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Opening strategies - what do you beeline?

Discussion in 'Strategy Forum' started by Delgar, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Delgar

    Delgar Warlord

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    I was wondering. Given how Science drives nearly everything in the game, so far my opening gambit has been to always beeline for the Great Library. It kinda makes or breaks the early game for me. If I don't get the Great Library then I am usually pretty much playing catch up to the other AIs in the game.

    So I aim for the Great Library nearly every game, and it is getting a little stale. I was wondering what everyone else does? Does beelining for the Great Library tend to be something you do more often than not? Are there other viable strategies that don't leave you behind in Science?

    Is there a possibility of buffing one of the other world wonders to give a Science bonus, so that losing out on the Great Library does not make that much of an impact as it does right now?

    Strategy is about choices, opportunity costs, and trade-offs. It just seems that the Great Library route is ALWAYS the superior path to take, because of how Science drives the game. If most people are always going the Great Library route then it hardly makes for varied gameplay. More strategic choices need to be present in the early game, imho, so that the start of every game is more interesting.

    Just my two cents, for what it's worth :)
     
  2. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    I'd disagree... ;-) The standard science rush is actually the national college, you can rush that and if you get it, you are at the same point. Now if you can get both...

    If you want to go for science, you can also go for population (Hanging Gardens), as science is based on citizens. It all depends on the terrain and the surrounding neighbours.

    If you always go for science, then I'd advise you to play a conquest game for once just to see the other side.

    Now the question is what difficulty level you play on. On the higher ones, you better not go for a wonder since it's such a huge gamble. A truly good player wins without the wonders.

    As for me, it really depends on the victory I am aiming for. I however catch myself in always chosing social policies in the same order, depending on what I am gunning for...
     
  3. Core Xii

    Core Xii Chieftain

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    My grand strategy depends on a lot of factors, perhaps most on the civ I'm playing as. There are two types of civs; Tall and wide. Some civs have bonuses which favor population (e.g. India) while others have bonuses which favor resources (e.g. Arabia). This dictates which approach is more advantageous; Allocating happiness into population, i.e. settling few but tall cities, or allocating happiness into cities to tap resources, i.e. settling lots of shallow cities. (since both population and cities consume happiness, it's needed to specialize in one and not the other)

    Certain victory conditions favor tall empires due to important buildings, like the opera house for culture victory giving culture per population while cities increase the cost of policies. Some victories can work with either, like diplomatic victory, where you can either make money from citizens with banks or from resources with markets.

    Accordingly, I like to open either pottery for tall strategies, or animal husbandry for wide ones. Pottery opens paths for science and culture, while animal husbandry potentially boosts production and reveals good sites for rapid expansion.

    Then there's the issue of the first worker, which I like to get right after the scouts. If there are few farm plots to improve, a tech is going to be needed to utilize that worker for further improvement, like mining to cut trees or archery for deer/furs/ivory.

    After scouting around a bit, researching the first couple of techs and unlocking the first social policy, I choose my grand strategy and start beelining for the appropriate techs. Often, there is a need to get libraries and markets on the way anyway to support research and funding a standing army as well as building maintenance.
     
  4. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I play for science a lot, almost always at least start tall, and aim for the GL/HG/NC trifecta. I get it easily half the time. It doesn't get old because, of course, I might not get it. And I now also get a hefty gold consolation prize when I come close but miss.
     
  5. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I think this is a great idea! I always try to break out of my comfort zones from time to time, in Civ or elsewhere. Try...

    • Bismark
    • Whatever difficulty you prefer
    • Continents or Continents-Plus
    • Normal size and speed
    • Default advanced game options
    A good challenge would be to see what the earliest time is you can successfully conquer a citystate. I've managed to get one as early as the ancient era. Conquering a citystate gives an instant bonus equal to 50 turns of alliance, so conquering a Maritime means your cities get huge. Each 1:c5citizen: = 2:c5science: so it's a big research bonus.

    I generally pick my opener based on the resources around my capital. I focus on hooking them up quickly, and select my world wonder(s) based on the techs which unlock those resources.

    • If I start near plantation resources I go for Stonehenge.
    • Starting near marble means the Pyramids.
    • Sea luxuries next to my capital leads to the Great Lighthouse or Colossus.
    • If I'm playing a civ with units on the iron resource path (like Japan) then I go for Bronze Working and the Statue of Zeus.
     
  6. pthmix

    pthmix Warlord

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    I prefer to play tall and used to beeline Writing but lately I use a different strategy: beeline Mathematics and get Temple of Artemis and The Hanging Gardens and get very big cities. I also try to get maritime City States and at least the Freedom opener. To make up for the high :c5unhappy: unhappiness I prioritize the :c5happy: happiness options in opportunities.

    It works quite well because your high population makes up for not getting The Great Library and Writing early and generally helps you with more :c5gold: and :c5production:. Early defence is quite easy because you will have archers with additional :c5war: xp from Temple and Artemis and barracks (and you want to build barracks, because there is a nice happiness opportunity for them).

    This strategy works particularly well with India and the Inca, provided that the game gives you a river with a decent lenght or mountains.
     
  7. Seek

    Seek Deity Supporter

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    Nice strat - I'll try this in my next game! This would allow for early specialist play as well, which is essentially eliminated by getting the GL. Indeed, one of the things that has been niggling me recently about the GL is that I'm locked out of getting any GP other than GSs for a long time - while GSs are strong and will always be useful, it can be limiting to go that route. It would be interesting to grant a similar bonus on another wonder so one could get an early three Great Artists, for example.
     
  8. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    Skipping for the moment that you can probably get any combination of GWs you want with v143, I'd like to explore the pros and cons of the GL when going for a tall Science victory. Is there a better combination than the GL/HG?

    My own stumbling block with my overall approach is population. As a rule I get most of my cities up to 20 by the completion of Apollo, which is my goal for SS production. But when I learn that Thal is nerfing growth of size 30+ cities due to complaints, I suspect I'm missing something. I often struggle reaching 20 with the HG because the city is bearing the burden of a lot of scientists, plus frequent switches to hammer production in order to get Wonders. Cities other than the capitals also struggle with the weight of scientists. (I rarely spare any workers for other slots.)

    Assuming varying support from Maritimes (lately they've gone from never available to always)...

    If you get your cities to size 20+ faster, how do you do it?
     
  9. albie_123

    albie_123 Modding In Secret

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    Two ways, primarily:

    First of all, I do, as you mentioned, put some focus on Maritime CS's. I find their bonus to growth invaluable, in that it allows me to not necessarily min/max for :c5food: while still maintaining growth.

    Secondly, I forgo an early tech lead and scientists by focusing on growth early-game, usually done with Tradition and a manual :c5food: focus in my cities. Going for the Temple of Artemis and Hanging Gardens is a must. (Great Library as well if I can get it - which I almost always can.) While this does result in a gap between me and any other tech-heavy Civs, by the Renaissance, I've closed the gap enough to start steaming along and switch to a :c5science: focus in my large cities.

    The only issue here is happiness, which is often balanced with the luxuries I'm getting from my CS allies.

    I should mention, however, I'm playing on King.
     
  10. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I don't think the level matters, other than getting CS support and snagging GW's.

    I've often wondered whether I'm better off leaving the scientist slots open until I reach a higher pop. My standard is one at 6, another at 9, and the rest as they come.
     
  11. pthmix

    pthmix Warlord

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    Similar to Albie I do not focus an early specialists. I find it takes too much out of your economy. Regarding policies I go Tradition -> Piety. Piety is quite strong because it gives you :c5happy: happiness to support your population, more :c5culture: to get other policies faster and - very important - a free golden age and reduced golden age cost (and some other nice stuff, the +10% :c5science: science on monasteries is also good). The new golden ages are really powerful and also spike your :c5food: growth quite nicely.

    After Piety I will delay other policies until I get into Renaissance and then take Freedom.
     
  12. albie_123

    albie_123 Modding In Secret

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    I rarely put any scientists on until 8~10, unless circumstances demand it, ie. I've planned a city badly and it's not ever going to get any more food no matter what I do.

    As pthmix said, piety can be very useful. I don't delay policies - I don't know why, I've just always felt a bit cheap doing it since the AI doesn't - so I also go Patronage if I have to, to enhance the CS friendships. Patronage I see as the jack-of-all-trades: It's almost always useful as a fallback, unless you've ignored city states entirely. (This is pre-order, which is obviously the real jack-of-all-trades.)

    I have not gone for science since the :c5goldenage: GA change, and I suspect my strategy will not change: I get plenty of golden ages as it is.
     
  13. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I don't save policies for the same reason albie doesn't, but I'm going to try versions of your strategies, which seems to be: crank out pop first and foremost, as opposed to focusing on science (specialists, Enlightenment) asap. My last two games with 142.8 and 143 have confirmed something like what you're saying, because I'm utterly dominating in science, GWs and CS, yet not finishing appreciably faster.
     
  14. albie_123

    albie_123 Modding In Secret

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    Another benefit to this strategy is that it allows greater flexibility: As your early-game pop will be higher, a quick change to :c5production: focus will be enough to crank out a decent army, if you notice a particular Civ getting too close for comfort, or get bored waiting and decide to just go for a conquest victory. ;)
     
  15. Zaldron

    Zaldron King

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    I actually focus on getting a few riverside farms with civil service (and later freedom). I make sure to pick up the food buildings, especially granary with its bonus to certain tiles, and the aqueduct to improve storage. One or two MCS will really help a tall empire grow faster as well.

    Finally, and this may hurt me more than it helps, I actually *minimize* explicitly forcing specialists until a city has 10 or even 15 pop already. The big exception is if I'm trying to push a Wonder and want to use a couple engineers. Since (as seen in another thread) the Great Improvements are quite weak compared to the instant effect, I just delay getting my first GPs, which by the end of the game might mean one less GP but it also might mean I have five more pop with which to occupy specialists making up for the late start.
     
  16. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    It seems like most of you don't run specialists as early as I do - ans more importantly, you all go for (at least two) Freedom policies. I never go for them, because I pick up the two Patronage policies and then go for Enlightenment. But I will definitely take this approach in my next game, as part of my endless comparo runs.
     
  17. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I just tried your collective high-pop approach and had a runaway pop civ! As easy as it is to get GW's, I had Artemis, Colossus, the GL and HG early on with Korea. I waited until around size 10 to install specialists - probably a little late, given how fast I was growing. I also produced three GM's over the course of the game, and was swimming in gold. (I took two Piety and two Freedom SPs before moving into Enlightenment. Then it was Order through the science/happy SP, and back to Freedom for the GP/NW boost.)

    This proved useful because Polynesia was the designated CS hoarder, and I lost two of my three allies. To keep my closest one, I DoW'd Polynesia, then built ironclads to take the closest cultural CS and rack up some pink stuff. This combined with my high score to get denounced by my two rivals. RA's then became either very expensive or impossible.

    Polynesia was going for a cultural victory, so I prepared to take its capital with my now 3-range ironclads. But Kamehameha held me off with subs (yes!) and won a CV on t262. I was probably 20 turns from launching. This wouldn't have happened without the CS malfunction, but... the game (and the strategy) was a lot of fun.
     
  18. albie_123

    albie_123 Modding In Secret

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    Held you off with subs?

    :wow:
     
  19. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    Yes! And it's something the AI has done to me surprisingly often when I am whomping it with a certain unit. (AA units are a good example.) After I sank its frigates (and an ironclad) with my two ironclads, it came back at me in a while with one sub after another. Since I couldn't see them except by coming up against them, I was quickly driven back to a friendly port about a dozen tiles away to recover... and then a sub showed up there!
     
  20. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    About a week or two ago I significantly reworked all the AI unit priorities. The original vanilla settings were really bizzare. For some flavors, there were ancient era units with a higher priority than modern era units. Units of the same era might have radically different flavors. These oddities are why the AI used to overload some unit types and not build others. You can see the priorities by setting this to 1 in the vem options file:

    SHOW_AI_UNIT_PRIORITIES 1
     

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