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Noobie Problems

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Murlocks, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Murlocks

    Murlocks Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Hello all, I am not sure if this is the place to ask questions but here goes...

    First some background on my situation: I'm a complete beginner to civilization, only having picked up the game a couple of days ago, but I have already clocked in around 80 hours so far. I haven't had a single victory yet because I always feel like I am falling behind or I simply feel like the game has gone into a stalemate with my loss just around the corner so I just end up starting a new game. Oh, and all my games so far have been played with a domination victory in mind on prince with only gods and kings, no BNW.

    Because I am new to this game, I just don't know what winning or being in the lead feels like. I haven't really suffered any major loses or any real damage from a civilization in most of my games; yet I always feel like I am losing. I usually find myself second to a larger civilization in everything.

    When I do find myself in the lead after a military conquest, I find my civilization struggling in another aspect. I then find myself struggling to advance my science or my economy for example for the next few things. Except now, I don't even have an army (as it was weakened by conquering a civ just earlier). I also feel that there is very little gain in actually conquering cities, I get what feels like a million unhappiness (at least for a bit, even if a raze it) and a building that will be build in the next era in exchange for (possibly) cash, units, production time, etc. I am tempted to just bait a war with AI, kill of their units while minimizing my own losses and calling it a day. But where's the fun in that?

    Where do I find the balance in army and tech for my civ? What kind of mindset should you enter a domination victory game with? Should I just stick to my civilization until the bitter end?

    There are tons of great strategies and guides on this site about all the specifics and the mechanics of this game, but I am currently struggling on all the "in betweens," in other words the peacetime that comes after the war.

    I know that I should just keep playing, but I am the type of player that tries to single out something I can improve on; I don't really want to keep playing blindly (at least anymore, that's what the first 80 hours were for :p). Playing on a lower difficulty is also an option, but I'd rather struggle with a challenge, get better, and find myself playing up to par on a harder difficulty. Rather than bring the difficulty down and find an easy victory, I want to actually become a better player.

    TLDR; I want to get better at civ, what do?
     
  2. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    1,010
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Even in G&K where early game war is more profitable, it rarely pays to conquer blindly all game long, and Domination is the least attractive of the three main victory types.

    Supposing you are going for Domination, you still usually want to blend a little bit of conquering with a heavy amount of infrastructure (food/growth and science) focus, to get to the industrial era first and clean up the map with battleships or artillery or bombers. To get a feel for managing science it's best to play some peaceful games. The basic strategy is mentioned everywhere in the forum, but basically comes down to the top of the tech tree being better than the bottom always.

    If you're losing a lot of units in war then build more archers/bowman because all the other military units are under-powered before industrial.

    But to address your original question again, blending conquest with growth means don't conquer blindly. Your early game warfare should have the goals of getting a choice city where the AI built one or several happiness wonders in it (C.Itza, Notre Dame, Forbidden Palace) and sometimes taking out the civ on your continent that is threatening to be a runaway, if the military outlook favors you. Plan your early war with these goals in mind - what city do you want, what other cities will you have to take to get to it, will you be able to manage the happiness.

    If the benefits don't outweigh the happiness costs then you're just stuck until Industrial when you'll have more happiness.
     
  3. FinsT

    FinsT Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Messages:
    84
    I don't think it's a good idea to stick with a civilization which you feel is worse than it should be. However, one very powerful learning technique - is repetition. There is a saying in my country: "repetition - is mother of learning". Civilization 5 is not an exception - it was already mentioned (probably repeatedly) in this forum that starting your game over and over again from turn 1 (same map - using a turn-1 save, that is), while aiming to get better results than you did before, - is an excellent learning method for Civ 5. Perhaps, try it?

    And then, there are two things which i think you need (and probably are going to get mostly on its own in the process of playing the game). I'll list 2nd thing 1st, because the 1st thing requires somewhat lengthy description - so it goes 2nd. Hope i am not too... crazy with that last sentence. %)

    So. Second thing, - find your favorite playstyle. You'd need to try different things to realize what you like the most. Is it indeed domination - or perhaps you'd enjoy building massive gold-generating empire more? You can't be sure unless you'd try. Or, domination itself - it can still be very different playstyles "inside" domination banner. Do you go tall and raze 'em AIs, just leaving their capital cities be (which i enjoy the most whenever i go warmongering in my games, tbh) - or do you build _efficient_ wide empire, puppeting or even annexing captured cities? Do you go through serious of relatively short wars (like Persian civ would probably do) - or do you refuse peace offers until there is noone to offer you peace anymore? :D Next, do you prefer to fight inside your own territory (or close to it) and "grind down" enemy forces until you can do a decisive strike upon one (or more) of their cities - or do you prefer to rush-build lots of units and do a "zerg rush"? Etc. But, you can't find your favorite playstyle if you don't know what possible efficient playstyles are - and this knowledge comes from detailed knowledge of what's possible in terms of your civilization's "base" (which is its economic and productive power). Said "base", in turn, is dependant on many other major mechanics of the game, - and any good player must be at least somewhat familiar with each. Only then you'll be able to find out what your favorite playstyle actually is. Which brings us to the


    First thing: learn how to use _all_ major game mechanics at your disposal, and get a habit to keep managing every major mechanic substantially well. You see, every major concept there is - can (and should!) be helping you to achieve victory. Examples:
    - Trade routes. Do you always have max number of them busy and going? Do you trade with best possible trade partners (considering both profitability but also safety of trade routes)? Get a habit to maintain your trade relations in order, all the time. Good trading is a massive help;
    - Growth. Do you manage your growth properly? Two standard approaches are "tall" - which is few cities which you grow as fast and as large as humanly possible; and "wide" - which is when you get many cities (~dozen or more), but intentionally limit their growth and at some point, stall it. So you see, if you have few cities but do not manage to grow them VERY fast - you'll lose; if you have many cities but do not manage to limit/stall their growth appropriatly - you'll also lose (happiness issues aplenty). Furthermore, managing solid growth of wide empite involves certain social policies, right ideaology and tenets - it's possible to reduce additional unhappiness per every extra city in a wide empite to truly miniscule amoutns (like ~ +1 extra unhappiness for every extra city of ~10 citizens);
    - Religion. Another big helper if/when done right. Find beliefs which suit your plan the most (wide empires need much different ones than tall empires). Make a habit to find pantheon early (normally through intensive scouting early in the game, for which reasons build at _very_ least 1 scout extremely early) - ruins and possibly religions CSs should give enough faith. Once you get a religion, make it a habit to spread it with at least a few missionaries before spending your faith to anything else - the sooner you will have _many_ cities (yours and AI's) following your religion, the bigger boost you'll be having from your religion for the rest of the game;
    - City-states. Very massive help when managed well. Do their quests as much as possible, keep an eye on every message from city-states every turn - don't skip paying attention to any of them. Spread your religion to them - this cuts the rate at which your influence degrades, substantially. If you have some military CSs as friends/allies - never disable their unit-giving, and gift any unneeded units you got from them - to a city-state you need the influence with the most;
    - Science. Always keep in mind at least 2 "next" tiers of technologies - in detail. Always define which particular tech among next 1...3 tiers you want to get ASAP, and work towards it. Once done, define next target tech in the same manner and go for it, rinse repeat. Most of the time, any technologies which give you any large boost to scientific power - are a big priority; getting libraries, univercities, observatories and public schools as early as humanly possible - is a most powerful research approach for vast majority of games;
    - Culture. While it sounds somewhat secondary to many players, in fact it is also of key importance. Make a habit to have +2 culture building in all your cities as fast as humanly possible. Build more +culture buildings when you can. Always attempt to get big culture-boosting wonders and policies (large +% in all cities is the best) - these are quite important. Reason for this - is your territory growth, which gets faster the more +culture you have. Larger territory means more tiles which your cities can work (even if no AIs are nearby - some city state or two is most likely is), but more than that, your territory can grow up to 5 tiles around all your cities enetually - and this means more space where your troops can heal at a dramatically increased rate, more permanently visible area, longer time it takes for any AI surprise attack to actually reach your cities, more safety for your trade routes, more chances to get mid-game and late-game resources (coal, oil, alluminium, uranium), all of which are quite important, etc;
    - Production. In its own way, production is the _most_ important thing there is. Because vast majority of everything you create - comes from it (yes, it's possible to buy quite alot if one has massively powerful economy, however, it's still a little in compare to how much one creates via production). Buildings, units, wonders, things like international games and ISS - the more production you got, the more of everything you'll have (or to put it the other way - the _faster_ you'll get everything you need/want). So always remember to look for things which increase your production especially much. Personally, i nearly always take +1% per-citizen (max 15%) from religion, for example. Perhaps most important thing about production though - is to always remember about perhaps _the_ most powerful production booster, which is city growth. Even for wide empires, where growth is totally stalled for most cities at some point - until this point is reached, faster city growth is the most powerful thing to end up having a city which built/produced as much as possible.
    - Diplomacy and diplomatic trade relations. This is a HUGE major mechanic in the game oh so many players completely miss. It can boost development of your civilization incredibly much. If you want to become a better player, you'll need to master this, and make good habits about it: like, never allow to have any substantial unused resources just sitting on your resource bar, doing nothing - trade them away for luxury resources you don't have (if possible), or for gold-per-turn (or straight gold when possible), or for open borders (1 luxury resource which you have multiples of - is often enough to have an AI to give you open borders without you giving it to him); also, sometimes, when an AI is guarded or hostile to another AI, few resources can actually convince him to declare war - and quite often this can be very beneficial to you, so this is also an important kind of deal possible with your extra (unused) resources. If ALL possible deals are already made at some point, but you still have more unused luxury or strategic resources - then select on AI with whom you have best chances (and most sense) to have friendly relations with, and GIFT some of your extras to him. At later point you might well be happy you have an ally. Remember all this is "temporary" - deals are 45 turns on epic speed (i play epic; 30 on normal?), so you never give away anything "forever". Then there are also research agreements, "extorting" lots of goods outta AIs through declaring war, razing a city or two of theirs, and then when they offer peace adding a city of their (usually) into the mix as a gift - replacing that city with said lots of goods; etc etc. Then there is world congress, which is a huge booster to you and a subject of its own - may be not exactly "major" game mechanic on its own, but still one which any good player needs to learn (and excellent player - to master). Diplomacy have MUCH more than it might seem it is, on the surface;
    - Spying is not there until BNW, right? But if you'd ever go BNW - same thing, another major concept you should never "skip"; used right, is another big boost to your civ;
    - Exploration. This one is simple. Do it. And it means, do it as early as possible, and as much as possible (without hurting other important things any much). One excellent thing - are missionaries; after initial few to set up your religion around, make more of these, and send them out as soon as you get Astronomy (if not yet) to distant lands. Found a CS there without faith? Spread religion into it and into one of nearby cities; whenever there are 2 or more not-too-far-from-each-other cities with the same religion - the thing starts to spread around on its own ;)
    - War. "War never changes", eh. War is a major game mechanic, allowing to get things otherwise impossible to get. Get a habit to have your army busy with some or other war, - if you have army at all, that is (above minimum required homeland-defense forces that is - these stay home, of course). Learn cons and pros of doing wars to neighbours - and to remote civs. And have at least a few units which are your "elite guard" - ones who do not get killed, but keep levelling up to high levels. They get time more powerful (literally - considering extra attacks, extra range, extra combat strength upgrades), and since there is a limitation of "1 unit per 1 tile" - this allows to have some "concentrated" firepower, which is great for nearly all combat situations. Guard your elite units and do not allow them to come to harm, even consider "training" them on some beaten-to-a-pulp civilization for extra eperience;
    - Last but perhaps not least of my examples - is naval superiority. Here, i differ from quite many in saying that naval superiority - is much more important than air superiority. I say so, because against superior air forces, one can always bring SAMs (and later missile cruisers), which is darn effective and - relatively - cheap. But against a massive naval armada, the _only_ thing actually working - is more powerful naval armada of one's own. So, plan ahead. Do highly productive port or even more than one (depends on map). Build naval units early, and keep using them - for recon, fighting barbs, patrol, and certainly participating in any war they can take a part in. Upgrade them when possible. Get at least a pair of carriers when they get available, and use them to the fullest.


    Good luck!
     
  4. Murlocks

    Murlocks Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Thank you both very much for your massively helpful answers

    @GhostSalsa: Yeah, I think I need to start a war with a goal in mind and work towards that goal. I think I have been too hell-bent on the idea of "conquer, conquer, conquer!" and in doing so have been taking cities for lack of a better term: no reason. I guess all those battles were good micro practice haha. I'll be sure to wage my wars sparingly from now on- atleast until the later stages where I can secure my domination in one swoop ;)

    @FinsT: First off, I want to thank you again for your post FILLED with information. Seriously, I'm about to save this onto a .txt for future reference haha. All of your points were very helpful, and have given me completely new insights into each of this games varied mechanics. Perhaps I'll focus on maybe one or two points in my next few games, and really get a feel for them. And hopefully, with time, I'll be able to incorporate all of these points into my everyday play. Currently, I think I have to do a little more research on religion and ways to actually get an efficient following (my past few games have only scratched on religion :/ ). As well as look up some more information on managing a wide empire properly, because it seems there is much more to it than conquering every city in sight (sadly, haha). Also, actually, in my last game, I did do something similar to the "replaying t1 practice technique," but in my version, I saved at times I considered to be a turning point and replayed through some of them to see if I could have done something better. I think I will start practicing with the t1 saving technique though because I feel that is more unbiased (less insight into the future, unlike replaying a section of a game over and over). I think I'm going to spread my visions a little and try all sorts of playstyles with different civs/different win conditions in order to feel out the game- and hopefully, find something that suites my tastes

    Thanks again, any other tips would also be greatly appreciated. I now have hope and direction for my next set of civilization games! :D
     
  5. FinsT

    FinsT Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Messages:
    84
    One is glad to be of service.

    Just a note about doing same game/map repeatedly: yes, repeating a few times from a certain major turning point - works for details, and works very well. But overall picture, especially learning how to get more of everything faster, - for this, improving your skills during very beginning are extremely important. Another saying in my country goes: "beginning - is the half of the whole job". For example, have you ever considered that you'll get _everything_ you get in the game 1 turn later - ALL policies, ALL discoveries, ALL wonders, ALL units, for the WHOLE game, - only because you decided to move your settler to a place some 2 tiles away from your settler's starting location, and found your capital not on turn 1, but on turn 2? Quite massive, eh. However, it's not yet compelte. In fact, this delay sort of accumulates whenever inital 1-turn delay leads to further losses. Like, since you built ALL your scouts 1 turn late, imagine one of them arrived to some ruin 1 turn later than otherwise possible, and as a _result_ of that, that ruin was taken by an AI; you were exactly 1 turn late. This may not happen every game, but it happens now and then. What you lost? You'd never know. But possibly it was a +1 population to one of your cities. Which - from that moment onwards, - results in less of _everything_ in said city: less science, less production (total through the game), less total culture generated by the city - so a tiny bit less territory (,decimals of a tile probably, so to speak, - still). These things intertwine and the "total delay" starts to grow bigger and bigger. That's why moving your settler during turn 1 (except any 1 move which doesn't spend both of his movement points, of course), - is a massively important decision. If you can't see all the terrain in at least 4-tiles radius around the settler - means, if you don't exploit save-scout-reload thing, - then most of the time not making your 1st city on turn 1 can't actually be justified. But if you do exploit save-scout-reload thing, and learn what exactly is around your settler - what are resources around, terrain, etc, - then sometimes moving to a massively better location 1...2 tiles away (up to 3 if all tiles are 1-movement-point-cost) may result in so much better capital city that its faster growth will completely negate said "everything happens 1 turn later" thing, and still gives you more speed on top - so everything for you will happen a few turns _sooner_ than it would happen if you'd settle during turn 1.

    So you see, decisions at very start are of special importance, but also, these decisions are dependant on how you are willing to play the game; how "fairly" or "dicey", how relaxed or thourough you are willing to play this game.

    Last but not least, note that getting to higher difficulty levels - is not for everyone. Me, despite knowing enough to possibly beat immortal with at least a few victory types - i never played Immortal. Only played a little Emperor; most of the time it's King, and i like to remain at this difficulty level, for good. Because i enjoy it the most. I like the freedon to do mistakes and silly things and to forget about important things, now and then, for dozens of turns. May be in the future this will change, may be not. My point is, if you move on to a higher difficulty one day, but it feels you are struggling with it TOO much, - get back to previous difficulty and keep going in it _while_ still becoming a better player. Which is totally possible - you'd simply set yourself harder goals in the same difficulty mode - this is always possible; like, for one time, - survive and dominate while doing war with two big civs at once; next time - with half of the whole globe; yet next time - with the whole globe. Or going with higher and higher science lead. Or both. Etc etc.

    In other words, don't let it become work and take your time (don't hurry). I do exactly that, and so far, i enjoy the game very much. Hope you will too. :)
     
  6. pvtjava

    pvtjava The Grey Cat

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
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    229
    Location:
    Virginia, USA
    Another note on war and warmongering. To avoid warmongering penalties early in the game, you can harass (pillage, kill units around their cities, knock HP off city) them enough to the point where they will give you city in peace deal. You can then keep, sell, or even gift the city to an AI. This will still count against the science penalty per city though I think, so it may not be a perfect solution, but a whatever hurts less solution.
     
  7. Bulldog Bats

    Bulldog Bats King

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
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    701
    A couple of things from a G&K players who like to do some early warmongering:

    1. What units are you building? The majority of what I build is range units (bow and arrow, cannons), and few (hopefully fast, like horsemen/knights) to grab the city after you beat down its defenses.

    2. As discussed above, you have to have an objective in a war. Remember, you cannot trade with an enemy, and when you are considered a warmonger, it is tougher to get good deals from other civs. Know when to get out.

    3. The most important thing is science. The leader in science has the advantage in everything - better military units, more skills to grow cities, better uses of resources, better ways to keep happiness up, which helps you get more policies and golden ages.

    4. City states you are friend, and give you things you need - happiness, food, culture, military units. Cultivate your relationship with them.

    5. Remember, the larger your civ, the harder it is to keep happiness up and get more policies. Puppet a city unless you have a real good reason to control it, and if it is not productive, burn it down.

    Lots more besides that, but that is a start.
     
  8. Murlocks

    Murlocks Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2013
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    @FinsT: Yeah I gotta keep in mind that all the little things add up.. Definitely something I need to pay more attention to. In the end what it all comes down to is "I am I having fun playing this game?" And if the answer is yes, guess I'm doing at least one thing right haha

    @pvtjava: Thanks! I'll keep that in mind as an option for when I simply want a city with little casualties or penalties ^.^

    @Bulldog Bats: Awesome, I'll keep all these points in mind as I warmonger early game. But I think from all that I've learned in this thread, that it's better to keep it to a minimum until later on. Definitely need to keep science in mind as well.
     
  9. Bulldog Bats

    Bulldog Bats King

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
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    701
    Murlock:

    The general consensus is that even late in the game, the fewer cities, the better - both for happiness and reaching policies. So, even late in the game, when in doubt puppet or burn baby burn.

    More than in prior versions of the game, science is really everything - it is tough to win if you are not at the top, and it is tough to lose if you are not.

    Happy hunting.
     
  10. Dean.

    Dean. Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    RVA
    Something Bulldog didn't mention about ranged units: protect them.

    Units like swordsmen that can fortify (the shield button) are usually very strong on defense. But more importantly, all offensive units have what is known as a zone of control - if an enemy unit enters it, it takes up all of its movement points. Place a swordsman in front of your archer and enemy units will have to go around you - 2 swordsmen with a space between them control a line five spaces long. A line of archers with a few of these escorts can be deadly and hard to penetrate.

    Understanding this changed my game entirely:
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=444783
     
  11. tide15

    tide15 Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
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    114
    I did that with a river in front of my defense line. Lady Iron Box of the Celts requested a peace deal a couple of turns later. The AI can make good decisions on occasion :)
     

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