Philosophical: Long-term prospects

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Iranon, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    This came up in another discussion, but I feel it's really worth its own thread.

    As a player, I normally go for long-term benefits if I can at all afford it, so I naturally wanted to know how many additional Great People Philosophical would give me in the long run.
    After I had a look at my savegames I started scratching my head because of the unexpectedly small difference. After crunching the numbers with a more abstract example, I noticed I had had some misconceptions about the trait.

    ***

    Let's assume we have cashed in a total of 10,000 base GPP.

    If we had no other GPP modifiers, this is good for 13 Great People; with PHI the 20,000 GPP give us 17.

    If we had all permanent modifers available (Parthenon, National Epic, Pacifism) before even starting our GP farm, we go from 35,000GPP to 45,000GPP, or from 22 Great People to 24.

    ***

    Now, the examples aren't realistic. If we're PHI, we aren't going to ignore Great People, and if we pay attention to the mechanics we aren't likely to stack too many GPP bonuses (bonuses are additive instead of multiplicative, and GPP have diminishing returns as it is. If we do this, we get shafted twice - I for one would stay in Organised Religion).
    However, the results are. Having had a look at pretty much all my endgame saves and making reasonable estimates about my average GPP bonuses, the difference PHI made/would have made was always 3 or 4 Great People.
    This could have been 23/27 in a solid win fueld by wonderspam, or 10/13 in one desperate Deity warmonger game.

    ***

    Even with the generous modifers from the best cities, this falls way short of the longterm potential of FIN or ORG in any reasonably-sized empire.
    Even at the time of a SE just passing its peak, when the steady stream of Great People seemed such a big deal, the advantage lies with ORG compared to settling the extras. Also, let's not even mention the expansion phase, where the other economic traits are a lot more relevant. As such, picking a Philosophical leader and relying on settled Great People seems dubious - settling might be ok, but for a steady gain other traits do better.

    Before anyone gets me wrong, I definitely think PHI still has its uses. It doesn't depend on empire size nearly as much. If one plans to spam wonders, the rewards come fairly quickly. Aggressive lightbulbing might pay off if one has a way to leverage the temporary gains. The flexibility could well be worth the sacrifice in efficiency if you intend to play to the map rather than the leader.
    And, of course, not every game is about making the objectively best choice...
     
  2. Gliese 581

    Gliese 581 Your average civ junkie

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    Getting great people early has long term benefits that might be hard to show by mathematical equations (but not impossible).
     
  3. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    Philosophical has excellent long-term prospects compared to Creative. :lol:
     
  4. D_almighty

    D_almighty Wanna-be Deity

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    The point is you get your first few GP much earlier than any other player. That means you can have a feasible great engineer farm early game if you want, or you can have a massive amount of great scientists for a very fast liberalism race.
     
  5. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam If A implies B...

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    Separating short vs long term is kind of dubious, because short term benefits are usually leveraged into long term advantages. Even if you just settle your GPs and run straight cottages everywhere but your GP farm, you:

    1. Get an academy sooner.
    2. Despite suboptimal use of scientists settling vs bulbing toward liberalism (unless you're not going for liberalism), you get them in your academy city sooner, boosting research further.
    3. You have HALF PRICE UNIVERSITIES, which you didn't mention, which will net you oxford sooner.

    For the entire early to mid game, PHI greatly increases research speed, including research of techs and construction of buildings that allow for more research speed sooner...your tech curve is therefore pushed forward significantly, and if this is leveraged either militarily or just getting certain key techs first, that advantage may indeed last the entire game.

    But I guess, if you want the traditional short vs long term outlook, PHI is more short-to-mid term than financial.
     
  6. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Keep adding those merchants and food levels rocket. This trait is hugely powerful if you nurture it the right way early on. 3-5 early great scientists bulbing can mean Liberalism very early.

    The pyramids only adds to the benefits if you settle the great people. Then the multiplier truly kicks in.

    I think the Great people farm approach was powerful enogh before philosophy.
     
  7. AbbieRevo

    AbbieRevo Non-Voting Delegate

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    If you really want to work the math, you have to think about when you recieve and therefore settle those GPs, and the total BPT gained from having them earlier.

    I mean if I settle my first GS on turn 40 instead of turn 60 that's 120 beakers right there. not to mention 20 extra hammers. (of course the first GS usually becomes an academy, but you get the idea)

    Now I'm still not sure how well the math works out, but one should also not ignore the opportunity costs that are deferred by bulbing something fancy much earlier than you normally would.
     
  8. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    I don't really care if in the long run, at the a55-end of the game, you're only gaining 2 more than you would with other traits. I'm not going to be getting 22 or 24 GP in any game any time soon. Not unless you count great generals and my great praetorians ;)

    The advantage to philosophical, as others have said, is that you get MORE GP EARLIER. As your math already showed. Besides, great people (barring GE) don't have a really big effect later in the game except for founding corporations. And you only need 1 Great Person per corporation which could be saved from your earlier mass GP poppings... so that's not really such a big deal. Great Merchants would have a decent effect, if you plan on sending them on a merchant mission for big gold income. Honestly, though, with PHI trait, you're still gonna pop them faster in any portion of the game.

    Popping GP after GP in the early game will have you surging ahead of the AI whether by bulbing (TheMeInTeam's usual usage of GS for Liberalism ;) ) or settling for amassing a huge :science: per turn advantage much earlier in the game. It allows for lower science slider levels => increased gold availability for conquests and peaceful expansion. In that respect, it works similarly to ORG.

    So, you get much higher science output and the ability to lower your slider for more :gold: income for REXing and military expansion early in the game... sounds good to me :D
     
  9. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    Your estimates that you get from comparing the traits assume that you run a Philosophical civ the same way you would run an Organised or Financial. That means building the same wonders and running the same specialists for the same times. Now that is one possibility. You can ignore the fact that you're Philosophical and get double GPPs and just "play normally". I've done that very successfully and I did indeed only get 3 or 4 extra GPs as expected.

    But that is not "leveraging" the trait. If you run a SE empire and try to make the most of +100% GPP bonus you will run it very differently from "normal". You'll have a different tech path, a different attitude to war and resources. You'll use Golden Ages differently. You'll run different civics and at different times. You'll distribute the GP generation task to different cities and probably run a lot more specialists as they're more effective. You'll play a very non-normal game. Importantly you'll tend to emphasise farms in most cities wherever they can be built. Food will become very important and it is simply worth twice as much as in any other civ when used to produce GPPs (at least most of the time, in most cities)

    In the early game a scientist run from a library gives 3 beakers and 3 GPPs each turn from 2 food. That is 1.5 GPPs per food and unless a civ gets the Parthenon or runs Pacifism that is the food to GPP rate for the rest of the game. A philosphical civ gets the huge bonus of another 1.5 GPPs for every food used to feed a specialist throughout the game. But in the early game 1 GPP is often worth more than 5 beakers (depending on how you do the evaluation) so Philosophical gets an enormous advantage over Financial or Organised with each specialist effectively giving a 10 beaker bonus per food. In the late game the exchange rate does drop significantly to less than 1 beaker per GPP but by that time you're on the 20th GP and the outcome of the game has probably been decided.

    The high food and early research advantage makes a Philosophical SE most suited to warmongering and aggressive expansion, rather than a builder or a research orientated space race game. It is easy to gain a military technological advantage and then raise an army whipping away the specialists used to do the research (perhaps by lightbulbing some intermediate techs) and then take out one of your neighbours. The new land and resources are easily exploited.

    With Philosophical it's easy to extract a GP or two from an enemy capital (or any other good city) captured in the mid game. Say you've used drafted muskets and cuirassiers to overrun a neighbour and are pleasantly surprised to capture a capital with 4 wonders and a few buildings that can run specialists (courthouse, forge and market) and with plenty of food. That capital can easily produce 2 GP for you when any other civ would be lucky to get 1 from it.

    The rate of generating GPs doesn't have to diminish in the late game despite the rapidly escalating costs in GPPs for each successive GP. It's not just by conquest that the rate can be maintained. There are technologies and wonders that can increase the rate of GPP generation or even accelerate the rate as more cities become possible sites. Biology adds 1 food for every farm and using one of the two food corporations can add considerable amounts of food to every city. The extra food can allow more specialists to be run and each specialist (in key cities that can produce another GP) uses the food more efficiently than a non Philosophical civ could getting the +1.5 GPP per food bonus every turn. The Statue of Liberty is a prized wonder on maps where the geography is right and so you'd either want to build it yourself or get a friend to build it for you and then go and collect their nice gift ;). Then there's the National Park which can be leveraged more effectively and might give one or even 2 additional GPs when it's seldom worth building for the GPPs otherwise.

    So I'd argue that Philosophical is a top warmongering trait in that it supports that activity by getting a technological advantage and then by virtue of the high food economy neccessary to run a SE it lets you build / whip / draft the troops fast to exploit that advantage, then it lets you get the best out of the captured cities by generating more GPs. It's most suited to games aiming for Domination or Diplomatic victories (perhaps through vassals). Even if Domination is not possible the extra cities, tiles and resources make other paths to victory easier.

    No, it does depend on empire size, the more good cities you have the more GPs you can generate. The lightbulbing AND the food based economy means that temporary gains can be leveraged. It is immensely flexible but you have to decide whether the late game is based on corporations with FM or SP and Caste System / workshops. Emancipation and the UN resolutions are your enemy and you need to win before that becomes a problem. You always have to play the map and poor food maps will be less successful than rich maps. Philosophical is a top rank trait when leveraged.
     
  10. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    ^^^^...all that is what I was trying to say :D. lol j/k, but I'm completely on the same page as you, UncleJJ
     
  11. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    @ Gliese 581: If we're just settling them, PHI usually couldn't compete with ORG (I used that for the comparison because checking your civic upkeep is faster than counting your cottages :) ) at any stage, unless I was neglecting expansion and spamming wonders. At its best it was close to even... but being behind both in the early and the late game is qutie a blow.
    If we use them in another way, the comparison is difficult - if the additional lightbulbs allow one to keep in the trading game instead of being left behind and having to self-research they could be priceless. Not accessible to any rigorous evaluation though.

    @ DaveMcw: True, but I don't see the relevance.

    @ D_almighty: Sure. I actually cited the flexibility as the main draw in my post.

    @ TheMeInTeam:

    1. Short term advantages can and will be leveraged; otherwise the Research Institute wouldn't do the duty of 6-7 earlier UBs (disregarding the trade/maintenance issue, 2 free scientists = 4:food:+2:)+2:health:+2 specialist slots = 4 Barays + 1 Ball Court + 1 Apothecary + 1 Obelisk (?) )
    2. Sure, each bulb is a considerable jump ahead... but how does this compare to, say, ORG cutting costs while still retaining a breakneck expansion speed? If that means you can claim the land you want to and still get to Code of Laws/Currency, those advantages can snowball as well.
    Taking timing into account is always tricky; if somone claimed expansion traits gave one an irrecoverable head start compared to economic traits with correct play I wouldn't know how to refute that.
    3. I'm not impressed with that aspect of PHI at all. While FIN doesn't do anything for hammers at all, I would prefer half-price courthouses alone, and lighthouses/factories are a nice throw-in.

    @ Gumbolt, blitzkrieg: I used to like my shiny settled GPs... but when I did the math I sadly found out that here the advantage of PHI is marginal. I never claimed the faster bulbs were weak. I've given up aggressive bulbing on Deity: I'd rather claw my way up the hard way than start trading early and run into WFYABTA when the techs are getting expensive. Maybe I should actually try to win the Liberalism race though so this might be faulty playstyle.

    @ AbbieRevo: Even when playing a farm-based economy, there's often a cottaged capital (preparing for Bureaucracy) and incidental commerce from sea tiles and the like, both starting before we pop the first Great Person. Unless we are also in the middle of Pangaea this alone can rival any additional settled GPs pretty much forever. And while I personally think PHI is very flexible and not dependent on any economy type, I consider FIN a poor choice when playing a SE.

    @ UncleJJ: You're preaching to the choir to some extent. I regard food-based economies very highly indeed.
    I compared multiple games, both with PHI leaders and without, using many different approaches. I probably run more SE than CE games these days, and am comfortable with either altough I crack the whip more than most SE players. My standard victory type is domination, and I am willing to wage war in any (or every) era.

    I'm familiar with the different sources of GPP; whether the total rate is stable doesn't really pertain to the PHI trait. The point remains that with the usual modifier buildings, PHI tends to mean '3 GPs ahead' for much of most games on Normal speed.
    If that meant getting an academy in a bloated science city earlier and 3 crucial bulbs (the academy would have been built late anyway, so this doesn't count against the limit) it might well have been a game-changing trait.

    Incidentally, I like PHI for heavy warmongering... might be my 3rd pick after ORG and SPI. If you're just teching far enough to beat someone up and get your tech mostly by intimidation, 3 well-placed bulbs can indeed mage a huge difference.

    PHI really depends a lot less on empire size than ORG and FIN. Let's assume you manage do magically double your empire... FIN will do exactly twice as much, effective immediately. ORG will do more than twice as much, effective immediately (just looked the formula up). PHI will have no immediate effect... and even if it did, the effect wouldn't be twice as big because GPP have diminishing returns.
     
  12. beancounter

    beancounter Chieftain

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    I have to agree with Iranon, I do not really see the long term benefits of PHILO.

    I am a not very impressed with the short term benefits either. The earliest GP are the most valuable, and Philo does not give you that many GP even in the early game.

    Take two cities, both with a library and two scientists. The non-philo one will generate 6 GPP and the PHILO city will generate 12 GPP. In the first 50 terms the non-philo civ will generate 2 GP vs the Philo civ will generate 3 GP. A 50% increase, nice but that is as good as it is going to get. In the next 50 turns each city will generate only 1 extra GP.


    Non-Philo City will generate a GP on turns 17,50, and 100.
    The Philo City will generate a GP on turns 9, 25, 50 and 84.

    Does not seem like that huge of an advantage. Not enough to warrant it as a top tier trait compared to org or fin. The scaling cost of GP is just brutal and takes a lot of the steam out of Philo.
     
  13. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Turn 9 is wicked early. Does financial let you tech/bulb that fast?
     
  14. beancounter

    beancounter Chieftain

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    Keep in mind that count starts once you have researched BW, Agriculture, Pottery, Writing, built/chopped/whipped a library and can support two scientists. Quite a few turns there. Depending on what tiles you are working I could see FIN adding some bonus beakers to give a cheap ancient era tech by the time that is all done. Org is probably not even on the radar at this point, that trait is all about the mid-late game.

    But the key point is the non-philo civ is pulling a GP just 8 turns latter. Now the bonus GP at turn 25 is sweet, but still I have a hard time seeing how this trait is top tier a couple of early GP is nice, but it is not going to swing the game in your favor. Not like a number of other traits.

    And the Philo advantage all but goes away once Pacifism or National Epic come into play. FIN and ORG is always there and never becomes irrevlant.
     
  15. D_almighty

    D_almighty Wanna-be Deity

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    So... don't run pacifism with a philosophical leader? It's still a very solid trait; faster great people and faster universities means a very easy run at liberalism; I don't know about your games, but if I can pull off an early liberalism > Chemistry, that's pretty much game over. To make it that much easier is not to be taken lightly.
     
  16. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    With a large empire financial and organised are likely to be more powerful traits because they benefit every city (and I'd guess that with increased costs at higher difficulties organised becomes progressively more powerful). As the game progresses and your economy expands any GP becomes weaker (1500 beaker light bulb becomes less than 1 turn saved, 3 or 4 GPs to launch one golden age, 2000 gold trade mission, +9beakers/turn etc) so additional GPs don't matter so much.
    So philosophical could be classified as an early game trait. Doesn't make it a weak trait just one that benefits you most in the first half of the game while organised for instance might be weaker early game and stronger late game.
    Edit: a trait than enables you to gain an advantage early game so your small empire turns into a large empire sooner could be argued to have indirect long term benefits.
     
  17. TeraHammer

    TeraHammer Prince

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    I like making 2 or 3 supercities (scientists in science city, prophets // engineers in a production city, merchants in either that need more food, or wallstreet city). Thats just my personal flavour of playing games, I hate micromanaging many cities, I love quality over quantity :p

    As said, with philosphical you get more great people earlier, and if you settle them you get wonders faster, who in their turn get you great people to settle faster etc. Obsolete has demonstrated this power in some games nicely.
     
  18. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    As I know from your other posts on this board you tend to play the game in a similar way to me and to appreciate most of its features the same way I do. That is what makes this discord even more strange. One of us is clearly wrong or we're not communicating well.


    If you only get 3 more GPs then your just "playing normally" (see the first paragraph of my last post). If you leveraged the trait you'd get a lot more GPs than is possible with other traits. Other traits can't get 20 or 30 GPs before the end of the game while a Philosophical empire that's leveraged its trait can.

    To put what you're saying in other terms, it would be like playing Financial on a map with plenty of grasslands and coastal tiles and then building a lot of farms and workshops with only a modicum of cottages (like any HE city) and just working a few coastal tiles and then saying that Financial isn't much better than some other trait. You didn't leverage the trait therefore the comparison is wrong. You seem to be doing this with Philosophical.

    I think what you're missing is the strong synergy between a food driven economy and Philosophical. Food economies are probably the most powerful early and middle game economies but they have no synergy with either Organised or Financial. Once we account for the small amount of food needed to grow cities all the excess food produced has to go somewhere and it can be taken as hammers through Slavery, or used to work mines, and lastly used to feed specialists and hence generate GPPs. Obviously a Philosophical civ gets more GPPs from running its specialists and should make an effort to run a lot more of them to leverage its trait. Philosophical is the best way to harness the power or food in the early game. The challenge is to turn that advantage into a territorial advantage before the escalating GPPs costs slow down GP generation while at the same time the cottage based rivals start becoming more competative.

    The point you're missing here is that a Financial civ can't easily double its size as if by magic. Even if it could match the Philosophical civ in research rates in the early and middle game it falls woefully short in production ability. The SE that drives the Philosophical civ can turn its specialists into military in a few turns and march over the border with new technology. A cottage based Financial civ takes time to build up a military force and has to wait until US gives it the ability to rush production... but that is 100 turns after the Philosophical civ has already doubled its size. You just can't compare them like that and forget the differences in tempo. The Philosophical civ will be double the size of the Financial one for a long time so compare them in that state and you draw the opposite conclusion. There is no synergy between Financial and production and you need hammers to conquer. Every cottage replaces a potential farm (assuming chain irrigation) and loses your civ 1 food per turn in return for its commerce. You're effectively sacrificing production for commerce. So a Financial civ might indeed be better than a Philosophical one (although I dispute that), once it does double its size but by that time the Philosophical civ is even bigger and so the race goes on ...
     
  19. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Lets factor in the benefits that each GP will provide. Science in capital up 50% for 10-15 more turns. If your bulbing you will almost certainly reach music first and get a GA. Same for various other later techs like Economics. You may also build GL first due to teching well. (Another 12GPPT)

    Your only factoring in 2 scientists. I would expect by the 50th turn to be producing more than 12gppt assuming a food rich city. Not sure where you base your numbers on.

    Heres your maths.
    9*12= 108
    25*12=300.
    17*6=104
    50*6=300

    These numbers dont add up!!!

    150/6=25 300/6=50
    150/12=12.5 300/12=25

    so we have Non Phil 25,50
    Phil 13 and 25 for epic.

    So on a Epic game assuming you run to cities with 2 scientists you have your 2nd GP by time a non phil leader has their first.

    The figures for normal speed would be lower.

    100/6 =17 200/6= 34 rounded up
    100/12=9 200/12=17

    End result is the Philoshipical leader will have 2GP for the price of one. Thats just the first 25th or 17 turns.

    Cleared that up.
     
  20. Ibian

    Ibian King

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    Never understood why some people think a SE has better production. Once whichever critical military tech is reached, a cottage can be whipped every bit as well as a scientst can.

    The limiting factor is not food, its happy faces. And a CE still has access to the happy slider before anyone brings it up again.
     

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