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Preventing Snowballing?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Rhavanna, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Rhavanna

    Rhavanna Chieftain

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    Heya folks,

    I've lately become a huge Civ fan, and have been playing a lot of civ4 BTS lately. I love when games are close right up until the end, and never knowing whether or not my culture victory will pop before the other jerk's spaceship takes off.

    But games like that seem to be rare... the game always ends up being so one-sided! It seems that one of several things happen in my civ games:

    1: (the most frustrating honestly). I'll just be playing and playing, and all of a sudden glance over at the scoreboard and notice that I've got double the score of the next closest AI. Alphabet tech finishes, and I start trying to trade techs, but , I'm so far ahead of *everyone* that there's nothing to trade for! From here if I keep on playing, I'll simply snowball ahead in size/tech/army so quickly that no one can stand in my way. Stomping macemen with riflemen was fun the first time, but now it's pretty dull T_T;

    2. One of the AI's gets ludicrously far ahead, similar to the above. I think I'm doing all fine and dandy, and then see the message, "blahblahblah has discovered liberalism!" and I'm still in the classic era. Or that one AI which spawned by itself on a secluded continent has been expanding/teching in total peace and all of a sudden a destroyer shows up out of nowhere and I'm still finishing my first caravel. Ugh!

    3. I'll have a great spawn spot, but then as I look to expand, there doesn't seem to be any other good places to put cities. A giant ring of desert or snow all around me. Running into an AI, I discover that they spawned in a lush river-infested grassland, with a pile of floodplanes just a few squares away, and a pile of mountains next to that. Rapidly leads to scenario 2.

    Is there any good way to prevent such snowballing from happening? It seems like either I grow out of control early on, or one, (or several) of the AI's does. There never seems to be a real balance of power in the world.

    Should I hop forward in difficulty modes? Might it be my play style? Any thoughts from more veteran players would be much appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. pob

    pob Deity²

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    When scenario 3 happens, I think you need to do a "do or die" rush as soon as strategically possible.
     
  3. DesertPfox

    DesertPfox Chieftain

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    Addressing you problems in order:

    1. If it happens more often than not that you find yourself way for ahead, then it may be time to advance a difficulty level.

    2. If you are ever shocked by where other civilizations are compared to you (techs, wonders, city counts, etc.) it would be wise to keep close tabs on those more often. At least every couple of turns you should be checking the tech trade screen (F4 I think, or the beaker emblem in the upper right). You should do this to check on trades and to monitor the progress of your competitors.

    3. What pob said. In fact, if you never have, try an axe rush game or a horse archer rush, just to see how it works. Axe rush means that you basically beeline bronze working, hook up copper and go to war.
     
  4. elohssa

    elohssa Warlord

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    From my experience isolated civs are always a long way behind in tech as they can't trade until astronomy.
     
  5. lymond

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

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    First thing we need to probably know is what your current difficulty is, i.e., what level are you most comfortable with or play the most.

    Upping your difficultly does sound like the obvious decision here, but based on your write-up I detect some possibly veiled flaws in your game which may lead to lack of success on higher levels, depending on what your level is. Despite getting comfortable on Level X, a higher level might require quite different strategies or techniques.

    Also, make sure to check the Strategy and Tips forum for advice.
     
  6. GGracchus

    GGracchus Tribune of Rome

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    I agree with lymond, post a game on strategy and tips to let people help you with any flaws in your gameplay. Make sure you've read through the war academy.
     
  7. Rhavanna

    Rhavanna Chieftain

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    I've been playing on Prince lately. I was hesitant to move up difficulty modes as it feels inconsistent that I get so far ahead. Some games I get really far ahead, but just as often it seems like I start to seriously fall behind even if my playstyle isn't all too different each time.

    I *think* I've read most of the stuff on the war academy. I check in often enough whenever I'm about to try starting a new game. Never posted in the strategy forum though, I'll try that next.
     
  8. Skallagrimson

    Skallagrimson Deity

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    1: move up a level or two.
    2: tech trade opportunity
    3: axe rush opportunity

    Snowballing is the reason why early advantage is exponentially more important than later advantage, which is counterintuitive to business concepts of "return on investment". Civ punishes investment and rewards instant gratification.
     
  9. strijder20

    strijder20 Wallowing in irony

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    Try the Legends of Revolution mod or any mod with RevDcm included. It makes huge civs collapse.
    (However, it seems to benefit the human more than the AI. When I get a huge empire on that mod, I usually manage to maintain stability)
     
  10. Zeiter

    Zeiter Prince

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    I was just about to say, RevDCM is something you should try. I consider revolutions not only neat to see happen, but an essential game mechanic for precisely this reason: they prevent easy snowballing. To be sure, there are still ways to slowly build up lasting advantages, but with revolutions it takes a lot more thought than, "Expand, conquer, build courthouses, expand, conquer, build courthouses, etc." You have to carefully balance expansion and development and pay careful attention to things like religions, culture pressure, distance from palace, defensability (cities on hills are easier to hold from rebels), happiness...etc.

    BarbarianCiv is also a nice component of RevDCM because it often allows newly-emerged civs that enter the game halfway through to start dominating the original civs. The extent to which this happens will depend on how you have some of the parameters of RevDCM adjusted, but I know it happens quite a lot in my games. You think someone is getting off to a leading start, and then it gets spawnrushed in 1000 B.C. by a newly-emerged barb civ that then takes over most of the former civ's land. Pretty neat to watch when it happens. It's also pretty scary (and exciting) when I find myself on the receiving end of one of these spawnrushes.
     
  11. vincentz

    vincentz Programmer

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    In vanlilla civ there are (atleast) 2 factors that tries to prevent snowballing.

    1. Maintenance (distance and number of cities)
    2. Inflation

    If you adjust the maintenance and inflation, these can actually prevent the "The bigger the better" effect that civ4 has.
     
  12. Molybdeus

    Molybdeus Prince

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    Technological diffusion would make the game more realistic, but when I've modded it into the game it makes warmongering too easy. The same effect could be seen in Civ2 where you could gain techs by conquering cities.

    It sounds like you need to brush up on your warmongering skills. The key to rushes is speed in churning out units. You need to practise using slavery and chopping to whip out eight axemen or chariots by 2,000 BC. Once you get that down you can take out anybody on Emperor or below: even protective civs usually fall unless they have a capitol city on a hill. I've even chariot rushed Sitting Bull with a hill capitol, since he whips out dog soldiers rather than archers for some reason.
     
  13. Skallagrimson

    Skallagrimson Deity

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    A human sitting bull doesn't need a hill: just a totem pole.
     
  14. duckstab

    duckstab Child of Noble Family

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    I vaguely remember that somebody - Kael, I think - once wrote a mod component that dynamically scaled the difficulty level based on score. So if you had a runaway score the AI would start to get bonuses while if you were in the toilet you'd start to get them.

    I don't know if it's still around or how well it worked, but I thought it was an interesting concept.
     
  15. Zeiter

    Zeiter Prince

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    I've found in RevDCM (which has tech diffusion) that tech diffusion ends up helping the AI more than the human. The emperor+ AI is always going to have tons of units (oftentimes too many, such that it slows their economy down), so tech diffusion lets them maintain a huge army (that they can continually keep upgrading on the cheap) while also staying with you in tech. It makes getting a crucial tech advantage (like rifling) for a decent period of time a real challenge for the human player. Plus, it makes it hard to find super-backward civs to pick on or start your expansion with when you're in a bind because they're also decently keeping up as well.
     
  16. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Hill is still nice to have on defense, especially in later eras or when mixing in other unit types. For archer units a hill has slightly more defense bonus built-in than the CG II promotion! Things like spears defending against elephants enjoy the hill + fortify also...
     
  17. civ4lyfe

    civ4lyfe Chieftain

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    not gonna lie, scenario one seems to happen to me alot in civ V, but not so much in civ 4 bts... I seem to suck all around at bts.
     
  18. Tristan_C

    Tristan_C Emperor

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    My understanding (based on here-say) is that civ 4 is somewhat more difficult.
     

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