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Newbie guide

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Bamboocha, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. Bamboocha

    Bamboocha Warlord

    Aug 21, 2011
    After being a bit disappointed by Civ V and having a toaster that can't run Civ VI, I've looked in the direction of the often praised Civ IV. I've been playing it on-and-off for the past few months and I can see why it recieves more praise than its successor, yet I just can't get into it. I imagine it's because I entirely have the wrong mindset. I know the mechanics of the game so a basic tutorial isn't needed, I'd just like to know how to "git gud". Could you guys perhaps link me to some more advanced strategy guides or explanations of certain concepts and what strategies fit what victory conditions and the like?

    I'm also using the Better BAT mod by the way, which improves a lot of things like interface and AI.
  2. lymond

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

    Mar 11, 2008
    (Brief story: I started playing Civ IV back in 2007 or 2008 (mainly playing vanilla and warlords scenarios...poorly). Set it down for about a year and at some point grabbed BTS and found this forum. Rest is history.)

    First, I'd be surprised if you really know the "mechanics of the game". I've been playing about 10 years and still learn stuff. However, there are some basic "mechanics" and "guidelines" that benefit any game. To clarify though, newer players, without guidance, often fall into bad habits and traps while thinking they know the mechanics when they come here. Point is, prepare to relearn the game.

    If you look at the top menus for Civ IV, you will find the War Academy which has a lot of articles regarding various aspects of the game - mechanics, conditions, etc.. Some are quite old, but still helpful. One of note is Sisuitil's Beginner's guide. The article in the War Academy is I believe a bit dated and there is a newer version (PDF) found in the corresponding thread in the Strategy Articles subforum of the Strategy and Tips forum. Although a couple of points I don't fully agree with, most of that article is a very good introduction to the game.

    While Better BAT AI is a good mod, I don't recommend the mod for learning the game. I recommend just using the BAT mod, which I use for all my personal games. You can also install BUG/BULL into custom assets for playing forum games since it's compatible with most. (BAT is BUG/BULL plus some graphic stuff) If you want to enhance terrain and UI graphics, install Blue Marble. Those mods are really all you need right now to enjoy and learn the game.

    Lastly, read up for sure, but the best way to learn is to get direct guidance over on the Strategy & Tips forum. Start your own game for direct help, and also join the forum games like Nobles Club - playing along and also follow other players' reports. Doing so will really help to iron out existing flaws and logic, while introducing you to many more mechanics and strategies.

    Welcome to the best game ever!
    Live trash can likes this.
  3. Live trash can

    Live trash can Warlord

    Oct 21, 2010
    Oslo, Norway
    I remember I learned Civilization on the PS in a Civ 2 edition. And from there i moved onto Civ 3 (on computer). I enjoyed this immensily. My opinion is that Civ 4 is quite complicated. With all the different warriors and what not. I think I would actually recommend Civ 3 as a starting point. I think the progression is more logical there, in a way. Just my opinion. If you already know most of the basics this might not apply to you, but I believe there is quite a LOT to learn in the 4th installment.
  4. Olson

    Olson Warlord

    May 5, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    It might be helpful, to those giving advice, to have an idea what mindset you have; then we could comment on how that mindset might be useful or... 'not so much'.

    It would also be helpful to know what difficulty level you're playing as advice can be very level pertinent and the best (most empathetic) advice will usually come from people playing the same or one level higher than you.

    Different people are likely to find inspiration and "ah-ha" moments from different sources. I found Sisiutil's Strategy Guide for Beginners (which could easily be titled "...for Advanced Beginners") very helpful. https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/sisiutils-strategy-guide-for-beginners.165632/

    Another eye-opening ("ah-ha") source, for me; regarding early game micromanaging and whipping (sacrificing population to hurry production), was Sulla's "Civilization IV Babylon: Always War" YouTube vids.

    While I don't micro(manage) nearly as much as he did, I learned to manage my cities much better than before seeing the vids (I don't use the mods that help decide such things). The other thing I learned, from Sulla's YouTube CivIV videos, is to get into the habit of checking my Demographics frequently. Doing so helped give me an idea of where I was, vis a vis the other civs, and helped me allocate my focus from (ie) building a military vs (ie) research vs (ie) food. So, if I don't have any particular plan, the Demographics screen helped me to, at least, give me something in particular to achieve until I formulate a plan.

    Just one warning about War Academy articles: there's a lot of hyperbole and a complete misuse of the word "synergy" (CivIV has nearly none...I think I found one or two). The appropriate word might be "complimentary" (in most cases). So, as you read something hyperbolic ("boat loads", "pumping out gazillions"), that sounds absolutely fantastic, it's not really what happens (most of the time) and isn't the "must have/do" thing so don't worry about getting that strategy perfected...just know it exists and could be useful when other strategies aren't.

    Some times I start a game and I'm not particularly focused on the relationship between # of turns it takes to do something and the impact of doing it. This most often happens when I'm in a CAESAR (1992) / SIM CITY mindset and I'm not paying enough attention to the other civs. For example, during such moods, I might tend to strive to have both a Barracks and Granary before whipping Axemen and Chariots though they're usually best used earlier than one can get three cities with barracks and granaries. In such a mood, I tend to do it anyway in the hopes "this time I'll get lucky and it'll work out"....it usually doesn't. If I can't shake that mindset, and really want a "builder game", I drop down a difficulty level (or two) and indulge myself.

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