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Noble to Prince

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by drlake, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. drlake

    drlake Emperor

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    Hi all;

    I'm thinking of making the Noble to Prince jump, and am wondering what the impact of the increased difficulty is.

    For context, I'm a long-time Civ player (Civ 1-4 and CTP) who recently returned to Civ IV after several years of Civ III. I had picked up Civ 4 back when Warlords was new, and found it frustrating to play at Noble so I switched back to III for a while.

    Anyway, I decided to give IV a try again, and am really enjoying it this time around. Due to reading the forums and War Academy articles, I'm finding the learning curve a lot more pleasant this time around. I've been working my way through the Noble's Club games , with good success so far (cultural victory as Elizabeth, diplomatic as Ramses, working on conquest/domination with Kublai). I'm thinking a couple more at Noble max, before I kick it up a notch and see how Prince goes so I figured it was a good time to gather some info on what to expect.
     
  2. thwump

    thwump Chieftain

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    I recently got back into civ4 as well and started by making the jump from noble to prince. What made it work for me was reading the forums here and really learning whats important strategically and what's not. I used to play a lot like the AI, only slightly better so the jump from noble to prince seemed pretty big.

    But in the last few weeks I've already started moving on to emperor. I'd suggest making the move up if you've been absorbing the strategies pretty well. You won't really know how well you are executing them until you take the challenge.
     
  3. Cam_H

    Cam_H Deity

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    drlake,

    thwump is right in that lots of reading (as you're doing) and a closer assessment on what's important and what's not will help enormously in this 'jump'.

    Although I understand that technically Noble is closest to the AI's own playing conditions, because of some shortcomings in the AI's behaviours Prince is possibly where there's level footing and the human player must start to find ways to get ahead through improved diplomacy, city specialisation, and so on. You can't expect to be on top of the scorecard all of the time if you play a passive style game - and this scorecard position can be distracting if not distressing for players used to assuming the #1 spot from early in the game if they're not quickly there.

    Being a bit more savvy on specialising your cities so you balance economic and military needs, taking a somewhat more assertive approach to warfare (such as engineering an early game rush if you're hemmed in by a neighbour, but more generally always be planning for your next assault), and working diplomatic relations in your favour (and even being prepared to backstab a friendly if need be) should be all the tools you need to progress comfortably at Prince level.

    If you play a couple of games and are getting smashed, select a leader that might counter what you think might be your weakness, just to get your first 'Prince scalp'. Then go back and try leaders that won't give you a 'crutch' so you can start winning with any leader and not be reliant on leader-specific strategies.

    Best of luck! :)
     
  4. lymond

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

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    Cam is right as usual. I'd like to add that I did not find the jump to Prince to be a huge leap than say Monarch and Emperor. I recall only playing a few games at Prince before feeling the need to go to Monarch. Monarch was a bigger jump and you really start to feel the AI bonuses at the level.

    I'd say if you are winning very easily on Noble you may want to try a game or to at Monarch next. If not, go to Prince level and really focus more on the little things and diplomacy as Cam said. I think Prince plays very similar to Noble.
     
  5. jacklours

    jacklours Chieftain

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    I agree with Lymond, on the most part.

    What I noticed is that once I reach lib and astro it feels like my tec lead starts to melt away while it wouldn't when I played on noble.
    Although that might be because i'm making poor tech choices but the fact remains that I tech the same way I used to when I was playing noble.

    The rest of the game feels almost the same, but I feel like I have to learn how to tec away from the AI before going up another level.

    edit : By the way I also found that BTS made the game a little harder, I was almost confortable playing prince in warlord, but then I bought BTS and got beat bad the first few games, then went back to noble only to jump back up to prince a few games later
     
  6. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Noble -> Prince jump:

    1) prioritize early defense resource
    2) Always RUSH if close neighbors b/c economy can still handle fast early expansion/units on Prince
    3) WORKERS! (1 to 1.5 per city)
    4) Manually assign workers, no automation
    5) Specialize cities (get a few economic [cottage/granary/library/univ], a few hammer [mines/farms/workshops], a unit pump [HE city])
    6) Kick ass

    EDIT:

    To boot, get comfortable with whipping. Although it still isn't entirely necessary on Prince if you have good production tiles, on levels higher than Prince, whipping becomes very powerful. Prince is a good level to get practice at it.

    Beginning game tile improvements: Farms/Food resources/mines.

    :hammers: gotten via tile improvements are generally pretty sparse during the early game (unless you have some crazy hammers capital). So whipping becomes more desirable. Grow population, whip, work mine tiles (to prevent city from growing over the :) limit), and whatever food tiles to keep city from starving. When whip :mad: nears its end, switch to all :food: tiles to regrow population. Whip again. Settlers and workers are to be whipped up letting overflow go into garrison troops unless you don't have much room to peacefully REX. Then you should prioritize copper or horses ASAP and whip up an army.
     
  7. drlake

    drlake Emperor

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    Thanks for the responses. I'll give Prince a shot with the NC 4 setup, whichever that is. I'm finding the NC series a good tool, since I can also look at how others have played the same setup and get some ideas on what works and what doesn't. Some observations about my play so far:

    1) I generally start wars too early, before I'm truly prepared (at least up to 500AD or so). I need to initiate more wars to get a better feel for what works and what doesn't. That said, I never understood the combined arms mechanics of this game or how unit experience worked in practice until I read some stuff here, and started to experiment in game. Lots to learn here, yet.

    2) I've been working on whipping/chopping more strategically. I've been using chopping to get wonders for the most part, and generally don't cut forests unless I need the hammers or the cleared land these days. I find it more difficult to whip effectively, without missing opportunities. I'm not sure when its worth whipping to save a turn or two, for example. The see-saw between resource and food-focus production when whipping makes a lot of sense to me, though, so I'll have to work with that.

    2a) I'm starting to understand hammer overflow. I need to pay attention to that more, thanks, blitz!

    3) I'm getting city specialization, I think. Still working on that, including how many I need of different specializations. This got easier conceptually when I stopped worrying about getting every resource in the BFC, and started to space them slightly more widely to increase the tiles in my territory. One thing I noticed that is different from Civ3 is that badly located cities are a much bigger problem in 4, so I'm getting used to razing conquered cities and being pickier about where I set them up. I did screw up and raze a holy city in the Kublai Khan game I'm playing, though. :eek:

    4) I seem to get to the point where I have too many workers in every game. This happens at about the beginning of the gunpowder era, and lasts until I get railroad. Do you guys experience this, and if so what do you do?

    5) I've been playing mostly at normal, but the current game is at epic speed. My understanding is that the AI is relatively poorly at the slower speeds, so should I stick to epic (or even marathon) when jumping up a difficulty?
     
  8. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

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    First, I endorse all of Blitzkrieg's advice above.

    One thing I frequently did at noble, which turns out to be a very bad play at prince is trying to found early religions. Abandoning this made my prince games go from 50-50 to 75-25 win/loss. When I learned the power of an early rush, they went to about 98-2.

    Learning to use the combined abilities of the variety of troops available is an ongoing learning process. The potential to face different challenges on different terrains with different opponents using different tactics is the reason we still play this game.

    Whipping/chopping for wonders is good, but you should consider doing it for settlers as well. Getting those first few cities up and running quickly is a great advantage at prince level (and one you'll never dominate so completely again as you move up).

    As for too many workers at the gunpowder era: I think that's common, as I face the same problem at about the same time (earlier if I settled a smaller area). I generally disband all but the ones I will need to get railroads and lumbermills effectively built.

    The AI isn't worse at slower speeds, but the ability to wage war as the human player gets better (units go obsolete much more slowly). Because warring is something humans do far better than the AIs, this does favor humans if you take to the sword. Playing peaceful games is usually easier on faster speeds.
     
  9. capnvonbaron

    capnvonbaron Democratia gladii

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    My $.02 --

    Two thumbs up to rushing. Eliminating a nearby rival with early, overwhelming force is a great way to end up with two capital-class cities and strong military units. On prince you really can't go wrong with an early rush if you plan it right. Axes or chariots are my all-around fav, but it can be done with archers if you start with hunting->archery and pick on a non-hunting civ.

    Build wonders sparingly. A few will really help your game, but none are really that game-breaking. IMO failure payout becomes almost as good as actually completing wonders on Prince/Monarch.

    Post Nationalism: Learn to Love the Draft. As good or better than the whip in some instances. Locate the enemy's main stack and try to kill it on your terms. Bring lots of siege to the party, and try to position spies for the first push in an offensive to bring down enemy defenses via espionage. The spy will free up the siege to do what it does best: collateral.
     
  10. JTMacc99

    JTMacc99 That's a paddlin'

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    Most common things people need to do once you move from Noble to Prince:

    Efficient opening strategy: Worker first (almost always) and researching worker techs rather than religion first.

    Not working unimproved tiles. This is what MORE WORKERS means. You can get away with it at Noble. At Prince, you need to start realizing the power of workers.

    The first real thought needs to be put into city specialization. What that means at Prince is that you need to think about the improvements you build around your cities, AND you need to start thinking about what you're building in your cities. DON'T build a bank in your Heroic Epic city if all the tiles around the city are only contributing food or hammers. Don't build an aqueduct in a city unless it is really hurting for health. It's a lot more efficient to just trade an excess resource for the grain you don't have. (If you don't have your own corn, trade for one! It gives you one health for the resource and a second one for the granary you already built in all of your cities. That's the way to pick up the two health easily rather than building an aqueduct.)

    Lastly, start to set goals and seize opportunities. If you find yourself VERY close to another civ at the start, set the goal to wipe it out ASAP. That means, find your military tech, your resource, and focus all your effort on building the army.
     
  11. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    The aprt in bold is very, very true. Check what trade opportunities you have and re-check often.

    Also reading up on walkthroughs on these boards is a good idea to go about. I recommend Kossin's daily round series as he actually goes into detail a lot and he is willing to explain everything he does, plus there are a lot of games to pick up useful advice from. Also look for games by Rusten, he is one of the best players around and has excellent walktrhoughs.

    Reading up on these games I mentioned - especially Rusten's since I was already doing well on immortal when Kossin's series started - boosted my game from prince where I was doing okay-ish to emperor winning comfortable, just because I second guessed everything I did. I learned that you need not have perfect cities and such in order to win and that you need to research the things you need and things you can trade around. I never even played on monarch because I found that after I read up on the theory and saw the demonstration by Rusten on how to go around doing things I was already solid enough to beat emperor.

    Read read read and practise practise practise. Ask for specific advice when you are unsure what to do. Post screenshots and give suggestions on what you think you should do. Post a save to round it all up. You will then get in-depth quality advice that you can understand rather than having a thread full of general comments - which is good for learning where you can still improve but it will not carry you to win at prince per se.
     
  12. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    On Epic or Marathon, warrior rushes are VERY viable on Prince. If you find a neighbor is quite close by, you can switch all production to warriors (working 3:hammers: tile), build about 4 or 5 of them, then conquer the nearby capital. The AI almost never has more than 2 warriors guarding their capital this early on. Having 2 capital class cities THAT early is almost always a win as long as you don't muck up the rest of your play.

    I would be careful not to become too comfortable with warrior rushes, though as Monarch AIs start with archers / Archery and such strategies are only desirable in extremely fringe situations.

    Other than that, everyone's advice here is very good.

    On Specialization: Improve tiles in the city's fat cross with a common goal. IE if you have a lot of riverside grassland and a food resource, that's a great cottage spam city. Have your workers improve riverside grassland with cottages and allow the city to use the food resource to grow into new cottage tiles quickly. In that city, you should concentrate on buildings that increase the :science: output of the cottages (library/university/observatory). A granary is almost always a must-have in economy cities to allow them to grow into new cottages even more quickly and to fast-regrow cities that whip their libraries/universities (which I encourage). If your city has a couple food resources and lots of hills/brown tiles, this is a good production city. Have workers improve the food resources, put farms down on grassland tiles (keep in mind you can spread irrigation post Civil Service) and put mines on all hills and workshop on brown tiles. Always count your potential food in these cities and make sure you have enough to work your :hammers: tiles. In this city, you should focus on granary (for growth), forge, barracks, factory, levee, power plants (if you get that far). One of these type of production heavy cities should house your HE for soldier-spam.

    You don't really need to specialize ALL your cities. Usually, in my Emperor games, having a strong cottage-spam bureaucracy capital with Oxford, 2 more economic cities, HE city, a GP Farm, and 3 :hammers: cities (building either troops for war buildup or wealth for high :science: slider) is all i specialize. The rest of my cities end up as hybrids adding a bit of :gold:, :science:, and :hammers: each.
     
  13. JTMacc99

    JTMacc99 That's a paddlin'

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    Excellent advice. I forgot to mention that Prince is a good time to put the unit-spamming Heroic Epic city into your bag of tricks.


    Really all you need to learn at Prince is how to take care of things in your own backyard. Monarch and Emperor (for me) are when you need to start paying attention to what the other guys are doing.
     
  14. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    ^^ True dat. Honestly, on Monarch, you don't need to keep such a keen eye on the AI. Just knowing what they are researching and keeping a close eye on diplo situations can get you plenty of wins on Monarch.

    Emperor's a different story. Spies become much more useful to see what the enemy is planning, where their units are amassing, performing counter-espionage, etc. Also, having a strong understanding of the AI's desired tech path also helps greatly.
     
  15. JTMacc99

    JTMacc99 That's a paddlin'

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    Well, I think that Monarch was when I first needed to actually research specific paths with the idea that I could trade for the techs I skipped. It was also the first time when I had games that I could lose due to diplomatic issues. I agree with what you said, but I was thinking more about the learning curve between levels and not what each level actually requires once you get the hang of it.
     
  16. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Gotcha. Much agreed ;D
     
  17. drlake

    drlake Emperor

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    Interesting discussion. Do you guys find yourself rethinking (and possibly changing) the role individual cities perform, or have you done enough games that your specialization routine is basically automatic?

    I'm still working on finishing my Mongols game, before I start the next one at Prince. I'm smacking Toku around atm, and then need to take down Elizabeth. She might be a challenge since she's ahead in the tech race, so I'm thinking of a beeline to Rifling and taking her down with infantry. It's a sad state of affairs if it comes to that, though. :blush:
     
  18. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    wow... her infantry vs. your riflemen? Sounds like you should prioritize Artillery/Rocketry. use tons of Artillery with barrage promotions to weaken the infantry/send in pinch promoted anythign to finish them off.

    Unfortunately, i learned the artillery tactic by having the AI use it against me!
     
  19. drlake

    drlake Emperor

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    Grrr, nomenclature issue. I envision "taking her down with infantry" in the generic sense, not with Infantry in the specific sense. She's ahead of me, but not that far ahead. :)
     
  20. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    Bombers + tanks is a good way to go about doing things as well. :)

    Also nuking will do the trick... But if you can go rifles in the specific sense, then that is an exellent choice too. :)
     

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