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[NFP] Observatories are amazing/So, what do you think of my Maya start?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Strategy & Tips' started by KayAU, May 21, 2020 at 7:30 AM.

  1. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    So, even though I am supposed to be working, I couldn't resist taking a look at NFP and the Maya civilization. What do you think about this start? I am playing on Epic speed, which is why production times are longer, and I lucked out and got a Relic in the first goody hut, which is why I already have my second city.

    Spoiler :
    Maya_start.jpg


    Based on my preliminary analysis, there are a few things which are particularly helpful for a good Maya start:

    1) Plantation Luxuries, for Observatory placement and the bonus amenity when next to the capital
    This seems to not be a problem, as those luxuries are common, and the Maya seem to have a bias toward them. I did do a few restarts to check, and the Maya seem to start near plantation luxuries every time. Looking at the rather lucky start I got above, the Observatory might be stronger than intially assumed. There is a nice spot next to the capital which is initially a +4, easily upgradable to a +5/6, and my second city has an initial +6 which can be turned into a +7. If I put my third city to the northwest, it has another initial +4 site right there. Oh, and by the way, I checked, you don't get the bonus amenity when settling directly on top of a luxury, so that is something to keep in mind.

    2) Farmable Resources, for housing, Irrigation boost and good workable tiles
    This again seems to not be a problem, it is fairly rare not to start near these as any civ. I do think the Mayans have an advantage in how their early strengths are tied to techs which lie on the same path in the early tech tree. You will generally want to go for Pottery first, as that leads to Irrigation (boosted by farming a resource, gives you Plantations), as well as Writing, which gives you your Observatory. I think this is a nice design, it reminds me somewhat of Norway's synergies (gets a unique Galley replacement, Galleys boost Shipbuilding, Shipbuilding then allows Norwegian ships to enter ocean tiles).

    3) Good ring 1 production tiles, to get out that first Builder
    Getting this is obviously situational, although the independence from fresh water does give you more flexibility in choosing your capital settling spot.

    4) Having somewhere to place an Aqueduct
    Aqueducts are good anyway, for Industrial Zones, but for the Maya, they are always +6 housing, which makes them even more beneficial.

    5) An expanse of land in every direction
    The most efficient city placement for the Maya will generally be capital in the center, cities in a circle around it. This means coastal starts are worse, as it means one or two of your settling directions are removed. Starting near a mountain range is not great either; the Maya get less out of mountains than other civs, and it will mean more dead tiles and hindered movement within the capital ring,. This is different from most other civs, as Mountain ranges provide good Campus sites, protection, and an increased chance of being near a Continental border (which is usually a good thing for a variety of reasons).



    EDIT: Oh, and a few turns later a turbo-boosted Scout from Gran Colombia finds me. Well, thanks for the Writing boost, Simon.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020 at 7:38 AM
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  2. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    So, now I've scouted out the land surrounding my capital, and this is what I've found:
    • The second neighbour I encountered was my sister Amanitore! I don't know why, but I am really connecting with her. I feel like we have so much in common.
    • This was a really lucky start. I can settle in all directions, and there are plenty of farm and plantation resources.
    • The +5 combat strength near my capital is really, really nice for fighting off barbarians, as well as clearing nearby camps. Plop a Slinger in your city center, use the policy card that gives +5 against barbarians, the promotion which gives it +10 when in a district, and you will have a Slinger which hits with 35 ranged strength! My second city was actually attacked by horse barbarians, and my Slinger just melted them. And then you get to upgrade them into Hul'che!
    • I'm starting to think the Observatory may be even better than I originally thought, perhaps it's indeed a worthy rival of the Seowon. Looking at the 7 primary city sites, I have 3 with +6 adjacency from plantations alone, 2 with +4, 1 with +2, and 1 with no plantation resources. That gives an average of +4.14, but that's just plantations. All of these can be improved with districts and farms, and the ones with lower adjacencies can be improved the most. The worst Observatory can be upgraded to +3. If I max out adjacencies for all of the Observatories, the average will go up to 5.71! That is incredibly good.
    Spoiler :
    Maya_early.jpg
     
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  3. The Highwayman

    The Highwayman Prince

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    How has the initial growth penalty felt in this game? Your second city looks like it's in a good location with quality opening tiles, but it appears the growth penalty is hindering its progress. Same with the cap.
     
  4. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    Well, it is somewhat noticable at the very beginning. If you have a decent production tile near your city, I think what you will want to do is manually set your city to work that, instead of the food tile which was most likely selected by default. Getting out that first Builder is very important.

    I don't think it is going to slow me down too much, though. I have a good gold income from:
    • Plantations
    • Farms
    • Barbarian Encampments (which I can take down quickly if they are close)
    This helps me speed things along. I'm also feeling like I don't need much to defend myself. As the Maya, you can do a lot with a single Slinger in a city center.
     
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  5. The Highwayman

    The Highwayman Prince

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    What disaster hit the flat jungle and bananas southeast of your cap? Was it a forest fire?
     
  6. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    Yes, forest fires are a thing now, I didn't remember that before starting. :) It has already happened twice, but it has been entirely unproblematic.
     
  7. The Highwayman

    The Highwayman Prince

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    Nice, I was glad to read forest fires don't completely remove the feature. I suppose it disables the extra production until they grow back? As a habitual chopper, I've come off ledge :D.
     
  8. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    The forest grew right back, with an additional yield. I didn't notice if production was reduced until it grew back, but one would assume so. I will pay more attention the next time. :)
     
  9. schondette

    schondette Chieftain

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    Observatories are meh compared to campuses. You have to do much more work to get the adj bonuses and are more relient on map generation.

    I don't understand why they couldn't leave the mountain adj bonuses on. . .
     
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  10. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    Observatories are:
    • Half the price of Campuses
    • Able to get a minimum of +3 anywhere on a map, so long as there are 6 land tiles surrounding it
    • Able to get significantly better yields if near plantation luxuries, which are plentiful, and which the Maya have a start bias towards
    Seriously, on the map I'm currently playing, which I freely admit was a lucky roll, my 7 cities will end up with an average adjacency of 5.71 for their Observatories. That's an average. What do you think the average yield for a Campus is? Do you think the Seowon is bad as well? That one has an average adjacency right below 4. It's true that you have to do more work, in the sense that you need to improve some tiles to get the adjacencies, but that is something you would have wanted to do anyway. You obviously want the plantations, as those tiles are generally high yield workable tiles, and you want the luxuries. You also, as the Maya, want the farms, as they provide plenty of housing, as well as food and gold.

    Observatories are amazing compared to Campuses. The real competition here is between the Observatory and the Seowon.
     
  11. Fluphen Azine

    Fluphen Azine What is Fluphen Azine?

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    I don't care... I'm chopping my plantations anyway as my military keeps pushing on.
     
  12. schondette

    schondette Chieftain

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    There are more mountains (and mountains clustered together) on the average map then there are plantations (or plantations clustered together). Lets not forget plantations require a build charge and technology first.

    Sweaons or Campuses don't have any of these restrictions. So you can plop one down to construct the turn you get it and start taking advantage of that early adj bonus. N

    The only redeeming quality of the observatory is the cost. So it does have that going for it i guess. Not better, not worse, just meh- average- okay
     
  13. yung.carl.jung

    yung.carl.jung Hey Bird! I'm Morose & Lugubrious

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    Very nice game @KayAU I'm reading along :)

    One thing to keep in mind for this discussion is that if you use farms for campus adjacency, you cannot get district adjacency in that tile. It also means that your campus will not be giving other districts adjacency, because districts like to be clustered together without farms. Also, it's not exactly true that you will always get a minimum of +3, since you can get mountains, snow, tundra, hills (which you can only much later build farms on), strategics, luxes, and many other things preventing farms on any given tile.
     
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  14. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    @schondette
    What matters are the yields you actually end up getting from the terrain you actually inhabit. I tried half a dozen rerolls, and the Maya got plantation luxuries every time. As for clumping together, well, touching one plantation is equivalent to touching two mountains. Finding tiles that touch 2 or 3 tiles is fairly common. That is equivalent to touching 4 or 6 mountains. I refer to the examples I have posted, and the yields I have calculated previously. The average here was 5.71, and the minimum was +3, which is sufficient for Rationalism.

    I do agree there is a bit more setup. For a regular Campus, you need Pottery and Writing, and then you have your Campus with its adjacencies (provided you have the terrain features). The Observatory, on the other hand, requires Pottery, Irrigation, and Writing, and you will need to have constructed your plantations and/or farms. This is definitely some work, but as the Maya, I would argue that it is work you wanted to do anyway. Getting a Builder out early is important to get housing. This Builder will likely get you your boost for Irrigation, as well as set up much of the adjacency bonus for the Observatory. It takes a little bit of time, but it isn't wasted time. Also, I would point out that plantation tiles are usually 5-7 yield tiles, whereas mountains are dead tiles for most of the game (unless you are the Inca).


    @yung.carl.jung
    That is true, but there will always be districts which are at the edge of the cluster. Since the Observatory gets the same adjacency from farms as it does from districts, placement is quite flexible.

    I suppose I wasn't precise when I said they could get +3 anywhere on the map, as there are obviously exceptions. You would have to be exceedingly unlucky to not have any potential +3 locations within a city's radius, though.
     
  15. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    Things are progressing fairly well:
    • It turns out I was wrong about Bolivar, there was nothing but desert and barbarians to the west. Bolivar must be far south, past Amanitore. I have seen one of his Comandantes come from that direction, and it is the only part of the landmass I have not explored.
    • It looks like Simon Bolivar is doing better than the other AI, and I only recently surpassed him in score. I am seriously outpacing him in tech, though, so he will not pose a real challenge.
    • When we reached the Classical Era, two civs got a Golden Age: me, and Simon Bolivar. I went with Monumentality.
    • My 5 lower cities are now established, only the northern ones remain to be settled. I have Observatories in 4 of them, all currently at adjacency 6.
    • Harald Hardråde came by and said hello
    • I built the Government Plaza and went for the Audience Chamber as a matter of principle
    • If I were a power gamer, I would probably have put an additional city on the potential site directly south of my capital (the tile with cattle by the mountain), to take advantage of the other +6 Observatory site further south. I probably won't though.
    Spoiler :
    Maya_3.jpg


    EDIT: Oh, Amanitore just declared a surprise war! Her Pitati Archers will face my Hul'che! Bring it on!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020 at 6:13 PM
  16. Furycrab

    Furycrab King

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    Here's a part I didn't quite get from my first game. Is it 1 extra housing and 1 extra gold on farms PER luxury next to city center, or it's just that you get that bonus as long as there's 1 luxury next to the city center?

    Or is it that multiple copies of the same luxury don't count so if I find a prime spot with 2 different luxuries it's double the goodies from farms?

    Guessing Magnus into Settlers being pop free is too good to pass up?
     
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  17. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    You get +1 amenity for every luxury adjacent to your city center, and it doesn't matter if they are the same. The farm bonus is not tied to the luxuries at all, you get +1 gold +1 housing from each farm, regardless.
     
  18. KayAU

    KayAU King

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    This is probably my final update, as the game is pretty much over:
    • The war against Amanitore was resolved predictably: I beat back her attack, and after that, it dragged on for a long time. Her position was well-fortified, with Walls, Encampments and Crossbowmen, and I would have had to build significant forces to punch through. I couldn't be bothered, so I just camped some Hul'che in the uninhabited terrain between us, and occasionally sniped her units. At one point, she snuck a Settler past me, and built a city near my border. This one was not well fortified, and I razed it. She offered peace and some tribute shortly after, and I took it. Since then she's been ocassionally popping up to say I'm bad and should give her free money.
    • The final Civs were Mongolia and Zulu, which I get along well with. I am usually happy to see those guys, as their soundtracks are great. I really like how Gran Colombia sounds as well.
    • In the end, my Observatories averaged 5.25 in adjacency bonus. I could have optimized it further but I am already making enough science to completely eclipse everyone else.
    • Heartbeat of Steam is a neat Golden Age type for the Maya (production from Observatories) :)
    • I usually choose Democracy as my third tier government, but this time, I went for Communism. I generally went for what I think are the "tall" options: Governors in every city, Audience Chamber, focus on internal trade, Communism.

    Spoiler :
    Maya_mid.jpg


    I think the Maya are my new favorite civ, as they just fit my playstyle: a limited number of large, productive cities, peaceful, defensive, high science. I know it's not the only option, you could go for a larger number of small cities withing the six tile ring, or you could expand beyond it and go wide. But the limited number of highly developed cities route is more enjoyable for me, and it seems to be what the Maya were primarily made for. :)
     
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  19. enKage

    enKage Follower of Zoamelgustar

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    After 3 full games of Maya I strongly....

    Disagree.

    Half price is the only good thing about observatories.
    You mention that at the end all finish with at least +3. But any civ is able by using the worse case jungle and districts instead of farm.
    In practice you place observatory with 0 adj or max 1 from farms when other civs directly get bonus science from features you dont need to improve.

    And when you place it you need library asap otherwise you have districts that do nothing. But when if your production not exists? You need more builders than others! And instead of improving hammer tiles/chop to build them earlier, you are forced to build 2 farms first builder, otherwise you will not grow.
    And then next problem occurs. What if your obs spot is coverd by jungle? You need to chop, but bronzeworking is sth not the same path as plantations and archers. Unless you meet scientific CS, teching it would be a nightmare, because your obs give no science and you dont have enough resources to built library.

    Maybe conquest is and option? Sure, you will end up with campuses near mountains, unable to get +3 adjecency.

    Sth went wrong with design. Maya need either bonus builders ancient era while settling or possibility to use common science adj on top of theirs.

    The best Maya start I had was 7 cities peacefully and 8 by war (I played maybe 20 openings) before t100.
    The same weekend only one game of Bolivar, 15 cities pre t100.


    There are circumdtances though when Maya work. Inland sea has a lot of plantations rrsources and other AIs have problems with freshwater.
     
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  20. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    I’d pick Korea over Maya any day. Seowons are just superior. And space race is as much about production and culture and trade routes as it is about science.
     

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