the ratings. Still, we're barely into the classical era, and I figure there's a long way to go yet in this game. I can do this.

    Well, eventually, the Aztecs decided to attack me. My first war. He's in first place tech and powerwise, so he could crush me if he wanted to. But he just doesn't have the determination to send enough troops across the ocean to dominate me. I defeat the stack of troops he dropped off on my coastline and we make peace a few turns later.

    Meanwhile, things are heating up in my happy little family. Tokugowa (?) declares war on Asoka. A few turns later Alexander, my other brother in the increasingly neurotic family, joins with the Japanese against Asoka. I join with Asoka against the Japanese, but Alex and I keep our distance.

    Asoka drops in the ranking, but I climb. Tokugowa climbs. Alexander climbs. Basically we split up the spoils of war. I had retaken the cities Tokugowa claimed from the Indians and kept them for myself. Things weren't looking too bad. My military was comparable with the others in my insane family. I had gained ground. Peace breaks out across the land. Everything is calm for a hundred years or so.

    Then, from across the sea, Catherine and Genghis, despite being significantly weaker, declare war against me. Why, I don't know. The AI is crazy like that. Similar to the Aztecs, the ocean is too big to make the effort worth it for em. I defeat their little stacks and concentrate on building up tech and culture. My army was good. Not great, but good.

    But just then Alexander and Tokugowa both gang up on me, and somehow, despite being contantly broke, they both have about a jillion next generation units.

    Game over.

    So it seems like in every game something different goes wrong and I don't know what path to take to overcome it.

    Okay, I need military to fend off the beasties. But if I spend the production into making a proper army, I fall behind in everything else and never have enough army to make conquest an option anyway. Not to mention I just don't have the coin to support the army.

    If I try for culture, my army is weak and I'm inevitably invaded. Same for economy. I'm attacked before I can ever afford a good enough military.

    Then there's that annoying, uh, feature, where the AI consistantly builds wonders one turn before you do. Or, miracle of miracles, manage to upgrade every one of their dozens of units with only a hundred gold or so.

    And a million other little things. I keep looOOOOoooosing, and its killing me.

    I know these aren't very specific questions, but.. if you can... help!
  2. Suedars

    Suedars Chieftain

    Dec 11, 2005
    Have you tried any other difficulties? I'd reccomend dropping the slider down to Noble at the very least, for a little while. Just as crushing your opponents won't teach you anything, you won't learn anything from being crushed. Lower the difficulty to something more manageable, and play there for a while. After every game reflect on what you did right/wrong, and you'll become better.
  3. Robotron 2084

    Robotron 2084 Chieftain

    Jul 28, 2006
    I know what you're talking about.
    It ALMOST seems there are not several AI opponents but one giant single
    opponent with several different names.
    It ALMOST looks like they fine tune and synchronize their actions against you.
    Well, ALMOST.

    To make things easier try to found a religion early in the game, preferably using
    the oracle to get confucianism, then spread it to one of your neighbours who hopfully
    has not yet got any religion of his own.
    Try to bribe this neighbour into war with another neighbour early on, so both of them get occupied.
    Repeat this with other neighbours, missionaries are quite cheap,
    use this tactic during the early phase when you got organized religion.

    Try to keep most of your powerful units in the CITIES close to the AI borders.
    From what I've learnt it's the only way to deter the AIS from invading when
    they see your stacks INSIDE your cities. I don't believe they look that much
    at units scattered along the border or the power graph.

    Once a neigboured AI gets clobbered by another AI try to bribe yet another
    AI into the fray, then declare war yourself. Not very honourable but very
    effective, especially with a prepared stack to get THAT DAMNED CITY.

    Try to change to free religion as soon as possible to get rid of the
    negative modifiers those other AIs might have towards you, thus
    reducing the chance of them attacking you.

    Try to bribe them into more wars with each other, then attack when you
    see the opportunity of heavily wrecking/vassaling an attacked neighbour.

    About building wonders:
    if you got hunting build another scout first to get more goody huts and find out
    about good places to buld cities, when the city grows to 2 build another settler,
    when he is settled use the new city to build a worker, while
    the first city whips a granary & then starts to build the first wonder.

    Works almost 100% for all the early wonders on prince, unless there's some
    industrious civ which got the required resource in it's vincinity.

    I also hate this game.
    That's the reason I play it every day!!!

    Excuse my bad english!
  4. monkspider

    monkspider Warlord

    Nov 14, 2001
    Wichita, Kansas
    What difficulty level are you on? It may be approriate to drop down a difficulty level or two for the time being.
  5. SoxSexSax

    SoxSexSax Chieftain

    May 28, 2006
    Near hogwarts
    If you've never beaten noble before, your chances of beating Prince are pretty slim. The AI gets research and production bonuses at Prince.

    Noble is the "fair" level, where neither you nor it gets bonuses.
  6. yavoon

    yavoon King

    Apr 23, 2006
    dont be a wuss and drop down a level. read forum for advice, use some of the more powerful things in the game:

    hereditary rule

    figuring those out should help ur beginning significantly. oh and think aggressive, conquer ppl.
  7. Rathelm

    Rathelm Chieftain

    Aug 10, 2006
    One tip I can give is you should never, ever, ever, stop producing a military unit. At least one city should be producing something. Ping pong cities if you have to have the "military" city build other buildings, but at least one city should be building military. If you ever take a break in building your army you will be the smallest army in the world. The game where you thought you were doing good, you really weren't, you just happened to be on the wuss continent. Finally alphabet is very useful. To stay competive you have to tech trade.

    I don't believe in wasting time in trying to get your own religion. Just when your "allie" shows up and wants you to convert, just join theirs. You're better off trying to grab bronze working or iron as soon as possible. You should head to war as soon as you have a few axeman. The slingshot you get by grabbing two or three cities early on can keep you up to speed up through the middle ages.
  8. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Feb 19, 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    Rathelm and Robotron are correct. One of the main reasons the AI attacks you is because it perceives you are weaker. Civs that are "Pleased" with you diplomatically will nevertheless declare war if they see an opportunity.

    I have no skill at parsing the XML files that control the game, but my understanding is that the AI pays particular attention to the relative power ratings which are available in the Statistics window, and to the troops it can see.

    Your power rating is based on a number of things--mostly the number of units you have, but also their relative modernity and your potential to build more of them (techs, barracks, etc.). Apparently promotions are not a factor, but they really should be. So by keeping up with the AI in military techs, building barracks (and, later, drydocks), and especially building and/or upgrading units to the most modern versions possible, you may deter a war.

    The AI will also base its decision to attack on the units it sees, so as Robotron said, massing your best troops in your border and coastal cities also may deter an attack.

    Still, doing all these things is no guarantee of preventing war. The AI is sometimes crazy that way. But the advantage is that by keeping up militarily, you are prepared for the unexpected.

    Frankly, however, I enjoy warmongering in Civ IV. It's a great way to not only keep up with but to surpass the AI. I usually WANT to fight the AI, so I'm rarely put out by the sound of the war trumpets' blare.
  9. Pogel

    Pogel Warlord

    Feb 24, 2006
    Presumably you can win OK on Noble? Going up a level is a challenge. I made one aborted try at moving up to Prince, found it too tough and so moved back down to Noble to work on a few things (specializing cities and getting more from my military). I got those sorted, moved back up to Prince and now I can beat that regularly, with different winning strategies, and will try to step up to Monarch. I may not like it, and may drop down again. From what I can tell, the higher your difficulty the more micro-managing you need to do and the more restrictive your strategy gets (it's hard to play a pure builder on higher levels, as war becomes more necessary).

    You don't need to have an ego about difficultly level. The right difficulty is the one you enjoy most.
  10. cuchulain

    cuchulain Warlord

    Jan 10, 2006
    Definitley don't drop level. Just realize you will go to war at some point. If you don't have enough soldiers, it will be when the AI wants. Always build units.

    Have you tried declaring war right off the bat? I'm not crazy about domination victories, but on harder levels it pays to take your warrior and immedeatley kill the first civ you come across. Even if you don't take the city, you can prevent him from using his worked. Maybe even steal his worker. Plus, the AI will forgive you later since its so early. (this works best with inca, but you can use any civ)
  11. Naismith

    Naismith Prince

    Feb 27, 2006
    Read the post by Sisiutil. In my experience, your relative power rating is the most important factor. If you can maintain a high power ranking, you are (mostly) in control of your own destiny. Other Civ's will seldom declare war on you. If they do declare, you are more than ready for them. Therefore, you (mostly) decide who to declare war on, and when. Obviously, any war you declare is one you will have prepared for.

    With a low power ranking, you will be a target - and once one Civ declares on you, there is a very real danger other Civ's will join the party. After all, you are relatively weak and are already fighting one opponent.

    You won't be #1 in power from the beginning. You have to work your way up to it. If you aren't #1 by the time you reach, say, Civil Service, and especially if you are middle of the pack or less at that time, prepare for problems.

    Probably, you need to do two things:
    1) Concentrate on generating more commerce, so you can tech faster. Your tech position is part of the power ranking. You should be comfortably ahead of most Civs by the time you reach Civil Service.
    2) Build enough military to keep your power ranking as high as possible. Shoot for #1. When you have achieved that, shoot for having a 30% lead over the #2 ranked Civ. If you get to this level, all but the crazies (e.g. Alex) will leave you alone. Even the crazies will think twice before attacking you, and if they do, other Civs will still be reluctant to declare against you.

    I won't go into all the different things you can do to improve your commerce. Look on the forum. I favor using cottages extensively.

    An early war (at latest just after getting catapults) is highly advisable. Absorb one entire neighboring Civ as early as possible. If managed correctly, it will cement your lead in the tech race, and standing on the power graph.

    I suspect you focus too much on early wonders. If you are using one of your best production cities for building wonders, it isn't building military units for a fairly long time. For a change, try a game where you don't attempt to build any early wonders, or found any early religions. Instead, get your basic techs for making improvements (Pottery, Animal Husbandry, etc.), Bronze Working of course, and beeline to Alphabet and trade like crazy. Right after getting Alphabet and trading for lots of techs, I usually go from like bottom fourth in power to top position or close to it.

    If you can do that while building axemen etc. instead of wonders, I think you will find yourself in a dominant position fairly early in the game.
  12. andy pendle

    andy pendle Chieftain

    Aug 16, 2006
    I know this is a dumb question but......how do I delete saved games?

    I am near the end of a fairly long game and the game keeps just switching off usually when some showy graphic has just been on the screen, (last time was just after I built the eiffel tower and the appropriate eye candy presented itself). Is it just that my (new) PC is having difficulty running such a complex programme.

    Any thoughts gratefully recieved
  13. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray Chieftain

    Aug 15, 2006
    Wow. Thanks for all the swift and great replies. I took many pieces of advice, all of which seem to be working. Its hard to say which one is working best, but I have this feeling that dropping down a notch to noble probably is helping more than anything. I just got the game last week and tried prince first of all. See, most games put the "standard" difficultly level in the middle. So I hadn't even tried anything lower than prince yet. But on noble, things are working out, and I'll be able to work on successful strategies for a change.

    Another thing I tried was to be aggressive straight out of the gate. I was reluctant at first, but it made sense in this case. My home city had two booty villages just outside the fat cross range. My civ didn't start with hunting, so my lone warrior hovered anxiously around a village while I researched for scouts, or wait for my cultural border to absorb them. Sure enough, along comes Peter's scout making a bee line for the village. I ganked him. I had to do it. In fact, I had to gank 3 of Peter's scouts before my borders expanded, earned me 43 gold and, um, a tech. Can't remember which.

    Anyway, I went directly for bronze working and took Peter's two cities, leaving me with total control of about 1/4 of the continent. Trouble was that I had neither iron nor copper on my lands. The rest of the continent was up north, connected to mine by a long skinny land bridge (about 40 tiles long, 3 or 4 thick at most). The closest iron was still unclaimed but right next to Beijing, a huge cultural center and growing fast. And it was a long way off. Could I make it?

    Turns out I could. For some reason China didn't exploit that plot. His loss.

    This was the first time I played as rome, and once I connected to the iron I had the Praetorian. I figured, well, what the heck. Lets' put these UU's to proper use. My assault upon the formerly great China is going magnificently, and has placed me in first place on the roster. But I have yet to learn astronomy and set sail across the briny seas. So I really have no idea what I'm up against. Huge world, lotsa competition. Could be I'm on the "wuss" continent" eh?

    The other thing I'm trying to focus on is city specialization. This isn't easy. For example, I've read that one should build a city that focuses on unit production, another for science, another for great people, and another, I think, for commerce. This is more complicated than it first seems.

    For one thing, during conquests, you might take over a city that surpasses your own for a given specialization. What do you do then?

    For another thing, when I want great people, I want a particular kind of great person. If you plop all of your best GP producing stuff into one city, I think you have less control over what comes out. The odds don't necessarily stack up how you want.

    Thus far, I've birthed 2 great artists, and 2 engineers, all from the same city.
    I didn't really think it out too deeply, but I turned them into super specialists in different cities. The artists back into the same city they were birthed, likely to create more great artists, especially with the wonders I've built there.

    But the great engineers I sent up north to Beijing where a) all the fighting was and I needed the extra hammers, b) Beijing wasn't the best producing city I controlled, but it was pretty good, and c) Beijing already had 3 wonders when I took it, so GP's oughta come from there more often than normal. And they will be likely to be more great engineers.

    So now I've got 2 cities, each specializing in one kind of great person. And there are two other kinds to think about as well. I'm not sure if this strategy is any good.
  14. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Feb 19, 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    I figured as much. It's all fine and good to tell a new player not to "wimp out" and go down a level. But it's hard to learn and stick with something without achieving some measure of success. You don't force a high school quarterback into the starting lineup of an NFL game.

    The lower levels are great for learning the basics and then trying new strategies. It's a game, it's about having fun. Move up a level when you feel like you're ready for it.

    This isn't really necessary. Warriors can pop huts too. The game claims that Scouts get better results from goody huts, but the only difference is that Scouts will never pop "hostile natives" (i.e. barbarians). Also, there are other techs more important than hunting in the early game; if you have no resources that require camps near your start, you can leave the tech for some time. I usually don't acquire it until after Alphabet, when I trade for it.

    One thing you can do is explore your nearest neighbours and identify their city sites as targets for context exactly for this reason. You don't have a good site for a GP farm (lots of grassland/flood plains/food resources)? If a neighbour does, plan on taking it from him.

    Besides this, though, remember that the improvements you have your workers build (please, PLEASE tell me you're NOT automating them) and the tiles the citizens work can, to an extent, also help the city specialize. You want the city to be a production centre for military and/or wonders? Mine its hills, build workshops and watermills and farms so citizens can work the low-food, high-hammer tiles.

    A science city can be very flexible. You can make it all cottage-based if the tiles (grassland, floodplains, commerce resources) make that viable. Or you could mostly rely on farms and specialists for it.

    There's also nothing wrong with having more than one city of each type. My early production city is usually my military city. By mid-game I have usually captured a good State Property-driven production city (lots of river tiles and grassland for watermills and workshops), and it becomes my second production centre, where the Ironworks gets built.

    You're right, if you want specific types of great people, you need to allocate wonders and specialists (which are the two things in the game that produce GPP) to cities very carefully.

    The best way to do this is to only build wonders that produce the same types of GPP in each city. If you build Stonehenge and the Oracle, put them in the same city, as they both generate Great Prophets. If and when you build the Great Library, build it in a different city so it generates Great Scientists. Also make sure you only run specialists in that city which match the wonders' GPP.

    On another note... you're merging your Great Engineers into your cities as super-specialists?!? That sound you hear is the entire CFC community shuddering. The absolute best use for a Great Engineer is to "hurry" (provide hammers for) a wonder. If you're not building a wonder when the GE appears, set him aside in one of your cities until you are building one you really want. Try not to use him until he'll provide just enough hammers so that the wonder completes with the addition of the city's own hammers on the next turn. This is because (a) the hammers from a GE do not overflow into the next production item, and (b) if you burn the GE at the start of the wonder build but still get beaten to completing it, you've wasted the GE. Well, you'll get some gold, but it's just not the same as having the wonder.

    There are other threads on the site on the various best uses of each type of Great Person. They also figure into several gambits, such as Civil Service (CS) slingshots and the like.
  15. Spartan117

    Spartan117 Immortal

    Apr 11, 2006
    wrong thread....:eek:

    but anyway go my computer/program files/ fireaxis/civilization/civ4saves

    and then delete the files you dont want.:D

    i dont know if you an actually delete the saved games while civ is running though:confused:
  16. Rathelm

    Rathelm Chieftain

    Aug 10, 2006
    You'll know you're on the wuss continent if one of two things happen. 1) All of a sudden a bunch of frigates show up to your continent. 2) All of a sudden wonders that are 3-5 techs above you are completed in a far off distant land.
  17. gdgrimm

    gdgrimm Prince

    Dec 23, 2005
    OK. I won't repeat some of the other very good advice about maintaining a strong standing military, choosing an appropriate level for your early games, etc., etc., etc., etc.

    Instead, I'll try to point out something else. The cast of characters you play against will radically change what happens in the game.

    To pull some quotes from the one game that you provide lots of detail on....

    With a cast of characters like that, with all the hate and violence they all carry with them, it's going to be bloody.

    The next game, you may have a cast of characters like Washington, Mansu, Ghandi, Hatshepsut, Cyrus, etc., etc., etc. In which case, you'll find that you only need an average military -- in fact, trying to have one of the biggest will leave you behind in tech and end with Mali getting to space first.

    Oh wait, you already played a game like that.

    Anyway. Just thought I'd toss the point in here that your game play will have to adjust to the cast you're playing with.
  18. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray Chieftain

    Aug 15, 2006
    Yeah. And I'm second string at best. Better to know your limits. Especially when you have your hat handed to you several times in a row. :D

    Half the time my warriors pop the huts, a horde of barbarians appears to destroy my warrior and whatever else they can find. In this particular game, with both huts right on my borders, the game would have been over before it really ever started.

    You mostly don't bother with scouts then, if you don't start with hunting?

    Conquest games have always been a lot of fun. In Civ I and II, I usually went this route. But with Civ III and especially IV, Firaxis made so many other types of wins available to us I figured I'd try some out. So far, well, none of my attempts have worked. This time around, as Rome on Noble, I'm going for the tried and true. Conquest. As soon as I can reacquire that military tech lead, its overseas I go. Japan awaits! But next time, I'd like to plan for another kind of win.

    Heh. First couple games I did. By now that I'm getting a feel for the game I'm spending more time thinking about it, never automating. Although there is that one rogue worker I accidentally set on automate. Who knows what kind of havoc he is wreaking. I have no idea how to find him. Plus, I do wonder if I'm making the right choices... especially when those blue circles pop up over my already-improved tiles...

    I've never made it far enough to have state-property anything, so I don't know the advantages.

    Heh. I will be sure to use them more carefully.
  19. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Feb 19, 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    That is incredibly bad luck for Prince level. As you go higher in the levels, though, the chance of Warriors popping hostile natives from huts increases.

    Not unless I have a resource in the capital's fat cross that requires a camp. Hunting leads to Archery which is widely regarded as a dead-end tech. Most players rely on researching Bronze Working, hooking up a copper mine with their 2nd city, and relying on Axemen for early defense.

    Winning without any warring takes a great deal of skill. The only time I've ever managed it is cultural wins on a fractal map that land me on a continent by myself.

    On a larger, shared landmass, the game seems almost designed to force you to do some warmongering. Early maintenance costs will prevent you from founding all but a few cities (unlike earlier versions of Civ, where you could spam them like crazy). By the time you're ready for further expansion, you're hemmed in my the AI's cities. The only way to expand further is to fight your way out.

    Check my Victoria ALC game; in that one, I warmongered until I took control of a large continent from the Aztecs, Americans, and Spaniards. Only then did I settle back for a peaceful, specialist-powered cultural win.
  20. Cookie Crumbs

    Cookie Crumbs Emperor

    Mar 26, 2006
    One piece of advice is when there's a situation like Toku/Alex attacking someone else, you go and attack them. While they're busy mauling whichever poor civ they're attacking, you catch them unawares. This way, you'll have Asoka and either Alex/Toku out of the way.

    In Prince, you have to keep your power percentage high otherwise you WILL get attacked, and since you have a big army, you might as well be the one knocking some heads. Wars are best fought on your own terms.

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