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New to the game, a bit overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by JamesT, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. JamesT

    JamesT Chieftain

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    I'll start with a little background. I have been a huge fan of Civ games since Civ II, but I learned most of my lessons from Alpha Centauri, over 8 years ago. I was a micro-manager extraordinaire back then, and had every little formula and minor detail worked out so that I knew exactly what to do and when. I also was playing 6+ hours per day, and I don't have that luxury anymore.

    Starting Civ III, everything has changed for me. I can't remember any of the lessons I learned from SMAC anymore, and I'm not sure they would apply all that well anyway. I have read tons of strategy articles here, including some of Vel's guide, but I'm still overwhelmed from the start of the game.

    Every time I start a game, I plop a few cities down, bust out a bunch of workers to work the tiles, offensive units to explore and harass other civs, and then I quickly lose focus with so much going on. I know that worker automation isn't the best thing, but does it work reasonably well?

    Next, I'm never sure exactly when I should be building a granary or when I should just try to get settlers out in a way that my growth to size 3 coincides with the settler being produced. What about other buildings? Should I be building a barracks before producing any military units, or is it better to get a few out and let them rank up through battle so that I have defense? When should I start building wonders? At what size on Regent is the first citizen unhappy?

    Sorry for asking so many questions, but I'm a control freak and I feel a bit out of control of my empire. :)
     
  2. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    Welcome to CFC, JamesT!

    Don't feel bad about asking too many questions. There's lots to keep in mind, as you've noticed.

    First, I'd suggest a visit to the Civ 3 War Academy. You'll find lots of great articles there. There are a few that I frequently recommend to new players, including
    Cracker's Opening Plays;
    Warmongering 101; and
    Babylon Deity Settlers.

    There's lots more to learn, and lots of good articles, but that should get you started. Also, if you're interested, we do have an Alpha Centauri forum.

    As you've noted, worker automation isn't the best thing. I would suggest doing it yourself. You'll do a much better job than the computer.

    As for raxes & vet units, you'll need a few regulars for scouting & MP duties, but beyond that, you'd be better off building vets. They survive better and get promoted to elites. Once they're elites, they have a chance to produce Military Great Leaders.

    As for buildings, well, let me start by asking: What victory condition are you shooting for? That will help determine what buildings you need or want. There's also an article linked in my signature that might help sort out some of the buildings for you.
     
  3. JamesT

    JamesT Chieftain

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    Thanks for the reply and for the links. :)

    I had looked at some of them already, but only a quick look, so I'll take the time to read through them now.
     
  4. CommandoBob

    CommandoBob AbstractArt

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    I would direct you to two ongoing Succession Games here in the forum: Rod1- Something Enjoyable and Myth01- Training Day- Regent. Both of these are Regent level games. Myth01 is aiming towards a Conquest/Domination victory. Rod01 is an Always War variant. (Always War is a specialized Conquest game where you never make peace with anybody and you declare war on them the same turn you meet them.)

    Both games have openings, if you feel like joining. In both you can lurk and ask questions. Really a great way to ease into Regent.
     
  5. timerover51

    timerover51 Deity

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    Welcome to the Forums, JamesT. I hope that you find them useful.

    One thing to keep in mind when you ask for advice on the forums. Everyone is going to tell you how to play the game in their way, which may not necessarily be the way that you are most comfortable with, or find the most enjoyable. Take everything with a bit of a grain of salt, and experiment a bit.

    My advice to you as a new player is as follows. From your comments, I assume that you are on Windows, and not Mac.

    Go to the editor, and generate yourself a map, standard size, 70% water, normal climate, temperate, roaming barbarians, archipelago. Get one that has a nice size island. Make sure the island has all of the needed strategic resources, and a couple of luxuries. Set one starting location for yourself, and make sure that all of the other starting locations are a ways from you. Set the starting location to the civilization you wish to start with, save the map as something like Starter Map, default victory conditions and playing conditions, to your Civilizations Conquest folder. The start the game and load your starter map. You now have some time to get used to the units, game mechanics, and flow of the play. By the time you contact the AI, you should be is pretty good shape militarily, tech wise, and culture wise.

    Try to put your first couple of cities next to a fresh water source, river or lake, so that you can get to 12 without problems. If needed, add some resources to your island so that you can advance without problems.

    Then play the game out, and have some fun.
     
  6. JamesT

    JamesT Chieftain

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    Thanks for all of the advice, guys. I am indeed on a PC, and I will give that a shot. I forgot how great these Civ games are. :)
     
  7. Rodent

    Rodent Carnage

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    Welcome to CFC James !

    Try a huge map, with you preferrably alone or with 1 AI civ on a landmass. then you can practice Growing and warring ;) .

    Granaries should be built in cities with growth potential but ones which cant grow fast enough on their own. Later, Granaries are usually a good investment since you save a lot of food

    Always build barracks. 1 hp makes a lot of difference

    About the unhappy citizen, i guess it is either the 3rd or 4th citizen (assuming no multipliers

    And also, an Succession game is a great way to learn the ins and outs of the game. Rod01 is my hosted game, you are always welcome :)
     
  8. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

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    The easiest way to make your civ experience easier is to specialize cities:

    Granaries
    a reasonable rule of thumb is to make only maybe 1 or 2 granaries, in cities with a cow or a wheat, and have those cities make all the settlers. There is a great article in the war academy about settler factories - read it, over and over. Just doing that will help you, because you don't NEED a granary everywhere. Generally, these cities are near the capitol

    Barracks

    Cities with good shield and not that many rivers/coast/lux resources can get barracks and make units, along with markets (for happiness from luxuries) and aqueducts. If you get them fully roaded and are in republic, then the lib/uni can make sense

    Lib/uni

    Generally in high commerce cities (coastal, lots of river tiles, gold hills/mountains, lux resources), or if you are in republic, with the commerce bonus

    Markets

    many places, for happiness

    Temples/caths/colloseums

    You'll get a lot of advice on these, saying never or always. I generally don't make these unless I can get a lot of gold from the AI, because of the maintenance - but if I'm religious and can get caths with Bach's, they become much more cost effective.
     
  9. JamesT

    JamesT Chieftain

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    I would have thought that it is best to build the scientific-enhancing buildings in every city. Why limit these to just certain cities, when they boost your overall science advancement and culture?

    How do you get away with not building temples and cathedrals when these are the very buildings that boost your culture and keep your citizens from being discontent?

    The granary part I sorta get, but I still wonder why it isn't a good thing to boost growth in every city, unless you don't do this because they will grow faster than you can keep them happy.

    The barracks thing makes total sense, as you don't need every city building military units.

    Thanks again for all of the advice that is coming in... it definitely is helping me get a better understanding of the game. :)
     
  10. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    Libraries do produce culture in every city in which one is built. But I'm not much of a culture player, so I'm going to leave that analysis to someone who knows more about it than I.

    For beakers, though, it depends on where you set your science slider. There's an article linked in my signature that explains this in more detail, but the short story is something like this: A library adds 50% to the beakers of the city housing it. It costs 80 shields and 1 gpt upkeep. If City X is producing 20 bpt at 100% science, a library adds 10 beakers. Not a bad return on the investment. If you were running 0% science, though, that city would produce 0 beakers. Add 50% to that, and you're still at 0. Not such a good investment. If your empire is large enough and you have enough cities, you'll eventually run into the problem of 90% corrupt cities. They'll only produce 1 bpt, even at 100% science. So in terms of beakers, a library in those cities isn't worth 80 shields, anyway.

    Culture: Again, leaving that for someone better with culture than myself.

    If you're going for a military victory:
    1) Use the lux slider to keep your citizens content;
    2) If you're in an MP-friendly government, use a few MPs to keep your citizens content;
    3) Peel off settlers and workers to relieve some of the unhappiness due to overcrowding.

    No question: growth is good. I think that what AutomatedTeller is getting at is that you don't need them in every city. Unless you build or capture the Pyramids, each granary will cost you 60 shields and 1 gpt. You can still boost the growth of the empire by building granaries in a few, select cities and then using them as settler pumps or worker pumps.

    And not every military unit will benefit from a barracks.
     
  11. JamesT

    JamesT Chieftain

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    Thanks for the info. What are the military units that don't benefit from a barracks? Artillery?

    While we are on the subject of corruption, I have a question regarding the Commercial trait. I know that it reduces the gpt loss in each city, and more-so the further are from the capital/FP. My question is this... does corruption also cause a shield loss with distance from the capital/FP? If so, does the Commercial trait also help with this?
     
  12. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    With the possible exception of the Korean h'wacha (& I'm not sure about that one), none of the artillery units benefit from being built in rax towns. On the Commercial/Corruption question, I really don't know if it affects shield loss (which I believe, technically, is "waste") or not.

    Edited to add: Neither airplanes nor naval units benefit from raxes, but towns with airports and harbors (respectively) will produce veteran units of those types.
     
  13. CommandoBob

    CommandoBob AbstractArt

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    Culture is vastly overrated. Sorry. It looks nice but it is just a trap. Unless you are planning for a cultural victory, of course.

    And there are other ways to keep your people happy in your core cites that do not involve building temples and cathedrals.

    Non Crabby Citizens
    You need to have luxuries connected to your capital. And your cities connected to your capital. That will help keep your people calm. If you add markets to your cities, even more people will stay calm. And you will generate more cash for your own use, too.

    Don't be afraid to trade for a luxury you need or want. Realize that as you grow and add cities, it will cost more to trade for that next luxury. Generally, it is easier to secure your own source of the luxury. Certainly it is more sure. If you own the luxury, you will always have access to it and don't have to worry about 20 turn deals.

    Use of Culture
    In game, all that culture does is expand your borders. Every once in a while a city may flip from you or to you based on culture (excluding large, newly captured cities) but that is a random event. While it can be distressing to lose a city, the city you lost will tend to be small (less than size 3) and far away from your core. It might be in the direction you wanted to expand, but that makes it your fault you lost the city, since it was probably rather isolated and close to an AI.

    Once you get to the place where your outermost cities are all at 90% corruption, forget about culture. Out here, where you net 1 shield out of 10, a library or temple will be a drain on your economy. Cities this corrupt should be building workers (10 turns), settlers (30 turns) or some version of rock-throwers (catapults on up, 30 turns to 120 turns). These cities are really specailist farms (mostly geeks and taxmen) but that is another subject entirely.

    However, a corrupt city still has a culture border around itself. By planting cities you can expand your cultural borders. Of course, having your military remove AI cities makes it much easier to build new cities (aka Pointy-Stick Cultural Expansion). :D
     
  14. Northen Wolf

    Northen Wolf Young Hunter

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    That way, what CommandoBob is refers to is called 'warmongering'. Means you do not build culture(unless needed) and you build offense more than anything, attack when possible.

    You also place your cities in CxxC where in C represents city and x a tile (leave 2 tiles between cities). Using CxxC style placement maximizes usage of empty tiles.

    City Placements
    Most players find CxxC most useful, due you can easly defend cities (one movement unit can move to other cities 1 turn, making more mobile defense, that lowers cost on defense)

    -----
    For culture these players use libraries & unis in core cities (cites with lowest corruption, near Capital). And sometimes rush temples to enlarge borders.

    And I agree that you don't realy need cathedrals or colosseums, but I like to have few temples.

    Afterall we can only give advice, not tell you how you HAVE to play.
    -----

    I personally prefer that each city that can get above size 6 will have temple, most, productive cities (above 6, low loss of shields (red shields)) have marketplaces.

    Use of marketplaces depends - more luxuries(for few examples: furs, dies, silk) you have, more people they calm. And even if you have 1 luxury marketplaces bring in some money, but their maintaince costs also takes some money)

    * 2 Luxuries= 2happy citizens (1+1 for each luxury)(does not matter if you have marketplace or not)

    * 3 Luxuries= 4 happy citizens (1+1+1) without marketplace. With marketplace it is (1+1+2) so marketplace gives you more happy citizens, uptil level wherein you don't need temples.

    Not all things on map are luxury resources (press control and C to open up civlopedia and check resources ->luxury (other resources do not give happiness).

    To use luxury or any other type of resource it first has to be connected by road, inside of your cultural borders (Or have colony built(worker action) on it, and connected by road). Then the road has to be connected with your capital(city with palace improvement). And all other cities have to be connected to capital by some way (airports/harbors) to get those new luxuries.
    ------------------------------

    I'd recommend reading this
    The Four Rules of Wonder Addiction by By Ision

    Now I might get flamed by some players for posting this, but building wonders in low levels, BEFORE you know how to play game, wastes time and slows progress. Limit yourself few wonders in every game and game is not over if you cannot get Pyramids or Sun Tzu AoW.
    ---------------------

    Also try to keep 1.5 to 2 workers per city you have, this is "should_be" for each game, it is hard, at first, but it helps alot.

    Sorry for my bad English.
     
  15. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    I don't agree with CommandoBob about culture. On Emperor and below much of what he says holds. To speak surely, flipping does work probabilistically like. However, flipping doesn't come as an entirely random event. You can decrease the probability of a flip by having more culture. On Deity (and maybe demi-god) this can become important, as flipping can become a major problem and taking cities doesn't work as easy as it did on Emperor and below. I've even had a size 12 city with the Great Library in it on Deity flip to an opposing tribe and it didn't lie on the border. Why? They had *a lot* more culture than me and I had some of their citizens in there.

    From my understanding of them, temples, cathedrals, and colosseums can help with war-weariness.
     
  16. Chamnix

    Chamnix Chasing Time

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    As Aabraxan mentioned, technically red shields are considered waste, and red coins are corruption, but I think the only time that matters is in "We love the king day" - that reduces waste but has no effect on corruption. Otherwise as far as I know percentage waste in a city always equals the percentage corruption in that city.

    More relevantly, the commercial trait reduces both corruption and waste.

    Those buildings help with unhappiness, but they don't do any more or less when the unhappiness is caused by war weariness.
     
  17. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    I wouldn't recommend Ision's article. If you go for the 20k game, you can play your way to emperor fairly quickly without understanding things like ReX, settler factories, worker pumps, the trading system, AI attitude, reputation, etc. Ision actually proposes a slower way to go up levels than doing something like sticking to the 20k game and building wonders in your 20k city like made.
     
  18. Northen Wolf

    Northen Wolf Young Hunter

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    Uuh, have you seen saves by new players? (I could even post one of my first saves). Problems they have are: Not enough workers, Not enough settlers, not enough offense, usually 1-2 defense troops per city (that ain't much as they have no offense) and 4-6 cities building wonders. Wonders are must be for 20k games, but if you mass produce every wonder in almost every town, this will hurt your skills, big time...

    New players usually even quit game and start again if they can't get pyramids & Sun Tzus AoW.

    If you go for 20k victory, then yeah wonders are should be, but if you learn to count on something - 3 cows, river, lots of BG at starting positsion or wonders. It will hurt you. Those players, who have learned the basics of civilization should have no problems with wonders, but those who don't know often get beaten by AI due wonder addiction.

    Sorry for long post :(
     
  19. timerover51

    timerover51 Deity

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    JamesT, you have gotten a lot of advice from various players, most of whom are pushing the way they play the game. Take all of what is said, and then decide what way of playing is most enjoyable for you, and if it is different from how somebody else plays, so what. As for dumping a hopeless game, I have been playing a while, and have no problems doing that at all. No iron near by, dump the game. I do not enjoy hammering my head into a wall. Bad starting position, restart game, or new game. The idea is to have some fun, please yourself, not the rest of the forum.

    And if something in the game really bugs you, go ahead, use the editor, and make it the way that you want. Be creative. But take your time, learn the game, decide what approach works best for you, and do not let someone else tell you how you should play.
     
  20. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    You don't need many workers, settlers, or offense to win a 20k on Emperor. You can use something like 1-2 defense troops per city and get the rest through wonder builds. I won a 20k on Emperor with 10 cities my first time I did, and 5 cities the next time. 4-6 cities building wonders does seem a bit high, but having multiple cities building wonders actually comes as an advantage in a 20k game. You have your 20k city build say the Shakespeare's while other cities build/pre-build Smith's Trading Company, Magellan's Voyage, and maybe also Copernicus's Observatory. I haven't *tried* to do it in the ancient age, but for a 20k game it certainly would help for your 20k city to build say The Museum of Mausollos while some other city builds the Temple of Artemis to kill the wonder cascade it causes. T-hawk writes "On Emperor or below difficulty, it can be useful to build Leonardo's in a city other than your 20k city, to stop the AI wonder cascade."

    On Monarch you can almost always build Sun Tzu's Art of War.

    I had a Monarch game where I didn't have fresh-water for my 20k city. It actually ended up a space-race victory, but London had only 2 or 3 more turns to go to get to 20k. I haven't done it yet, but I suspect I could do a one-city challenge on Monarch without freshwater in my capital and win by 20k. The number of regular, non-militaristic one-city challenges already pretty much disprove much of what Ision says as valid.
     

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