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Noob here, playing on Nobel difficulty, just not getting it done

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by HulkHogan, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. HulkHogan

    HulkHogan Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Well, here's how it goes for me, generally:

    Playing on epic length, terra landscape, normal size (I think?) earth.

    Well, at map start, I build city where settlers stand, if they're not on a coast-line. First unit I build is another warrior. First thing I research is mysticism.

    Usually, I keep building warriors until my population hits 4, then I build a settler and get my next city.

    In the original city, I usually build first worker right after settler. In the new city, I repeat and build warrior until pop hits 4.

    In the meantime, I try to research buddhism or hinduism (but the AI always seems to beat me out). After one of those is done, I usually go with the wheel and animal husbandry. After that, usually archery.

    The problem is, I'm only getting like 4 or 5 cities into operation before there's no room left to grow on the map. So far, I have been focusing entirely on having fast research and staying ahead of everyone technology-wise. This usually holds me in the most wealthy, most cultured, and most advanced civilization categories until the 1300s A.D.

    Well, then the wheels start to fall off. While I'm screwing with this stuff, I'm not building much of a military (past defense for cities). In the meantime, AI players are taking over everyone else's crap. If I get lucky, I cause a city to flip because my borders expand too close to it, but past that, I have no city taking.

    So then, as the AI players start to get more and more cities, they start to out-pace me in research times, numbers of "wonders" (or whatever they're called) and everything else. Before I know it, I'm sliding down to the bottom of the scoreboard.

    Mix in with that the fact that I usually get attacked by some p.o.'d AI person because my borders have expanded too close to them, and I have lost every game I've played so far when the date hits 2050.

    It says a lot for this game, though. The fact that I am constantly getting my ass kicked and still coming back for more.

    So I guess I'm looking for some kind of early build strategy, diplomacy strategy, and religious and research strategy that is going to keep me competitive on nobel difficulty.

    Forgot to mention that I almost always am the first to discover Christianity, for some reason. That seems to give me access to some extra buildings and stuff?
     
  2. jerry247

    jerry247 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    133
    if your playing on terra, try going for the new world. I had probs with AI attacking at first, I started adopting thier religion to befriend them. more millitary is never a bad idea, especiall for your conquest of the new world.
    and build lots of cottages, I really neglected that in the begining.

    hope this helps!
     
  3. Ryanstein

    Ryanstein Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Hi HulkHogan

    One thing I can suggest is that you build more workers then warriors. You dont need to build that many warriors at the start of game. Build a warrior until you're city gets to 2 population. Now go for your first worker. Workers used well should help you with your economy, research and growth.

    I don't ever auto my workers, the AI tends to just build farms everywhere. In the early part of the game I'd suggest that you built alot of cottages. These help alot with your commerce.

    Make sure you reserach bronze working so you can chop all that forest around your cities. This helps alot with production early in the game.

    As for your army in the early game, at least wait for archery for your defences - alot more effective for defending cities and such. I generaly don't start my first war untill I get knights, combine these with alot of cats and macemen/pikemen.

    Well there's some early build strategy that should help you out for now.

    Good luck!

    ~Ryanstein


    *Edit*

    Something else I'd like to add if you're playing a Terra map. 5 or 6 cities seems about normal on a standed terra map. I'd reccomend going for Astronomy ASAP. This allows Galleys which are the best transport of their time. Head for the new world with a settler, worker and a good army for attacking the barbs which have no doubt already settled there. If you can capture most of the barb's cities this will greatly increase your score.

    ~Ryanstein
     
  4. HulkHogan

    HulkHogan Chieftain

    Joined:
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    That brings up new questions:

    I assume by "New World" you mean that there's an un-developed continent on the map?

    Also, should I be managing ALL of my own city improvements? (shudders in fear) I just automate them right now.

    Thirdly, I noticed that the game would announce the first ruler to circumnavigate the globe. How do you get this distinction, and does it bring any benefit?
     
  5. Ryanstein

    Ryanstein Chieftain

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    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Yes, the New World means the un-developed continent. Yes circumnavigating the world will give +1 movement to all your ships. This helps alot on a Terra map.

    It might just be me, but I like to micro manage my workers, seems to help alot, in more ways then one.

    ~Ryanstein
     
  6. HulkHogan

    HulkHogan Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
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    Well see, that's the other deal. There's so much to wrap my brain around, and with my ADD, it's hard to process all of it at once. Do I need a cottage, or do I need a farm? What is the proper way to use roads? Do I want to build that library, or do I need a barracks? What should I be researching to get my religion straight?

    Holy moly, this game is awesome with all the depth, but my ADD'd brain is having a hard time taking everything in, lmao!
     
  7. Ryanstein

    Ryanstein Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    I know, thats why this game is soo good!

    Ok,

    Farms = food = population or growth
    Cottages = commerce = more gold

    You need a mixture of both, obviosly you have to build farms near fresh water and cottages on grassland or plains.

    As for roads, build them to connect all your cities and the AI's (trade route). Also make sure you don't forget to connect your resources eg horses or copper to your towns. Also rivers act and trade routes, so if 2 or more of your cities or resources are along the same river, you will get the benifit of a road, except + movement :p

    ~Ryanstein
     
  8. HulkHogan

    HulkHogan Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Such good info here! I will have to have this open and alt+tab to it during my turns in tonight's play session.

    A question about roads:

    Say I have some horses. Build on them. Do I build a road ON the horse tile and then run it to town, or do I build a road from the ADJACENT tile, and then run it to town?
     
  9. Ryanstein

    Ryanstein Chieftain

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    Canberra, Australia
    Make sure you build the road on the horse tile

    :)
     
  10. ElJojo

    ElJojo Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
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    Well you should wander on the fora and i guess you will read about different kinds of strategy. It's difficult to be specific but here's my opinion about what you've said.
    You play on terra which means all the civs strat on the same continent (the old world) so it's quite cramped and there"s not much space. You won't get 10 cities on such a map. but maybe you could expand faster.
    Small civs work well at the beginning because maintenance is low wit only a handful of cities. On the other hand large expansion at the beginning will cost you but when the cities grow and start to generate lots of money and/or science, you can easily catch back the small civ that was leading.
    So you have to perform really well at the beginning if you do not wish to expand later. You should use a lot of diplomacy to avoid any of your neighbours from becoming too big. I can't be more specific without a real case to study.
    Do you know that your workers can chop forests which give one-time 30 hammer production bonus ? You need bronzeworking for that. At the beginning it can be useful to rush your settlers so that can settle on more land.
    Then I notice that you aim at religions and you say you research first mysticism, do you always play as the same civ ? Because all the civs don't start with the same techs. Some civs start with mysticism. If you don't you won't be able to get hinduism ou buddhism, because you are one tech late. Maybe you should try with a civ that start with mysticism if you really want to get one.
    But don't get obsessed with religions, they are just one dimension of the game. You should focus on other dimension, military, scientific, diplomatic... If you focus too much on religion you'll get outraced on the other dimensions. So you'll have christianism, taoism and islam but you'll be way behind in other techs. Try to balance your research.
    And don't bypass military expansion. If you are stuck in a corner or lack some ressources, consider waging a war, a limited one at least. Choose your target, maybe someone not too powerful if you don't feel comfortable with warmongering and get a few cities. There"s no need to wipe your opponent! He will sue for peace quickly if you take a few of his cities. This way you can gain access to ressources, expand your economic and scientific base, keep your neighbours in check etc.
    Maybe you should try something completely opposed to the way you've played until, just to try and experiment. Go for the military route and early expansion through war. That means, don't bother researching mysticism, go for mining, bronzeworking, ironworking and construction. This way you will see where is the iron quite soon, hook the iron, build swordmen and attack someone early on before they get defense bonus in their cities. Then get construction builds catapults and go for well-defended cities.
    Conquer until your science slider is lowered at 30-40%. then pause, sue for peace and take the technologies they have while negociating peace, build infrastructure, courthouses, marketplaces etc to revive your economy, when you're back to 70% science, start at the begining but this time with macemen and catapults.
    I guess to progress in this game you have to try all the strategies not only the ones you feel at ease with.
     
  11. Mordraken

    Mordraken Chieftain

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    I like ElJojo's comments. I'm in much the same situation as you, and I can tell you some things I did (and should have done) in a recent game with the same perameters:

    First, what you did is solid (not the best as you could have chop-rushed out settlers at the beginning when the oponents are not so aggressive, and I personally like an early war (like when you get catapaults and swordsmen/axemen) against a nearby enemy to grab a couple of tastey cities early.

    Given that's your opening move, when you got into your "wheels off" time, here's what I would suggest.

    If you want to start getting more aggressive (which I find is almost necessary), choose your opponent carefully. By this time (1300s) you should have had a number of diplomatic encouters, and should know who likes you, who you need (like have good trade relations with) and who doesn't like you. Given the options, pick on the guy who doesn't like you (duh) and target his cities that have good resources.

    Build your army as follows:
    - Defense first (I'm risk averse) - make sure you have 2 current age defenders in each city, and have a fast-moving defensive force (chariots/horse archers/cavalry) of 3-5 units to take out the counter-invasion that will inevitably come.
    - Offense - I find this to be a guideline: One "army" means 3 artillery units (Catapaults, cannons, etc) and 4 city attackers, with 1 city defender to put in afterwards (and for stack defense). That army will easily take out a city with 2 defenders (typical number) and will probably be able to take 2 cities with 2-3 defenders if you have some luck on your side (i.e. if your catpaults withdraw before being destroyed).

    With two of the above armies, you could really crush an opponent that is not heavily fortified. Especially if he's already at war with someone else. Be ready with 3-5 workers after the war to repair all the damage done.

    Go for quick battle and try to take 2-3 cities really fast, and then offer peace. Rebuild for 15 turns, and then try to finish him (or her) off. It will slow you down in the short run, but long term you'll be better for it (unless you are counter-attacked by another nation, but that's why you build up your defenses first).

    Also, one other note - the suggestion to go after the new world wouldn't work if a competitor has already circumnavigated the globe... chances are it's already settled? That's just a guess on my part.
     
  12. narmox

    narmox Emperor

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    Not all cities are created equal ;)

    what I mean is it seems you're getting all your cities to do the same thing. One of the big thing I learned over hte past months is to specialize my cities more, with some general purpose helper cities.

    This also means I have to choose my city placement really well or I'll fall behind quickly. I want my military/production city to be near hills and forests for all that extrwa production and some chopping

    I want a commerce or GP city to be near flood plains, or at worse grasslands etc, and some bonus resources like wheat etc for extra food.

    I want commerce/science cities to be near rivers and coasts, and gold for that extra income.

    Sometimes I place cities near a bunch of resources cause I need them desperately. Heck in my last game I saw flood plains + stones at a site faraway from my capital (had no other cities yet), between 2 other empires. I decided that area would be the site of my 2nd city, that I wouldn't bother with what's inbetween.

    Well that site turned out not only to have floodplains and stone, but iron, copper, gems nearby, plenty of forests to chop and some hills for production. It became my major commerce and great people city, and in time of war those hills were great to crank out units. Not only that but foudning a religion in the city and building a wonder really helped grow its borders to get all those resources.

    In fact that's the only settler I ever built (standard world map with 12 civs are pretty crowded ;) ), I got my other cities through war ;)
     
  13. TCGTRF

    TCGTRF Warlord

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    298
    I hear ya, bro. I've got a decent case myself. The sheer number of things to think about can absolutely drive you nuts.

    What I like to do is sit down when the game starts and make a "reference card" for the situation I'm in.

    First of all, look in the manual for the leader and civilization you are playing. Each one will have strengths. Try to figure out how to use these strengths.

    As an example, Roosevelt has the Industrious and Organized Traits and America starts out with Agriculture and Fishing. Industrious Civs get a 50% boost to Wonder construction speed and Organized ones have a reduction in the cost of supporting cities, so you can build more and farther away than other civilizations.

    You said you start in the original position unless you're on a coast. Don't necessarily move away from the coast--the ocean can give you lots and lots of money with which to pursue Scientific goals, and can connect you cities with trade routes even before roads. In addition, if you want to settle the New World, you'll need to have a port from which to sail. The only place you should really avoid building a city is on a tile one additional tile from the shore. That would give you the disadvantage of the ocean without any of the benefits one would obtain from improving it. The AI often recommends building on the one-tile away spaces, and I wish it would quit it.

    OK, so you know what your Civ is like. This should give you an idea of what kind of country you can build easily--In the case of Roosevelt, one with a lot of far-flung cities with all the wonders you need. It will be different for *every* leader, so note this on your "cheat sheet" for the leader you pick.

    Now, think about your map. You are on a Terra Map. This means that all of the Civs are on your continent and you will probably not be able to get as many cities out as you would like. This means that every city you put out is going to be very important, and also that you should try to get them out fairly quickly.

    In order to do this, you need Strategic Intelligence. That's what the first unit (Warrior or Scout) that you get is for. With this unit, you need to find out where the resources are and where your future opponents and allies are. In addition, one of the first units you build with your city should be another one of these. Don't automate them, but move them yourself to find out as much as possible as quickly as possible. This means that if you do not start with Hunting, you should get it fairly soon in order to create the Scout, which travels faster than the initial Warrior.

    But first, if you are a Creative or Spiritual Civ, you should look to found at least one religion. There are three that you can go for by researching Meditation, Polytheism and Monotheism. If you start with Mysticism, you might be able to get Buddism, if not, certainly Hinduism. If you don't start with Mysticism, you probably can get Hinduism, if not, certainly Judaism.

    Now, look at the area of your starting city. You should have two or more resources within the area that your city can work (the "fat cross" of 20 tiles that we talk about on the boards.) Do you have the technologies with which to work these? If not, they, and The Wheel (which you will need to connect them to your city) should be among the next things you research.

    Your city begins to grow. As you develop technologies to use the tiles around it, you also will need to defend it. There are barbarians out there, as well as unmet Civs. To help with this, you'll need to research Mining (if you don't start with it) Archery (to defend your cities) and Bronzeworking (to take out barbarians or attack other civs.) Bronzeworking will reveal copper. You *must* get that resource if you possibly can to stay competitive.

    You must develop your city and make more in order to spread out and capture more land area and resources. However, you have to keep in mind that your city will not grow if you are making workers or settlers. It's generally not a good idea to make a worker before population 2 or a settler before population 3. Once you get to that point, though, you can usually start making a chain (make four military units and two settlers, send them out. Once the new cities hit population 3, they can do the same.) If you can get those out, you'll have 7 cities, which is the most you'll probably be able to afford in the early game on noble.

    You notice I said to make two military units for each settler, right? There are barbarians out there by now and they'll DEVOUR a settler by himself. Send out two units to the tile you want to settle on two turns before the settler is done. The units will see any barbarians, and, if you're on a hill or in the woods, odds are the barbarians will attack them and promote your units. The Barbs can sometimes defeat one unit, but almost never can two, so your city can get there safely and start.

    You should have a good idea where the resources are by now. Try to set your new cities so that they pick up two or more of them (especially copper), are either on the coast or at least two away, have fresh water if possible and are *towards* competing Civs. (This is to restrict your opponents' growth, you can always "back fill" the area behind your main city.)

    Once your first city has completed its initial burst of settlers, it can settle down to becoming your capital and powerhouse. Build things that will be useful for it. Every building does something for a city. Make sure you know what each one does and don't build things you don't need. At about this time, you should also make some choices about your military. You need three contingents--City Garrisons, which should be maintained at all times (if you have Open Borders or shared religions, the other Civs will know if you are weak and attack you), Anti-Barbarian/Pillager units--need at least 5 of these (they're used as a reaction force when Barbarians come acallin' or a neighbor suddenly declares war) and a standing army.

    You're going to be crowded on the continent. Early on, you'll have to decide whether or not you'll need to grab a couple of cities from your neighbors. You can do it early or later, but sooner or later you're going to be in a war, even if you're not the one who starts it.

    To go to war in either case, you need to have barracks in your cities and a Civic that supports war when you build your units. If you go to war early, try doing so either right after bronzeworking (Ironworking if you don't have copper but have iron) or when your "special unit" becomes viable. In order to take an enemy city, you need a lot of units, 5 or more per city. If you go to war early, only keep a couple of the best enemy cities you capture, you cannot afford more.

    If your potential opponents have Mathematics as a tech, you're probably going to have to wait until after you have it yourself to attack them (make catapults to wear down their defenses) or forgo attacking them and plan to colonize the New World. For later wars, you need four parts to an army--a fast cavalry/chariot/horse group to spread out and pillage, a melee unit group to take the city, and archery group to protect your meleers and artillery from attack and a catapult/cannon/artillery group to bombard down the city defenses. This really doesn't change from Classical times through Flight.

    Any time you are given a choice of Tech or making something in a city, you should always THINK about what's going to be best for you. You'll seldom have the dozens of cities you had in Civ 2 or 3, so it's really not that hard. In addition, if your Science maximum ever hits 50%, STOP BUILDING CITIES OR TAKING THEM IN A WAR. If you have any more cities, you will go broke and die.

    Now, the New World on the Terra Map has had a lot of years to develop. It will be filled with Barbarian cities that are probably no more than a couple techs lower than you. Never colonize with an insufficient force. You need Optics to develop the Caravels to explore and Astronomy to make the Galleons needed to move troops and colonists over. If you are cut off early in your initial spread of cities, you can move develop your core cities and military strength while researching up to those techs, then find the New World and go for it. Once you get the cities started in the New World, there should be a constant stream of units heading to it.

    That ought to get you somewhere into the 16th Century or so. Good luck to you.

    Tom
     
  14. demetrious

    demetrious Chieftain

    Joined:
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    I'm just getting to where I can kick noble - it's happened in the last week or so and here are my thoughts.

    1) read the strategy articles here (in the subforum).

    2) build a worker early - at least one per town and probably two. Early on you really HAVE to manage them. Later you can fall back to an auto setting but early on every little decision for each warrior, scout, worker is important. Make each turn count for something with every member of your civilization.

    3) Use workers to chop down at least part of the forests - along the rivers and on hills is almost mandatory for quick early growth. This will allow you to build big items (like your settlers) much much quicker.

    4) There are really 3 kinds of towns - a money town, a production town, and a farm town (with growth this turns into something that generates great people from specialists). All your cities need to be focused on one of these types. Look at the terrain and try to figure out what the land says it should be. In the hills with a two good sources (for enough base population to support the town) is a clear production center. You probably only need one farm oriented town - so the best food land becomes a great person farm and the others go towards money or production based on the land and your civilation traits - financial for example should sway the balance towards cottages - money. This is simplified but for noble, I think it covers the basics.

    5) Focus on a smaller number of productive towns - say 4 or 3 and make those good profitable growing cities. Get a good base economy and base production. Don't worry about grabbing huge expanses of land. Don't forget the workers and early (at a minimum IMO) selective chopping to help get the new cities up and running and profitable and productive quickly.

    6) Use religion to make friends and avoid enemies early. To me this is the easiest way to make friends and avoid war early.

    7) Find a weak neighbor and attack. Hopefully the above gets you towards the top of the stats and then shoot for an attack when you get some military advantage. You can't just sit on a small land grab / productive cities forever (without some culture or diplomatic plan) so you have to expand. Pick a weak adjacent neighbor and PLAN for an attack. Build routes or roads to the border and take a few turns and turn ALL production or nearly all to creating your attack unit. Change civics if appropriate to wartime stuff. Build an attack force and try to get a victory quickly - destroying the civilization. Keep production on units until you are certain it is over (100% sure).

    8) Rebuild the economy of your new civilization. Change civics back to peace time. Get workers into the new land.

    9) Rinse and repeat with options 7 and 8 as you see fit. In my experience if you like peace then one good conquer giving the second land is enough.

    Maybe that helps some. Cheers.
     
  15. InFlux5

    InFlux5 King

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    May 25, 2003
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    Yes, as the description tells you, all players start in the "Old World" on a Terra map. This means there is an un-developed continent which will be taken over by barbarians, and is essentially just waiting for you to colonize it.

    Playing on Terra means you are going to be a little cramped. Once all the land is taken up, you need to think about acquiring some of your enemies' cities (before Optics) or launching a colonization operation. This will depend a lot on your land and who are next to. Your neighbors' personalities make a huge difference in this game. If you are surrounded by Montezuma, Tokugawa, and Alexander, then you have no choice but to focus on military.

    This doesn't mean, however, that you have to take their cities militarily (though I recommend it.) If you focus heavily on culture and acquire a couple of Great Artists you can pick up a few of your neighbors' cities that way and never start a war (but you have to always be prepared for one, if there are aggressive civs nearby.)

    I also don't recommend focusing on early religions, for reasons that are obvious from your post. If the computer is beating you to them in the middle difficulties, forget about it as you move up. That's why I almost always focus on Bronze Working in the early game, and chop forests. Otherwise I will focus on farms/mines, and only rarely play the early religion game. I just don't think the benefit of grabbing on early (as opposed to Confucianism or Taoism) outweighs the risk involved and the research spent at that crucial point in the game.

    Lastly, as others have said, you should build a worker earlier. You don't seem to want to tend toward a war-monger strategy, but that's basically what you're doing. By pumping out Warriors from turn 1 and limiting expansion, you're setting yourself for a situation where you'll be boxed in and need to conquer territory, but then playing a peaceful science- and culture-oriented game. If that's your game, early expansion is even more important, meaning a Worker followed by a Settler, preferrably with Bronze Working to rush the latter.
     

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