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Powering Japan

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Bibor, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    I find that there are a rather long period from when you meet AIs and start trading and get engineering almost right away.
    Then it takes a long time to tech to steel/rifling. And during this period I almost never tech economics myself and it's not always you get a good trade.

    And then it's the anarchy required to get into free market.
    Getting economics isn't really needed until you have constitution (which you are in no rush for if you have the pyramids) and are ready to push toward assembly line.

    Thats at least how it most often turns out for me... Is something off?

    Here I'm in isolation with a PRO leader and have access to stone. (Building pyramids) I think that the trade routes can be very beneficial.
    Sort of a scenario tailored for the castles at least I can't figure out a better one!
     
  2. Wrathful

    Wrathful Warlord

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    I'm no expert, but I value Hunting more than Fishing, for several reasons.
    • It leads to Animal Husbandry and Archery. Being able to reach AH quickly is very important for many starting situations. I find that leaders like Justinian, Saladin, and Toku struggle when given cow or pig starts. Their options are very limited in these scenarios. And, early Archery is vital on some tough Deity maps (as Lain has shown). You also need it for Horse Archers.
    • I prefer starting with a scout instead of a warrior. Scouts can explore faster than warriors. The extra exploration can influence the initial city settle and the tech you choose to research on Turn 5. With a movement of 2 they're pretty much invincible as long as you only move 1 tile at a time. Warriors, on the other hand, can't explore safely because they die easily to bears and barb archers. The jungle belt is generally the only area a scout can't explore safely, but you shouldn't be exploring that in the early game anyway. Finally, you can save your scout and make him a super medic later. Scouts are the best super medics available because they have two movement and won't defend against enemy units.
    • The only real advantage of starting with a warrior is that you can quickly worker steal. This is used in Hall of Fame games extensively, but those usually have Aggressive AI turned on, making AIs agree to peace faster. For standard games, worker stealing is a risky tactic that is not even applicable sometimes (isolation). I can't remember a single time Lain did it on video. Admittedly, I'm not very good at this tactic, so I might be missing something.
    • You gain access to camps. Deer and fur are pretty rare, but I encounter ivory pretty often. Ivory is a strong tile in the early game and also provides happiness.
    Fishing ruins the engineering bulb and is really only useful when you start with seafood. It does lead to Pottery, but so does Agriculture. Agriculture is a superior starting tech in the majority of starts. Comparatively, Hunting offers benefits that no other starting tech provides (quick archery, camps, and starting with a scout).

    I will concede that Toku's tech combo is generally stronger than Charlie's, but that's only because Toku has The Wheel and Charlie gets stuck with Mysticism.

    In general, I would rate each individual starting tech as follows:
    1. Agriculture
    2. Mining
    3. The Wheel
    4. Hunting
    5. Fishing
    6. Mysticism
    Leaders that lack Agriculture, Mining, and Hunting can really suffer in some starts.
     
    Fish Man, unas876, Fippy and 2 others like this.
  3. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    @Wrathful wow, thats a really thoughful post, thanks for that!
    Do consider just copying this and starting a thread "Why is hunting better than fishing?" or something. Just to make it easier for this post to surface in the future when people search for threads.
     
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  4. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    If the absolutely primary task of every starting civ is to transform food into hammers, then it's obvious that fishing doesn't merit it's spot in Wrathful's top list.
    Fishing starts are common, so are fishing starts with alternative (usually inferior, but worker-friendly) food. The power of fishing and boats is not just food, but commerce inherent to coastal tiles (lakes, for example) that are unlocked with fishing. For a financial civ (which Toku is not) the early beaker benefit is even more obvious.
    But to address the original question, if you roll a random map with a random leader, which is the only way to make this top list valid, half the time you'll roll a coastal start, and of those at least half will have no other sources of food. Since both Agriculture and Hunting unlock Animal Husbandry, the benefit of Agriculture is way higher than hunting. The very few resources hunting unlocks I don't think are relevant for early food. Hunting is also a very cheap tech, incidentally even relatively cheaper if you have fishing and work the coast. Fishing is also a cheap tech, I feel the need to point that out.

    Obviously at some point, we need the mechanics to convert food into hammers, so bronze working becomes relevant immediately after food is secured.
    Immediately after that, the wheel becomes the tool for flexible city placement. It's also the most expensive tech of the lot, along with agriculture.

    It's also worth pointing out that the first 10-15 turns are the most critical (until a worker pops), and any tech you can get during that time is basically a "starting tech". These include Bronze working, Animal Husbandry, Archery, Pottery and Sailing (and religious techs).

    Of these, Hunting unlocks Archery and AH. Fishing unlocks Sailing. I'd personally probably have more commerce than archers this early in the game, but I can't deny the possible importance of early achers (which are also a quite expensive unit for this early in the game).

    In this case, Toku, as long as he starts on a coast, with a lake or inland with a floodplain, he's good. So that's like 80% of starts.

    Thus, for a fully random start my list would be:

    1. Agriculture (60 beakers)
    2. Mining (50 beakers)
    3. Fishing (40 beakers) - cheap but unlocks food & early commerce on coast/lakes.
    4. The Wheel (60 beakers)
    5. Hunting (40 beakers)
    6. Mysticism (50 beakers)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  5. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Difficulty level & settings play a role when rating starting techs yep,
    Archery (connected to hunting) can be seen often in Lain's games, very true..but he would not do that on Immortal or lower.
    Only deity gives so much early barb fear imo, that one of huntings' benefits can be listed as unlocking Archery.

    Agri and mining are imo the only 2 "main" starting techs, having one of those means our start cannot be terrible for worker & tile improvement.
    Mining also makes fishing much less important on coastal starts, BW first and chopping boats becomes available.
    In return, Toku's fishing gains some value by not being combined with mining..we will be happy with it when starting coastal now.

    I think it's fun that anything can work out well (or not) :)
    2 opinions are widely accepted these days, protective = the worst trait and myst = worst starting tech.
    So everytime those two are involved, we might be talking about worst leaders.
     
  6. gaash2

    gaash2 Warlord

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    Best starting tech is hard to say on its own, depends on what it's paired with.. better to rank starting tech combos. I am of the view that Agri + wheel is clearly the best combo in the game
     
  7. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    I think agri+mining is clearly stronger. Only benefit of starting with the wheel is that it's an expensive tech. The benefit of mining is that you are closer to BW, something that I'd rate much higher. Wheel is needed for pottery yes, but often you aren't in a rush to cottage or to build granaries.
     
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  8. gaash2

    gaash2 Warlord

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    Perhaps but I think early pottery is quite undervalued and early bronze *slightly* overvalued, and ability to road when not much to do slightly undervalued
     
  9. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Yep, I agree that ag+mining is clearly the top combo, with agri + TW or mining+TW tied for second.

    @gaash2 The ability to road never takes precedence over the ability to improve food specials, chop forests, and whip. TW is certainly a good tech to start with and one can road to new cities in lieu of idle worker turns when waiting for that next tech...but I'd much prefer the workers doing something far more important.

    I agree that pottery can be a tad undervalued early, but BW never is overvalued...it is one of the most important techs in the game and opens up the single most powerful mechanic in the game.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  10. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Well, I certainly for many years overvalued both pottery and the ability to build roads, while undervaluing BW for early chopping. Obviously I had no trouble beating immortal or even deity on occasion.
     
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  11. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    Will have to agree agri + mining is best starting tech combo. BW is THE most important ancient-era tech excepting maybe pottery, and unlike pottery the sooner you get it the better. Especially on deity, chops and whips are of the utmost importance in the landgrab game. Also revealing bronze and unlocking the best barb counter is quite big as well. Besides...a grassmine or two still does more than roading to who knows where, most of the time. And let's not forget the masonry resource which you'd want hooked up (especially stone for mids) ASAP.

    Fishing, OTOH, I value more than hunting. I think you'd all expect this by now :).

    ...But in all seriousness, anytime there's a coastal start there's almost always fishing resources. And unlike AH there's no other tech that can serve as its prereq. Meanwhile, fishing starts are much more common than the occasional fur, deer, ivory - and they're far stronger resources based on their tile yields. So my vote goes to @Bibor 's list.
     
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  12. Wrathful

    Wrathful Warlord

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    Agriculture + Mining is definitely the best starting combo. It's so versatile and allows the player to adapt to just about any starting situation. (As an aside, China is the only civ that starts with this combo, as far as I know. I feel that the Chinese leaders are somewhat underrated. Mao in particular is a great leader; the combination of Expansive and his starting techs allows him to get off to a super fast start. Cho-ko-Nus are also pretty good, and they synergise with Protective.)

    I guess my problem with Fishing is that its usefulness is almost entirely dependent upon the presence of seafood. If you start with seafood, fishing is great. If not, it doesn't offer much in terms of immediate benefit. And let's not forget that it ruins the engineering bulb. Comparatively, Hunting gives you a starting scout, so it's always useful, even if you don't have deer, fur, or ivory.

    Fishing is the biggest "wildcard" of the starting techs. It's either very good or almost useless. I don't think it deserves to be in the top 3.
     
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  13. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    The mighty hunting tribes looked down upon fishing tribes for time immesurable.
    "Ye shall not put ye engineers to good use" - the King of the Hunters said.

    "While that might be true" - The Fisher King replied - "we did master the ancient knowledge of worker steal".

    And lo and behold, ivory camps turned empty and pillaged, deer scattered across the tundra, and scouts returned to report of mighty fishermen empires sprawling on the coast of a vast sea.
     
  14. Anysense

    Anysense King

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    Inability to build warriors when you have metals is the most annoying thing about hunting, particularly when you are warmongering and need metal to keep building units, but still need more and more warriors for police duties, especially in cities that "yearn to join their motherland", "don't want to fight their brothers and sisters of the faith" etc.
    The only good thing about starting with Hunting is that it unlocks AH and Archery. It also enables you to use some of the early happiness resources, but that is not very common.
    Starting with a scout can sometimes be an advantage. For instance, they are really good for spawnbusting large open areas, where warriors can't be placed securely. But in most cases you are simply 1 warrior short, which is just no good. Of course, it doesn't matter if you are playing without barbs, but then you are probably playing for HoF and therefore want a warrior for worker stealing.
    Anyway, Fishing is a clear winner against Hunting simply because about 2/3 of random starts are coastal ones.
     
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  15. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    Didn't know about the 2/3 stat, that's pretty surprising!

    Also, yeah, scouts are lion/panther/bear chow and don't even think about standing your ground against real barbs with them. Finally...warriors after metal is a biggie too. Otherwise you're basically forced to get archery sooner or later so that your garrisons don't cost an arm and a leg, only an arm (25h).
     
  16. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

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    Regarding fishing, I imagine that out of the remaining 1/3 of the starts, there is a stray lake in quite a few of them and having a early 2F2C tile to work can be very beneficial sometimes.

    I like this discussion, not because I have any interest in getting a complete "TOP 7 STARTING TRAITS!", but because each trait has at least some advantage, and those pieces we need to know about and leverage to it's fullest.

    Since myst is clearly regarded as the worst (and I groan when I roll a civ with myst as well), I want to put forward the slight advantage of being able to get some early failgold.
    Sometimes you are content with the spawnbusters you have, and can afford to put a handful of hammers into SH, which can help you alot.
    You can afford to keep teching at 100% abit longer after city #2, or you can afford to tech with 100% with a larger warrior army early on, paying -1 or -2 upkeep.
     
  17. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    Myst can also be useful for unlocking Masonry.
    Starting with stone or IND, Tgw is sometimes a really good wonder on deity :)
    Yup you could tech mining, but with Tgw being in danger from turn ~35 on, an extra tech might be too much already.
     
  18. elmurcis

    elmurcis Emperor

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    Fishing is weaker on Normal speed (cost of it vs food it brings/ROI of it). Stronger on Marathon speed (going Workboat with 2H (or more rare 3H) center tile and 3H tile for Fish resource and building Settler at size 1 with empty food bar can be strong opening move sometimes if can locate great 2nd city spot - thing I'm not sure doing on Normal speed would be good move). Also Huge map size makes techs little more expensive so extra commerce can be very useful when all that player has is 9C from capital. Adding even 1 or 2C can be much.
     
  19. Wrathful

    Wrathful Warlord

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    So Bibor says that 50% of random starts are coastal, but Anysense says that 67% of random starts are coastal. Which is it? Keep in mind that starting on the coast does not prevent you from getting other (better) food sources, nor does it guarantee that you'll have seafood at all.

    I already addressed worker stealing...
    I am somewhat biased regarding this point, because the last time I tried worker stealing on a standard Immortal game I ended up losing. My opponent wouldn't take peace. But I just want to reiterate that sometimes you can't even worker steal at all (isolation). Or maybe you're semi-isolated and don't want to anger your only trading partner.

    If you're worried about barbarians, hunting is a great starting tech. It leads to Archery, the safest barb counter in the game. Your scout can fogbust land without dying. Since scouts have two movement, they won't die to lions, bears, and real barbs as long as you only move 1 tile at a time. Panthers are the only real threat, but they tend to stick to jungled areas, which you shouldn't be exploring early on anyway. How does Fishing help with barb defense?
    Very true. But nothing is stopping you from pillaging your iron or trading it away for a few turns after the war is over. Also, in this scenario you should make your scout a super medic. I'm serious about this point! In Lain's most recent series he lost his scout and used a horse archer for his super medic. Guess what happened to it...
     
  20. Fippy

    Fippy Micro Junkie Queen

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    2/3 starts coastal with useful seafood? much too high number.
    Hunting & Fishing are even and situational, you guys can chat about this all day but..
     
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