New strategy: Ignore happiness

Celevin

King
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
919
There's been too many threads on "happiness is so key!" and such, when I think that you actually pay for as much as you gain with it. What I did in my last game just shows one more thing that I think is going to need to be fixed. Obviously this needs some fine tuning.

This will happen in 2 phases. This strategy works best with France, as you're going to have a HUGE empire.

First phase, play the game as normal. You'll want to slingshot a bit to get the commerce / freedom trees, as every tree before then is going to suck for you (except maybe liberty for culture and happiness, as well as fast expansion). Don't build any happiness buildings, as their maintenance is too much. Focus on nabbing a lot of luxury resources, as once phase 2 hits, you won't grow anymore. Trade for as much luxury resources as possible, and max out your happiness. Get currency at some point, and start all your towns up on markets.

Phase 2 is called ZERO HOUR. Your goal is to start up a massive war machine, and never stop. You know those times when you want to keep up the fight but you don't because your happiness is capped? Ignore that entirely! Get the com to that dumb level where they are willing to trade 5 cities for peace. ANNEX every single one. Don't build courthouses.

Ignore happiness, and keep capturing cities. Switch all your mines to trade posts. Ignore growth and production. Get every single city maxed out on merchants, and pray for some great merchants. Sell off all happiness resources for more gold. Grab the key commerce policy of -25% spending cost. Build the key wonders for buying units/buildings. Gun for the Renaissance era, as Freedom is the key policy tree. Remember all you're working really is trade posts and specialists, so you'll get 2 extra science from each thing working. As this is really a specialist economy, you'll see quite a few great people, as well as lower food costs from Freedom.

What you lose
- NO city growth
- NO golden ages from happiness
- Half production
- Penalty to combat

What you gain
- A LOT of gold off selling luxuries
- More gold from production
- Cities switching from growth to more useful tiles, like merchants and trade posts
- No maintenance from happiness buildings and previously needed workshops
- No maintenance happens from marketplaces or any other key buildings
- Benefits of currency modifiers over production modifiers
- More specialized policies
- No caring to stop the war machine, and thus a much larger empire
- Gobs and gobs of great generals and other specialists to use for golden ages (+1 commerce per tile in a massive empire!)
- The highest science you'll ever see


You'd be tempted to try this with Arabia for its gold on trade routes, but you need the culture from France. No other civ can have an empire this size and still pump out social policies.
 

Ahriman

Tyrant
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
13,266
Location
Washington, DC
What you lose
- NO city growth
- NO golden ages from happiness
- Half production

Uhh.... large penalties to military strength, no?
Aren't your military units going to get crunched?

No other civ can have an empire this size and still pump out social policies.
France isn't going to pump out social policies with a massive empire of annexed cities either. The SP costs increase 30% (multiplicatively) each time you get a new city. 2 culture per turn doesn't really help much.
 

Quick1

Chieftain
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
4
You do realize that negative happiness doesn't just stunt growth, your troops stop fighting after you hit like -10 or so? Even if you stop growth, your happiness level is going to plummet once you start annexing cities, especially if you don't build courthouses.
 

Dizzy75

Warlord
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
245
Pretty interesting and innovative. I'm not sure it needs to be rebalanced, though, unless it can pretty handily beat any "normal" strategy at domination? Since pumping happiness at first and acquiring lots of luxuries seems to be a key part of the strat, does this have advantages over someone who acquires a ton of luxuries and doesn't try this?
 

Dizzy75

Warlord
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
245
Uhh.... large penalties to military strength, no?
Aren't your military units going to get crunched?


France isn't going to pump out social policies with a massive empire of annexed cities either. The SP costs increase 30% (multiplicatively) each time you get a new city. 2 culture per turn doesn't really help much.

Hmm, shows what I know about the game.

Has the OP tried this yet, or is this just theoryzation?
 

Celevin

King
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
919
The entire point is you don't care if you go into complete unhappiness. -200 unhappiness means nothing.

-33% combat strength is nothing that can't be made up in policies, great generals, and other things. Your gold and science is crazy enough to give you the military edge.

Ahriman said:
The SP costs increase 30% (multiplicatively) each time you get a new city.
Actually it's additive. You'll still get the number of social policies that you'll need to survive, you just need to be strict with your choices. A lot of previously needed ones (like bonus happiness) are no longer needed at all.

I'm in a game right now with around 15-20 cities as France, and am actually thinking of winning by culture.

Dizzy75 said:
Has the OP tried this yet, or is this just theoryzation?
I've done this, but haven't done this from scratch. I was successful, but didn't get to take the key policies since I didn't plan (ie the Freedom ones). The only hard point is the expansion then rapid switch to a gold-only empire.
 

Quick1

Chieftain
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
4
The entire point is you don't care if you go into complete unhappiness. -200 unhappiness means nothing.

-33% combat strength is nothing that can't be made up in policies, great generals, and other things.

It's only 33%? I could have sworn it was more than that.
 

Syiss_

Warlord
Joined
May 7, 2009
Messages
157
Interesting strategy, and possibly the only way to win by domination on the larger maps (besides cheezing out and mass striking just enemy capitals). I did something similar in a game with Japan on accident. France declared war on me and decided to sue for peace after I took 1 city and had killed like 12 of his units. He offered me 4 of his cities (leaving himself with only 2) and I stupidly accepted, putting myself at about -30 happiness. Realizing I was never going to come out of that hole, I decided to keep rolling over people and just bought the rest of my army. Won domination victory at around 1300AD.
 

Puzzlemaker

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
40
I have done this before, too. You don't want to use France, you want to use japan. With bushido, you can blitz. Don't stop to heal, just keep attacking. It works very well.
 

Druin

Warlord
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
126
Location
CA
I can attest to this working, the tech lead you get from having a TON of cities is actually big enough to easily make up for the -33% military strength.

I highly recommend getting/saving a great engi for big ben ... you can't really build it otherwise :p
 

Celevin

King
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
919
It's not just a last-ditch effort before you win by domination. An empire that goes this route will probably out-science a regular empire, while keeping up decent production.
 

Druin

Warlord
Joined
Sep 1, 2010
Messages
126
Location
CA
It's not just a last-ditch effort before you win by domination. An empire that goes this route will probably out-science a regular empire, while keeping up decent production.

I do not believe you could call the production of this empire type "decent."

If by "production" you mean "rushbuy ability" then I agree!
 

DalekDavros

Prince
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
303
Why is ignoring happiness an integral part of this strategy? What if you did exactly the same thing, but build/buy happiness buildings and keep lux resources?

If you have a huge empire that gets lots of golden age bonuses, surely happiness becomes even more important and perhaps the extra golden age income/production pays for the upkeep on happiness buildings and lost resource trade potentials. I'd crunch the numbers, but I haven't looked at the golden age costs yet.
 

Spatzimaus

Mad Scientist
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
3,063
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Why is ignoring happiness an integral part of this strategy?

I think the thought is that no matter how much you tried, a rapid expansion with annexing would kill your empire's happiness regardless. Most people slow down their expansion once they run low on happiness, or trade for more luxuries, or build more +happy buildings, but what if you didn't slow down, and just kept going full-bore? Obviously, you'd go negative on happiness.

So if it's inevitable that your people would be unhappy, why waste time, effort, and money attempting to mitigate the unhappiness at all? If you're at -100 happiness, then building a little +3 Colloseum isn't exactly going to help, and you could use the ten or twenty turns it'd take to build that thing churning out more units/wonders/etc. (and save the 3-gold upkeep, to be used for more units!).
Likewise, if your city growth is going to be so stunted by unhappiness, it's not really worth putting down farms; just put Trading Posts everywhere (for the cash and science benefit later on).

Obviously, there needs to be more of a cap to this. As in, if you go below -25 or so you hit the Rioting level, where all production shuts down entirely and troops refuse to fight at all. But until that happens, this is still viable.

Now, for sheer irony value, you need to try winning a Cultural victory with this strategy; once you've got a large empire, start churning out more culture buildings. The idea that millenia of unhappiness can lead to Utopia is just too funny to ignore.
 

Conspirator

Prince
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
388
Now, for sheer irony value, you need to try winning a Cultural victory with this strategy; once you've got a large empire, start churning out more culture buildings. The idea that millenia of unhappiness can lead to Utopia is just too funny to ignore.

LOL. Yeah it's definitely going to be fixed, I would imagine, so I'm not pursuing this beyond a level of unhappiness I am unable to get back out of. Just wouldn't feel right.
 
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