peaceful victory possible on King+ ?

effb

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I'm trying to move onto Emperor. I win on King almost every time, but I can only seem to do this through warmongering so I'm sure there are holes in my game. I usually don't literally win by domination - I conquer enough cities to cripple any opposition, paving the way for science/diplomatic victories. My problem is that almost all games seem to work out this way:

- settle 4-6 cities
- trade excess resources
- a few AIs will be friendly, ask for declaration of friendship, etc.
- gradually become out-teched, out-cultured, out-faithed, out-wondered, etc.
- around turn 100-150, one or more AI declares war on me. Sometimes I do have a weak army, but other times I've been #1 in soldiers and still been declared on. it seems inevitable. even friendly civs declare war on me. and if they don't declare, they denounce me.
- crush the AI since they're terrible at war. they're just awful. it's literally taking candy from a baby.
- repeat AI war declarations a few times. sometimes I even declare war on them since I learned it seems to be my only advantage.
- leapfrog into top score due to capturing enemy cities and capitals and all the wonders he built
- get major diplomatic penalties from warmongering, all civs either guarded or hostile, refuse to trade anything with me.
- cruise to science/diplomatic/domination victory despite all diplomatic avenues being closed off from being seen as a warmonger.

I guess I could try this same strategy at higher difficulty levels and see where it gets me, but I have my doubts. I think my peace-time strategy is lacking, but I don't know where or how to fix it. I always fall behind in tech, culture, wonders, religion, and the only way I found to catch up is by warmongering. This essentially prevents any future trading, research agreements, etc because all civs hate me.

My best guess is that I'm doing something subtle that pisses off AIs to make them keep declaring war on me. Surely there must be more than one way to win at Civ 5 than constant warmongering?
 

budweiser

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I think if you are getting those 4-6 cities, then maybe you are not developing your tiles fast enough. Try to get 1.5 to 2 workers per city while keeping up on troops and see how you do.
 

Uzael36

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Since you are getting denounced while having a strong military, you are likely doing things to piss off the AI. It is quite common to win without war all the way through Deity, but that is not to say that you never get declared on either. Some Civ's just love to warmonger.

Pay attention to the diplomatic screen and what the other civ's think of you (hover mouse over friendly status). You can often see what you've been doing to upset your neighbors. Some things you can't help, but some you can.
 

Rathelm

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As said it is very possible. I've had games where not once war was declared on me. If you always have Shaka, Oda, Rome and Greece next to you then yes expect war.
 

joncnunn

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- settle 4-6 cities

This is actually problem #1.
5 is actually an awkward total number of self founded cities to ever found and should be avoided.
Either choose Tradition and stop at 4 or go Liberty and self found a total of 6+.

But in both cases you need to build the NC sooner than that. The most popular NC timing with BNW when going Tradition is 3 city NC and the 4th and final settler built shortly after.

For Liberty, refer to the Liberty guides on exactly where they build NC but I have a feeling its after the unique luxary cities and before cities duplicating luxaries they already have.

- a few AIs will be friendly, ask for declaration of friendship, etc.
Actually faster to wait for them to ask it the first time. Requests for DOF when denied by either player are the only ones in the game with a cool down, so requesting one the turn before they are ready greatly slows it down.
And there also seems to be little corelation in early game between which are willing to do so. If anything the first couple of requests I get normally come from civs showing "Netural" instead of "Friendly". (Next turn these flip to Friendly if accepted)

- gradually become out-teched, out-cultured, out-faithed, out-wondered, etc.
Focus more on science.
Don't worry about culture.
Don't try to build so many world wonders. *** If you didn't break your too many world wonder habit on King, this is the main reason that Emperor can be a problem. ***

- around turn 100-150, one or more AI declares war on me. Sometimes I do have a weak army, but other times I've been #1 in soldiers and still been declared on. it seems inevitable. even friendly civs declare war on me. and if they don't declare, they denounce me.

Some AIs like to do the "pretend friendship thing", it's usually found by out of the blue removal of all previous negative modifiers that they were previously showing when neutral. Once you get used to it, it's actually easier to detect than their normal war declaration process.

AI always has a reason why it denounced you. That's a bit early for ideologies, but "founding cities aggressively", land envy, you denouncing one of their friends, city state envy, you DOWing a city state, you eliminating anybody from the game, you proposing a resolution that they don't like, you voting against their resolution when it failed or all reasons why it might.
Usually the AI does NOT think it has the military to beat you when it denounces. (If it did, it would skip that and just DOW)

- crush the AI since they're terrible at war. they're just awful. it's literally taking candy from a baby.
- repeat AI war declarations a few times. sometimes I even declare war on them since I learned it seems to be my only advantage.

Which will cause your war mongler score to sky rocket so basically only the Huns and other AIs that don't mind war mongers like you.

No, you can by focusing on science get several times the beaker per turn rate that the AI has even without a war even on deity.

- leapfrog into top score due to capturing enemy cities and capitals and all the wonders he built
Which has zero reverence in the players likelihood of winning a Civ V game. Instead go to demographics and check the bottom row to see who is #1, that civ is currently in best position to win.

I always fall behind in tech, culture, wonders, religion, and the only way I found to catch up is by warmongering. This essentially prevents any future trading, research agreements, etc because all civs hate me.

My best guess is that I'm doing something subtle that pisses off AIs to make them keep declaring war on me. Surely there must be more than one way to win at Civ 5 than constant warmongering?

Science is King. Focus on that and you gain the ability to hand build a few world wonders without the risk of being beaten out.

#1 in culture really doesn't matter, and if your looking a cultural policies, the AI actually gets a 33% discount compared to the human anyway. As the human, your policies will better relate to your strategy than the AIs will to its.

You don't really need to be #1 in religion either. You can even win the game without founding one, but if getting a wide empire either by self founding or conquest you need a religions happiness bonus, not necessarily your own though.

Your later game ones being denounced from are from war monger.
Your first one is most likely DOWing a city state or you founding cities too aggressively.

It occurs to me that my entire response has assumed BNW.
If you are instead playing G&K, I'm afraid that all AIs have been really aggressive since the G&K fall patch and while the change that made them that way was rolled back in BNW, I don't know if they reverted it back for those sticking with G&K.
 

Nick31

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Jon's No. 1 point is very important. Getting the core 4 and pushing the growth in those cities to your happiness limit is pretty crucial. Same as getting things like Iron works, Grand Temple, and National College.

That said, you 'can' build cities later, although posters will express different feelings on them. If the land is suitable, and I'm playing super peaceful, I will sometimes push Tradition with another city or two, but that is after I've Oxforded into Radio and have an Ideology. The ideology brings all kinds of happiness and growth bonuses, and with those you can quickly get new cities off the ground, but it takes gold (buying Aqueduct, especially) and Cargo ships (Late game are very powerful, particularly if you go Order).

If you found your cities too early, i.e. before you have the extra gold and ships, you're simply killing your main cities.

All that said, I've often won in Immortal without ever being involved in a war, especially with a strong coastal start. If I'm inland, it's harder to avoid the Land covet, and thus harder to avoid getting Declared upon.
 

Laurwin

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how do you defend vs AI tourism in late game, without much culture?

How can you get science win if you get unhappiness pressure so much in the late game?

I always feel like I have to build many culture buildings infrastructure plus wonders for culture.
 

Browd

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You need lots of culture for a science victory (to finish Rationalism and get key tenets as quickly as possible), which serves as a defense against tourism pressure. You should be first (or nearly first) to an ideology (beeline Radio, and use Oxford or the Rationalism finisher for Radio itself), and both Order and Freedom are packed with happiness policies. You do not need wonders for culture -- just build and work the guilds.
 

Rathelm

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how do you defend vs AI tourism in late game, without much culture?

How can you get science win if you get unhappiness pressure so much in the late game?

I always feel like I have to build many culture buildings infrastructure plus wonders for culture.

You either win before the computer gets to ideologies (Immortal and lower). On Deity its best to see who's the highest tourism leader and pre-pick the ideologies that you know they like (AKA go Order).
 

joncnunn

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The ideology brings all kinds of happiness and growth bonuses, and with those you can quickly get new cities off the ground, but it takes gold (buying Aqueduct, especially) and Cargo ships (Late game are very powerful, particularly if you go Order).

It's true that post ideology you can afford the happiness to self found more cities.
However, I find myself NOT doing so because I run a calculation that shows a faster Golden Age by NOT doing so will actually be better to my empire as a whole in the limited time remaining in the game.

Or alternatively I can keep that huge cushion in case I want to conquer some cities of my nearest neighbor, which would have a more bigger population than any new one.

In fact, if seeking a cultural victory a huge cushion is useful for when AI cities revolt and join your empire.
 

Nick31

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However, I find myself NOT doing so because I run a calculation that shows a faster Golden Age by NOT doing so will actually be better to my empire as a whole in the limited time remaining in the game.

Yes, but as we mentioned in the Freedom/Order thread this week: what about if right after getting an Ideology you embark on a 50-turn GA? :)

One of the key advantages with Freedom is that so long as you plan when to start the Artists guild, and also save a Great Writer to quickly get Freedom-3 (50% longer GA, and half-unhappy from Specialists), you quickly launch into an incredibly long GA. Since you aren't building towards the next GA anyway, it's a good time to either ready a conquest or found a juicy city spot or two. I'm very mindful of what to do after getting research labs in the core-4. I like to continue expanding. It's rare I finish a game with 4 or less cities.

So long as I'm generating enough gold, and there is an appropriate coastal spot or two, I'll frequently expand and then launch those cities during the GA. I generally win within 100-125 turns of grabbing my ideology, so waiting for natural GA (after the 700 one, which I time to get after Freedom-3), isn't much of an incentive.
 

CivHeretic

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It's possible for sure. Even with aggresive neighbors. Here's how, build a military anyway. I've noticed you will get DoW'd if you don't. Also check out some of the Let's Plays featuring Diety level non-dom wins. They will illustrate build and tech orders that you should use. Also.... don't Wonder spam at Emp+ levels.
 

Zednaught

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My last two Immortal games have been peaceful. I'm playing a Deity game and so far at turn 150 I've had no wars, and in fact have defensive pacts with three civs.

The key is to recognize who the warmongers are going to be and goad them into attacking someone else.
 

beetle

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I'm trying to move onto Emperor. I win on King almost every time, but I can only seem to do this through warmongering so I'm sure there are holes in my game. I usually don't literally win by domination - I conquer enough cities to cripple any opposition, paving the way for science/diplomatic victories.

I think before ratcheting up the difficultly level, you should first master more-or-less peaceful science and diplomatic victories.

My problem is that almost all games seem to work out this way:
- settle 4-6 cities
- trade excess resources
- a few AIs will be friendly, ask for declaration of friendship, etc.
- gradually become out-teched, out-cultured, out-faithed, out-wondered, etc.

You should always be catching up and then beating the AI as far as technology goes. Losing on other metrics is to be expected. I think you need to pay more attention to science.

around turn 100-150, one or more AI declares war on me. Sometimes I do have a weak army, but other times I've been #1 in soldiers and still been declared on. it seems inevitable. even friendly civs declare war on me. and if they don't declare, they denounce me.
- crush the AI since they're terrible at war. they're just awful. it's literally taking candy from a baby.
- repeat AI war declarations a few times. sometimes I even declare war on them since I learned it seems to be my only advantage.

If you are trying to get good at peaceful games, don't DoW. Yes, warfare is a huge player advantage. But you say you are trying to improve your peaceful play, and not use warring as a crutch. So don't initiate the DoW.

Also, don't eliminate an AI. Go ahead, if they DoW you, war until you get a great peace deal or take their cap. But, do not take their last city, even if they are down to only their cap, and it would be so easy. Remember, the larger point is that you are trying to get a peaceful win that does not feel like an interrupted domination win.

Getting denounced is par for the course. Don't worry about that until you are winning regularly and trying to tune your game. On their own, denouncements really don't add up to much. It is getting denounce because you are a warmonger that makes the game frustrating. So don't be a warmonger! Don't eliminate any civs. Don't be the one to declare war. (Which means don't agree to defense packs, and don't war because an AI asked.)

I guess I could try this same strategy at higher difficulty levels and see where it gets me, but I have my doubts. I think my peace-time strategy is lacking, but I don't know where or how to fix it. I always fall behind in tech, culture, wonders, religion, and the only way I found to catch up is by warmongering. This essentially prevents any future trading, research agreements, etc because all civs hate me.

My best guess is that I'm doing something subtle that pisses off AIs to make them keep declaring war on me. Surely there must be more than one way to win at Civ 5 than constant warmongering?

Again, the falling behind in tech is serious problem you need to work on. The AIs often are hostile to the player for seeming inscrutable reasons. There is almost always some rhyme or reason to it, and this board can help you figure that out, so it won't feel some random. Sorry, but I really doubt that your are doing something subtle!
 

CivHeretic

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I moved up to Immmortal/Diety not too long ago, maybe a few weeks now. Anyway Something I've noticed back during my Emperor games is that agressive AIs tend to check their military strength vs the Human player and seem to note where you army is in relation to your cities. If you are at war with another AI for any reason and suddenly move your entire army from one side of your kingdom to another (not close to your borders with the agressive AI) then the AI might consider this a "moment of weakness" and DoW you in the hopes to blitz your undefended cities (which the AI is so terrible at my 13 y/o daughter plays on Emp and just laughs maniaclly when the AIs try this). So what I do when I get DoW'd and I'm not ready for actual conquest is I move the MINIMAL amount of units to repel the enemy CODs and I set my remaining units to my cities so they aren't "undefended".
 

Nick31

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Something I've noticed back during my Emperor games is that agressive AIs tend to check their military strength vs the Human player and seem to note where you army is in relation to your cities. If you are at war with another AI for any reason and suddenly move your entire army from one side of your kingdom to another (not close to your borders with the agressive AI) then the AI might consider this a "moment of weakness" and DoW you in the hopes to blitz your undefended cities...

I'm not one of those guys who can open code and look, but I find the AI is immensely interested in what strength I have on my boarders. I play a lot of Immortal games where I keep my army with in last place or next to last until Modern era, and I've been reasonably successful at avoiding DOW.

A key is a line of upgraded units in rough terrain on the shared boarder with the AI threat. I've found the AI very impressed by a group of 4 pikes with rough promotion and a knight on the flank, even if his military is 3 times the size of mine.

Conversely, if I'm worried about an aggressive neighbor on a contested flank, I'll occasionally get a backstab DOW from an erstwhile peaceful neighbor on the opposite flank who knows my low military number and sees no boarder guard.
 

Uzael36

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I moved up to Immmortal/Diety not too long ago, maybe a few weeks now. Anyway Something I've noticed back during my Emperor games is that agressive AIs tend to check their military strength vs the Human player and seem to note where you army is in relation to your cities. If you are at war with another AI for any reason and suddenly move your entire army from one side of your kingdom to another (not close to your borders with the agressive AI) then the AI might consider this a "moment of weakness" and DoW you in the hopes to blitz your undefended cities (which the AI is so terrible at my 13 y/o daughter plays on Emp and just laughs maniaclly when the AIs try this). So what I do when I get DoW'd and I'm not ready for actual conquest is I move the MINIMAL amount of units to repel the enemy CODs and I set my remaining units to my cities so they aren't "undefended".

I'm not sure it is because they notice where your army is, but I think it is a matter of they need to see how strong your army is. If that army is no longer in their view, they may think you don't have an army.
 

effb

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I've got a few peaceful Emperor wins under my belt now, so thanks for the tips everyone. I also watched some deity playthroughs and learned a lot.

I didn't even know you could mouse over the AI's status to get a breakdown of the modifiers affecting what they think of me! Turns out a big problem of mine was forward settling, which apparently can piss off the AI to the point of war. I'm now much more careful not to forward settle, especially early game, and I build more archers to dissuade early aggression towards me. They're also good to hunt barbs for CS quests.

I also wasn't prioritizing NC, so it was coming super late or not at all (cringe). That's probably a big reason I was falling behind in tech. Then it's all downhill once you fall behind in tech - only way to catch up was war.

Getting better at the first ~100 turns also helped a lot. Self-settling 4 cities max was a key point (I was spreading myself too thin). It's hard to steal workers on emperor since the AI/CS simply don't have many of them early on, but it's still possible, and makes a huge difference to boost early productivity.

I don't focus too much on religion, but it doesn't seem to affect my success. I notice the deity players don't even focus on religion either. You end up with some bonuses from the AI religions, which isn't too shabby, and you can spend faith on GPs.

I know it's a bad habit to focus on wonders around this difficulty level, so I really try not to, however I'm now able to build such a tech lead that I'm able to build basically all wonders uncontested starting from the industrial era. Maybe I'm ready to move up a difficulty level...

Thanks all!
 
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