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Opening moves.

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by ridjack, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. ridjack

    ridjack King

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2017
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    Over the last few versions there have been a lot of changes that strongly affect the early game. The pop loss with settlers and the Ancient Era shuffle are the two that come to mind at the moment.

    What are y'all's opening moves now? I feel like I'm having a hard time adjusting my habits to account for everything, so hoping I can learn from others who do it better.

    (a note: I do play with bonus resources revealed from the start, for everyone.)

    My first tech is, almost 100% of the time, Trapping. There are always camps around somewhere, but Archers are the real reason. They're the best barbarian defense IMO, since Warriors frankly suck at it and Spearmen take a bit if you're not rushing them. Plus, the AI simply is not equipped to handle a 3 - 5 Archer rush, even on Emperor. Guaranteed capture of a satellite city unless terrain is heavily in their favor, and I frequently the capital too if I'm so inclined.

    Beyond that, though, things are murky for me. Pottery for the Settler? Granary first? Bronze Working and spearmen for defense, or rely on Archers and maybe some mounted units until Compies? I saw someone saying that food was important for a wide warmonger start, which is something I've never experienced in the past.

    Love to hear what y'all think.
     
    Civ Spies&Lies likes this.
  2. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian Warlord

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    My default movement is usually 1. Monument, 2. Build shrine until there's around 5 turns left, 3. Pyramids, 4. Switch to Shrine when I amass 80 gold to invest in shrine, invest and then finish the shrine in 1 turn, 5. Continue Pyramids until that's built. After that, it depends on the circumstances whether I continue with a settler, council, well, granary or a military unit.

    I usually research Mining first because of the pyramids. After that, it depends on the circumstances, but usually it's one of the non-Pottery tech, followed by Pottery, followed by Bronze working (for spearmen/defense).

    I usually play Progress on standard speed&size, Oval map, no ruins.
     
  3. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    I think my most common build order would be something like monument-shrine-military unit (archer or warrior, whatever you have the tech for).

    Pottery first is my default, sometimes being able to get a settler underway immediately pays off because you see a natural wonder. It needs to be one of your first 3 techs for most normal strategies.
    I usually only go trapping first if I expect camps or have a camping/fishing luxury.
    Mining first if you want Pyramids, which is a good wonder for any strategy. I would generally ignore the other wonders unless you want to tradition wonder spamming thing (which works, but I wouldn't consider it normal opening).

    After this it changes depending on your social policy and the war situation. With authority I might use spearmen to tribute some CS. With progress/tradition I'll stick to archers and get some horsemen to complement them. I probably want to build a wonder if I went tradition, and I might tech for the Hanging Gardens.

    I don't value food highly as a warmonger, gold or production is better. I would usually rather have an extra military unit, rather than an extra citizen.
     
  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    So I think the opening decision is... will I do a pyramid rush or standard settlement?

    I generally go pyramid rush under these circumstances:

    1) Tradition
    2) Authority, there is some decent hammers nearby, and mining luxuries (or no river, so an early well is useful).

    I will say that right now I can still get the Pyramid on Immortal with Progress, but I consider that cheating. If the AI was focused on the wonder properly, than there should be no way for Progress to snag it (they lack the hammers at that point to be competitive). With pyramid rush, its monument, build shrine until mining is done, build pyramid, finish shrine, get warrior (or archer).

    So for the pyramid rush I will go mining first.



    If I'm going for normal settlement, I still pick up pottery first. The main reason is...while I don't often need it 1st, I will often need it before I finish it up 2nd...and I generally don't make use of my 1st tech until I get my 2nd one anyway. Then I go towards the tech that will get me my luxury monopoly in most cases. Once I get my 4 pop I start settler production, with the aim of my most forward settlement. I am trying to define the border that I am going to fight on for the early-mid game....so I find a decent spot that has great defensive potential that is close to one of my neighbors. After my 1st settler, I will build the granary which will normally get me back to 4 pop and ready to settle again. From there I am switching between settlers and warrior/archer/workers/buildings until I have 5-6 cities. One thing is I never build granary in my satellite cities until they are connected, and I generally go production focused with them once they are at pop 3-4. Otherwise, my unhappiness creates more penalties than the cities provide benefits. Once my happiness stabilizes I will then unleash them a bit.

    As settlement finishes up, I have 3 key priorities:

    1) Build lots of workers. I need to connect my cities (in order to keep happiness at a sane level), and I need to get my monopoly going. I actually think workers are even more important than before because of the way happiness works. You need to get your infrastructure up as fast as possible so your cities look good globally and suffer less unhappiness. Otherwise, its quite possible to sink below 35%....and that both slows you down greatly and makes you vulnerable in early warring (whether offensive or defensive).
    2) Fortify my forward city. This city will inevitably be attacked, so I want walls in the city, or at least a few archers. If its a good defensive position I don't need much, but I need the minimum to ensure its safety.
    3) Find my next wonder. Most of the time its mathematics for hanging gardens (just too good to pass up, and c bowman can hold you military for a long time....they can even do ok against knights if you have the right defensive terrain...but...just ok, you have to be very careful with them). However, I do like oracle for certain builds, great wall, colossus is I'm a trade heavy civ like Morocco or Ottomans.
     
    CrazyG likes this.
  5. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian Warlord

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    Out of curiosity, what would be an "acceptable" turn for the AI to generally complete the Pyramids? Because currently on Deity they usually build it between T30 and T34. How much sooner would they have to build it for you to not consider it cheating to get Pyramids with Progress? I'm asking because I routinely get Pyramids on Deity with Progress and I don't consider it cheating.

    Having said that, Pyramids needs a nerf because it's one of by far the best wonders in the game which all could use a(nother) nerf, for example the Oracle or Hubble.
     
  6. ridjack

    ridjack King

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    @Stalker0 Your bit about "defining a border" brings up another question: How do you handle multiple nearby neighbors on the higher difficulties?

    On King it generally wasn't a problem - If I saw it was crowded, go Authority, rush down either the nearest or the most threatening neighbor ASAP and then use that military to defend against the inevitable opportunistic attacks until I was ready to take down someone else or felt comfortable with where I was defensively.

    On Emperor, however, while I'm generally getting more comfortable, multiple neighbors seem to do me in hard. Two neighbors is mostly okay; see above for how I handle that. With three, though, I find myself getting forward settled pretty hard since there's always at least one AI who wants to settle in my face and there's no way to beat three different civs to the spots I want. Then when I try (or even succeed in) rushing one down, I end up with an opportunistic declaration on two fronts. Trying to turtle just ends with all three round robining their territorial DoWs. I can win the war, usually, but the preparations cripple my development to the point where I'm clawing just to survive.
     
  7. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Then you have more border defining cities:) If you need to settle multiple defensive cities to set the line, than that's what you do. Defense is the number 1 priority, there is no compromising it. From there, if I need to war to take out a forwarded settled city that is too close for comfort than so be it.

    The trick is, for people that aren't used to defensive focus...my notes may seem like magic (because at one point they did to me as well). It may seem crazy to be able to defend against so much with so little....but once you get good at defensive city placement it actually becomes quite easy. My border cities are death traps to the AI, doesn't matter if 1 or 2 civs attack it, they aren't going to take it.
     
  8. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Pyramid is good, but I'm not seeing evidence that snagging it = winning the game. It is an early boost that evens out over time.

    G
     
  9. ridjack

    ridjack King

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    Oh no, it's not about a single city getting attacked. If they all gangbanged on one city I'd be golden. I'm talking about situations where I'm surrounded and it seems impossible to avoid multi-front wars.
     
  10. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Your first GG comes out pretty early, you can use that to build a citadel in a key spot and help shore up your lines. Ideally in such a situation you use your cities to hold on area, and focus your units in an area you are vulnerable.
     
  11. andersw

    andersw King

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    (sry got a bit longer than I intended, I got carried away but I bolded the basic answer)
    I currently play Authority Emperor Pangea low sea.
    Theres some variation depending on growth and terrain.
    Most common opening for me is
    Settle on high production, optimal (but impossibly rare) is probably on top of forested river hillside marble (I've found marble settle extremely going for an early wonder).
    Monument -> Stonehenge -> (shrine) warrior -> Settler -> (shrine) Granary (shrine/warrior) -> settler -> (warrior/archer/worker) settler.
    When the shrine goes depends a bit on what civ and what pantheon, the granary is on rare occations needed before the settler if its a very low food heavy hammer start.
    I try to line up so I have 4 pop with the settler and the settler in place roughly with tribute.
    The stuff in parenthesis depends on city growth, available gold and such.

    In the meantime I try to make the most out of my warriors + scout grabbing culture and very important gold from barbs, which helps with a few more warrior purchases.
    I purchase most early game warriors with gold gained from working tiles, city states that I meet and barb camps.
    (I'll worker steal if I see an opportunity that is too good or if unescorted settler.)

    The start in general means I'm slightly behind on the second city but the third is as fast or faster than the AI.
    There are (rare) occations where I just have to hurry a settler earlier.

    There are a lot of pantheons that I consider strong depending a bit on my goals, most recent discovery is probably food pantheons (sea and fertility), especially if you have a lot of hills available.
    This allows me to build early settlers in second and/or third city, it can also allow me to delay granaries a lot.
    There have been games where my Stonehenge have provided me with like pantheon number 3-4, India is always first, its very rare that I beat Aztecs and Siam can be very quick if he meets religious citystates, so Stonehenge is by no means a garantuee for the perfect religious setup. It does allow me to delay tech for councils (since I get a free one from SH).

    My techpath is wheel (for SH) -> pottery -> trapping (if I have a lot of forest)/animal husbandry (flatland or close neighbour to settle horse).
    I don't really need archers to deal with barbs as authority but with coastal cities and/or a close warmonger I'll probably exchange a warrior for an archer somewhere when I can afford.
    I try to settle on top of lux with atleast one (more if I can find) of my early cities, it helps a lot with early game happiness (so few early workers), this also provides an option to sell a lux for much needed early gold.
    Quarry lux are probably the my fav settle since I delay that tech quite a bit but it depends what yields and how strategic the location also is.
     
  12. zeofig

    zeofig Chieftain

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    I find that a lot of different openers are viable, depending on the circumstances (on Immortal).

    For authority, I usually go straight for bronze working or military theory, because tribute is just essential (and fun). I choose the one which has more synergy with whatever else is going on. MT is also better if you have a science bonus - it might be too slow otherwise. You can skip pottery until afterwards, especially if you build the pyramids.

    Pyramids seems pretty strong for the other trees too. It's very good on civs who don't need a fast shrine, like celts/aztecs/byzantines/spanish/indians. If you skip the shrine, you can nearly always build it before the AI.

    With tradition or progress, I usually prioritise unlocking luxuries and UBs. Generally get trapping and pottery early.

    I think that going shrine first is usually good with progress or authority, since you get their culture bonuses "anyway", even if you delay the monument. With tradition, shrine first actually slows you down, but it's still often worth it since tradition can have a good time with God of the Expanse and the AI will often take it if you don't.

    Sometimes I do things differently and don't try to found a religion. This is a very strong way to play imo, and you can do it with any of the policy trees. Of course, you will usually want to do some conquering later.
     
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